How to make sense of Sunak's plans? They're about politics, not the economy | Aditya Chakrabortty

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Combining pay freezes with levelling up, the chancellor seems intent on cementing the deal that gave Johnson his landslide

Pick a Labour chancellor, any Labour chancellor, from Stafford Cripps to Alistair Darling. Now imagine the jeers, the jibes, the public derision they would endure after confessing in parliament to racking up a budget deficit of almost £400bn, total debt of more than £2tn and the sharpest dive in GDP in three centuries; they would be exiled to some speck in a faraway sea. Yet this afternoon Conservative Rishi Sunak, who only moved into No 11 in February, did all that, warned of “an economic emergency”, and still made it look like a not utterly awful day at the office.

This must be what they mean by the “natural party of government”.

Related: We needed long-term spending and higher taxes. Rishi Sunak gave us foreign aid cuts | Tom Kibasi

Aditya Chakrabortty is a Guardian columnist and senior economics commentator

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