George Osborne’s Conservative Conference Speech

As GO took to the stage, he left a dramatic 3 second pause to start. Was he lost for words? Would these words have any substance?

Our politicians are obsessed with the past as a slate to wipe our mistakes and Osborne’s speech started with the ‘failures’ of the current government as a checklist. But the use of statistics merely serves to illustrate that one can read, not that one has the cognitive skills to analyse the issues, design a strategy and implement a successful solution. This speech was directed to the party faithful and the biggest unscripted cheer was a reduction of quango specialists second guessing locally elected officials. I’ll believe that when I see it. The Conservatives invented this tactic in the eighties to counter free spending Labour councils.

But we wanted a message to the nation. The Shadow Chancellor reiterated policy statements made over the last year: a reduction in MPs numbers, a 5% cut in MPs pay, a pay ceiling equivalent to the PM’s salary, loss of child trusts to middle income families, retention of the 50% tax rate but nothing new and no tangible theme. There was no reference to the raising of VAT and this will come. Perhaps the fiscal task we face is too onerous to have an economic dream, but once the Augean stables have been cleansed, where is the ideology?

Osborne is often described as a lightweight (amongst many comments, some borne out of inverse class snobbery).  His detractors will have found little to add here in these 33 minutes but nor would his supporters.

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