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I'm Confused And I Am Not the Only One

Sometimes I am worried for the papers. No, I mean I am worried BY the papers. The Telegraph is a great read. That is the one that I would buy if I was going to regularly get a paper, which I don't. It is the right size, a size that gives it the heft of gravitas and history, which the other papers lost a bit when they changed to a smaller format. Sometimes bigger is better. The crossword is like a drug to me. They have the funniest single cell cartoonist by some margin in Matt. It has a good mix of light and shade and its politics don't irritate me so much that I would jack all that in for the Guardian.

I recently went to A and E with what felt like The Matterhorn sticking out of my eye and the three and a half hours I spent there fairly flew by with the Telegraph to read and several of its crosswords to nearly complete. Top tip: do not operate a pressure washer without first donning some sort of eye protection. You will look like a dipstick wearing them, but not as much I did sitting on a chair in a hospital all afternoon, waiting for a doctor to remove what looked afterwards like the smallest speck known to man from the front of my eyeball.

The Telegraph kept me company and in a state of amusement while outside people strolled in perfect sunshine. I did not even notice being perched on the least comfortable chair ever invented. Whoever made them is probably feeding chiropractors for miles around.

As I sat there, waiting for the loveliest person in the whole wide world to make me better, I took great comfort that such a thing as the Telegraph still exists, and yet I was also somewhat confused by it. It seems to be in two, no - many minds about one particular issue. To be fair, it is not alone in this regard. All of the papers and the TV news give out conflicting and opposing arguments on this subject depending on what day it is, which way the wind is blowing and who they could get a quote from.

It is the economy. The Telegraph is not the only disseminator of truth that seems confused by it but last Wednesday's edition left me in awe of a paper that can set out completely opposing arguments on the health of the nation's finances on the same page and reserve space for a third inside.

In the Business section, the Telegraph variously informed us on Wednesday that Mervyn King the outgoing Governor of the Bank of England has spotted green shoots. Maybe HE needs his eyes checked. He's been saying this for yonks. He said he thought a gentle recovery was on the way. Again. If he keeps saying it, eventually he will be right and he will be able to say "I told you so". On the other hand, the paper tells us that we are a country drowning in debt. We are worse off than every other country except Greece, Cyprus and Portugal. Not happy company to be keeping. Where's your green shoots Melvyn? I know his name is Mervyn, not Melvin but Mervyn sounds like a wizard and he is most definitely not a wizard.

In the same issue, I read that the Chancellor George Osborne's Help to Buy scheme for first time buyers has kick started a housebuilding boom that has revivified the construction industry that accounts for 7% of UK gross domestic product. Well done George. On the other hand, it said that the scheme is a terrifyingly reckless way of causing another property bubble. Oh George, what have you done?

The Telegraph announced that shop prices are down bringing great relief for consumers. This great news is driven by the DIY trade, they said. In other news, it also said that the price of food is going ever upwards. The good news is that a hammer is half price, the bad news is that you will have to use it to nail together your dinner, as you can't afford any actual food. So, it isn't good news.

They said that the UK is powering ahead due to strong performance from its services sector. They also said that bond markets are about to pop, house prices will plunge, the cost of borrowing will soar and another recession is just around the corner.

Why don't all experts think alike? If they are so sure of their views, why don't any of them agree about anything? It is frightening to think, but is it possible that none of these economic experts actually know anything at all? And if so, how do they get to become the ones that papers go to for illumination? How are they the ones in the television studios? Why are their books tickling the best seller lists?

There was a study recently that concluded that in order to be popular and have your opinion respected, in order to get on, be heard and get your way, it helps to have one defining characteristic. Boris Johnson has it, dictators often have it and Nigel Farage has it in spades: volume. In order to be attended to and to have your word accepted as the truth, you simply must say it very loudly indeed. If you bellow, they will come.

So, if you are currently unemployed, in want of work and you have, or know someone who has, a bank account, you too could be an in-demand expert on the economy. You don't have to know anything about it, you don't have to be right, ever. You just need to share your lack of wisdom with conviction and at the top of your voice. You don't have to agree with what anyone else says and you don't even have to agree with whatever you said the last time you were asked.

One thing you can be sure of is the wearing of eye protection. I am right about that. I will henceforth never use a pressure washer without goggles. The nurses and doctors at the hospital were perfectly lovely. The time flew by while consuming the Telegraph. I just don't want to have to go through any of that again.

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