Magazine article The Spectator

Will Compassionate Tax Cuts Win Tory Hearts and Minds?

Magazine article The Spectator

Will Compassionate Tax Cuts Win Tory Hearts and Minds?

Article excerpt

I reported here in the summer on the bid by the upmarket retailer Cameron and Osborne to take over the ailing Conservative party in competition with Davis's, which prides itself on being the People's Tory Store, especially in the North.

Davis's was overwhelming favourite with the shareholders. Then, in October, Cameron and Osborne soared ahead as a result of a new line in compassionate lingerie or whatever. Davis's executives announced a profits warning. But Cameron and Osborne will almost certainly add the Conservative party to the firm's portfolio, which includes extensive property in Notting Hill and west London and, as most recently announced by both partners, an extensive drugs-counselling service. But Davis's are putting up a fight. They now offer customers extensive tax cuts. Cameron and Osborne cannot take Conservative shareholders for granted. The shareholders like tax cuts.

So Davis's offer would have produced a meeting of top Cameron and Osborne executives, probably during a staff 'motivational weekend' in a Home Counties hotel.

Mr Osborne: 'Well, I think we can agree that the first thing we must decide is how to respond to this Davis's tax special offer.' Mr Cameron: 'Surely, we should offer tax cuts too.' This brought an intervention from Francis Maude, the marketing director brought in from Portillo's after that firm went out of business on the Tory High Street and switched to the column-building sector. 'Only if they're compassionate tax cuts, ' he said.

Mr Cameron: 'Er, what are they, actually?' Mr Maude: 'Little ones.' Mr Osborne: 'But, if they're little, who's going to notice them?' Mr Maude: 'Exactly. We don't want too many people noticing them. Otherwise they'll think we're a bunch of Tories.' Mr Cameron: 'But, Francis, we're in the phase of our campaign when the only people we are after are a bunch of Tories: the shareholders. We can start proving we're not when we've got control of them and are looking for customers.' Mr Maude: 'Ah, yes, I'd forgotten that.

That's the bit I'm looking forward to.' Mr Cameron: 'So I'm pretty chilled out about this Davis's tax offer. I'll just say -- in code, of course -- that David Davis, that ancient head of the firm, wants to chuck old people out of their tax-funded accommodation and on to the street, and stuff.'

Mr Maude: 'I don't think you should be as kind to him as that. He's probably not against taxation when it comes to, for example, taxing gay marriage certificates.' Mr Osborne: 'No, Francis, I think Dave's is the way forward for the time being.' Mr Cameron: 'Anything else we need worry about, George?' Mr Osborne: 'Well, yeah. Boris has just announced on Desert Island Discs that he's going into politics.' Mr Cameron: 'What? Why isn't he content to be MP for Henley?' Mr Osborne: 'He said he thought it will soon be time for him to choose. So if we win, he says he'd like to be a front-bench spokesman for agriculture or trade or something like that.' Mr Cameron: 'You mean, he intends to join our front bench?' Mr Osborne: 'Looks like it. What are we gonna do?' Mr Cameron: 'Well, I shall say that I think he has taken a brave and correct decision in the interests of country and party, and that I wish him well in whatever he turns his considerable talents to next, and that none of this is any reflection on his ability. …

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