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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Eyes on the horizon as economy scuttles away from near-darkness

Like many of the bewildered and beleaguered electorate, I am wondering what exactly it means to 'climb out of a recession'? For instance: how in the hell are we supposed to help the process of recovery and, more importantly, help ourselves, when the canopy of confusion left over from the global economic crisis shelters not only us, but the seemingly powerful policy makers and pundits who are qualified to pacify damages in the raging sun of aftermath?

The reports released this week identifying how the UK has managed to recuperate, albeit in meagre amounts, from a six-quarter slump beginning in 2008 may well reveal that all hope is not lost (tell that to the 10% of the population who supposedly value at four times less than the 10% richest in this country), but the delay of departments responsible for recruiting efforts to render this slump impotent is nonetheless sadly expected.

For all its shortcomings, nothing Labour has failed to do compares to the disappointment it has induced in lacking the calculations and urge to keep the faith of the UK electorate. during this crippling recession. Announced yesterday by the Office for National Statistics, the almost infertile 0.1% reached in the fourth quarter of 2009 doesn't stun anyone; although, it could hardly shock us, given that most believe the worst is over and only superlatives will grab their attention, as well as their purse strings.

But what if the worst is yet to come? Warnings of a "double-dip" recession, as the risk of returning to the last six quarters' conditions has been called, come amid claims from economic analysts who state only a limited 1% of GDP growth is expected this year (down from the average 2.5%). Whether you're optimistic or pessimistic, the fact remains that this isn't going to be a fluid process - Alistair Darling said himself, "there will be hiccups along the way".

Other analysts refute what the ONS has posited, and some are even declaring that the UK popped its recession bubble back in mid-2009. This cross-analyst dispute, coupled with the government's inability to bring into effect any actively encouraging role in settling the system reflects what can be rationalised as the arse from elbow impediment - nobody seems to be able to distinguish between what is and what isn't happening. Therefore, those in power - or more worryingly those who may soon take the reins (Tory proposals for public spending cuts rally much fear to them) - give us the impression that it's all a matter of guesswork.

But despite the rule of thumb which promises trusting in the economy is never a foolproof thing, surely the people in charge should at least be able to serve us some believable policies in the campaigns linked to May's predicted general election? I mean, let's call a spade a spade: as long as it works - generates employment, bolsters the housing market, protects peoples' financial investments etc - people don't mind what waffle the politicians wager with.

For now, though, it looks as if we're in the dark about how things are set to channel-off this year, and further down the line. One thing the response from analysts this week shows is that it ain't no time to be popping the champers corks just yet; give it time, and by then we'll see whether it tastes as good we hope it will.

Visit Andrew Giddings' Journoblog for a concise look at what we're currently faced with:

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