One hell of a stink is being kicked up over at The Torygraph. Simon Heffer's savaging of George Osborne has provoked a storm of comments on the site. To be fair there are probably as many attacking Heffer as there are Osborne, but notable by their absence are those supporting the Shadow Chancellor.
Now, I was always amazed when Osborne was spoken of as a possible leader of the party. Cameron, for all of his faults, is at least vaguely likeable. He may have no experience, political opinions or credibility, but at least you wouldn't be ashamed to be seen talking with him.
Osborne on the other hand is an obvious embarrassment to his party. I mean, even if you put aside his 'selection' of policies on Northern Rock, and fear of committing to tax cuts, then you are still left with the nasal voice, the pasty boyish skin, and the open-jawed, half-smug, half-gormless face.
However, like Brown with Darling, Cameron is stuck with his Boy George. To get rid of George now would be an act of open surrender to those on the right of the party. Heffer suggests that John Redwood should be brought in to replace him, but I doubt Cameron has the stomach for this. It seems to me that Cameron only has three options:
1. Stick with the status quo
2. Shift George out of the public eye
3. Propose tax cuts
Given the mood in the Tory press, only the last of these seems viable. Osborne tried to placate his critics by hinting at cuts in the future. But Heffer's virulent attack will have shown him that this was not enough. If Osborne is going to prevent today's storm turning into tomorrows flood, he is going to have to come up with some proposals and come up with them fast.