View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Business
  2. Economics
31 October 2018

Watch: Polly Toynbee demolishes George Osborne’s defence of austerity

The Guardian columnist railed against the former chancellor’s “despicable” treatment of the poor.

By Media Mole

Brexit has done funny things to the political spectrum. Or so Evan Davis thinks. Signing off on his four-year stint at Newsnight last night, the BBC presenter made a big mistake: suggesting that the vote to Leave meant that George “Slasher” Osborne and Guardianista Polly Toynbee were now ideological bosom buddies.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Given that Toynbee was flanked by Novara Media‘s Ash Sarkar and once and future failed Ukip leadership candidate Suzanne Evans, perhaps it wasn’t the craziest conclusion to draw. But Toynbee – whose published works on from the Cameron years include such misty-eyed tributes to Osborne’s economic policy Dogma and Disarray and Cameron’s Coup: How The Tories Took Britain To The Brink – did not take kindly to having her politics compared to those of the former chancellor, who had just offered a lengthy defence of austerity and welfare cuts.

“I’m happy to look at mistakes we made, Osborne said, oh-so-magnanimously. “But overall, faced with a massive financial crash and a set of very difficult decisions in a hung parliament, I think David Cameron, myself, Nick Clegg and others worked hard in what we felt to be the national interest to put things right in as fair a way as possible. And ultimately the country grew, jobs were created, and it avoided the calamitous situation that quite a lot of European countries found themselves in.”

He added: “I took the judgment that if you were going to deal with the fact the country was spending too much, it would be a bit odd to leave out the very large chunk the government was spending on welfare.”

Toynbee wasted no time in taking a sledgehammer to the case for the defence. “This man has done such harm to this country,“ she replied, directing her index finger and death stare in the direction of Osborne’s smirking face. “Your treatment of the poorest in this country has been despicable.”

“I would want to be in no way associated…the idea that he’s a centrist! You can talk about gay marriage, there’s no way that you would have done gay marriage had Labour hadn’t already done civil partnerships.”

1-0 Toynbee.

Content from our partners
Where do we get the money to fix the world's biggest problems? – with ONE
Labour's health reforms can put patients first
Data science can help developers design future-proof infrastructure

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU