"It is not inconceivable to imagine that, at the height of the cold war, a weapon of that magnitude exploding randomly on the eastern seaboard would have triggered immediate accidental retaliation against the Soviets, resulting in the end of humankind as we know it."
"The reason it's worth thinking about this is the reason that bomb didn't go off was because of all the safety devices on the bombs, designed by what is now [the Department of Energy]."
"We used to think that you could spend your way out of a recession, and increase employment by cutting taxes and boosting Government spending. I tell you in all candour that that option no longer exists, and that in so far as it ever did exist, it only worked on each occasion since the war by injecting a bigger dose of inflation into the economy, followed by a higher level of unemployment as the next step. Higher inflation followed by higher unemployment. We have just escaped from the highest rate of inflation this country has known; we have not yet escaped from the consequences: high unemployment."
"When future historians look back on 21st-century mortality statistics, they will struggle to find anything out of the ordinary in Britain in 2020. When they look at the economic data they could be forgiven for thinking we were hit by an asteroid.""The Office for Budget Responsibility predicts a fall in GDP of around 12 per cent in 2020, the equivalent of having the 2008-09 recession twice in one year. The second quarter saw GDP fall by 20.4 per cent, breaking the record set during the Great Frost of 1709.. The full impact on unemployment won't be known before the furlough scheme ends, but the OBR expects it to treble to over four million, the highest number since the 1930s."The furlough scheme cost £35 billion and is one of many reasons why the public finances are in such a wretched state. In July, total government debt passed the £2 trillion mark for the first time. The national debt has doubled since 'austerity' began in 2010 and now amounts to 104 per cent of GDP, a level not seen since the immediate aftermath of the second world war."At the start of the year, the OBR expected public-sector net borrowing to be £55 billion. It is now forecast to be £322 billion. Public spending is predicted to rise by £182 billion while tax receipts fall by £130 billion. Nearly every form of tax is bringing in smaller revenues. It is no surprise that fuel, alcohol and air passenger duties have dwindled, but the government is also expected to get £21 billion less in corporation tax than originally forecast; £23 billion less in income tax; £7 billion less in stamp duty; and £11 billion less in business rates. These areonly forecasts, but it's worth noting that each of the OBR's four predictions since March has been more pessimistic than the last."All the while, the money-printer will be whirring. According to The Economist, the central banks of Britain, the Eurozone, Japan and the USA have 'created' (ie, printed) $3.7 trillion this year. If this does not lead to inflation, the economics textbooks will need rewriting. Higher inflation means higher interest rates and suddenly the cheap money being borrowed won't be so cheap."Future generations will be bewildered that a prosperous country threw its economy off a cliff in a failed attempt to suppress a disease that kills less than 1 per cent of those infected, most of them in their eighties and nineties."The scale of the disaster is so numbing that even the prospect of a no-deal Brexit barely registers as a problem any more. Unless the government develops a backbone, the 2020s will make the 'lost decade' of the 2010s look like a golden age."