The longest recession suffered by any major country in this cycle seems thankfully to be drawing to an end, even if only by the narrowest of margins. Such has been the severity of the downturn though, that, as the above chart shows, GDP has fallen back to the levels of mid-2005. The economy is basically the same size as at the time of the last election. This means for probably the first time in modern British history, living standards have failed to rise for almost the entire duration of a Parliament.
Sadly, the cost of the economy going nowhere has not been as lacking as the growth or living standard increases. The national debt has virtually doubled since the last general election, rising from £440 billion to £870 billion now. By the time of the election in May, it is likely that Gordon Brown will have managed to rack up a bill of half a trillion pounds to deliver an economy that has gone absolutely nowhere for half a decade. Clearer evidence of the inability to spend money productively does not exist.
When the sheer magnitude of the economic disaster created here becomes fully understood by the electorate – and it’s implications for living standards and the ability of Britain to invest in it’s future – politics will be fundamentally changed in this country for at least a generation.