Do we really have any idea of how serious this is about to become? As I sat watching BBC 2's recesion drama Freefall tonight I realsied that we are beginning to get an inkling. This was a quick-hit drama intended as an immediate response to the recession and it was very rough at the edges, but it showed how quickly the culture has grasped that this getting very grim indeed. It was a conventional enough story of an aspirational family wanting to move to a new private housing estate, but it sent a chill through these bones.
There was a fascinating set of statistics in Nick Cohen's Observer column this weekend, which should send a chill through everyone's bones. I'll leave it to Nick to explain:
Obviously, you cannot speculate that long-term adult unemployment will increase by 1,400%, as recessions hit the young disproportionately hard. Equally obviously, the worst of this recession is not over but just beginning."
I sat next to someone on the tube this week and had the sort of conversation I used to have in the late 1980s. I'd met him a couple of times before at the sort of social-political occasions where one's status in society is assumed. "How's things, I said. "Well, I'm between jobs at the moment," he said. "I'm doing some pro bono stuff. Helping people out. But it's quite hard actually." I remembered why I liked him: brutally frank. No pretence. It was unusual because he was so candid about his situation, but it was not the first time I'd had a similar conversation recently.