Some journalists make the terrible mistake of meeting someone and then thinking they’ve discovered what that person is like. They compound the mistake by thinking that their impression of what that person is like is important.
Some weeks ago, I read a painfully long profile of George Osborne by a journalist who began the piece by revealing that some friends had used a dinner party to arrange a meeting with him before the official interview, in order that she would find out how nice he is. You know, the sort of dinner party where you turn up expecting just a few columnists and some minor aristocracy, and your hostess has mischievously invited the government.
It was to her credit that the journalist was open about this, or perhaps it was a career move to put her well-connected social life on her CV. But what followed was pointless; not fawning or uncritical. It was as good as any what-makes-them-tick piece. And just as pointless.
In the space between her filing the piece and the upload to the internet, Osborne walked out of a meeting in Europe and brazenly claimed to have saved this country hundreds of millions of pounds. It was one of those untruths that make one doubt a person’s sanity, because it is so obviously going to be exposed publicly as false. I haven’t socialised with senior politicians, but I’ve hung out with the insane and I can reveal that they believe their own lies completely.
You could follow Osborne around for the rest of his life and not hear him say, ‘Poor people make me sick and they should either inherit some money or fuck off.’ He probably doesn’t even think that. Or rather, he doesn’t think he thinks that.
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