Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Selective snow

Welcome to Osborneconomics, where the same snow can affect Britain's GDP but not that of other countries.

Isn't Chancellor Trustfund Osborne going to say anything about the terrible weather conditions of France and Germany over the last quarter of 2010?

Remember his comical claims that Britain's contraction of 0.5% was to be blamed on bad weather and everybody chuckled as they caught a whiff of BS?

Well, confirmation that Osborne was talking nonsense came out today in the form of comparative figures across various EU countries.

Guess what, the same big freeze, record temperatures, extensive snowfall and assorted disruption somehow failed to affect GDP figures in France and Germany. They may have slowed down a little, but still the former grew by 0.3% in Q4 of 2010 and the latter by 0.4%, a sharp contrast with Britain's output.

For the record, December 2010 was officially Germany's coldest in 41 years and the snowiest ever.

Something doesn't add up with Osborneconomics.


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Yeah but, our snow is proper snow, not that European, Marxist, Commie, Liberal snow...

chrisw said...

Erm. No.

You don't know what the economies of those other countries would have done had there not been any snow -- they may have grown more than they did.

Stan Moss said...

"You don't know what the economies of those other countries would have done had there not been any snow -- they may have grown more than they did."

You're being cheeky arent you chrisw.
The crux of the matter is that there was very little change between Q3 and Q4 in those countries, meaning that the bad weather in December didnt play the pivotal role Gideon claims.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

You pipped me to it Stan, I'd hazard a guess that ChrisW is clinging to any Tory straw he can but in doing so, is defying basic economics.

The lengths some will go to.

chrisw said...

Not a Tory: a scientist.

You have a limited sample size and, more importantly, no control group.

If I recover frmo a cold while taking some homeopathic nonsense that doesn't prove that the homeopathic nonsense cured the cold: it could well have disappeared on its own anyway. That's why biologist types conduct randomised controlled trials. Bit hard to get a placebo, I'll admit.

Similarly, there was no change in GDP in those other countries. Without snow they may have grown by a few percent rather than a few tenths of a percent, just as ours may have grown by a few tenths of a percent rather than contracting by 0.5%. We just can't know.

I'm not even remotely supporting Gideon's cuts: simply pointing out that this point doesn't stand up.

And yes, being cheeky.

Stan Moss said...

No, chrisw.

The reason is simple. The UK, France and Germany (as well as Belgium and the Netherlands) experienced the same weather in December. Exactly the same front, same length, etc.

We have tangible comparative figures here. Compare Q3 with Q4 in each of those countries.

In the UK: from +0.7% to -0.5%.
In France: from +0.3% to +0.3%.
In Germany: from +0.7% to +0.4%
In Holland: from +0.1% to +0.6%

So, given that the weather is the one common variable in each of those countries, and that the only one where the GDP nosedived is Britain, it is safe to conclude that snow, blizzards and ice are not to blame for our country's poor economic performance.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Once again, Stan Moss beats me to it. Well played that man.