Osborne takes credit for Obama’s bank reforms

Cracker of a line from Osborne today when being interviewed by BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, which you can read about in the Guardian here. He was discussing US President Obama’s new plans to limit the size of banks and split chunks of them apart. In fairness Osborne a while ago said he was considering splitting banks that were ‘too big to fail’ into seperate entities.

What makes me laugh is he is so clearly desperate to take as much credit as possible now that America is looking at something similar, he comes out with this:

"The argument that is always deployed against me when I’ve made these proposals in recent months, often by the banking community themselves and indeed by Gordon Brown, who is wholly opposed to this, has been: ‘Ah well, you’ll never get America to agree.’ "

Frankly I’m not sure if anyone could pull out a Gordon Brown quote that remotely resembles that (and if you can please send it to me), but I can well imagine No.10 reacting sniffily to anything Osborne says regardless of what they really think.

What makes me laugh is the implication that because America have come out with their own plans they clearly agree with Osborne specifically, and that indeed he has ‘gotten’ America to agree with him. As if the Obama administration is going to listen to Osborne with his track record during the recession.

You could, I suppose, argue that it isn’t Osborne’s intention to imply this at all, but to be honest given how much what politicians say is pre-thought out and considered in advance, how little off-the-cuff honesty they ever produce (with good reasons in fairness), and Osborne’s track record in trying to attach himself limpet-like to Obama, I have a suspicion that he rather intentionally left that implication hanging in the air – why not? If people believe it then it makes him look good politically. The problem is no one believes Osborne, because his track record is so poor.

In fairness much of what Osborne later says about America’s movements creating space for the rest of the world to act is true enough, but the Tories are so desperate to be linked to Obama in any way they come up with things like this where there is an unspoken implication that the US is agreeing with them, rather than simply coming up with their own plans which may or may not be similar to something Osborne once said a few months ago.

I can’t complain too much I suppose with Gordon Brown’s rather over the top attempts to chum up to Obama, but at least they’re both on the same page in terms of their political beliefs. We all know Obama’s politics and Cameron’s and Osborne’s are worlds apart.

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