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Team Boris vs Team Osborne — the first skirmish

6 August 2014

6 August 2014

Today was set to be a boring day in Westminster. Sajid Javid, a courtier to George Osborne, was billed to give (yet another) speech about how the economy is going ‘gangbusters’ and why evil Labour would trash the recovery. Dutiful hacks were pottering off to the Centre for Policy Studies, the venue for Javid’s speech, when news broke of Boris Johnson’s ‘off the cuff’ announcement that he might stand in 2015 after all.

This political hand grenade blew the government’s media plan completely apart. Javid was spotted calling CCHQ for a line to take on the Boris comeback. He duly took to the podium and prepared for questions that would have nothing to with George Osborne’s ‘long-term economic plan’. The blond bombshell is the only story in town.

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Javid did, however, try to regain the initiative for ‘Team Osborne’. Last week Chris Grayling took 47 seconds before uttering the Tory mantra ‘long-term economic plan’ in a speech. Mr S thought that was quick; but Javid took only 28 seconds today. A phenomenal achievement!

The rest of Javid’s speech was familiar: a rehash of countless interviews and profiles of the Culture Secretary. Javid’s immigrant father instilled the value of thrift — ‘not spending more than you’ve got — in the young Javid, while the family lived above a shop, struggling gainfully. The lesson is lifelong; this government, Javid said, understands the need to be economically responsible.

You could have fooled Mr S: national debt £1.3 trillion as of spring 2014. That’s the fact. The rest is just noise.

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Show comments
  • Robin Wilde

    The Long Term Economic Plan mantra has long confused me. Since they’re believers in unrestricted free markets, there should not be an economic plan. If that’s the case, then we must draw the conclusion it’s a rubbish soundbite designed to be crammed into every speech and PMQs appearance ever.

    Not that the Tories are the only ones guilty of it, mind. Cost of Living Crisis and Stronger Economy, Fairer Society are getting on my nerves too.

  • M. Wenzl

    What is the Tories’ long-term economic plan? Pretending to pay down the deficit and dabbling in some privatisations for peanuts?

  • william martin

    Ukip is certain to take the balance of power in coalition with Tories

    • Roger Hudson

      Or let Labour in through the middle due to the voting system.

  • Spectre

    How about a conservative for the leadership?

    If the choice is between two classical liberals, then i’ll vote for UKIP.

  • Lady Magdalene

    Mr Steerpike: fancy pointing out the facts about our ever-increasing levels of debt.
    Next you’ll be pointing out that we’re giving the EU nearly £13billion a year and another £12 billion in international welfare …. and the money is all borrowed.

  • HookesLaw

    Pretty pathetic from Steerpike again. No doubt taking his cue frome theprejudices of the Editor.
    The govt inherited a terible and rising national debt and a terrible deficit and an economy in no shape to pay it off.
    But don’t let the difficulties of the truth get in the way of a scummy bit of journalism. Again.

    • Des Demona

      Prejudices? Government debt in 2010 was 660 million. 4 years later it is 1.3 trillion? The slowest recovery on record, the biggest fall in living standards since the 19th century and a doubling of the national debt? But they’re doing a good job?

  • you_kid

    We note that these posers pose for yet another photo-op without complying to basic British H&S legislation which requires the posers to wear steel-cap boots prior to entering a construction site with more than five construction workers. Given that the site in the background makes it highly likely that more than 5 no. construction workers are operating on that site at any given time, we now expect to see judicial proceedings to be taken up at the earliest convenience.

    • In2minds

      Well spotted phone the Council

      • you_kid

        An appropriate and proportionate measure would be to simply opt for making a citizen’s arrest. I call upon all local bubble denizens for support.

    • HookesLaw

      Was any work taking place? H&S regs require the site manager to make sure their safety scheme matches the precautions to the risks.
      Health and safety requires controlled access to the site and its more important to stop people and particularly children wondering in from the street than putting pointless boots on visitors who are being merely shepherded and shown round.

      Perhaps you might care to look at the photo from Boris’ and Osborn’s point of view and comment on the footwear of the journalists and photographers. Care to guess how many feet might be involved?

