Perkins & the Economy - Transcripts from our bug in the Ministry of Misinformation, Whitehall

Sir: Morning, Perkins. You look a bit perturbed this morning ...

Perkins: Good morning, Sir .... well, itfs the economic news ...

Oh come on Perkins ... swings and roundabouts, economic cycles, what goes around comes around and all that.

Yes, but it seems wefre in the longest recession since records began.

Records, Perkins? Well, of course theyfre there to be broken, and if anyone can do it, the Labour Government certainly can! Come on, cheer up - itfs just a spot of fiscal turbulence ... in six months wefll be wondering what all the fuss was about ....

Six months?

Well, nine months then ... the PM has promised an end to the recession in 2010.

Some are saying that government promises about the economy arenft worth the paper theyfre written on ...

Well, he only said it, Perkins. I donft think he actually wrote it down as evidence, so to speak.

But he also said Britain was better placed than other European countries to weather the recession, and now look at France and Germany! My old schoolmate Snuggs down in Southern Germany says there is no sign of a recession - boarded-up and charity shops as rare as unicorns, BMWs, Mercedes and Audis whizzing back and frof to Munich - not a banger to be seen, immaculate countryside .... the only black spot is farmers whingeing about the low price of milk.

Perkins, Ifve told you before, thatfs Germany ... you canft apply the same standards of comparison to Britain .... as for posh cars, well, they make them donft they? They probably have a surplus and so are flogging them off cheap.

But what about the sinking , Sir? Itfs now just hovering around parity with the euro - a year ago it was well above it. Itfs very worrying ...

Perkins .... I believe youfve never studied economics, have you? thatfs just the way it is. The German currency always goes up relative to the . I remember when I was at school it was 11DM to the .

But itfs not the German currency, Sir, itfs the euro.

Donft be silly, Perkins. The euro is 90% the Deutschmark in reality. But I wouldnft worry about the falling : itfs great for our exports. Besides, it hasnft fallen relative to people in Britain. The in your pocket has maintained its value. Old Harold Wilson had a good understanding of relativity .... our whole approach is based on the principles of Einstein himself.

But wonft commodities rise, Sir? After all, we depend on imports for practically everything.

Aha! But thatfs good for restraining consumption ... we must consume less, Perkins, if we are to save the planet.

But the PM is banking on increased growth to save the economy, so how can we have increased growth and lower consumption, Sir? I donft understand! As I said before,

Perkins, youfre not an economist - or a politician, come to that .....

But theyfre saying that we are borrowing billions just to cover current expenditure rather than spending it on long-term infrastructure projects.

Ah ... now youfre getting a bit technical, Perkins ... you really must avoid jargon ... after all, this is the Ministry of Misinformation ....

Jargon? What about "quantitative easing"? Isn't that just jargon for "borrowing even more humungous amounts of money we haven't got?"

Perkins - you're getting confused ..; obviously we haven't got it if we have to borrow it .... besides, "quantitative easing" is nothing like borrowing as you describe it.

Why not, Sir? I don't understand.

It's completely and utterly different, Perkins. It has a different name for a start.

Well, I canft help being worried, Sir.

Enough of this nonsense, Perkins. The economy is booming ... have you been to Harrods lately? Absolutely packed .... Yes Sir, with Arabs and Russian oligarchs ....

Well, look on the bright side, Perkins at least theyfre spending their money over here rather than in their own countries ..... besides, where would the Premiership be without their money? .... come on, Perkins - letfs have a cup of tea and forget about all this economic nonsense ... we have some misinformation to sort out ...