Osborne Lands Job Number 7

George Osborne has landed job number seven (and eight?): visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and dean’s fellow at its business school. 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

This one, unusually, is unpaid. Though Stanford did pay him £30,000 for a speech last year.

Osborne’s Latest Duff Analysis

Curious line in George Osborne’s Evening Standard editorial today:

“If we want to remain trading in the single market and customs union, then we will have to make annual financial contributions, accept free movement of people and acknowledge the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. That is what Mrs May was sensibly shaping up to offer in Florence, until Mr Johnson suddenly realised it would run counter to all the promises he made a year ago.”

Was May really “shaping up” to accept free movement? Not sure Standard readers are getting the best Brexit analysis…

UPDATE: A government source says Osborne’s analysis is “completely delusional” and that there was never any chance of them accepting free movement or ECJ jurisdiction. Another embarrassing Standard cock-up…

UPDATE II: May’s former chief of staff Nick Timothy:

“Not even George can believe this. Evening Standard editorials will soon be shortlisted for the Booker Prize.”

Osborne Repents

In his Standard leader today George Osborne all but admits that he did make that infamous “chopped up in a bag in my freezer” comment about Theresa May. This evening’s editorial praises May on modern slavery, suggesting her critics should now refrain from OTT language about her:

“In the battles over Brexit, and over the future direction of the Conservative Party, some harsh words have been said about the Prime Minister. Her advisers created a poisonous atmosphere among senior Tories. But they are now gone, and a much more consensual team has recently replaced them in Downing Street. Mrs May’s critics in her party will want to respond in kind. We can reflect that strong differences of opinion do not need intemperate language, even when said in jest.”

So he did say it then. Think “sorry” is the word he’s looking for…

Osborne Cracking Up

George Osborne is quoted in an Esquire profile vowing to never stop attacking Theresa May until she is “chopped up in bags in my freezer”. Not really the words of a man who is thinking rationally. As Guido noted a couple of weeks ago Tory MPs have been increasingly disturbed by Osborne’s macabre imagery when describing May. He has described her as a “dead woman walking”, said she is on “death row”, called her the “living dead” and talked of her “immediate execution”. The Tories will have reason to cancel his conference pass on security grounds at this rate…

Meanwhile today’s Evening Standard splashes on yet another pro-Juncker front page. Do Remainers really think talking up Jean-Claude is the way to get voters to change their minds? Mad…

Standard’s Kelly Osbourne Moment

George Osborne’s Evening Standard hits peak metropolitan liberal elitism with this cartoon revealing how ultra-Remainers really see EU migrants: as cheap labour so serve them coffee, look after their children and clean their loos. It reminded Guido of Kelly Osbourne’s infamous racism row, where she tried to defend Latinos by asking: “Who is going to clean your toilets?” 

The mask slips…

Osborne’s Macabre May Metaphors

Tory MPs have noticed that George Osborne is very keen on using morbid imagery to describe Theresa May. In June he said she was a “dead woman walking” and asked how long she would “remain on death row”. In July he wondered who would “wield the knife”. Today he says she is “like the living dead”. He’s also said she is “like King Charles I” (who was beheaded). If you didn’t get the point, he adds that she has “staved off an immediate execution”. Imagine he sits in his office throwing darts at a Theresa May dartboard…

Remain Papers Backing Juncker

The coverage of some newspapers breathlessly endorsing Juncker’s nonsense today is remarkable. Not sure siding with Jean-Claude is a great look for Remainers…

UPDATE: Iain Martin agrees over on Reaction.

Osbo Mulling Euro Standard Hire

Guido hears a rumour that local free-sheet editor George Osborne is toying with the idea of hiring a “Europe Editor” to oversee the Standard’s anti-Brexit coverage. The one worry he has is of upsetting long-serving political editor Joe Murphy, who is basically a solid news hack of the old school and might not be thrilled at having his turf invaded by some Euro-commissar taking dictation from Nicky Morgan and Peter Mandelson. Osborne is understood to be prepared to ‘wave Evgeny’s cheque book around’ to get a big name. It occurs to Guido that Nick Clegg is currently unemployed. Just a thought…

Osborne’s Immigration Hypocrisy

George Osborne is whacking the government on immigration again, splashing today’s Standard with an “exclusive investigation” making clear his view that the tens of thousands target is a fantasy. All very well and probably true. But less than a year ago Osborne was telling voters that he would meet the target. This exchange is from June 8, during the referendum campaign:

“I think it is achievable… It’s an ambition we intend to reach… In the manifesto that the country voted on last year, we set it out as an ambition. I believe it is an ambition we will achieve.”

