Well, the economy has not quite fallen off a cliff but the housing market is falling with the sort of persistence which leads wise heads to think that the end is not yet in sight. But one ray of hope - the political yap factor has diminished somewhat. One of the things that irritates me profoundly about political and economic commentators is that they have a bad habit of talking rubbish with such authority that they get away with it. My personal award for talking economic and financial garbage (2008) goes to Vince Cable. Vince, for those who do not know, was the politician that first raised the spectre of nationalisation with Northern Rock. Once the N word had been uttered the banks fortunes went into a tailspin.
But how does he get away with it? Why did no one, for example, pick up Vince when he claimed recently that the banks were hoarding capital? Sorry Vince, wrong side of the balance sheet. Of course banks hoard capital - they do everything they can to increase it - you cannot honestly expect them to start making losses? What I think he meant to say is that the banks are not going to do the politicians' bidding and start making reckless loans to small business (high risk), first time buyers in the housing market (high risk) and to any devotee of day time television who fancy betting their bank's money on property in some decaying inner city location (even higher risk). Having teetered on the brink the banks are in no mood to fall over now - and who can blame them. However, back to the point - the immediate crisis is I believe past and the time for repairing our battered economy is now upon us. It would be nice if the likes of Vince Cable and other economic prophets of doom would all take a sabbatical in 2009 so that this year, at least can be free from crises manufactured for political gain or for celebrity status in the media village.