Osborne takes another job

The former chancellor and Evening Standard editor George Osborne has taken another job as a fund manager for the wealthy Agnelli family, as he joins the board of Exor as an advisor.

This means that he is now juggling at least eight jobs: editor of the Evening Standard (£200k a year), Chairman of Exor investment fund (undisclosed salary), Advisor to BlackRock Investment (£650k a year), Chairman of Northern Powerhouse Partnership (unpaid), Kissinger Fellow (£120,121 in ‘expenses’), Visiting Fellow at the Stanford School for Business (undisclosed but at least £28k per speech), Honorary Professor of Economics at Manchester University (undisclosed), and he receives at least £60k per speech to the Washington Speaker’s bureau.

Meanwhile on planet Earth, a landmark academic study last year found that an additional 120,000 people had died thanks to Osborne’s austerity programme. Musings in the press that the type of ‘liberal conservatism’ that Osborne represented needs reviving should heavily scrutinised. Following his time as Chancellor, the UK was investigated by the United Nations because of the effect austerity has had on the rights of people with disabilities.

His programme of cutbacks has led to a decline in quality of life across the board. Wages fell, and are yet to return to their pre-crisis peak. Ricketts and other Victorian-era diseases have made an unwelcome return, and inequality is set to reach record highs by 2022, according to the Resolution Foundation.

What is most shocking is that Osborne’s pronouncements on the economy are being taken seriously. His agenda was based on a debunked academic study by economists Reinhart and Rogoff, which found that above the 90% debt to GDP ratio, a country’s growth goes into a precipitous decline. That was all well and good - until a graduate student discovered that the entire conclusion of their study was based on spreadsheet errors. In fact the inverse was true: countries with higher levels of public debt have grown faster over time. Did Osborne change course when the facts changed? Of course not. 

Academic errors like this are not normally tales of high intrigue - except when they result in unparalleled human misery. It should worry all of us that this failure of a Chancellor retains any influence over the economic direction of this country.

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