Credit where credit is due. George Osborne gave a masterful display to the party faithful in Bournemouth yesterday - as the Scott Tracy of Conservative politics.Randall then goes on to note that the chief puppeteer is David Cameron, "a former executive at what is now ITV." In so doing, he (Randall) rather misses a trick. The Boy actually worked for Carlton Communication plc, of which Carlton International Media is a subsidiary company.
Tracy, you will recall, was the Thunderbirds puppet whose trademark colour was, yes, the palest of blues. Not only is Osborne a dead ringer for Tracy - dark hair, boyish, pouting lips - he also acts like him: a wooden performer, with someone else pulling the strings.
Osborne and Tracy are Oxford-educated thirtysomethings committed to saving us from disaster. Unfortunately, it's only by suspending disbelief on a Herculean scale that we can accept either as the real thing. One of the Thunderbirds episodes was Thirty Minutes After Noon, precisely the time at which Osborne began speaking yesterday. Spooky, eh? As Tracy, er sorry, Osborne hopped up on stage, I half expected the announcer to boom out: "Thunderbirds are go!"
Jokes aside, there is, of course, an important difference between Tracy and Osborne: one delivers a script that's written for him by an über-trendy television type with a talent for creating illusions; the other is a marionette.
And who is the owner of the "Thunderbird" trademark? Why, Carlton International Media of course. One can now see where Camoron got his ideas for a shadow chancellor.