I am not, as it happens, George Osborne’s greatest fan. However one has to have sympathy for him being the victim of a piece of media-contrived disinformation such as we haven’t seen from Labour’s practitioners of the ‘Black Arts’ in the early days of the Mandelson-Campbell duo.
It appears that either Osborne is not safe to be let out on his own, or that:
- he met Oleg Deripaska socially while on holiday, maybe more than once, as did His Lordship Mandelson
- he did not ask OD for a donation to the Tory Party
- OD did not offer him any money for the Tory Party
- the Tory Party did not receive any money from OD by any means.
So what’s all the fuss about then? I can’t tell what prompted Rothschild to write his letter to The Times. Maybe he values his relationship with Mandelson more highly than Osborne realised and is annoyed with Osborne for revealing the contents of his conversation with Mandelson at a private dinner. This, of course, is speculation, but no more so than the stuff we have been hearing from the BBC especially about discussions that might have taken place (increasingly reported as fact by journalists and Labour and Lib Dem politicians with the honourable exception of Jeremy Paxman).
These discussions, involving the party’s chief fundraiser, are said to have discussed how the Law might be got around to enable OD to make a donation that was not offered or asked for or received. How very post-modern. So what?
To me this looks like the days of politics by character assassination are back and journalists with a claim on our respect for seriousness, especially those working for our vaunted ‘public service’ broadcaster, should be ashamed of themselves for their connivance at it. but then they did just as much in John Major’s day, didn’t they?