Wednesday, October 07, 2009

George Osborne tells it like it is

In politics you don't tend to tell people that if they vote for you their lives are going to get worse. Labour certainly didn't last week, where the Chancellor and the Prime Minister announced billions of pounds of new policy and neglected to mention the word 'debt'. However, the country is in debt, massive debt, largely due to the same Chancellor and Prime Minister. The billions that they were promising don't exist, except as more borrowings on the money markets. In fact, the reality is that whoever people vote for at the next election their lives are going to get worse. The main difference between the two parties is that the Conservatives are actually telling people this while Labour are, well, lying.

George Osborne laid it on the line in his speech at Conservative Party conference. His theme was 'we are all in this together' and then announced a public sector pay freeze and a raising of the pension age for men to 66 among a number of measures designed to reduce government spending and actually do something about the nation's debt. This came after the Chancellor had sneaked out a pay freeze for senior public servants as some sort of pathetic spoiler. Think about it, the man had a platform last week when he could have made the announcement, but instead of facing his own party audience he tried to distract attention from the Conservatives instead. This is pathetic, student-level politics and fooled no-one.

The Shadow Chancellor was very impressive, not his delivery particularly, but his content. He seems to have struck a chord too. Editorials were consistently positive, and drew attention to the contrast between George Osborne's candour and Labour's spin at their own conference. For the Conservatives honesty may really be the best policy.

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