Alastair's Blog

Return to:  Blog | Articles | Videos RSS feed

Osborne should heed his own words

Posted on 3 April 2010 | 4:04pm

Displaying the cockiness which perhaps goes with their background, and which could become more apparent as the campaign goes on, the Tories are claiming a near knock out blow.

George Osborne’s people are busy making him the ‘zero to hero’ star of a clutch of articles, of which expect many more in the Sunday papers, suggesting his planned non-rise of National Insurance Contributions is a game-changing election winner.

There will be plenty of ups and downs in the coming weeks and it is good to see that Osborne himself understands that.

Pointing to the importance of the leaders’ TV debates, he says election campaigns only work if they highlight work that has been underway for years. ‘You cannot fatten a pig on market day. The change has to be real and the policy positions have to be strong.’

Exactly right. I know his words were meant as a dig at GB. But they encapsulate why ‘sums don’t add up’ attacks on the Tories have a lot of a traction left in them, more so since the NICs plan was announced.

* Buy The Blair Years online and raise cash to fight the Tories

  • Mark Kingman

    David Cameron said a whole ago that efficiency savings were a ‘trick’ Now they are seemingly the means by which they will pay for a planned tax cut. These people do not stack up on any level but I worry too many people are falling for it

  • CH

    Glad to see you calling it a non rise rather than a cut. The NICs rise has not happened. All he is saying is that it won’t. I see they are now promising the earth to Equitable Life policy holders. they will promise anything to anyone.

  • Norman Savigar

    Are you really now raising cash for the Tories!

  • AC

    Norman, well spotted … duly corrected!

  • Marjorie Farr

    It is not a knock out blow but it is alarming the extent to which business moved in behind them, even if so many of them were donors there were names therre I did not expect to see. Have made my last visit to MandS

  • Patrick James

    I think the key to this National Insurance business from the Conservatives is the phrase Peter Mandelson used, I think, which is “credibility gap”.

    The continuously changing policies of the Conservative party over the last months means that an ever decreasing number of people believe them.

    They are now promising a miracle in which the deficit goes down alongside tax cuts but without any reduction in quality of public services.

    David Cameron would love to be able to deliver a “knockout blow” but as in boxing you cannot make something a “knockout blow” by simply saying it is that. If the opponent gets up on their feet it was not a “knockout blow”.

    So, I think that Labour spokespeople need only to get up on their feet and say to the Conservative party:

    “You are not credible”.

  • Richard

    Interesting to see a reverse of the political momentum this week. I think the Business leaders backing the Tories will resonate with the public.Those names and logos of many respected household names constantly on the TV for a couple of days will be perceived as a third party endorsement for the Tories economic policies. .Mandelson having a bad week – 22 Billion launch dround

  • Graham Jones

    The Labour party must contrast the 1980’s tory narrative with 2010 + ONWARDS LABOUR STORY. The Labour story is compelling, as it speaks of the party as the people, and the people as the party. It’s about not accepting the unacceptable and the creation of a better country, and it’s also about the creation of a new economy and the role of Britain in the 21st Century.

  • Quietzapple

    The wilder his early claims the more ammunition he provides for times when it will matter far more.

    @GeoOsborne on Twitter sometimes has his arrogance to a T!

  • Quietzapple

    Oh, and I shall be cuting my Nectar card in two and sending it back to Sainsbury, and Virgin have become a truly crap company so am overcoming my inertia to switch, and if you see a JCB with an ironically rude word on it . . .

  • Quietzapple

    Poor Chameleon spent SO much time avoiding policy commitments that it will be a real Hoot when Labour lists the recent (mostly) nonsensical ones.

    The City as a whole will not be amused, even if a few big CEOs fancy slightly lower NI Conts than Darling finds necessary.

    I was very encouraged when Gordon declared darling to be his post election Chancellor, the day after I pointed out than anyone other than Brown or Darling as Chancellor would lead to problems with the markets.

  • Tricky Dicky

    Labour should make more of the recent Business leaders endorsement.
    These are after all the same men who will be paying the 50p tax, possibly the same men with personal and company accounts in the tax havens now no longer off limits.
    As they are earning megga bucks will be paying the higher NI contributions both in person and via the comanpies.
    As companies are regarde as entities in their own right why shouldn’t they support the country in the same way we are asking the people to…..they do have a more favourable tax system than we do.

    So what do you expect them so say!

    Mind you if you ask Man United fans who is the best manager in the league don’t be surprised if they say Sir Alex Ferguson.

    I wonder how an increase in VAT will go down with these business tycoons should the Tories get in.

  • IanLeicester

    Regarding the Tories’ take on the National Insurance issue – of course its right to point out the nonsensical maths,and that previous Tory government also saw minimum wage as a ‘tax on jobs’, but shouldn’t Labour also make a point of the fact that Cameron & Osborne are allying themselves with business leaders who we should all apparently listen to when it comes to protecting British jobs? Just a thought, but could either Stuart Rose or George Osborne tell us how many British jobs were lost and hosiery business closed when M & S shifted production from the UK to overseas a few years ago?

  • Andrew Williams

    The sense of entitlement that the Tories sometimes project is definitely one of their weaknesses. Strong Labour points recently: Gordon Brown’s ITV interview (humanised him); and Alisdair Darling’s performance (I know real businessmen, not city traders (no offence to traders, I just don’t view them as risk-taking entrepreneurs) who feel he made the right calls on that one recently). I’m not entirely convinced that Osborne is a weak link though. The public’s impression is that he sticks his neck out and make bold policy decisions – now if Labour can get the voters to believe that these are reckless decisions that might still work against them, TB’s speech did highlight weaknesses in the Tory positions – contradictions etc – but TB reminds the public too much of Cameron so even when he’s good it makes people feel more favourably to Cameron.

  • Andrew Williams

    By the way, the Tory poster that says ‘The Conservative Party want to take us back to the 1980’s’ was a miss-step by Labour. There are a lot of Conservative voters who will take huge comfort from that poster and even some fans of Ashes to Ashes who might think it’s quite cool. It also makes Cameron appear like an ordinary bloke (dressed in leather jacket sitting on top of an old motor). What happened to punching the bruise – priviledge, Ashcroft, aloofness, second homes paid for by the tax payer…

  • Stan Rosenthal

    Whatever we think about Osborne’s flakiness the fact is that with the help of his media friends, his NI wheeze is swinging votes against Labour (witness the latest polls).

    We really do need to do much more to expose the hollowness of this Tory proposal. (rather than go on about Grayling’s B&B gay comments which few mainstream voters care about).

    As I’ve said before here, the crucial thing about our NI increase is that it doesn’t kick in until April 2011, thus having no effect in the most fagile period of the recovery. This is in contrast to the Tory approach of introducing measures right away to reduce the deficit which would have the effect of reducing demand at precisely the time it needs to be kept up.

    Moreover the increase amounts to little more than the cost of a bottle of whiskey a month and can therefore be presented as a small price to pay (when it is more affordable) to help keep our front line services going through the debt repayment period.

    Come on Labour, pull your finger out and start doing a proper job in countering Tory propaganda where and when it matters.