Today saw a bizarre set of events…
A minor Labour minister, Baroness Vadera, has been pilloried because she apparently said that she had seen some ‘green shoots’ in the current economic situation.
What she actually said, in response to a question about when we would see ‘green shoots’ of recovery, was:
“It’s a very uncertain world right now globally… I wouldn’t want to be the one predicting it.
“I am seeing a few green shoots but it’s a little bit too early to say exactly how they’d grow.”
Which in context I think means that she can see some positive news, but there’s no way that she’s prepared to say that they are going to herald a recovery right now – they may wither away if things do not go well.
The positive thing that she sees, being involved in the banking side and trying to get banks to lend to each other and to the wider economy again, is that the bond market is opening up again. That is a good thing, it’s what we need to happen – for banks to get the confidence to invest in bonds, which are a form of lending.
She’s not a frontline minister, and is dealing in the back end of the economy, so yes, she may well not be totally in touch with the reality on the ground, but the glee with which the Tories have piled into her is disturbing. It’s almost as if they only want bad news to be heard, and anyone making positive noises has to be shouted down.
Food retail has recently had a good set of results (Tesco’s were the poorest, but they still saw sales grow from the previous year, while Sainsburys, Aldi and Morrisons all saw good growth and most supermarket chains are looking to create new outlets and so jobs). But you wouldn’t know it to read the headlines.
What highlights the hypocrisy of the Tories is, of course, their leader, who today was stressing the importance of getting confidence back into the economy, while fueling the ‘doom and gloom’ mood. In what way does constant sniping and complaining that measures aren’t working increase confidence? In what way does his colleagues slamming anyone who makes positive noises increase confidence?
The Tories are still determined that this recession should be as bad as the one they presided over in the 1990s, and will use any rhetoric to help their cause.