People who underestimate George Osborne, again (from The Sun)

Ages ago, in 2011, The Knife invented PWUGO, in response to DUEMA (look it up).

I think I was right, and here, from behind the Sun paywall, is the august Trevor Kavanagh‘s take on it all, worth reading. I have already put money on the GE2015 outcome. It doesn’t involve Ed as PM.

HERE we go! This is the week that will decide if Mystic Trev got it right by predicting a Tory election victory on May 7, perhaps even with an outright majority.

My new year prediction was seen quite reasonably as “wishful thinking”.

How could David Cameron hope to win with all the electoral arithmetic so stacked against him?

Even in the good times, governments struggle to increase their majorities, so it was impossible to imagine the Conservatives grabbing the lead after five years of austerity.

But even those pollsters who studied their charts and muttered about marginals are now beginning to see daylight between Dave and Red Ed.

My friend Peter Kellner, whose YouGov poll appears daily in The Sun, thinks Labour is flagging at the most dangerous time.

The clincher comes on Wednesday when George Osborne’s Budget breaks the opinion poll deadlock and allows the Tories to kick up a gear.

“If the Chancellor’s budget goes down well, his party could gain enough extra support to govern in its own right,” says Kellner.

“Its prospects of an overall majority remain slim, but David Cameron might be able to lead a minority government for a full five-year term against a splintered opposition.”

True. But I believe the Tory lead over Labour will yawn wider as the election race gets into its stride.

Key to it all is the “splintered opposition”.

It is not just Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson who have given up hope. A third of Red Ed’s own Shadow Cabinet believe he’s a loser.

Rivals are already jockeying for succession.

This has nothing to do with bacon sandwiches or Ed’s many kitchens, although these images are being picked over and debated as much by leftwing papers as by the Tory press.

The party is split from top to bottom — trade union dinosaurs versus despised Blairites.

Thanks to Gordon Brown, it faces wipe-out in Scotland and may be fighting for its life as a viable political force South of the border.

The vacuum is filled by the opportunist SNP, shameless Lib-Dems, shambolic Greens and protest parties like Ukip who seem to have run out of puff.

George Osborne is a lucky Chancellor.

Thanks in part to falling oil prices, the economy is in better shape than he dared dream barely a year ago. But to be fair he has made his own luck.

He has been criticised both for doing too little and too much to slash spending and borrowing.

But his famous long-term plan, cobbled together along the way, is working.

The UK recovery, once derided as “flat-lining”, is now hailed by global experts as entrenched and robust.

Economic growth is surprisingly strong.

Unemployment is amazingly low, half the European average with jobless EU citizens stampeding across The Channel to join in.

Earnings are outstripping the cost of living.

Low-paid workers can earn more than £10,000 – close to a living wage in some parts of the country – before paying any tax at all.

That threshold will rise still further.

As tax revenues start to exceed government spending, the Chancellor finally has room for manoeuvre.

This week, he will tempt voters to give the Tories another chance.

There will be more help for the low-paid, a fairer deal for middle-earners, a boost for the crucial “grey vote” by ending rip-off pensions and the loathed inheritance tax on homes.

Broadband investment will fuel the boom in small business start-ups.

New rail links should boost the Chancellor’s dream of a “Northern Powerhouse”.

This will be a “feel-good” budget, a package of silver linings set against Labour’s cloud of despair.

Mr Osborne insists there will be “no giveaways, no gimmicks”. But he likes to leave his supporters asking for more.

It will be surprising if there is not a surprise.

And a few cheers when the Chancellor skims a penny or two off a pint — as eerily foreseen in The Sun on Sunday’s crystal ball yesterday.

This blog began in the build up to the 2010 election, and I didn’t quite predict the outcome then: Cameron as PM, yes, but coalition seemed unlikely. Economically I doubted we’d be where we are now, it always looked like it would take two terms to right Gordon Brown’s (and the two Eds) many wrongs. This time I’m going for Cameron as PM, UKIP/DUP coalition or ‘arrangement’, probably marginally a minority government. Which, given the alternative, would do just fine.

Ed Balls: resigning from DUEMA and PWUGO
Ed Balls: resigning from DUEMA and PWUGO

One thought on “People who underestimate George Osborne, again (from The Sun)

  1. He’s looking pretty sharp is George. And cocky. Very much like a future prime minister, without the pissed off huffiness that plagued Gordon Brown’s time of chancellor that he was always playing the bridesmaid.

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