Stepping out of the Shadows

We don't go in for politics often in MT: it might lose us friends and readers and alienate people. Last time we had a politico on the cover was Tony Blair, and that was three years ago. We make no excuses for taking the opportunity to quiz George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, as he may well taste real power at some point in the future. That will affect everyone in the UK, in business and at home.

by Matthew Gwyther, MT editor
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

The turnaround in Osborne's and the Conservative party's fortunes over the past eight months is astonishing. Who thought the wheels would come off the Brown bus so quickly? But Osborne shows no surprise. As a politician, he has an even tougher defensive hide to pierce than some businesspeople, but I hope you get some idea of what he's like and what he stands for. He's certainly more complex than a 'smart prefect in the school debating society', as one of those I interviewed described him.

One thing I was impressed to hear from one of Osborne's young aides is that his staff really like him. 'We're free to explore lots of new ideas, and if you goof, you don't get a huge bollocking.' This may sound like juvenile unworldliness, but the freedom to try new ideas without fear of reprisal should be encouraged in politics and business. Maybe the Tories will come up with genuinely fresh policies by the next election. We'll see.

If they do, then the roll of the dice will have had little to do with the outcome. Our article this month on luck is a novel read that may change your whole perspective. As someone who has no truck with superstition, blaming the gods for tricky outcomes and avoiding the cracks in the pavement, I loved it. Yes, I buy a lottery ticket every Saturday, but that's probably because I'm mad rather than feeling lucky.

The shark-like opportunism - rather than luck - of the private equity industry seems to have been stymied for the time being. As James Taylor's article on PE suggests, it has had one hell of a run in recent years, but life is now harder for the shadowy dealmakers who got used to paying tax at lower rates than their cleaning ladies. Their image is so poor - a fault of their own making - that few will shed tears for them. But we've also given Stefano Pessina, boss of Alliance Boots, a chance to argue that PE is a force for good.

Finally, it's never too early to be thinking about this year's '35 Women Under 35' list. If you have any names you think deserve to be included, please e-mail (deadline April 14). No blokes eligible. Sorry.

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