Although there are many concerning details in my research into the life of George Osborne, the news that he is to become the new editor of the London Evening Standard seemed to come as a surprise to many, even himself.
The ex-Chancellor, 45, is the eldest son of baronet Sir Peter Osborne, the founder of wallpaper merchants Osborne & Little. His real name is Gideon but he has used his grandfather’s name George since the age of 13. He graduated with a 2:1 in modern history from Magdalen College, Oxford, and also edited the university magazine Isis (unfortunate I know). He is married to the novelist Frances Osborne and they have two children, Luke and Liberty.
Looking past the unfortunate university magazine name, the hereditary titled background and the whole ‘Gideon’ thing, the new job posses a very serious threat to the people of Tatton, the paper’s readers in London and the entire principle of a free press and an independent government.
Osborne, although 45, has for a long time been seen as a young naive politician, testing the waters of British politics and for possibly being made chancellor slightly too young. The man is a fellow Etonian to…..well pretty much everybody important in the Conservative Party but particularly David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Oliver Letwin, Jo Johnson, Ed Llewellyn and Rupert Harrison, to name just a few. I’d employ you to scroll back up and just look at the face on ‘good ol’ Gideon’, (that his fellow Bullingdon club members definitely referred to him as) and ask yourself whether this is a man who is naive to his decisions, a man who’s innocence is as clear as his baby face.
There are two points to why this new appointment sets a dangerous precedent for what our society stands for.
The first point is one that is expressed in an article from the Telegraph in which Josie Gurney-Read details the correlation between a private school education and employment to the very top positions in society. The articles reports that ‘in politics, half of the Cabinet were privately educated – including David Cameron, the Prime Minister (Eton College) – compared to 13 per cent of the shadow cabinet. Furthermore, nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of the top army officers in the country attended independent schools.’ I believe this is down to the fact that the private school system, particularly schools of a prestigious nature, instils confidence in employers; as well as the ‘old school tie’ principle. Both of these must apply to the recent employment of George Osborne, however he is by no means a ‘safe bet’.
The second point is that George Osborne should simply not be allowed to take this job. It turns out that the man is currently disproving the myth that men can’t multi-task, juggling family commitments, a weekly school boy haircut, cringy smile training and six jobs. Yeah that’s right, six jobs.
He’s a speaker at the Washington Speaker’s Bureau, where he has a lucrative contract to perform after-dinner speeches around the world.
He’s a chairman of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (not an obvious position for the editor of London’s biggest newspaper).
He’s an advisor to the American fund management firm Blackrock. He’s thought to be paid £650,000 a year (yes, you read that right) for working one day a week for the company (yes, you read that right as well).
He’s a fellow at the McCain Institute, an American think tank.
He will be (as of mid-May) the editor of London’s Evening Standard newspaper.
And oh yes … he’s (still) the MP for Tatton (a salary of £75,000 a year plus expenses).
I don’t think anybody would attempt to argue that Osborne can possibly do his best job, for each of his six different positions. Personally however I couldn’t care less whether he is getting employer of the month in his advisory role to the American fund management firm, what I care about is whether he is serving the British people to his best capabilities. I would not just argue that he isn’t but more importantly that he can’t.
MP’s work for us. I can’t hold ‘Georgie’-poo’ accountable for his other positions but as an elected member of Parliament I have every right to question his commitment to the role. A question that is being asked by many and surely needs to be answered.
To finish then, three jokes along the ‘posh’ theme.
“How do you make an Eton mess? Tell him he only got into Bristol”
“I love my area, but it’s been getting a bit gentrified recently – I can tell because my dealer’s joined LinkedIn.”
Rob Beckett – ‘You know you’re working class when your TV is bigger than your book case.’