I WAS woken from my slumbers earlier this week by the news that the UK economy is not growing as fast as the Coalition’s self-satisfied Chancellor George Osborne was predicting.
Although I am not normally preoccupied with the country’s Gross Domestic Product, I was roused from my dreams by a Today programme report on Tuesday which suggested that our monetary woes were all the fault of the lovely Miss Kate Middleton – or at least her marriage to the heir to the throne.
I couldn’t help it but the suggestion that the Royal Wedding was somehow responsible for an economic slowdown brought about an involuntary snort of derision – much to the irritation of a dozing Mrs Freeman.
It’s a bit rich laying our economic woes on the doorstep of the newly-created Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Granted we got an extra Bank Holiday to mark the occasion and I, for one, failed to buy any monogrammed china (or indeed any other souvenir tat) to mark the event. But can the betrothal of two young people – however privileged - really hit the wealth of the country as a whole?
What excuses next? A worsening of our balance of payments because of Prince Andrew’s shock decision to step down as trade envoy; the collapse of the stock market pinned on the Duke of Edinburgh’s announcement that he is to “take a bit more of a back seat” having turned 90; sterling’s collapse against the Euro due to Princess Anne refusing to have a new hairstyle since 1975?
It’s a bit like suggesting poor retail sales figures are all the fault of the Daily Telegraph for exposing to public gaze the ‘John Lewis List’ of products which MPs could claim for out of our taxes to feather their nests.
On balance I am in favour of the monarchy – if only because it ensures we aren’t saddled with a president inevitably drawn from the increasingly thin ranks of so-called distinguished politicians.
I shudder at the thought of Tony and Cherie swanning around the world competing with Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni for the title of Europe’s smuggest couple. I suspect the Queen, despite all her troublesome brood, is spectacularly better value for money.
Counterpoint By Scott Freeman