George Osborne’s speech on Monday calling for huge cash bonuses not to be paid this year drew an angry response from those hoping to receive huge cash bonuses – and various City and business pressure groups. A few years ago I would have felt deeply uncomfortable with what Obsorne proposed, but because nearly every bank has drawn heavily on state support over the last year, I think politicians do have a right – even a responsibility – to offer firm guidance to the banks.
The FT led the charge against Osborne with both a critical news story, gleefully dissected by Iain Martin, and a harsh leader. Today, the paper follows up with a page two story on a letter Alastair Campbell has sent the paper criticising the shadow Chancellor.
It is no surprise that a Labour partisan like Campbell is acting against Osborne. But what is funny is how Campbell tries to pretend that Labour is dismissive of Osborne’s political talents. Whatever one might think of Osborne, it was a series of political moves that he came up with that led Brown to cancel his plans for an autumn election in 2007.
Labour’s true attitude towards Osborne was perhaps better summed up by this quote from a Labour strategist in the Sunday Telegraph: ‘We need to take him out of the game.”