Politicised food: Ham burglar? No, it’s the Chancellor

OK, so George Osbourne poked down a posh patty, but give a burger fan a break!

Sometimes there’s no pun that captures the absurdity of a situation so well as a straight description. So it is with the headlines on the Osborne burger bust-up. The Sun’s “Shamburger” had much to recommend it, of course, but  really the BBC’s version says it all: “Osborne defends choice of Spending  Review burger.”

Let’s remove the bun and parse the gherkin on this whopper of a headline. What, exactly, is a Spending Review burger? The only thing I can think is that it’s much more unpleasant than you were expecting, but when you complain, the waiter cheerfully explains that this is partly because the chef is making efficiencies and the previous owners left them with some really crappy meat to work with and at any rate we’re all in it together. I don’t know if this is what the BBC had in mind. I know what The Sun did, though. Its original piece – double bylined, no less – is, admittedly, a masterpiece of tabloid mischief-making and, predictably enough, we are all talking about it.

But it has also had the unfortunate side-effect of making me feel a bit of sympathy for old Gideon. Unlike Nick Clegg, who this morning told radio listeners that he, too, enjoyed the occasional “fancy burger” (or even Ed Miliband, who must have been sweating bullets when a picture of him at a Fine Burger Co started doing the rounds), I have no agenda; I was howling with the best of them when he got nailed for sitting in first class on the train with a standard ticket.

But in this instance, the poor bugger must be wondering what on earth has hit him.

The really sneaky elision in the Sun’s  piece is this: “The chancellor tweeted a snap of himself ‘finalising’ work on his spending cuts over a burger and chips. BUT IT  WAS A GOURMET MEAL FROM A TRENDY DINER.”

The caps, though you would be forgiven for not knowing it, are mine. Here are some more: HE NEVER SAID IT WASN’T FROM A TRENDY DINER. HE DIDN’T DISGUISE IT IN A BOX BEARING THE GOLDEN ARCHES. HE JUST TWEETED A PICTURE OF  HIMSELF SITTING NEAR A BURGER. WE ARE ALL LOSING OUR MINDS HERE.

But you know this already, and it’s probably boring to bang on about it, so here are two closing observations.

The first is, if this is a blow to the bullshittification of the British burger, which all too often now features artichoke or aubergine  or ostrich, and which has not yet improved on the BK bacon double cheeseburger, then Mr Osborne’s suffering will not have been  in vain.

The second is, as it happens, while his  initial tweet didn’t show him up as out of touch, his later explanation that “McDonald’s doesn’t deliver” certainly did. If he was  really a man of the people, he would have made the same point about Nando’s.

I’ll say this in Osborne’s defence: Nando’s doesn’t deliver.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea