June 5, 2012
Tom Bailey (@baileys72)
Tim Montgomerie recently argued that George Osborne should restrict his role to being Chancellor, rather than also acting as ‘chief election strategist and general busybody across government’, so that he can get a grip on the economy. I’d argue that he should be sacked from both roles rather than restricting his duties to the Treasury. Of course, it is unsurprising to read a left-wing blogger demand that a Conservative chancellor be sacked but I believe many of the coalition’s problems, both political and economic, spring from him. However unrealistic it is, I think there are various reasons why the Conservatives’ long-term prospects would be best served by Cameron ditching his part-time Chancellor.
Firstly, Osborne has not demonstrated any evidence of economic understanding ahead of the crash nor had any success since taking office. In 2006 he described Ireland ‘as a shining example of the art of the possible in long-term economic policymaking’ before in 2007 pledging to match Labour’s spending plans. Given the coalition’s rhetoric against state spending and excessive debt, this seems extremely hypocritical. Since 2010, there has been an economic failure as result of the economic strategy that he put in place. His 2010 Mais Lecture provided the underpinning for the austerity strategy which has helped drive us into a double dip recession. It is hard to see how Cameron could ditch his failing policies without getting rid of the architect.