8 Huge Osborne Conflicts of Interest

New Evening Standard editor and sitting Tory MP George Osborne will now have to navigate a minefield of conflicted interests. Guido counts eight off the top of his head…

  • MP for Tatton: The Commons sits on four of the weekday mornings that Osborne will be in the Standard newsroom. He can’t be in two places at once. How can he properly represent his constituents? 
  • Northern Powerhouse: Osborne says he will continue to promote the Northern Powerhouse, while fighting for London at the Standard. Those two interests will surely collide at times…
  • Standard’s City pages: Osborne is being paid £650,000 by investment firm BlackRock. He will have a fiduciary duty to the firm. How can the Standard’s City pages now credibly cover BlackRock and its competitors?
  • Press regulation: The editor one of the country’s highest circulating newspapers will now have a parliamentary vote on any further issues relating to press regulation. Osborne voted for the full implementation of the Leveson Inquiry. The whole point of Leveson was to stop politicians and newspaper editors becoming too close…
  • 1922 Committee: Osborne remains a member of the influential 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, whose meetings are held in private. Not with a newspaper editor in the room…
  • Privy Council: Osborne remains a member of the Privy Council, whose members swear an oath to “keep secret all matters treated of in council”. Journalists usually try to discover secrets for their readers.
  • Advertising: The commercial side will be hugely important for Osborne at the Standard. Editors have to keep advertisers sweet. Big business has him over a barrel…
  • Owner’s influences: Evgeny Lebedev’s dad was a KGB Putin crony. Evgeny is pro-Putin’s actions in Syria, Osborne could not be a bigger critic of Russia and Assad. And he is now in the pay of Russians…

And when will he find time for the wife and kids?

UPDATE: Transparency International call for the appointment to be blocked:

“It is inconceivable that ACOBA, the advisory body for political business appointments, could approve this move, and therefore extraordinary that it should have been proposed. If ACOBA approve this they will be signing their own death-warrant , confirming they are not fit for purpose and unable to guard against conflicts of interest and consequences of the revolving door – two of the most prevalent corruption risks in UK politics.”


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Scruton reflects on Twitter’s vigilantes…

“We in Britain are entering a dangerous social condition in which the direct expression of opinions that conflict – or merely seem to conflict – with a narrow set of orthodoxies is instantly punished by a band of self-appointed vigilantes. We are being cowed into abject conformity around a dubious set of official doctrines and told to adopt a world view that we cannot examine for fear of being publicly humiliated by the censors. This world view might lead to a new and liberated social order; or it might lead to the social and spiritual destruction of our country. How shall we know, if we are too afraid to discuss it?”

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