On Air Now
In Conversation With Steve Allen 9pm - 10pm
21 October 2017, 20:55
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is a real tongue twister.
Any telephonist working there should get danger money for answering the phones.
If you had to say that name every time someone called, you'd tie your tonsils in a knot.
The OECD is an intergovernmental economic organisation, which is even harder to pronounce.
It was founded in 1960 with the single aim of making the average reader of the Daily Mail lapse into a fury that you could see through walls.
This week, they announced that a second referendum that reverses the Brexit vote would have a positive and significant impact on the UK economy.
When they read that, the Leaver half of the country made significant impacts on the tables in front of them with their fists.
The OECD warned that a disorderly Brexit could cause adverse reactions in the finance markets, the pound would tank, consumption would go down and investment would stall.
That sounds like yesterday's news.
All that has happened already. The exchange rate is about Euro 1.10 to the pound. We used to be able to get nearly Euro 1.50. No wonder European tourists now see Britain as a cheap holiday destination - comin' over 'ere, cloggin' up the place, askin', “ou est Madame Tussauds?”
It's cheap for them but not for us. Prices are shooting up at the fastest rate in more than five years. The inflation rate in Britain is now 3.3%. In non-Grexit Germany it is 1.8%. In non-Frexit France it is only 1%.
And as you would expect, wages in this country are not keeping pace with inflation. Not for the have-nots, anyway. We are mostly all poorer than we were before we voted out.
The supermarket price war is probably making things look a little rosier than they actually are.
The big retailers are trying not to pass on higher prices to their customers, so they are squeezing their suppliers. That is a dam that will eventually break. Businesses will go bust or be swallowed up by bigger corporations that will have more muscle in setting prices with the supermarkets.
At the moment, food price increases are lagging slightly behind the overall inflation rate but probably not for long.
Expect your weekly shop to become much less affordable.
The OECD was sounding an alarm for a fire that we already know about but they weren't finished there.
They chided us for our lack of productivity, particularly outside the South-East and highlighted the difference in skill sets and education between the regions.
In truth, it is worse than that. The whole country needs to stay back for extra homework.
Fortunately, the government has been spending a huge amount of money on education to put things right. Unfortunately, it has made absolutely no difference whatsoever.
We poured cash into it and we went nowhere.
Sounds like the mission statement of Southern Rail.
Last year, the Pisa rankings that compare the educational achievement at age 15 between nations put us at 27th in the world for maths and 22nd for reading.
It's a good job, considering how depressing reading those statistics would make us if we had the ability to understand them.