Thursday, November 24, 2005


Of George Osborne, the Notting Hill set and the future of the Tories

I often get a bit jealous of those bloggers who live in London with access to mates in the media and political events of which we in the sticks of ther northwest cannot be a part. But today I chaired a Politics Association-the charity dedicated to spreading of political literacy- dayschool for 6th formers in the Royal Horticultural Hall near Victoria. I introduced then listened to George Osborne, the MP for Tatton and Shadow Chancellor. Did he say anything interesting? Well I just about thought so; here it is:

a) he believes the Liberal Democrats will shortly have a leadership election: shorthand for he thinks Chas Kennedy is about to be shafted.

b) When asked who would he prefer to fight Brown as leader or Miliband, he answered Miliband as he thinks Brown and Blair can now be convincingly portrayed as the 'past' while he, Cameron (and the rest his Notting Hill set presumably) can be offered as the young, dynamic and charismatic future. Clearly he and his mates see their youth as a key weapon against the ageing, clapped out, balding Blair and his presumably geriatric gang.

c) he is opposed to PR even though it might advantage his party because it does not give a clear outcome to elections viz recent events in Deutchland.

d)he believes Blair's special gift has been to accommodate his party to the changes wrought by Thatcherism while, I guess, he sees the new regime in the Tory Party as about the task of adjusting it to changes engineered by Blair and co e.g. devolution, the independence Bank of England etc.

Was he impressive? Well, yes, I think he was. I don't think he'll ever be his party's Michael Oakshott(though he did express some vintage Oakshottian views) but he is clever and politically astute and has some of the cerebral adroitnes, I thought, of Douglas Hurd, a politician who never reached his very considerable full potential. And George is every bit as charming, young and winsome as the man whose campaign for the leadership he is running. Anyone in the audience could be forgiven for thinking they might have seen the next but one Chancellor of the Exchequuer in action.

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