Self-discipline

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Next week, on Wednesday, the Chancellor will rise in the House of Commons to deliver his autumn pre-Budget statement. Politicians will crowd the benches; television news will show the event live, with a commentary team in place to give immediate explanations; in the City, financial analysts will be quick to provide advice to their clients; while multinational businesses will have to move fast to absorb the potentially-immense implications for their activities.

Next week, on Wednesday, the Chancellor will rise in the House of Commons to deliver his autumn pre-Budget statement. Politicians will crowd the benches; television news will show the event live, with a commentary team in place to give immediate explanations; in the City, financial analysts will be quick to provide advice to their clients; while multinational businesses will have to move fast to absorb the potentially-immense implications for their activities.

So, given the importance of this event, why has the Treasury only given a fortnight's warning after previously hinting at quite a different date? Politicians grant themselves a freedom of manoeuvre that is not allowed to businessmen, who must make available the dates of their annual results a year in advance.

In a slower world, the arrogance and ignorance of the political classes may not have mattered; but in our instantaneous, globalised world, they must learn to become self-disciplined and orderly.

The Chancellor could begin by announcing the date of next year's spring Budget: that act of foresight would allow all those City experts to plan their skiing holidays with confidence.

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