Gideon Osborne: how to make saying nothing into a virtue

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Gideon Osborne has announced that, due to the “complete economic mess” the Conservatives will have to rewrite all their economic policies. To a degree that makes sense, except when you remember one thing:

They don’t have any economic policies!

Osborne has done a brilliant job at not saying anything about what he plans to do for three years. In fairness, he did announce three nuggest last autumn – raising the IHT threshold, lowering Stamp Duty and paying for both with a charge on non-domiciles – but even these backfired slighly when it was realised that the latter couldn’t even begin to pay for the other two. Now he’s even wiped these off the slate.

I mock him, but I do actually admire his low cunning. He recognises that getting bogged down into specifics can only do his party harm, so he avoids them like the plague. And with the economy in the state that it is, he is ultimately only stating the obvious when he says that any policies now would need to be revised before the general election. It is going to be difficult to beat the Tories with the economics stick and have much impact, despite the fact that in three years Osborne has failed to demonstrate any economic acumen (as opposed to PR).

Being a third party and vying for a platform, the Lib Dems can’t afford to play the same game, but after the last six weeks it has become clear that greater discretion on the part of our leader when it comes to taxation plans is sorely needed.

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