Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Chancellor's Date with Career Destiny Looms; Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Chancellor's Date with Career Destiny Looms; Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Linford

MAKE or break is doubtless an overused term in politics. Many are the times when it is said that a politician needs to make the "speech of his life" on such and such a day, only for the same old clich to be trotted out again the next time he makes one.

Yet for Chancellor George Osborne, this Tuesday's autumn statement on the economy is genuinely shaping up to be one of those dates with political destiny. For years, Mr Osborne has been the man with the plan as far as the Tory Party is concerned, and his plan on taking over at No 11 Downing Street in May last year was straightforward and simple.

It was: sort out the deficit in the first couple of years, wait for economic growth to start kicking in again, sprinkle some carefully-targeted tax cuts around, and then win the next election hands down.

But it's all gone horribly wrong. Far from providing a 18 months of measures have platform for new growth, 18 months of austerity measures have pitch-forked the economy back towards the ultimate horror of a double-dip recession. pitch-forked back towards ultimate horror double-dip As such Mr Osborne's masterplan for economic recovery - and outright Tory victory in 2015 - now looks hopelessly optimistic.

And of course, it is not just the fate of the economy and the government that is at stake here, but Mr Osborne's own chances of succeeding David Cameron as Tory leader.

If recovery comes and the Tories win an overall majority next time, there will be nothing to stand between him and No 10. But if they lose - or are forced into another five years of coalition - it will be Mr Osborne who gets the blame.

All of which make Tuesday's statement if not quite the "speech of his life" then certainly the most important he has made since that Tory conference address of 2007, which frightened Gordon Brown off from holding an election. …

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