Liveblogging the budget

It was described earlier as the biggest moment in modern political history that wasn’t an election: probably a bit much, I’d have said. But it’s no surprise to see so many websites ‘liveblogging’ today’s Pre-Budget Report: the TUC, the Spectator, Liberal Conspiracy, Iain Dale, among many others. Sky News is doing something especially interesting, with its ‘Unplugged’ online broadcast offering live commentary and analysis: effectively a live video-blog, I suppose.

Which rather begs the question, what should the Treasury themselves be doing? The Chancellor standing up in the Commons chamber, and (sorry) droning on for an hour or so, throwing numbers around like confetti, then BANG! a huge wad of paper lands on your newsdesk as he sits down – it’s simply not an effective way to communicate. There’s too much to take in, too many big numbers, too much jargon, in too short a space of time.

I’m wondering if the Treasury shouldn’t be running an enhanced live video stream, with bullet points appearing as the Chancellor makes his announcement; and graphs / charts / etc in a second window. I’ve worked in the TV channel gallery on Budget day; it’s chaotic, as a hapless producer tries to make sense of it all, picking out the headlines in real time. Meanwhile, of course, the Treasury staff are sitting on copies of the full text of the speech, with all the advance notice they need to make a really good job of it. It’s not as if they aren’t doing the production work already, with a consumer-friendly leaflet being a regular output each time.