Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Advice to George Osborne

If I could give one piece of advice to George Osborne today it would be: try not to look smug. It will be hard for him - I'm reminded of the quote by Ringo Starr when asked why he always looked so sad and he replied "it's just me face" - but it really might be worth trying.

He has just been shown on BBC News leaving his home for the Cabinet meeting before he delivers his £83bn cuts and, when asked by a reporter if he is going to put 500,000 public service workers out of a job, he smirks - yes, actually smirks - and says "you'll just have to wait and see".

Would it really hurt him if he looked as though this was going to be a difficult day? He may not care about what people think of him, but he has to try and understand that what he announces today will leave many people in pretty dire financial circumstances. I know he feels that this is his moment of destiny and should be relished, but even lions look saddened just before they rip open a wildebeest.

Osborne may be doing the right thing for the economy and he may have inherited a busted economy from Labour, which he should point out calmly and without political point-scoring, but all that matters is that this essential medicine will hurt and he should show some sympathy for those who don't have a family wallpaper empire to fund them.

I'd even suggest that he should end his speech today with an apology. Not an admission of guilt or failure, but an expression of sorrow: "I would like to apologise to the country that we have been put in this position but this is necessary and I promise that everything I announce today is for the good of everyone in the long run."

And then just sit down and try to think of something sad - the end of Bambi, maybe - rather than smirking at the cameras.

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