George Osborne, the current British Finance Minister (in Britain he is officially called the Chancellor of the Exchequer), is a name to mark down. Even if he does not become a future Prime Minister, he (as did other British ministers before him such as Ernest Bevin and Sir Geoffrey Howe) will nonetheless stand a chance to be recognised as a world-shaping statesman of his time.
Despite his young age, his role in unfurling a new relationship between China and the UK underlies a bigger global game-changing series of dynamics in which he is playing a pivotal part. You must look back to earlier this year, when Britain broke ranks with America in joining the China-led AIIB (Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank) which triggered a mass desertion of “traditional alliance members” from a presumed US-dominated world order, to understand the significance of his import. Other major dynamics will also soon revolve around this young Chancellor. The next thing to watch is how Britain will bargain for a more advantageous role in the European Union (particularly concerning financial services), using as leverage the scheduled referendum at home on UK’s decision on whether to stay in the EU. That done (no matter if the UK stays in or leaves the EU), he would have established a big part of Britain’s future via banking with China. That is vision and dynamism. No wonder the Queen is pulling out her royal carriage for Xi Jingping. No wonder Merkel is rushing yet again to see Xi in China.
Osborne would not have pulled this off with China had Britain not kept her hands off the messy situation in Hong Kong.
Osborne’s role is not simple (nothing I know of the British Order is ever simple). He had to have been identified very early on by England’s “council of wise men”, the Merlins, so-to-speak. He must be prodigious, and given private tutoring in the affairs of state. Even David Cameron, the official Prime Minister, has to be guided by “the higher force” to reckon with Osborne’s duty (much like Margaret Thatcher was “guided” to reckon with the role of Sir Geoffrey Howe and his so-called shadow cabinet).
But, as the Queen readily sees, this can potentially be one of Britain’s finer hours.
More than ten years ago, I pointed out Putin as someone who will leave big marks in the world, for good or ill. I likened him to a Napoleon – a super-hero as well as a super-villain, depending on your perspectve. Whether you like him or not, he is going to rattle the world. He is a handful for his antagonists. And I said he and his shadow will be around for a long time.
Osborne is another standout, albeit not of the Putin pedigree. He may not even become Britain’s Prime Minister, as the electoral process there can be very fickle. However, that does not mean he will not play a significant part in shaping world politics and history.
We are going through a period of bungling leaders in the United States. We are being out-played and caught flat-footed more often than the other way around. We need a surprise. But most of all, we need to first replace ignorance with substance and common sense, in a world in which our power and influence are on the decline. We can no longer believe in our own disinformation and entertainformation about the realities of the outside world. We must not treat our own fabrications as facts.