George Osborne may be credited with leading Britain to a great economic comeback, but he is still not above refusing to do his times table, according to the Daily Mail. The Chancellor of the Exchequer told a group of school children that that he it was a “rule in life” not to answer questions on maths, after he was challenged to tell them what seven times eight was.
Osborne was being grilled by the children at an event hosted by Sky News for the “First News” newspaper, during which he was asked wide variety of questions. The Chancellor appeared to be surprised when one child asked him what his biggest regret in government was, but he answered that he wished he had done more to fix the problems in the economy.
He said: “Wow…. What decision do I regret most? I think what is true is that when you get into office that’s your best opportunity to take some really big decisions… And we did take some big decisions because then you’ve got a few years to see them played out.
“But actually I look back and think there’s even more we could have done to fix some of the economic problems and I want to go on therefore taking decisions that will help create jobs for you and your families and make sure the country is more prosperous.
“If anything, it’s like I wish we’d done even more. But that’s all right, we are doing more now.”
He may have been unsettled by that question but he was very firm that he would not answer the maths question posed by seven-year-old Samuel Reddings. The school boy firstly asked him if he was good at maths, to which the Chancellor explained he had done an A-level in it, the highest qualification attained at school.
Samuel then asked the relatively simple question of seven times eight, Osborne responded: “Look I’m not going to get into a whole string of… I’ve made it a rule in life not to answer a whole load of maths questions.”
He got onto easier ground later in the interview, and confirmed he was not frugal with his spending money as a child. He told that group: “I spent it most of the time but I did save up for a Scalextric set. Computers games were only just starting. Scalextric, I think it is still around, this was where you could race cars around an electric track and it was quite expensive.”
“I remember I really wanted one and so I asked for money especially for my birthday to get one and saved up some of my pocket money to get this Scalextric set.”
Osborne has not always been keen to face the public and is generally considered to be a quiet academic type. His policies were extremely unpopular when he began cutting public spending after he became Chancellor in 2010. Now that his economic plan has been seen to work he is thought to be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron as Prime Minister.