David Blackburn

Osborne is the key to Cameron’s success

Osborne is the key to Cameron’s success
Text settings

Initially, I thought George Osborne’s conference speech was unremarkable. Osborne, the second coming of Stafford Cripps, painted the grimmest picture since The Scream. He was relentless, remorseless. in fact, the argument that the Tories ‘relish cuts’ and are out of touch almost seemed plausible, as Osborne, the heir to an Anglo-Irish baronetcy with a flair for interior design, told the nation that “we’re all in this together”.  But in the wider tactical context of securing a Conservative victory, it was a brilliant speech. Writing in the Independent, Matthew Norman concludes:

Adorable he will never be, and as an orator he makes the Speaking Clock sound like Cicero, but undeniably he is extremely clever. By portraying himself as a murderous financial hard man (a kind of Sir Stafford Crippen), he has pulled off that cutest of political tricks by transforming a weakness into a strength. Labour has underestimated George Osborne, and the party may shortly pay the price.’

Criticism of Osborne’s speech is founded on the assumption that it is an electoral gamble. However, if the latest polls are to be trusted, the public welcome the Conservatives’ realism and honesty. Whilst Labour concentrates on characterising the opposition as the Waffen SS appreciation society, the Tories have assumed the aura of government. That is down to the effortlessly dislikable Osborne, who has been underestimated by the media as well as by the government. Osborne and Cameron have stolen their route to recovery and vision for the future from the book of Exodus: Osborne has described the discomfort of the desert and today Cameron will give a glimpse of the Promised Land.