But having read Fraser's article, I was left with one overwhelming thought: should George Osborne now make a very hard choice? Does he want to run the general election campaign or does he want to be Chancellor? Is it possible for him to do both properly?
Despite numerous charm offensives, Mr Osborne is still not winning them over. Financiers who attend his soirees grumble that it is all politics and no economics. When asked about economics, I am told, he becomes rather glum and evasive. But when asked about political strategy, his face lights up. There are no specific policies causing the City particular concern, but rather a general impression, which one hears repeatedly in the City, that the soon-to-be-chancellor has no expertise — and not even much interest — in the job he is about to inherit.He is being damned on the flimsiest of grounds.
Exactly. But perception is as important as reality in these situations. If the economy was fine, you could quite reasonably argue that you could prepare for government and oversee all the election planning. But in these circumstances, it is more difficult.
Personally, I would like to see George remain in post as Shadow Chancellor, but make the difficult decision to leave election planning to Eric Pickles. For a political animal like George, it would be a huge wrench. But it would be a decision which would go down very well in the business community and the City.