Monday, 23 July 2012

Shuffling out George Osborne

I was thumbing through the paper last Monday and found a couple of comments about whether or not George Osborne should be shuffled out of the Chancellorship in a front bench reshuffle.

The Sun's Trevor Kavanagh was quoted as suggesting that his unseemly bust ups with Ed Balls were distracting and even damaging his credibility as the man for the job and even suggesting that it was causing a lack of credibility and public esteem (and not us!).

Yes, I agree duelling with Ed Balls is unseemly but to be honest it would happen with whomever was Chancellor. Ed Balls is somewhat of a blunt instrument whose boorish manner acts like a battering ram and can easily get a rise from anyone.

But lets be honest;  Ed Balls can protest all he likes but he was buried in the treasury when all this rubbish with the banks happened in the first place.

The Newstatesman's George Eaton played down the talk of a reshuffle but suggested that the fact that it is being talked about and considered shows how much his stock has fallen.

However Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF has criticised the Treasury saying that the outlook is not great and that Osborne has until next year to see if "Plan A" can come to fruition, if not its time for "Plan B." The IMF points to the deep downturn in the economy, deeper than the Eurozone and indeed the USA, recovery has been weak and austerity has knocked 2.5% off the GDP. To cap it off Government borrowing is also up.

This may be why George Osborne is being asked to give up his position as Conservative planner and mastermind for strategy in 2015 by former Chancellor and well respected Conservative Lord Lawson in a Radio 4 interview;

I do think it might be sensible to give up the formal (strategy) role and focus exclusively on his job as Chancellor of the Exchequer which is a tremendously important job.
I think his last budget was not his biggest success but I think he should continue in that job,. But I do think... that it would be sensible for him to set aside his second job

So could George's time be up?

I don't think so yet. The pressure is mounting though, after all the strength of this government was always going to be on tackling the deficit and at the moment it has hit a bit of a pothole. Although replacing the Chancellor is not the solution (unless it is with David Lawes) at this time, serious thought needs to be directed to the situation and further to that 100% concentration on the matter so I agree with Lord Lawson on this.

The Economy and its recovery should be his priority and if it gets back on track the Conservatives won't need a strategy to win the next election but should it fail...

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