Today’s autumn statement is the first big Treasury event since GE2005 when Osborne has not been Chancellor or Shadow

November 23rd, 2016

But don’t write off George yet

For a man who still looks quite youthful Osborne has been at the top of British politics for a long time. He was in his mid-30s when the then CON leader, Michael Howard, made him shadow chancellor. He kept hold of this brief throughout the coalition years and when the Tories won a majority in May last year.

His sacking by the incoming May leadership in July marked the end of an era. He’s now a backbencher. For unlike his close colleague, David Cameron, Osborne decided to stay around under the new ledership even though he doesn’t have an official role anymore.

But Osborne is still a player and my guess is that when the Theresa May leadership is eventually toppled George will still be there.

I’ve always had a respect for him after him meeting him for the first tine even before he was an MP a few months before the 2001 General Election. Tony Blair was totally at his peak dominating everything. He seemed to be unstoppable.

The occasion was a college dinner Oxford and I found myself sitting next to the then PPC for Tatton. How could, I quizzed the aspiring MP, Blair’s NewLab ever be beaten. He responded with a suggestion that turned out to be highly prescient – “Labour could be vulnerable if we played the English card”.

He’s always been the great political strategist. Watch this space.

Mike Smithson