Since stepping down as chancellor in the wake of the Brexit vote, George ‘Gideon of all trades’ Osborne has been a busy boy. He’s an adviser four days a month at Blackrock, a Kissinger Fellow at the McCain Institute in the US, and he’s been racking up six-figure sums for speeches at top-flight banks. On top of all that, he’s just been named new editor of the London Evening Standard. His hobbies include being MP for Tatton.
The announcement has caused a swirl of outrage, disbelief and snark. Not least because Osborne has almost ZERO journalism experience. ‘Delighted George Osborne has come so far in journalism after failing to get a Times traineeship in 1993. A lesson to all eager youngsters’, jibed one writer. The failed journalist, humiliated chancellor and limp orator has carved out a lucrative career as an editor, financial expert and Wall Street motivational speaker. He’s the posterboy for nepotism.
There’s plenty that’s maddening about Osborne’s multitasking. It underlines just how little democratic service means to PR politicians like him. Like Labour MP Tristram Hunt, who gleefully fled his Stoke constituency after a plumb job came up at the V&A, Osborne is one of many politicians who treat their faraway safe seats as just another notch on the CV. In a telling statement, Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev said Osborne, proud representative of the people of Cheshire, was ‘London through and through’.