A common thread amongst centre-right commentators at the moment is the “V-shaped recovery”. This is the idea that the unprecedented economic crash we are experiencing will be brief and things will return to normal very soon – thus, a graph showing economic growth in the years 2019 through 2021 will demonstrate a huge dip followed by an equally large spike (making a V shape). What’s so odd about this line is that it isn’t helpful to the Tory government at all.
One, it sets expectations high. If you tell people that everything is going to be hunky dory, then if that doesn’t turn out to be the case, they get angry about it. The fact that the CoVid crisis happened isn’t the Tories fault, so there should be some form of expectation management taking place here. If you tell everyone that hard times are expected and there really is something approaching a V-shaped recovery, at that point the Tories would get credit for doing better than expected. I understand the counter to this – that economic predictions have real world effects and if you tell everyone things will be bad, this can become self-fulfilling. Whereas, if you tell everyone about a V-shaped recovery, more people will go out and spend and again, and this can make that prophecy come true. Except, you are still putting an awful lot on the Tories in terms of expectations.
In the end, I would understand this V-shaped talk a lot more if we didn’t have either a no deal Brexit or a very, very bare bones Brexit at best hitting us at the end of the year. Ah, but there’s the rub. Most of the pundits talking about a V-shaped recovery also happen to be big believers in Brexit. Instead of seeing what I would see as another hazard to an instant economic recovery coming our way, they see the thing that will save us all. As ever, everything comes back to Brexit. Joy.
Add to this today’s sudden announcement of a very large local lockdown, affecting a large chunk of the North West, and again, talking up a sudden recovery in the British economy seems more than a little absurd. And we haven’t even come onto the Scottish issue yet, with the SNP looking to land a majority again in the Scottish parliament and with it, another referendum on independence that looks like it could be won by the nationalists this time round. In fact, it could be perfectly timed, right when anger in Scotland about no deal Brexit reaches its peak.
This is what further backs up my idea that Boris could be in real trouble next year amongst his own MPs. There’s no expectation management going on around what a no deal Brexit might look like whatsoever. If no deal Brexit happens and is very bad, there does not seem to a Boris plan B. Sure, he can try and blame the EU or Theresa May or Starmer or whomever but it’s not really going to wash. At least, not amongst enough people to really work. Everything for Boris seems to hinge on either getting some miraculous deal with the EU in a timeframe that can now be counted in weeks or failing that, hope no deal Brexit is actually not too bad, at least in the short term. On top of all that, there is a further punt that other factors, of which there are a lot at the moment, don’t make things worse. That seems like a hell of a gamble to me, one that isn’t being helped along by pundits on Johnson’s own political side telling everyone we’re going to be back to economic normality in no time at all.
I have a book out now called “Politics is Murder”. It follows the tale of a woman named Charlotte working at a failing think tank who has got ahead in her career in a novel way – she is a serial killer. One day, the police turn up at her door and tell her she is a suspect in a murder – only thing is, it is one she had nothing to do with. There is also a plot against the Foreign Secretary and some gangsters thrown into the mix while Charlotte tries to find out who is trying to frame her for a murder she didn’t commit.
Also: there is a subplot around the government trying to built a stupid bridge, which now seems a charming echo of a more innocent time!