Leading into the Conservative conference, George Osborne had an image problem. He was seen as the ‘weakest link’, dismissed as ‘a boy doing a man’s job’. He is not yet to Cameron what Brown was to Blair.
So, for him, not only was it vital that he delivered the courageous realism that his party policy called for. It was even more important that his performance, on this very public platform and this last Conference before the election, transformed perception of him. After all, it was a single platform speech in Blackpool three years ago, that did it for Cameron.
The consensus is that he succeeded. ..”an indisputable step forward in his development as a political figure”. What worked for him?
The content, of course. “Mr Serious gains credibility with painful message” and, ” His honesty in the face of the facts means that he grew in stature”. All this was reinforced by his repeated mantra, “We are all in this together”!
So, the words were strong, very strong, and he may well have written most of them himself for the autocue!
For me though, what gave him new stature was his delivery. Not simply the strong, serious, sober tone most have commented on. This undoubtedly helped the new maturity.
Not commented on but, to my eyes, the most powerful element, was his non-body language. His stillness, his lack of flambouyant gesture, his resistance to milking applause all signalled the confidence of someone who knows he has arrived.