redscrop‘Manchester United in multi-million Pound Shirt deal” said one of the papers this morning. Nobody’s very clear yet about what position Shirt will play, but with Rooney, Van Persie and Mata already in attack, one imagines he’ll be a defender. The only thing for certain is that there’s a malaise at Old Trafford, and the munneeee isn’t going to solve it. Money itself hasn’t ruined football: but investing it in the wrong place has. Rooney getting £30,000 a week? This is a bubble, and one day it will assuredly burst. Not just at United, but throughout the Premiership. It is now, on every dimension, a sanity-free zone.

Elsewhere, by contrast, one or two observers of the economy are at last catching up with little boys who’ve spotted that the king is in the altogether. Britain would have to “shore up the foundations” of its recovery with more balanced growth to ensure the current rate of expansion can be sustained, economists said yesterday. Yes indeed: ‘The expansion was driven by Britain’s dominant services sector, which grew 0.8pc amid a wave of M&A activity that sparked growth in financial services’ noted the Telegraph. Banks, then. merging things and cutting jobs. Well that’s the answer, right? Let’s export more jobs, then import more workers.

The inability of anyone in Camerlot to grasp that export-money-earning high margin things are the only genuine road to long-term recovery has always been apparent. Today, for example, we read that Cameron is cutting business rates for restaurants and small shops. Very good for the community in my view…if at the same time one reduced the power of Tesco and Asda. But in the current climate, a barmy priority: unless millions in Normandy start dialling up for Indian takeaways, restaurants are never going to export anything.

The fear I have on a broader scale further down the electoral food chain is that the Osborne smoke and mirrors 3-card Ponzi scheme is beginning to be believed. Dan Hodges is indeed well down the food chain, but just look at how even an old unreconstructed Labourite has been duped (my emphasis):

‘An opposition party could retain its midterm vote share. A party in power could be ejected after just one term. Even though the economy is improving and unemployment is falling and crime is falling and business optimism is increasing and interest rates are historically low and inflation is historically low and wages are rising in real terms, people could say “It’s time for a change.”‘ Astonishing. None of it true, but the shibboleth is already passing into the realm of what passes for Truth these days.

A regular Slog threader quite rightly points out, in relation to the latest data:

‘1. Manufacturing grew more than services. Cobblers, manufacturing grew in percentage terms by 0.1% more than services. Now look at the relative size of the sectors and the demand is all services based in London. They use exactly the same trick to claim growth is higher outside London than in.

2. Employment is growing faster in Yorkshire than London. Cobblers, same trick as above but the briefest glance shows all the full time and higher wages are in London. The regional figures are padded out with work placements, pointless courses and even sanctioned job seekers miraculously becoming “employed full time”.

3. Wages are outstripping inflation, Cobblers on stilts, this flies in the face of all known experience of the majority and was rightfully greeted with universal derision.’

The only bit with which I disagree is ‘greeted with universal derision’. Yesterday’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%….the second YouGov poll recording a Labour lead on the slide. It’s not that they don’t deserve it – Miliband is a nothing and Balls is just unpleasant – but the predicted overall majority in 2015 is slipping away from the Eds.

Let’s apply common sense to this. We’ve known that the Ed Miller Band is just another version of the Establishment (minus only a degree of wit) for three years now. Osborne started his money-manipulation crap no more than six months ago. Now the lead is falling. This is the victory of spin first, and the failure of Opposition second.

Last night’s dead-heat in the Lords means that the demo-gagging legislation has gone through, and will become law. I’ve yet to study the final version in full….but it is, by any analysis, a politically illiberal concept. It joins the water cannon and attempts to make vexatious libel attacks cost-free in the Hall of Infamy wherein resides this Government.And the way things are going, the tide is turning for that Government.

Happily, I think events in the late Spring and Summer will annihilate all these well-laid plans. We shall see.

Last night at The Slog: The mob only ever does black and white. Beware the mob.