One thing I won’t miss about No. 11 Downing Street are the Christmas cards: 2,056 Christmas cards to be exact. That was the number I had to sign every year. The recipients included 87 FTSE chief executives, 209 foreign dignitaries, six EU commissioners and one shadow chancellor. They all added up, and it involved several days of signing, and sore wrists. Every chancellor, prime minister and opposition leader I’ve known does the same. Judging by the thousands of cards I would receive, many must go unread. So I propose to my successors a Christmas truce. Only send cards to people you actually know. Give the money you save to a good charity and use your time more productively to, for example, run the country.
Speaking of truces, I’ve decided that there’s no point bearing grudges about the referendum campaign and its aftermath. Life is too short for lifelong feuds. So I’ve made up with the friends of mine who were on the Brexit side of the argument. I also agreed to present The Spectator’s Parliamentary Awards to the year’s political victors. Readers, I don’t know where they get the money from, but this magazine knows how to put on a good party. However, I couldn’t help noticing that the actual awards that I handed out were a little diminished. When I won Politician of the Year some time ago, I was presented with a fine engraved glass fruit bowl with a silver edge. All Theresa May received from me was a certificate. Like Marmite and Toblerone, is this another hidden cost of Brexit?
This is an extract from George Osborne’s Notebook, which can be found in the Christmas