10 things you didn't know about George Osborne

Few politicians would be able to shrug off being booed by 80,000 people in the Olympic Stadium, but George Osborne treated it with wry laughter.

Amid an economic climate of spending cuts and tax rises, the chancellor has become a figure that people seem to love to hate.

Thanks to a biography of the chancellor, there are a few things you may not know about the man with his hands on the nation’s purse-strings.

1. He was originally called “Gideon Oliver Osborne” (nicknamed “Giddy” by schoolmates), before changing his first name to George by deed poll at the age of 13.

2. While working for John Major, Osborne was “perky” in his delight about Tony Blair’s election as Prime Minister - dubbing him “The Master”. Meanwhile, when Iain Duncan Smith was leader of the Tory party, Osborne used to refer to Blair as “our real leader”.

3. Before the 2010 election, Osborne used to be “dismissive” of LibDem leader Nick Clegg - partly as Clegg refused a dinner invitation from him and David Cameron. He also thought Clegg was “politically clueless”, but would later “have to revise this view during the general election campaign”.

4. He loathed Gordon Brown. In his office, he would refer to Brown as a “bast**d” and delighted in impersonating him as a lurching monster. Brown’s impact on Osborne left him behaving like an “abused puppy” according to an adviser, who was “mentally trapped” by a man he professed to hate.

5. Osborne was “far from distraught” when David Willetts, as Tory education spokesman, was embroiled in a controversial debate over grammar schools. After Willetts’ demotion, Osborne was said to have laughed that “he’ll never have my job then!”

6. Despite ruling it out at Tory conference last week, Osborne agreed with Nick Clegg last year to bring in a mansion tax in exchange for slashing the 50p tax rate for top earners. However, it was vetoed by David Cameron.

7. Osborne “fell into” the Conservative Party, with his biographer remarking that “had he been born a decade later and grown up in the mid-1990s, he might be a Blairite Labour MP striving to catch Ed Miliband’s eye for a frontbench promotion”.

9. He was a “fervent fan” of Madonna.

10. George Osborne once challenged a fellow student at Oxford to a wasabi eating contest and won, but he was left “doubled over in agony”.

Bonus fact, missed by his biographer, is that our chancellor played a naughty “pass the ice cube” game with Spice Girl Geri Halliwell in 2009 while at a wedding.

It’d seem there is more to Giddy than meets the eye…

Social Bookmarks