I commend Fraser’s most recent post on our part-time Chancellor of the Exchequer. But even my flabber was gasted (or my gast flabbered) by this paragraph:
Being Chancellor in a recession is a very tough job. Osborne’s predecessors are amazed at the time he has to spend politicking across departments. I’m told that he is heading the campaign to defeat Salmond in a Scottish referendum, taking on yet another job to add to his other one of chief strategist.
Emphasis added. There is no reason to doubt Fraser’s information and assuming, as I do, he is correct one must wonder if Mr Osborne finds being Chancellor of the Exchequer – during a double-dip recession no less – too boring a job for a man of his restless mind and infinite political wisdom?
What’s more and though I do not doubt that Mr Osborne would enjoy wrestling with Alex Salmond (what a thought!) I am minded to ask if he has ever been to Scotland except on government or party-political business? Perhaps he has but if so he shows little sign of it. I don’t say that Osborne will be useless in this role, only that the nationalists will welcome him to the party.
More than anything else, however, this adds ballast to the sense that Osborne is more in love with the game of politics than he is with the dreary, difficult, boring business of competent governance. The game is the game, yo. That’s fine for boulevardiers and pundits but it’s reasonable to expect a little more from the Chancellor.
Perhaps Osborne will survive the battering he is receiving at present. If so, good luck to him. But perhaps the Prme Minister should also ask him if he wishes to be a full-time Chancellor or if he prefers to be some kind of full-time (elected) Karl Rove? He can choose one but the days of wanting to be both must, surely, be coming to an end. As it is he appears to be doing two jobs equally badly.
Then again, who would replace him as Chancellor?