STEPHEN HEPBURN: Tory ‘Chancer’ is costing this country dear

Chancellor George Osborne.
Chancellor George Osborne.

We can’t afford a financial “genius” like George Osborne, a Tory ‘Chancer’ of the Exchequer costing the country a fortune.

He has a huge opinion of himself and an ego bigger than a national debt which continues to rise to record levels under a borrowing addict who misses the target more often than Sunderland and Newcastle’s strikers.

The fact is Osborne’s racked up more debt in five years than Labour Chancellor’s did in 13 years because his reckless spending cuts choked off growth the Tories inherited from Labour which meant less cash in people’s pockets and lower living standards.

His shameless trick is to rebrand failure as his personal triumph and all his self-preening propaganda of recovery now ignores the years he wasted. The truth is he’s yet to match the 1% quarterly expansion that was happening at the end of the last Labour Government.

How can he, for instance, pretend that flogging off Nat West and the Royal Bank of Scotland at a loss to taxpayers was a success? The first chunk cost us £1billion and the bill could be as high as £15billion to dispose of it all under Osborne’s ideological mania for privatisation.

A sensible Chancellor would hang on to Nat West and RBS until we can recover what we paid to bail out the banks instead of Osborne gift-wrapping it for City speculators – actions that smack of corporate welfare for casino capitalists who funded the Tories’ election victory.

Osborne’s got form as long as your arm when it comes to handouts for the wealthy and a boot in the wallet for everybody else.

He did this when the Royal Mail was flourishing in public ownership, contributing £440million profits to the public purse. Osborne and his then Liberal Democrat allies hated a public success story so privatised most of the 372-year-old respected service.

Again it was sold on the cheap, cheating taxpayers when shares boomed. We pay every time we post a letter.

The cost of a 1st Class stamp was 41p in 2010 when Osborne moved into the Treasury. It’s now 63p. That 50% hike fattened up the Royal Mail for the City vultures he fed the Royal Mail to.

Osborne did the same with trains to Edinburgh, Newcastle and London on the East Coast line. It was a high-speed success in public hands after twice crashing under commercial operators. Offended by that success, Tory ideology drove Osborne to gamble on a lick of Virgin paint.

And then there is the National Health Service, Osborne giving the go ahead to waste £3-billion on a bureaucratic upheaval so bits can be sold to Tory donors – a privatisation virus that will be the death of the NHS unless we fight to save what we value.

I’m in awe of those in our area who are self-employed or running small businesses, grafting hard to be successes. And I fight for businesses to protect and create jobs. But I have nothing but contempt for the bankruptcy of Osbornomics, a doctrinaire Tory creed valuing ideology over what works. That’s the Tories for you. Choosing to profit their friends in the City instead of serving the taxpayers and the public.

We’ll pick up the tab when Osborne’s privatisation obsession is worse than even Thatcher. But then I suppose a Conservative leopard never changes its spots.