Ah, those Budget traditions. Where would we be without them? Top of the list must come the Augustinian projection for the fall in the gap between spending and income, a mysterious process whereby a few years out it magically falls close to zero. This has not actually happened since Gordon Brown claimed to have balanced the Budget by fiddling the figures, all those years ago, but here it is once more. At least with Brown, you knew whose Budget it was. Rishi Sunak’s is, essentially, his master’s voice. The idea of treasury independence is laughable.

On the published charts, there is nothing so vulgar as actual numbers, merely a projection of both government income and spending as a percentage of future gross domestic product, itself a guess, or estimate as the Office for Budget Responsibility prefers to call it. Its first estimate is for a Panglossian 6.5 per cent growth figure for the current year. It is a measure of how the OBR is now viewed as the nearest thing we have to an economic oracle that this remarkable figure has not been widely questioned. Where the Treasury forecasts were (obviously) an inside job, the OBR stands slightly outside the process, transferring its credibility to the chancellor of the day.