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George Osborne's German model

Tim Montgomerie

I wrote an article about George Osborne for Saturday's Times but my slot was gazumped by Tony Blair! Who does he think he is? Anyhow, my piece (£) appeared today and I hope it added a little to the weekend's fascinating FT profile of the Chancellor (summarised here).

Janet Daley worries that George Osborne's efforts to woo the press might cause frictions with David Cameron - and she's certainly correct to say he's got some good coverage recently. I don't think she needs to worry, however. The relationship between the two men is about as good as it gets in politics.

A couple of sections of my Times piece hit the cutting room floor and I think they go a little way to address Janet's concerns:

"Osborne is both Mandelson and Alastair Campbell for Cameron - without the thuggery - and all roads lead to him when it comes to Tory tactics, strategy and communications... Most of the Coalition’s most sympathetic columnists are, in reality, closest to the Chancellor. Cameron and his team are cautious with journalists. George Osborne chats with them, gossips, jokes, listens and befriends. In private he is much warmer and funnier than his public image."

The purpose of Osborne's outreach to journalists isn't to build up his own powerbase (although it might incidentally do this) but because he's better at selling and explaining the government's message than anyone else. His outreach is 100% supported by Number 10.

Osborne german flag The Times was keen for me to briefly summarise George Osborne's politics and I struggled to think of a way of doing so but eventually came up with these words:

"If I had to summarise the philosophy of Osborne I’d say it was almost German. He’s fiscally conservative rather than a tax revolutionary. He’s suspicious of casino banking. He places a heavy emphasis on economic fundamentals like skills, high-end manufacturing, science investment and regionalism." *

Neoconservative foreign policy aside, what do people think of Germany as a model for Cameronism?

* [For regular ConHome readers, yes, I have used this idea before].


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