Budget-Bingo players did not have long to wait. “Aspiration Nation” was up first, and if you didn’t have “Full House!” via “I’ll be straight with the country”, “Britain is open for business” and “a penny off the pint” by the time “Aspiration Nation” reappeared, then you had lost your place.
If it were not for the sad truth that this was the real Budget, not a game, it would be comical. The groans here at i Towers would have been repeated throughout the land if not for the germane fact that few of you were watching, such is the disengagement from Westminster, and the degree to which announcements are trailed. But, we at i watched, so you don’t have to. See Hamish McRae on economics and Steve Richards for politics.
Me? I want to focus on Osborne’s frog. You’d need a heart of stone not to feel a little sorry for him when he broke down 22 minutes in, and had to recover with a glass of water (he couldn’t afford whisky – it’s the tax you see). And, I’m afraid that when it comes to George many do have a stone heart. His unpopularity now impedes his message.
Despite the appearance of arrogance, he knows it. Although it was a notably low-key Budget speech in a typically rambunctious House, he was really forcing his delivery – as if he was struggling to convince himself, let alone us. The end was met with cheers and order-paper waving but not the usual backslaps. And then, as the Deputy Speaker made his own procedural c***-up as Ed Miliband struggled to begin his reply, the truth dawned: this was less Budget Bingo, more a National Lottery.