George Osborne has principles. Well, one principle at any rate.

Alexander's picture

It’s ‘out of principle’ that George ‘strongly supports gay marriage.’ Not much of a principle, you’d think, but enough to give young George a sense of pride: ‘I’m proud,’ he writes in The Times, ‘to be part of a Government that will introduce a Bill to allow gay marriage.’ Well, at least he found something in this sham government to be proud about.

And let’s not forget George’s stated commitment to ‘the current abortion laws’. Though falling just short of a principled stance, it still qualifies as a strong feeling, springing no doubt from aesthetic considerations. Perhaps he just happens to like the sight of a recognisable little person being scraped out piece by piece. Well, de gustibus… and all that.

Nor are these just abstract ideas, devoid of any practical significance. For George believes that this egregious betrayal of the most fundamental conservative tenets will win the Tories the next election, all in the name of conservatism of course. This is one lesson George has learned from Obama’s victory which he, along with his boss, cheered in a most fawning manner. There are also others.

‘First, the incumbent government was re-elected despite a historically weak recovery.’ You sure it’s ‘despite’, George? Not ‘because’? Obama was re-elected because he started out with about 75 percent of the Hispanic vote and an almost 100-percent support among the blacks, who would have voted for him even if he had started another Great Depression. To offset this in-built advantage Romney needed to get about a 10-percent lead among the whites, and he only managed seven points. Though a landslide, this proved insufficient.

What Osborne means is that Obama has shown it’s possible to pass all blame for the pitiful state of the economy on to the previous administration. Sure enough, Dubya’s tenure was hardly a success, and the $10-trillion public debt he left behind hardly a nice legacy. Yet this doesn’t explain why in his four years at the helm Obama, rather than reducing that figure, managed to add $6 trillion to it. Nor does it explain why during the same period unemployment increased to a level threatening social cohesion.

Would the same trick work for the Tories here? I doubt it. The British, thoroughly corrupted by decades of mendacious socialist propaganda, are naturally inclined to vote Labour – unless the Tories give them a compelling reason not to. Mrs Thatcher, as she then was, gave them such a reason: before winning her first term, she had explained how she’d sort out the mess left behind by Labour. She then proceeded to do just that, winning her subsequent elections as a result. ‘Ain’t my fault, Guv’ won’t cut the same ice.

After this lesson, which he oddly divides into two, George becomes totally confused, and he isn’t the only one. ‘Third, the Republican message about fiscal responsibility… gave Mr Romney a small poll lead on economic issues.’ But we’ve just been told that such issues don’t matter much. Nor does this explain why Mr Romney still lost to a candidate who even his own mother would say preaches the exact opposite of ‘fiscal responsibility’. Really, I’ve often thought that an Oxbridge education is overrated these days, and George is living proof.

‘Fourth, the Romney campaign ultimately did not convince voters that he was on the side of ordinary hard-working… Americans.’ Actually the Romney campaign ‘ultimately did not convince voters’ that he was on the side of ordinary non-working welfare recipients. However, acting on this lesson here would contradict the previous one on fiscal responsibility. Therein madness lies, not just a most lamentable deficit of logic and economic literacy.

The fifth lesson has to do with George’s solitary principle, that involving homomarriage and barely pre-natal abortion. Hail those, and every Millwall supporter will pin a blue rosette to his home strip. Somehow I don’t believe this, though I’m sure George has stacks of focus-group data to support this firm if fleeting principle. Focus groups, you understand, have obviated the need for our politicians to think seriously and act courageously. Just find out what people want to hear and say it – what could be easier than that?

I suspect what George really means is that most chaps at Islington dinner parties support homomarriage – even though it’s unlikely to produce abortions, which has to be the downside in their eyes. George’s CV suggests that he has never ventured outside this or similar groups, with nary a Millwall fan anywhere in sight. 

It’s a pity the Tories won a share of the last election. Had they lost, Labour would have had to face the cacophonic music they themselves had made, doubtless driving the country further into the abyss. That would have given the Tories a chance to regroup and find real conservatives to lead the party out of the wilderness, and the country out of its morass. This way we’re stuck with George, his frankly idiotic lessons, and the catastrophic likelihood of a Labour comeback. All those lessons notwithstanding, I’d say he rates an F, and I’m being generous.

The Tories must win as Tories, not as Labour Lite. If they eradicate the last vestiges of difference between themselves and the loonier left-wingers, it’s not clear why anyone should vote for them. Left-leaning Brits would vote for real Labour, rather than a me-too pastiche. And true conservatives would probably opt for UKIP – in fact most of my conservative friends do so already.

Meanwhile George and Dave will be on their way to Brussels, leaving behind a poor, despondent nation struggling to find any hope or indeed perceive itself as a nation. Or else perhaps George will devote himself to writing a history of the Obama administration. Paula Broadwell can give him another lesson, in hagiography.