There used to be a silly season. However it looks like global economic woes will ensure this year’s silly season has a rather more serious backdrop than usual, what with front pages around the world showing traders looking like they’ve just been told a loved one has died.
David Cameron and George Osborne are having to get used to the fact that in some jobs, there is really no such thing as a holiday.
Cameron’s general hyperactivity on the public front, and Osborne’s relative invisibility make them both easy targets for the ‘topping tans while we all suffer’ attacks; Cameron because he likes to give the impression that nothing important can happen unless he is involved, Osborne because he prefers to cultivate an (eroding) image of big picture strategist whilst leaving the tactics to others.
However this looks like becoming one of those scenarios where strategy and tactics may come very close together. And it is hard to direct tactical responses if you are stuck on the other side of the world, trying to give your family the sense of a normal holiday.
I don’t join the chorus calling for ‘someone to come back’ as a kind of ‘something must be done’ therapy for the nation. But I would be surprised if Osborne and Cameron are not spending at least a third of their waking hours on the phone or reading briefing papers rather than books. However, Treasury minister Justine Greening’s attempt to describe Osborne as being on top of things did not exactly fit with her admission that she and he have not spoken for a week.
One final, and moderately interesting, thing in all this. Nick Clegg appears to be away at the same time as Cameron and Osborne, and nobody seems terribly concerned. A year is a long time in politics.
** To order signed copies of Alastair’s diaries via Waterstone’s, click here