Archive for the 'George Osborne' Category


Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his life

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

These don’t appear to be the actions of a PM confident of winning the referendum

Typo alert – The below tweet I think he means Foreign Sec, I hope



We need to re-think next CON leader betting following Cameron’s rough week on his financial affairs

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

Dave’s successor will have had a much more humble upbringing

One consequence I’d suggest of the past week’s revelations relating to David Cameron is that his successor will come from a very different sort of background. Next time the party will not choose a “posh boy who doesn’t know the price of bread” to use the Nadine Dorries quote.

For the big political damage from this whole affair has been the reminder that the Boris Johnson’s, Osborne’s or Cameron’s experience of this world is something that is alien to the vast majority of people in the country.

Whether the Prime Minister was involved in a tax avoidance scheme or not is almost irrelevant – the big problem for him is that it reminds us of his background.

So I would suggest that we can now rule out Boris Johnson and George Osborne from the next Conservative leadership race.

Looking around this could enhance Theresa May’s chances as well as Sajid Javid’s. It could also help the big mover at the moment Michael Gove who topped the latest ConHome member next leader survey.

Other possibilities with back stories closer to John Major than David Cameron are newly promoted Stephen Crabb and Liz Truss. I got 150/1 on the latter on Betfair yesterday.

At the right price all the names highlghted are worth a punt.

Mike Smithson


Betting on Osborne’s next Cabinet job

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Billy Hills Ozzy market

Should you be betting on George Osborne going to the Foreign Office?

After a sub-optimal fortnight for George Osborne, William Hill have a market up on George Osborne’s next Cabinet job. I think backing the 5/2 on him as next Foreign Secretary might be the best option. I suspect after the referendum (assuming a Remain victory) David Cameron will have a reconciliation reshuffle and move Osborne out of Number 11.

Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary are the only jobs that won’t be considered demotions for Osborne. Philip Hammond looks less immovable than Theresa May, who will soon be beginning her seventh year as Home Secretary, a role which previously had become a political graveyard. So on that basis I’m taking the 5/2 on Osborne’s next job being Foreign Secretary.

If you think Osborne’s next role will be PM, then you’re better off backing him on the next PM/next Tory leader markets elsewhere, where you can get better odds than the 9/2 William Hill are offering in this market.



It now feels when in 2016 not if Osborne departs as Chancellor

Monday, March 21st, 2016



Why Labour has its concerns about the Tory turmoil

Monday, March 21st, 2016


Donald Brind says a big REMAIN victory remains the objective

They do things different in Battersea. The local Labour party invited along the Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn for a fundraising fish and chip supper to launch the formal start of the London election campaign. Then they promptly turned the lights out.

The environmentally savvy Battersea Labourites were taking part in Earth Hour a an international initiative that encourages “individuals, communities households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol for their commitment to the planet”. The hour fell right in the middle of the fundraiser

Benn happily performed and received what he said was his first ever candlelit standing ovation.

Benn is spearheading the Labour Remain campaign along with Alan Johnson and he provided an eloquent statement of the case for membership for EU membership. As well as talking about jobs and living standards he recalled visits to the war graves in northern France. He made passing reference to Iain Duncan Smith, toasting the former Work and Pensions Secretary’s friendly fire on Tory economic policies, which will provide material for thousands of Labour leaflets and press releases.

The following day Benn’s colleague, the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell on Radio Five and Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham on Sky sought to switch the focus to the Chancellor George Osborne. McDonnell called for him to “scrap the budget and start again” and Burnham said “It is the Chancellor who should be considering his position today” – code for resignation.

    Labour expected the referendum to cause trouble for the Tories but they can hardly believe their luck at how much damage has been done so quickly – even if there is caution over the first poll lead since Jeremy Corbyn became leader.

At first glance it might be expected that Labour would want the Tory turmoil to continue as long as possible – up to and beyond the referendum date. That might mean the perfect result for Labour would be a narrow victory for Remain, guaranteeing months, if not years, of Tory strife.

Hilary Benn’s Battersea speech dispelled such calculations. It was clear that he believes the largest possible margin for Remain is profoundly in the national interest.

Most Labour MPs won’t share platforms with the Tory Remain campaigners – to do so would be counterproductive in winning over Labour supporters and getting them to turn out and vote. But they are on the same side of the argument as Cameron and his Cabinet allies. There is dismay at the impact of the Budget fiasco on credibility of the Tory Remain campaign.

Osborne is damaged goods. There may have been an element of ritual about the call for his resignation. But that will become a more urgent demand if he continues to be a liability to the campaign for continued EU membership.

So Cameron’s role will be more crucial than ever and he will need even greater support for Labour than he envisaged. The is both a challenge and an opportunity for Labour. It is in the party and the country’s interest that Benn et all don’t fluff it.



The Tories are very lucky the Lib Dems didn’t accept George Osborne’s coupon deal

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

British politics today might have been very different if the Lib Dems had accepted Osborne’s deal

The Mail on Sunday are serialising the memoirs of David Laws, the former Liberal Democrat cabinet minister, in it he reveals that

The Tories secretly tried to form a 2015 Election pact with the Lib Dems to keep the Coalition going, according to David Laws.

He says George Osborne proposed a so-called ‘coupon election’ deal with the Lib Dems, whereby up to 50 Tory MPs would have been written off, ordered to make way for Lib Dems.

If the deal had gone ahead, Clegg would still be in Downing Street in a ‘Coalition Mark II’.

And it would have made David Cameron’s outright victory last May impossible. Osborne told Laws: ‘We should be thinking of a deal in 2015 where we don’t fight each other in our key seats… a ‘coupon Election’.

‘We wouldn’t stand in places like Taunton and Wells and you wouldn’t stand in some of our marginal seats.’

Laws and Clegg turned the deal down because the Lib Dems would be seen as Tory ‘lapdogs’ – and it could spark a ‘riot’ among Lib Dem activists. Laws’ account confirms rumours in 2011 and 2012 that Cameron and Osborne wanted a Con-Lib pact to avoid defeat.

Right-wing MPs claimed it was a Downing Street plot to merge the two parties and water down traditional Tory policies. No 10 denied such a move had been made.

The term, ‘coupon election’, dates back to 1918 when Coalition leaders Lloyd George and Bonar Law regained power by using coupons to endorse coalition candidates.

The Lib Dems might think in hindsight they should have taken the deal and ended up with around 45 MPs instead of the 8 they currently have, but Laws is right, the Lib Dems would have been portrayed as Tory lapdogs for a generation.

What this coupon deal would have done is energised a lot of the non Cameroon Tory right to defect to UKIP, from the Parliamentary party to the voluntary party as it would have confirmed their worst fears about Cameron and Osborne. Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless wouldn’t have been the only Tory MPs who defected to UKIP in the last Parliament. I’m fairly certain this deal would have seen UKIP end up with more than just one MP at the last general election. This deal would have also upset and annoyed  Tories activists and members in the Lib Dem held seats the Tories were hoping (and did gain) in 2015.

George Osborne’s reputation is at an all time low, stories like this, how he nearly denied the Tories a majority, prevented the Lib Dem wipe out and boosted UKIP will not help his reputation recover. Even if he denies it and says it is a Lib Dem fantasy, you can believe it is something Osborne would have offered.



The Osborne Supremacy might be over but the Osborne Legacy could see the next Tory leader have an Osborne Identity

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

Whilst Osborne might not be the next Tory leader, he could still influence the result, so here’s an 80/1 tip on next Tory leader.

The Sunday Times story above doesn’t surprise me. Osborne seems more comfortable being the éminence grise to Tory leaders than being leader himself, and lest we forget in 2005, he declined to run for the leadership, backing the more electable candidate (and his friend) he could well do the same again in the next leadership contest.

There is a danger for those in the cabinet, regardless of which side of the EU referendum they are on, they are going to fundamentally damaged by the referendum campaign, because so far it hasn’t been a debate of Socratic wonder, more Project Fear meets Project Whinge with who can come up with the most hyperbolic scare story. So someone who isn’t high profile now, comes to the fore in the leadership election, something the Tories have a history of doing.

I might be very wrong in this assessment, but despite recent events the Tories still retain their blood lust for power, something they lost between September 1992 and 2005, as many Leavers, are still supporters of the Cameroon project. Being a Brexiter doesn’t mean you’re automatically opposed to the Cameroon project, Michael Gove being the perfect example of this. As the recent poll of Tory members shows, when choosing the next Leader, competence and having the best chance of winning the 2020 general election are the top two criteria, being a change of direction from Cameron garners only 3% support.

In the past I thought if Osborne didn’t run for Tory leader, he would support Sajid Javid, but Javid has underwhelmed as Business Secretary, so who would get Osborne and Cameron’s support now?

So I’ve decided to back Matt Hancock as next Tory leader at 80/1 with Corals. He’s Osborne’s former Chief of Staff, and has often been described as Osborne’s protégé. Whilst he did read PPE at Oxford like so many of today’s political class, he’s had a career outside of politics, working for the Bank of England, which might be useful for the Tories if they want to maintain their reputation for economic competence.

As Hancock is largely unknown to the public, he doesn’t have the negative ratings of say Michael Gove, whose ratings are on a par with Jeremy Corbyn, and Gove strikes me as a man aware of his own (electoral) limitations who won’t run for leader if his ratings remain as dire as they currently are. As noted in the past often winning the Tory leadership is about who you aren’t not about who you are which might be an advantage for Hancock.

The one criticism that Osborne detractors cannot level against him is his total loyalty and support to his party leader and his allies, especially when you consider history has shown the creative differences between the occupants of No 10 and No 11, from Thatcher & Lawson to Blair & Brown  can cause huge problems for the Government. This has been as much an Osborne government as it has been a Cameron government.

You can see Osborne being the éminence grise under a Hancock leadership. As David Maxwell Fyfe noted many years ago, loyalty is the Tory party’s secret weapon, and it might just well be Osborne’s secret weapon in winning the next Tory leadership contest for his protégé.



It’s being suggested that Osborne is close to abandoning his leadership ambitions

Saturday, March 19th, 2016