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Budget 2014: Osborne’s Budget banter

19 March 2014

2:21 PM

19 March 2014

2:21 PM

The Budget has, in recent years, been more tears than laughter, more pain than gain. Yet the upturn in Britain’s economic fortunes has put the Chancellor, whose ‘5 and 2’ diet has had a dramatic effect on his waistline, in a buoyant mood. Osborne’s wit – famously sharp in private – shone through in public this afternoon.

He began slowly, by teasing Ed Balls. He reminded the chamber of Labour’s dire financial record, which elicited his first laugh: ‘Or, as the Shadow Chancellor put it: “some mistakes were made”.’ Boom-tish.


The gag about the slow pace of construction at Ebbsfleet was a groaner (‘more ebb than fleet’); but things looked up when the speech turned to King John and Magna Carta:

‘A weak leader, who rose to the top after betraying his brother, compelled by gang of unruly barons to sign on the dotted line.’

Even the Labour frontbench were laughing openly at their leader’s least favourite topic of conversation. Mr Miliband responded to the Budget but said little of note.

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  • mitate

    budget schmudget. who really cares whether they’re cross, deflated, vituperative, whimsical, or not? just keep looking at the little picture, because you’ll find the big picture far too terrifying.

  • Kitty MLB

    That was a brilliant joke at the expense of Milipede,
    The chancellor was strong , clear, precise, confident and whimsical .
    No wonder Ed Balls resembled a deflated red balloon and Milipede a
    foolish boy- wanting to be king.

    • BaraccoBarner

      George Osborne may have been all these things, but he wasn’t truthful. He claimed in 2010 that the deficit would be gone by now, instead it will still be with us until 2018/19. Is anyone still going to believe him?

  • Craig King

    Great budget, great guy. No wonder Ed was so cross and vituperative it must pain him greatly to see such talent, resolve and love of country on the benches opposite.