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The CCHQ spin which Mr Dale has helped to propagate that Osborne is so good the replacement calls are from Labour supporters is an insult to Tory members and supporters who have been criticising the failure of Osborne as an effective Chancellor for almost 2 years now.

Labour should be on the ropes now, collapsing in the polls. It takes a rare kind of incompetence (or lack of application) to achieve the opposite.

I absolutely want to kick Labour out but I can see the ConHome 'Lessons Learned' thread from 2010 that will say 'Osborne should have been moved earlier'.

This is all a massive distraction from the real issues. Labour have failed economically. The Tories must not have a damaging internal debate about personnel.

Osborne saved us last year with his IHT cut.

He is going through a bumpy patch that's all.

We must all hope that he gets back to his best soon.

I despair of you guys sometimes! Imagine a manager seeking to defend keep picking a striker who hasn't scored all season and keeps missing open goals because he once scored the winning goal in the cup final.

The world has changed. We are in the midst of the most serious financial-crisis in 60 years and the Tories have a Shadow Chancellor who is not only completely inexperienced, but is not even committing 100% of his time to the role, combining it with other Party jobs too.

You couldn't make it up.

But Felicity is right in that this is not the time for an internal debate. It is time for action. Time to replace Osborne.

And much though it pains me, in terms of experience and public reaction, Ken is clearly the right choice.

I think the calls for him to go are playing into the plan quite well... make it look like Conservatives are in-fighting and weak like the drunken monk and then when he calls the election... kerpow, back to full force.
I could be wrong and he might be a useless chancellor, but the main aim now has to be getting into power asap which may not necessarily mean coming up with decent policies, which aren't worth anything if they aren't implemented

The time to change was last year from a position of political strength. Now it would make Cameron look weak.

Georges detractors are just plain wrong.

A good proportion of the population (the actual voters who will put the next party in office) don't asses politicians on the quality of their argument, they judge them on appearance.

Brown would love to be up against (say) Redwood -- day after day he would bang out tractor production stats which he would say showed that the tories were wrong; day after day Brown would have headlines 'Brown blah blah Tories'.

Brown would probably be entirely wrong (he usually is) - but many people wouldn't listen to the arguments - they would just see Brown aparantly confidently proclaiming that the tories were wrong, and these were the tractor stats to prove it - and they would think 'well he looks confident, keeps on the same message, he must have a point'

Brown has nothing to say for himself - he is half of a double act - George is an unsuitable partner for him - lets keep it that way and trust george to play his cards close to the chest till the last possible moment.

ps. This is very good... http://www.order-order.com/2008/11/gordon-brown-worst-pm-of-all-time-for.html

We will not, indeed cannot, win the argument on the economy with Osborne as Shadow Chancellor, that much is absolutely clear after the last few weeks. Cameron's intention to keep him where he is is also absolutely clear as is how much of a mistake, and currently a missed opportunity to really damage Labour, that also is. Sad to see upper class loyalties being put before the best interests of the Party and Country.

I attended a dinner addressed by Lord Mandelson last night and was lucky to have the opportunity to speak to him briefly.

At the risk of looking star-struck he spoke exceptionally well on the subject of the EU-Gulf region business environment and was a delight to talk to one-to-one. What a nice guy and hard worker for Britain and EU interests. I am very sorry that Mr Osborne chose to treat him in the way he did, and am not particularly surprised that his unforced behaviour has bounced back.

On the subject of the Tories' economic policy - they are right to focus on NI contributions imho, but are being over-cautious and complex about it. You should never say it is too late to move someone who can't do a job.

This has got nothing to do with the views of 'blog world' or Westminster Village. Our MPs are picking up the same vibes from constituents, that members are picking up from the public. I have heard intelligent, non- political people being absolutely scathing about Osborne in recent weeks. Not only his policies, but also his manner.

Can you imagine pictures of Osborne in his Bullingdon bib, with his awful sneer, being circulated by Labour in the NW and Midlands marginals ? Because they will.

Brown and Darling led us by the nose into this recession- yet the latest poll shows Darling is 6% MORE trusted by the electorate than Osborne to manage the economy. By any standards, that is a serious failure.

Cameron needs to decide whether he wants to be a bestest -best buddy, or the next Prime Minister of this country. Because if he wants to be the latter, he will have to move Osborne to achieve it.

Better for the Conservative Party that he bites the bullet sooner rather than later.

Why does this site persist in fanning the flames of a debate about George Osborne which plays right into the hands of our political opponents? George has been specifically targetted by the Labour bully spin machine and by continuing to encourage speculation about his position you merely do Labour's dirty work for them. I know it is terribly easy for you to pontificate from your unaccountable perch in the blogosphere but this site does itself no favours by encouraging this type of stuff.

Well you must have been starstruck Henry.There are many adjectives that can be used to describe Mandelson, nice is not one of them.
I would agree with what you've written Tim. As the clamour grows for Osborne to go Cameron will seem weak if he accedes to it. However if the financial crisis is as terrible as many predict then the Treasury team must be beefed up substantially whether George likes it or not.
Felicity,not everything is about partty advantage all the time. People are looking for policy from the Conservative Party and reassurance. Is George the man to offer that?

Felicity Mountjoy
"Tories must not have a damaging internal debate about personnel."

Better than a forlorn "where did it all go pear-shaped" inquest after the early 2009 GE !

As a supporter of the party and the party leadership I find it hard to understand why George Osborne isn't more vocal and beating Labour to death over the economy. Perhaps it is Mr Osborne's style to take a more measured approach, and in a more staid economic climate that would be the statemanlike thing to do, however we are in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the 1920s and we need Mr Osborne to take his jacket off and get stuck into Labour.

DC is between a rock and a hard place. The only thing that tips the balance is that the electorate like decisive leadership.
Difficult one but Osborne is still a key player for the future of the party.

Is there a serious Tory out there with half a brain who doesn't believe that they could run rings around Labour now if they were in George's position?

You can't say that in substance he should be moved from his brief, but should stay.

We (activists) are in politics to serve the people not engage in a stubborn game of one-upmanship with our opponents.

Osborne was still in the naughty seat yesterday at PMQs. I am all for May one side of DC and Hague the other (makes the party look more balanced on the two second tv clips from PMQs) but why does May have to look so glum and disinterested?

We're still way ahead in the polls.
This is a silly time to fret.

How many votes in marginal seats would Shadow Chancellor George Osborne attract ?

And how many would Ken Clarke attract in the same position ?

Its a no brainer.

He is very personable and engaged Malcolm and has done a darn good job as EU trade and external relations commissioner. I am looking forward to his role at BERR.

You agree with me on the substantive issue I see. Yup, you are probably right that I am starstruck by the guy. He really is quite exciting and was wearing the most fabulous Italian velvet dinner jacket I have ever seen or touched. Yes, I touched him briefly on the elbow to check it out. Very thin and mobile and seemed to have a luminous silk backing behind what looked like a kind of velvet lace.

This is a difficult time for an opposition party. Being too bold and aggressive risks creating electoral hostages to fortune and being too measured means that you get criticised by sites like this for being too cautious or not having any policies. It is vital that the party continues to play a long game and is nottempted into moves that may subsequently prove to be tactical blunders. Of course, it all looks easy from the perspective of the blogosphere and the commentariat who are observers of the scene and not actually fighting in the ring.

I feel a failure. You didn't try to touch me the other day... ;-)

Did a good job with the Doha negotiations didn't he Henry? He was also totally supportive of Blair returning most of our EU rebate in return for precisely nothing. Yeah he's done a great job-not.
Glad you liked his jacket, did he smile sweetly at you too?

London Tory - if Ken Clarke were shadow chancellor, then I would only vote tory as a 'protest' against labour, not due to any support for the party.

His manner is nausiating, his chuckling, self congratulatory, poo pooing of opposing views (particularly relating to the EU) is just too patronising to watch.

Not quite 'anyone but clarke' but not far off...

Does anyone actually like George Osborne? Outside the navel-gazing Westminster village I mean.

I just wonder if Simon Heffer isn't communicating the feelings of vast swathes of Middle England when he says Osborne's only qualification is being Dave's mate. Surely the time has come for a Redwood or a Hague?

If Sir John Major can articulate in a few columns(today's Times) Brown's failures and the price the country is now paying, then why cannot Osborne and Cameron.

Yesterday DC got angry- can we have more of that please- that would merely be reflecting the country's mood- people have been betrayed.

As Iain Macleod said about Harold Wilson although you cannot use the lie word, you can say " The Prime Minister did not keep his word"

And where are the Shadow Cabinet- they should all be on every media outlet possible- remember how Blair/Brown destroyed us in 1994/7? They must give up their other jobs now- this is war- how can they expect ordinary supporters to give 150% when they seemingly will not?

John Major has made a telling contribution to the economic debate in the Times. While this is excellent work on the part of a former PM, is it not a further reasonable basis for criticism of GO and the Shadow Treasury Team that they have not already been issuing press releases of this kind and seizing the airwaves with similar messages?

Sorry Michael M - not stealing your point, only writing mine before yours was posted.

George Osborne has done good work, even key work with the recovery of the Conservative party's fortunes. He will no doubt soon occupy one of the top offices of state.

That doesn't mean the current line up is right.

The problem is that as the - in BBC parlance "Downturn" - bites people (ie voters) aren't saying "this is what those Conservatives were saying all along".

Much as I have problems with Ken Clarke - if he was Shadow Chancellor it would be game over for Labour.

How have we come to this Balirite position that minister/shadow minsters become too important to move or rotate ?

Osborne is Tory boy personified. He has never had a proper job and got where he has through luck and connections. He's a reminder of everything we should not now be about.

In addition, with the current economic climate, if the Tories win the next election the electorate's tolerance factor of a Tory Cabinet - most of which will have been to Eton or other leading public schools - is going to get pretty thin pretty quick.

Since being nice is hardly a requirement in dealing with this crisis George Osborne’s personal likeableness is somewhat of an irrelevance. But Iain Martin is right he must be moved and the new shadow chancellor be given a free rein. Cameron is doing his best but his whole focus in his leadership has been on the people and humanity in politics. Commendable in themselves, but right now we need a toughie on economics - one who can take the problem by the scruff of the neck, be cruel to be kind and sell that policy.

I disagree with Martin on his choice of Ken Clarke and NOT because of his views on the EU. For the moment these are irrelevant. No, I worry because in the interview which Martin praises here Clarke was brilliant as the hatchet man pinning the blame but with a complete absence of any pointers to what he would do.

The obvious person to me - and Cameron would have to swallow his pride - is John Redwood. Anyone who has followed his blog will have found complete loyalty, and a tough realistic approach to what is needed.

Georger at 0919 writes "George has been specifically targetted by the Labour bully spin machine and by continuing to encourage speculation about his position you merely do Labour's dirty work for them."

It's not the Oligarch and the yacht that matters but the years of promising to follow Labour's policies and refusing to contemplate tax-cuts and now producing a half-hearted inadequate package - failure at the job!
Calm down! at 0936 "We're still way ahead in the polls." We;re NOT! We need a 10% lead to win a majority. That is exactly what we've got - the thing is on a knife edge.

