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George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, walked into the House of Commons today, to be greeted by a wall of noise from all sides of the chamber—approval from his own benches, opprobrium from those opposite. In his hand, a large sheaf of paper on which was written the text of the speech. He sat next to the Prime Minister, whose legs were crossed, slip-ons buffed.

Opposite them, the two Eds, Miliband and Balls, the latter turning through the pages of his own speech, occasionally pointing out to Miliband a line of interest, as around them the session of Business…

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