Friday, 21 October 2011

For #$%*@’s sake Merv’, lighten up a bit!

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, has been a little ray of sunshine recently. Two weeks ago he told us that the current economic crisis was the “worst ever” which is quite something considering what the world went through after the 1930 Crash. Today I notice he is telling us that “time is running out to save the world from economic crisis.”I’ve no doubt that what Merv’ is actually doing is trying to coax Messrs Merkel, Sarkozy and Lagarde to pull their finger out and sort the Eurozone crisis but the message he is sending to the High Street and to business confidence is highly negative.

I am not for a moment suggesting that Merv' shouldn't tell it like it is but we must not lose sight of the fact that his opinions can move markets and consumer sentiment. Yes there is a sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone but we also have a demand crisis at home. In other words business and consumers in the UK are so worried about economic apocalypse that they are holding onto every bit of spare cash they have and not spending.

To be fair, our current Prime Minister tried to talk it up during his speech at the Conservative Party Conference a few weeks ago although his oratory never reached the heights of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s call to arms during the Great Depression ("we have nothing to fear but fear itself").

I seriously doubt whether Merv’s new found fondness for a soundbite is helping. At the moment he is talking it down when he needs to be talking it up. His problem is that his every utterance is amplified by the media and the most negative spin possible is put on any economic story.

Take yesterday’s retail sales figures for example which showed an unexpectedly good September for the High Street. The Guardian headline summed up the current problem, “Retail sales bounce in September but summer slowdown alarms experts.”

So come on Merv’ lighten up a bit!


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