Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Brave George Osborne Sacrifices Chloe Smith

Chloe Smith, a Treasury Minister sent out to cover for George Osborne's U-turn on Fuel Duty, gets fillited, twice!

First on Channel 4 News, where she appears to be the least well-briefed UK Government Minister in history and stumbles through the interview like a lame show-jumper, blundering into every jump and clearing no obstacles on her way to a far-from-clear round.

Three hours later, on Newsnight, Paxo's contempt is palpable. Chloe, despite the earlier roasting, has no more answers and is even more embarrassingly inept. 

Is it Chloe's fault? I would guess not: she seems a moderately intelligent you woman but she had no defence, no ammunition and no coherent argument to deploy. The fault here is all the Chancellor's, as he twists and turns and shreds his budget commitments one by one, leaving only the tax cuts for the rich.

In all justice and honesty, George Osborne should have been on Channel 4 and Newsnight last night. It's his budget and his long series of flip-flops. But he lacks the backbone to take the flak for his own decisions, so he sends an innocent, unprepared and under briefed young woman to face the music.

Incompetence is one thing in a politician, and who can get everything right after all? But cowardice is another thing altogether, and George Osborne, in sending his underlings to greet the firing squad, has shown his weakness - political, economic and personal, the greatest of which is personal.

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