George Osborne Backs Lib Dems

George Osborne’s Evening Standard has endorsed the Liberal Democrats in the European Elections in his leader. Labour Press will love this.

In the Evening Standard editorial today, the Liberal Democrats are lauded for their remoaner credentials: “They had the courage from the start to say the referendum result was a mistake — and Britain needed to think again.” Despite leader Vince Cable arguing that the referendum result must be respected and talking up the benefits

Last week when pushed Osborne told Peston that it would be ‘ridiculous’ if he didn’t vote Conservative. Strangely he won’t commit to saying he will vote Tory, just as his paper is telling people to back the Lib Dems…

Osborne: Cabinet Have a Responsibility to Tell May Enough’s Enough

George Osborne is no friend of Theresa May but his analysis was measured and insightful on Peston last night. No bags in the freezer this time…

Rather than changing the party rules to engineer her departure, Osborne says the Cabinet and the Conservative Party more broadly have a “responsibility” to tell May that enough is enough. She has one last chance to try to get her deal through, after that the game is up…

Grieve Loses Local Support After Breaking His Word

Dominic Grieve, Beaconsfield’s current Tory MP, lost a local constituency association confidence motion by 182 to 131 against him. The Beaconsfield Conservative Association chairman says that, “He remains our Conservative MP but I will be speaking as soon as possible to my fellow officers and the Executive Council.” A vote of no confidence is not a deselection.

Grieve is a decent man, we all agree, courageous even. To ignore your supporters and act against their wishes has consequences in a democracy. Deselections are always unpleasant, without them or at least the threat of them, MPs would be completely untethered from their supporters. MPs of all parties often arrogantly detest their activist members, who generally tend to be politically further away from the mainstream and their own ordinary voters. This tension is always there, sometimes the link snaps. This is such a time.

Grieve’s arrogance was that he thought he could shift from promising his members – in writing – that he would respect the outcome of the referendum, to leading the efforts to thwart Brexit, without cost. Breaking your word to voters, particularly the ones who get out the vote for you, is risky.

George Osborne tweeted this morning that Dominic Grieve had been “deselected”, going on to say “The Tory leadership can stop any deselection if it wants – we frequently did. CCHQ should suspend the local party. Otherwise we are heading for a huge, historic split in the Tory Party.” As a matter of fact Osborne has got it wrong, Grieve has not been deselected – yet. It is a bit rich Osborne, who has been campaigning to get rid of the leader of the Conservative Party since 2017, now calling for party unity. It is also more than galling when a Tory grandee says the little people who deliver leaflets, raise funds, vote for the party should be ignored and steam-rollered. Assuming of course that Osborne is still even a Conservative Party member…

UPDATE: Some groups like Leave.EU have been trying to claim the credit for Grieve’s deselection – local members strongly dispute the idea that they had anything to do with it, although Guido understands that the grassroots Campaign for Conservative Democracy was involved. A local Tory source tells Guido:

“Last night was a case of local members, most of whom have been members for years, finally getting organised and rising up. It has nothing to do with so-called “blue wave entryism” which isn’t even a thing. We’ve seen no real rise in membership numbers at all to suggest it could have any sort of impact.

“The principal reason Beaconsfield members voted against Grieve was that they felt he had been dishonest with them; promising at his last re-selection meeting to honour the referendum result, and then doing everything he could to thwart it. It’s his duplicity which has led to this motion passing.”

Osborne’s CV

George Osborne reviews his career…

“After university, I tried and failed to get a job as a journalist — and so I became the Chancellor of the Exchequer instead. And when I tried and failed to stop Britain voting to leave the EU, I stopped being Chancellor and became a newspaper editor instead. I’d had enough of the fake news, the spin and fiddled expenses of politics. So I thought I’d try journalism instead.”

Your Remainer Overlords Live From Davos

Change Britain have compiled a helpful rundown of the eternal wisdom our betters have been dispensing from the snowy slopes of Davos. No doubt this will trigger a mass change of heart among the British people. Are Blair, Osborne and Rudd secret agents of the Leave campaign?

