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George Osborne’s latest policies towards debt appear to follow the Micawber Principle Photograph: HultonGetty.com

Here’s an amusing piece by Heather Stewart, comparing George Osborne to Mr Micawber, from Dickens’ David Copperfield.

Micawber’s maxim was that balancing income and expenditure was the way to happiness – although he couldn’t seem to manage this miracle himself for most of his literary life.

Ms Stewart takes great pleasure in showing us similarities between Micawber and Osborne – they both like to overdramatize their situation so, for example, Osborne pretended the UK was close to a Greek-style bankruptcy crisis when he knew perfectly well that it is practically impossible for this country to fall into a similar situation.

They both tend to sell off anything that isn’t nailed down – look at the Crown’s remaining share of the Royal Mail; and they are both keen to carry out their plans immediately (in Osborne’s case, most probably, because he wants it all done before anybody can find a legal means to stop him).

However:

The two men are not united on all matters:

While Micawber advises Copperfield to trim his expenditure to suit his income, Micawber’s own approach is rather different. He finally triumphs over adversity by borrowing the price of a ticket to Australia (from Copperfield’s aunt, Betsey Trotwood), and starting a new, and as it turns out profitable, life, which allows him to pay off all his debts back home.

Without too much of a stretch, we might call that borrowing to invest – just the kind of fecklessness Osborne will now legislate to ban.

Source: Mansion House speech: Mr Micawber meets Mr Osborne | Politics | The Guardian

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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