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…

ASI’s Sophie Jarvis Moves to George Osborne

The Adam Smith Institute’s famously laid back neoliberal star, Sophie Jarvis, last seen on Politics Live last week taking politicians to task over the Porn Laws, environmental policy, and the future of tax, has been snapped up by George Osborne’s Evening Standard. Sophie will start working on the Londoner’s Diary from Tuesday next week…

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?

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…

Charlotte Edwardes New Londoner’s Diary Editor

Word from the Standard newsroom is Charlotte Edwardes is the new editor of the Londoner’s Diary. Edwardes, Peston’s better half, has been the Standard’s main interviewer and feature writer for a while and MediaGuido hears she starts on the diary next week. Weellllllllllllll done, Charlotte!

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. This deal, the first in a pipeline of many, will help us reverse the age-old trend of not exporting enough, boosting growth and creating jobs.” 

He even wore their hat…

H/T Chris Williams

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”.[…] Read the rest

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Peter Mandelson tells Emma Barnett…

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