An ice cream guide to the recession – Panto time is back

We’re still a good few months away from the Panto season but you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s already started.

“Has anybody seen the recession?”
“It’s behind you” screams the bonus hungry audience.
“Oh no it isn’t” cry the financial journalists keen to keep the story line going till the 120 minutes of Panto fun is up.

The Panto cast are made up of the normal goodies and baddies and advertised on the posters –

Mervyn King stars as the benevolent Monarch – keen to keep easing his quantitative load on his subjects.

Peter Mandelson – plays the evil sorcerer and controls the country using a potion of magical Blackberries from his Ionian island.

Gordon Brown – plays Buttons and appears destined never to win true love.


This week it’s clear that the MPC don’t think we are through the worst and have thrown another 50 billion of quantitative Queen’s face onto the fire. This has surprised a few – what do the bank know of what lies ahead? Well probably not that much and are instead experimenting on a grand scale.

Supporters will say that they are bravely applying Keynesian principles to keep all the plates spinning (always a welcome interval in any panto). Detractors that they intervened too late (despite David Blanchflower’s regular Ugly Sister tantrums) and are now unable to stop ad-libbing (never a welcome point in any panto).

I remember when £50 Billion was a lot of money but this week it’s barely went noticed. Sure it got covered in the press & t’telly – but not exactly with the gusto you’d have expected 12 months back.

So are we through the recession or not – well I can confidently announce that we are not. I’ve arrived at this highly considered view that the recession has further to run not due to any in depth analysis of fiscal policy (macro or otherwise) but through the simple observation of the queuing habits at Highland Games.

At lunch time the queue for the Burgers at North Berwick Scotchland Games was at least thirty minutes (tick) but the queue for the Ice Cream Van on a sunny & warm day…. Zero. Conclusion? We aint got no spare cash – so we’re making sure we don’t go hungry as the first priority and topping up on pudding only as real luxury.

Having brought our own sandwiches myself and Mrs O took advantage of the zero ice cream queue and I stacked up on calories. Mrs O is always way too sensible to eat ice cream.

The two ice cream men manning the van reluctantly raised themselves from their seats and we quantitatively eased each other. I received a suitably large (despite asking for a small) ice cream “waffle” and they received a large shiny sovereign – or a two pound coin as they are more normally referred.

Two quid… for a cone! I don’t care if it is called a Waffle – two quid. No wonder their queue was zero! I remember when two quid was a lot….yeh, yeh… get on with it.

So as business, including the icy, hike their prices and folk queue up for meat and bread, rather than frozen coo’s milk, let’s not get deluded that the recession is finished. Changing direction maybe, but not finished.

However, we can all be relieved that the country is in the safe hands of the evil sorcerer Peter Mandelson and his magic wand-like Blackberry, safely running the country from Corfu – good for him.

But his use of the wee black magic wand does confirm one thing, and it’s a thing that we can all agree on – it’s Twitter and mobile apps that are really in charge.

“Oh no they aren’t”

“…..oh yes they are.”

And finally the Panto ends…. cue endless curtain calls from the Panto Cast as the next reality Panto contestants get ready to come on stage. I wouldn’t get too excited – it may seem strangely familiar.

I’m off to Corfu with my iPhone – good enough for Mandy – good enough for me.


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