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In the small hours of Friday morning, when most of my fellow economics scribes were in Washington at the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, I was eating cheese on toast on my sofa. With Labour having just held on in Heywood and Middleton by-election, there was I, like the rest of the UK’s political obsessives, staring at the television bug-eyed, awaiting Clacton’s verdict.

I’m not a Ukip supporter and Carswell isn’t a personal friend. Yet, as I wrote three days after he defected from the Tories, I really wanted the member for Clacton to hold his Commons seat. That because, over many years of talking to MPs and ministers of all parties, he’s one of the few politicians I’ve encountered who has truly grasped the realities of the Western world’s current economic predicament.
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