Commentary and opinion on national and regional politics by Seema Malhotra

Monday, 17 November 2008

In the interests of Britain, it is time for George Osborne to go

I have to admit I find myself rather shocked at the depths to which the Tories will go to win power. Even going as far to increase a risk of a run on the pound at the most delicate time for our national economy. Not only do I pity George Osborne for doing more to effectively end his future as a serious politician before it begins, but I find myself extremely angry at his thoughtlessness. He has put himself in the position of someone who has something to gain from a “run” on the pound and is probably now willing it to happen – a chance to say “I told you so”.
We all know there are risks in today’s economy. And the drop in sterling’s value hits many of us in different ways. I was just one of many who saw a trip to America planned months ago suddenly become much more expensive than expected. But I also heard many Americans saying how they might finally plan a trip to England – as it is a “good time to do so”. Sometimes a reduction in currency value can be a helpful correcting mechanism to increase investment by foreign enterprise and visitors from abroad who are also more likely to spend.
It seems to me that there is a pattern in the Tory approach to the economic crisis – to identify a fear, regardless of the probability of it happening, and stoke it up – making it more likely to be a reality. Imagine kids round a camp fire when there are smouldering embers – some trying to put them out, others fanning the sparks and hoping they’ll catch. Neither outcomes are inevitable – but they are a lot determined by the action you choose to take.
Osborne and the Tories made a clear choice – if talking Britain into a deeper recession is what it takes for them to think they can win power, then that is what they will do.
If this shows anything, it also is that Osborne has never really left behind his university debating society and operates, unfortunately for Britain, as if he just needs to get the cheers from his side in the Oxford Union and he can win the day, and no damage will really be done. Well, Britain needs more than that. And dare I say it, it needs a more mature opposition to be working in partnership with the Government. It is surely time for Osborne to go.