WELL. Close your eyes for a bit and the world is even more bonkers when you open them up again. It’s budget time, on both sides of the Irish Sea, only the right-wing English nationalists don’t call their latest shake of the magic money tree (£45 billion) a ‘budget’. That would involve a legally-defined process in which the Office of Budgetary Responsibility looks over your figures and predicts how they will shape economic growth, public services and employment. That’s far too rational for the Britannia Unchained crew. The new occupants of Nos. 10 and 11 Downing Street have no need for the OBR. They have no need for the most experienced civil servant at the Treasury (permanent secretary Tom Scholar), summarily dismissed as one of the first decisions of the new regime. They have no need for a sugar tax, an obesity strategy or a ban on junk food adverts. They even have no need for the Tory manifesto of 2019 which pledged to halt fracking until it could be proven safe. They have no mandate for what they are doing. While it’s early days yet, all the signs are that the latest British government has no need for evidence either. It looks like ‘evidence-based policy’ is so last century. They even seem to be leaving behind ‘policy-based evidence’ (which involves selecting the evidence that supports the policy you want to follow). Move on everyone! Welcome to the era of ‘evidence-free policy’, which means, primarily, following your beliefs. Key advisors and Truss’s chief of staff are drawn from the Tufton Street gang of right wing lobbyists, including the Tax Payers’ Alliance, the Institute of Economic Affairs, and the Adam Smith Institute (plus the Global Warming Policy Foundation and Migration Watch), all funded by who knows who, a.k.a. ‘dark money’.