In a party conference address earlier this month, Osborne gave the speech that an American politician will someday have to give. He said that he is not ideologically hostile to government. “Millions of Britons depend on public services and cannot opt out,” he declared. He defended government workers against those who would deride them as self-serving bureaucrats: “Conservatives should never use lazy rhetoric that belittles those who are employed by the government.”
But, he pivoted, “it is because we treat those who work in our public sector with respect that I want to be straight with you about the choices we face.” The British government needs to cut back.
Osborne declared that his government would raise the retirement age. That age was scheduled to rise at some point in the distant future. Osborne vowed to increase it sometime in the next five to 10 years.
Osborne declared that there would be no tax cuts any time soon. He said that as a matter of principle he believes that the top income tax rate of 50 percent is too high. But, he continued, “we cannot even think of abolishing the 50 percent rate in the rich” while others down the income scale are asked to scrimp.
Osborne offered government workers the same sort of choice that many private sector executives are forced to make. He proposed a public sector pay freeze in order to avoid 100,000 layoffs. He said that the pay freeze would apply to all workers except those making less than £18,000 (nearly $29,000) “because I don’t believe in balancing the budget on the backs of the poorest. Nor do you.”
There were other austerities. Osborne vowed to cut a program he once supported but which has not proved its worth: a baby bond program that was meant to help offset the costs of childhood. There would no longer be means-tested tax credits for families making more than £50,000.
Osborne’s speech was not an isolated event. The Conservatives have treated British voters as adults for a year now, with a string of serious economic positions. The Conservatives supported the Labour government bank bailout, even though it was against their political interest to do so. Last November, Osborne opposed a cut in the value-added taxes on the grounds that the cuts were unaffordable and would not produce growth. It is not easy for any conservative party to oppose tax cuts, but this one did it.
And the public has responded. The Conservatives now have a dominating lead over Labour. Over all, support for the Conservatives rose by 4 percentage points after Osborne’s speech. The polls reveal that nearly 60 percent of Britons support the austerity measures. The Conservatives have a 21-point lead when it comes to being honest about public finances and a 14-point lead on economic policy generally.
The key is that Osborne is not merely offering pain, but a different economic vision — different from Labour and different from the Thatcherism that was designed to meet the problems of the 1980s.
In the U.S., the economic crisis has caused many to question capitalism. But Britain has discredited the center-left agenda with its unrelenting public spending, its public development agencies and disappointing public-private investment partnerships.
Osborne and David Cameron, the party leader, argue that Labour’s decision to centralize power has undermined personal and social responsibility. They are offering a responsibility agenda from top to bottom. Decentralize power so local elected bodies have responsibility. Structure social support to encourage responsible behavior and responsible spending.
If any Republican is looking for a way forward, start by doing what they’re doing across the Atlantic.
Read the full article HERE.
But the piece misattributed the Conservatives' popularity to the bravery of their own policies, rather than the prime minister's hideous unpopularity. Still, it's undoubtedly some good press for Mr. Osborne.
Blair mark two no more lies. and even that was a lie.
I think George is spot on being transparent with the British people. He needs to bring in tough new measures to deal with over spend byGovernment. The average family now owes 50-100 thousand pounds to pay for Gordons "investment" in public services.
Ask the average hard working family whether their investment was value for money and they will say
Tax payers need transparency in an easy to understand form to maintain democratic accountability.
Transparency, transparency, transparency.
Utter twaddle. Idealogue on NYT may like the GOO nonsense, but it's still nonsense. It quite simply does not add up. Promising PS workers save their jobs by accepting pay freeze even for pretty low paid yet also sneaking out announcements of 25% cut in MOD and £15 Billion from NHS pay roll.
This NYT view is an isolated one. Cons are the only party anywhere seriously proposing cuts at this stage in the cycle. That is because this would be idiotic and deeply recessionary.
Devil-take-the-hindmost will not do anytime, but we particularly cannot afford it when the global economy is in a fragile recovery.
Word ver = kindde -> almost "children"
Transparent? Translucent more like. He has no clothes (anag) = He's clot.
Meanwhile the poll lead tightens and could now wither as GOO's plans for withering the PSs root and branch become apparent.
Your headline is pretty misleading Iain!
If you had said "Well-known conservative commentator praises Osborne", that would be a good deal less surprising than "New York Times praises Osborne".
The fact that David Brooks approves of George Osborne's speech is not evidence that the speech is attracting widespread international acclaim. It is evidence of the prior position of David Brooks, which is well know to anyone who reads his columns regularly and is utterly unsurprising. You would do well to make this a bit clearer!
No Iain the NYT did not praise Osborne - one of their columnists did. Important distinction. This is an Op-ed piece not an editorial!
Interesting guy Brooks - a bit of a maverick although broadly Conservative. Wiki has a good article on him:
Praise from the raving moonbat New York Times? That headline alone confirmed everything I loathe about Osborne's policies and the detail of the article just made me sob quietly.
If we ever needed an indication that the Conservative Party is completely off-beam it's praise from statists and leftists like this.
Ironic considering Osborne's tendency to rip his speeches straight from Republicans.
Sorry oh , please pull the other one. Some of us are not star struck and misty eyed by Messrs Osborne and Cameron- neither should you be.
Osborne is like his wallpaper, will come unstuck due to political climate change!
George Osborne is fine, and I like him, but he needs to grow a pair and learn how to be more forceful, especially to a working class audience.
His performance against Yvette Cooper on QT was dire when all he needed was a little bit of nous and he could have shown her up for the dishonest cretin she is. He allowed her to get a lie across, that the Tories would close training and funding for the unemployed, with barely a squeak back. Dismissing her premise is not good enough when she has the audiences ear, he must dissect and explain the dishonesty of her premise, and he could have.
If he sorts that out, he will do well.
And up pop Chris Paul and Paddy Briggs yet again...the new Labour attack dogs on any blog who do not lick Labour arse.
I wonder whether one of them is Draper?
Gee Whizz - the Labout lot got out of bed early today! Must be handout day!
Chris Paul if you are an example of the standard of Labour Debate, then I'm voting for the Raving Lunatic Party
The writer of this article, David Brooks, also supported John McCain for POTUS.
I'm sure George will welcome the support of this keen reader of the runes...
Well if a tory can't get praise from David Brooks, then he may as well give up.
It is precisely this type of abject gobbledegook that has landed the country in this mess.
Any idiot knows that the way to settle a mountain of bills isn't to get another credit card and put them out of your mind for a couple of months.
Problems are problems and must be dealt with. Putting them off until tomorrow is cowardly and dangerous. They don't get smaller - they grow.
Thank god you and your brand of economic illiterates are for the scrap heap next year.
What about all the leading economists who dismiss the Tories plans to massively cut public spending
Kathy New Blogger from CWO
A good day today. Enjoyed your talk on blogging but I'm too much of a twit to face up to the unholy intricacies of a new way of thinking.
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