The economic and political narrative has changed markedly for the government since the budget, andÂ deteriorated furtherÂ when it was officially declared that we were in a double dip recession.
Last night’s u-turns on pasties and caravans have added to that poor narrative (Pasty la vista, Taxman as The Sun’s front page put it)
The ComRes polling last night also shows Osborne’s problem
Some 72 per cent of the public agree that it is time for the Coalition to change its policy so it is focused more on promoting growth and less on cuts,Â Significantly, a majority of Â people who voted Conservative (64 per cent) at the 2010 general election want to see a change of course.
It would appear the current Chancellor’s authority inside the cabinet is also waning, a recent Daily Mail article had this observation.
But one senior Conservative said: â€˜The whispers have started about George. People are saying,
â€œWhat has gone wrong with him?â€ Now is not the time to have a Chancellor who lacks self-confidence or doesnâ€™t inspire it in others.â€™
One thing Ken Clarke doesn’t lack, is self confidence, as a former Chancellor, he knows the Treasury, and crucially is seen as a successful Chancellor.
Ken Clarke can cite that the polling back in Â April 1997 as the country was about elect Tony Blair with a landslide, the polling showed that the countryÂ preferredÂ him in Number 11, as opposed to Gordon Brown.
He could effectively deal with Ed Balls and the media, as the current Chancellor is obtaining the same Macavity moniker Gordon Brown had.
He can point out both he and Ed Balls attended the same school which may negate the out of touch perception the current Chancellor has.
David Cameron should remember James Carville’s observation:Â “It’s the economy, stupid”
Last week we also had the first stories emerging about splits between Cameron and Osborne, perhaps it is time for David Cameron to have a newÂ occupantÂ at Number 11 before the party or the country decide they want a new occupant in Number 10,
Note: Mike Smithson is on holiday until June 7th.