Treasury officials were celebrating securing a rare ‘Fleet Street Full House’ today after every single national newspaper devoted their front pages to slamming yesterday’s budget.
‘Wow, yeah, thanks very much,’ said an emotional spokesman for Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond this morning, ‘it took a lot of hard work but we finally managed to pull it off: 100 per cent opprobrium from the press! Fabulous achievement.’
The spokesman, who was too giddy with delight to be named, told the Mercury: ‘We came close a few times during the George Osborne years; especially with those budgets he did on a calculator where the numbers three and seven didn’t work and the divide key had fallen off.
‘Then there were the ones where George just made up random numbers and ended up taxing Cornish pasties when what he meant to do was simplify ISAs or something. The press was pretty sniffy then, but we never came close to 100%, across-the-board disapproval until today. George must be livid; he wanted this so badly.’
However, the Chancellor has pledged that he and his team will not become complacent after yesterday’s success.
‘No, in the autumn budget it’s going to be tough to top a tax that will literally force white van drivers to either sell or eat their own children to survive,’ said the Treasury spokesman, ‘but we do have emergency plans to introduce mandatory kitten-punching and a new measure that will see poking grandmothers with sticks replace corporation tax. Problem is, the Telegraph will probably quite like that one.’
The British press has not achieved total consensus since David Beckham got himself sent off in the World Cup and everyone agreed he should be shot. The outbreak of World War II saw near unanimity among the papers but the Daily Mail was still willing to give Hitler the benefit of the doubt, as it does to this day.