As always, a warm welcome back to the chancellor, George Osbourne, who last night Tweeted a picture of himself enjoying a late night hamburger while finalising work on the spending cuts.
George Osbourne enjoying a rare Byron Burger. While making spending cuts
We have a fairly fixed position on Osbourne in that everything he does is completely wrong.
Had he been eating, say, a Walnut Whip we would have laid into him about the impact the inevitable privatisation of the NHS would have on the obese under the proposed reforms. Then, someone would have mocked up a fun picture of Osbourne with a whipped chocolate head and we'd all haved laughed. So when it transpired that the burger came from Byron Burger, and which would therefore set him back almost £10 of our money, Twitter went beserk.
The Sun reported that he had ‘snubbed’ ten branches of McDonalds in favour of Byron. On telly this morning he defended his meal choice, explaining that while he was “partial to a quarter pounder with cheese” he only ordered the hamburger from Byron because "well McDonald’s doesn’t deliver”.
The main issue seems to be cost. At £6.75 for a classic burger, no sides and no drink, it was too much. One paper called the debacle ‘Shamburger’ while the BBC’s alluded to it sans pun: ‘Osborne defends choice of Spending Review burger’ which was a bit clumsy, but at least they had a go.
But it was this Twitter trolling - most of it mocking him for attempting to Go Proletariat by eating 'fast food' - which gives the most compelling argument for choosing a more worthwhile target.
For the unitiated, Byron is a London-based chain which tries to marry chic, often mock-industrial surroundings with well-priced food. And Byron burgers are really good. So good that when people harp on about joys of American burger chains I generally smile, ask about their flight then direct them towards the nearest branch. Because there’s no better burger in London. There really isn’t. They sell avocado as a side and several types of chip. They are also very accommodating if you want to bespoke your burger and do so with unwavering spirit.
My immediate reaction to Byron-gate wasn’t that such extravagant behaviour was the reason I had to wait three hours in A&E the other day, rather that Byron had become a byword for poshness. Crushing. Because I think they're pretty reasonably priced. Less Osbourne, more Ken Livingstone. I once had a hamburger that cost £11, presumably because it was topped with a massive onion ring so laden with oil it sort of dissolved on my napkin. In every sense, that would have been more worthy of a bashing.
Anyway, it emerged today that the Shadow Chancellor, Ed 'I make lasagne' Balls was spotted in a bar eating a bag of Leighton Brown sweet potato crisps at the same time Byron-gate was unfolding in the treasury. I'm not Tory but that's way worse.