“Everything we do is about jobs,” Alistair Darling declared
on The Today Programme this morning. In one sense this is the right thing to say politically, it is the prospect of losing their job and not been able to find another one that worries people most in a recession. Indeed, after the Democrats had polled and focus-grouped how best to sell their stimulus plan, they moved to a message almost solely about the jobs it would save and create.
But on another level, Darling has picked the worst metric for the government to be judged on. Unemployment is a lagging indicator and the Department for Work and Pensions predicts that it will peak at 3.5 million in October 2010. If the electorate judge this government by what it does about jobs, it will not judge it favourably.