IT IS a truth universally acknowledged that a politician delivering a policy statement will want a clear run, with no messy, external entanglement.

Few take it as far as the new Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, in setting out his economic strategy in the fiscal event or mini-budget or what you will.

It was, he boldly declared, “the beginning of a new era”.

By which, presumably, he meant a clean break from the nonsense propagated by the previous administration.

You know, the one headed by Boris Johnson. The one in which Mr Kwarteng served. The one in which his new boss, Liz Truss, loyally supported the former PM.

There was, of course, no direct mention of Boris Johnson. But the new Chancellor contrived a reference.

You will recall that Mr Johnson was all for “levelling up”. If, Mr Kwarteng said, we really wanted to deliver on that objective, then we had to “unleash the power of the private sector”.

This then was a deeply ideological address, a paean of praise to free market economics, with lower taxation, minimal regulation, curbs on strikes and tougher rules on benefits.

Throughout the statement, the Prime Minister displayed a fixed, enigmatic quasi-grin – as if quietly satisfied with what is, in effect, a very Conservative coup.

Except that this ideological stance emerges amid an economic crisis. Most notably, in the field of energy costs.

A fully free economic approach would say that consumers should bear the cost of market-led price changes.

Not so. The Chancellor opened with a substantial package of measures to cut energy bills for households and business.

Opposition parties complained that the support was too limited and that it would increase borrowing, rather than being funded by an additional windfall tax on energy firms.

To be fair, the energy price hike is, literally, unbearable for families and firms. Further, it is arguably driven by exceptional circumstances, most notably the war in Ukraine.

More generally, though, this was an overtly ideological statement by the Chancellor.

It was predicated entirely upon growing the economy, rather than redistributing existing resources.

Be clear what that means. In a choice between present equity and future growth, the Chancellor and the PM will opt for the latter.

Prepared, as Liz Truss says, to be unpopular. I think it likely that her expectation may be fulfilled.

Mr Kwarteng focused on taxation: cutting income tax and removing scheduled increases in National Insurance and Corporation Tax.

Increases, remember, which were sanctioned by the Johnson administration. Mr Johnson seldom liked to specify his ideology, preferring to bluster, but, in Tory terms, it was not of the Right.

Not so Mr Kwarteng. He even announced the scrapping of curbs on bankers’ bonuses. You know, the top financiers whose companies were rescued after the crash in 2008 – the crash which still stultifies our economy.

If this were an episode of Yes Minister, Sir Humphrey would call that “courageous”. Translation: politically rash.

And Scotland? Scarcely a mention. It was left to a Treasury news release to note that 2.3m workers in Scotland will benefit from the reduction in NI – while the Scottish budget will get £600m over three years to match tax cuts elsewhere in the UK.

Rather, the Chancellor focused upon the broad, free market picture, declaring that he wanted to create an “entrepreneurial, share-owing democracy – a nation of entrepreneurs.”

Sound familiar? It has an eerie echo of the Scottish Government’s ten year economic strategy which lauded entrepreneurialism and promised a “culture that rewards and celebrates innovation and initiative.”

To be fair, the current economic crisis tends to thwart boldness. However, we have so far heard relatively little about those rewards.

This week, we had key statements from Scottish Ministers: on inward investment and exports; and on reviewing skills.

But still precious few announcements on driving enterprise. Might those theoretically involve tax cuts or curbs on regulation? If not that, then what?

Business organisations say the devolved Scottish Government must act in the forthcoming emergency budget to avoid Scotland falling behind England.

In the Commons, the SNP’s Treasury speaker Alison Thewliss set out to demolish the Chancellor’s approach with a contribution which was vigorous, passionate and emotive.

She condemned his approach as “economic madness” and said it emerged from a “Right wing Thatcher

cos-playing shambles of a government.”

(No, me neither. Apparently, it refers to performance art where players dress up to represent individual characters.)

It was powerful stuff. Ms Thewliss was plainly motivated and engaged. On the day, it was effective.

Still, one would hope that SNP Ministers will similarly build upon their ambitions with detail.

In the Commons, the Chancellor dismissed the SNP contribution as “reheated Socialism”.

Which brings me to Labour. The Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, deftly lampooned the Treasury bench for their palpable flight from their party’s own past record in government.

She quoted President Biden in decrying “trickle down” economics, arguing that the Chancellor’s revived ideology would simply reward those who are wealthy.

But, again, relatively little alternative detail. Ms Reeves declared rather limply that “Labour believes in wealth creation”. Cue ironic laughter from the Tory side.

To be fair once more, this was a day for the Chancellor to set out his fresh start – and for rivals to pick it apart. There will be other days and other policies, including from the Scottish Government.

Right now, the question is: will the Chancellor’s revised approach work? Will it curb energy bills, alleviating the desperate anxiety felt by families and firms?

More generally, will it stimulate growth and, if so, will that growth be dispersed to those in need – or will it adhere to those who already have much?

It is, to say the least, somewhat worrying that the Chancellor did not permit the Office for Budget Responsibility to publish independent forecasts as to the impact of his plans upon the economy.

Opposition MPs complained about this gap. Much more significantly, so did Mel Stride, the former Tory Minister who chairs the Treasury Select Committee.

He said it was difficult to assess the fiscal impact of the statement when there was no independent arbitration.

In due course, the consequences will emerge – and the people will judge.