Wednesday, 16 September 2009
The new prince of Darkness?
"Ow mush! Who are you calling posh?"
The big political story today (other than another round of depressing unemployment figures) is the leaked Treasury document released by George Osborne showing 9.3% cuts in government spending planned up until 2013/14. He's sat on that document for five months (His patience is admirable) and could have released the document at any time but waited...and waited...and waited. waited until the argument over spending cuts was comprehensively won by himself and his party and then he dropped this statistical hand grenade, showing that the Treasury was planning these cuts all along, that Brown not only lied to the press, but comprehensively lied repeatedly to the House of Commons during PMQ's. Now, it's not a shock to anyone that Brown was lying, we all knew that anyway but to have the smoking revolver here ratchets up the pressure on a prime minister that is already seriously ailing after the worst year of his political career and one day after Brown relaunch no. 354. It is a piece of political skill that Machiavelli would be proud of...and yes, I do consider that to be complimentary.
Why have I just dubbed him the new Prince of Darkness? Well he has quietly and effectively gone about systematically setting traps for Labour to fall into. Mandleson himself had recognised the political savvy and instincts of Osborne a year ago and that's why he tried to bury him over that holiday in Corfu. It was the master and the apprentice sparring to see who would be topdog. Mandelson outmanouvered him then (with the aid of a supine media) but wasn't able to kill him off, the younger man staggered away and tended to his political wounds. But has waited and bided his time. That's the last victory Mandelson won, since then he has been reduced to propping up the most unpopular prime minister the country has seen and the press are no longer prepared to do his bidding. Meanwhile Osborne has been flying under the radar largely just popping out from time to time testing his lure and waiting for Brown & Co to bite. And boy, have they bit.
Mission accomplished, Osborne will never be the most popular member of a Cameron government with the public, he knows it and accepts it, his job is to give Cameron the bullets to win the political war, but he will be influential, as influential as Brown was to Blair, but unlike that ill-matched duo, Cameron and Osborne are swimming in the same direction.
And Brown? well, he's on his last legs, the ref should jump in and stop it...one more solid hook will politically finish him for good.
Sorry for all the allegory, have had to rewrite this post twice as it almost came across a bit 'Sion Simon' (regular readers of political betting will know of what I am referring to!) and no, Osborne hasn't been paying me to write this. Though if you do somehow get to read this George, you can find the donate button down the page on the right hand side, all donations gratefully recieved!
Treasury Budget Leak
Posted by Rob at 13:12