I've said this before and I'll say it again: the British economy skates across the thin ice between TWO great dangers.
On the one fluffy foot: DEflationary recession caused by insufficient demand (i.e. the economy losing oomph because there's not enough money being spent).
On the other fluffy foot: collapse in market confidence leading to spiralling interest rates leading to INflationary recession (i.e. the economy losing oomph because the money is spent on higher costs and interest instead of growth).
ONE solution needs MORE Government SPENDING funded by borrowing; the OTHER needs LESS Government BORROWING achieved by less spending.
Obviously, I mean really OBVIOUSLY, these are the OPPOSITE of each other so you can't do BOTH.
But if you are SERIOUS about doing the best for the economy, as I hope most politicians are, then you DON'T just pick ONE and stick to it regardless. You make a judgement call about which risk seems to you to be greater and you watch the outcome LIKE A HAWK, so that if the risks change YOU CAN SWITCH to the other policy.
THIS is what we mean when we say we are being PRAGMATIC.
THIS is what Mr Huhney-Monster is saying in his interview in the Tell-lie-o-graph.
As of the start of May, when the world markets turned on Greece and looked like they might turn on other European countries soon after, we have made the judgement that the risk of market panic was the greater.
That is why we supported Master Gideon's budget saying he was going to borrow less, even though that meant harsher spending cuts.
And it appears to be working. The markets have calmed a little, the IMF has given its approval and we have retained our Triple-A credit rating.
That does NOT mean we go "tick, V.G. Economy sorted". It means we CONTINUE to watch the OUTCOMES and try to adjust our plans accordingly.
The signs are that our economy is RECOVERING but that growth remains FRAGILE, with Great Britain, Europe and Americaland all looking at expected growth figures of around 1.7% for the year. But while that is BETTER news than Europe was expecting, it is WORSE than Americaland thought they were doing, and with American unemployment remaining high and their dollar continuing to weaken there is the underlying WORRY that Americaland is falling back into another recession. And if America goes down, the rest of us could well be carried with her.
All summer long, Mr Bully Balls was rather over-fond of quoting famous economist Mr Milton Keynes.
"If the circumstances change, I change my mind."
Well that's pretty much EXACTLY MR Huhney-Monster's line.
If anything, people ought to be MASSIVELY REASSURED that the Government aren't just flinging themselves at cuts, but are taking an informed decision AND that they are OPEN to CHANGING THEIR MINDS.
Hard Labour's Angela Eagle aka Angela Engels, newly appointed to Shadow Mr Danny Alexander, described this as "letting the cat-monster out of the bag", claiming the risk lay in coalition policy (which shows she's either politicking or she's startlingly lacking in economic understanding – maybe she could borrow Mr Johnson and Johnson's "Economics For Dummies" once he's finished reading it).
Meanwhile, her new boss, Mr Potato Ed, was on the tellybox simultaneously condemning the rise in VAT while promising no increases in personal taxation. Well, HELLO Mr Ed, but WHERE IS THE MONEY COMING FROM? Or is he saying the deficit should be brought down with 100% spending cuts? No, because he was then on to defending benefit payments to millionaires. And he has the temerity to call Coalition policy "shambolic"!
HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH THESE PEOPLE?
If we stick to Coalition policy we're being "ideological"; if we say we're open to the evidence, we're "letting the cat-monster out of the bag". I'm sorry but it's VERY difficult to have a rational discussion for the benefit of the nation with people who reply to anything you say with: "heads we win, tails you smell".
Personally, I'm just GLAD that there's SOMEONE on the Coalition side standing up and SAYING this is EVIDENCE-BASED policy. Three cheers for Mr Huhney-Monster.