Even when presented with the opportunity to tailor his own news agenda, George Osborne fails to reach very far beyond the core Tory vote.
The chancellor's fourth autumn statement was a predictable, focused affair which - as expected - made as much political capital as possible from the improved economic situation.
Osborne's tone for much of his 45-minute speech to cheerful Conservatives and grumpy Labour backbenchers was one of restraint. He did more to contain his natural inclinations towards smugness than had been the case in his previous big-ticket pronouncements since the summer.
Instead the focus became about Osborne's choice of emphasis. And what sticks in the mind most about his delivery was the unusual weight he placed on helping out small businesses.
This chancellor wants to be their saviour, but with Noel Gallagher hair. "We’re backing Britain’s businesses all the way!" he yelped at the climax. He just loves business. Boy oh boy. Did I mention Osborne likes business?
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