Never let it be said that this cheerful blog, unlike some of its depressingly gloomy commenters, relishes self-flagellation and the issuance of dire forebodings! Well, alright, we do a bit of that, from time to time, but always we strive to bring you such Good News as there is, and today I have a corker! I want you to pour yourself a glass of your favourite tipple, sit down with it - because the shock might result in spillage - and read this carefully:
But the biggest surprise would perhaps be this: a gradual realisation that the UK is on track to become the largest economy in Europe.
Gott im himmel! I think that crash was the sound of Madame Merkel dropping her glass of schnapps. Well, to be honest, I'm not sure I believe it but Matthew Lynn in this week's Spectator appears to. He seems to base his forecast on demographics, pointing out that Germany, currently far and away the biggest economy in Europe is suffering with a catastrophic drop in population where-as we Brits, whilst we might not be shagging for England, are inviting in lots of immigrants who will and do!
But Germany? That really is a serious economy — Europe’s largest both before
the first world war and since its recovery after the second, partly because
Germans are very good at making stuff, but also because there are a lot of them
— 82 million, compared with 62 million Britons. But even Germany is getting
sucked into the eurozone’s depression. It was growing at just 0.1 per cent at
the start of the year, and has recovered only slightly since then. Germany is
the only eurozone economy still in respectable shape — but with even the Dutch
next door in recession, that can’t last. The reality is that Germany is fated to
a decade or more of faltering output just like its neighbours. If the UK starts
to grow consistently faster than Germany, the gap will close.
There is another, more important factor. From 2015, Germany will have a
sharply declining population. By 2020, it will have 80 million people, according
to the Federal Statistical Office. By 2060, that will be down to 64 million. By
contrast, the UK by 2050 will be home to 80 million, according to a report last
year by the Population Reference Bureau. It would require miracles of
productivity in terms of output per worker for Germany not to lose ground.
So, there you have it, chaps; dammit, it's your duty to, er, stand to, as it were, and do what your country needs as often as possible and where-ever opportunity arises. Should your other half complain, simply explain that it is patriotism at work, I'm sure she'll understand!