Thursday, 25 October 2012

According to the BBC, every economic silver lining has a dirty great big cloud attached to it

Stephanie Flanders, BBC Economics Editor: Terrible news on GDP!

BBC Economics Producer: What? It shrank?

SF: No, it’s gone up by one percent.

EP: Tory bastards – can’t trust ‘em an inch. Mind you, one percent. That’s not much, is it?

SF: No, but it’s better than expected. What are we going to do?

EP: You could do what you did when the unemployment figures showed a big drop – you know, make it sound like a disaster.

SF: I can’t keep doing that. Even Francis Maude will begin to suspect I’m a lefty.

EP: Well, you wouldn’t be working here if you weren’t. So what? (Clicks fingers). Put it down to an unsustainable blip due to the Olympics or something.

SF: I’ve tried that, but I’ve been through the figures, and this is a genuine rise, worse luck.


EP: I know! Point out that the economy hasn’t actually grown in the last year. And we’ll find a sector that’s still doing badly and get someone to do a separate report on that – you know, a classic “Yes, but…” spanner in the works.

SF: Construction – we can make it sound as if that’s the only sector that really matters and the rest is just froth. And we’ll ask Pesto to point out that this doesn’t mean GDP won’t shrink again – we might even be able to squeeze in a “Britain Faces Triple-Dip Recession” headline.

EP: Come on, Steph – that’s going too far, even for us. But we could get some junior reporter to do an online piece asking “Does it really matter that the UK is out of recession?” – i.e. it looks like good news, but, I mean, who gives a flying one?

SF: Hmm. But the Tories could point out that as far as the BBC’s concerned, they can’t win – if GDP shrinks, it’s because they’ve disastrously mismanaged the economy: if it goes up, we shrug and say it doesn’t matter.

EP: That’s why I suggested someone junior to do the item: if the Tories cut up rough, we can say we knew nothing about it, making it sound like it was all the reporter’s fault. After all, if that strategy’s good enough for the Director-General…

SF: Brilliant! You make those calls, and I’ll give Ed Balls a buzz to run this all past him first – you know he’ll only go all red and shouty if he doesn’t get editorial sign-off.


  1. The Autumn 2012 edition of The Review, a St Paul's Girls' School magazine, carries interviews with Old Paulina's in the meejah.

    Rosie Blau (The Economist) is there along with Caroline Law (The Week), Chloe Arnold (the BBC), Erica Wagner (the NY Times), Rachel Grigg (developer of a poetry app), Anna Stothard (novelist), Lousie Hayman (media lawyer), Soolin Cottle (on-line publisher), Louie Stowell (in-house writer at a publishers) and Bronwen Maddox (Prospect magazine).

    But not SF.

    Was there simply no room for her interview? Did she not have time to give one? And what song would Flanders and Swann, both Westminster boys, have sung about this glaring omission?

    1. She's probably far too busy working for Labour's re-election in 2015. After all, she wouldn't want to see another five years of arrogant, privileged, private-school-and-Oxbridge-educated lah-de-dah toffs running the country, would she? (Especially ones who didn't then go on to attend Harvard, as she, of course, did.) And I don't think the fact that she has dated both Ed Balls and Ed Miliband should lead us to conclude that she is anything other than an unbiased seeker after truth (although she might want to check herself in for a tastectomy at some stage).

      As Richard Littlejohn once wrote - with reference to her father - "If Stephanie Flanders speaks for Britain, then I'm a gnu".

  2. You got there first but nevertheless Fraser Nelson has a very good article in today's Telegraph about the left's capture of Quangos and charities. I am sure that part of the enjoyment you are getting out of reading Vanity Fair for the first time (according to your sidebar) is in its many similarities to theolitics of the present day, and not only because there is a rather wimpish snob of a character called George Osborne in it.

    1. The Nelson article is brilliant! As will probably be evident from the contents of this blog, like Fraser Nelson, I honestly believe that this country will remain a Gulliver tied down by swarms of Lilliputian socialists until some clear-headed and energetic right-wing politician decides to clean out the stinking Augean stable which is our public sector - starting with our Marxist quangocracy. (For anyone who hasn't read it, the article can be found at:

      Vanity Fair is simply wonderful - as our chancellor changed his name from Gideon to George when he was 13, one assumes he hadn't read Thackeray's hilarious, unsentimental masterpiece at the time, or he would undoubtedly have gone for something else: Thackeray's Osborne wasn't any good with money either. The modern-day Osborne went to St Paul's - I have often remarked on the fact that, judging by its OBs, St Paul's would appear to have a higher "nasty creep" quotient than any other leading school.

    2. Unpublished:


      From: David Moss
      Sent: 06 September 2012 17:28
      To: Private Eye
      Subject: Letters to the editor, Hester gay, Gallagher Catholic, ...


      Sir David Nicholson KCB CBE is Chief Executive of the English NHS and as such the man in charge of something like £120 billion of public expenditure every year. In his Wikipedia entry Sir David says that he joined the NHS on graduation, and then the Communist Party of Great Britain. No-one seems to at the moment but may I suggest (Letters, Eyes 1321 and 1322) that Sir David be regularly referred to in future as the "Communist Chief Executive of the English NHS"?

      David Moss



  3. You may well be on to something. Bernard Law Montgomery, Ist Viscount of El Alamein, attended St Paul's and was pretty unbearable. The Americans always managed to get his titles wrong - he was once introduced to a very large gathering in Chicago as "Sir Marshall Field" and nearly stomped off [Mashall Field was the name of a large department store and Field Marshall is not a rank in the American Army ].

  4. The new series of Harry and Paul started recently and is available on BBC I-player. Their take on Question Time starts about 3 minutes in. I don't imagine the Current Affairs lot will find it very funny. I did.

    1. French and Saunders once did a parody of "House of Elliot", a series which then disappeared from our screens almost instantly. If there was any justice, the Harry and Paul "Question Time" sketch would have the same effect.