Blue-sky thinking is a great expression. It gives a lovely vista of endless sunshine and zero cloud. I've stuck a picture of what it might look like here. Pretty, isn't it?
But before you get too wistful, look a bit closer. There's actually nothing there. In this photo, there's a tissue of light cloud, the merest water vapour that would disperse with a breath of wind. And that's the kind of budget the new chancellor, Philip Hammond, has given us today. Not so much smoke and mirrors as mirage; a vision of something intangible on the never-never.
Reading behind the figures, which are obscure and dreary enough to dissuade anyone from further investigation, you can see that the so-called autumn statement is not much more than a sign-off for a huge spending spree. Along with a get-out-of-jail-free card which allows Hammond not to balance the books by by 2019/2020, technically before the next general election.
Doesn't anybody have a notion of the incredible level of debt poor old UK is in? Eight years on from the global financial crisis, we are still up to our ears in the red but the Tories are throwing even more money into tarting up the house rather than paying down the second (and probably third) mortgage. Politicians will always spending for votes but does it have to be to the detriment of completely everything else?
I'm very happy we're gong to see billions invested in infrastructure and innovation, but what does that actually mean? Sounds like a catch-all for not very much and a great deal of waste, inevitably. In the meantime, on a more mundane level eg mine, it's all a bit overcast. Hammond's changes mean I get to pay more for my work-funded gym membership, the same tax on petrol and a stupidly large increase on my insurance premiums: raiding the responsible as I have complained about here before. The outlook is dull with a chance of torrential Brexit. Without some decent financial stewardship, I fear we are all due a soaking.