In this week’s New Statesman: What a carve up!

Robert Skidelsky: a warning from history | Bill Bryson interview | Berlusconi’s last stand.

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In this week's New Statesman we look at the dangerous consequences of the dramatic spending cuts announced by George Osborne. In our lead essay, Robert Skidelsky, the biographer of John Maynard Keynes, warns that the coalition's fiscal retrenchment will lead to a fall in growth and that, with interest rates already at record lows, Osborne has limited room for manoeuvre.

Elsewhere, our economics columnist, David Blanchflower, writes that the Chancellor has taken the biggest economic gamble in living memory and warns of a possible double-dip recession. And in the politics column Mehdi Hasan notes that our millionaire ministers will be largely untouched by the cuts they are introducing. Is this a cabinet guided by the national interest, or vested interests?

Also this week, in an open letter to Vince Cable, Peter Kellner urges the Business Secretary to face down Big Tobacco and push ahead with new anti-smoking laws, Bill Bryson gives us his thoughts on the Tea Party, and Peter Popham profiles Silvio Berlusconi as the Italian leader fights for his political life.

George Eaton is senior online editor of the New Statesman.

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