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Good news: bad news, take your pick

Now, what news from the Rialto?

When you see the animals in the neighbourhood wandering down the road in pairs, you know you’re in trouble.

I have to wonder sometimes, as the sky darkens yet again and the fateful pitter patter on the roof starts up again, whether there can possibly be any more rain left in the sky.

The rain and floods are pretty bad news for anyone hoping to get on with any kind of building work to be honest. There’s precious little in the way of groundworks that will be going in if the ground just fills with water every time you stick a spade in it.

Still, if you happen to be in the business of selling fence panels, then you’re probably doing OK. The last few weeks have given us views into gardens that we’d never imagined were there as fence after fence is blown over.

Our Victorian sewers and drainage systems are doing their best to cope with what is often a month’s rainfall in a matter of hours. Fields are full to bursting which is why many country roads are flooding so regularly as there is just nowhere else for the water to go to.

The Somerset Levels (yes, the clue is in the name) are suffering particularly badly and the Environment Agency has come under intense pressure to start dredging the rivers again, removing the silt that, locals say, is preventing the rivers and waterways from acting as the arteries of the area. Once everything dries out of course, there will be plenty of work for local builders, decorators and merchants as the population desperately tries to restore some sort of order to their lives and houses. But that water seems to be going nowhere just yet and there’ll be precious little building, rebuilding and RMI work done until the areas dry out.

On the upside, though, yesterday we saw the GDP figures which show that the UK is back to growth again. In fact, back with a bang, since it is growing at its fastest rate since 2007.

Well of course it’s growing at its fastest rate since then. That’s obvious. If it was growing in 2007 and then it stopped and now it’s starting again, then it stands to reason that this is its fastest rate.

It is good news though, whatever my concerns over the semantics. Chancellor George Osborne was doing his best not to look smug on the news last night (*fail*); Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls was desperately trying to find something, anything to slag the Government off with (don’t worry, Ed, there’s still plenty).

It’s about time we had some decent growth figures and about time that the construction increases of the last year are reflected in the rest of the economy.

Even the redoubtable Robert Peston at the BBC said that there may be (whisper it) “come the end of the year a majority of us will begin to feel the benefits of the recovery in our pockets, in living standards that may start to rise again”.

That would be nice. It would be very nice indeed. If only it would just stop raining.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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