13 November 2008

Why Are Labour Attacking Osborne? - To Please The Great Leader

Of course, it's true that Labour high command want Osborne out. Draper, Campbell, Mandelson and every small name Labour whip would all be there claiming credit were he to be moved. And on Labour's left, class war idiots like Bob Piper love nothing more than a mean-spirited campaign against a 'Tory toff', but I find it surprising that acute observers, Tim Montgomerie and Iain Dale have reached the conclusion that ;

1. Labour’s high command’s main motivation is to damage Project Cameron,
2. That motivation is relevant when it comes to picking our top team

I’d criticise point two for being too cynical, but point one for being insufficiently cynical. In my view, the anti-Osborne mob mentality at the top of New Labour comes from trying to please the leader. I doubt many will dispute that there is no Conservative politician who Brown despises more than George Osborne and it is that personal animus that is the primary motivation propelling Labour’s spin doctors and politicians on a collision course with George. Independent thought has been hollowed out of the Labour Party. It's cynical careerism all the way.

I must add that Tim and Iain's defence of George is doing him no favours. David Belchamber, who is my favourite commenter on Conservative Home, concludes that it appears that George retains his post solely because he is a close friend of David Cameron. Outside the Westminster Village, that is a widely held and deeply damaging perception that Tim and Iain are reinforcing. My view is that the Shadow Treasury Team urgently needs freshening up and clarity of purpose. Short-term face-saving is not a justification for delay.


owlgamesh said...

Iain and Tim are thinking too much in terms of the Westminster village, and too little in terms of what people like me - activists in the provinces - want. That is, a proper leadership, a proper policy raft, a proper campaign, and proper politicians at the top of it.

None of which exist at the moment.

Jonathan M. Scott said...

My view is that if Labour manages to push out Obsorne it will only damage Labour in the long run. After all, a new Shadow Chancellor - be it Redwood or Davis (the latter being my own preference for this role) and not the despicable europhile Ken Clarke as has been suggested by some people - would attack Labour head on and would formulate a competent economic and tax policy.

The Tories should propose a cut in people's income tax - not just employers' NI taxes that no one will ever see. That's good politics.

Stephen Newton said...

What a strange question to ask. The Labour and Conservative parties are competing for power and that means they attack each other all the time.

Can it be true that you have only just realised it's in Labour's interest to damage 'Project Cameron' (whatever that may be)?

Osbourne is in the firing line because the economy is a hot issue right now and also because he is very weak.

Praguetory said...

Osborne (no u) is not critical to the Conservative cause. We should be roasting Labour alive on the economy, so substituting him will benefit the Tories politically. Well connected journos say that sensible Labour ministers want to keep Osborne in place. If Labourites were acting in the party's interest, they would not be looking for a scalp.

The reason they are is Brown's personal vendetta.

jonathan m. scott said...

And, of course, Mandelson tried to spin against Osborne after the 'dripping poison' comments, though they looked on good terms at the recent Awards dinner.

It will be interesting to read the new book based on Hugo Young's off the record notes - did Lord Mandypansy say anything to Young against Brown?

Stephen Newton said...

It's interesting that you accept that Oik is a liability, but the idea that the shadow chancellor's departure would hurt Labour most is rather silly.

Cameron/Osborne was supposed to be a dream ticket modelled on Blair/Brown.

Even if Labour supporters were only trying to please Gordon Brown, this would be no bad thing. It's good to see the party united behind its leader.

But you do need to accept that Osborne is only safe because of the nature of his friendship with Cameron. He would still be on the backbenches if he had your Brummie accent.

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