The most important event today is the Greek election, with its huge implications for the future of the Eurozone. But this morning, the political class is chattering about George Osborne because of the poll which Fraser blogged about earlier.
Osborne is one of the more self-aware politicians that you’ll meet. One colleague says, only half-jokingly, that Osborne’s mood is the best guide there is to the future prospects of the government. In recent weeks, Obsorne has not been in good form—his post Budget woes and the never ending crisis in the Eurozone appeared to be getting him down. As one person who works closely with him remarked to me recently, ‘That Tiggerish glint in his eyes had gone.’
But Osborne’s mood has improved in the last week. There are several reasons for this. He and David Cameron have got through their appearances at the Leveson Inquiry without incurring too much damage. More importantly, the Treasury and the Bank of England have agreed a new scheme which Osborne believes will help get credit moving in the economy again. The scheme, which it is hard to imagine King agreeing to even a few months ago, is testament to the close relationship which the chancellor has managed to forge with the governor, who as Brown and Darling will attest doesn’t always get on with his political counterparts.
There’s also a reason closer to home for the renewal of Osborne’s spirits: his family cat has returned. Freya, a brown tabby, went missing several years ago when the Osbornes still lived in Notting Hill. But thanks to a microchip in her neck and a sharp-eyed vet, she has now been returned to the Osbornes and taken up residence in their Downing Street flat.
This means there are now two cats in Downing Street. I hear that Larry, the Number 10 cat, and the new arrival have made a ‘slow start’. But a bit of competition might raise the standards of Downing Street mousing.