Osborne Ascending

The Chancellor enjoys a moment in the sun

He’s the man of the moment, the leadership frontrunner no-one would have predicted three months ago. As MPs jet off on their holidays, Chancellor George Osborne dominates the political landscape. Ministers defer to him, backbenchers sing his praises and Tory members now rank him their preferred choice to succeed David Cameron.

But ever the master strategist, Osborne will be aware that political honeymoons are often fleeting. The Chancellor got a small taste of that yesterday when opposition MPs and experts alike criticised him for selling shares in state-capitalised bank RBS at a discount rate. And the choices Osborne had to make in last month’s budget will be child’s play when compared to those that await him in the autumn spending review, especially on energy.

As for that other leadership race, far left Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn continues to set the pace in the contest to succeed Ed Miliband. The veteran backbencher has been attempting to flesh out his agenda in recent days, unveiling a major investment plan. The Labour establishment is now fighting back through attacks on his economic views and big-name endorsements for his rivals. But for the moment, the only beneficiaries are Mr. Osborne and his buoyant party.


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