Yes we are in a recession

WHEN you've lived through the near economic collapse of the 1970s, found a job during the de-industrialisation of the early 1980s, and carried on working through the recession of the late 80s and early 90s - with its 15 per cent interest rates - the current credit crunch seems a bit tame.

WHEN you've lived through the near economic collapse of the 1970s, found a job during the de-industrialisation of the early 1980s, and carried on working through the recession of the late 80s and early 90s - with its 15 per cent interest rates - the current credit crunch seems a bit tame.

I know the governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, is sending the willies up everyone by talking about the end of the “NICE” decade.

It really only became clear what he was talking about when it was revealed that NICE was an acronym for Non-Inflationary Consistent Expansion.

But it's clear many people think things won't be so nice for the next few years!

And the fact is that any recession is dreadful when you are heading into it, or find yourself stuck in the economic doldrums.

There will be those economic statisticians who insist that we aren't in a recession - but frankly a recession is much more about a state of mind than a set of statistics.

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If it looks like a recession and it feels like a recession, then it's a recession so far as most people are concerned!

I'm beginning to think that maybe this recession will see the end of the current government in two years time.

The Conservatives seem to have finally shed their image as the “nasty” party as Theresa May once so famously described them.

They have finally decided that getting back into power is more important than taking ever more strident views on everything from Europe to asylum-seekers to the need to cut taxes.

And logic tells us that any government in power during a recession is eventually undone by it - unless, of course, the opposition is a total shambles and the government manages to liberate some British islands on the other side of the world!

The recession of the 1970s led to the rise of Mrs Thatcher, the recession of the 1990s led to the rise of Tony Blair. Nothing could lead to the rise of Michael Foot in the early 1980s!

Right now things feel pretty bad, and if there was an election tomorrow, then Gordon Brown would not stand a chance.

But in two years time things may be different - and if the government has steered us into calmer waters that could be a plus point for them. But if I were Gordon Brown I would not count on it. The voters have long memories.

Don't forget this recession is not a British phenomenon, it's affecting countries all over the world.

The recession in America will probably propel Barack Obama into the White House. The recession came early to Germany and led to a change in government there.

In France the new president seemed different enough to his predecessor to persuade voters that a change in party was not necessary.

But usually in countries across the world, the arrival of a recession leads to a change in a democratically-elected government.

And the measure of success of any incoming government is how long it can postpone the next recession - and on that measure the Blair/Brown years were more successful than we might remember!

WHAT caused the most upset in my piece about the county council that I published last week?

I understand a full-scale inquiry is under way to find out how I found out the salary of the head of the communications department.

As I said last week, much of our job as journalists is to find out what others want to be kept hidden!

I WAS chatting to someone from the county council the other day (they do still talk to me!) and, as ever, the topic of the conversation got around to unitary status.

This chap was very keen on the idea of “One Suffolk” with one authority running all services from Felixstowe to Mildenhall.

That would be far too large an authority, but then he said to me: “Doesn't Ipswich want to be Suffolk's county town any more?”

I told him that Ipswich wants to outgrow the “county town” model.

“The whole point is that Ipswich wants to be a regional centre, not a county town - and to do that it needs to run its own affairs,” I pointed out.

With its own university, a new-look Waterfront rapidly taking shape, and new people moving in from all over the country, Ipswich cannot be seen any longer as merely the largest town in Suffolk.

It now has to compete with cities like Norwich, Cambridge and Peterborough. Suffolk won't cease to exist if there isn't one authority controlling council services across the county.

There will still be Suffolk police, Suffolk fire service, a Lord Lieutenant, and all the other paraphernalia that goes with the county.

It just means that decisions at a council level will be made by people who know what they are talking about - and that has to be good for everyone.

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