      • you_kid

        I sense a mass show trial coming right up …

        Yet, for all we know the photographer of the image might not have entered the construction site perimeter designed to British Standard BS 1722-5:2006.

  • james allen

    Thank you Mr S…. this LT economic plan bollocks is stifling debate away from the real issue, namely the runaway deficit, which Osborne has singularly failed to bring under control. When will the main parties stop behaving like cretins?

    • rtj1211

      Until they realise they ARE cretins, if indeed they are, they will likely never stop behaving as they currently do…..

    • ReasonableVoice

      Give Osborne a break! He has slashed the deficit from the record peacetime ratio of 11.3% of GDP in 2009 (thanks Gordon/Ed) to around 5.5% of GDP this year while presiding over the strongest recovery in the G7 while the eurozone is chronically depressed and the rest of the world is experiencing subpar growth. There’s every reason to think that economic momentum will push down the deficit over the next few years – let’s just hope after this latest Tory clean-up that Labour don’t get the chance to wreck fiscal credibility again.

      • james allen

        Yeh right…… 5.5pc is the target for 2015/16 and this year is going to be worse than last. We’re way off course (remember, he was going to eliminate the deficit in this Parliament)

        • ReasonableVoice

          There’s a real recovery going on out there and it is tribute to the flexibility of the UK economy and confidence in the UK’s macroeconomic framework. The labour market data are what really count and there has been a stunning rise in total employment – despite one of the biggest fiscal retrenchments within the OECD or seen historically – taking UK jobs from 28.8mn at end 2009 to 30.6mn. The unemployment rate is down to 6.5% from 8.4% at its peak, whereas the rate within our biggest trading partner, the euro area, rose relentlessly to a peak of 12.0% last year (thankfully even this is now starting to fall). Manufacturing is coming back and the ONS estimates are probably too low (as usual). Service growth is based on a lot more than house prices. Yes there is an issue with national debt but Osborne was dealt a terrible hand by Brown & Co in 2010 and overall the results are very impressive, and frankly way better than all the pessimists, including the IMF until recently, expected.

          • james allen

            GDP has fallen per capita, but the population has increased – hence GDP growth. Not sure that’s a great record.
            Keep trying.

            • ReasonableVoice

              I don’t advise having much trust in UK GDP data. They will most probably be revised significantly higher as per usual. What’s more, the population is aging rapidly. Let’s take GDP per person of working age (15-64 years). In Q2 this was only 1% below the 2007 average. But 2007 was the peak of the pre-crisis credit-driven boom, so not a good baseline comparison. If, anyhow, we take the BoE’s measure of GDP, which is designed to correct for the probable ONS upward revisions, then GDP per working aged person is just 0.4% off that 2007 peak.

              • james allen

                And we’re not in a credit-driven “boom” now??!!!

                • ReasonableVoice

                  Actually, no. Bank lending to individuals grew by 1.9% y/y in June (including student loans it would be about 2.4%). Bank loans to non-financial businesses are down 3.8% y/y in June.

                • james allen

                  It’s not just new lending that’s the problem, it’s the millions of people who are leveraged to the hilt on the basis of their inflated home values, and will not be able to afford the increase in interest payments once we get back to non-negative real interest rates. We have kept the balloon inflated without a housing price correction as seen in US, Spain etc. Meanwhile said inflation is punishing those at the bottom of the ladder most. Quelle surprise…..

  • Span Ows

    he didn’t say he was now top dog Muslim then?

    • HookesLaw

      He has said he does not practice any religion. His wife is a Christian. His children are Christian. He has also apparently said that after the UK he would live in Israel as it offered him “the warm embrace of freedom and liberty.”.

      What you seem unable to grasp is that he is a ‘person’.

      • Span Ows

        LOL. Wikipedia is great isn’t it? Funnily enough I knew both those things without having to look it up AND he is a very proud Thatcherite.

        Next time you feel the need to be snide please ask what a comment means if you don’t understand.

      • Lady Magdalene

        Being a person doesn’t tick the diversity and equality boxes Cameron desperately tries to tick.

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