We must protect ourselves against the 'three horsemen of economic apocalypse'
Budgets can be like small dogs, treat them with respect and attention, and they are your best friend; but make any startling moves and they will bite you from behind.
Like the old dusty barometers that used to hang in the hallways of big houses, they also should be able to give you a good read on the pressures within and without, both politically and economically.
When I was finance minister 25 years ago, the deficit was -0.4, it is now 0.9pc of GDP. When I left office in my last full year in 2007, the current deficit was 7.6pc and the debt-to-GDP ratio was 20pc. Today, it is 74pc.