Johnson must be mad if he thinks Britain can afford a no-deal Brexit | William Keegan

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Crashing out of the EU would put paid to the prime minister’s ambitions to become a big-spending Roosevelt

Does Boris Johnson want to go down in history – or just down and down? At present all the signs are that, if he goes on in the direction he and his frightful lieutenant Dominic Cummings are heading, he will go down (and down and down) as having run the most disastrous government most of us can remember. Moreover, he will be forgiven by neither this generation nor the next.

We shall come back to that. First we must consider the big news of the moment, Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s summer statement – a mini-budget whose scope necessitates a redefinition of mini-budgets. It was breathtakingly huge, but necessary. Inevitably, there were gaps, where an effort to rescue jobs and compensate for the damage caused by a government-imposed depression helped many victims but neglected some. But, on balance, a rightwing chancellor and a Treasury whose traditional raison d’être is to keep an eye on spending levels have together risen to the occasion, with a little help from our “build, build, build … spend, spend, spend … end austerity” prime minister.

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