George gets a grilling

The chancellor's choice of Budget snack has whipped up a storm of controversy.

What a man of the people' he is. That's what we were meant to think when the chancellor posted a picture of himself on Twitter putting the finishing touches to his spending review speech alongside a burger and fries. But the stunt backfired. Declaring the incident a "Shamburger!", The Sun denounced Osborne as a fraud the Byron burger with chips and a red onion garnish (cost £9.70) was far too posh, it said.

Too posh? That's news to me, says Jan Moir in the Daily Mail. Actually, Byron's 20 or so high-street outlets are hugely popular and not at all over-priced. "In fact, as Byron is British-owned and serves burgers that are freshly ground every day from Scottish beef, surely this is exactly the sort of burger a chancellor of the exchequer should be eating?"

Clearly this wasn't the view of the BBC's Evan Davis, who was "keen as mustard to give the Chancellor a grilling" when he appeared on the Today programme the next day. "The chancellor may have had chips on his plate. It is becoming increasingly apparent that Davis has got chips on both shoulders. He's so rude and biased to Osborne while always giving slippery Ed Balls an easy ride that it is becoming laughable."

First, Davis ignored the positive messages in Osborne's speech, quizzing him about putting up taxes on the poor and hardly letting the chancellor complete a sentence without interrupting. Then he wanted to know why Osborne had been eating a "posh" burger not one from McDonald's. And why hadn't he gone out and got it himself? "Most people don't get the burgers delivered, you see," Davis told the chancellor.

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How ridiculous. Do we really want our senior Cabinet ministers rushing out to buy their own takeaways? The way Davis was carrying on, as Moir says, "you would think Osborne was dining on roast swan with caviar, after stealing a grubby urchin's last portion of jellied eels".

Mrs Carney on the evils of capitalism

I'm not sure I'd want to sit next to Diana Carney, wife of the new Bank of England Governor, at a dinner party. It could be something of a trial. Lately, according to The Sunday Telegraph, she has been sounding off about the evils of buying beauty products from China, using tea bags because they waste paper and consuming too much bottled water. In her blog, which she writes under her maiden name, Diana Fox, she has also been ranting about plastic bags and air conditioning.

A vice-president of a left-wing think tank, Mrs Carney has expressed sympathy for the Occupy movement and argued that income inequality in countries such as Canada and Britain is "the defining issue of our time". She wrote: "I perceive a fear that the institutions that underpin our country and the global system are either threatened, rotten or inadequate to face down the challenges of the future." We must hope her husband, in his new £874,000-a-year job, does all he can to prove her wrong.

Tabloid money: where will we find £245m for Beeb's World Service?

"BBC radio's World Service used to be paid for by the Foreign Office, but in the brave new world of cuts, from now on licence-fee payers will have to stump up," says Brian Reade in the Daily Mirror. "Next year alone will cost us £245m that neither we nor the BBC has going spare. So what will they cut domestically (local radio again?) to keep on air something that only people abroad listen to?

Forget those arguments, say Beeb Suits, the World Service is worth keeping because of the kudos it brings us abroad and it is doing so well now that it has a record weekly audience of 192 million. Which begs a few questions. How do you know that 192 million people are listening? And if they are so traceable, why don't you do to them what you do to us? Demand they cough up for a bloody licence."

"How does Newsnight's economics editor, droning Left-winger Paul Mason, 53, find time to bash out blogs and books?" wonders Ephraim Hardcastle in the Daily Mail. "His latest literary offering is Why It's Still Kicking Off Everywhere, a treatise of international unrest.

Last year, he produced Rare Earth, a novel about a washed-up TV reporter who stumbles on a corruption scandal in China'. A character called Kunbish and his lover, Chun-li, try out tantric position 103' while straddling a stuffed horse. Mason informs us, in sub-Hemingway prose: He began thrusting wildly in the general direction of her chrysanthemum but missing, his paunchy frame shuddering with the effort of remaining rigid and upside down.' Gadzooks!"

American talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, says Jane Moore in The Sun, "is selling her Beverly Hills apartment for £600,000, complete with two beds, two baths, a paparazzi-proof doorman' and an entry gallery'" In other words, a hallway. Aren't celebrities grand?"