Andrew McKie first wrote for The Herald more than 20 years ago, when still an undergraduate. He has since written for many national newspapers and magazines, principally as a leader writer and Obituaries Editor of the Daily Telegraph. He regularly writes on fine art and culture for The Wall Street Journal Europe and frequently reviews, especially literary and science fiction, in The Spectator.
The Chancellor – lest we imagine he takes us for idiots – began by disabusing us of the notion that he could make us happy. Instead, he promised to be "straight" and to "level" with us. What's straight and level depends on where you're standing.
If we can't be happy about a growth forecast of 0.6% (half the Office for Budget Responsibility's prediction only three months ago), perhaps we are comforted by the fact it's still higher than Germany and France.
Perhaps you were reassured by the fact that lots of people eat horses without any apparent ill effects other than being French. Indeed, horsemeat is higher in protein and lower in fat than beef. But then some science types popped up on the television to tell us about phenylbutazone – which, heedless of the damage they are doing to the tourist economy of Rothesay, they call "bute".