Twitter was alight this morning after news broke of the appointment of former Chancellor of the Exchequer and full time dry head George Gideon Oliver Osborne as Editor of the Evening Standard newspaper. Immediately people began questioning exactly what experience Osborne has to qualify him as the right person to edit the Evening Standard; London’s free evening paper. Jim Waterson, Political Editor at Buzzfeed reported “every Oxford library copy of George Osborne’s student journalism has gone missing. And only for his year.” Not surprising when you realise this nincompoop couldn’t even secure a place on a Times Newspaper training scheme in 1993 and later applied for a position at The Economist but was “turned down at interview” as Simon Kuper happily reported with named references for the Financial Times. Of course Osborne’s writing samples are “missing.” Who would want the general public assessing the calibre of his work or knowing their employment process is based purely on nepotism? Jeremy Corbyn goes a step further and suggests Osborne’s appointment is an attempt to subvert media neutrality, further highlighting the problem with journalism in the UK; those writing our daily news are rarely there based on merit.
We are living in two Britians simultaneously and I look forward to its impending downfall. In one Britain, a man woefully unqualified to edit a bi-annual primary school newspaper is the Editor of the Evening Standard and in the other Britain, an overqualified woman experiences unprecedented Government interference resulting in the rejection of her appointment to Channel 4’s Non Executive Board. “Dani, trust you to bring gender into this.” Ah! Wait for it, I’m hitting you with the double whammy; gender and a sprinkle of race for good measure.
In November last year, reports surfaced a BAME woman was rejected by Culture Secretary Karen Bradley despite having been vetted extensively by Ofcom for a position on Channel 4’s Non Executive Board. More galling was the blocking of the then unknown woman for a position which sought candidates to help in Channel 4’s commitment to “a broad range of high-quality and diverse programming” left the board occupied by exclusively white board members. You lot’s Prime Minister TRESemmé, who laughs like she’s trying to escape The Sunken Place, quickly defended her good-for-nothing friend Bradley, claiming the process, which saw four white men approved to join the board and the only woman candidate rejected, was about “about who is right for the job” and appointees needed to “have the skillset and requirements needed to play the role.”
Anthea Efunshile CBE quickly emerged as the woman blocked by the government. The former Arts Council UK deputy chief, would “have been the only non-white board member”, had stellar references and was highly qualified for the position. In a cruel twist of irony Efunshile was awarded Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty an entire Queen Elizabeth II in June 2016 for her “services to art and culture” yet Bradley and TRESemmé were resolute in the decision to block her appointment to the broadcaster’s non-executive board. Seriously, fuck this government and their whole clique. All now, a letter written by diverse group of Art’s leading women including Baroness Amos and Bonnie Greer expressing their “dismay at your unprecedented decision to block the appointment” demanding Bradley “explain the reasoning behind this decision as a matter of urgency” hasn’t been answered. A Change.Org petition calling on Karen Bradley to immediately appoint Efunshile was created - but I lament this Conservative government are so openly and wholeheartedly committed to the conservation of the white status quo, this petition will do little to change Channel 4’s all white board. This is the same inept, dusty government who on the day they announced the new appoints published a green paper on corporate governance which highlighted the importance of “improving the diversity of boardrooms so that their composition better reflects the demographics of employees”
These two different versions Britain are in violent conflict and I’m not interested in them continuing to coexist. Shame on Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, for congratulating George Osborne’s appointment when the streets of the capital are overflowing with homeless people hardest hit by Osborne's draconian austerity measures. A man both comfortable with cutting government spending for vital public services while also reducing tax on the rich by 5% during Britain’s economic recovery. A super hearty fuck you to those unable to see how the myth of white men being “endangered species” on boards works to leave promises of “diversity” unfulfilled and calls for explanations about seemingly racist hiring practices unanswered. I hope Osborne runs The Evening Standard into the ground. Work has to be done to usurp those who see fit to occupy spaces for which they are laughably ill-equipped.
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