Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Applause for the hard-hitting Ballad of Squeaky George

Share
Related Topics

The rain was tipping down over Manchester but inside the conference hall the sun still shone, fluffy clouds floated round the auditorium. See what happens when you cast aside cynicism? It brings spring to October, and the joy of perpetual day. Ah, the noble calling.

Tories woke to sceptical comment in the papers. A poll felt the party hadn't changed (the same question asked next week will be more interesting). Tory commentators seem to be embarrassed by not having been tough enough to date. But the party's going well. The tone is right, the manner is correct, the messages are good. Even "we're all in this together" is starting to work. George Osborne uses it to chastise the rich – that's when the slogan kicks into life.

But are they ready? That's the only question. Do they look like they could make a government? If you squint you can see Cameron as Prime Minister. It would suit him. But what would he do? Those policy things that people talk about.

Maybe there's a guide in the old saying: "It doesn't matter much whom you marry because it always turns out to be someone else."

I'm pretty sure he'd do those things you'd expect from a nice young Tory with a Treasury background. How about George – not quite Squeaky George any more. Where does he fit in? He was there in front of us yesterday, handing out the bad news. His role is to be the most hated chancellor since Geddes. It'll suit him.

He's found a way of exhuming bad news in a way that Tory England likes. He's going to cut ministerial salaries, the number of MPs, public sector pensions over £50,000. Applause. He's going to cut quango salaries and baby bonds – but not for the poorest. Applause. He's going to freeze public sector pay but not for the poorest. Applause. He's going to cut family benefit for families making more than £50,000. Applause. He's going to keep the top tax rate at 50p, and not bring in the inheritance tax cut yet. And that got applause as well.

They were applauding the loss of their benefits. Why? "Because we're all in this together." No, he's got it. He did it. This is starting to hang together.

And because much of it is being proposed by Gordon Brown, it's going to be more difficult to rubbish.

But it fell to Robert Chote of the Institute for Fiscal Studies to provide an explosive statistic at a fringe meeting: Gordon's cuts as laid out in the Red Book "are going to reverse by three-quarters the spending increases during the years of plenty".

That is astounding – the one great achievement of New Labour (to increase public spending by 50 per cent) is to be undone by them.

Why haven't the Tories been banging that drum?

I suppose they can only do one thing at a time.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Why it won’t be the i wot won it – our promise to you

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
A relative of dead Bangladeshi blogger Washiqur Rahman reacts after seeing his body at Dhaka Medical College in Dhaka on March 30,  

Atheists are being hacked to death in Bangladesh, and soon there will be none left

Rory Fenton
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor