Like Guido, George Osborne basically thinks Brown is bonkers. He has in the past described the Prime Mentalist as “autistic”. In Shadow Chancellor’s speech during the debate on the budget he returned to the theme once again, calling Brown a “mad hatter”:
I hear sneers and dismissal from Government Members about the IMF’s figures, but I thought that the IMF was going to be the new early-warning system for the Prime Minister. In a stroke, the IMF destroyed the credibility of the premise on which the Budget and its borrowing figures had been built. The claim is that within just two years, the British economy is supposed to bounce from the deepest recession that it has known since the second world war to levels of economic growth and household consumption seen only at the height of the boom; we now know that, frankly, in the view of almost every independent forecaster, that is a complete fantasy. No wonder that one paper this morning described the whole thing as “Alistair in Wonderland”. I guess that that leaves the Prime Minister as our mad hatter—and given the expression on the face of the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, he is the white rabbit.
According to Matthew d’Ancona “the subtext “at least Dave is sane” will underpin most of what the Tories say until polling day.” Good. No amount of talk as to the merits of quantitative easing, credit flows or the broken society will ignite passion, or hope to “seal the deal”. Talk instead of the Prime Mentalist in Downing Street, who has now almost run out of people to blame, yet won’t himself say sorry. Inflaming that popular anger with Gordon will “seal his repeal”.
Osborne is right to to tap into the popular contempt people feel for Gordon Brown.