Posts Tagged ‘Conservative party’

Forget the chatter, George Osborne’s power in the Conservative party is as strong as ever

16/11/2012, 07:00:01 AM

by Mark Stockwell

There has been a tendency lately in some circles – no doubt including many Labour Uncut readers – to scoff somewhat at George Osborne. Since the chancellor’s questionable (politically if not economically) decision to cut the top rate of income tax, there has been a sense that his influence is on the wane. In particular, there has been a lot of chatter to the effect that he can’t combine his position as chancellor of the exchequer with his role as the Conservative party’s principal electoral strategist.

This week’s op ed in The Times – “”Obama proves you can win in tough times’(£) – shows that both his opponents and his enemies underestimate Osborne at their peril: he remains the key strategic force behind Conservative modernisation. In conjunction with David Cameron’s well-received party conference speech – admittedly a rather short-lived success – the Times piece gives a clear indication that while the occupants of Nos. 10 and 11 Downing Street remain in situ, that agenda is still very much alive.

It was gratifying, of course, that the central thrust of the chancellor’s argument was to endorse that of my own piece on the US elections a couple of weeks back – namely that the Tories would be heartened by an Obama victory. As Osborne puts it, “People agree with the message ‘we’re on the right track, don’t turn back’ because it is correct.”

I hesitate to say ‘you heard it here first’ but…

While that central message confirmed the Conservatives’ strategy for the next election, there were two other particularly notable points about Osborne’s piece. These suggest that the chancellor is intent on continuing to lift his eyes from the red book and the latest economic projections, and take a rather longer-term view of the political landscape.


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