Beware the Ides of March-ish: how Twitter reacted to the Budget

It was a little awkward in the Commons for the Budget today, with MPs on both sides of the house clearly somewhat disenchanted with their respective leaders. The Chancellor’s comments about Europe spoiled the mood on the Tory benches, with the braying much quieter than usual. Meanwhile most Labour MPs looked like they can’t be bothered with politics anymore. As New Statesman journalist George Eaton noted many of Corbyn’s MPs seemed to be barely listening when he was speaking, instead flicking through the budget document which had just been handed around:

 

While Parliament may have been subdued, luckily Twitter was quite the opposite. There were over a 100,000 tweets about #Budget2016 during the Government and Opposition speeches. The fun started long before the Chancellor took to the stand, with Osborne trying to demonstrate his pop culture credentials:

 

As coverage of the action in Parliament started, the first topic of conversation was the sartorial choices of some of those sitting on the front benches:

 

For much of the Budget, there was then little to liven proceedings, with many on Twitter criticising the Chancellor for the way he spoke about debt and the deficit, using the OBR to make political points, putting the blame for rising debt on the global economy and focusing on areas such as education to distract from the economic situation:

It wouldn’t be an Osborne budget without some jokes at the expense of his opponents, with the Chancellor jesting that Crossrail 2 would be “good for all of those who live in north London and are heading south", a dig at Jeremy Corbyn and his Islington North constituency. Nor did he spare the Lib Dems, stating: "The former pension minister, the Liberal Democrat Steve Webb said I was trying to abolish the lump sum…Instead we are going to keep the lump sum and abolish the Liberal Democrats." The Lib Dems were quick to throw some shade in return:

Other than that, it was all looking rather uneventful. Then the sugar tax came along, which was perfect Twitter fodder, providing commentators with the white rabbit they had been waiting on tenterhooks for:

 

Following which, Twitter spoke of little else…

 

Charlotte Nathan

Hill & Knowlton Strategies Search