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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Manoeuvring starts to succeed May already

Just when we thought that the Tory party had settled down after its leadership election a face from the past pops up and stakes out his claim to the future.

As the Guardian reports, George Osborne reappeared to give his first interview since Theresa May sacked him as Chancellor of the Exchequer. In doing so he warned the new Prime MInister that he plans to be the champion of “the liberal mainstream majority”, questioning her policies on grammar schools and her “wobble” on the “northern powerhouse” initiative:

Osborne said May had made a “strong start” as prime minister but offered her only lukewarm support and signalled that he would fight her from the backbenches on grammar schools and any moves towards a hard Brexit deal.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said he voted for May in the leadership race, but pointedly added: “I think she is the best person for the job of the candidates who put themselves forward.”

In the earlier interview, Osborne said he was not ready to follow David Cameron out of frontline politics. “I don’t want to write my memoirs because I don’t know how the story ends and I want to hang around and find out,” he said.

He suggested he would resist May’s plan for grammar schools from the backbenches. He said: “I have always thought with the debate about grammars that 80% of the political discussion is about where 20% of children go, when in fact we should be focusing on where 80% of the children go in a selective system. I think the real focus of education reform remains the academy programme, transforming the comprehensive schools that most people send their children to.”

He positioned himself as a pro-European centrist rival to May’s government, saying: “I will be championing ... the liberal mainstream majority of this country … who do not want to be governed from the extremes, who want Britain to be internationalists, outward-looking, free-trading, who want a socially just society. That is the cause that I believe in.”

Cameron has gone but Osborne is staying on and looks like he may be trouble. This could be interesting after all.
Osborne is for the future. In Wales at the moment UKIP is the problem. Fear of the future could get them votes The party has to counteract them with a positive view of the future both in local areas and Wales as a whole.
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