My old mucker Nick Watt has helped with another interesting insight into Tory tax policy formulation.
Buried in a Guardian story about the decision to hire M and C Saatchi to work alongside Airbrush Posters PLC in their interesting (ie fraught) new joint venture is a line related to the most elusive issue in UK politics – what the Tories would actually do.
It says that ‘senior sources’ have briefed the website ConservativeHome that shadow chancellor George Osborne has a ‘wheeze’ lined up to repeal the proposed National Insurance rise.
Two interesting things to comment upon here. One is the apparent new journalistic formulation that you can report ‘senior sources’ (never junior, you may have noticed) even if those unnamed voices are speaking anonymously to a rival media organisation, which means that in a secondary report you are unlikely to know their identity, and thus their reliability.
But more noteworthy is the ‘wheeze’ element.
I’ve often felt about David Cameron, George Osborne and the rest of their set that one day they were just sitting around at Dave’s gaff, flicking through Smythson’s posh products catalogues, a bit bored with their various roles in life, and one of them said ‘listen chaps, don’t you think it would be great to run a country? Think what fun we’d all have.’
According to junior and possibly totally unreliable sources, at a newspaper group lunch recently, DC said, in answer to the question why he wanted to be PM … ‘I think I’d be quite good at it.’
All fits the bill, n’est-ce pas? Wants the job, not quite sure what he wants to do with it though.
Quite a wheeze though. Golly, yes.
* Buy The Blair Years online and raise cash for Labour http://www.alastaircampbell.org/bookshop.php.
Similar to you and Tone,Mandy and Falcs…sitting there thinking lets make out we’re Tories and ditch Left-wing politics and have a laugh wrecking the Country and take us to War then go make loads after we’ve ditched the country in £167bln dollops of doggie-do
After all the conversation in the last few days, the budget choice is simple:-
Darling has managed to “safely pilot” the economy through the worst turbulence in living memory and appears to have a fixed glide path to recovery
Osbourne appears happy to “crash land” the economy for ideological reasons.
Who do you want in the cockpit of UK plc – experienced albeit bit boring pilot (with his own decisive judgement) or ambitious, wide eyed trainee (who changes his mind in a somewhat erratic manner)?
I know my choice.
Blackberry on doorstep to Coleshill:”What are we saying about NI?”
Coleshill to Blackberry on doorstep:”Error 404. Webpage not available.”
Well at least not knowing what to do with the Premiership is better than invading Iraq, selling gold at a £7bn loss or running up the record national debt whilst running a record defecit.
I’m all for the next Premier not knowing what to do and, preferably, not doing anything.
BTW your commentary has got to be THE most juvenile blog on the web. Policy? Reasoned debate??
A wizard wheeze indeed!
Somehow they just can’t shake off the over priviledged Toff habits. I suppose if this campaign all goes wrong they will drag “Oik” into the toilets, Vague and Hammond Will hold him upside down with his head in the toilet while “Call me Dave” pulls the chain.
On another note AC,…I have not posted hear for ages the last time was just after your appearance on This week with old wiggy, itchy and scratchy. After watching last night QT and then This week I noticed a real change in Diane. Last time she was hostile to you (taunts over the Chilcot Inquiry) and very down on the prospects of the party.
I wonder if she will ackowledge yours and Peter’s contributions?
Just a final observation…QT the noble Baroness Karzi (deliberate) and Goldsworthy really do not get on do they!
For those who say more women in politics would make the world a better place should observe just how some of our female politicians actually treat each other. Diane and Ester last night a good example of female debating techniques.
Anyway keep sending over the crosses and lets hope the strikers can bang a few in over the next 6 weeks
Despite being once a chippy grammar school boy and then getting to Oxford where I used to be staggered by the confidence with which many boys and girls from public school swanned around, I still don’t find inverted snobbery any more attractive than the uninverted kind. They both stink. Still, if it makes you feel good about yourself…
S Chapman – spot on guv.
