Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Bad Labour, lousy weather

As Niels Bohr said, predictions are very difficult, especially about the future.

With that excellent warning in mind, I generally try to avoid cast-iron forecasts. There is one, however, which I’m prepared to put forward, though I’ll cheat a bit by offering two versions.

In Britain we’re privileged to have a superlative government. Superlative in the sense that it tends to be the first, the most, or the least in so many things. 

Few governments anywhere have ever made up so much policy on the hoof and then had to change their minds; few governments have ever shown themselves so unerringly able to target cuts on people least able to absorb the consequences; few people have spoken out so powerfully about abuse by such people as bankers and media groups and then done so much to protect their interests.

So it would be appropriate if this government achieved another first next month. 

A recession is defined as two successive quarters of a shrinking economy, and by late April we should know whether we are back into recession – for the third time in five years and without any sustained growth in between. That would be a ‘triple-dip’ recession and Britain has never had one of those, since records began.

I’m sure you’ll agree that this would be a particularly appropriate monument to the achievements of our Prime Minister David Cameron, his Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and their associates.

George Osborne: might be about to record a historic first

It’s not clear whether they’ll actually accomplish this triumph or not. There are suggestions that they might miss it by a whisker, though others still feel there’s a realistic hope of pulling it off. You know, it’s like a cyclist who’s just ahead on points in the Tour de France, but still needs to win one final stage to secure the title – and Cameron isn’t even taking performance-enhancing drugs. 

I can say that with absolute certainty because there’s nothing that could possibly be described as ‘enhanced’ in his performance.

Anyway, some time next month we’ll know whether Cameron has achieved a triple dip or not.

Now, here’s my forecast:
  • If the triple dip is avoided, George Osborne will gloat over Labour, claiming that the Opposition is disappointed because they would have preferred a recession as a stick to beat the government with, and will claim that the figures confirm that the government’s doing the right thing and on course to achieve its objectives (whatever they may be) 
  • If the triple dip is confirmed, George Osborne will be entirely unbowed, and will point out that the problem was caused by Labour and made worse by the bad weather. In no way is the government to blame, and in fact the government’s doing the right thing and on course to achieve its objectives (whatever they may be)
Anyone feel like questioning that forecast?

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