A lifelong Tory but a man of few fixed convictions, the author of the most dramatic austerity programme this country has seen since the war, the most aristocratic member of an unusually privileged government and a ferociously ambitious moderniser with aspirations for the premiership, George Osborne is perhaps the most modern and metropolitan fi gure in British public life. This is the story of Osborne and the era he helped to shape. George Osborne: Austerity Chancellor charts the mixture of rare brilliance, deadly opportunism and extraordinary good fortune that propelled his vertiginous ascent through British politics, from journalist fresh out of university to the youngest Chancellor in over a century. In doing so, it paints a portrait of that rare thing in the coalition government: a compelling character. New Labour teemed with big, complicated personalities, such as Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson. By contrast, the coalition s dramatis personae contain a surfeit of blandly well-rounded types, including David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Osborne is an exception, and yet the public only has the faintest sense of the man. His story is the story of the past two decades of British politics, from the revival of the Tories to the reformation of the state. This is the age of Osborne.