George Osborne: The Austerity Chancellor

Janan Ganesh

George Osborne: The Austerity Chancellor

A lifelong Tory but a man of few fixed convictions, the author of the most dramatic austerity programme this country has seen since the war, the most aristocratic member of an unusually privileged government and a ferociously ambitious moderniser with aspirations for the premiership, George Osborne is perhaps the most modern and metropolitan figure in British public life. This is the story of Osborne and the era he helped to shape. George Osborne: Austerity Chancellor charts the mixture of rare brilliance, deadly opportunism and extraordinary good fortune that propelled his vertiginous ascent through British politics, from journalist fresh out of university to the youngest Chancellor in over a century. In doing so, it paints a portrait of that rare thing in the coalition government: a compelling character. 3.1 out of 5 based on 8 reviews
George Osborne: The Austerity Chancellor

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Society, Politics & Philosophy, Business, Finance & Law
Format Hardback
Pages 368
RRP
Date of Publication October 2012
ISBN 978-1849542142
Publisher Biteback
 

A lifelong Tory but a man of few fixed convictions, the author of the most dramatic austerity programme this country has seen since the war, the most aristocratic member of an unusually privileged government and a ferociously ambitious moderniser with aspirations for the premiership, George Osborne is perhaps the most modern and metropolitan figure in British public life. This is the story of Osborne and the era he helped to shape. George Osborne: Austerity Chancellor charts the mixture of rare brilliance, deadly opportunism and extraordinary good fortune that propelled his vertiginous ascent through British politics, from journalist fresh out of university to the youngest Chancellor in over a century. In doing so, it paints a portrait of that rare thing in the coalition government: a compelling character.

John Crace's Digested Read | Guardian

Reviews

The Guardian

Michael Ashcroft

Detailed and illuminating ... this is by no means a one-sided account, and ends with a description of the "curious mix of vulnerability and overconfidence" that produced the omnishambolic budget of 2012. Ganesh has produced an important biography of a man who is the deputy prime minister in all but name.

27/10/2012

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The Daily Mail

Anne McElvoy

The argument about deficit reduction is covered from a mainly political perspective, so we never quite get to understand the Chancellor’s thinking on economics … the Chancellor brought to life in these pages emerges as a far more engaging and quirky figure than those outside the circle of Cameron’s Camelot might have supposed.

22/10/2012

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The Financial Times

Tim Bale

The “instant bio” is hardly a genre crammed with classics. This one has not only been written with the full co-operation of its subject (and therefore all his chums and cheerleaders), but by a gifted columnist on the very newspaper you’re reading. If The Austerity Chancellor turned out to be a tame turkey, what on earth was I going to say? Fortunately, I needn’t have worried too much. Janan Ganesh has produced a book that readers of all sorts will enjoy and dip into in the future. The author really knows his stuff, yet he also leaves plenty of room for argument — both substantive and stylistic.

02/11/2012

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The Spectator

Lloyd Evans

… a pacy, well-researched book whose only fault is its unquestioning fealty to its subject … The book’s most fascinating section concerns Osborne’s role in the election campaign of 2010.

10/11/2012

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The Sunday Telegraph

Peter Oborne

The author, a former researcher at the Policy Exchange think tank, has been granted generous access to the Chancellor’s inner circle. This gives the book an inside feel, but sometimes at the cost of independent judgment. Ganesh is determined to present Osborne as a pragmatist who is “almost physically allergic to ideology” and is “fixated on the centre ground”. Yet Osborne — one of the biggest cheerleaders of the Bush/Rumsfeld neo-conservative movement as it plotted the Iraq invasion, and an apostle of free market liberalism — is one of the most ideological British politicians to have emerged since the Second World War.

22/10/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

James Hanning

The book lacks revelations on his domestic life and those sagas that have tripped up Osborne (the Mandelson/Deripaska affair in Corfu, his assiduous courting of the rich and famous, not least the Murdoch regime, the truth about the allegedly druggy dinner with a dominatrix), but the picture that emerges is not wholly flattering.

21/10/2012

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The New Statesman

Jason Cowley

… one is instinctively reluctant to be too disparaging about a young man’s first book, were it not that he occupies such an elevated position and likes to pronounce grandly on the defining political subjects of our day – but he would be well advised to be more sceptical of those who have or are close to power, all those “creative young brains” who are no doubt the sources for his columns. And he ought to reread Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language”, with its warning about the dangers of “the inflated style”.

25/10/2012

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The Sunday Times

Dominic Lawson

If you were hoping to learn the full inside story of George Osborne’s two-and-a-half year tenure of the second most important office of state, you might be disappointed by Janan Ganesh’s account. Despite its title, the book devotes only one chapter to its subject’s occupancy of 11 Downing Street; and on none of those 40 pages does Ganesh, a weekly columnist for the Financial Times, produce a startling revelation.

28/10/2012

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