In a week of disaster and despair, all over the world, I struggle to find something to write about. It isn’t my place to speak on such a raw and recent tragedy, and since I don’t have much to say that hasn’t already been said, I think I’ll leave my comments for another time. It is perhaps, worth looking to the future of this country’s governance, in order to achieve some distance from more current events. So, after six months of very public tests, my thesis is this: George Osborne will never be the leader of the Conservative Party. Of course that comes with a caveat; he may become leader, stranger things have happened (Corbyn’s election springs to mind), but the Chancellor should not and, in all likelihood, will not win that office.
The crux of the issue is the tax credit debacle, perhaps already forgotten but significant nonetheless. The hallmark of a Conservative Prime Minister is to know which disenfranchised groups to defend. Cynically, because some disenfranchised groups vote for us, but more morally, because some are more worthy of protection and help than others, in a world where resources are few and demand is high. George Osborne, given effective free reign by the Prime Minister on this issue, was clouded by an ideological commitment to austerity and cuts that failed to see that he was potentially hurting not just the ‘loony left’, but aspirational, working-class Conservative voters, who had placed their trust in him less than half a year before. His lack of political fluidity, failing to carefully U-turn before it was too late, when it became apparent that his cuts were very badly received is testament to his success as a Chancellor, but a terrible candidate for Prime Minister. Further, even if Osborne does overcome this significant hurdle in the next few years, I fear his image as the “nasty Chancellor” is forever etched on the electorate’s collective mind, and I fail to see how his repeated and recent failings will in anyway overcome that.
The Conservative Association at York hasn’t been involved in much real politics recently, and so we have continued on with our weekly timetable of events, speakers and socials. We held the Hagueathon, which was a success of cross-party drunken debauchery, and have planned an exciting few weeks, with speakers such as Dan Hannan MEP, Business for Britain, and soon, the Christmas Ball. If you’d like to discus with me why I’m so terribly wrong about George’s career prospects, do come along to any of those events and we’ll hack it out.
Oliver Wilson is the Internal Vice Chairman of the York Conservative and Unionist Association.