Simon English: Happiness is not a matter of 0.3 per cent percentage points

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The Independent Online

Outlook How does life feel in double-dip Britain? For George Osborne, presumably pretty bad.

Everyone else may be inclined to think that things are pretty much the same as they were last Thursday, the Thursday before that and the Thursday they vaguely remember from four months ago. If that's how you feel, you are wildly out of step with the economic experts.

A shocking thing has supposedly happened. Economic growth that might have been up 0.1 per cent, according to the brains of our best forecasters, is actually minus 0.2 per cent.

Some big numbers don't matter much (total government debt is £1 trillion, relax) and some small numbers are awful (unemployment up 1 per cent is thousands of lives damaged), but the skip between GDP up 0.1 and down 0.2 is as small as it looks.

Psychologically or politically, that gap could make a difference. But that's a matter of perception, not reality. If you feel worse today than yesterday due to some dubious GDP figures that will be revised later in any case, then you are taking government statistics way too seriously.

Or perhaps using what's in the news as an excuse for malaise you had anyway.

What makes me most depressed is commentary by economic experts. But this is entirely my own problem. There is no need for government intervention.