Leading article: Army of Olivers

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The Independent Online

After a long and happy reign, Jack has been deposed as the favoured name of newborn boys. The new number one is Oliver. And presaging no end of confusion in classrooms and workplaces in decades to come, Olivia, once again, comes out top of the list of girls' names.

It is hard to resist the urge to speculate on what profound social shifts this might signify. Some will ascribe the new favourite name to the success of a certain ubiquitous TV chef. But could it not, in fact, be a response to austerity? Might parents be thinking Cromwell? Twist, perhaps?

This is not such a fanciful suggestion. There has been a surge in the popularity of names that were last common in the economically turbulent interwar years. With all those little Evies, Rubys, Lilys, Alfies and Charlies running around, nurseries are going to sound disconcertingly like old folks' homes in a few years.

We note too that Austin is the biggest climber on the boys' list, perhaps a reflection of a popular feeling that we need to resurrect British manufacturing after years of over-reliance on financial services. Which is all very encouraging if true. Start to worry, though, if Barclay and Goldman begin working their way up the list.