Thursday, 17 March 2016

The sorows of poor Mr Osborne

You’ve got to feel sorry for that poor Mr George Osborne, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer. He’s been having rather a torrid time of it lately. As he explained in this touching personal confession.

I mean, I’m a longstanding friend of David Cameron. The one who’s Prime Minister. For now. I mean, friends from way, way back. We’ve both been members of the Bullingdon Club at Oxford, so we know what it is to have a few drinks, and trash a restaurant or a friend’s room. It builds character, that kind of behaviour, makes a leader of you. And forges a friendship.

Anyway, we had a deal, Big Dave and me. I’d do a few years in the number 2 slot and then he’d stand aside and let me have a go at the top job. And he’s doing his bit: agreeing to stand down before the next election and all that. But now it’s all going wrong.

Fetching, isn't he? Our George? In his trademark hard hat
It's his tribute to the nobility of hard work. Which he admires from afar
I mean, big Dave wants me to keep helping when I can, so I do. I’ve come out all keen as mustard for Britain staying in the EU and all that. Hasn’t done me any favours. Turns out that lots of people in the Tory Party – including in parliament – don’t like that idea at all. They’re feeling a bit riled, basically. And that creep Boris Johnson’s been slipping in with his bloody Eurosceptic position, taking advantage of the mood.

Everything ought to be going swimmingly, but it isn’t. I’ve just given my eighth budget. You’d think that’d be a bit of a high point. But we don’t seem to be able to get rid of the deficit completely, however much we cut the army, the police and support for the poor. So instead of coming down, debt’s a bit high, really. A bit of a record, actually, to be strictly honest. Which is embarrassing, seeing how I always used to have a go at the other side for having got debt so high on their watch.

That all makes even my best moves, well, a bit moot to be strictly truthful. I do try. Take this budget, for instance. I couldn’t give away as much as I’d like, of course, not in the trying situation we’re in, but I did what I could. Raised the income level at which people have to start paying tax. Raised the level at which they have to pay the next level up of tax. Got to help, hasn’t it?

OK, it helps the people who pay the most tax more than the ones who don’t pay much, but still, it’s helping people, isn’t it?

OK, maybe not the people who earn so little they don’t pay tax at all, but I don’t know any of that kind of people – they’re the ones who used to clean up behind us when we were in the Bullingdon Club, right?

OK, maybe 85% of the benefit goes to the top 50% of incomes, or so some pundit or other claims, but hey, help’s help, isn’t it? No matter who it goes to.

Some people are moaning that I’m taking £4 million out of benefit payments to the disabled at the same time as I’m reducing taxes. What’s their problem? Let’s be clear. A lot of the disabled don’t vote. And many of the ones who do, vote Labour. Get real, guys. I’ve got a career to nurture here.

The one good thing is that those sad fellows who lead Labour, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, are even less trusted to run the economy well than I am. A joke, right? A really funny one. Which made it a bit annoying when Corbyn came out with that line about the budget having unfairness at its core. How did he work that one out? No one on my side has.

Though, to be honest, it’s my side that’s the problem. What a bunch. All baying to get out of the European Union. God only knows why. It costs next to nothing compared to, say, a bombing campaign in the Middle East. And the Yanks like it. But those backwoodsmen have got a bee in their bonnet about it. And those bees are all swarming around smarmy Boris now.

Makes you want to weep, doesn’t it? I’ve done everything you’d think you’d need to do to follow my mate into the top job. Well, everything short of actually balancing the books, but just because I said we could do it doesn’t mean it was possible. And despite all that, bloody Boris is giving me a damn good run for my money.

What’s a fellow supposed to do? Do you think it’s all down to my having gone to St Paul’s School? Boris was at Eton with Big Dave. Is that what’s going on?

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