Nicola Horlick

As I write the number of people who have signed the EU referendum petition has just passed the 2,000,000 mark. It is early on Saturday evening. By the time this blog is published (probably Sunday lunchtime) the number of people seeking a second referendum - for good reasons set out below - will be substantially greater.
Of the remaining £881 million of business lending in 2015, the report estimates that loans were made to over 10,000 SMEs in the UK. The top industry sectors lent to were manufacturing, engineering, transport, utilities, finance and retail.
There is no better way of trying to gauge what is happening in an election than knocking on some doors and speaking to voters. I spent the bank holiday weekend doing just that...
Meanwhile, in the UK the impending election and the uncertainty surrounding the likely outcome has put pressure on the pound, which fell by 4.4 per cent against the dollar during March and has fallen by 2.8 per cent against the euro since mid-March
The McKinsey Global Institute recently published a report on global debt, which pointed out that it has risen by $57 trillion since 2007 representing an annualized increase of 5.3 per cent. Between 2000 and 2007, global debt increased at an annualized rate of 7.3 per cent and that was seen as being unsustainably high.
If QE is a massive block of money (no-one's quite saying it's immovable) tending to pump up prices and spending, the precipitous fall in the oil price has resulted is a near-irresistible force working against it.
The real mystery is how the UK economy has managed to do so well in the recent past given the performance of our neighbours. The general consensus is that this momentum will not continue and that growth will slow next year. The risk is that growth slows more quickly than expected and that we find ourselves in a similar position to the rest of Europe as inflation continues to decline.
I have spent the last few days in China. The stock market has collapsed over the past year by 70 per cent as GDP growth has slowed from 10 per cent to 7 per cent. But the optimism amongst Chinese business people has not diminished and they remain confident that they can continue to generate wealth at a spectacular rate in the coming years.
Of course, it seems absurd to many that the world is concerned about Chinese growth slowing from 7% to 10%. But most countries in Europe would kill to achieve any growth at all at this point. The UK seems to be the exception in Europe with the IMF predicting that UK growth will be 3.2% in 2014, falling to 2.7 % in 2015.
Good morning Lemmings and rejoice for a new record has been set! That's right, I managed to fully comprehend around 68.2% of last night's show which is by far and away the most clarity I have ever achieved with an episode from Northern Ireland (I usually manage 20 or so percent).