The bonds between David Cameron and George Osborne grow ever tighter - Telegraph
David Cameron and George Osborne should not forget the Lib Dems . In turn, this helped Mr Cameron win enough trust to secure an overall. GEORGE Osborne has hinted he warned David Cameron not to hold the EU referendum over fears the Remain camp would lose. The Prime Minister will stand firm in defence of a relationship made stronger by adversity.
But as Osborne rose to speak, a rugby teacher came into the classroom to say he was required to play in a match. Osborne rushed out, leaving the notes of his speech behind. Even as an adolescent, Osborne seemed preternaturally composed, somehow older than his contemporaries and with a clear idea of where he was heading and of the kind of person he wanted to become. It contains many surprising elements, including tales of riotous debauchery, allegations of electoral malpractice in student politics and, at one point, an intimate encounter with the pop star Geri Halliwell — more of which later.
But in many ways Osborne at 40 still retains the essence of Osborne at Those who work for him now remark on his exceptional political brain, on his ability to outthink his opponents with strokes of tactical genius, to present even the most dense economic argument with an eye to what will make the next day's headlines and to know, deep down in his bones, what will win over a crowd.
On television he comes across as stilted, lacking David Cameron's easy bonhomie and banter. In parliament his youthful features — a plump, pale face; foppish dark hair — only serve to underline the impression that he is an overgrown public schoolboy not quite up to the job of steering the country through a devastating financial crisis.
His mouth, according to one commentator, "is curled into a permanent sneer so it looks as if he's laughing when he announces yet more cuts to public services".
Unhelpfully, he is forever dogged by two infamous photographs from his past: Those two images have reinforced — unfairly or otherwise — an overriding public sense of Osborne as a dilettante possessed of a healthy sense of entitlement.
At a time when he is championing a series of swingeing austerity measures, Osborne is only too aware that such a preconception is unfortunate. As a consequence he carefully rations his public appearances — a tactic that has earned him the nickname of "the submarine" among Tory staffers. It's a combination of material privilege and more superficial stuff, like the way he looks and sounds… During the past election campaign, for instance, he was not visible.
That was because he knew he was more of an asset behind the scenes. Twenty-three years later, as chancellor of the exchequer, that same strategy has been successfully refined and redeployed, albeit on a rather larger scale.
For Sam Bain, Osborne's erstwhile debating partner, there is a feeling of inevitability about his classmate's rise to power. It does speak of someone who is very single-minded, and whether or not you agree with his politics, that's a pretty extraordinary thing. Osborne right became shadow chancellor to William Hague left at the age of 33 inand chancellor to David Cameron centre in May From there he rose to become political secretary and speechwriter to William Hague before getting elected Conservative MP for Tatton in and then being appointed shadow chancellor by Michael Howard at the precocious age of Anyone looking at that inexorable rise would be forgiven for thinking Osborne had a masterplan.
During the early days of Cameron's opposition, employees at Conservative Central Office remember that Osborne's professional style was markedly different from that of the leader's.
Whereas Cameron would come in each morning bluff and cheerful, greeting everyone by name, Osborne would walk straight to his office without a word and close the door. Whereas Cameron is the public face of the party and the embodiment of a broad ideological vision, Osborne is the arch-tactician, the political chess player who delights in the game.
He is in some ways the purest and, some might say, the most terrifying form of politician: There are plenty of times in politics where the right thing to do is not the politically correct thing to do. I think George is put on the spot in interviews when people say to him: How do you want this country to be? His wiring is political and that means it is contextual, so his answer would depend on the prevailing political mood. During the election campaign, which Osborne was masterminding, he produced a "Top Tory of the Day" T-shirt for any staffer who came up with the cleverest publicity coup.
He's got a real eye for the political main chance.
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Osborne, by contrast, provides the hard-headed calculation. He also has more liberal instincts than Cameron on issues such as abortion and gay adoption.
A low-tax, small-state Conservative, he is said to find some of Cameron's money-guzzling social and environmental initiatives baffling. And Osborne can be radical: It is for these reasons, says Ganesh, that "Cameron absolutely counts on him".
