What on earth is happening to the British economy? That is the question I've been hearing increasingly over the last few days.

And that question is being asked as much by Conservative supporters as it is by those who aren't natural supporters of the party - and I have to say it is becoming increasingly difficult to understand the logic underpinning the current government.

Let's be clear. The economic policies outlined by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng last week have not been seen in this country for 50 years. They are the very antithesis of Thatcherite - whose economic policies were underpinned by the concept of sound money.

Sudbury Mercury: The new PM's financial policies are the very antithesis of Margaret Thatcher's when she was prime ministerThe new PM's financial policies are the very antithesis of Margaret Thatcher's when she was prime minister (Image: 2016 Getty Images)

The way the policy would be applied by cutting taxes, especially for the super-rich, might be a million miles away from what he proposed but the underlying principle of racking up the National Debt was precisely what was at the heart of Jeremy Corbyn's election manifesto in 2019.

What the budget was really closer to was the rush for growth budget of Conservative chancellor Tony Barber in 1972. As a politically-aware 13-year-old at the time, I do remember my family worrying about pushing up borrowing.

Sudbury Mercury: Edward Heath before he ushered in the three-day week amid a huge national crisisEdward Heath before he ushered in the three-day week amid a huge national crisis (Image: Getty Images)

As an economics student at the UEA in the late 1970s I remember learning that policy was at the heart of all the economic problems facing Britain at the time (well, that and an energy crisis).

What was interesting was that at the time economics was a subject of huge debate between Monetarists and Keynesians. The only thing they agreed upon was that pushing up spending without covering the rise with some tax increases was at the heart of the problem.

I know today's cabinet ministers weren't around at that time - but the lessons are there to be seen in the history book. The decisions of the early 70s prompted an economic slump that lasted into the mid-80s.

We are now at the start of this - the pound is falling in value which will put up prices in shops and on forecourts. Interest rates are rising. Mortgage offers are being withdrawn.

Things are set to get worse with inflation and interest rates likely to rise, house prices likely to fall, and unemployment numbers are likely to rise.

Of course, there will be some winners - but there are likely to be many more losers.

This week we had a Yougov poll putting Labour 17 points ahead of the Conservatives. That is almost certainly an outlier - and it does come during a successful Labour conference. But it is bound to cause nervousness among Tory supporters, whatever spin they try to put on it.

Also what is extraordinary is the rhetoric coming out of the mouths of Liz Truss' ministers talking about this being a "new start" and resetting the economy after decades of failure.

The Tories have been leading the UK government for more than 12 years. We've had Conservative Prime Ministers for 30 of the last 43 years. If the economy is failing who should we blame?

Sudbury Mercury: David Cameron led a very prudent governmentDavid Cameron led a very prudent government (Image: PA Archive/PA Images)

What is striking now is the contrast between the Conservative government in September 2022 compared with David Cameron's first government in May 2010.

Back then the Conservatives were financially prudent - cutting spending in a bid to bring national finances under control - but socially-liberal introducing policies like same-sex marriage in an attempt to prove they were no longer "The Nasty Party" (Theresa May's words).

Now we have a Tory government that is happy to let borrowing rip to unprecedented peacetime levels but is very socially Conservative - attacking those with liberal values as both woke and weak!

I have to admire those who have found themselves equally able to defend the policies of Cameron, May, Johnson and Truss over the last 12 years. They make the Vicar of Bray look like a model of consistency!

But deep down, a little bit of me does wonder if the current policy is a Machiavellian plot aimed at ushering in a new Tory age at the end of the decade.

The logic is simple: lose the 2024 election badly and shove all the blame on Truss and her henchmen and let Labour try to clear up the mess - knowing the tough decisions needed will provoke splits in that party.

Choose a new leader untainted (or on the periphery of) the chaos of 2022-24 and then come in as national saviours in 2029. Who knows they could then have 18 years of unchallenged government while Labour licks its wounds. Far-fetched? Turn the clock back 50 years!