Osborne under increasing pressure to move to the right


For the left, the economic mistakes George Osborne is currently making are predominantly mistakes driven by his adherence to the dogma of austerity.

OsborneThe economy is flatlining, living standards are in reverse and life for many people is increasingly defined by longer working hours for less reward.

This as a consequence of Osborne taking billions out of the economy in a race to cut the deficit but also with an eye on shrinking what most conservatives view as an overbearing state.

In other words, the chancellor is pursuing an unapologetically right-wing agenda; and that is where the blame for the country’s current predicament lies.

You might think, then, that this would lead to a degree of self-criticism on the right with regard to cutting one’s way out of recession.

Unfortunately, the opposite holds true. The failure of austerity to bring with it a return to prosperity has had the perverse effect of emboldening the tory right, who are closing in on Osborne not from the centre but from further to the right.

As Peter Hoskin writes at Conservative Home:

“Tory backbenchers regarded him [Osborne] as the solid backbone of the Cameroon project, a man who was more personable and practical than the party leader. Now, they’re more likely to complain about him and his policies.”

Tory backbenchers have of course been noisier than usual of late what with many getting themselves into a state over David Cameron’s support for gay marriage.

They may complain about gay marriage, however, but they will live with it.

It’s Osborne’s failure to deliver economic growth that’s starting to sow genuine discontent among the tory ranks, as it’s this that is ultimately going to decide the next election.

It’s difficult to overstate how important it is to the government that the ‘green shoots’ of economic recovery appear in the next 18 months. Otherwise, as Ed Miliband warned the prime minister in PMQs yesterday, Cameron risks going into the 2015 election as the first prime minister in living memory to leave the country less well off in real terms than when he took office.

Not exactly a record of which to be proud at anytime, less so during an election campaign when the Labour Party machine will be in full flow.

The Telegraph is also beginning in its editorials to reflect the view that the chancellor needs to be more courageous in his attempts to revive the economy.

Last week it lamented the government for being ‘too timid’ in its fiscal strategy‘.

“There are many things that this Government has got right, but in the area that matters most – the economy – it has not been nearly radical enough,” the paper warned.

Unsurprisingly, what the tory right wants is tax cuts and deregulation. Isn’t that, after all, what they always want?

The spanner in the works for Labour, however, is that this appears to be what the governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervin King, wants too.

‘King blames rising inflation on own goals by ministers,’ was how the Mail framed it today.

What King did was call for supply reforms. He declined to be more descriptive than that, but supply reforms are generally considered to be code for tax cuts and deregulation.

The tory right appears to have an ally in the governor in the bank  of England for austerity 2.0.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

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  • Mr Reasonable

    Expecting some Tory trolling any minute now…

  • robertcp

    Cutting taxes might increase growth but they will also increase the deficit. The government really is stuck!

  • Mick

    ” Cameron risks going into the 2015 election as the first prime minister in living memory to leave the country less well off in real terms than when he took office.”

    He forgot those other blokes in Labour. Poor old Callaghan, always overlooked. The Gordon Brown of his day, left to oversee the chaos left when the ‘wanted’ Labour bloke evacuated the unmanageable messes.

    And Labour wan’t much fun in ‘austerity’ themselves, during the socialist ‘golden age’ of the late 1940s. We were recovering from war but all the government demanded was extra state control, sacrifices, extra work for less wages and even bans on going to midweek football or the dogs.

    Old Labour really grind when they’re in the saddle.

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