The FT’s coverage of Conservative politics is now amongst the best in
what was once known as Fleet Street. Again and again Jean Eaglesham,
in particular, produces interesting insights into the direction of
Today’s FT magazine is a case in point. Within a profile of Shadow
Chancellor George Osborne we learn that he believes his 2006 Party
Conference speech in which he denied calls for tax cuts was
strategically more important than his 2007 announcement of the
abolition of inheritance tax for all but millionaires:
"Ask Osborne to identify the turning point for the
Tories and he will pick… the party conference in 2006, the first
under David Cameron’s leadership. There was a row brewing over whether
the Conservatives should commit themselves to tax cuts, he recalls.
Osborne says he decided that he needed to resist rightwing pressure to
do so – marshalling his arguments up to the last minute. “I remember
changing the speech during the conference,” he says. The refusal of
the Tory modernisers to offer activist-pleasing policies for fear of
moving the party off the election-winning centre-ground echoes Tony
Blair’s scrapping of clause 4, the article in the Labour party
constitution that committed it to the principle of nationalisation.
Osborne argues that the decision to adopt a Blair-style economic
policy, eschewing unfunded tax cuts, has been proved prescient. “Of all
the judgments I’ve had to make, and David Cameron’s had to make on
economic policy, that was the most important and has been entirely
vindicated by economic events since,” he says."
The profile goes on to note the very close working relationship between
David Cameron and Mr Osborne, his membership of the infamous Bullingdon
Club, his attempts to keep his weekends free of politics and his social
and economic liberalism. Read the feature here.