Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi

The (Os)borne identity crisis

He may have passed through the ranks of some Britain’s most venerable institutions – St Paul’s school, Magdalen College, Oxford and the Conservative party, to name but three, but when Treasury Today received an email announcing that George Osborne was set to take up residence at that other pillar of the Establishment – Barclays Bank – further investigation was required. Had the UK Chancellor tired of reeling in the country’s run-away budget? It would seem so.

“Barclays Corporate is bolstering its non-bank financial institutions franchise with the appointment of George Osborne, who will be taking on the role of Relationship Director within the Finance and Brokers team,” the press release read.

Osborne is quoted as saying: “I am very pleased that my experience in the armed forces has been recognised and valued by an organisation such as Barclays, and I am looking forward to the new challenges this career change will provide”.

The reference to the armed forces was unexpected the first time, let alone the second. “Following a seven year career in the British Army, Osborne is now moving into the financial sector for the first time by joining Barclays Corporate. During his time with the military, he held the role of Adjutant, Regimental Signals Officer and Platoon Commander”.

It couldn’t be the same man, surely. The closest the boy George has come to a rifle was at the annual pheasant shoot during his Bullingdon days (see photo below; Osborne is on the far right). Thankfully, George Gideon Oliver Osborne, Second Lord of the Treasury and current Chancellor of the Exchequer, has his own Wikipedia page.

Under the rubric ‘early career’, there is no mention of the Army, but there is this: “Osborne’s first job was entering the names of people who had died in London into a National Health Service computer. He also briefly worked for Selfridges, re-folding towels. He originally intended to pursue a career in journalism, but instead got a job at Conservative Central Office.”

Confusion over. Barclays has an action man George, it seems. If only the same could be said of Britain.

Osborne (far right) shooting pheasant