George Osborne at the British Museum: what do they see in him?

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The trustees all voted for the ex-chancellor as their chair. It’s all about energy and cash

The appointment of George Osborne as chair of trustees on the British Museum is a startling jolt. The taint is so apparent, the associations so indelible: can it actually have come to this? You should not have to recall the previous chancellor’s austerity measures with horror to be dismayed; nor even his infamous cuts to the museum sector, pertinent as one definitely hopes they have been through the choice course of. Osborne was a profession politician, in any case. However the flagrant opportunism, the conspicuous needling, sneering and condescension made him unpopular even amongst members of his personal celebration.

About the selection, questions have inevitably been raised. The place was the commercial? Might anybody apply? Who selected him and what have been his qualifications (as negligible, to critics, as for his current position as Normal editor)? Certainly he was one other Tory placeman, like Jacob Rees-Mogg on the Nationwide Portrait Gallery, or Tory donor Richard Sharp as the brand new BBC chair?

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