This is a silly time to fret.

In 1996, New Labour seemed like it was ready for power but, in 2008, Her Majesty's Opposition just does not seem like a government in waiting.

The poor performance of George Osborne is but a symptom of this fundamental problem.

It won't really matter if we end up with a National Government as in 1931...Cameron will be a liberal Home Secretary and probably Vince Cable will be Chancellor.

The situation could degenerate into a non-party political system where events are simply too big for the party players.

If General Motors folds and drags the Dow down with it all bets are off. It may well be that certain EU economies collapse and fear of government debt levels causes the same mess it did in 1931.

I don't think Osborne is even relevant because if events become dire before the 2010 election it may be simply a hung parliament and coalition government using Civil Contingencies Act to run the country by decree

"Being too bold and aggressive risks creating electoral hostages to fortune and being too measured means that you get criticised by sites like this for being too cautious or not having any policies"

Accepted - but nevertheless there has to be some sort of coherent Brand Image established in the public's perception. At the moment there is none.

If you rely on negatively anti-Labour votes rather than positively pro-Tory ones, then you risk snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!

It's too late to move him now. The damage would be worse than the cost of keeping him.

If George Osborne’s misjudgements last summer had involved strange women or dodgy expense claims, he would have had to go. If David Cameron’s loyalties were to us at the bottom of the party, he would have been repositioned. This is the story of a grand marketing project running out of steam, because the principals think more of each other than of the job in hand.

This thread has talked around the chap himself. If Osborne is such a critical contributor to the project, why has he not come forward with a conclusive solution to the problem he has made for us ? What is so special about the job of Chancellor that he must have that job and no other ? Why must he insist on stumbling through his days as shadow chancellor when, once in office with all those Sir Humphries, he would find learning-on-the-job so much easier.

Is it that, even now, the project is more a rerun of the Blair-Brown story than a live current game plan ?

“Anxieties of the grass roots” – you bet !

A week is a long time in politics never mind a month. Where are all those who were saying it,s all over bar the shouting.

I predicted this would happen as both Cameron and Osborne are not up to the job and are not real Conservatives. Men of straw and no substance . Very good at PR, if you want to run a advert to sell cornflakes!

But then what am I but a troll of one sort or another. As I said before we need to wake up to reality and first of all if Cameron wants to show that he has any kind of leadership qualities he should sack Osborne and bring back John Redwood NOW !!

Posted by: gezmond007 | November 13, 2008 at 10:51

Ever since Cameron took over as leader, there has been ample grounds to rip Labour apart for their dismal economic record, because of their profiligacy in public finances. That comment now applies, but ten times over. Osborne has not provided the critique and should be moved to Party Chairman where his political and organisational skills are in no doubt.

To leave the situation as is, late though it may be, is to compound the problem. Firstly, Cameron looks weak beacuse he won't move his best mate, when he has sacked others for far smaller "crimes". Secondly, the Tories have, correctly, criticised the government for having a Defence Secretary who was also Scottish secretary and inevitably had his attention divided at a critical time when our armed forces are operating at overstretch. Now, Cameron has a shadow chancellor who is also doing many other jobs within the party at a time when there is a worldwide financial crisis. Little wonder that the Tories look weak on the economy - the most important factor in voting behaviour.

Despite Ken Clarke's recent resurrection on our TV screens as an incisive commentator on our current economic ills, I do not think that he is suited to the post as shadow chancellor. Hague would be far more aggressive in the role and very popular with the public. Redwood as deputy has a fiendish intellect and grasp of the issues and has been predicting something of the gravity of the economic situation for some time. This pair together would destroy the Darling/Brown credibility altogether.

The only thing stopping this from happening is Cameron's loyalty to his friend.

...personal likeableness is somewhat of an irrelevance.

Tell that to the PM, Christina.

It's too late to move him now. The damage would be worse than the cost of keeping him.

hmm.. that's what I thought.

Are you trying reverse psycology there?

Henry Mayhew@ 09.08 must be as naive and starstruck as Osborne himself. Mandelson should never be trusted and certainly should never be given the slightest approval by anyone pretending to support the Conservative cause. He is one of the enemy, devious and cunning, and should be treated as such at all times. By obstinately refusing to remove Osborne, I'm afraid, Cameron shows just how much his judgement is lacking and the country is now in grave danger of another five years of this terrible government. Where is the fight coming from ? Certainly not from Cameron and most of his present team who give largely the impression of being schoolboy debaters still wet behind the ears I'm afraid. Look at yesterday's PMQs - with the economy and the pound in freefall Cameron chose a non-partisan issue. A tragic one admittedly, but not something to base your main attack of the week on. One more frustrating time Brown was allowed to escape on the main issue of his major responsibility for the current economic malaise. Some opposition indeed !!

Apart from the odd sensible comment above, Mandleson, Campbell and Draper will be thinking themselves winning the blogosphere war. You are all complicit in this. Shut up whingeing and concentrate on the failings, incompetence and corruption of this terrible pension stealing, economic mis-fit of a so called Government. George Osborne does not have to do the work he is doing. Brown and Co. have to because no way on earth could they do a "proper" job.
Concentrate on winning the war and all the battles needed. Let's see DC and the team in Government, then judge. NOT BEFORE!
Any poster not supportive or CONSTRUCTIVE, don't bother doing LieBores' work for them. Keep thy friend close, thy enemy closer.
I think George Osborne a very nice chap and he marmalised Andrew (do you like my hair transplant) Neil this week. KEEP GEORGE! Scrap fraudulent postal voting.

