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No, Osborne's New Job Is Not Funny

17/03/2017 16:15 | Updated 5 days ago

I'm sorry to be a po-faced fucker about this, but I'm afraid I do not find anything to laugh at in George Osborne's appointment as editor of the Evening Standard. Osborne's past few days underlines, makes bold and italicises exactly what's wrong with almost everything.

To recap, just over a week ago it was confirmed that the former Chancellor and current MP for Tatton was to be paid £650,000 per year to advise global asset management firm Blackrock. Today he's been appointed editor of the the London Evening Standard.

If we've learnt anything through these torrid past few months of post-irony politics it is that a lot of people have come to mistrust institutions and those that work in them. This trend has been ruthlessly, shamelessly exploited by grubby little opportunists and that in turn leaves us lost in a political landscape that we barely recognise.

When in office, Osborne brought us austerity and pushed Machiavelli's envelope so far that even the Italian prince would not have wanted any part in it. He then left us with a broken nation after playing co-conspirator with PM Cameron, massively over-egging the scaremongering and losing the EU referendum. Thanks George.

Osborne's cavalcade of conflicts of interest just pour more cement over people's already entrenched views. The fact that he's a one man evisceration of the closeness of finance to power and of the increasing impotence of journalism makes his example all the more prescient.

It is not illegal for Osborne to remain an MP (which pays him £75,000) while pocketing more than half a million quid for advising big finance and then editing one of the newspapers that has significant influence over London's capital markets. It's definitely not without precedent. But it takes the piss out of taking the piss.

And mine are not the politics of envy. I don't care how much he earns. Though if I were waiting for an operation, on disability benefit, on any other sort of benefit, elderly or trying to make ends meet as the head teacher of a state-funded school I might because I might remember that we're still living with his spending plans.

No, it's the conflation of finance, public service and the fourth estate that's the problem. And the obvious fact that the people like Osborne just don't understand people's frustration with people like him.

In a much smaller way, MPs defending employing members of their own family when most people know they must go through proper recruitment processes to get jobs is possessed of the same strain of institutional bacteria. No one infection is a killer, but bit-by-bit the body politic is being consumed.

They do not get it. And they do not seem to understand that the more they alienate people, the easier it is for dangerous opportunists, racists and demagogues to gain traction with promises to take things back, make stuff great again and drain swamps.

At the very least, Osborne should resign as an MP immediately. What would be better is if public servants - especially those that claim to be ace strategists and in whom the privileges of high office have been invested - exercised more restraint while still holding office.

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