Now Osborne says the target is “economically illiterate” and “wishful thinking”. He was lying to voters during the referendum. Rich of him to accuse May of the exact same fib…

UKIP and Farage Seize on Osborne Immigration Revelations

George Osborne has admitted that the Cameron government never tried to keep its promises on immigration and claimed that every senior member of the Cabinet privately opposes the Tory target on reducing net migration. Osborne makes the claims in his latest Evening Standard editorial, writing that “none of its senior members supports the pledge in private and all would be glad to see the back of something that has caused the Conservative Party such public grief”. Just like Dave’s unhelpful Brexit comments last week, UKIP are already seizing on these revelations. Nigel Farage tells Guido:

“In admitting that the Tories never planned to keep their promises on immigration, and that the Cabinet does not even support reducing migration, I suspect for once George Osborne has got something right.”

And a punchy UKIP spokesman tells Guido:

“Osborne has blown the gaff. For the last 7 years the Tories have been knowingly lying about their inability to reduce immigration. Now Amber Rudd has been passed the baton by the Prime Minister to carry on doing so. It used to be said that it was the job of the Diplomatic Service to lie for Britain. It now seems to be the job of the Home Office to lie to Britain.”

Notable that the unleashed Leave voter-bashing Osborne is using his insider knowledge of Cabinet discussions so overtly so early on in his new job. ACOBA were insistent that he must not used privileged information garnered from his time in office:

“The Committee is mindful of the potential interest the Evening Standard may have in the vast array of information you were privy to as a member of the Cabinet and as Chancellor. Whilst the Committee notes the Permanent Secretary has no concerns about the role in relation to your time as Chancellor, it is concerned that given the specific nature of the role as Editor, there is a risk that your knowledge acquired in office could provide some advantage to the Evening Standard.”    

Every Cabinet member who appears on TV will now be asked if they privately oppose this key Tory manifesto policy, just in time for tomorrow’s launch…

Osborne’s First Front Page Toned Down

Fairly common for the Standard to change up its headlines between editions. Commuters heading home tonight are reading a very toned down Osborne first front page compared to the May bashing one he tweeted out earlier…

UPDATE: George gets in touch…

“There used to be one edition but we’re going to be running two editions during the election, to get reaction to news & stories thru the day”

Osborne’s First News Line

It’s George Osborne’s first day in charge of the Evening Standard and he has been given an appropriate welcome on Derry Street, where a group of cab drivers have laid out a ‘huge line of coke’ on the road outside. A gag that’s had Standard hacks snorting into their coffees…

H/T Felicity Morse

UPDATE: George twists the knife with his first front page:

UPDATE II: Osborne’s first leader says Brexit is “an historic mistake”, derides as “unrealistic” claims Britain has a strong hand, repeats the Juncker briefing uncritically as if it is gospel, and blasts Theresa May for an “election campaign [that] amounts to no more than a slogan”. Subtle…

Evening Standard Editor George Osborne Could Have Been Locked in Parliament

Yesterday raised another question over George Osborne’s appointment as editor of London’s flagship Evening Standard: had the attack occurred in two months’ time, Osborne would have likely been stuck inside a locked-down parliament along with other MPs. Out of the newsroom…

The first edition of London’s Evening Standard hit the streets before the attack, nevertheless the paper says it rushed out a late change to its last editions giving the tragedy comprehensive coverage read by commuters on their way home in print and on their phones. This was all put together in the afternoon, when Osborne plans to be on the parliamentary estate. He would not have been able to judge the tone, choose the front page splash headline or picture. He would not have been able to effectively edit the paper. A source in the Standard newsroom tells Guido that Osborne was not seen on deck yesterday and hasn’t been spotted in the office since the day he was appointed – although he is not due to start until May. Yesterday Osborne would have been perfectly positioned as a reporter, but not an editor…

Osborne Trolls Commons: “We’ve Missed Standard Deadline”

He says he will “listen to the views of colleagues” about whether he should stay as an MP. Get the feeling he’s loving this…

“Mr Osborne, Are You Going to Resign?”

