Past and present: Welcome to stagnation

The annotations on the second image show how little impact these supposedly big events (talked up as being very important by politicians) seem to have been. It is possible that each of these did act as a positive or negative shock and kept the growth rate flatly negative, but believing that would probably require a great leap of faith. It is often easier to understand the pattern of growth as the cumulative efforts of many individuals over time than as dictated by landmark events.

But the NIESR chart does confirm one thing. The UK is facing prolonged stagnation. Unless chancellor George Osborne pulls something out of the bag on 20 March, we're here to stay.