The Chancellor is right to argue that debt will have to be reduced. There is no definitive answer to the question of the optimal level of debt, but debt in the UK has doubled since the onset of the financial crisis and, as a result, it would be harder to respond to a future severe downturn in economic activity through an easing of fiscal policy. Debt needs to be reduced to create room for it to be increased again if needed.
Despite the political rhetoric, if current economic policies continue broadly as they are, the UK economy does not have a bright future. In my view, and that of many others, our economy has at least five big problems. These major challenges will end the current upturn probably shortly after the 2015 general election, no matter who wins.
It is very widely believed that lowering the value of the pound must increase inflation. Monetarists have always claimed that any gains in competitiveness from a lower currency must be offset by rapid price increases. But what might seem obvious needs to be checked against the economic statistics - and they tell a very different story.
Why a food ban? Quite simply, it will hurt the EU nations, and far more severely than any sanction that has been imposed on Russia by the EU so far... little notice has been paid to Edward Snowden, the whistle-blower and current rector of Glasgow University, who has been granted a 3 year stay in Russia, and will not be extradited back to America.
We want to see the UK close its goods trade deficit from a worrying £9bn; we want to see British businesses shipping UK products all around the world, from Cambodia to Canada; and we want to see these exporting companies creating jobs and wealth. If we want to realise this ambition, we will need at least three, possibly five, extra runways over the next few decades.
The extent to which the UK and most of the rest of the Western world are currently mismanaging our economies clearly has a huge financial cost. In the longer term, however, the political cost will be even greater than the economic price - unless we see radical changes in policy. The failure of the West to deliver a reasonable economic performance - combined with the related problem of widespread inability to get difficult decisions taken - has led an increasingly large number of people across the world to consider whether more authoritarian of running modern diversified economies might work better than those based on liberal democracy.
Voters from the 28 member nations of the European Union delivered an election earthquake on May 25. Results show major gains in the European Parliament for anti-integration, Euroskeptic parties which span the ideological spectrum from the extreme-right National Front which won the ballot in France, to the far-left Syriza Party which came first in Greece.
Most of us like the idea of a Single European Market. For some it is the best reason and, for others, the only reason for the UK to remain a member of the European Union. But in recent years we have ended up with reams of legislation, introduced in the name of the Single Market, but which run totally counter to the purpose of British membership...