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The 40% Shadow Chancellor

OSBORNE-GEORGE Last Sunday I noted the enormous role that George Osborne plays inside the Tory machine.

This, from Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer:

"Mr Osborne raised some eyebrows at a recent private meeting in the City when he was heard to remark that "40% of my time is spent on economics" - meaning that most of his hours are spent on campaigns and tactics. Mr Osborne seemed to think that 40% was an impressively large amount of his time to find to spend on economics; some of his audience thought it was a worryingly low proportion for the man who expects to be chancellor in less than a year's time."

In this time of massive economic crisis I share the worried view of "some of his audience".

Tim Montgomerie

2.30pm: Ben Brogan is relaxed about this '40% thing': "Mr Osborne can spend as much or as little time as he wants on economics, as long as he remains focused on the only effort that matters, which is persuading voters not just to ditch Labour but to vote Conservative."

A source close to George Osborne tells me that the 40% number is more complicated than has been suggested. The source tells me that George Osborne said that he spent 40% on short-term economic issues (like the Fred Goodwin pension saga) and 60% on longer-term economic and political issues.  I don't know if George spends 40%, 50% or 60% on being Shadow Chancellor but I know he spends A LOT of time on political roles that were once performed by a Party Chairman.  George is a brilliant political strategist.  The big question is whether - during these terrible economic times - he should be more focused on his Treasury brief.


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