Osborne is going through a rough patch, but that is to be expected in the rough-and-tumble of politics. Yes Yachtgate was bad, but the guy was doubling up as a proxy for party chairman. If Spelman had been fully engaged, this situation would never have arisen

The Shadow Treasury need to make sure that the spotlight is kept on the relative pain that the UK is going through compared to other Western countries. Our recession is going to be be deeper and longer than other economies, and that is the contrast which we need to communicate to the wider population, as they pass from apprehension to adaptation towards the new economic climate - i.e. it's the Government that has made this situation as bad as it was and it's the Government that has held your recovery back

George Osborne does not have to do the work he is doing. Brown and Co. have to because no way on earth could they do a "proper" job.

Posted by: m dowding | November 13, 2008 at 11:28

Thats the very point he's not doing his job , to busy with all hyis other fingers in different pies !

There is obviously a lot of hype in politics and G.O has learnt a salutary lesson. Now can we please get on with fighting this shambolic Labour Government?

You are right Norm Brainer @ 8.29.

Some people on this site go on and on and on about 'coming up with decent policies'! YES?? Then what??

Do those people think that it doesn't matter WHO implements the 'decent policies', so long as they ARE implemented? I would say to them, that they are either incredibly naive, or they are not proper Tory voters!!

Other people on this site go on and on and on about George Osborne, because I suspect that they long to see us, the main opposition party, consign Labour to the gutter, where they deserve to be (metaphorically speaking of course!). I would say to them, that there are more ways than one to skin a cat!!

I would also like to say to LibDems, stop pretending that you care about this country - you don't, you are just 'playing politics'. Why? Because you know that statistically youy haven't a hope in hell of getting into power - which is a shame, because a stint at real governmental responsibility would concentrate your minds mightily! But the reason that I say you don't care, is because you know that in splitting votes, in constituencies you are more likely to aid Labour getting into power again, than getting a seat yourselves. And in the present dire state of this country largely brought about by this Lasbiur government, that is just plain IRRESPONSIBLE!!!

That should have been 'Labour' government in the laast sentence above!

Janet Daley backs Iain Martin's call for Osborne to be moved:


To m dowding,

You'd be happier at The Blue Blog.

Over there no real dilemmas are discussed and the Conservatives are always right and perfect.

Henry Mayhew - Mandelsonian Ukipper @ 09.08

You sound very naive to me, and yes 'star-struck!

Why on earth wouldn't Mr. Mandelson appear to be a 'nice guy' - Hitler could charm people when he chose too. And he wouldn't have achieved the positions that he has if he didn't have the ability to 'speak well'. That is one attribute that is usually considered quite important to achieve ultimate power - although of course Mr. Bush did NOT have it ..... And of course our present Prime Minister ALSO does not 'speak' easily or charmingly!

Mr. Mandelson probably enjoyed talking to you as well, as he would probably enjoy being admired.

Posted by: Norm Brainer | November 13, 2008 at 11:11

It's too late to move him now. The damage would be worse than the cost of keeping him.

hmm.. that's what I thought.

Are you trying reverse psycology there?

If only I had that level of influence! No, I am offering my honest assessment.

From my point of view, I'd rather see someone with explicit small goverment / low tax views as Shadow Chancellor to give the electorate a real choice. But that's not likely to happen with Cameron as leader - everything he does is informed by opportunism and his membership of a little clique. He's not able to get rid of Osborne - the whole Cameron project would collapse like a pack of cards.

Cameron is wrong to worry about 'giving labour a scalp'.

if replacing osborne is the right thing to do,he should do it. It should be 'country first', not 'party first'.

Should a millionnaire be Chancellor or Shadow Chancellor? No, because he has no inkling of how the recession is hitting ordinary families caught up with rising bills and unemployment.

Labour have finally accepted Brown as their leader, but now the Conservatives are trying to push out George Osbourne as shadow chancellor.

Funny old world, eh? Time for some conspiracy theories!

Should a millionnaire be Chancellor or Shadow Chancellor? Yes, because he's grown up with money and not scared or starstruck by big numbers, and also won't have a rat up their arse about rich people being evil and trying to steal their money to give to the "poor".

P.S. pre-conference season, wouldn't the current situation have been exactly what Gordon Brown was begging for as he kneeled by his bed praying to God for help?

MarkFulford @1110 writes " '...personal likeableness is somewhat of an irrelevance' "Tell that to the PM, Christina."
I said 'in this crisis' and I think i'm right. We need someone TOUGH ansd HARD - instead we have a jelly (lovely flavour, though) as shadow chancellor and a wet leader, great on social issues but out of his depth on this one.

"Osborne should be moved, by early next year, to a prominent position that suits his talents. He is tactically astute, with a first-rate organisational brain, is a good analyst of politics and on his day can be an impressive media performer".

I believe Iain Martin sums the position up fairly and admirably. I think that all real conservatives agree that George Osborne is a great asset to the party but that he is in the wrong post. He should be given the single job of masterminding a win at the next general election with the promise of a top job in government. It would not matter a jot if there were a reshuffle in the near future.

Those people who support him as shadow chancellor do not consider whether he has any relevant experience or training for the job and are unable to offer much detail to support his claims other than the rabbit he pulled out of the hat at conference about IHT.

The whole shadow treasury team - under his leadership - have been conspicuous only by their absence in the last month or two and don't seem to have any idea as to what to do, whereas a string of tories like Ken Clarke, John Redwood, Michael Fallon and Howard Flight have shown up Gordon Brown's part in our dreadful economic state and suggested some solutions.

At the moment, we can only conclude that he retains his post solely because he is a close friend of David Cameron and I for one will not vote for a party where that occurs.

Patsy, naughty Henry is just being a tease.

Oh dear, have I posted my last on the wrong thread. Oops.

”David Cameron brushes off any criticism of his friend, branding it ridiculous and claiming he is only taking flak because Labour knows his value. Yet, I cannot see how that can be at the root of criticism by Tories who want to beat Labour.”

That is the key passage in Iain Martin’s article, and it shows yet again why Cameron and Osborne have finally brought the Tories to a position where they have consistently led the government for months in the polls.

And despite all the hard work, and the visible electoral achievements it has bought the party, like a by election win for the first time in nearly 30 years. Throughout the last 3 years they have had to do everything by pulling some in their own party kicking and screaming all the way, ably abetted by the likes of Martin etc in the Telegraph and one or two other supposed crystal balls in the right leaning press.

Good rule of thumb, if what Cameron and Osborne are doing has ConHom and these journalists moaning, its probable bankable.

They are trying to punish the Shadow Treasury team for not dancing to their tune either on their strategy to deal with the last few weeks, and also, but not promising slashing tax cuts. It always makes me angry, Brown’s biggest failing is his inability to be a good strategist, instead relying on short term political tactics.
And no matter how many times that boomerang comes back and hits him in the face, still he does it.
But the worst offenders are the right leaning press and some in my own party, to remove Osborne would be electoral suicide right now.
A short term negative tactic which would hurt Cameron and the Tories, but would gift Brown a further bounce. Cameron and Osborne have a GE to win, the right leaning press and their Tory headless chickens did much to make sure that the Tories were unelectable for so long. They were wrong then, and they are wrong now. God, it must really bug some of those smug Telegraph types who think that they know best, that is, until along comes a couple of new Tories to show them up.

By the way, the media narrative is moving, and Osborne's small and targeted tax cuts not funded by borrowing will prove to be more successful in the long run. Why? Because Darling is at this moment trying to dampen down the expectations built up by the briefings from next door over taxcuts and big keynsian spending sprees. In fact, he is now preparing the ground for tax cut rises in the not so distant future to pay for any short term extra borrowing.

The Shadow Treasury team were not being timid, they were rightly cautious and a damn sight more honest with the voters. They wanted to give the voters tax cuts way back when it was more affordable, now they are reluctant to dish them out when its unaffordable.
But that is because they know that the bigger the tax cut now, the bigger the tax rise later. Its that simple.

Another insightful comment from David Belchamber - my favourite commenter on Con Home.

"At the moment, we can only conclude that he retains his post solely because he is a close friend of David Cameron and I for one will not vote for a party where that occurs."

I am sadly a member of a political party which all too often shows little loyalty, and almost never gives credit where its deservedly due. New Labour's biggest electoral asset over the last 11 years has been the the Conservative party and its lack of unity or loyalty to its own politicians.

The voters don't like it either!

I second PragueTory.

Well said David, unfortunately, if the Evening Standard story is true, Osborne is scaling down what he is best at to concentrate on the role that he is not best at, but wants most.

Cameron said he didn't want to be a President, but it couldn't be clearer that a favoured friend is being slotted into a 'status' role.

Why, apart from Cameron choosing him, is Osborne the strongest candidate of all Tory MP's to be Shadow Chancellor?

5 Reasons why George Osborne should no longer be Shadow Chancellor;

1. Failure to pin the Labour recession on ...errr...the Labour Government.

2. Failure to articulate a coherent and rational alternative monetary policy. Are we still 'sharing the proceeds of growth' , or was that a mistake too ?

3. Failure to deviate from trite soundbites when appearing on Today Programme.

4. Failure to look the part of a Shadow Chancellor. This is not wholly his fault. He looks too young, and he appears too unwordly. His voice grates, and needs coaching.

5. Failure to choose a sensible holiday destination, and companions, at the time of a recession.

Praguetory - thank you very much for your comment; you make me blush.
I am sure that you and I and countless others on ConHome deperately want to see the back of Gordon Brown and, though we give great credit to David Cameron for what he has done, we perceive the odd weakness in his lineup which could so easily be rectified by bringing in perhaps two or three of the former big beasts.

"though we give great credit to David Cameron for what he has done, we perceive the odd weakness in his lineup which could so easily be rectified by bringing in perhaps two or three of the former big beasts."

Err, how about the Tory equivelant of Brown and Darling?
And Cameron was hoping to show the electorate that the party had changed too....and that he had a new generation of Conservatives ready to pick up the torch.

We have some fantastic former Senior politicians, who are still very important, with much to contribute to the Conservative party. What you are suggesting would be political suicide, and it would undermine Cameron even more than your faint praise and lack of trust in his judgement does.

GO must go, but only after 4th June, if DC cant do that, then he too must go. Clarke could do well still, althpough to present a untioed front he should ensure a safe seat for Matthew Elliot , CEO of the Taxpayers' Alliance. Ellot can then be Clarke's deputy and then take over for our seond of five more terms.

I am backing George.
I really can't be bothered to say anymore.
Detractors are playing into Labour's hands.

Perhaps, Tim, if you wordlessly censor all the anti-Osborne comments, all anti-Osborne comments will stop, and you get back to - how did you put it? - ah yes, your day job of supporting the party leadership?

ChrisD @ 15.31 is correct as usual.

Cameron and Osborne have the right strategy. The British economy is in the most precarious state of all the major nations, and soon Brown and Co. will have nowhere to hide.

At the moment Brown is racing all over the world trying to look as if he's in charge in an attempt to deflect some of the criticism he will eventually face.

Continually sniping from the sidelines as the £ Sterlng falls through the floor and unemployment rockets up, leaves the shadow team open to the accusation of talking the economy down at this critical time.

