How a Byron Burger Knocked Labour Out of the Headlines

byron burger

By Steven George-Hilley

The Spending Review was always going to be a tough sell for George Osborne. Economic progress has been slower than expected, health and international aid budgets have been ring-fenced meaning that savings would have to come from already hard hit departments. This should have been the perfect opportunity for Ed Balls to remind voters of his ‘Too hard, too fast’ messaging, which he could have done, if he hadn’t scrapped the policy in favour of sticking to the Tory spending plans a few weeks before.

So dramatic has the transformation of Labour’s economic policy been, that I’m not sure the media have fully grasped it yet. After years of attacks for Tory cuts (most of us call them savings) to rebalance the economy and get Britain back on the right track, Ed Balls and Ed Miliband presumably decided to look at private polling and recognise that most of the country were firmly on the side of welfare reduction and responsible spending. So overnight their entire policy approach changed, they will now be following Tory spending plans with one extra toxic addition, they will borrow more.

For George Osborne, keen to demonstrate his laddish credentials by tucking into a late night burger and sharing a snap on Twitter, it should have been a much tougher week. As the ever reliable national tabloid The Sun told us in a front page splash, this wasn’t just any burger, it was a ‘posh’ £10 burger from luxurious outlet Byron. For any other Chancellor this could have been a major slip up, but the media knock-on of features and by-lines on burgers, fast food and online chatter over Twitter successfully knocked Ed Balls and Labour out of the headlines. The faltering Labour leader often found himself and his response to the Spending Review side-lined to a nib or a couple of sentences, with the ‘Burger Gate’ image dominating the pages of every newspaper.

This week, George Osborne set out his approach for election 2015. This is a clear choice between a strong, professional Chancellor with an action plan to balance the books, or a confused and discredited Shadow Chancellor in the bungling Ed Balls. This morning it has been revealed that Labour is only 5 per cent ahead in the polls, this is nowhere near the levels it will need  to win an election, particularly given the fact that polls tend to tighten as the election approaches.

When a Byron Burger proves more interesting than the Shadow Chancellor and Labour’s economic policy, you know the Conservatives are onto a winner. With this in mind, the 2015 election race is still wide open.

Steven George-Hilley is Director of Technology and Enterprise at Parliament Street

Follow Steven George-Hilley on Twitter @StevenGeorgia 


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