Archive for the 'George Osborne' Category


The genius of George Osborne: His government’s failure on the deficit is being ignored

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Osborne changes the narrative yet again

Given that the key objective of the coalition government since May 2010 has been to deal with the deficit then you would have thought that the failure to meet targets on this key matter would have been the dominant part of the media’s coverage of yesterday’s autumn statement.

I’ve clipped most of the front pages above and you’d be hard to find even a reference. The change in the way stamp duty on house purchase will be levied in future is the key theme.

    Yesterday reminded me of his brilliant move in October 2007 when the Tories were trailing in the polls and all the talk was of Gordon Brown calling a snap election. Osbo made an announcement on what a CON government would do with inheritance tax laws and at one stroke the media narrative changed. Brown & Co were totally wrong-footed and a few days later the Autumn 2007 general election place was shelved. Labour never recovered.

Will the same hold this time just five months before election day? Will the failure to meet targets on deficit reduction simply be sidelined. Judging by the front pages then that looks likely.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


If the Tories do manage to stay in power after May 7th much of the credit will go to George Osborne

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

That won’t harm his leadership ambitions

The autumn statement was always going to be a major event on the road to May 7th and George Osborne didn’t disappoint. So many different ideas and measures all designed to make it harder for Labour in the economic debate in the run up to the election and to block out the kippers.

Although they were well-trailed the stamp duty changes look right for that “middle” audience which the Tories have to bring back or keep on board.

    The main point of this afternoon was to get the pre-election focus back on the economy, where the Tories believe that they’ve a strong hand, and away from areas like immigration where UKIP has been making the running.

I liked the sheer breadth of the proposals which should enable to the Tory team to keep on message certainly until Xmas – May 7th is about whether the country is prepared once again to risk it with LAB.

George will get some good headlines tomorrow in the papers that usually support the blues and there might be a boost in the polls – maybe more firms will have CON leads.

The coming few days will see fieldwork starting in the main monthly phone polls and, of course, there is the weekly Ashcroft poll. To enter the holiday season with three or four pollsters reporting CON leads would be a great boost.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Osborne making his statement amidst declining confidence in the economy

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

The polling background to the Autumn Statement


If there’s no referendum on the Osborne plan for an elected mayor for Greater Manchester it could set difficult precedents

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Should previous referenda be ignored?

The big announcement from George Osborne today has been that Greater Manchester is to have an elected mayor who’ll preside over regional issues. This has been agreed with leaders of 10 councils in the region. The plan is for the new mayor to oversee policies like transport, social care and housing. Also police budgets will be included.

Politically this is quite astute because of the number marginals in the North West and here he can show that this part of England is not being forgotten

Only problem is that in May 2012 electors in Manchester voted to reject a proposal to have an elected mayor.

That was for the city and this proposal covers a much wider region.

Even though civic leaders from the region, perhaps attracted by the prospect of extra resources, have agreed the deal doesn’t mean that the 2012 referendum can be ignored. After all what’s the point of having them if within couple of years the outcomes are to be by-passed.

It would have been better, surely, to put the new proposals to the vote. Not doing so sets what could be tricky precedents.

A mistake methinks.

Meanwhile Ladbrokes have opened the betting on who’ll get the new job.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


YouGov polling blow for the man Ladbrokes make the 5-1 second favourite to be Dave’s successor

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Osbo trailed behind behind EdM, Boris, Clegg, Farage & even Balls

Although the fieldwork took place earlier in the month and before the budget it was only this week that YouGov put up the above polling on their site.

The question about how well suited X is to becoming PM is an interesting one which I can’t recall seeing before. The sample was asked for their views for each of those named in turn so it wasn’t an either/or type approach. Thus you could describe both Boris and Dave as well suited if you wished.

Notwithstanding the success of last week’s budget the polling does highlight a challenge for those backing Osborne. He can come over poorly and his excessive agression, particularly in relation to Ed Balls, does him no favours.

To be perceived in these terms is not good for his job prospects.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Budget betting : How long? What will he say? What colour tie? How many sips of water? etc

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Sporting Index budget spread markets

William Hill




On this day before Osborne’s 2012 Budget ICM had the Tories 3 points ahead, the last time any poll had a CON lead

Monday, March 17th, 2014

ICM Guardian poll March 2012

And in this March 2012 poll UKIP was on just 1%

If it should be that the Conservatives are not in government after the next general election then a lot of the blame will be attributed to the March 2012 budget and the way the government reacted in the weeks and months that followed.

Until that point in the electoral cycle, as the ICM poll for March 2012 illustrates, the Tories were doing quite well and all the focus was on Ed Miliband and Labour.

Then came the budget which even before Mr. Osborne sat down was being dubbed the omnishambles. It started with Tweets on the #grannytax then the #pastytax, the #charitytax, the #churchestax and the #caravantax.

Many of the controversial measures were later reversed after much pressure adding to the impression of chaos and raising questions about the government’s political abilities.

    It was the perception of political incompetance that was most damaging and this, I’d argue, is more important than being seen to be “good on the economy”.

The problem was that it was 2012 the budget that Osborne reduced the top rate of tax for top earners from 50% to 45% and everything else he did was always going to be contrasted with what was dubbed the “millionaires” tax relief.

March 2012 marked the start of a decline in the Tory polling position from which the party has yet to fully recover. It probably, also, was the backcloth for the rise of UKIP.

Osborne did not make the same mistakes in his 2013 budget and my guess is that his Wednesday statement will be the best of his chancellorship. It needs to be if he is to have any chance of succeeding Mr. Cameron as CON leader.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Reconsidering the case for George Osborne as next Tory leader

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

You can get a bet on him at 15/1

Until now I’ve always discounted George Osborne as Cameron’s successor. He generally polls badly and has nothing of the charisma or presence of a Boris or a Dave.

Yet the message from the reported flare-up between the Chancellor and the Mayor is that Osborne wants it badly and will use all the weapons at his disposal to achieve his goal.

The Mail on Sunday is making the Boris-George feud its main story this morning. This is how it is reporting it:

“Civil war erupted in the Tory Party last night after Boris Johnson accused George Osborne of lying about urging him to make a Commons comeback.

Supporters of the London Mayor claimed the Chancellor’s camp was engaging in a ‘dirty tricks plot’ to wreck his hopes of becoming Conservative leader – and boost Mr Osborne’s own ambitions for the job.

The simmering ‘Boris versus George’ leadership feud burst into the open over reports that Mr Osborne had ‘delivered personally’ a message to Mr Johnson that David Cameron wants him to stand as a parliamentary candidate at the next Election.”

If this report is correct then Boris himself sees Osborne as a major threat and for that reason alone we should take it seriously.

The Chancellor has built up a powerful team within the party and, as many have observed has made a point of ensuring that CON MPs loyal to him do well in re-shuffles.

He’ll get a lot of personal credit for the recovery and could be in a strong position to run for the job if the Tories lose power next year and Cameron steps aside.

One bookie has him at 15/1 for the leadership. Looks a good bet.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble