Osbornite is the new Kryptonite, it saps the strength of its enemies before killing them
10 Jul 2015 at 10:48
Did anyone notice a tiny puff of white smoke briefly lingering over Number 10 Downing Street on Wednesday night? George Osborne’s shamelessly political budget has put him in pole position to succeed David Cameron. It always mystifies me why Chancellors are abused for acting politically. They are politicians, it is therefore in their nature to milk every budget for advantage.
Whatever side of the political divide you are on you have to admire this budget’s radicalism, dash and delightfully kleptocratic shaming of Labour. The tax credit system is a national disgrace. It encourages employers to pay sweat shop wages and demands that the taxpayer makes up the difference to the tune of £30 billion. It borders on the immoral. To steal Labour’s living wage plans and then increase it blindsided everyone and has thrown a mortally divided party into a blind panic. Do they support their own policy or do they vote it down? Clobbering the non doms and hedge funds was totally unexpected and at a stroke explodes the myth that the Tories are for the rich at the expense of the poor. It really was a masterclass in trashing your opponents and weening the country off its addiction to welfare. This will go down as one of the great budgets. And if you look carefully it had the fingerprints of Steve Hilton all over it.
So who were the real losers? Whoever wins the Labour leadership will not have the luxury of steering the party to electability. The Corbyn bandwagon is gaining momentum. I like Jeremy. We were elected together in 1983. He is thoroughly decent, utterly sincere, has never been a political shape shifter. He makes Tony Benn look like Mussolini. But he does represent the core beliefs of many hardworking Labour grass roots. The sort of well intentioned beliefs which terrify voters. Jeremy is not going to win. But he will scoop up the votes. The dilemma for the new leader will be what to do with him. They would be obliged to put him in the Shadow Cabinet. Whether he wants it or not is another matter. My instincts are that he will not want to be constrained by collective responsibility and feel happier with the freedoms of the backbenches. He will be Labour’s Enoch Powell. Listened to with respect rather than ridicule. Feted by party members and the unions. And a bogeyman for the Tories to scare the voters with.
But pity the Tory leadership hopefuls. Such is Osborne’s newly found confidence that he even took the piss out of Boris in his speech. I predict there will be more of this. It will be portrayed as affectionate banter, but the subtext will be, ‘I offer you solutions, Boris gives you problems’. So what will become of him? Even his Uxbridge seat is under threat in the culling of MPs in 2020. He must be given a grand sounding, time consuming job of monumental irrelevance which will bore him political extinction.
After years of frustration, set backs and the odd omnishambles, we are now seeing the real Osborne and it is a classy act. A sort of reverse Gordon Brown.
Osbornite is the new Kryptonite. It weakens and destroys anything that gets in his way. It is rather refreshing to witness the birth of a big beast.