Wednesday 22 October 2008

Osborne broke yachtgate holiday to make poverty speech

A small but telling detail reported in The Times:

With Mr Osborne having to break his holiday – to make a speech on poverty in London – it made sense for his wife to have the company of Nathaniel Rothschild and the collection of financiers and their families. When Mr Osborne resumed his holiday, however, there followed three days in which the worlds of high politics and business would collide to spectacular effect.

Oh, the dilemmas of the modern progressive Tory, shuttling between the have nots and the have yachts.

It is always good that the Conservative now feel they must make speeches about how they will take poverty seriously. Beyond that, the Osborne poverty speech does not stand up too well, with its central premises at odds with the facts confirmed by the new OECD inequality study.

Nor does Bruce Anderson's endorsement of the new poverty narrative in response to the speech, making on the fatalistic - and wrong - grounds that:

It is almost certain that throughout the 2010s, the gap between rich and poor will grow. Although this will not matter if the foundations of a successful anti-poverty programme are being laid, there will be a political difficulty.

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