Comebacks don’t come any bigger or better than Andy Murray’s defeat of Roger Federer to win the gold for men’s singles in the Olympics after losing on the same Wimbledon court a few weeks earlier. Then this September, Murray upset the world’s top-rated tennis player, Novak Djokovic, at the U.S. Open in Queens– the first such British victory in a major tournament in 76 years..
After the Olympics, Britain apparently is once again a world power in sports. As the Wall Street Journal reported: “British athletes won with their bikes, with their legs, with tennis rackets and oars and by doing flips and twists over gymnastics equipment, sending Union Jacks waving through the streets.”
The Olympics and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee is over. Reality may now be seting in again in London. Niall Ferguson wrote this summer in Newsweek: “Like much of Europe, the U.K. economy now finds itself in a double-dip recession. “
As the Economist has reported, the Olympics haven’t changed the underlying fundamentals of the British economy, but there has been some cautiously good news on the jobs and trade front: “Curiouser and curiouser: a country that is still in recession—we think—has created more jobs. The latest batch of jobs data from the Office of National Statistics shows that there are 236,000 more workers in employment since last quarter. There are 93,000 more jobs over the quarter (though 35,000 fewer in the construction sector, which will displease ministers who hope to build their way out of recession). Unemployment has inched down from 8.2% to 8.1%.”
There is plenty to furrow the eyebrows over. The most obvious thing is the gap between jobs and growth. The economy is about the same size as it was when David Cameron kissed the hands of the Queen, but there are 550,000 more jobs. This makes for a confusing Prime Minister's Questions, when Ed Balls can mime that the economy is flat-lining and the PM can boast of more jobs.
Like his European and American counterparts, Bank of England Governor Mervyn King has been busy slushing money into the economy. As they say at the Olympics, Citius, Altius, Fortius. And slushier.