George Osborne and Evelyn Waugh

New Europe, a weekly English-language newspaper published in Brussels, carries an article comparing George Osborne, Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer (for the time being), to Evelyn Waugh. Osborne changed his name from Gideon Oliver to plain George because it

“sounds more like a prime minister”… True, a name such as Gideon Oliver would sound funny for non-Brits, unfamiliar with historical figures such as Disraeli, or with the fact that people from the English affluent middle class could bestow upon their male children names such as… Evelyn. George Osborne himself could after all be a figure out of one of Evelyn Waugh’s novels. Like Evelyn Waugh, Osborne tried journalism. Like Evelyn Waugh, he failed at that, but instead of of persevering in writing, he entered politics.

The reference may be to Waugh’s failure at his attempt at being a reporter for the Daily Express, his first regular job as a journalist. He was sacked after a two-month trial period. But once established as a novelist, Waugh continued to write as a free-lance journalist for the rest of his life, and was quite successful at it.

 

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