Thanks to Jeremy Corbyn and the rabble around him, George Osborne must think himself invulnerable. Hence his trip to California at the expense of Google to watch the Super Bowl.
But it is noticeable that in recent weeks more articles critical of the Chancellor have been appearing in Conservative newspapers.
At the end of January there was a vicious piece in the Sun:
George Osborne’s hopes of becoming PM have been severely dented by the Google tax shambles, Tories claim - as a senior minister branded him a "social cripple like Gordon Brown".
Top Conservatives are increasingly worried the Chancellor does not have what it takes to succeed David Cameron, with another minister saying voters see him as "weird" like Ed Miliband.And this morning Peter Oborne wrote in the Mail:
Mr Osborne has always been a part-time Chancellor. He is often not at the Treasury, because he is, in effect, the Government’s chief strategist and party manager as well as being Chancellor. It’s he who decides on promotions and sackings.
He has taken charge of negotiations with the European Union and will manage the campaign to keep Britain in Europe once the referendum is called.
In addition, he is running his personal campaign to succeed David Cameron as Tory leader, and is particularly assiduous in wining and dining Tory MPs in order to get their support.
Let’s try a mental experiment. Let’s imagine that Britain was a public company and the finance director also ran human relations, marketing, PR and strategy — all the while intriguing to take over as chief executive.
There would be an almighty row. Shareholders wouldn’t allow it. They would insist the finance director focused to the exclusion of all else on making certain that the accounts were properly maintained.Maybe this has something to do with his colleagues' growing awareness that David Cameron will not be Conservative leader for ever.
If so, George Osborne is still the bookies' favourite. But I would suggest you sell George Osborne.