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Good analysis.

The only loser for the Tories over the last week is Caroline Spelman who has been invisible!

GO has done well and, yes, another occasion on which Mrs Spelman was nowhere to be seen. She really is the most ineffective of Party Chairmen. Bring back Francis Maude. All is forgiven!

I have to agree with the above analysis. George is regarded as a bit of a joke in the City, so reducing his role to an election core could be a good move.

I heard Caroline Spelman on the local radio news on the way into work this morning if that cheers you a little.

Was she any good a-tracy?

George is doing a sterling job as Shadow Chancellor. I personally believe that had we had a spokesman less tactically aware then we would not be in this position. Osborne is clearly in favour of lower taxes, he made this crystal clear in his conference speech. However he is tactically acute enough to have kebabbed Labour over tax cuts, his article in the Evening Standard puts them in a lose-lose situation. In fact he seems to be aware enough to help get Labour into lose-lose situations, over the election, over tax. I have no doubt he will make a sustained attack on the economy, when the time is right and people are receptive.

"I still believe that he should be Chairman and General Election coordinator, rather than Shadow Chancellor, but he deserves warm praise for his performances over the last seven days."

Tim, Osborne earned his spurs over the last few years as shadow chancellor, he was, and is the best man for the job. I cannot believe that anyone would suggest making changes to the shadow cabinet at this stage of the political cycle, even voluntarily, that would be an own goal.

MHDH, you repeat that comment every time Osborne is mentioned, no one least of all the Labour party think he's a joke! At the moment the man with no credit in the city is Darling.

Scotty. Speak to the UK chief economist of the world's two largest banks and then see who thinks Gideon is such a wonder boy.

I think it's important to remember that it was Michael Howard who appointed Osborne, and I also feel that he has more than earned the right to keep that job. He's not the greatest orator in the world, but he writes very well and he's very good with figures. I think he and Cameron make an exceptional pair, as they both have their different strengths. What's more, unlike, say, a certain man who has just become PM, I don't get the feeling that Osborne has ever been gunning for the top job, or has any interest in it at all. And might it just be the case that we get a PM and Chancellor who actually like each other, because we've not seen that for a while...

Well in my part of the City no one thinks George is a joke.The IHT proposals have gone down very well with journalists and asset managers I have come into contact with.
I agree with you Tim, that George has done well with his recent media appearences.He would make a better advocate by far for our cause than Caroline Spelman.Only he knows whether he can combine his job as Shadow Chancellor with this. If he can't do justice to both jobs I hope he's honest with himself and us.

Brown is reducing our military presence in Basra by 50% this spring, if he is not lying, not that he would, ever.

What does this really mean? An army fights with a ratio of supply chain to front line troops of around 10:1. This means, in reality, that the combat fighting force of the British army in Basra will be?

250 men. That's it. And the only function of this risible number of combat troops will be to defend the support troops at 'camp daily rocket attack'. Overwatch with what Gordon?

Two retreats in 48 hours –keep it up Gordon.

I had doubts about Osbourne before Conference but he's really proved himself to be worthy of his position. He shouldn't have to be doing the chairman job as well though. Shame Francis Maude was removed from that role.

I'm enjoying having a Chairman who doesn't stick pins into a wax effigy of someone like me who as a grassroots Tory seemed to be reviled by these smug arrogant modernisers. Maude was a failed frontbencher and not particularly loyal member to previous leaders.

Good riddance I say, and wonder whether last week would have been possible with him getting members backs up.

So whilst Caroline Spelman may not be the most dynamic performer, her understated style in some ways has benefited the party, allowing people like Osborne and Hague to take the lead. This is good, no?

If we want more professionalism from CCHQ its better to have a Chairman who lets the professionals get on with the job. I've no reason to doubt Caroline Spelman's basic competence.

As for George Osborne's triumph, he deserves credit for pulling the party out of the green soup that the likes of Maude, Hilton and the other ubers got us into. Good on him. GO deserves as much credit as Cameron for Brown's reversal.

Now he's got the licence and opportunity to build a more conservative economic policy platform Osborne should press on and drive Conservative policy.

Let us be rid of these ridiculous oxymoronic 'Liberal Conservatives' who were seen off last week. We are what we are - Conservatives and that is what the country wants and needs.

Osborne deserves high praise. For two years he's been arguing that it would be wrong for you Tories to promise unfunded tax cuts or bang on about the EU, and rubbishing anyone who suggested otherwise. Then he promises an unfunded tax cut and Hague promises perpetual referenda on the EU, and suddenly he's a strategic genius.

He may not be much cop on economics but he's bloody good on personal PR. Who remembers now that last week he stabbed Cammie in the back with his uber-moderniser interview?

Osborne has done quite well recently, after a shaky period with the "heir to Blair" stuff and the naive allegations that Brown would "lurch to the left". Assigning people to jobs can be tricky, and doesn't always mean that each individual is in the job that most lets him shine.

