As political journalists are exposed this weekend for the complicity in spinning Brown, their colleagues on the finance pages are still at it.
Stories abound, with Spring inspired optimism, about how property prices have turned the corner. And the Chancellor, apparently, is going to predict that the recession will be over by October. Note, however, this is from the same political team in the Telegraph, now notorious for failing to help the government bury the biggest sleaze scandal of recent years.
On house prices, think if you own one, could you afford your own house if you were starting out today? Could somebody like you bought it afford to buy it today? If the answer isn't yes to both, then house prices are clearly unsustainable. There might indeed be a Spring bounce. The only question though is when they'll fall another 25%, not whether.
Yesterday, BT announced another 10,000 job cuts. And that's just a single item in a single day's news. What will happen to house prices as unemployment soars towards three million plus, as most expect it to?
Over the worst? My arse.
When asked by a journalist what would make the G20 a success, Brown replied, "that you report it as a success". To many bloggers, that was interpreted cynically. That is, that Brown merely thought that the appearance of success was all that mattered. I don't take this view. I think it shows how little he understands about the economy: he thinks it is merely a matter of confidence in the markets and all will be right again; he thinks that fundamentals (borrowing, trade balance, money supply) don't really matter or, if they do, they are a function of confidence, rather than the other way round. In a way, this is precisely what he thinks about everything in politics: it's all about the people. If you can bully them into parroting your line then everything will be ok.
The trouble is that this is only true in the short term. In the long term reality rears its ugly head, as it is increasingly doing.
Italy has gone into a recession from which it will NEVER recover. Ditto Japan. (Both countries have catastrophic declines in population that have already gone beyond the point of no return and, fundamentally, the size of the economy is a multiple of the number of people you have.) France, has more Muslims of fighting age than ethnic Caucasians. They will be a minority in their own country within a generation. Alas, the Muslims have a economic benefit one tenth of a Frenchman's. What will that do to France's GDP as the baby boomers retire? Is Germany, itself running out of people, going to tie itself into this death pact and bail out Eastern Europe (themselves denuded of their most productive people who've emigrated to the UK and elsewhere) and the PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain)? If it gives them loans, how on earth does it think they'll be repaid as the productive element in these populations collapses? All across Europe, politicians are focussing on the appearance of success, rather than the reality. No wonder they all agreed at the G20.
My prediction: there will be yet another huge war in Europe within 10 years, as con trick by our politicians become increasingly difficult to perpetuate. Brown's sleaze shows how desperate it has already got. Europe has been rotting from within for decades. When the final collapse comes it will be sudden and violent.