Drawing heavily on a cigarette, a well-known person in casual attire strolls along a cobbled London street. But the solitary stroller was the former Chancellor George Osborne hiding beneath a baseball cap, and reports said that he appeared preoccupied as if carrying some weighty burden.
And what could have possibly clouded his spirit on such a glorious spring morning, when everything in his world seems so perfectly aligned? Certainly not money problems because since leaving frontline politics five years ago, he’s made pots of it – at one point being dubbed ‘Nine Jobs George’.
Perhaps, then, it’s the idea of turning 50 next month? But while some men might approach the milestone with a sense of tedium, George Osborne certainly has only blessings to anticipate.
Several weeks ago he became engaged to 39-year-old Thea Rogers, his charismatic ex Treasury chief of staff who helped metrosexualise his image while he was in 11 Downing Street.
The announcement closely followed the announcement that the couple are expecting their first child, a boy, in the summer, with a grand £1.6 million new home in Somerset which completes their domestic bliss.
Superficially, all is rosy, yet friends of the couple have told a news outlet that not everything is as perfect as it appears.
Excluding some of the more vulgar rumours circulating in Westminster, the friends concede that there have been problems in the relationship, which one called turbulent, and it was said to have hit a particularly rough patch just before Christmas.
Fortunately, everything appears to be back on track, however, the dramatic life changes are said to have strained relations with George Osborne’s son, Luke, 19.
Luke, and his 17-year-old sister Liberty, are the children from the former Chancellor’s marriage to bestselling author Frances Howell.
They divorced in 2019 after 21 years of marriage, and George Osborne and his son later holidayed in Ibiza, visiting one of the island’s superclubs together, and it wouldn’t be unexpected if Luke is unsettled, discovering in the space of a few weeks that he will shortly acquire not only a stepmother but also a half brother.
There’s also been discomfort, shared by Frances Howell, over George Osborne’s somewhat tactless announcement last year that he probably hadn’t been happier in his life, and he continued insouciantly that it was a huge plus after recent years.
Luke, who’s at university, has removed a photo of his father from his Instagram account. It showed them having a drink on the beach during another vacation in happier circumstances.
And what lovely friends this couple have – one photo of him taking a drag on his cigarette is supposed to tell us he’s troubled – what about the five seconds before and after the photo? And his older children might be unhappy but there’s no point in the parents staying unhappily married.
It won’t be the first bloke to leave his spouse for his secretary and it certainly won’t be the last, and the only sad sight I can see here is a white man in a baseball cap, especially an old man with a baseball cap, but it’s also a tad unfair to take an untimely photo of a man seemingly immersed in thought, and then writing an article surrounding that photo.
And it seems that if you’re a smoker, you’re now public enemy No 1, but what about all those other sickening things that go on in the world that seem to be socially acceptable?