Published:

By Harry Phibbs
Follow Harry on Twitter

The Daily Mail are serialising Janan Ganesh's biography of George Osborne Austerity Chancellor. No desperate scandals have emerged thus far, but plenty of intriguing revelations of what Mr Osborne was like as a teenager.

Mr Osborne was interested in politics from a young age. During his predecessor, Lord Lawson's, 1988 tax cutting speech, the 16-year-old George Osborne was on the number 9 crossing Hammersmith Bridge with a pocket radio pressed hard to his ear so that he could hear the speech live.

More typical teenage pursuits which Mr Osborne took part in included watching the A-Team, listening to Madonna, and playing computer games.

While he didn't take part in sport, he enjoyed jokes and mischief. Once he succcessfully got a rumour going that a fellow sixth former had got married over the summer. He had an unkind habit of asking teachers questions he knew they couldn't answer.

Why did he change his name from Gideon? Some suggest that the name might have prompted bullying. However, at his prep school Colet Court he was nicknamed "Giddy" which sounds friendly enough. Mr Ganesh says that by the time he changed his name he about to go to St Pauls: "in a school of Mungos and Nathaniels, a boy called Gideon did not stand out."

It is more likely, therefore, that he simply didn't like the name. At the age of 13, he persuaded his mother to take him to the deed poll office and turn him into George. Mr Ganesh feels that this was an "extraordinary thing" to have happened.   The significance is not why his disliked the name Gideon, but the degree of determination and independence demonstrated to secure its change.

Another insight from Mr Ganesh is that the political relevance of Mr Osborne's upbringing, is not that it was rich, but that it was metropolitan. It was a modern, arty, liberal crowd that his fabric company parents moved in. Mr Ganesh believes that this helps to explain the liberal views that Mr Osborne tends to hold on social issues.

 

 

Comments are closed.