The doom, the gloom

So foul and fair a day I have not seen

If any day was designed to be a “duvet day”, today is it.

Half the UK is in an official drought situation, yet it’s been pelting down for days. But it’s not the good sort of rain that we need. It’s falling too fast and at the wrong time of the year.

Then we’ve got the fact that, two years into the coalition government, it seems the gloss, such as it was, has come off. Cameron and his cronies are lurching from one badly-handled issue to another.

No sooner have we forgotten Francis Maude and his ‘jerry-can in the garage boob’, than we have the news that the culture secretary Jeremy Hunt may have been a teensy bit too close to the Murdochs during their attempt to buy all of BSkyB.

What will happen to Hunt isn’t decided yet, but I’m sure I remember Vince Cable being stripped of some of his responsibilities for being overtly anti the takeover. Well, to be honest, it seemed like he was basically anti Murdoch, full stop. In the light of the Leveson enquiry, remind me just why that was so wrong…?

But I digress. So, we turn on the news this morning to find that the Office of National Statistics has announced that we are now back in recession, having not managed to avoid the dreaded double-dip and it’s all construction’s fault.

Well, it’s not totally construction’s fault and, anyway, none of this should come as too much of a surprise. The figures are slightly worse than many expected, but the underlying fact is that this is all in line with predictions.

We’ve been bumping along for a long time now, seeing a few little lifts here and there, but still, by and large, struggling to effect a real, lasting recovery. Those few bright spots have largely been down to the service sector and household spending. If we are still over-reliant on household spending then we will never really get out of the mess at all.

Still, looking on the bright side, apparently the industry was in fine fettle yesterday at the Construction Products Association lunch, heckling Greg Barker over the Green Deal and whether it is likely to reach SME builders and builders merchants. Marvellous stuff. I’m sorry I missed it.

And, of course, Chelsea fans are happy. So at least someone is.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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