Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

AJ and George Paper over the Cracks

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

AJ and George Paper over the Cracks

Article excerpt

George Osborne v Alan Johnson is billed as Toff v Tough, but the rivals have one thing in common: both are sons of decorators. Johnson's dad was a painter and decorator who left home when the shadow chancellor was eight. And the baronet papa of the future Sir George founded Osborne & Little, an upmarket purveyor of wallpaper. MPs on both sides agree that what counts most is who gets a--wait for it--pasting on Cuts Day, 20 October.

I hear that the cutters Francis Maude and Philip Green didn't enjoy doing business. A snout mutters that Maude, a millionaire banker-turned-Cabinet Office slasher, thought the Bhs boss too brash. Green, the billionaire shopkeeper, resented, when he barked "Jump!", Maude's refusal to ask: "How high?" Things were so bad, says the snout, Maude threatened to start shopping at Marks & Spencer, a chain Green failed to buy more than once.

Never let it be said this column doesn't get results. After we reported that the Guardians Steve Bell was banned from adding the teat when drawing cartoons of Cameron with a condom on his head, the editor, Alan Rusbridger, tweeted that he'd relented. Dave's not so much a ConDem as a complete condom.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Feisty Mary Creagh's triumph in the shadow cabinet elections and the return of the ITV1 series Whitechapel, about East End violence, remind your correspondent how Michael Martin, when speaker of the Commons, mispronounced her name, calling her "Cree-agh!" as if he'd stubbed a toe. …

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