Growth but not as we know it

Down the "Dog and Duck" they're unlikely to spend long chatting about the latest GDP figures. However, the numbers will shape the national conversation about the state of the economy.

There'll be no more talk of dips - double let alone treble - as people speak of recovery and not recession.

That will have an impact on political psychology - giving Tory MPs another reason to smile on their sun loungers this summer and allowing George Osborne to believe that he has finally put that "omnishambles" Budget behind him.

However, Ed Balls and Labour will be quick to remind us that a recovery in one measure of national economic output is not the same as a recovery in living standards. Average real incomes fell by 3% last year and the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies believes they will fall again as wages are squeezed, benefits and tax credits cut and inflation increases.

The politics of 'growth versus austerity' will slowly transform into the politics of who will improve 'living standards for all'. That's why the shadow chancellor is launching a Commission on Inclusive Prosperity with the former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.

Now they might not use those exact words down the 'Dog and Duck' but it is what they care about - which is why the chancellor spent the early hours of this morning being filmed at a bakery, with a motorway repair crew and at a supermarket distribution centre.

Today's figures tell a simple story. This is growth but - as they used to say on Star Trek - not as we know it.

PS: The former Director General of the CBI has an interesting piece in the FT this morning on whether GDP really matters.

Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

The Europe 'bomb' goes off

Douglas Carswell's defection to UKIP is a body blow for Prime Minister David Cameron, says BBC political editor Nick Robinson.

Read full article

More on This Story

More from Nick

Features

  • Nigel Farage (left) and Douglas CarswellWho's next?

    The Tory MPs being tipped to follow Carswell to UKIP


  • A painting of the White House on fire by Tom FreemanFinders keepers

    The odd objects looted by the British from Washington in 1814


  • President Barack Obama pauses during a press conference on 28 August.'No strategy'

    Obama's gaffe on Islamic State reveals political truth


  • Chris and Regina Catrambone with their daughter Maria LuisaSOS

    The millionaires who rescue people at sea


  • Plane7 days quiz

    What unusual offence got a Frenchman thrown off a plane?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.