George’s chickens come home to roost

George’s chickens come home to roost

Now that this sporting summer is coming to an end and we’re home from our hols, normal service resumes: autumn TV schedules, back to school, and politicians on the front page again.

It’s clear that George Osborne’s disastrously received budget, back in the spring, heralded not a temporary dip in his fortunes, but a spectacular, headlong plummet. He’s now even more unpopular than Nick Clegg.

Of course, no Chancellor would ride high in the nation’s affections in the current economic climate. But Osborne is suffering even more than his record in government warrants. The reason is not so much U-turns or granny taxes, but a long-term presentational failure – he still comes across as too smug, brash and distant.

Does all that matter? Well, it should do to Osborne. There’s plenty of research to show that our view of politicians, business people and others is dictated almost entirely by whether we like them or are impressed by them. Until that happens, we won’t be receptive to their message, however compelling.

Consider Alistair Darling, Osborne’s predecessor as Chancellor and the only other man to occupy Number 11 since the credit crunch began. Darling could do little to improve the country’s appalling economy, and even went along, albeit at political gunpoint, with Gordon Brown’s insincere assertion that the choice before the electorate was Labour investment versus Tory cuts. But still, Darling left government well liked, even admired, by many voters, because he managed to convey warmth and humanity.

Osborne’s media training has clearly taught him how to communicate a short, sharp message with a degree of authority and good strong body language. But he’s never been successfully taught (and yes, it is possible) to reveal a softer, more human side – which must be in there somewhere.

He now needs to get his act together fast, as commentators are already suggesting the previously unthinkable – that Cameron might be better off with a different neighbour.

Article date

September 3rd, 2012

Robert Taylor

Media Trainer


My main passion is media training, and I’m proud to be one of the UK’s most experienced and successful trainers in this field.

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