The clever heading for Jason Cowley`s article on George Osborne`s shameless acquisition of jobs and obscene wealth was sadly misleading (The austerity editor,24th March, 2017). The paragraph on his record as chancellor concluded that it was "mixed"! Rather than criticising him for the ideologically driven and unnecessary austerity policies, which targeted the weakest and most vulnerable in society, and which aimed at reducing government spending to levels last seen in the 1930s, Cowley simply mentions his "pursuit of expansionary fiscal contraction". Later on, Osborne is described as the "former austerity chancellor", but neither his roles in the current NHS, education and prisons crises, or the job cuts and pay freezes for which he also shares responsibility, are mentioned.
Calling him an "austerity chancellor", without any of the drastic consequences he caused, suggests a bout of "austerity amnesia" is doing the rounds at the New Statesman`s office. Letting the politician who dreamt up the idea of a "Northern Powerhouse" as an electoral wheeze, whilst slashing the budgets of Labour-controlled northern councils, off the hook is simply too generous. Theresa May might well have "unceremoniously sacked" him, but his policies still linger on, and such callousness must not be forgotten, especially as it contributed hugely to the EU referendum result.
If the decision as to whether he can combine the numerous jobs with being an MP is for "his own conscience", there can only be one result!