What Budget Day is like if you’re a normal person called George Osborn
Spelling’s different, but that doesn’t stop the haters
Today is Budget Day, and in a few hours, Chancellor George Osborne will address the Commons to outline his plan for the UK economy. And every time he does this, some people have something to say about it. Many of them are impotent Twitter users.
Unfortunately, many of these impotent Twitter users direct their fury at the wrong George: specifically George Osborn (or @GeorgeOsborn), a 20-something graduate and freelance writer. He spells it differently, but they haven’t noticed.
Ah, Budget Day. For me, a person named George Osborn, there isn’t a day quite like it.
I’m sure that plenty of other people who share the names of Chancellors – your Gordon Browns, your Nigel Lawsons and even your Peter Thorneycrofts – have played the butt of jokes or been the victims of mistaken identity. However, all of those people were fortunate enough not to be born during the idiocratic social media age.
On Budget Day, my Twitter timeline is a target for two types of social media user. The first are the aforementioned bozos who, despite my name being spelt differently and featuring a pixel art picture of me, blame me for Osborne’s economic illiteracy.
While I sympathise with their argument that his regressive policies fail to raise sufficient tax revenue, thereby forcing borrowing up and ultimately increasing the burden of public debt at a time when beloved state institutions are under threat, telling me to “fix the fucking pot holes” rather than cutting the NHS is both a) is aimed at the wrong person, b) not really his job anyway.
The second group of people staking out my timeline are a bit different though. They’re my audience, the people who are watching out for the occasional idiots who’ll wander into my retweet firing line – got to get those kicks somewhere – and they’re watching for two reasons.
The first is simple amusement, the kind of public shaming that Jon Ronson would probably tell me off about. And the second is to use my timeline as a measure of the budget, looking at the level of unintentional abuse meted out to me as a sign of whether or not Osborne has captured the pulse of the nation. That includes news outlets, which have had their eyes trained on my account in the past.
So ultimately, Budget Day is a bit weird for me. On the one hand, dealing with random abuse or just really weird, not very funny stuff is never fun – particularly when it hits the target as devastatingly effectively as some of the (hopefully) misdirected barbs. On the other, if I don’t get abuse I feel like I’m letting my audience down and won’t get a mention on the ITV News blog again.
However, I am grateful for one thing. While George Osborne has his day in the sun once a year, the big DC is always in the firing line. And for US citizen @Ddavidcameron, that means he endures the occasional SOMETHING I get, all day every day.