The time will come when a full broadside should be fired at the Labour government, but that time is not now.

We need to remember that Osborne WILL be the next chancellor, and needs to watch his words carefully, as we have already seen.
'Super' Vince Cable on the other hand can say whatever suits him on any given day, as he will never hold any post in any government

Yeah ACT ! thats a good idea. Lets have a one party state and shoot anyone who dares to voice an opinion , great idea.

It seems that in this case friendship is clouding our leaders judgment. The notion that it's Labour supporters (only ?) that want him moved sideways is insulting. In fact Labour supporters want him to stay as he is out of his depth and unsuited to the role. The sad part is that George would make an excellent Foreign Office minister or president of the party.

Patsy Sergeant its Ok to be loyal but you seem to take it as a personal insult if somebody doesn’t agree with you. This Party has always had more than one thread (thank God). As for your comments about people not caring about how the policies are implemented, may I remind you that as things stand we cannot implement anything. Unless we have a believable alternative government we will never be in a position to implement anything. I actually like George Osborne and I do think that he has taken some undeserved flak, but the truth as I see it is he hasn't got the right personality for the job he is in.
Now you can call me a Labour supporter if you like, but it will not alter my gut feelings about this party and its Eton club leadership. I believe we need a shake up at the top. There are plenty of talented people who could be given the Job.

Bring Back REDWOOD !!

If a move is to take place, much better to do it now than just before an election. We need a much stronger economic front bench, and I fear that as Shadow Chancellor George has been holed below the waterline. So bring back one of the 2 big beasts - Clarke or Redwood, and promote George to the Chairmanship, where with his intellect he'd be much more successful in sorting out CCHQ than Caroline. That would be no demotion, and no loss of face.

If anyone really thinks they can complain osbourn out of post I think that is fantastic skill -- just need to change the target to Brown and all our problems are solved...

If however you don't think you can complain someone out of office - why all the noise here?

Actually, gezmond007, I was referring to the strange vanishing act this post of 11.21am -

Of course Dave won't move George. Or in today's dim-witted argot: Because. He's. Too. Weak. To. Do. So. A truly strong, decisive, ruthless [c.f. Charles Moore passim] etc leader would, and would do so without hesitating. Whereas our brittle, clique-ridden leader petulantly sets his face against removing Labour's current strongest card: Osborne's persistently woeful response to the worst economic crisis of your lifetime. As has been said before: Cameron = Major with an Eton accent.

Time after time, droning leadership-loyalists shriek 'trolls! Draperites!' at anyone who disagrees with whatever 'Roon Black-is-White, White-is-Black happens to be on offer. Well, Osborne plainly hasn't cut it. When even Iain Martin is saying it out loud, the game really is up. And every day our peevish leader, Majorishly refuses to accept that is another day gained by Brown. So one really does have to wonder: who exactly are the anti-Tory trolls - the people calling for Osborne to go (which would cause a one week fuss, and be forgotten the moment Hague, or whoever, took over and started landing the blows on Labour they deserve, but Osborne inexcusably can't deliver), or, the people calling on this ineffectual liability to stay?

Posted by: ACT | November 13, 2008 at 11:21

- performed earlier today. Still, Tim's right hand grows ever more mysterious, eh? We can but hope he gets his reward in Heaven, if not sooner.

Even by your very low standards a thoroughly nasty post ACT. If you don't like this site why don't you go and pollute someone else's? Or better still start your own,I doubt you've got the guts to do that have you?

Do you actually mean any of that Malcolm? Seriously? Putting deranged partisanship and blind leader-loyalty to one side, do you honestly mean a word you've just written? That pointing out that Osborne *is* a political liability, and is going to continue to be one is "thoroughly nasty"? Rather than a perfectly reasonable political observation (and believe me, not one tenth as bileful as the sort of stuff both Gid the Fib and Dave have come out with about, for example, DD, let alone GB)? Truly? Did you mean any of that? Or was it all really slightly silly hysterical vapouring? If it wasn't, and if you did mean any of it, why exactly are so many *other* people as "thoroughly nasty" as me, not least the editiorial staff of the Telegraph, and the large majority of this site's infamously polled respondents?

ACT you and other anti-osbornintes are hoist by your own petard.

Even if osborne should go (which he certainly shouldn't) to move him now would make cameron look weak and buffeted by the crys of some vocal antagonists.

If you don't trust Camerons judgement why aren't you calling for him to go?

Although it would be rather odd for a tory supporter to be calling for the removal of their leader, rather then the removal of brown...

M dowding:

I agree George is a nice chap, the problem is we need a beast. The only Beast in this team so far is Boris...but he is busy.

And BTW it may be undermining to say so, but thats part of the poltical game...George still has time to prove us wrong.

Benedict Brogan got it right this afternoon, especially with that headline!!

I was actually beginning to think something very similar earlier today...

George survives appearance in Circus Maximus

"Tricky one for the Shadow Chancellor today, that appearance before the collection of classical Tories and Tory classicists that is the Spectator. This is a critical time for George Osborne, and not just because Iain Martin has put the case for his removal in the Telegraph today. What would have been an easy occasion was turned into a potential ordeal by the presence of Lord Mandelson of Corfu himself, helpfully sat at the same table where the two could eyeball each other over the lamb. We were laughing with delight before even a word was uttered, ready with our thumbs to decide George's fate. A poor performance and crash! the share price tanks, never to recover.

