I share Iain's disdain for some of the sillier Sunday newspaper stories, and had raised an eyebrow when reading Isabel Oakeshott's piece in the Sunday Times. But the Sunday papers are ever thus. And they only publish such stories when they give a wider sense of what is undoubtedly a political truth. The truth is that George Osborne is flailing.
Watching his interview this morning's Andrew Marr show showed why. It was not that Osborne lacked fluency or made any obvious gaffes. Rather it was his inability to speak in a language beyond the cliched soundbite. Instead of trying to provide a coherent explanation of the Tory opposition to Brown's planned tax cuts and spending, we got rhetorical slogans about 'tax cons' versus 'tax cuts'.
Whatever a St Paul's education provides, it surely teaches good communication skills. Osborne used to seem like a politician who understood how to react and act in today's world. This is no longer the case. He has become a liability not only because he appears not to understand how ordinary people live, but because he has lost the ability to speak normally. For all the criticism of Gordon Brown, he is far better at expressing himself than the Shadow Chancellor. And that's why Osborne is in trouble.