Sunday 22 September 2019

The Banter Budget: Were Hammond’s jokes more embarrassing dad or best man’s speech?

There were jokes about economicky words, cough sweets and Top Gear.

Budget 2017
Budget 2017

By Nicola Irwin

Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his first autumn Budget, laying out the Government’s economic and fiscal priorities and spending for the coming year – with a smattering of jokes too.

Alongside commentary on announcements about new Garden Towns, the abolition of stamp duty for many first-time buyers and an extra £3 billion for Brexit preparations, people looked at the delivery from Fiscal Phil.

Essentially they had questions about his style: was the Banter Budget more embarrassing dad or best man’s speech?

What other analogies could Twitter come up with as Hammond delivered in-jokes on cough sweets, Michael Gove and Top Gear?

The Chancellor announced part of the Budget as “the bit with the long economicky” words in it.

For some, it looked like the Chancellor was being patronising as he referenced a Westminster story about Michael Gove.

A Times report suggested that Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, had been “auditioning” for the role of chancellor by introducing “economicky” words into his briefings.

The Chancellor can choose to wash down his speech with an alcoholic tipple but he stuck with water.

And he had his comedy double act partner, aka Prime Minister Theresa May, to hand for a joke about cough sweets.

Prime Minister Theresa May passes Chancellor Philip Hammond a box of Strepsils during the autumn Budget (PA)

This harks back to May’s Conservative Party conference speech in September when she struggled through with a cough and fading voice – though she did get a lozenge from the Chancellor.

Now she has returned the favour, offering him a box of Strepsils while at the Despatch Box. The lolz.

As Hammond talked up support for electric vehicles, he made a joke at the expense of former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

Despite some people cringing at the delivery, others were applauding the Chancellor for trying to liven up proceedings.

It seems the fun never stops at HM Treasury…

PA Media

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