Sunday 12 April 2015

George Osborne's Car Crash Interview

If a confrontation with Paxo or Brillo is like going ten rounds with a grizzly bear, spending time on Andrew Marr's sofa is the political equivalent of a smooch by a pound puppy. Yet this giver of the most gentle of interviews had George Osborne on the ropes in seconds.

Of course, if you ask Dan Hodges this is all part of a master plan. We're told there's a genius essence at work beneath the appearance of dogmatism and rank incompetence.

In fact, the Tories' rare foray out of the gutter again underlines a campaign that is deeply dysfunctional. The pledge to squash inheritance tax on homes worth up to £1m isn't exactly an original idea. It featured in their 2010 manifesto but was one of the policies traded in for LibDem support. It's not really an eye-catcher either, with the ever-helpful IFS pouring scorn on the proposal. However, as far as the Tories are concerned they can't be picky. Taking a leaf out of Nigel Farage's core vote shoring up operation during the leaders' debate, Conservatives are trying desperately to woo back Daily Mail types obsessed with property values. Bugger the floating voter, Dave and Osborne are hoping enough of their current and former support will vote and push them over the line so the implicit centre left alliance don't get chance to lock them out of power. This is the alleged political genius of the chancellor at work.

A naked electoral gimmick it is, at least it's doable. At least the Tories have placed their costings of the proposal before media and public scrutiny. The same cannot be said for the £8bn extra for the NHS. Panicked by Labour's non-dom proposals, and now the £7.5bn crackdown on tax dodging they needed another dead cat to throw at 24 hour rolling news and quick. And like Fallon's ill-received attack on Ed Miliband, the superficially attractive spending commitment has misfired spectacularly. As Osbo found out, saying there's a magic money tree due to blossom over the coming years doesn't wash. This is particularly stupid as one of their main lines of attack is Labour profligacy. However, while the opposition have been scrupulous in ensuring all its pledges are costed and paid for, the Tories have forgot to check their own sins before casting their hail of stones.

What a sorry, pathetic spectacle.

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