« George Osborne promises simpler and flatter taxation | Main | 'What does David Cameron really think?' »


The editor is right - there is no big split and Osborne does have ENORMOUS power but that is a recipe for future trouble. Many shadow cabinet members are jealous of Osborne's influence. Osborne himself may come to resent being 2IC forever...

You know, we're not Labour, you know. And we don't all have Broon's vast, Stalinist paranoia complex.

It's possible for two Tories to disagree without its becoming a blood feud.

I dont see much in it. Osborne isnt good enough to be Shadow Chancellor let alone Leader of the Party so the idea that Osborne is feuding with Cameron behind the scenes with an inevitable coup in the running (which surely is implied) is ridiculous.

I do find it funny though that a reaction from a senior member is "tosh". Quite apt really for the group in charge of the Party.

Debate and disagreement are part of political life. A healthy part of it and the Conservative party shows its health by being able to 'agree to disagree' since the Labour party has shut down debate within its own ranks it has lost a generation of free-thinkers and policy makers. Any debate over strategy is a good thing.

Osborne's Party Conference trick (should that be confidence trick?) was a last gasp risk in the face of a likely general election and probable defeat.

Unlike the Editor, I believe Oborne rather than Cameron's spin doctors. It is likely that there is a battle over policy between Osborne-Coulson and Cameron-Hilton. Coulson is winning at the moment. Note how the Hilton-Goldsmith-Gummer green authoritarianism has been quietly dropped.

In fact, there are two camps in the Shadow cabinets - the reformers and the new wets. The young reformers are led by Davis, Gove, Herbert, Grayling, Shapps and Hunt. Hague, Fox and Paterson should back the reformers.

The leading wets, in terms of policy, are Spelman, Lansley, May and Ainsworth. Letwin, Maude, Duncan and Willetts are new wets should be reformers but are opportunist new wets. McLoughlin, Gillan, Lidington are old wets.

The next two years will see a battle between the two factions for control of the Conservative Party policy. That, plus European policy, will be the true test of Cameron's leadership.

Peter Oborne actually puts Taxation as only the third area of disagreement between DC and GO.

The first he cites as Europe and the second as Immigration. Oborne, quite incorrectly in my view, states that these areas as no longer cointentious with GO's view apparently having prevailed.

The riots in Copenhagen, mostly unreported in the UK, show that immigration is certain to continue to dominate public concerns but the huge conspiracy over the EU Reform Treaty in which Cameron seems to be also deeply involved must be the shorter term problem for the Tories.

William Hague's assault using Brown's potential discomfiture over an EU President Blair was childish in the extreme and quite unworthy of the huge issues now in play.

I googled "Cameron EU" and significantly only found the recent Oborne column, his silence is dereliction of his responsibilities as Leader of our dying Parliament's Opposition.

I am listening to Robinson's BBC report on Radio 4 on DC and as anticipated at almost 1225 it has proved almost total tosh. Sorry Time you have just come on air, I am listening with interest!

Why has Peter Oborne written this story?

I don't suppose he could tell you himself.
He's an entertaining writer, but his views lurch wildly about from week to week as he seeks to grab our attention. A few weeks ago, he was describing Brown as strong and statesman-like.

Oborne's story clearly is true.

A for the tosh comment. Well they would say that wouldn't they?

The reason the hare/tortoise debate has generated such traction is because splits at the topl level of the party are an open secret.

As Tim puts it:

"George Osborne is a very powerful figure in today's Conservative Party - comparable to Gordon Brown's role in mid-90s Labour".

As with others on this thread, I see Osborne as a very powerful politician but I would be happier if he were more on top of his main brief. However, I am delighted he is on our side and not the other.

I hope that he does not turn into a Gordon Brown; reading Alastair Campbell's diaries (albeit expurgated) you can see what damage the two huge egotists - Blair and Brown - caused to the proper running of government and it was probably largely down to Campbell himself that the government didn't self destruct e.g.

"The FT second lead...talked of an "all-time low" between TB and GB, included the stuff about him doing in Byers, messing around on the euro, generally very anti-GB".

