by Rupert Myers
"Theresa May has a slim majority, and has already had to make an embarrassing u-turn on National Insurance contributions from the self-employed in her Chancellor’s budget. While she struggles with Scotland’s push for a referendum, the narrow ruling majority in the commons, and the fearsome task of Brexit ahead, George Osborne is positioning himself as someone ready to stand up for the economic interests of both the city and ordinary people. The Evening Standard is a perfect fit: a Conservative-leaning paper that backed Zac Goldsmith, it speaks to the centrist, metropolitan concerns of a capital terrified by the economic consequences of Brexit.
Osborne’s new media role allows him to shape the debate, and will see him appearing on television and on the radio, championing whichever causes he chooses.
Brexit stole from Osborne the likely chance to succeed his friend in the job of Prime Minister. As editor of the Evening Standard, Osborne will do everything he can to look like he backs Theresa May, while making the case for his own leadership. Osborne has always been a master tactician with his eye on the next move, but more than that he can be exceptionally funny and charismatic in person. The public saw George Osborne the austerity chancellor, but now they will be given the chance to see Osborne in a new light, as a champion for people’s ordinary concerns, as a witty and urbane editor on panel discussions, as a rehabilitated figure trying to show that yesterday’s man might just also be tomorrow’s."