It was, as George Osborne said, an opportunity to show that “we are all in it together”. But within moments of the Chancellor opening his mouth yesterday, many observers believed he had taken his desire to be man of the people too far.
The Old Etonian has previous when it comes to letting his normally immaculate and dainty received pronunciation slide for big speeches. But when he said he was “findin savins” he was immediately subjected to ridicule. He was accused of adopting Tony Blair’s often calculated use of Estuarine English and “sounding like a chav” as he freely littered his spending round statement with “wannas, lemmes” and “gonnas”.
He was last subjected to similar comments in April when speaking to a group of supermarket staff in Kent he was accused of adopting a “Mockney accent” as he left Hs and Ts strangely unpronounced.
He had begun his preparations for the speech at around 10pm the night before by posting a picture on the internet of him eating the most popular of food items among the British population: a burger and chips.
Dressed in a white shirt, with his sleeves still rolled down, he appeared to tuck into the unidentifiable burger with a small amount of cheese and lettuce.
He did not appear to extend his populist message to burger accompaniments as the was no ketchup visible. “Putting the finishing touches to the speech,” he wrote.
The picture had several Labour MPs unimaginatively tweeting “he had a burger now he’s telling whoppers”.
“What a cringingly staged look-I'm-just-like-you-no-really-I-honestly-am pic,” wrote another Twitter user.