James Forsyth

The benefits of the vision thing

The benefits of the vision thing
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Amidst the torrent of bad economic news, people want to know where the growth will come from once this crisis has passed. It would be foolish to imagine that we can go back to the status quo-ante, that financial services and property can again drive the British economy as they did during the late 1990s and the early years of this century.

George Osborne’s speech on Friday was the best attempt we have heard yet from a politician to answer the future growth question. Matthew Parris, not a man given to hyperbole, described it as “thrilling” and “an example of what politics should be for”. Matthew Taylor, Tony Blair’s former policy chief, has also praised it, comparing it favourably to the speeches given by government ministers on the economy. This focus on the future is a potentially rich seam for the Tories to tap.

The Tories should learn from Ronald Reagan’s campaign in 1980: Reagan gave the voters straight talk about how bad the situation was and made sure that President Carter received his fair share of the blame for it but he never forgot to show how life would be better under the Republicans, how the country could make the economy grow again. Osborne, a keen student of American politics and the Reagan presidency, is beginning to set out the Tory version of that message. 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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