What the last five Tory Chancellors did before they got the big job:
Kenneth Clarke: a career as a barrister leading to appointment as a QC; over twenty years as an MP and over ten as a minister.
Norman Lamont: worked in investment banking and management becoming a director of Rothschild Asset Management; similar political experience to Clarke.
John Major: a career as an international commercial banker attaining a senior management position; three years as a councillor; over ten years as an MP and five as a minister.
Nigel Lawson: National Service in the Navy where he commanded a small torpedo boat; twenty years as a financial journalist and then about another ten working in editorial positions for national publications; ten years as an MP and four as a minister.
Geoffrey Howe: a career as a barrister leading to appointment as a QC; twenty-five years an MP and four as a minister.
George Osborne has had a couple of temporary, entry-level jobs, coming nowhere near a position of responsibility, before entering politics as a researcher. That remains his level of non-political work experience. He's certainly not unique in this nowadays (cf. Gordon Brown, et al.). He's also been fortunate enough to be able to rely on a private income to fund his reputedly rather splendid lifestyle. Pretty free-wheeling, eh?
I suppose we should be hearing what a boy wonder he is, how he's overcoming this lack of experience to shape up as a capable prospective Chancellor. But we're not. And polls are telling us this concern is widely shared.
I don't know about you, but I struggle to imagine how I might have possibly been able to develop what judgement and competence I happen to possess if I'd never held down a proper job or been burdened by some substantial experience of management responsibility. I'm pretty sure I'd be winging it most of the time. It's a shame for him that Osborne doesn't have Blair's barrister's charm and presentational skills or Brown's, well, Scottishness (a very much devalued indicator of financial probity) and boring, worthy doctorate. But he doesn't. He comes across exactly as he should.