Do you remember when a snowflake was something unique that floated to the ground during a winter dusting? At the beginning of the 20th century we face the risk of offending contemporary versions of such flakes if we merely say they stand the risk of being offended. On that note, our favourite story in the mainline press is one the Times publishes about university bosses attaching a 'trigger warning' on Jane Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey because of its “gender stereotypes”. It seems that English literature students must be alerted to the “sexism” in the novel and be warned that it features “toxic relationships and friendships”. All of this may be "too upsetting" for students who could also be offended by grouting (sorry) and the colour blue.
Buckle up, students, wait until you get to Chaucer!
All Brits stand a very good chance of being offended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who warned yesterday (Tuesday 31 January) that the UK's is the only major economy likely to contract in 2023 (below Germany, which is predicted a zero per cent growth rate and (grrrrrrr) Russia, which is still managing to sell all of the oil and gas it needs to have a predicted growth of more than 2 per cent this year).
The 'prediction' must be seen in context. The IMF's forecasts have only ever been a process of updating predictions based upon what has already happened in the world's and domestic economies. This latest forecast of a 0.3 per cent decline in our GDP) reflects what happened when Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng decided to share their magical mystery tour of cartoon economics with the world before they were caught and institutionalised.
Even the IMF agrees that Rishi, Jeremy and the team are now "on the right track" with our economic policy and we await to see just how much back-pedalling they will do when they issue their next 'forecast', which - again - will be a statement of what has already happened.
In the meatime the Fund's latest grim news is a godsend to Jeremy Hunt, who will be able to look stern and unhappy as a result of reading it, warning off some of the Trussites in his party who think he should give loads and loads of tax back in his spring statement.
Also, if inflation halves by the late summer as many consider it will and Jeremy manages to persuade businesses to invest in the capital growth of our economy the next couple of IMF reviews/forecasts could look very different.
It is just all a matter of economists getting everything wrong.