I see you outside Downing Street, your rictus grin frozen like Ötzi from above your shiny red suitcase. It’s your trademark look, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter where you’re photographed, you always look like you can see your own impending murder reflected in the camera lens. It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, does it? Well, you’ll show us, won’t you? It’s your first day at big boy school and you’ve packed your special lunchbox with Frubes and Babybels for everyone. No more awkward cups of tea for you, Rishi Sunak. You’ve got one of Labour’s budgets to deliver.

As much as I detest just about everything about Johnson’s cabinet, I envy nobody with the task of trying to steer the country at the moment. Coronavirus threatens to bash the global economy’s testicles with a mallet and public anxiety is currently higher than Willie Nelson on a day off. Thrust into the spotlight by your desperate overseers like a new Kardashian, you had the daunting task of delivering a budget at a moment’s notice in a time of unprecedented national crisis. That you managed to do it at all without vomiting into your own mouth and collapsing under the pressure deserves all the credit I can begrudgingly give to a man representing a party of loathsome social Darwinists. Don’t let it go to your head, Rishi Sunak; it’s barely enough to buy an untaxed tampon.

You looked like a lamb to the slaughter at first, only developing the energy as you went on. Bombast is always empowering in a time of crisis and it certainly dabbed at the water behind your ears, didn’t it? It must have felt good, finally having license to untie the purse strings altogether before throwing all the coins up into the air and chucking the empty bag into the canal. You even looked vaguely statesmanlike, when just last week you wouldn’t have appeared out of place darting in front of a car’s headlights and seizing up in terror. Boris must be bricking it – the nervous office temp is doing a better job of looking like a leader than he could ever hope to manage.

On the budget itself, Sajid Javid’s fiscal caution has clearly been thrown out of the window after him. He might claim to recognise big chunks of it but that’s probably because he read it over John McDonnell’s shoulder. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not opposed to Keynesian economics and some actual investment in infrastructure; it’s just that it’s impossible to trust the party of liars and rampant free-market profiteering to actually deliver any of it. We’ve heard various verses of this song before and are still waiting for the chorus of all that social housing you promised to kick in.

With potential economic disaster and an absolutely unprecedented health crisis threatening to sink the ship at any minute, any hand looking to steady it is now faced with a tiller that’s currently hotter than Priti Patel’s temper. The ‘keep calm and carry on’ Blitz spirit has been exposed as a bit of a farce, hasn’t it? All it takes is one pandemic and all of a sudden we’re down on our knees offering to suck off labradors in the hope they can hook us up with some Andrex. It’s not just the proles panic-spending, either. Now, finally, and only when faced with a threat that could cripple it beyond repair, the NHS is finally offered the investment it’s been desperate for after years of needless ideological cuts. Jeremy Hunt looks absolutely terrified, his chickens now threatening to come home to roost and peck out his coward’s eyes.

The most insulting aspect of all this, Rishi Sunak, is that you seem to think this budget deserves applauding. That it’s our just reward for enduring years of necessary hardship. The reality is the polar opposite – this budget does nothing but reveal that fiscal policy has always been far more of an ideological choice than the Conservatives will ever admit. This is money to finally wash the trousers you’ve been forcing us to shit in for years, when we could have just switched to a slightly more responsible toilet that didn’t murder the poor in the first place.

That it barely even mentions climate change would be another criticism, but I suspect you’ve got a legitimately genius plan for that particular hurdle. Who needs to burn fossil fuels for the next thirty years when you can just link up a dynamo to George Osborne’s newly-spinning head?

I see you, Rishi Sunak. I fucking see you.

I See You

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