ER LATE than never for George Osborne’s belated fortieth birthday present from Condé Nast’s UK head Nicholas Coleridge, whose glossy magazine empire last night rewarded the chancellor for his “sheer bloody mindedness”.
BBC political editor Nick Robinson presented Osborne with his Politician of the Year trophy at the GQ Men of the Year Awards at The Royal Opera House, a “tribute to true grit” in recognition of the stamina with which the chancellor has resisted everyone who criticises his “no plan B” approach to economic recovery.
Last night was the second time Osborne has been named GQ’s Politician of the Year – the first time, in 2009, the men’s magazine admired his “nimble escape” from what could have been a watery political grave following the Deripaska affair – a potentially fatal collision of yachts, Bullingdon boys and Peter Mandelson.
Those days thankfully “seem a long time ago”, said columnist Matthew d’Ancona, who judged the award. The only problem is, in the volatile economy of 2011, “Boy George” is “more like Atlas carrying the entire weight of the coalition’s problems on his shoulders”. No pressure, then.
THE BOOKWORMS are coming out of the woodwork, as adman Maurice Saatchi prepares to launch Brutal Simplicity of Thought at the V&A on 19 September, followed by a party for The Ascent of Media – YouGov chairman Roger Parry’s take on Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent of Money – at the Globe on 26 September.
Getting in early, however, is David Cameron and George Osborne’s former economic advisor Matthew Hancock MP, who stole a march on Monday night with a Number 11 Downing Street reception for Masters of Nothing, a study of the human behaviour that caused the banking crash co-authored with former YouGov chief executive Nadhim Zahawi MP.
In a break with book launch tradition, there were no copies for sale at the reception; instead, guests were handed a leaflet on leaving advising they could order the book from its publishers Biteback. “It was extraordinary,” spluttered one empty-handed literary mole, while another – who yesterday ordered the book at the knockdown price of £7.49 on Amazon – joked to cabinet secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell: “I should have realised Downing Street is not a profit centre, it is a cost base.”
Also left trawling Amazon were Schroders fund manager Andy Brough; Hargreaves Hale investment manager Patrick Evershed; Henry Angest, chairman of Arbuthnot Securities; Tory peer Lord Howard Flight; and Bell Pottinger founder Piers Pottinger.
A lot of men, in fact. Perhaps unfortunately for a book that says boardrooms need to fight the “macho culture” that brought the City to its knees, there were only about ten female faces at the party – although The Capitalist is sure the likes of Addictive Interactive chief executive Sarah-Jane Thomson, Numis Securities executive director Lorna Tilbian and headhunter Jan Hall, head of the JCA Group, more than held their own…
CONGRATULATIONS to Tory MP Nick Boles, who last weekend followed his quiet London civil ceremony to Shay Meshulam back in March with a larger wedding on Ibiza, a relaxed affair where a number of the guests wore shorts.
The Capitalist also hears that when Boles kissed his partner after exchanging vows, all the guests were encouraged to kiss their other halves at the same time – although it is not clear how the single invitees managed that situation…