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.”

Standard Newsroom Reacts


Fair to say journalists in the Evening Standard newsroom have had their minds blown at the news that George Osborne is their new editor:

The deputy editor of the Standard diary speaks for his colleagues:

Osborne due to address his staff at 12:15 pm, one of his tougher speeches…

George Osborne New Evening Standard Editor

The BBC’s Amol Rajan reports George Osborne is the new editor of the Evening Standard. He will edit the paper in the morning and do his MP’s duties in the afternoon. Wow!

Evgeny Lebedev says:

“I am proud to have an editor of such substance, who reinforces The Standard’s standing and influence in London and whose political viewpoint – socially liberal and economically pragmatic – closely matches that of many of our readers. George is London through and through and I am confident he is the right person to build on the fantastic legacy of Sarah Sands.”

Osborne statement:

“I am proud to be a Conservative MP, but as editor and leader of a team of dedicated and independent journalists, our only interest will be to give a voice to all Londoners. We will be fearless as a paper fighting for their interests. We will judge what the government, London’s politicians and the political parties do against this simple test: is it good for our readers and good for London? If it is, we’ll support them. If it isn’t, we’ll be quick to say so.

So much is now at stake about the future of our country and its capital city. I will remain in Parliament, where that future is debated. I was elected by my constituents in Tatton to serve them and I intend to fulfil that promise. I remain passionate about the Northern Powerhouse and will continue to promote that cause. Right from the first speech I gave about the North of England, I’ve said that London needs a successful north and the north benefits from its links to a global city like London. It’s not a zero-sum game, but quite the opposite.”

Osborne says he will continue to promote the Northern Powerhouse and represent Tatton while editing a newspaper and advising BlackRock…

Evening Standard Editor Runners and Riders

After five years at the helm Sarah Sands is off to the Today programme, so the Evening Standard is looking for a new editor. Who will join the likes of Paul Dacre, Max Hastings and Geordie Grieg on the illustrious list of former Standard editors? As ever Media Guido gives you your preliminary runners and riders…

Rachel Johnson – A party circuit pal of Evgeny, who she calls “a wise old beard (or two) on young shoulders”. Has been a Standard columnist. Might the sister of the former Mayor edit London’s dominant paper?

Oly Duff – Under Duff’s editorship the i paper enjoyed some success and largely subsidised the Independent, before Lebedev sold it to Johnston Press last year. One of Evgeny’s cabal of bearded young male proteges. 

Amol Rajan – You wait ages for an editor’s job and then two come along at once. Has landed a string of scoopettes since becoming the BBC’s new media editor. Bearded obviously. If only he’d held out just a little longer…

Matthew d’Ancona – The former Spectator editor is already a Standard columnist and also pushes the neo-Cameroon modernising agenda in his Guardian column. Has requisite beard.

Toby Young: Now working at the New Schools Network, could he be tempted to put his career as an educationalist on hold? Able to grow beard at short notice if necessary.

Ed Cumming – Hirsute Rasputin to Evgeny’s Tsar Nicholas, Cumming is highly-rated and was commissioning editor at the Observer for two years.

Dylan Jones – The GQ editor is a name in the frame, however his 18 years at the helm of GQ suggest he is a lifer at the magazine. If he starts growing a beard he could be in contention.

Stig Abell – The former Sun man could be a good shout. Though surely he loves TLS too much to leave?

Eleanor Mills – Editorial director at the Sunday Times and editor of the Sunday Times magazine, certainly has the experience.

Ian Walker – If Lebedev goes for an internal hire then his deputy editor is the most qualified.

Jack Lefley – Currently the well-respected Standard news editor, the man who under the radar does the most work on the paper.

Evgeny could choose someone completely unexpected. He is not a conventional proprietor…

Brexit or Bust

despite-brexit-boobs

The inventiveness of this particular #DespiteBrexit story made Guido laugh…[…] Read the rest

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