So George Osborne is to become the Editor (for two days a month at a unknown salary, which I am sure is not a pittance)which if this was his only role would not raise an eyebrow from anyone; however he is a sitting MP with responsibilities to his constituents (especially in these dire times with Brexit on the horizon – we are just waiting for the ‘HARD’ date), so is there a conflict of interest?
According to Sky News he has currently six (yes 6) jobs running simultaneously:
- He’s a speaker at the Washington Speaker’s Bureau, where he has a lucrative contract to perform after-dinner speeches around the world
- He’s a chairman of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (not an obvious position for the editor of London’s biggest newspaper)
- He’s an advisor to the American fund management firm Blackrock. He’s thought to be paid £650,000 a year (yes, you read that right) for working one day a week for the company (yes, you read that right as well)
- He’s a fellow at the McCain Institute, an American think tank
- He will be (as of mid-May) the editor of London’s Evening Standard newspaper.
- And oh yes … he’s (still) the MP for Tatton (a salary of £75,000 a year plus expenses).
Now we all think good on him for making a success of his life and looking after his family; but, and it is a big BUT, the Business Dictionary defines a conflict of interest as being:
- A situation that has the potential to undermine the impartiality of a person because of the possibility of a clash between the person’s self-interest and professional interest or public interest.
- A situation in which a party’s responsibility to a second-party limits its ability to discharge its responsibility to a third-party. (Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/conflict-of-interest.html)
It would clear to me, and to a good many others from the outcry that has arisen, that being an editor of a ‘Conservative’ ideological paper which clearly shows its stance as being in total support of Conservative doctrine, means that in all honesty he cannot be an editor who can give an unbiased editorial-ship to this paper. Never mind that as someone who has edited a paper and a magazine, I can tell you it is time consuming and tiring. I did it whilst doing my full-time job as an internal auditor and subsequent as a full-time student. I found it difficult doing two roles, and yet he is doing six – he clearly is superman!
It surely must now be up to his constituents to review his seat and decide whether he can and is fulfilling his MP duties fully, and they decide that he is isn’t give him guidance as to their needs, and if necessary request he stand down or give up these other roles which may be causing a distraction.