Well Labour's Big Day fell a flat, didn't it? The BBC got its bugles out for the much anticipated announcement (an announcement they've been taking for granted for days) that we've finally broken free from this horrible recession and into a Labour-generated recovery. They were all ready to blow those bugles at 9.30. Listening to Ed Stourton's build-up on The World at One you could hear all of this anticipation, and from his excited tone I was half expecting to hear him to pop open a bottle of champagne and toast Labour as soon as the result was announced. Then came the disappointing news of a miniscule 0.1% growth, subject to revision upwards or downwards. Yes, we are out of recession, it seems, but we've scraped out by our fingertips - and, if any revision takes the figure down again (as it might), we may not even be out of recession at all. All that money printed, all that money borrowed, all that money spent by this government (every penny from us now, or from us in the future) - and still we're the last major economy to recover (if we really are recovering). The sound of a balloon deflating is a fair analogy for what happened to Ed's tone in the wake of this news.
The same happened in the following report from Michael Buchanon, which was a work-in-progress. Michael was journeying throughout the morning up the M1, stopping off to talk to companies that were "helping Britain recover from recession" (one of which, naturally, was a renewable energies company) and asking them "when did you notice things improving?" He was then heard listening to the announcement on the radio, and clearly went ahead with his next sentence regardless (after all, if you've prepared one for the big moment why not use it, even if it rings a little hollow?): "Where were you when you heard that Britain was technically out of recession?" Then, as it sunk in, the report audibly deflated in mood. Michael Buchanon admitted the recovery was "anaemic" and he found himself stuck in a traffic jam!
Britain's day will come again, without this government hopefully.
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