Rejoice at our less bad failure.

30 June 2018, 20:39

numbers

Britain's economy grew faster than expected in the first three months of the year. The hard times are over. It's a Brexit miracle!

Finally the Remoaner nay-sayers will have to eat their words. Project fear is vanquished. Jacob Rees-Mogg for Prime Minister...no..make that Queen.

The man who sounds like he's straining his vowels through a linen handkerchief he keeps his monocle in should be made Head of State with immediate effect.

Sorry Prince Charles, you get passed by – you're not remotely posh enough.

Onwards Albion, onwards and upwards!

Just one thing – we may be outdoing the growth figures the Office for National Statistics predicted for the first quarter of 2018, but that doesn't mean we are doing well.

It just means we are doing less badly than originally thought.

The ONS, the nation's foremost producer of official statistics and probably its least fun place to work, announced that in spite of its earlier pronouncements, the UK's income did not grow by 0.1% between January and March.

They got that wrong. They must have had pizza smears on the inside of their spectacles when they came up with that figure. I mean, it's preposterous...who would believe that fast-forward, open-for-business Brexit Britain would produce such a risible result?

No, our national growth figure was not 0.1%, it was a heady 0.2%.

Hallelujah, austerity is over, the economy is right on track, we're a force to be reckoned with, the EU need us more than we need them, stick that in your pipe Monsieur Barnier!

But how did we achieve this world beating outcome?

Well, it was the construction industry what done it.

The business that produces all those charmless towers of luxury flatlets for foreign investors that decorate the London skyline, and the tiny houselets with tiny rooms and tiny windows for us Brits, have done very well.

Or rather, they have done less badly than previously thought.

The reason the ONS had to revise its figures on our national growth is that the construction industry did not retract by 1.7%, as previously thought, it only fell back by 0.8%.

Let the bells ring out; it’s bad but not as bad as we thought.

And that's good news for Britain, or it is less terrible news than expected, which counts as a stellar result if you are trying to convince the public that we are profiting from our exit from the Evil Undemocratic European Socialist Superstate.

If only there were figures for how our major competitor nations fared over the first quarter of the year, we might be able to contrast our stellar performance with their languid affairs.

Happily, I happen to have those figures to hand.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development publish the figures for growth of all the countries on Earth.

I shall omit the ones for places that I can't point to on a map and concentrate on our main competitors.

The OECD disagrees with the ONS about our growth rate – they insist that it is 0.1% for the quarter, but let us assume they are wrong and our own ONS are right.

That still leaves us trailing...well, almost everyone.

Here is a full list of the countries that did worse than us: Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Estonia, Japan and South Africa.

Absolutely everywhere else in the first world, and much of the second, fared better than us.

Belgium made a 0.32% increase in its income, Norway scored 0.63% growth, Spain's economy improved by 0.7%, Sweden scored 0.72%, Poland's finances improved by 1.64%.

The EU as a group averaged 0.4%, which is either two or four times our result, depending on the statisticians you believe.

I know that's a lot of figures, and that no-one is interested in facts any more, but the upshot is that if those numbers indicate that we are profiting from Brexit already, I'll eat Jacob Rees-Mogg's spectacle polisher.

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