Magazine article The Spectator

Nostra Darling

Magazine article The Spectator

Nostra Darling

Article excerpt

As Oscar Wilde quipped of Little Nell s death, you would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh. On 24 November, Alistair Darling told the Commons: I, too, am forecasting that output will continue to fall in the UK, for the first two quarters of [2009]. But then, because of decisions taken in this PreBudget Report, I expect it to start to recover.

This prophecy seemed preposterous enough at the time, as we pointed out immediately on our Coffee House blog. Four and half months later, it is downright surreal that the custodian of the nation's finances felt able to make such an obviously bonkers prediction to the Commons and the electorate.

On Sunday, the Chancellor had to admit that he had been talking nonsense. It s worse than we thought, he conceded in a morose interview with the Sunday Times.

Mr Darling's November Prophecy , as it will surely come to be known, deserves a place in the historic roll-call of rubbish predictions. …

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