It didn't happen. George played it with well judged grace and humour, artfully returning the balls sent spinning towards him by the master of that dark art. Honour preserved on both sides, and only at the end of his speech did George rightly slip in a note of defiance to those in the room who would see him removed. Fiscal responsibility was vital, he said: "I don't care if that's old orthodoxy, it's the right orthodoxy." These are the best bits, as scribbled on my menu:

Lord M: "I'm bound to declare that this is a time for a novice. Having been marched down the political gangplank a couple of times it's great to be back on board, as we say in Corfu. A brilliant judge of my own PR requirements as ever, I'm sure an award from a Tory newspaper at a champagne lunch here in my natural habitat at Claridges is exactly the thing I need to silence my party critics and allay any fears or misgivings they may have about my return. The thing about newcomers is that we celebrate their naivete, their gaucheness, their endearing lack of judgement, I'm amazed that I managed to pip George Osborne to this coveted prize. It means more to me than I can say or express.

GO, to PM : Sorry to change the running order but you are going to be leaving here shortly, not for the first time. I was a little nonplussed when I was told you had won this award. I was told it was going to be Lord Mandelson of Hartlepool and Foy, and then I remembered - it was the guy I met on holiday. You know how it is: you meet another English guy, he's the only English guy in the resort, you swap stories about work and you think you are never going to see him again. Imagine my delight today. It's wonderful that as winners of a Spectator award we are once again in the same boat. Our next holiday together is going to be in a rowing boat in the North Sea off Hartlepool, a place neither of us has visited for many years."

Just to get this cleared up: I for one - I can't speak for all the other Draperzombies - would *applaud* Cameron if he moved (not even demoted, let alone sacked) Osborne. For, inescapably, it would go some long way to showing that Dave was Charles Moore's wet dream made flesh - a subtle, tough-minded cynic who would do what it takes in the national interest, etc, etc. That here was a man who, like Blair in opposition, has what it takes to eg sideline his mates in order to drag his hapless party back into the electoral Eden it had so long been exiled from. That trivia like personal relationships and petty obligations to chums' egos wouldn't stand in the way of regaining office and power. As it is, I am absolutely confident that he is in fact too brittle a personality to move Osborne. His personal weakness here is that he does not have the strength of character to face up to the press fuss attendant on moving the indisputably flailing Osborne. In other words, it's a perfect illustration of the peevish, Major-like aspect of the man. And the worst of it is - if he did move Osborne, the fuss, such as it was, would be over in a week, and the story would soon and permanently thereafter be the blows Osborne's successor started landing on the government's disastrous economic record. (These blows, btw, would be especially telling, and thus, newsworthy, precisely in consequence of being in such stark contrast to Osborne's p*sspoor performance). But watch and wait: the Major parallel will soon enough be complete - for having needlessly, and to no political benefit to the Party, stuck with Osborne, Dave will end up seeing him go all the same. Just not at a time of his choosing, and not as a perfectly plausibly spun demonstration of his inner strength and ruthless political resolution.

As far as Osborne's performance this afternoon goes, who's surprised? He learned nothing from the whole affair earlier this year, least of all humility. Which is why, go he will, and in the most risible fashion possible. Cameron, and anyone else who wished the Party well, would want him gone now.

Out here in the styx, we never hear much of Mr Osborne's plans. He needs to correct the impression that he has not yet realised that a. Mr Brown is out to get him and cooperation is not the way forward and b. that equalling Labour's incontinent spending plans is out of the question.
A few witty little changes, too, aren't going to cut the mustard.
Be bold!

Osborne should be moved immediately. To hell with saving political face. The next election is going to be won or lost on the issue of the economy and Osborne is not enough of a big hitter. He may well be strategically brilliant and a great thinker but he simply does not have the ability to grab headlines, to hit Labour hard in the Commons and to think on his feet before the Paxmans of this world. Different skills are needed in opposition and Osborne like Letwin before him does not have them. Bring in a real street fighter like Ken Clarke or David Davies or William Hague and they will make mincemeat of Darling. Labour is leaving an open goal and the Conservatives keep missing it. It's hugely frustrating to watch.

John Redwood.

When the economy's on fire, you need someone who knows how to extinguish the flames. Clarke's a man for easy growth years. Hague too. Only Redwood would stand firm and dig us out of the mess we're in.

"Even if osborne should go (which he certainly shouldn't) to move him now would make cameron look weak "

Can't be made to look any weaker than having a useless Shadow Chancelor and not prepared to do anything about it. We are heading into a full blown currency crisis, which is an international market judgement of Brown's plans, yet what do we hear from the Shadow Chanellor? Nothing, which I suppose is him being consistent!

Christina tapped the right key when she mentioned DC’s focus on humanity in politics. This recession is going to be very nasty and will affect a wider cross section of the population than either the ‘80s or ‘90s recessions and we have to be seen as a party (and future government) that cares and can make a difference.

The front bench needs to be positive and set out policies that will mitigate the recession, which it is starting to do. The attacks on the mismanagement of the economy can be led by the heavyweights of the past and as the situation worsens the heroic narrative that Labour are currently putting forward will start to look threadbare.

We will win the next election but the scale of the victory depends on how the change that people are looking for is elucidated. If we going in with a change for change’s sake message then we will scrape in, if we go in with a clear position on what the changes will be then we strip Labour naked. The policies needed are not those of a nation feeling uncomfortable with its prosperity but one hurting from unexpected poverty; and these will need time to develop.

You know - I bet labour have a file on each each conservative MP.

I think Redwoods is probably a particulalry thick one - in it there will be printouts of every blog entry he has ever made, and against each and for every point he has ever made there will preprepared scripts for how to present that point in a negative light.

The scripts can be misleading or just plain wrong, but they will exist, and every labour MP will be briefed to use as many of these scripts as possible, as often as possible (as will their friends in the media).