Alistair up to his usual discourse based on substance and policy I see! Not for him the superficial nonsense of the tabloids………
AC – you fail to be honest enough to accept your position in the media/power elite of our country. You lot are the new establishment who are and have been destroying the country. You have none of the self knowledge of the old elites or their guilt and shame at their positions. You fail to acknowledge your true privilege in having professional and educated parents and a truly easy start in life. No boarding school at 8 years old for you!
Are you that afraid of George Osborne? Not much expected of him is there? It could be very interesting to see him in debate with the (public spending will be flat..to..worse than thatcher) Darling. When I have heard him on the radio he has been very impressive. I know you guys are all into the superficial stuff – I am more interested in how he would run the Treasury. Would he sell gold at rock bottom prices? Would he encourage a massive property bubble (by destroying pensions amongst others) that will implode sometime in the next 2 years? Would he pretend he was going to invest when all the time he knew that cuts ‘worse than thatcher’ were actually coming? Or would he tell us the truth? Maybe the British people don’t want to hear the truth? I think most of us are just so hacked off after 13 years of the most corrupt and useless government in history that we have almost given up on everything to do with politics.
It has been truly fascinating to discover that Margaret Thatcher did not cut public spending. What an incredible spinning success!! I have never been a fan of the lady as I had believed the hype…now….looking at the mess she had to clear up from incompetent Labour and Tory administrations I am having to rethink. Maybe Gordon and Tony are right to admire her after all?!
So now we know the cuts are going to be worse than Thatcher (in fact there will be cuts whereas thatcher made none!) what exactly is going to be cut? And just as important – how much more will tax on incomes go up for us all?? I have still not seen Labour take a difficult decision – I don’t believe they are credible – they haven’t (and may not in fact) have the Balls. What a pathetic and truly fitting end to a sh*te legacy.
What will they do next?
In my infrequent idle moments I have been asking this.
Their return to using M&C Saatchi for advertising is suggesting that perhaps it will be back to “The Nasty Party” for the election campaign.
But I can’t believe M&C Saatchi would be that stupid.
The Nasty Party advertising, if undertaken, would perhaps take the form of attacks on Gordon Brown. However I feel the public is weary of attacks on Brown and now suspects the attackers are dishonest.
For the Conservative party to get Nasty now would only alienate the remaining floating voters that are still considering voting Conservative. It will reinforce people like me who have been saying the Conservative party has been Nasty all along, just hiding this from the electorate.
I remember in 97 the famous Demon Eyes posters. Those were such a flop and I am certain they made the final group of floating voters who had doubts about Labour go out and vote Labour to show they were just not going to be influenced by such an idiotic advertising campaign.
If I had been David Cameron I know what I would have done at this stage. I would have “got humble”. I would produce simple advertising that is on policy. I would have started going out and canvassing on doorsteps and be filmed doing this. It would be a bit like the John Major soapbox tactic but not as obvious in its planning.
Alastair,I know this is your blog and you can say what you like on it, but it would be really good to know what you also think about the bigger issues, particularly in this pre-election period with so much going on. I found The Blair Years unputdownable and tune in to this blog because I’m interested in your take on things, even if I don’t agree. Aw come one, share a bit more of the important stuff with us. Please.
Blackberry on doorstep to Coleshill: “I am sorry – didn’t get reply earlier – what is George Osborne saying about NI, please?”
Coleshill to Blackberry on doorstep: “Policy on NI: The Conservative party has entered an electoral pact with the Alcester Unionists. Hope that helps.”
How about -once the official campaign starts -GB backing AD to remain as chancellor? He deserves that backing.
Im listening to you on soccer AM as I write this.
We may agree on most things, but on this occation
Up The Hammers
You can sell someone rubbish once – but they don’t come back for more. The disasterous Tory campaigns of 1997, 2001 and 2005 showed that appealing to the base instincts of people just doesn’t work. So why have the Tories got Andy Coulson and Lynton Crosby in their team? They are far more in the Malcolm Tukcer mould then you ever were Alastair!