Like a routed mob, Remainers must find comfort where they can. So no doubt they’ll all be sharing today’s front page from the London free-sheet, the Evening Standard, now edited by George Osborne.
It’s what one would expect from this failed, resentful politician: an overblown, 48-point headline declaring: ‘Brussels twists the knife on Brexit’. Yet the story is as insubstantial as the organ in which it appears.
This once-great paper, which used to have Westminster trembling over lunch, is now a flimsy thing, mainly devoted to lifestyle articles written by giggling Oxbridge graduates. And the article in question shares their trivial tone.
A Eurocrat, it turns out, has made a sarcastic tweet about Theresa May’s ‘strong and stable’ mantra. And that’s front-page news? If Guy Verhofstadt does a Facebook post, Osborne will have to put out a supplement.
But let’s look for more meat inside this mighty organ, which daily battles it out with the Stylist and Metro for commuters’ attention. There’s a readers’ poll which reveals London is quite Euro-friendly (but not to the extent of wanting ‘barista visas’); a long profile of Emanuel Macron which reveals nothing you didn’t know; a few stories that anyone would already have seen on their feeds; and a dire new cartoonist.
There’s also an editorial which tries to look big and brave and strong in the face a Tory-Brexit landslide – but this rather misses the mark, since as yet there is no party manifesto against which to vent Osborne’s spite – and then there’s the weekly City Comment column by Anthony Hilton, a financial journalist of huge experience and perspicacity.
We won’t go into the details here. Just this: Hilton has had a preview of a paper from Policy Exchange which proves to his satisfaction that ‘if the number of people wanting a slice of the cake grows as fast as the cake, no one’s slice gets larger’. He concludes that, under WTO rules, there might be a drop of two per cent of Brexit Britain’s total output as measured by GDP by 2025 – ‘but most will not notice any difference because per capita GDP will hardly fall at all’.
Imagine that. Free of EU restrictions and regulations, open to innovation and autonomy rather than the deadening hand of the state. What a Britain we could be. And what a prat Osborne looks today. He was so busy with his new paper’s front page that he forgot to look in the back.