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A curious thing just happened to me...

A journalist from the Mail on Sunday just came to my door unannounced (he would have been here earlier, but he got lost in the dark Cornish lanes). Basically he was looking for dirt on George Osborne, who happened to have been in my year at Magdalen. What he had heard was that George was originally a PPEist, but that he "switched to History because he couldn't hack the economics".

Now that indeed would be a good story, and indeed reminds me of something I posted here http://philmophlegm.livejournal.com/164567.html, but it doesn't match my recollection of events. I don't remember him ever being a PPEist - and I think I would.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 24th, 2010 08:28 pm (UTC)
How ... interesting ...
Nov. 24th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)
Hey, I'm amazed the journalist bothered to check. Surely they normally simply make stuff up.
Nov. 24th, 2010 08:46 pm (UTC)
I think you would either. I hope you told the journo where to get off. It's a bit rude just to turn up uninvited. Where did he get your address - from Magdalen?
Nov. 24th, 2010 08:47 pm (UTC)
I mean "I think you would as well". Brain mushy - just as well I didn't try PPE.
Nov. 24th, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC)
I didn't ask - but it wouldn't be hard to find me. I'm in the phone book and I have an unusual surname. And my year and degree subject are a matter of public record.

No, I invited him in. He was very polite and had obviously come a long way. It's only slightly rude to turn up uninvited, but I think it would be ruder of me to shut the door in his face. He's only doing his job after all.
Nov. 24th, 2010 09:39 pm (UTC)
So you didn't threaten to unleash the hounds on him?*

*So he could be licked to death...
Nov. 24th, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
That happened without any threats.

Even Az liked him, and Az is normally shy around strangers.
Nov. 24th, 2010 10:00 pm (UTC)
He probably carries treats to throw to divert less friendly beasts. ;-)
Nov. 25th, 2010 09:12 am (UTC)
It does sound very odd to make such a long journey to call on someone who could very easy be out. Why not do it by phone? Maybe he's actually a burglar who specialises in people who have some tenuous connection with public figures. If they're in, he has his cover story; if they're out, he robs them (hence the unnatural friendliness of the hound; he carries treats as a matter of course.) Either that, or he's genuine, but has a mistress in Plymouth whom he was desperate to visit, so he persuaded his boss that a phone call just couldn't possibly do.
Nov. 25th, 2010 11:05 am (UTC)
Why not do it by phone?
I suspect, because it's easier to put the phone down than to turn them away on the doorstep, and easier to talk people into information face to face when you can surprise them with a question then see what their expression is - plus, he was hoping pp might have photos, which presumably he'd have quickly taken copies of while he was there, rather than rely on us to email them and then have second thoughts.

I did wonder about the burglar theory when he turned up, but I just can't believe in burglars that do that level of research - but don't notice that I work from home - then trudge through the Cornish night to obscure places like this when surely there are so many other more prosperous-looking houses that would be easier to get to?
Nov. 25th, 2010 02:16 pm (UTC)
Should have let the cats at him - "see 'im orf my laaaaand!" :-)
Nov. 25th, 2010 10:25 pm (UTC)
Update: My friend Farooq (who is the only one of my fellow Magdalen PPEists I'm still in touch with sadly) has just had the same conversation with a Mail on Sunday journalist. Farooq's recollection of George Osborne is the same as mine - that he was always an historian.

A bit of internet research revealed this blog post: http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2010/11/george-osborne-magdalen-ppe-modern.html . To me, it looks like the blogger has an axe to grind, and also that he's not likely to be on the same side as the Mail. Curious.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )