Friday, May 20, 2005

George leaves the blocks

George Osborne has sensibly decided not to stand. He says:

‘There has been some media speculation about what I would do but I am making it clear I will not be a candidate. I have a big enough job being shadow chancellor, opposing Gordon Brown and developing an economic policy that broadens the appeal of the Conservative Party.’

Quite right too George. As a product of St Paul’s School, we know you are very bright, highly competitive, and scarily ambitious. Your marker is down, you have correctly calculated the odds of winning are slim, and you can see your eventual route to the top will be much easier if you are seen to behave responsibly now.

So who will you back? According to the Torygraph:

‘It is understood that Mr Osborne will almost certainly back Mr Cameron, the shadow education secretary, if he decides to stand.’

Almost certainly, huh? And the Torygraph can’t resist pointing out:

‘If Mr Cameron were to win the leadership, [Osborne’s] ambition could be thwarted for many years in a repetition of the Blair-Brown conflict that has split Labour.’

Anyway, will Cameron actually stand? The Times reckons:

‘David Cameron…is also said to be reluctant to enter the contest. Although the 38-year-old Shadow Education Secretary is described as “more persuadable” than Mr Osborne, both think they would be better off waiting until after the next election.’

Matthew d'Ancona has identified ‘the Davis dash’:

'The really interesting question is which of the so-called "Notting Hill Tories" breaks ranks and backs Davis first. As Michael Corleone would say: "It's the smart move." At this stage of what is set to be a painfully protracted contest, I make only one prediction: whichever of the Young Turks makes the Davis dash - thus resisting the temptation to stand himself - is the really ambitious one. By his deeds shall you know him: the patient young Tory who wants to be prime minister tomorrow more than he wants to be leader of his party today.'

Sounds to me like George is already off the starting blocks.

Update: Conservative Leadership Newsblog points out that George's withdrawal 'will only increase questioning of David Cameron about his intentions. If he refuses to rule out the possibility of standing people will assume that he intends to.'



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