"TB saw GB and Alan Milburn, who was livid, said that basically GB was trying to use his position to take over NHS policy, and he wasn't having it.....Milburn, unsurprisingly, was incandescent. He said he knew how he (Brown) worked, because he had seen him when he had been at the Treasury. He saw it as his right to trample on everyone else's territory. "Can I go out now and make a speech saying that the economy ought to be doing a lot better?"

Clearly Milburn would have been correct, had he done so, as Brown is now between a Northern Rock and a hard place.

I hope Osborne will, for the sake of the tories, just concentrate on finally demolishing Brown's self-professed reputation as having been such an excellent Chancellor.

James, George Osborne may not be a particularly good Shadow Chancellor. He is, however, an outstanding political strategists, and his, and Coulson's, instincts are sound.

One informed commentator described Osborne to me as "the Conservative Party's Karl Rove".

In that case, Sean, Osborne should be Party Chairman rather than Shadow Chancellor. That would be logical as he has, reportedly, taken a key role in the Mayoral campaign. The Shadow Chancellor needs to focus on the Treasury portfolio, especially as the economy could be on the verge of recession.

It would be also reasonable to question whether Caroline Spelman is doing her job. To me, she is the Harriet Harman of the Conservative Party but without the communications ability. Spelman's earnest and humourless performances on Question Time make me cringe.

Difficult to argue with Moral Minority's assessment at 15.59.

Real debate with differing views on policies at the top of the party machine in the Conservative party, didn't always harm us in the past when we had a strong leader and cabinet....

Wasn't Osborne the one who thought it would be a jolly wheeze (as the leader's office might put it: see "tosh" comment) for the party under William Hague's leadership to commit to renationalising the railways?

Almost as firm convictions as his fellow public school boy and trustafarian then.

There is a natural dynamic tension between underlying principles and with the requirements of the more shallow but today equally important PR game.

If Osbourne was operating without checks, he might go ahead too fast. There is the very noticeable tendency for Labour to copy all his policy announcements as it is.

If the enemy are playing PR above substance, then you have to play that game too. Cameron's got to keep the balance, and frustrating though it is, he and his team seem to be getting it about right.

Cameron's marketability is an important factor. Osbourne I'm sure is aware of that. The media is not dispassionate, and must be played according to the seemingly complex rules of the media game. Basically it works best when events do the work for you.

To that extent patience is a virtue, but be ready to move when events open up the opportunity. It doesn't pay to assault the dug-in positions of the media on many issues across open ground.

At the end of the last Party Conference season, two new points of cross-party consensus had emerged (as if there weren't enough already): that there should ideally be no tax on inherited wealth, and you had to worth a million pounds to be rich anyway; and that non-domicile tax status was basically a Bad Thing.

The tiny number of non-doms have since illustrated just how rich and well-connected they are by having the second point dropped completely, even though it is simple justice, patriotism and common sense. So, any chance of the rest of us having the first point dropped, too? After all, it is simple lunacy.

No, I'm not holding my breath, either.

There is the very noticeable tendency for Labour to copy all his policy announcements as it is.
The rate Labour and Conservative seem to be announcing the same things there would come a point where they might as well just make joint announcements on them.

A good strategist wouldnt come out with the things he came out with two years ago and now having to try and cover his tracks while changing his policy to avoid looking like a prize prat. Strategists do not come out with policies like the spending commitment he made less than a year ago.

Talking of wets and reformers, there is a candidate out there who is the NEW THATCHER. An investment banker in her previous life, ie. having done a proper job and a thorough understanding of economics and risk v reward.
You heard it first here! She contested the nomination for Michael Howard's seat with Laura Sandys and Damien Collins and was fantastic, possessing a huge pair of bollocks - but the bloody women of Folkestone & Hythe chose the pretty boy.
She is now parliamentary candidate for Worcester [lucky them] and her name is... her name is.... Harriet ... Can someone tell us who the candidate for Worcester is?!
I have forgotten her name, but she has got what it takes. Watch her.

Harriet Baldwin is the name!

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker