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I also know that Osbourne debated running for the leadership himself, but after speaking to Cameron he said "I realized Dave had the glint in his eye and the hunger to run for the job, so I stepped away from running." or words to that effect. It's certainly better than some pact in a chip shop or at the Ritz or something.

Plus, internal debate is good. Internal debate that spills into the public arena is a feud. That's the main difference now with the Cameronian Conservatives. They can debate internally without thundering all over the press gallery in the process.

I think we need to be extremely careful as a Party when dealing with the subject of Marriage and the Family and I think that David Cameron takes the right approach suggesting that a united family of two married parents and their children is the ideal situation - but all families are different and not every marriage is happy. We do not want to go back to the old "Back to Basics" days when the media pursued every politician that had fallen short of the "ideal" and had a skeleton or two (or several?) As a divorced woman myself I do not have a rosy view of marriage but I do know that it is the best situation within which to bring up children. Let us not "preach" to people but just encourage stability!

"Mr Osborne as General Election coordinator has made a large share of the biggest strategic decisions over the last year - shaking up Campaign Boris, hiring Andy Coulson, making the inheritance tax promise."

But Osborne is supposed to be the Shadow Chancellor trying to map our way out of this economic mess not some political bag man for Cameron.

Exactly Iain, given the paucity of economic proposals from our treasury team I really think Party Chairman is the job where George Osborne's talents can really flourish.

He also promised to offset the cost of the IHT cut with the non-dom levy. We don't hear so much about that supposed crucial 'tax neutral offset' now do we?

George Osborne needs to be more public in explaining how a Conservative chancellor will tackle Britain's severe economic problems. We see too little of Mr Osborne and hear too little about what is to be done.

I agree with Iain at 09.37:

"But Osborne is supposed to be the Shadow Chancellor trying to map our way out of this economic mess not some political bag man for Cameron".

Osborne is invaluable to success at the next GE but I would use him in a large strategic role and leave the economy to a figures man; we have two or three who I reckon would be much stronger in the role of Chancellor.

George Osborne should be appointed Party Chairman between now and the Election. If we win, he should then be given a spending department to run.

I would prefer to see either Hague or Rifkind as Chancellor at this point in time.

I agree that Osborne shouldn't be Chancellor but Cameron has made it clear that he will be so we should stop discussing it.

I wonder how much they giggle up in the Leader's office after they've slogged through tosh like this? Osborne has no standing in his own right, no following in the wider party, precious little regard even among frontbenchers let alone amongst the plurality of backbench MPs, zero appeal to any section of the Tory press, let alone our City or industrial friends, and is thus entirely a creature of Cameron's (and before that, Howard's, and before that, Hague's invention). He is, in short, as far from being a Big Beast 'threat' to Dave, a la Brown-to-Blair, as it is possible to imagine. However, what, admirably, from his and Dave's point of view, he certainly is, is a very useful plot device. Which is to say, by having George affect lingering Portilloism, Dave, by wearisome contrast, can obliquely be pretended to have traditonalist hankerings. Naturally neither of them believe in either proposition, but how delightfully convenient it is for the leadership to have quite so many useful idiots willing to lap this stuff up.

I agree with the comments above that we lack a full time shadow chancellor. Whenever the economy is in the news Osborne does not appear. Cable does.

Chad Noble @ 10.04 on IHT and offset.

In my view, it was a Machiavellian double bluff by Gideon at the conference. We were down (almost out) with a strong whiff of a snap election in the air. That speech by Gideon follwed by Cameron's speech (preceded by the ill-advised photo shoot of Brown in Iraq)turned the polls around and the rest is history. Then of course Brown and Darling made a dogs dinner of the IHT and the non-Dom tax.

Until the election is announced and the last budget is out of the way, we should not spell out any of our plans for that bunch of incompetnt kleptomaniacs to nick them.

Tim---Is Rachel Slyvester a christian?

Sorry I misread the headline. I thought with the great leader being on holiday in Cornwall, a local enterprising entrepreneur had brought out some sticks of rock- edible in a true blue colour rather than the usual pink.

"we should not spell out any of our plans for that bunch of incompetnt kleptomaniacs to nick them."

Agreed, but the Conservatives should be making a critical analysis of Labours economic policy and where it has got us. Doing this ensures the electorate have the issues fixed in their minds, it lays the ground work for Conservative economic thinking, but doesn't giveaway any policies for the magpie in No10 to nick. But apart from the odd sound bite I don't see the Conservatives making any sort of economic narrative.

The strength of the relationship between Cameron and Osborne is a major factor in getting us this far. It was absolutely invaluable during the earlier, more difficult phases of Cameron's leadership, and it is still invaluable in ensuring the right flow of ideas into the top circle. Osborne is a brilliant collector and processor of ideas, not just economic ones but policy in general. We need him in a position of real power, right next to Cameron.

The Daily Mail is now running with this story:


Rachel Sylvester has put the cat among the pigeons.

Without a single, properly costed policy, we are completely vulnerable when put under any meaningful spotlight by the media or the public (which has yet to happen, but it can't last). And despite what you all say, I fear that the relationship between Osborne and Cameron in government is doomed in the same way as most Conservative Chancellors and PMs have been. The key to success will be how Cameron manages Osborne and then disposes of him from the Treasury with the least damage.

" fear that the relationship between Osborne and Cameron in government is doomed in the same way as most Conservative Chancellors and PMs have been."

Why stop at Conservative Chancellors and PM's? What about Blair and Brown?!

This is a horribly thorny topic on which people rush to the emotional barricades and defend them with demonic fury. My relatives have hurled imprecations and various kitchen sinks for my views on this matter, whilst I consider them immature and prone to irrational excitements.
Emotionally, I am inclined to the David Cameron view, but I do accept the George Osborne logic of not rewarding childless married couples, possibly at the expense of single parents. But I am strongly behind the Cameron idea that living apart should be financially rewarding. This is a pernicious foolishness. If there is a financial incentive to be together or to be apart, there are those who will seek to exploit it, and of course you will have to employ people to enforce it. (And with all these frustrated Starsky and Hutch types in the Public Sector, they will run up very expensive 2/3 man surveillance operations which cost more than the money recovered) The principle is this case should be financial neutrality as far as possible. This takes emotional strain off individuals and saves the state money.
But marriage. What is its role and its function? To me the difference between a marriage and a live-together arrangement is the explicit statement of commitment and responsibility by and to each partner. At the moment of those exchange of vows, those commitments and responsibilities become morally and to some extent legally binding. People know what they are signing up for. In the case of children, I would, if I could, insist on it. Please note there is no religious or romantic context which needs to be applied. That is optional. I would also break down any differences between civil partnerships and marriage, commitment is commitment.
If cohabiting relationships, who or what is to define the extent of commitment? Should there be none, partnership of true equals who need no paper to value their love, and on death or parting, each to their own and only their own? Funnily enough it doesn't work that way, and couples can suddenly find that each has a very different view of what their commitments and responsibilities are. If no children are involved, it can be painful but not destructive to innocents. In co-habitation there are no boundaries or clear understandings, and even if you think you have them, a good lawyer can soon disabuse you of that view.
I would like to see marriage and the stability I believe it offers came back more into civil society, but trying to do it by financial incentives either at entry or exit (divorce) is not the best way.

Chris SE9:

What a load of tosh to suggest that we've no costed policies; all that suggests is that you read the propoganda and propogate it, rather than reading the policy docs themselves.

We see too little of Mr Osborne and hear too little about what is to be done.
With the exception of the pledge to reduce IHT it mostly seems to be that they will stick to Labour's 3 year spending plans, can't promise that overall taxes won't have to rise and otherwise that they wouldn't start from where things are.

Inevitably though all new incoming governments, and indeed all new ministers in incumbent governments have to start where things are, where else would they expect to be starting from but from the situation that was prevalent when they took over?

I also noted Osborne did not support any reduction in the abortion time limit. So I’m not surprised Osborne is more socially liberal than Mr Cameron and so hope Osborne doesn’t get into a position to change the policy on ending discrimination against marriage in the tax and benefits system or move other policies in a more socially liberal direction – some say we’re too like NuLab already. But at least Mr Osborne is towing the line on supporting marriage etc, and thus hopefully understands the reason for the policy. And the press must be really desperate for a story if they’re looking to Cameron/Osborne for another Blair/Brown. As for Mr Yeo, he’s such a social liberal that one is led to wonder if he’s in the right party.

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