Monday, April 12, 2010

The 'seasonal lag' in owning up to Britain's slump in the international rankings

I believe there's a concept in climatology known as 'seasonal lag', which basically just means that, while in theory we receive the most warmth from the sun on June 21st each year, it takes several weeks more for that to actually translate into the warmest temperatures of the year on the ground. The same applies to the coldest temperatures typically occurring several weeks after December 21st. After taking a first cursory glance at the 'Scottish' Labour manifesto (which barely makes even a superficial pretence at being anything other than the British document with a few opt-outs) it occurred to me that this phenomenon is roughly analogous to the extraordinarily long timelag between the UK slipping in the international GDP rankings, and unionist politicians being willing to acknowledge that is has actually happened. It seemed to take at least two years from the moment the UK was overtaken by China before the likes of Jim Murphy could quite bring themselves to cease referring to the UK as the "fourth-largest economy in the world". It's since got even worse for them - the UK has been overtaken by France, and according to this Telegraph article from last October, has now slipped to seventh behind Italy.

So how exactly do Labour think they are going to get away with the manifesto claim that Scotland draws "added strength" from being part of the fifth-largest economy in the world? Did they think no-one would spot this 'innocent error'? Given the incurious nature of much of the media when it comes to scrutinising the basic assumptions of unionist rhetoric, they might even be right.

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