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).
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.
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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