The public would never get to hear a word about current or new tory policy, because john would be dragged down into defending/explaining what a blog entry from several years previously really meant (to any one reading it in context it would be crystal clear - but that isn't the objective of it being questioned).

They do it all ready -- I have not seen redwood in a tv studio with out his words being mis-represented, and him having to defend himself.

Don't fall for it, its just what they want.

Mean time -- assemble such files on government ministers and publish them here! Starting with the gordon, chapter 1 - 'no more boom and bust'...

This Government is an economic disaster. We should be 20% ahead in the polls.

Therefore time for Osborne to be moved - Party Chaiman ? We need somebody who understands the state is slowly killing the productive private sector and, who has not sat and will not sit on yachts with our political enemies.

The obvious choice on grounds of economic competence is John Redwood although politically William Hague has more appeal to the voters.

Tapestry said:

"John Redwood.

When the economy's on fire, you need someone who knows how to extinguish the flames. Clarke's a man for easy growth years. Hague too. Only Redwood would stand firm and dig us out of the mess we're in."

This is almost exactly what I have been telling the Bishop at home. Clark is great at being charismatic and somewhat fluffy, but he isn't the man we need right now (not at the treasury at least) Redwood is intelligent and willing to say unpopular things. He also has a great deal of support at the grass roots. I know DC is not going to move George right now, but when the time comes I would love to see Redwood back.

Whatever happens, don't let Redwood anywhere near the public.

"The obvious choice on grounds of economic competence is John Redwood although politically William Hague has more appeal to the voters."

Well he holds on to his seat time after time, seems he is electable. A lot of people I know have nothing but good things to say about him. He's thinking Gal's muffin, if you like.

Oh yes ACT,I meant every word of it. There are a lot of posters with whom I disagree but struggle to think of anyone who is nastier so often than you. You're regularly spiteful both to members of the Conservative party and also the owner of this blog.

As it happens, I've nothing but warm feelings for Stefan. But slurp where you will Malcolm. And if you think I've said some disagreeable things about the Party, one does have to wonder where you've been these last five years. Dave, Gid, the Gover, friend Hilton, Theresa et al have done nothing little else other than trash the Party, its activists and those voters who, from their point of view, were, like me, foolish enough to vote for it. But yet again, I admire your consistent, come what may, facts be damned, outraged loyalism. When, at some point in the future, we have another leader, your posts will be a marvel to behold.

To m dowding,

You'd be happier at The Blue Blog.

Over there no real dilemmas are discussed and the Conservatives are always right and perfect.

Posted by: Vincent Wall | November 13, 2008 at 12:19

I'm happy anywhere Conservatives gather, thank you. Smell so much nicer than Labour! Even Guido is an entertaining visit!

I have been and still am a supporter of George Osborne. However, for whatever reason there is a disconnect between what he is saying, how he is saying it and when he is saying it. If there is one thing that supporters do not understand it is that we are all very critical of a Prime Minister who has landed us in this mess and yet whilst there are some criticzms it is not clear what the Tories would actually do if they were in office now to steer us out of the mess. All Brown can say is that he will "Do all in my power"-this is all he says and his power has brought us to this. We need to see a clear plan and if buying our way out is not the answer what is the Tories plan.

Please get rid of George Osbourne as he is damaging the party and replace him with William Hague.

As one of the many grassroot supporters,You know the ones who walk miles posting leaflets /Canvassing etc -Voluntary.
Delighted to read the Westminster village is starting to realise George Osborne is a great asset.Those in the party that continually strive to split the party should support the TEAM or go off into there own very small world.George has only told us what the sane people realise.If you can't play the TEAM game go away and leave the rest of us to fight this Brown band out of government PLEASE!!

Brown’s offer of twisted logic to hide his mishandling of the economy is typical. Despite his rhetoric, he has not reached a firm consensus in Washington for tax cuts, (fiscal stimulus), only a draft plan, which may or may not be implemented. It has been a 'talking shop' and photo opportunity that makes him appear superficially competent for domestic consumption.

Brown is desperately trying to blame Osborne for talking down our currency. Again, a smoke screen to distract from his own abysmal mismanagement. Why doesn’t he make the same accusations against the BBC, ITV, & SKY for broadcasting daily about the weakness of the Pound against the Dollar on every financial and News program? The Pound has been in serious decline for the past 4 months (down 25-30% against a basket of currencies) and oil prices will inevitably rise. Brown is trying to head this unpopular consequence 'off at the pass' by blaming Osborne. The electorate can see through this duplicity.

Brown has virtually emptied the Treasury and now needs to borrow to fund more dodgy tax cuts. Leaving Darling with this poisoneous chalice alone undermine our currency with Brown in denial and postponing reality. Britain is in the worst possible condition to weather this financial tsunami.

For years, Osborne has been calling for financial rectitude ahead of Brown's conning beneficence. It is Osborn's job to challenge the Government and successfully expose Brown's fiscal mistakes. Why else are Brown and Darling trying to undermine him? Is it because he speaks the truth?

Convention is just another convenient Labour Government’s mythical invention. There has never been a convention. Our currency is weak because of the money markets’ assessment of massive Government borrowing and overspending. To borrow more will exacerbate the situation. {Editorial 14/11/08 Wall Street Journal, ‘borrowing won’t stimulate much of anything save perhaps Mr Brown’s approval rating’}. It is now worse than the devaluations the Pound experienced under former Labour PMs Callaghan or Wilson. They cannot blame George Osborne for their utter failures. Osborne offers fiscal competence whereas Brown and Darling offer more fiscal incontinence.

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