On 17th March 2014, The Slog posted this piece suggesting that George Osborne was the greatest snake-oil economic feelgood salesman in British history. I wrote at the time:
‘George Osborne is the trickster who insists we are in recovery, when all the data with which he has been unable to tamper insist we are doomed.’
Several times after that I wrote how The Draper was merely gambling on the hope that nothing totally undeniable would emerge before the May 2015 election…especially given much of the electorate was dozing off while watching game shows anyway.
So far, George has appeared to be doing the Colombian march to victory. Until yesterday that is, when the British Chancellor was suddenly faced with ONS data showing that there had been a decrease of 2.7% in mining & quarrying.
That sector is closely aligned to the UK construction industry, and surprise surprise this registered an “unexpected” 2.7% decline in new private house building…..alongside a 4.1% decrease in house repair work. This means (a) few Brits have the confidence to buy into the housing sector and (b) even fewer have the money to repair what they have.
It’s called austerity economics running out of road…despite Help to Buy trying to create a Ring of Confidence around the British housing market. George may well be about to disappear up his own ring: the index of production output across all sectors is just 0.1% up year on year, his pledge to wipe out the trade deficit was 50% out, and his “determination” to rebalance the economy has failed completely….we’re more dependent on services today that we were when the Coalition took power five years ago. And of course, the National Debt is rising inexorably.
Does any of this matter? Probably not: the snoring voters have been given nothing in the way of dramatic presentation by the Ed Miller Band to wake them up to the dangers ahead.
Meanwhile, in an odd move earlier this week, Mario Draghi relaxed the ELA rules on Greek banks, thus allowing the Syriza government to pay Fifi Lamerde at the IMF in full. Nobody knows why he did this, but I have one hunch among many that I find intriguing: did Mario let the Greeks stay alive because his plan to amputate them wasn’t ready? Or did he do this to put off Athens’ default until after May 7th…and thus sabotage the Ukip campaign in Britain?