Just in time for the beginning of Gordon Brown's 'Presidency', the BBC reports that unemployment levels are creeping back to the bad old days. Subjectively, I'm noticing a softening of the economy generally, with two separate accountants telling me that small businesses they work for are starting to struggle and this is particularly noticeable, I'm informed, in the Thanet retail sector outside Westwood Cross.
In recent months reports the BBC, "The unemployment rate has been creeping up again and currently stands at 1.7 million, according to the ILO labour force survey.
Although the way unemployment is measured has changed over the years, both the ILO survey, which measures the number of people seeking work, and the claimant count are roughly the same as they were in 1979. In percentage terms it is slightly higher at 5.5%, compared with 4.7% in 1979.
"At that time", say the BBC, "it was seen as a national scandal, with the Conservatives claiming in an iconic general election poster "Labour isn't working".
On this occasion, the Conservative party is remaining diplomatically silent bceause to draw attention to the government's rising employemnt crisis would also remind voters that unemployment subsequently rose above 3 million after Margaret Thatcher won that 1979 election. This may be almost 20 years on but this government, as you may have noticed, loves to remind people of the 'evils' of the Thatcher era before waxing lyrical over the manifest triumphs of New Labour. "
On an entirely different note, we should be proud that Margate girl, Tracey Emin, is representing the UK at the world's longest-running international art exhibition, the Venice Biennale. I'm not impressed however that the best piece of world-class art she can deliver to impress the visitors, is a bunch of sticks in the middle of the exhibition floor.
I wonder, if nobody told you that disjointed wooden mess in the middle of the room was the product of a great artist, would you stop to ponder its random profundity or simply move on, wondering why the workman had left without cleaning-up.
Art for Arts sake or the Kings new clothes? - You tell me!