If we're thinking of other ways Osborne might be deployed, I'd suggest pondering swapping him with Davis. Davis might look better in a role where boring speeches are a virtue, not a vice, and Osborne might have more opportunity to argue from principle (raising his own stock in that regard) and more chance to be belligerent about Labour, which I'm sure he would enjoy.

Previously, George Osborne has not impressed me. When I saw him on TV I didn't think he looked like a Chancellor. That changed last week during his speech. He looked and sounded like a Chancellor and his proposals have given a much needed boost to the party.

Again when I saw him at the weekend he looked like he'd 'come of age' and provided a very good performance. He now looks and sounds like a serious politician who has a considerable future in front of him.

He deserves much praise for his recent work.

Over the weekend George Osborne looked the part and Alistair Darling didn't. George Osborne takes a lot of unfair criticism. People often forget George's relative youth, and for a man in such a senior position I think George does a fine job. He is good at haranguing the opposition on TV too. I think people should give George a break.

On Spellman - she was on Daily Politics today and after Andrew Neil had torn into McNulty he quizzed her hard. She kept her cool but Neil exposed her lack of preparation with questions on polls.

Neil proposed most of the polls showed a Labour lead and highlighted Cameron's weakness (deliberately misstating the worst case IMHO). She obviously hadn't read the YouGov poll nor did she correct him by saying the latest polling show we are in the lead.

Neil let her off as he was obviously more upset with McNulty's shifty answers.

She did however give a good response to "You Tories were happy not to face an election" with "David called me Saturday and said he was disappointed as we could have won"; not denying relief but neither admitting to the bluff.

I agree entirely with Tim's assessment:

"I still believe that he should be Chairman and General Election coordinator, rather than Shadow Chancellor, but he deserves warm praise for his performances over the last seven days".

What was particularly gratifying from the Conference is that Hague, Osborne, Fox, IDS and, of course, David Cameron all boxed their full weight. Only Caroline Spelman seems invisible.
George Osborne does not fill me with confidence that he can rout Alistair Darling but we will soon see.
I would have preferred to see Redwood or Hague as Chancellor, Redwood bceause of his business background and grasp of detail, Hague because he is so bright and such a good speaker.
However I am the first to admit that Osborne has done very well over the last few days and I hope that he will convincingly defend his sums over the next few.
As I have suggested before, get Jeff Randall to brief him before he speaks.

I've been a most strident critic of George, but he's been on fire over the last couple of weeks - from Conference to his media work whether issuing press releases, blogging in the Spectator or on Question Time - he hasn't put a foot wrong. I'd like to see a Chancellor who is putting the case forward for simplifying the tax and benefits system and reducing payroll taxes for the very poorest, but I think George has gone up massively in the public's estimation and might just have the required credibility and vision after all.

I've got to say that George has done very well this week, but I still just don't trust him with my mortgage. Can you imagine George Osborne taking a call from the Governor to talk through liquidity injection options?

I have a case of the 'Boy Georges' quite badly. For example, I realised I reckon that the IHT/non-dom sums don't add up, not because of what was said but becaus of who was saying it. In my gut, I can't trust him and I hate to say it, but I don't think it's his fault.

He just looks too boyish and he doesn't help himself because he's not yet given a speech which shows even a grasp of basic economics.

By contrast, he makes quite a lot of silly gaffes. I work in local Government and I got sent a Party press release about gas supplies a year ago which made my jaw drop in amazement (although I can't find it now nor remember what the issue was). The First Time Buyer tax break is complete garbage, he got muddled about what capital is during the Northern Rock fandango and I probably blame him for Cameron speaking up at the wrong tone during the Northern Rock affair. Ever since the flat tax commission reported back, he's done nothing but propose complications to the tax system.

I'd take Lansley, Hammond, Willetts or Hague at Shadow Chancellor and move George to Chairman.

why should making GO chairman be regarded as reducing his role. Other than Leader, there is no more important role in the Conservative Party than shaping the forthcoming election campaign.

GO is an astute campaigner, he is trusted by the rank and file, he is loyal to the leader, so give him the job.

Find someone grey and boring for Shadow Chancellor

George Osborne was superb in his C4 interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Saturday. As Praguetory wrote he was on fire.

I like Caroline Spellman, she isn't strident but I feel she is quietly effective. If you want big explosions you need characters like John Redwood to fire the bullets. However, if you compare her to Hazel Blears you'd have to agree that less is more.

Yes George did very well and was a large factor in avoiding the election and increasing the ratings.

But it has to be said that he did stand up Martha Kearney who saw him in the bar but chose not to approach him. All shown on BBC1 so I am not revealing any secret.

Not the best way to treat the media when we need every friend we can get.

If Cameron needs George by his side for his excellent adventure he needs him (and needs not to have other colleagues).

There's a couple of years to the next election. More than enough time to sort roles out for government.

I think George Osborne has done enough to remain Shadow Chancellor, and I fully expect him to roast Darling tomorrow over the lower growth figures. The only one who could take his post is William Hague (his ability is wasted at the moment, very difficult to embarass the government as Shadow Foreign Secretary), John Redwood would be excellent but Labour would have a field day.

George has done brilliantly. He performs as well as anyone in front of the media (and a darn site better than Gordon Brown does)... Having performed as he has done over the past week, he has earned whatever position he and DC want for him.

Amazingly, at two and a half years Osborne is the longest serving Shadow Chancellor since 1997. Too much chopping and changing doesn't help.

I join the Montgomerie Osborne-sceptic grouping. He's done well lately, but he still doesn't strike me as a future Chancellor.

George, promoted from Gideon after this last week, has significantly upped his game. Now that he has found a song to sing we will see what he can do with it. Its a pity it cost the "heir to Blair" 18 mths to learn the words to this particular aria.

As a long standing member, and sometime critic of G.O, I am pleased that he has significantly upped his game in the last week.

Cameron/Hague/Osborne is the top team that will get us into Government in 2009.

Lets all get behind them.

The Tory non-dom announcement all but guarantees the government will now introduce their own non-dom measures after years of inaction.

If so, the Tory IHT pledge will now be a new tax cut pledge without offsetting funding as the supposed new funding will already be live.

Should this policy have been kept under wraps until an election was actually called?

Have Labour smoked out a Tory trump card?

Have Labour smoked out a Tory trump card?

Which, I believe, was why Cameron ended his conference speech with "let people decide who's really making the arguments about the future of our country".

It is stupid ever to have got into this tax offsetting thing. IHT should go because it is a morally offensive tax. Everyone who is grateful for that will not worry whether it is offset, trust me.

As a critic of Osborne’s performance, I have to say it will take more than a good seven days for me to see him as an reasonable Shadow Cabinet performer.

I have been saying for sometime that I felt part of the reason the Conservatives found themselves in such a mess over summer, was the failure of Osborne to land any blows on Brown as Chancellor, letting him go to his coronation with best Chancellor ringing in his ears, which led to the threat of an election and the Conservatives having to reveal some of their next election hand.

We will have to see if Osborne makes any better fist of challenging Darling, but to put a dampener on the events, I should point out at that in all this IHT exuberance the failings of the Shadow Treasury team is still evident. e.g., The retort from Labour has been that the Conservatives sums don’t add up, this has been allowed to descend into a yes they do, no they don’t slapstick exchange, and rather than the Shadow Treasury team shifting the attack onto Labour and the many billions of spending promises Brown made, with no hint of how they are going to be afforded, or the Shadow Treasury team bothering to point out the IHT cost is a fraction of the cost of Brown and Labour’s financial cock up’s like the £6billion lost on Tax Credits, like the £14 billion over spend on the NHS computer system… we instead have the Conservatives seeking to defend their sums, which smacks of weakness.

I think critisisms of Osborne's "off set" tax policy are unfair.
Being a nomadic reader of the left-wing broadsheets [I can't currently bring myself to by the D.T] they felt we were boxed into a corner. Any tax cuts would lead to Labour gibes about cuts in public services and no tax cuts would alienate some of our own members and further enflame the right-wing press who want to beat-up D.C until he does what they want, however unelectable it might make him.
"How do you make a tax cut without making a tax cut?" was the left-wing press cry. Many felt Osbourne had pulled a rabbit out of a hat. There was a quiet sound of deflation and some reluctant admiration.
What is more, by testing the political ice in this way and finding it is stronger and safer than it was two years ago, we can embark upon policies that will unite both the traditional and modernising Tories and the electorate.
I do not accept the eloquent arguements of the charming Mr Denis that this could have been done some time ago. D.C got away with saying things no Tory leader would have previously got away with. Even now I am surprised at the lack of "lurch to the right" gibes which might have hit home only a short while ago. This arises out of the happy coincidence; a change in public priorities[tax/immigration] and a reassessment of us [thanks to D.C].
Labour may have flushed out a policy but they now face a number of long term problems.
Tax cuts are now back on the political agenda. The old attacks won't work. The public association of the issue is " cuts with us, rises with them".
After all the publicity this past week, any concession on I.H.T will similarly be, at least part, attributed to us. Possibly an act of desperation on theirs.
This is now a long game.
It is about preception.
We can not expect them not to nick our ideas over a two year period, but we can at least, as D.C set out in his speech, be the party setting out the ideas. We regularly hear journalists commenting on policy theft from the Tories . How can this look good for Labour in the long run?
How can they possibly overcome a tax record of their own making when poeple can see their own pay-slip, when even sympathic papers say it causing deep resentment. Labour are "on notice" now but have little room for manoever with a worsening economic outlook.
Their argument will be that we would make "irresponsilbe tax cuts" which is why Osborne's "give and take" approach is the way forward.
The left press see all this quite clerly. What they also say they see is a mirage of Tory unity.They believe we do not have a long game in us: as soon as the polls show us behind as they sometimes will in a long period of opposition, the Taditional Tory wolves will be out.
We know what we are in for now. We are "on notice" it will be a long game. Tory unity will go along way to ensuring we win it.

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