Why George Osborne scares me

Save a hung parliament or an immense revival from the Labour Party, we will likely be seeing a Conservative government by summer. This worries me for many reasons, including having a cabinet of old Etonians and the fear that the glare from David Cameron’s shiny forehead might damage my TV screen somehow.

But what worries me more is our future Chancellor of the Exchequer. George Gideon Oliver Osborne, heir to the Osborne baronetcy of Ballentaylor, County Tipperary (why is it that the Conservatives fear a class war again?) is set to be put in charge of our nation’s finances. This frightens me.

No it’s not just because he looks sinister a hundred percent of the time, though this is discomfiting. Nor is it the way he sits behind Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions with the expression of the nerdy kid who was best friends with the school bully – constantly smirking as his Leader lays into Gordon Brown, but squirming and gurning like an affronted child whenever somebody comments on him personally. Okay, so this list of things that don’t concern me is growing quite long – needless to say I find him quite unpleasant on the whole. But the reasons I don’t want him as Chancellor are entirely – well, mostly – politically based.

Firstly, while trying to steer clear of the ugly brewing class war, I can’t help but feel somebody who is a member of Irish aristocracy and has an estimated wealth of £4.3 million can truly relate to the common man on financial issues. He has said that he would be interested in “tax simplification” – attractive at first, until it is found that what he means is tax flattening. Though he said we would be unlikely to introduce a ‘pure’ flat tax in this country, he said it with the air of a man who might as well have followed the statement with, “but it won’t be through lack of


The idea of a flatter tax rate in a struggling economy is baffling. With a colossal national deficit, we cannot afford to drastically lower taxes, meaning that a flat tax would result in higher taxes for the poorest in the nation. As the poorest in the nation are currently struggling to get by, this hardly seems like an acceptable option. Other than this, Osborne engaged mostly in criticism of Labour over the economy without offering any fleshed out alternative policies, though they seem likely to include tax breaks for big business – well, he wouldn’t want to offend the Tory base.

In addition to appalling policy decisions, he is not helping a party trying to show themselves as the honest alternative to New Labour by allegedly soliciting party donations from Russian oligarchs and ‘flipping’ his homes on his expenses sheet during last year’s scandal. Constantly talking about how we can no longer trust Labour with the country while engaging in clandestine financial activity is not the best way to woo the voters.

As well as this, he just seems like a generally unpleasant character. Okay, personality should not really affect voting decisions, I know, but someone I vote for needs to appeal to me in some way or other at least. For example, when asked in jest by a journalist whether he might be slightly autistic, Osborne replied, “We’re not getting on to Gordon Brown yet.” He was immediately lambasted by autism charities and opposition politicians for using a mental disorder as a perjorative term. It is this kind of attack, which is not only personal in nature but insensitive in content, which fails to endear him.

I am yet to detect any sort of personality in this man. Admittedly this is perhaps a trend with Chancellors (the last two not being famed for their people skills), but it would be nice to have some sort of likeability in those we are electing. I know, I know, it’s not the most important thing as every Republican said when they were up against a certain dynamic young candidate in 2008, but in order to truly have the trust of a nation you need people who can inspire confidence, and for me Osborne does quite the opposite of that.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m no Alastair Darling fan, and Vince Cable, as much as I hope, is not going to win it. Neither of these, though, gives me the same creeping feeling when I see them on TV. You are probably thinking that my reasoning for this is not everso sound, and you know, you’re probably right, but I can’t help it. I don’t want this man in power. I get nightmares.


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