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Politics

Internet reacts to ‘weird’ Treasury team photo

Was the Treasury team photo staged in an Escher painting? Are they releasing a prog album along with the budget? Is the Chancellor just quite short? The internet must know.

The Treasury team photo has caused hilarity and consternation ahead of Rishi Sunak’s announcement of the 2021 Budget.

Ahead of the Budget, the Treasury traditionally releases an image to the media, featuring the Chancellor with his team – and, of course, starring the famous red briefcase.

This year’s edition is taken from a rakishly high angle, with the politicians arrayed on the staircase of number 11 Downing Street.

The photo immediately raised eyebrows and sparked many questions on Twitter.

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The most urgent came from Londoner Ross McCafferty who asked: “The picture of the treasury team on #Budget day is literally *always* outside. Why is it during a pandemic that the Chancellor has decided he wants to have it inside? With no masks?!”

But there were stranger questions too. “Is HM Treasury releasing a budget or a progressive rock album?” asked Big Issue writer Josh Sandiford.

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Private Eye’s Tom Jamieson worried that Chancellor Rishi Sunak may have found himself caught in a parallel dimension, saying he looked as though he was “trapped in a MC Escher portrait”.

Sky News warned that the image was “not one that will please sufferers of vertigo among our readers.”

Meanwhile, Matthew Champion, executive editor for VICE World News wondered how John Glen, Conservative MP for Salisbury, had managed to defy gravity, apparently sitting on an invisible stool.

The vertiginous picture does have the effect of obscuring the relative heights in the Treasury team. At 5′ 6″ tall, Rishi Sunak is not the most physically imposing of Chancellors.

New Statesman political editor Stephen Bush said he thought that while the angle may have looked strange, it was probably a good idea given the height differences of the group.

“When they all line up in one line it looks like they’re recreating the OBR’s [Office for Budget Responsibility] deficit projections,” he added.

Pointing to last year’s photo, the Wall Street Journal’s Mike Bird agreed that the new perspective might have been a good plan. “No joke,” he said, “they did the picture outside last year and it looked like they were letting someone’s kid hold it as a joke.”

Stick with The Big Issue today for essential comment and analysis of the 2021 Budget.

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