Highlights from George Osborne’s interview with the Telegraph today:
The next election: "I don’t underestimate the ability of the Labour Party to win, even under Gordon Brown," he says. "I don’t think he’s a particularly attractive Prime Minister. But I don’t assume that they’ve lost it."
Making policy: "We’re spending a lot of time now thinking about that early period and the things you need to get going. For example, education reform, which will be a very early priority of the Conservative government.
"I’m of the view, and this was certainly the case at last year’s party conference, that you’ve got to give the public time to see what you’re offering. If the price of that is that some of them are adopted by the Labour Party then so be it."
The size of government: "I think there is a massive opportunity for the Conservative Party to say, ‘look you have had your go’ at trying to use Left-wing methods of simply redistributing cash to achieve a fairer society. Now let the Conservatives show that it’s about more than redistributing cash. It’s about giving people real opportunity and tackling the causes of poverty. I’m very clear that a Conservative government would seek to reduce the national income taken by the state."
On governing: "Tony Blair was a good politician, but not a good Prime Minister and that’s what we don’t want to be. We don’t want to be just people who are good at winning elections, we want to be good at governing. I think we benefit from having seen the mistakes that we think Tony Blair made in 1997.
"They [Labour] were so focused on crossing the finishing line that they didn’t know what they were going to do afterwards. In British politics you can collapse exhausted across the finishing line at four in the morning on the election night, suddenly you’re in office the next day."
"I’m tempted to say that Conservative governments are normally elected to clear up the mess left by Labour governments. It’s just a fact of life and we’ve got to do a lot of hard thinking about how we’re going to deal with it."