As crazy as this may sound now, when Drunk George launched in May 2011 the real George Osborne was lauded by both Westminster and the press as a strategic genius, a Machiavellian powerhouse and an economic heavyweight. He was none of these things, obviously, but what was interesting was that he almost believed that myth himself. I say almost, because there was doubt there: you could see it in his eyes. He had been raised to believe that he was entitled and worthy of power, and he had continued to rise by being in the right place with the right friends, but deep down he seemed to know that he was not up to the task.
All this made me wonder what he would be like when he was drunk, when those demons would surface, and Drunk George was born.
The character of Drunk George was written as a child, and the comedy came from the disparity between the wide-eyed naivete of this idiot boy-child and the public persona of the real George Osborne. Once the real Osborne's persona descended to something akin to the fake one, however, the joke stopped working. If I'm honest it hasn't really been working for a while now, so it is time to stop.
Huge, huge thanks to the 15,000 people who have been following Drunk George, especially those who retweeted, interacted, favourited and follow-friday'd him. I have many favourite @OsborneDrunk moments - such as The Duck That David Killed, the time he stove David's head in and replaced it with a melon, David's ritual intercourse on the cabinet table with Lord Ashcroft and TV's Kirstie Allsopp and the Drunk George at Leveson interactive adventure. But best of all was the abuse and praise from his followers.
A number of people have said that they thought I made Drunk George too sympathetic, and that he made them feel sorry for the real Osborne. This was intentional, really, because the target was always Osborne's illusion of competence rather than the man himself. Much of the politics on Twitter is aimed at stoking up hate, be that personal or tribal, but this has never made anything better. We do need politicians, but we need ones who combine a political intelligence and competence with an internal moral compass. The ones who can't be bribed, basically. There are politicians like that from around the political spectrum, for example Caroline Lucas, Ken Clarke, Vince Cable and maybe even Ed Miliband. It is the 90% of politicians who are short-termist career gonks, and the genuine lunatics like Gove, that we need to call out.
|With Mister Flaps, Head of the Office of Budget Responsibility|