In news that sounds like it was ripped from a storyline in Armando Ianucci's polictical satire The Thick Of It, the Chancellor Of The Exchequer has declared that he is in a popularity contest with the Shadow Chancellor on the micro-blogging site Twitter. Yes, you really did just read that. And no, we're not making this up.
"We're in a competition now," George Osborne told Daybreak on ITV1 this morning, speaking of his introduction to Twitter yesterday ahead of the Chancellor's fourth budget. "I confess I didn't spend most of the day doing it. I did a couple of tweets. I'm getting used to it. But it's a fast and furious world out there."
Since joining the mico-blogging platform, the Chancellor has garnered over 34,300 followers. Impressive as that number is for two days worth of tweeting, Osborne has a long way to go to beat the Shadow Chancellor's 77,760 followers.
Still the amount of followers one has doesn't equate to popularity as much as it does to one's presence on Twitter. As the Guardian pointed out, a lot of the tweets hurled Osborne's way yesterday weren't exactly positive. Comedian David Schneider tweeted that Osborne should cut Twitter's 140-character limit on message length to 135 characters, with an exemption for those with more than 200,000 followers, to avoid driving them abroad, while Lord Prescott tweeted: "One personal plea. Please don't introduce a tax on tweets. It'll ruin me."