Budget day is one of the biggest events of the year for journalists, with business reporters, political commentators and stressed editors hunkering down around newsdesks across the country. Inboxes are cluttered, printers are chuntering and phones are ringing out.
With journalists concentrating so hard their eyeballs are fizzing, it’s an excellent time for slippery public relations operatives to spring into action.
Coverage of the budget will eclipse any unfortunate occurrences they need burying fast. It’s unlikely newsrooms would be able to mobilise resources to cover these stories with the same dogged determination they would on a non-budget day.
Budget day 2014 was no different. Here were the announcements they squeezed out while you were trying to work out whether your pint would cost you more any time soon.
- Boris has approved the use of water cannon to tackle violent disorder in London. The decision to use the crowd control measure is deeply controversial, with all other parties in the London Assembly against it. Even some senior Tories do not agree with the measure. There are question marks over whether it is effective and can be extremely dangerous, with one German pensioner telling a public consultation how it blinded him in both eyes.
- Ukip don’t actually back gay marriage. Apparently their announcement yesterday that Nigel Farage would not campaign to abolish same sex marriage was the result of an internal breakdown in communication. Mr Farage said: “The statement attributed to me yesterday was not made by me and not approved by me. It was a draft by a staff member that should never have been sent out."
- Andy Murray has split with his coach Ivan Lendl. The Scot announced the surprising news indicating that it had been Lendl who had wanted to end the highly successful partnership in order to concentrate on other interests.
- The announcement that Madeleine McCann police are hunting an smelly intruder suspected of breaking into holiday homes to sexually assault young girls, was a timely announcement too. Any updates on the Madeleine McCann case usually garner a huge amount of press interest so it was unusual that it was sent out right at the beginning of the budget. It emerged that three of the cases were reported to the Portuguese police years ago but were not passed to the Scotland Yard team amid the first signs of public frustration over delays in the Portuguese criminal justice system.
The other nibs you may have missed due to blanket budget coverage include the report of a “mystery emu” in Lincolnshire who resisted police arrest.
Additionally an owl has survived a 300-mile train trip from Glasgow to Northamptonshire, clinging onto one of the carriages. He has been named 'Lucky' and is very cute, if a little smug looking.
Meanwhile, in Truro, a man locked his wife in the garden shed because she wouldn't stop singing "ding dong the witch is dead" following the death of his mother.