Osborne’s tank tries to churn up Ed’s lawn

by Kevin Meagher

He would bristle at the comparison, but George Osborne’s raid on Labour’s turf – promising to support an above inflation rise in the minimum wage – is straight out of the Gordon Brown book of political tradecraft.

The two most political bean-counters British politics has ever produced are both fans of ‘weaponising’ policy to suit their ends; laying clever traps for their enemies to fall into and using the Treasury’s tanks to churn up the opposition’s lawn.

“I want to make sure we are all in it together” said Osborne yesterday, to a chorus of generally disbelieving gasps. The minimum wage should increase “because the British economy can now afford that.”

The Tories used to be “on the wrong side of the argument” about the merits of the minimum wage, but that was all a misunderstanding. Now it’s a shiny, happy, modern party “in touch with the country,” he added.

ITV’s Chris Ship said the Lib Dems were “spitting tacks” as Osborne had veered over the coalition’s central reservation, cutting them out of the equation on a major good news story.

“He’s effectively endorsing the advice I gave to the Low Pay Commission” said Vince Cable on Newsnight last night, trying to sound nonchalant at the very effrontery of it all. Labour people too were miffed at Osborne’s naked opportunism. How dare a Tory Chancellor say anything positive about the minimum wage!

In a funny sort of way, Ed Miliband should take all this as a compliment. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. That Osborne felt compelled to try and spike today’s big speech on the economy and banking reform shows the Tories are irked about headlines proclaiming “I can save the middle class”.

So in the best traditions of “you send one of my guys to the hospital, I’ll send one of yours to the morgue” Osborne’s instinct is to wield his home-made shiv. It’s not pretty, but it is effective.

Gordon would approve.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Labour Uncut

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5 Responses to “Osborne’s tank tries to churn up Ed’s lawn”

  1. Tafia says:

    This actually represents somewhere in the region of a 7% increase in the NMW. To maintain parity, all other workers would expect a similar increase. So if you were a worker, would you vote for a 7% increase? Or against one.

    And it is that simple. That’s how Thatcher kept winning – give them a fiver in their hand and take 6 quid off them further up the line in reduced spending.

    Remember, if your policy can be understood by someone stacking shelves in Tescos and they can understand it without having to think then it’s a winner. If they have to think, or read, or it’s big words and numbers then it’s a loser.

    It’s Star/Sun/Mirror readers that win elections, not Independent/Guardian readers.

    KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid.

  2. Mo says:

    Let him do what he wants. It isn’t up to him to decide whethe or not the minimum wage should be raised. There’s an independent commision which decides on wage increases or falls. Also if the minimum wage does go up, the public will see that the Tories have let Labour have the initiative and it’ll help us out.

  3. steve says:

    Yes, Osborne has floated an attention-grabbing policy. His tank has been gleefully parked on Miliband’s dainty little lawn.

    Now is the time for Miliband to respond. The sleeping giant must awaken and counter Osborne’s impertinence with terrible resolve.

    On second thoughts, perhaps that’s setting the bar a little too high for MIliband…

  4. Ex-Labour says:

    And how did Milibands “big speech” go down ? Well judging by the stock market and media reaction – not very well at all.

    He managed to wipe billions off OUR assets ie. RBS etc and make it far more difficult to sell off and get our money back. Brilliant Ed …your the genius we’ve been waiting for….er….not.

    Milibean and Labour need to realise the world has moved on and this continual harking back to “rich banker” bashing and its becoming getting tired and tedious. With minimum wage, Osborne is effectively taunting Miliband about the state of the economy, telling him because of Tory managment the poorer workers will benefit.

    He’s something radical I’d like to propose to Labour. Develop some policies now.

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