Osborne Claims Tory MPs Will Force Election To Avoid No Deal

George Osborne has popped up on Bloomberg TV to say that he feels the likelihood of an imminent election is “underappreciated” and that a number of Conservative MPs would back Corbyn in a vote of no confidence because “they would rather have a general election than see our country leave the EU without a deal.”

The Sun revealed last night that secret CCHQ projections project in such an election Jeremy Corbyn would win enough seats to command a majority in Parliament. Guido isn’t sure that even FBPE Tories are mad enough to enable a Corbyn government…

Osborne Gets Job No 9

Prodigious polymath George Osborne is going the whole nine yards to test his extraordinary multi-tasking skills to new limits. In a move that will please numerologists, the FT reports that he is taking on job number nine as an adviser to 9yards Capital, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm where his brother Theo is a partner. Osborne’s burgeoning CV now includes all of the following:

  1. Washington Speakers Bureau after-dinner speaker
  2. Adviser to Blackrock
  3. Chairman of Northern Powerhouse Partnership
  4. Fellow at McCain Institute
  5. Editor of the Evening Standard
  6. Economics professor, Manchester University
  7. Visiting fellow at Stanford University
  8. Adviser to Exor
  9. Adviser to 9yards Capital

Still hasn’t quite made it to No 10…

Osborne Rips Into Rees-Mogg In Today’s Evening Standard

Vicious… 

Khan to Osborne: Bring It On

“George Osborne doesn’t concern me in the slightest… if he wants to go to battle with me, good luck I’m looking forward to it.”

London Mayor Attacks London Evening Standard Editor

Sadiq Khan has been getting a little wound up since the Evening Standard started running the “Sadiq Khan Audit” last week, looking at how well he was actually delivering on his election promises. You know, that normal thing that journalists do…

The pressure seems to have got to Sadiq, as he channelled his inner Trump to unleash an angry outburst against Evening Standard editor George Osborne during Mayoral Question Time yesterday. Is it a good long-term strategy for the London Mayor to be launching personal attacks on the editor of one of London’s biggest papers?

Two Years After Leave Vote: Unemployment at Lowest Level For 40 Years

Before the referendum, George Osborne’s Treasury published detailed propaganda analysis of the two years that would follow a Leave vote.

“This paper focuses on the immediate economic impact of a vote to leave and the two years that follow.

A vote to leave would represent an immediate and profound shock to our economy. That shock would push our economy into a recession and lead to an increase in unemployment of around 500,000, GDP would be 3.6% smaller, average real wages would be lower”

Official ONS figures released today, two years after the vote to Leave, reveal that UK unemployment fell by 65,000 to 1.36 million in three months to June, taking it to the lowest level for more than 40 years. Wages are up by 2.7%, youth unemployment is at its lowest since records began, and productivity has seen its biggest rise since 2016. Oh, and 104,000 fewer people are on zero hours contracts as their main job. This officially-sanctioned lie from the government and civil service does not get enough attention.

Friday Caption Contest (Worst of All Worlds Edition)

Entries in the comments…

Evening Standard Denies Report Accusing It of ‘Selling News’

The Evening Standard has issued a statement denying a report accusing it of “selling its editorial independence”. An article published on the Open Democracy website last night made the explosive claims that George Osborne’s paper

“has agreed a £3 million deal with six leading commercial companies, including Google and Uber, promising them ‘money-can’t-buy’ positive news and ‘favourable’ comment coverage… Unbranded news stories, expected to be written by staff reporters – but paid for by the new commercial “partners” as part of the 2020 deal – have already been planned for inclusion in the paper’s news pages within a week of the project’s launch.”

If true, the deal would, as the article alleges: “sweep away the conventional ethical divide between news and advertising inside the Standard”. 

Guido has previously reported on how Osborne defended his employer BlackRock’s half-a-billion pound investment, Uber, on the front page of the Standard, one of many glaring conflicts of interest since he took over as editor. The Deliveroo love-in is certainly interesting, too. The Open Democracy article is based on the above slide which, embarrassingly for the Standard, does appear to promise “money-can’t-buy” coverage: “we expect every campaign to generate numerous news stories”. On the other hand, Open Democracy is notorious for publishing nonsense by cranks. The author of this piece, James Cusick, also writes for Peter Jukes’ conspiracy theory website Byline.

