Selling 4G: Another Osborne Disaster

by Ray_North on February 20, 2013

images-2When, then Southampton Manager, Greame Souness realised that his new ‘striker’ Ali Dia, was not the international footballing cousin of then World Player of the Year, George Weah, but a random student with no discernible football skills at all, he immediately hauled him off the pitch and sacked him from the club. How I wish that someone would take a similarly robust approach with our Chancellor George Osborne – because Osborne is increasingly resembling someone with no political or economic skills whatsoever an impostor, waddling around like a duck on ice.

In his Autumn statement – putting aside the fact that he had to declare that he was nowhere near his target for deficit reduction, and that his growth forecasts were utterly wrong, because there was no growth – Osborne decided to wrong-foot his Labour Shadow Ed Balls by declaring that the sale of the 4G mobile phone spectrum would realise £3.5bn, gleefully telling Balls that this money would be used to fund Further Education Colleges, including one in Balls’ own constituency and that as a result of this £3.5bn borrowing would be going down not up.

Osborne sneered, Balls looked a bit daft, and went on to give what was, pretty much universally derided as a rather poor Commons performance.

Today however, the Treasury have had to admit that the sale of 4G has been nothing short of a disaster realising only £2.34bn, which is massively less than the figure banded around by Osborne.

The Tories (and indeed their Lib-Dem partners in this instance), have attempted to suggest that this is insignificant – it’s only a matter of accounting they say, and point to the fact that a billion quid is actually only a fraction of government spending and therefore the shortfall is neither here nor there.

Well, they are wrong to be so dismissive. Putting aside the fact that this is another example of the Office of Budget Responsibility proving that it’s forecasts are hopeless, it shows very clearly that at this time of deep economic uncertainty and financial tumult our economy is being run by a man who is absolutely clueless – he is the Ali Dia of Politics.

I mean, there he is, preparing his Autumn Statement, things are difficult, the economy is flat-lining and his policy of brutal deficit reduction is failing on every level – now surely to goodness an intelligent man, a man who gives a toss, a man who is not motivated entirely by misguided political ideology with the political skill of a sixth form college debater, would have realised that this was the time to take action – perhaps cut VAT, perhaps introduce fiscal measures to stimulate growth, perhaps increase spending in certain areas – but, no, not George Osborne, George Obsorne was more interested in making Ed Balls look a bit daft. And so he trumpeted the projected revenue from the sale of 4G, even though people as sympathetic to him as John Redwood were suggesting that the figures were ‘wildly optimistic.’

It was, as we can see now, an act of sheer buffoonery. Anyone worthy of the Office of Chancellor, would surely have checked the figures, cross-examined the analysts, made sure that the figures they were giving him were realistic, and even then, taper the announcement of the figures with some kind of preamble accepting that there was a possibility that that amount wouldn’t be realised – but Osborne did none of this because he knew that that would soften the impact of his announcement and that is all that this Chancellor is about – because his arrogance is such that he cannot countenance the possibility that he may be wrong about something, whilst his brand of schoolboy politics, which is more important to him, that the responsibilities of high office, is utterly, utterly inept.

Greame Souness was, on the whole, a terrible football manager, but at least he got rid of the disastrous Ali Dia – David Cameron is a terrible Prime Minister, but there is no hope in hell that he’s going to get rid of our disastrous Chancellor of the Exchequer.

I absolutely despair.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

George_East February 20, 2013 at 2:10 pm

As I’ve written before, Osborne is comfortably the worst chancellor since the War.


Mike Killingworth February 20, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Does the disaster consist in failing to obtain the market price for 4G, or in hyping that price above what was a reasonable estimate in the first place?


Ray_North February 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I’d forgive him the substantive offence of failing to secure the projected market price , though it could be argued that if the economy was in better shape he’d have got more money, for me it’s the utter stupidity of banking on the exaggerated price for the sake of pilotical expediency – which is frankly frightening


Mike Killingworth February 20, 2013 at 7:53 pm

To be honest, Ray, I think any Chancellor would have dropped the same b*ll*ck. Those of us with (in at least one case not very good) economics degrees might knowingly say “governments aren’t households” but Mr and Ms Average-Voter won’t agree – and we can’t make them…


Ray_North February 20, 2013 at 7:57 pm

You could be right Mike – but, the man is such a clot, he has marched us into a recession – yet he still has the gall to play ridiculous petty politics (and I accept that there are times when petty politics is acceptable) and he can’t even get that right.


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