Another lovely morning. As we strolled down to the allotments the ground seemed swathed in a low fog of bluebells, here and there punctuated by spikes of yellow archangel. Overhead the bud-burst of the oaks said that Spring is truly here.
Our mood of quiet calm and oneness with nature was ended the moment we arrived at the hen-runs for the evidence of egg-eating lay all around. We will soon have shares in Colemans given the amount of mustard we are buying to fill empty shells! I was having a quick rant about ingratitude – as if dull-witted hens could possibility have such a characteristic - when Albert slouched in Compo style. “Calm down dear” he said, but coming from him it sounded ludicrous. Cameron used it yesterday to patronise Angela Eagle and it seemed appropriate since Cameron is little more than a born-again Michael Winner.
And it seems that he not only patronises, he assumes that we are all three pence short of a shilling. He proclaimed the news of a 0.5% increase in GDP as good news. In fact the tiny increase merely offsets the same deficit for the previous quarter and demonstrates that growth in the econony has ground to a halt. And this is before the majority of the cuts and redundancies have begun. It is potentially very bad news indeed for without growth the deficit will remain and employment will fall.
The economic picture then is of one in a perilously weak condition even before Whitehall, town halls and other parts of the public sector started on their biggest cuts. Yesterday, Jonathan Portes, former chief economist at the Cabinet Office, called for a “scaling back of the fiscal overkill”. Mr Portes worked in a senior capacity with coalition ministers until recently; his intervention deserves to be taken very seriously.
Other eminent economists, including the Institute for Fiscal Studies, have called for a “plan B”. They point out that the greatest threat to the economy is insufficient demand – of families not buying things (for fear of job losses) and businesses not investing. Fiddling with the supply side will not help and all the talk of “bonfires of red tape” is merely an encore of the Blair and Thatcher “bonfires” which made no difference. The only realistic solution is another shot of government spending to re-boot industries such as construction and to get back consumer confidence. And a much harder line on EU payments and corporate tax avoidance could make an enormous difference too.
Cameron and Osborne claim that the “economy is broadly on the right track”. What sort of economics do they teach at Eton, what would they consider the wrong track? One just a few feet nearer the cliff we are heading toward perhaps?
The most galling thing of all is that senior politicians no longer seem capable of telling it as it is in the way that Churchill once did. We don’t care about Cameron’s patronising approach to women who are more than capable of putting creeps in their place. We care about the prospect of economic collapse and all that it will bring to the poorest members of society. But the elitist ministers continue to assume that we are green and will believe anything they care to dream up.
And they continue to rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic!
SPORTING THOUGHTS FOR TODAY: ” We know what we need to do now so I think we’ll either win, draw or lose”….Ian Rush “We got the winner three minutes from time, but then they equalised”…..Ian McNaill “Whoever wins today will win the championship no matter who wins”…..Denis Law “Graeme Souness went behind my back right in front of my face”…..Craig Bellamy “I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business, but I was in the top one”…..Brian Clough “For the benefit of Anglo-Saxon viewers, I wonder if Sky would consider using subtitles when interviewing Kenny Dalglish”……letter to Evening Standard “Alex Feruson’s weakness is that he doesn’t think he has any”…….Arsene Wenger “Mourinho turned down the position of Pope when he heard that it was only an assistant position”…..Harry Pearson “I would have thought the knowledge that you are going to be leapt on by a load of congratulatory but sweaty team-mates would be an inducement NOT to score a goal in soccer”….Arthur Marshall
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S QUIZ; 1. Dinara Safina 2. Geremi ( at Chelsea, Middlesborough and Newcastle respectively).
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Who directed the film ‘Star Wars’ ? 2. Dame Barbara Hepworth died in 1975. Was she known for singing, painting or sulpture?