A change in the Cameron-Osborne relationship?
By Matthew Barrett
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Iain Martin's column in the Daily Mail today has two fascinating nuggets.
"the final straw for an exasperated No 10 and Chancellor George Osborne is hunting for a replacement."
"A leading Tory" blames Cameron for the appointment:
"‘The problem stems from Cameron viewing the role of party chairman as a non-job, which he could use instead to advertise his modernising credentials by appointing a Muslim woman. He has found out the hard way why the Tory chairman should be a street-fighter who can go on television and defend the Prime Minister in the middle of a firestorm.'"
"Indeed, many of the principal characters in Whitehall continue to be distracted. Osborne, in particular, looks anxious. It was he who pushed for the hiring of Andy Coulson, and he was initially much closer to News International than Cameron. Rupert Murdoch has never warmed to Cameron, regarding him as a metropolitan softie. He has always had a higher regard for Osborne. And Cameron, who has long trusted Osborne, now has reason to doubt him. There has been, says an aide, ‘not a chilling, but a change in the dynamics of the Cameron-Osborne relationship’."
Perhaps the most worrying note of the Cameron-Osborne section of Martin's column is: "It is in this febrile climate that the Government is making supremely important decisions about our relationship with Europe."
Observers of the relationship have long noted how the Blair-Brown element - the vicious infighting and one-upmanship that characterised Downing Street throughout the New Labour years - is absent in the Conservative leadership. In Opposition, Osborne's office was two doors down from Cameron, which allowed their relationship to stay close, and their strategy shared. Whilst there is no suggestion we're about to have a bout of the "TB/GBs" again, it does seem the Cameron-Osborne relationship has taken a hit.