Simon Carr: Would the Chancellor be more convincing if he had a makeover?

Sketch: George Osborne needs three stone under his waistcoat, 10lb of extra crop and a high-tar smoking habit

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The Independent Online

I say to you. Tomorrow I will. For generations our children. Let no one underestimate the gravity. We will fulfil the promise.

The Chancellor really needs more jowl to put this sort of thing across. Something he can shake at the audience for added seriousness. In the same way that Ed Miliband needs a nose ring to complete the makeover, George Osborne needs three stone under his waistcoat, 10lb of extra crop and a high-tar smoking habit.

If he had the weight he'd be able to tell us that time will heal the recession and that he wasn't going to use a multibillion-quid, off-balance sheet fund to keep unviable companies in business.

The Eurosceptics have discerned how important looks are but haven't quite started yet to act on it. Douglas Carswell is a most eloquent speaker and draws great applause from his followers, but when he smiles he looks as if he's being pulled to a halt by an invisible bridle, and if you look into his glittering eyes too long you'll get retinal burns.

They do understand that this sort of surface impression has been very damaging for their case. It was suggested at the Tax Payers' Alliance fringe that no one has needed to argue against euro-scepticism for years.

The case against the euro may have been made in depth and in detail – but had only required a counter argument of four words – "foam-flecked" and "swivel-eyed". Even for a sketch writer this isn't a complete argument.

Public opinion is starting to move, or at least bulge, in their direction. However, there was a notable absence of MPs in the audience – only dashing Desmond Swayne, the PM's PPS. And under a dozen Tories have signed up to the cross- party agreement on an in-or-out referendum.

But, Carswell believes the crisis in the EU is just beginning and that events will start to drive opinion in time for the 2015 manifesto.

The bailouts will fail, he said – normally the phrase is used for taking water out of a sinking boat: this was pumping liquidity into it – and would have the predictable effect.

And who knows, he may be right – his lot, as he said without enough gloating for my taste, have been right about everything else.