September 2020
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Is Chancellor George Osborne a little bit corrupt?

Hopefully readers will know that in 2012 George Osborne sold his constituency home, which was been part-funded by his MP’s expenses claims, for an estimated £400,000 profit. Nice work if you can get it! But, of course, everything that Osborne did was “within the rules”. Yet even though he is clearly scrupulously honest with his expenses, has our George been giving a little help to his friends?

You’ve probably seen the news stories about the sell-off of the Royal Mail. The National Audit Office (NAO) issued a report criticising the Government for being “too cautious” and undervaluing the business by around £750m. The minister most under fire was doddery old Vince Cable. The issue was that the shares were 23 times oversubscribed. This meant that anyone who got shares at the very start was guaranteed a massive profit.

So, who were the lucky people who got the shares? Well, Mr Cable explained: “We wanted to make sure that the company started its new life with a core of high quality investors who would be there in good times and bad, interested in Royal Mail and the universal service it provides for consumers over the long term.”

In particular, Mr Cable said he didn’t want any shares going to “spivs and speculators”. However, the NAO said 6 of the 16 “priority investors” selected by Cable had sold all of their allocation within weeks of the float, at a substantial profit.

One of the companies, Vince Cable’s “high quality investors“, that seems to have got in at the beginning of this money-making bonanza was a City hedge fund called Lansdowne Partners. It was reported that Lansdowne Partners got £50m of Royal Mail shares which rose in value to £68m in just the first day of trading.

One of the members of the management committee at Lansdowne Partners was a certain Peter Davies who has been friends with Chancellor George Osborne since they met at Oxford University and who was best man at Osborne’s wedding in 1998.

Normally hedge funds are known for their ruthless speculation and aggressive buying and selling. For example, Lansdowne Partners reportedly made about £100m in the 2007 financial crash by shorting the shares of the collapsing Northern Rock – a practice Mr Cable has repeatedly criticised. So most observers would be pushed to conclude that hedge funds like Lansdowne Partners were really what Cable called “high quality investors who would be there in good times and bad”. Thus it seems extraordinarily fortunate that a company like Lansdowne were judged by Mr Cable to be “high quality investors who would be there in good times and bad“.

Cynics might think the whole thing looks a little fishy. But they would be wrong, totally wrong. After all, a Conservative spokesman said the allegations of Osborne influencing who ‘won the lottery’ by being allocated Royal Mail shares were “completely untrue” and “at no point was George involved in, or even made aware of, the allocations”.

A spokesman for Lansdowne said: ‘To be clear, it is not Lansdowne who directly benefited from these investments, rather British pension funds, charities, universities and others who entrust their money with the firm“.

Oh well, that’s all right then. Nobody is corrupt, nobody is greedy, nobody has expensive dinners (paid for by taxpayers) where dirty little deals are done and hedge funds like Lansdowne Partners are not a bunch of “spivs and speculators”. All is well and we can continue to have complete confidence in the probity of our rulers – politicians, bureaucrats and bankers.

By the way, has anybody noticed a curious resemblance between the lying, cheating, dishonest spiv on the cover of my latest book DON’T BUY IT! and our ever so honest Chancellor George Osborne?

osborne and book cover

3 comments to Is Chancellor George Osborne a little bit corrupt?

  • Hi i thought the same thing – it was not a mistake to sell them off at well below the true value. When Gordon Brown sold of a huge part of are gold reserves and knock down prices it was very foolish . The people now in charge are not fools. Maybe they conned the so called economic guru Cable but the people around Osborn are smart. These are the same city slickers who where party to looting Russia during the Yelstin years.

  • jonnyboy

    Snouts in the trough indeed. Another legal robbery by the representatives of business that masquerade as mp’s.

  • demotivated&cynical

    And now the brother of the same man, and not for the first time, is accused of behaviours likely to get him struck off, is there is an equality of treatment. The whole family needs investigating it seems for none have high moral or ethical standards, or so it would appear.

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