Peter Hoskin

Osborne sets out the “risky choice” that is voting Labour

Osborne sets out the "risky choice" that is voting Labour
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So what's the story, George Osborne?  Reading his speech today, there's plenty of sturdy talk about lowering the national debt burden and encouraging saving - but a few gaps that need filling if the policy is to live up to the rhetoric.  Osborne seems to recognise this himself: for every reference to the Office of Budget Responsility or the IHT cut, there's an admission that the Tories will release more detailed proposals "in due course".

In which light, the most striking passage reads thus (my emphasis):

"The markets are saying that Britain needs a Conservative Government with a working majority if we want to avoid the costs to the British people of the country's debts rising.

In other words re-electing this Labour Government is a risky choice for the British people and the British economy."

Indeed, the point that re-electing Labour is "risky" is repeated a couple of lines later, when Osborne says: "Re-electing the incumbent government is now the risky choice."  To my mind, this seems like a crucial new attack, even if one that's been implicit in Tory speeches before now.  In effect, it's a subversion of Brown's "no time for a novice" soundbite, with its own implication that a steady hand is needed at the tiller.  More clearly than ever, the Tory response is now that they are that steady hand - Labour aren't.

To some extent, this exemplifies an explicit split in the Tory dynamic.  One one side, the economy, you've got them pushing their "stability" - and, well, conservative - credentials.  Whereas in other areas - parliamentary reform, say - they're still striking a tone of Obamaesque Change.  It's a fascinating balance, and one which Brown - who, of course, presided over the both the economic and political crises - may struggle to upset.