ESI Media say in a statement that the article is “grossly misleading”:

“Under no circumstances have these clients been guaranteed news coverage for their own ends, nor would they ever be. Properly signposted commercial content within an editorial product is an accepted part of the news industry and is nothing new for publishers.”

Standard hacks will be asking some searching questions in the newsroom this morning…

8 Jobs Osborne

Job number eight for George: he will be advising Exor, which owns Juventus football club and has stakes in Ferrari and Fiat. Even more of interest is has a 43% stake in The Economist magazine. Those jobs in full:

  1. Washington Speakers Bureau after-dinner speaker
  2. Adviser to Blackrock
  3. Chairman of Northern Powerhouse Partnership
  4. Fellow at McCain Institute
  5. Editor of the Evening Standard
  6. Economics professor, Manchester University
  7. Visiting fellow at Stanford University
  8. Adviser to Exor

But what job does he really want?

Dave On Hot Mic: “Has The Former Chancellor Been Helpful Tonight?”

Dave was on a morale-boosting visit to CCHQ ahead of the locals last night – while browsing the Evening Standard he was caught on a hot mic by young Tory Robert Langley. The former Prime Minister wondered aloud:

“Has the Chancellor, the former Chancellor, been helpful tonight… oh no, not particularly [laughter]… ah, no way…”

He seemed to enjoy it a little too much…

Does George Osborne Want to Be Mayor of London?

There is a rumour going round that Osborne is bored of being the editor of London’s evening paper and is contemplating a run for mayor of London. Presumably he would not add a seventh job to his current resume and would have to step down. Could he afford the pay-cut? Is he even on the Tory candidates’ list? George could of course run for one of the those centrist metropolitan elite parties that we read about in the broadsheets…

Tory Power Stances in Full

A lot of talk on Twitter about the Tory ‘power stance’ after Saj’s stride outside the Home Office earlier – and why they do it. As Guido readers have known since 2015, this is why

Pic via Kieron Bryan

Standard – Deliveroo Love In

Guido cannot think what Deliveroo have to do in return for the endless puff pieces and positive coverage the Evening Standard gives them. In the last few months the Standard has written a glowing profile of Deliveroo’s founder and top and tailed multiple Deliveroo press releases on how they help feed the hungry and offer free food to their rivals’ customers. Well if you can’t use the editorship to help out your close friend and former adviser, now Deliveroo’s head of global comms, what’s the point? 

Osborne’s Crisis of Character

The Evening Standard’s coverage of May’s China trip gleefully reported that on a visit to a school the PM held “fu”, the Chinese character for fortune, “upside down, earning confused looks from people at the Busy Bee center, including the young girl they were chatting to”. The China Daily  suggests otherwise

Fu means luck or happiness in Chinese. However, it is actually a custom to hang the character “fu” in reverse on doors or in windows, as it means good luck will arrive, as “upside down” rhymes with “arrive” in Chinese… This is downright correct, holding fu reversed shows people’s wishes for good luck… It is the newspaper that knows little about Chinese culture…

Guido can’t read Chinese so it is hard to know which newspaper is telling the truth. Whereas one is a source of relentlessly slanted political propaganda against the British government, the China Daily is a professionally produced newspaper edited by a longstanding editor. Am going to go with China Daily being right about Chinese characters…

This error is not necessarily due to George Osborne, senior sources in the building tell Guido he has barely been seen since November. He took several weeks off in December, has been giving giving lucrative speeches in the US and was in Davos all week a fortnight ago. There was no sign of him last week either. Hacks are speculating that problems in George’s private life are taking up a lot of his time…

Osborne on Carillion: Then & Now

George Osborne’s Evening Standard editorial on Carillion today“Why has the state found itself so dependent on a few very large outsourcing firms? The failure to use a variety of smaller, mid-size companies undermines innovation and leaves services hostage when things go wrong.”

George Osborne, signing off on another Carillion contract as Chancellor in 2014: “It is great to see successful companies like Carillion winning contracts around the world.[…] Read the rest

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