Georgy Porgy, all those puddings and pies are clearly taking effect. The nation’s belt-tightener-in-chief is notable for the ample girth of his neck. Haughty demeanour, Regency face (too plump for Dark Shadows, but a kiss curl would not go amiss); George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, right honourable lump of lah-de-dah. This year, the Conservative Party is holding its annual conference in Birmingham’s International Convention Centre. The main auditorium is Symphony Hall. Seating capacity: 2000 approx; no more than a medium-sized music venue. Even so, not every seat is occupied for the chancellor’s address, and not every occupant is wholly preoccupied by it. Symphony Hall’s owners require 30 days’ notice of pyrotechnics: no need; his speech is a damp squib. Even when the Rt Hon pauses for applause, he is not guaranteed a response. There have been occasional smatterings – half-hearted patterings petering out. At the close, the prime minister promptly stands up, ensuring others will follow. But the ovation is short-lived, all the same. The chancellor risks just one wave to Conference before exiting stage right. Pursued by doubt.