Thursday, 26 November 2015

George Osborne and Radio 4 channel Essex Man

Osborne in Ockendon
The political classes remain as fixated with Essex as ever. In response to the government's spending review, Radio 4's Today sent a reporter to Harlow, where they've been monitoring the reactions of a street of residents to the tax credit cuts debate. No-one was watching the debate live, though they did find a man watching paint dry who was relieved that the tax credit cuts had been postponed. Then Today went into a live interview with Chancellor George Osborne at a building site in South Ockendon. Geezer Gideon was there meeting apprentices at Persimonn Homes with Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price. Is aspirational Essex really central to the voting culture of the nation? Or is it just a convenient distance from London for a good soundbite or photo opportunity? I wrote about the subject in the New Statesman last year, and it seems little has changed, with Essex symbolism still beloved by all politicos.