30 January 2010

Cameron and Osborne are not working well together

Sometimes, but not that often, it worth taking a look at the Daily Mail to see how they are covering the important matters of the moment.  Surprisingly, Blair doesn't get the front page treatment.  That is given over to the rather complex story of what the England football captain has been doing in his spare time.

No matter, there is always Peter Oborne to give us his objective thoughts on Brown, Blair and everything in between, but not today.  Instead, we are treated to a piece on the growing splits between David and George.  Things are looking up.

Twelve weeks (or less) from the election, there is a small debate going between the modern day Blair and Brown double act.  First, they have fallen out over Tory tax policy on marriage or ‘towards the family’, as Oborne describes it.  However, it is when we move on to ‘cuts’ that things become interesting.

At his press conference, when Cameron assumed that the growth figures would be more than 0.1%, he made the bold statement cuts would have to start now.  Within 72 hours he has changed his mind:

On Thursday, Cameron conceded in an interview with the BBC business editor Robert Peston at Davos that making cuts too early could have the effect of jeopardising economic recovery.

The truth is that Cameron is significantly more nervous than Osborne about spending cuts. Indeed, his comment didn't go down at all well in his No 2's office because Cameron appeared to be endorsing Labour criticism of the Tory economic policy.

And yesterday, making a speech to British businessmen, he widened the fissure with Osborne by insisting the cuts did not have to be 'particularly extensive'.

There must have been some raised eyebrows amongst our banking friends at Davos when these comments were circulated for discussion.  Cameron has got himself into another fine mess.

Then we get to the politics.  Brown will, of course, delight in this.  More importantly, the latest little local difficulty between D&G, beautifully outlined by Oborne, plays right into the hands of Mandy, who wants nothing better than to isolate Osborne and destroy his credibility.

The Tories can’t afford to be split on this fundamental of policies at this stage, and have their friends in the press highlight their muddled thinking.

We are eight weeks out from the expected start of the election campaign and Cameron is making too many mistakes, because he is not clear in his own mind what Tory policy is.

It is getting rather late in the day to start putting the toothpaste back in the tube.  The electorate will start noticing that the Tories do not have a coherent policy agenda.

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1 comment:

  1. Quite. It's perfectly bloody obvious we need substantial cuts in public spending early.

    It's pretty concerning that Cameron seems to have bought into all the discredited Keynesian balls about public spending. If he's concerned about the potential for spending cuts to reduce aggregate demand, he could match them with tax cuts for the poor working class, helping the economy to return to sustainable growth.