Many moons ago (1970, from memory), Harold Wilson defended a blip in the balance of payments - when such things mattered in British politics - on the grounds that four Boeing 747s were imported that month. The obvious riposte was: if things are on such a knife-edge that they can fall over with the merest gust of wind, all is not well.
Petrol panic and warm weather may have kept UK out of recession ... a 4.9pc surge in fuel buying due to the panic caused by the threat of a delivery drivers strike
And thus was the 1st Quarter of 2012 saved. Oh, George ! Doesn't that give you ideas ? A whole new tool of macro-economic policy: I reckon you can keep the can bouncing merrily along the road indefinitely, starting with:
- Chief Scientist mentions that drought will mean all types of food will be in short supply from 1st July, hints that stocking up on canned food etc might be a good idea (takes care of 2Q)
- government minister hints that VAT on consumer durables will double on 1st October (sorts 3Q)
But it's not just the recession that can be staved off. How about:
- rumour that postage stamp prices will rise by another 50% next year (solves PO pension problem, ask Michael Crick)
- story that all tickets to the 100m sprint final at the Olympics will be allocated to people putting an extra £50 on their Oyster cards (sorts Crossrail funding)
- 'leaked report' that C.Difficile in NHS is at pandemic levels (fixes hospital waiting lists)
Any readers' nominations for further problem-solving scares ?