Alistair Darling steps up to the stage to address this year’s nominees and winners of Enterprising Young Brits. The lineup is inspiring and the British Chancellor’s tone is upbeat as he tells the room that “this country depends on young entrepreneurs”.
Vera Lynn predicted a sunny day, some time to come, when the blue skies would drive the dark clouds far away. Today, Alistair Darling speaks of a return to good times. A day, in the future, when opportunities will return. I wonder how many in the room are thinking the unthinkable. I wonder how many would be prepared to utter the unutterable…
At the risk of being flung from the top of the White Cliffs of Dover, I think that someone needs to say, that the time for opportunity is not in the future. It is now. What have Hewlett Packard, Motorola, Xerox and Revlon got in common? They were all founded during the worst economic downturn in US history, the Great Depression.
Here in Britain, things are not as miserable as some people seem to be making out. Supermarket prices have dropped. That means food is cheaper for those living here. Interest rates are down. That means that a huge number of mortgage payers are better, not worse off than they were a year ago. Compared with the start of the financial crisis, over ninety five percent of the country are still in employment. Numbers of people signing up to volunteer for good causes have surged since the beginning of the year. These are not cheery ways of spinning the news. They are facts. I may not be anthing resembling an economist, but I’m damned if I’m going to wait until the clouds clear before plotting my next adventures.
So if I’m now carted off to the politically correct sin-bin which dictates that we must all wear black until the economy gets back on track, then spare a thought. Please say hello to the folks that I know. Tell them I won’t be long.