Boo hoo, the bad times may be over

By Simon Round, August 20, 2009

Figures released this week show that the economies of Germany, Japan and France are no longer in recession. So if these nations are in an economic growth phase it could well be that Britain will follow.

But is the end of recession necessarily a good thing? I might be out on a limb here but I was just beginning to enjoy the global slowdown and will miss it when it has gone.

First and most importantly I was tantalisingly close to understanding what “quantitative easing” meant. If there is economic growth, the government will no longer want to pump money into the economy and all of my Googling will have been completely wasted.

Also, like many Jews, I feel more comfortable with pessimism. Even during boom times, I like to see disaster around the corner. Misery tends to cheer me up. Now that the recession seems to be coming to an end, I will be having dark thoughts about everyone being cheerful again, although, paradoxically, then I feel better because I know I’ll be feeling worse quite soon.

One thing that I will definitely miss is nationalisation. Back in the ’80s I was a confirmed leftie dreaming of a time when banks would be taken into public ownership. Now they are. It may have little to do with the triumph of the workers against capitalism, but the financial institutions are in our hands. This means that we, the people, are the ones paying bankers huge bonuses and investing in their massive final salary pensions. In other words, it is socialism in action. Economic upturn means the imminent return of the banks to private hands and I will miss walking into my local branch of Lloyds as if I own the place. Which, in a way, I do.

There are other bonuses of economic collapse. It’s easy to find a copy of The Big Issue, though on the downside it is harder to sell it on when you have finished it. And there is also that annoying thing of having to book a restaurant table for a Saturday night rather than wandering in off the street and having the staff greet you as if you were Usain Bolt arriving back in Jamaica.

Rising prosperity will also mean packed airport departure lounges and queues in shops other than Lidl and Primark. Worst of all it might signify the return of four-wheel-drive monsters and their annoying owners who only ever go off-road when they pull onto their drive.

Then again, I suppose there could be a silver lining. The children might have shoes this winter and I may be able to stop jumping out of the bedroom window every morning in a bid to avoid the bailiffs.

Still, it was fun while it lasted.

Last updated: 3:42pm, August 20 2009