Pinstripe: Economic green shoots? Or merely a rather unpleasant fungus?

Related tags Economy Economics

I watched with incredulity last week as ministers of our government effectively leapt for joy at announcements by the French and Germans that their...

I watched with incredulity last week as ministers of our government effectively leapt for joy at announcements by the French and Germans that their respective economies had turned back into growth in the most recent quarter.

Clutching at straws was what it reminded me of. Even Bank of England governor Mervyn King was at it, reckoning the end of our economic slide might just be in sight.

King's faith is questionable. Quantative easing will yet have to be increased, and besides, the French and German economies were more robust than ours to being with.

The words of the Great and the Good will also be of scant comfort to the tens of thousands now joining the dole queues of Great Britain.

It's not all bad though. An old school friend of mine works in the administration arm of one of the UK's large accountancy firms and if there's an area one wants to be in right now this would be it.

As the old saying goes, it's an ill wind that blows no good.

Meanwhile, the banks continue to hold their purse strings as tightly as ever and are pilloried in many quarters for not lending to businesses that desperately need funding. Like pubs.

I do have some sympathy with the banks' predicament though. If they don't shore up their balance sheets now we'll face this mess again in the not-too-distant future, only it could be a lot worse.

And don't forget that not all financial institutions have behaved irresponsibly. We still need the banks to lubricate the wheels of the economy, whether they are privately or publicly backed. And in time lubricate them they will.

But whatever your take on things one thing is inescapable: my - and your - grandchildren and their subsequent kith and kin will be picking up the tab for the current economic mismanagement of the country enacted by those who should have known far, far better.

Their families won't be dancing for joy until they're in the fifties. The 2050s that is. Heaven help them.

On a different subject, I see what Hamish meant when he warned me about writing about the smoking ban.

I was stunned at the response to my column last week. I knew it was a pain the backside from a practical point of view, but I'd no idea of the kind of passions it would arouse.

It is clearly a debate that for some will not go away anytime soon.

Pinstripe, aka Sebastian Connerie, works in the City and is an occasional columnist for The Publican​. His views are purely personal.

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