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If THE United States sneezes, the rest of us get an influenza epidemic.The first little sneeze can be contained – namely its own budget dispute, leading to partial shutdown of government services.

The big sneeze is holding its breath till 17 October, when it will either blow the ceiling upwards yet again towards $17 trillion mark, or stay as is and severely damage the retaining walls to collapse inwards then expel the stench outwards across the Atlantic and beyond.

Default would affect all monies everywhere very quickly. The big global American financiers will move on, but the rest of us will be in a sinking condition, destined never to reach our Lampedusa.

Meanwhile, our two Lilliputian politicians, each with their own minions, took separate planes to China for a five-day visit. Chancellor George Osborne was boasting about the Chinese going to invest £800 million for a business and shopping park near Manchester Airport. No big deal Mr O: your overspend deficit of £120 billion is actually 150,000 times greater than that £800m; and if the Chinese are “investing”, they will part-own and want a return on that investment. Surely your philosophy, politics and economics degree might have warned you that there is a chair for everything at university except common sense.

Ronald Rankin

Coates House

Dalkeith, Midlothian