THE BLOG

Help Us Turn Osborne's Propaganda Into Power

02/05/2017 12:14 BST | Updated 02/05/2017 12:14 BST
JUSTIN TALLIS via Getty Images

Right now, people are having a bad day at work because of George Osborne. An entire generation are having worse days at work than their parents - for the first time in the history of capitalism - because of George Osborne. So wouldn't it be great if we could make George Osborne have just the worst first day at work in the history of work and/or days? That's an opportunity you probably shouldn't pass up. Plus, as Joe Strummer put it: "the theory of the hour, anger can be power" - hopefully quite literally in this case.

George Osborne started his first day as "Editor" of the Evening Standard with a tweet that read: "Excited about first day in new job @EveningStandard. Without fear or favour we'll provide the facts & analysis - and entertain". Either a sense of irony is one of the many human characteristics he lacks or it's the chutzpah of a politician that has to lie bigly to cover the naked fiendishness of their position.

Favours are all he's got: he single-handedly epitomises everything that's wrong about elitism.

In my mind, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer would not be the "Editor" of the Evening Standard without a favour being pulled; likewise, he wouldn't have been the Chancellor of the Exchequer without the favour of his mate David Cameron, to say nothing of that safe-seat in Tatton. Has he ever won anything on his own merit in his life? If the people of London were asked to vote for an editor of their local evening paper, can you imagine anyone putting a tick in the box next to his name?

But of course the Evening Standard is not democratically controlled, and its Russian Oligarch owner is free to apoint whomever he likes. Which makes it even weirder that he chose George for the job. Obviously he won't actually be "editing" the Standard - he can't - but if you were merely looking for a well-salaried figurehead, why on earth would you choose the person that was so unpopular they were booed at the London Paralympics? Nobody gets booed at the Paralympics.

When the announcement was made about his "editorship" lots of people were shocked and outraged (not least his former constituents, who he's now abandoned in favour of the Oligarch). Many people on social media were talking about boycotting the Standard, or starting campaigns to take them out of circulation and dump them in recycling bins. And I saw one person who was urging others to turn copies into clean energy.

So that's what we're doing. Specifically, we'll use industrial pellet milling machines to turn leftover newspapers into high density fuel pellets that can be burned to create energy in a relatively clean way. What's more, OsborneStandard EnergySolutions Ltd. will be founded as a workers' cooperative. We'll do what George was never able or willing to do: give workers democratic control of their workplace and pay them a living wage (and a real living wage, too).

If we hit our crowdfunding target, anyone who wants to help us collect Evening Standards can pick up OS Recycling Sacks from us, fill them with papers and return them for a share of the profit they'll help create. We'll welcome everyone who wants to help us turn propaganda into power but would particularly like to work with those who are traditionally vilified by said propaganda: homeless and unemployed people, squatters, migrants, refugees and BME people (and especially women and non-binary people in all of those groups).

Because lots of people in our society - especially after his disastrous stint at the helm of the economy - do need a helping hand. But George Osborne is very definitely not one of them.