A cut of government spending results in, not, as previously thought, an equivalent loss in economic output, but triple that. But this was not an error of scientific judgment. It was an error of ideology, policy and presentation. The Coalition was caught in a pincer movement. The rhetoric of doom and gloom was essential to defeating any opposition to a programme of ideologically driven cuts – and making everyone who argued against it look like a debt denier. Its unfortunate, but completely foreseeable side-effect however, was to scare the private sector stiff. The slack that was being created at a phenomenal rate, was not being picked up by private enterprise. Osborne’s peculiar brand of neoliberal auto-erotic asphyxiation has limits. The safe word for stopping it is “reshuffle”.