Sunday, 26 October 2008

Osborne would have had to resign as Chancellor, says d'Ancona

The yachtgate fallout dominates the Sunday political columns. Matthew d'Ancona in the Sunday Telegraph, Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer and Martin Ivens in the Sunday Times all say that yachtgate should be a further wake-up call for the political classes. If the news pages focus today more on Peter Mandelson more than George Osborne, the commentators see particular dangers for the public repositioning of David Cameron's Conservative Party.

Andrew Rawnsley notes the irony of George Osborne's conference speech claim that the Tories are "not bedazzled by big money. We respect wealth creation but unlike New Labour we don't fawn over it".

Matthew d'Ancona gets a sinking feeling from yachtgate. The well connected Spectator editor states categorically that Osborne would have been forced to quit by his leader had this happened with the Conservative party in power:

There has been a terrible warning for the Cameroons in this episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous which they ignore at their peril. Mr Osborne's greatest fortune is that this happened to him in Opposition. Had he been chancellor of the exchequer when the caviar hit the fan, he would have been forced to resign, and fast.

Simon Jenkins, signing off from his Sunday Times column with a clarion call in defence of liberty while John Rentoul discovers that academies will be safe under Ed Balls in the post-Adonis era, manage to steer clear of Corfu. (In an aside, Martin Ivens suggests the very sensible abolition of SATS at 14 is a setback for 'big state Fabianism', but he might find that the national curriculum, testing and league tables were championed by the Conservatives as much as the left, on the grounds of accountability to parents).

On the US race, Alexander Cockburn isn't buying into Obama and gets his betrayal in first in the Independent on Sunday revealing that he "can not muster a single, positive reason" for anybody on the left to prefer the Obama-Biden ticket to McCain-Palin. Its a pretty silly and strangely apolitical column, but if Cockburn really does think Obama has similar views to Bush and Cheney on the constitution then he may be in for a pleasant surprise.

But Republican disunity and fears of meltdown are the major theme in the US papers. In a hard-hitting Washington Post column, former Bush speechwriter David Frum says its tiem for the GOP to reduce its focus on the Presidential Race and adopt a Senators First policy to salvage what they can on November 4th.

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