George Osborne

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George Osborne

George Osborne is the Chancellor of the Exchequer.[1]

Osborne was David Cameron's campaign manager for the Conservative leadership. Like Cameron, he was elected in 2001 and became Shadow Chancellor at the age of 34. Osborne says that he is a 'card carrying Bush fan' and British neocon. He is on the Policy Advisory board of the Social Market Foundation.

Contents

Background

A former public school boy and heir to the Osborne and Little wallpaper fortune, he says he has been a Conservative all of his life. He describes one of his earliest jobs in politics, as official Conservative Party observer at Labour's annual conference, as the worst he has had. [1]

Bush fan

David Morrison writes:

In an article in The Spectator on 28 February 2004, he confessed to being a long term fan of George Bush:
“I’m a signed-up, card-carrying Bush fan. I have been ever since I met him when he was governor of Texas. … He found an answer to this question: what is the Right for in the age of Clinton–Blair? The Conservatives would do well to listen and learn.” (see Osborne’s website here)
As befits a fan of George, he was gung ho for invading Iraq. As early as 29 April 2002, a year before the war, he lectured Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, in the House of Commons on the necessity for military planning for a ground invasion:
“Both the Prime Minister and the American President have made it clear that military action against Iraq is at least an option, even if no decisions have been taken. Can the Secretary of State reassure the House—or at least, the Opposition—that intensive preparations are under way for the contingency of military action, including a possible ground campaign; otherwise, the threat against Saddam Hussein is hollow?”
To be fair to him, he didn’t pretend that the invasion was about disarming Iraq of “weapons of mass destruction”: he simply wanted “regime change” in Baghdad. In a House of Commons debate on 22 October 2003, he was one of the very few backbenchers to defend the decision to invade, and to do it with vigour:
“It is also worth stating in the House that the decision taken that day was right, and that those who supported it should not be defensive about the way they voted. Moreover, those who supported the decision should not feel defensive about saying that those who opposed the war in that vote were wrong. They were wrong when they prophesied a long and bloody war of attrition. They were wrong when they prophesied a mass slaughter in Baghdad. They were wrong when they forecast a humanitarian catastrophe, which never arose. They were wrong when they predicted an exodus of millions of refugees, which did not happen. Indeed, they are wrong now when they say that post-war Iraq is a disaster and that the world is a more dangerous place because we have got rid of Saddam Hussein. We who supported military action should have the confidence to take on and demolish the arguments that we successfully took on and demolished in March.”
Understandably, he has not repeated this vigorous defence of the invasion since, in the House of Commons.[2]

Former Conservative MP Matthew Parris writes:

Listen to this: “England is going back to sleep. And little wonder when we’re told every day by sages in our national media that the War on Terror is misconceived, that the terrorist threat is exaggerated, that what we’ve done in the last three years has only made matters worse, and that the Iraq war was a ghastly mistake that is best forgotten . . . There are few voices to be heard putting the other view: that the terrorists pose a fundamental threat to our way of life, that fight them we must, that Iraq was part of that fight and that we are winning.”
This is taken from an article that appeared in The Spectator only 22 months ago. Its author did not realise that within little more than a year he and his friend David Cameron would be the two most powerful figures in the Conservative Party. Or that in time they would be odds-on to form the next government.
“We did not choose the War on Terror,” George Osborne continued, beneath the headline “While England Sleeps”, “it chose us. We could try to walk away from it now. We could distance ourselves from America, say the Iraq war was a mistake . . . But it would not save us. For remember the words of the Madrid bombers before they set out to kill 200 innocents on their way to work: ‘We choose death while you choose life.’ With people like that it can only be a case of them or us.”
Eleven months after that article was written, suicide bombers struck in London. To what extent this was an al-Qaeda plot is debatable, but Osborne today is unlikely to think his view of the world unsupported by what happened then. The thought, sentiment and fervour behind his article are of a clever, thoughtful neoconservative: more Wolfowitz than Bush, more egg-head than jar-head, but neocon nonetheless.[3]

Interests

In my capacity as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, support for my office is received from: Lord Harris of Peckham, Mr S Robertson, of London
Gifts, benefits and hospitality (UK) February 2006, I received upgrades from Virgin Airways on return flights London to Washington DC. (Registered 22 February 2006)[2]

Donations complaint

In 2008, The Daily Telegraph reports[4] that Labour MPs John Mann and Kevan Jones had submitted a complaint about £500,000 in donations for shadow chancellor George Osborne. No further details were disclosed.

The Guardian adds that Osborne 'had failed to inform the parliamentary commissioner for standards of nearly £500,000 received last January from bankers'[5]. Again no further details were disclosed.

Affiliations

Connections

Osborne is reported to have thanked Daniel Finkelstein 'for providing him with the lowdown on the Jewish community'[6].

External Resources

News stories

References

  1. Her Majesty’s Government, Number10.gov.uk, accessed 12 May 2010.
  2. David Morrison 'David Cameron: Blair Mark II? Spinwatch, 21 November 2005.
  3. Matthew Parris 'Welcome to Cameron's Europe-hating and Pentagon-loving party' The Times Online, May 20, 2006.
  4. Porter, A. (2008) 'Brown says Hain is just 'incompetent' Daily Telegraph 16th January 2008
  5. Wintour, P. (2008) 'Cameron accuses PM of dithering as Hain refuses to answer ques-tions: Minister urged to provide new answers on donations: Labour hits back with claims against Osborne'. The Guardian (London) 14th January 2008)
  6. The Jewish Chronicle JC Power 100: Sacks stays on top, as new names emerge. 9th May 2008. Accessed 16th August 2008
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