It’s over. Officials can tell historians how they grappled with the Great Crash of 2008. Labour can hope against all reason that the electorate will re-elect it for saving Britain. The rest of us can return to normal, which to the British means borrowing huge sums to gamble in the property market.
The bets turned sour last time, but why not take a flutter now? Or buy a new car? Or just stop worrying that the sociopath in human resources will call you in for a “little chat”? Reasons to be cheerful abound. Last week, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said that its prediction that house prices would fall in 2009 was hopelessly pessimistic. Car sales rose for the first time since April 2008, while the marvellous recovery in the stock market continued to delight all those brave investors who had bought cheap in the spring.
Everyone was enjoying an unaccustomed optimism, until the Bank of England announced that the crisis isn’t over until the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street sings and she is still too depressed to croon.
The decision by the Monetary Policy Committee to carry on with the emergency strategy of printing money to reflate the economy shocked observers, who believed that it must share their good cheer. Evidently, the Bank feared that the rise in the markets was not a sign of a return to growth but a “sucker’s rally”.
The derisive phrase has an ominous history.
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