Cashed Out or Cashing in? George Osborne The Treasury Gatekeeper
Brays Duckhouse Political Profile by Julian Bray
I’ve yet to be convinced that George Osborne is the right person to be put in charge of the nations cash box, any more than Gordon Brown or Alistair Darling are displaying qualifications for the role. However Osborne isn’t short of money and has been involved with high flyers and mega rich people for years. In effect a parallel universe. George is also on current showing, a reluctant hesitant presenter and very shy in public.
He is desperately in need of intensive media training and political mentoring. The new breed of television presenters who cut their teeth as print journalists Andrew Marr and Jeff Randall will over time tear the new pretender to shreds. Andrew Marr has already done it on his show earlier today 28th February 2010. So is George Osborne up to the job? Personally I don’t think so, well not yet.
The role demands a heavy hitter either William Haig or Ken Clarke in the role. Bankers need to be brought into line and given a dose of realism, all this needs tough negotiation but as I have my reservations what do we know about this young man? Punching above his weight or playing his cards close to his chest? You decide.
George Osborne is the eldest son and heir of Sir Peter Osborne, 17th Baronet, co-founder of the upmarket paint and wallpaper firm, Osborne & Little.
Gideon Osborne, had a hissy fit at the age of thirteen and demanded his name was changed to George after his grandfather, who was a war hero. Gideon Osborne was educated at the private Norland Place School in Holland Park and no doubt Giddy Osborne didn’t go down too well so the name change was probably a good move.
After Norland – probably better known for its Nanny training school turning out up market uniformed Nannies for the rich and famous. Young George moved to St Paul's School, passing common entrance he was later accepted by Magdalen College at Oxford University, where he gained an upper second-class degree in Modern History. He edited the Uni magazine Isis.
Although now distancing himself from the boorish antics of the Bullingdon Club, a notorious Oxford University dining club; known to the local constabulary for riotous behaviour' and fiercely elitist. Membership by initiation was only ever offered to the sons of aristocratic families and those who were ‘high-net worth’ individuals had money to burn on high living, fine dining, drinking and girls….
David Cameron and playboy Nat Rothschild were also active members of the club. The Conservative Party has repeatedly tried to play down the antics and any association with the Bullingdon set but the core membership of Bullingdon now effectively controls the destiny of the 21st Century Conservative Party and a possible future Government.
Osborne's first job was as an office junior recording the names of people who had died in London, for the NHS. He then became a shop worker and it’s not recorded if he held Union membership when he worked in Oxford Street at Selfridges. No doubt dealing with customers and ringing up sales has provided the bedrock for his duties as a prospective Chancellor, as he appears to have no other training or qualifications in fiscal matters.
Colleagues in Fleet Street say George Osborne originally intended to pursue a career as a journalist, drawing on his experience of editing the Isis magazine at Oxford but having been rejected several times by National papers, he was tipped off about a vacancy at Conservative Central Office. So apart from involvement with the family firm and access to private wealth. George ‘Gideon’ Osborne has had very little in the way of City experience which could be a good thing as he will bring new thinking into the job of Chancellor. On the other hand, even a junior banker could in theory run rings around our George.
George Osborne arrived at the Conservative Research Department in 1994 and rapidly became head of the Political Section. Between 1995 and 1997 he worked for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food [MAFF] as special advisor to minister Douglas Hogg (during the BSE crisis) he later worked in the Political Office at 10 Downing Street.
Between 1997 and 2001 he was assigned to the then Conservative leader William Hague, both as a speech writer and Political Secretary. He helped prepare Hague for the weekly circus known as Prime Minister's Questions, often playing the role of Prime Minister Tony Blair. Under the leaderships of Michael Howard and now under David Cameron, he has remained on the Prime Minister's Questions preparation team.
George Osborne was elected as the Member of Parliament for Tatton, Cheshire, in June 2001, he succeeded the Independent MP Martin Bell, who had famously defeated the disgraced former minister at the centre of sleaze allegations Neil Hamilton at the 1997 election.
Osborne won with a majority of 8,611, becoming (at that time) the youngest Conservative MP in the House of Commons. At the 2005 election, he was re-elected with an increased majority of 11,731, 51.8% of the vote.
In September 2004, Osborne was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Following the 2005 General Election, he was promoted to Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer at the young age of 33 by the then-Conservative Party leader Michael Howard. Howard it is said had initially offered the portfolio to William Hague, who turned it down.
Sources suggest Howard's second choice was in fact David Cameron, who also said no, thinking it would be poisoned chalice, he wanted a major public service portfolio (he was made Shadow Education Secretary). Running out of options Howard finally turned to Osborne as his third choice for the role.
The appointment prompted speculation he would run for the leadership when Howard stepped down, but he quickly ruled himself. Osborne served as campaign manager for David Cameron's leadership campaign, and kept the Shadow Chancellor's post when Cameron became leader later that year.
Osborne's close friendship with Cameron has led to comparisons with the relationship between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in the Labour Party in the mid-1990s. Osborne is on record as saying that there had been "no deal" between him and Cameron and he has repeatedly denied ambitions beyond the Chancellorship. Many have questioned if he does have sufficient practical experience for the Treasury role in the times of a continuing recession and commercial crisis.
Osborne married the author Frances Osborne, elder daughter of former Conservative Cabinet Minister David Howell, Baron Howell of Guildford, on 4 April 1998. The couple have two young children, Luke, born in 2001, and Liberty, born in 2003.
Osborne's net worth is estimated at circa.£6.3m.
He is also next in line to inherit the Osborne baronetcy of Ballentaylor in County Waterford, Ireland, as well as a substantial share of Osborne & Little, his father's wall¬paper and paint company. He share a birthday with the Duckhouse Blog Editor Julian Bray May 23rd so a Gemini albeit on the cusp,, so a split personality or two faced which is exactly what is needed in politics today!
Julian Bray All Rights Reserved
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