They are a complementary partnership. Unlike Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, whose alleged gentlemen's agreement in over who would stand for the leadership became part of New Labour political mythology, Osborne insists he struck no such bargain.
That, of course, does not mean he has no ambitions for the leadership — quite the contrary. They are genuinely brothers-in-arms.
They've always both just put winning at the top of their list, even if their outlooks and priorities are different. When I first met George and David for discussions, George would be silent. I think that's changed. He's grown in stature very encouragingly, because he needed to if he was going to be effective. There was a certain nervousness. In public he comes across as being almost too confident for his own good; smoothly assured that his deficit-reduction plan is the right course of action even though almost no other western nation has followed suit and some economists continue to predict fiscal measures will cause sluggish growth and high unemployment for decades.
According to one senior adviser: He's not often shy of political jousting. In private, however, there are signs that his self-assurance in parliament is something of an act. At parties he often appears uncomfortable and guarded, as though constantly on the lookout for a potential conversational banana skin. People who meet him outside the House of Commons find him difficult to connect with.
Even his most strident critics admit he is likeable, even if his policies aren't. In coalition he has, according to one Liberal Democrat, been "a courteous colleague.
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He's a very smooth operator". After the election Osborne made a point of going to business secretary Vince Cable's office to introduce himself, even though it is customary for the more junior minister to make the effort. This in spite of the fact that, according to one Conservative peer, Osborne finds the constraints of coalition "extremely irksome". His relationship with Cable is said to be good — at least on the surface — but, says the Lib Dem: They are keen to stress his quick wit and dark, acerbic humour although the best Osborne joke I heard was his remark during a Christmas party attended by the rapper 50 Cent.
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He is said to have quipped to guests: When Thatcher decided her successor was unsound on Europe she turned on Major. Major insists that while Thatcher had ruled out ERM entry in the s, she was keen to join by because she saw the benefits of tackling inflation.
John Major and Norman Lamont, The new prime minister rewarded Lamont for managing his leadership campaign with a job that was probably a few notches too high for Lamont. Relations were completely poisoned when, in Lamont's eyes, Major ignored his warnings about the ERM from Lamont said matters were compounded when, on Black Wednesday on 16 Septembera cabal of pro-European cabinet ministers dismissed his warnings that Britain should bail out of the ERM early in the day. Cameron had a ringside seat as Lamont's special adviser.
Lamont offered to resign. It took until the following spring before Major effectively sacked Lamont by offering him a more junior cabinet post as environment secretary. Lamont showed his anger when he uttered these famous words in his resignation speech: We give the impression of being in office but not in power. John Major and Kenneth Clarke, Major wrote in his memoirs that he rarely disagreed with Clarke despite his "more enthusiastic pro-Europeanism".Osborne on Cameron-Trump relationship
But some of Major's supporters believed that the pro-European's Clarke's position on the single currency boxed in the former prime minister. They became close after entering parliament infour years after their party had lost power, just as Cameron and Osborne entered parliament together in Blair and Brown were both impatient modernisers, as Cameron and Osborne eventually became.
But there is an important difference. The rot set in for Blair and Brown three years before they entered government when Brown felt that Blair deprived him of his inheritance when the future prime minister won the Labour leadership in Osborne happily acted as Cameron's campaign manager in the leadership election, though there were times when he wondered whether his friend had the stomach for the fight.
Osborne has leadership ambitions. But he is happy to wait his turn, unlike Brown. Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, Darling faced a tricky task in June as he succeeded the longest serving chancellor of the modern era who, at that stage, still appeared to be wedded to Prudence. But Darling quickly spotted danger signals, most notably the abolition of the 10p tax rate in Brown's last budget as chancellor.
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- The bonds between David Cameron and George Osborne grow ever tighter
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Relations never really recovered when Brown gave Darling what was described as the hair dryer treatment in August after a famous Guardian interview. Darling had said that the economic times faced by Britain and the rest of the world "are arguably the worst they've been in 60 years".
A month later Lehman Brothers collapsed. David Cameron and George Osborne, Osborne probably has a better memory of all this relatively recent history even though he was seven when Geoffrey Howe was appointed chancellor in May Cameron was twelve at the time.