Today I post Dave Brown’s re-intereptation of English Romantic painter, John Martin’s “The Great Day of His Wrath” with an overview of the story it represents.
Saturday 26th November. The Independent – Dave Brown/John Martin
It’s been a week where Chancellor Philip Hammond’s post-Brexit Autumn Statement was delivered to the nation. In it he confirmed he was abandoning plans to achieve a budget surplus by the end of the decade because the country is set to take a hit of almost £60 billion over the coming five years as a result of the referendum vote to leave the European Union.
Government finances forecast to be £122bn worse off in the period until 2021 than forecast in March’s Budget
Debt will rise from 84.2% of GDP last year to 87.3% this year, peaking at 90.2% in 2017-18
Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts borrowing of £68.2bn this year, then £59bn in 2017-18, £46.5bn in 2018-19, £21.9bn in 2019-20 and £20.7bn in 2020-21
Public spending this year to be 40% of GDP – down from 45% in 2010
OBR growth forecast upgraded to 2.1% in 2016 – from 2.0% – then downgraded to 1.4% in 2017, from 2.2%
Forecast growth of 1.7% in 2018, 2.1% in 2019 and 2020 and 2% in 2021.
Government no longer seeking a budget surplus in 2019-20 – committed to returning public finances to balance “as soon as practicable”
The Institute of Fiscal Studies and the Government’s own appointed Office of Budget Responsibility warned of tough times ahead and on the issue of poor wage growth, the IFS director, Paul Johnson said: “On these projections real wages will, remarkably, still be below their 2008 levels in 2021. One cannot stress enough how dreadful that is – more than a decade without real earnings growth. We have certainly not seen a period remotely like it in the last 70 years.”
He said the OBR’s forecasts, which predicted a £122bn budget black-hole, could have been even worse, adding: “the outlook for living standards and for the public finances has deteriorated pretty sharply over the last nine months.”
He said Mr Hammond’s promise to balance the books “as soon as possible” in the next parliament up to 2025 was “rather woolly”. But the Brexiteers (I prefer the term Brextremists) decried all the warnings from the experts and criticised them of being overly pessimistic and unfairly painting “another utter doom and gloom scenario” and being in the same category as “soothsayers and astrologers”. Another Brexit minister commented “These predictions are worthless.”
I do hope these Brextremists brush the sand from their hair when they finally get their heads out.
In Mr. Brown’s re-imagining we have Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and David Davis sticking their fingers in their ears, La-La-ing away whilst all around them comes tumbling down.
THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH.
John Martin, 1851-1853 – Oil on Canvas, 197 cm × 303 cm, Tate Britain, London
I think Dave Brown has summed this week up perfectly