UK: AN EAR TO THE FEEL-WARM FACTOR. - You know how it is. The alarm goes off, the radio comes on and your brain gets stuck somewhere between half-asleep and half-awake, while the early-morning news and weather forecast hammer away in the middle distance.

by David Morton.
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

You know how it is. The alarm goes off, the radio comes on and your brain gets stuck somewhere between half-asleep and half-awake, while the early-morning news and weather forecast hammer away in the middle distance. It's a very mixed up world out there.

All those voices. All that speculation. About what the Government will announce today; about what the Opposition will say if that's what the Government announces; what the Liberal Democrats will say no matter what the Government says; what the manager of Crystal Palace says he will be saying to the lads when they run out on to the Wembley turf; what the trainer says about whether Johnny-Come-Lately, a three-year-old filly, will find the going heavy at Catterick, and what the Met Office says the weather will be like by going-home time. All those statements and lies and evasions. They all get tangled up together like ever-so-slightly different socks retrieved from the washing machine, which will take many futile hours to sort out.

And you're never quite sure you've got it right. Could there really have been yet another survey from the CBI, another split in the Cabinet, another fall in the pound, another crisis in the Health Service, another integrated statement from the new Labour Party? Surely that was what they were saying yesterday, or was it last week or last month? Whenever it was, this is what it sounded like.

'There will be good news on the economic front later today, in the May survey from the CBI. Britain's industrialists think a brighter outlook is finally on the horizon. Certainly on this glorious summer morning - or at least that's how the sun came up over London today - over 90% of the bosses say that they expect to do without a raincoat - and 40% say they are "very likely" or "quite likely" to leave their umbrellas behind. Still more encouraging is the finding that more than one-third of middle managers and the self-empowered say they will be going to work in shirt-sleeves if the days get much warmer. That's a quarter-by-quarter increase of more than 20,000% since the February survey ...

'The Chancellor of the Exchequer welcomed the survey as proof that the feel-warm factor was at last beginning to be felt in British industry. However the shadow weatherman disputed the Chancellor's interpretation of the figures, pointing out that, seasonally adjusted, the outlook in late spring was no better than it had been in the depths of the Winter of Discontent - and that, in absolute terms, it was actually colder than during the Labour summers of 1975 and '76.

'The Henley Regatta Centre for Forecasting thinks that the Government and the Opposition both have right on their side. Owing to global warming it's undoubtedly true that Britain is getting hotter - but, unfortunately for the Chancellor, this temperature increase is not keeping pace with people's expectations in the last decade of the 20th century. The impact of central heating has been that most people expect an ambient temperature of 75F 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 52 weeks a year - but it's clear that the British climate cannot sustain these levels without serious risk of overheating.

The package tour operators are also being blamed for revealing that countries we used to think we were superior to - such as Spain, Italy, France and Greece - are able to produce far better summers, with temperatures in the 80s and 90s as a matter of course. We sent our reporter to Heathrow to find out if Britain's tourists really are dissatisfied with the state of the British climate.' The BBC then plays a tape of the first idiot who was prepared to say just what it wanted to hear - ie, appalling Cockney or Estuary English declaiming: 'Unlike the rest of Europe, we just don't seem to have no minimum standards, like. I thought we was joining Europe to benefit from all these higher European standards and things, and I'm dismayed that the Government wants us to be out in the cold. The bosses keep saying that their pay and conditions are determined by international competition. But what I say is, if companies in Greece can offer their workers a minimum temperature of 25C, you have to wonder what British Gas is up to.'

'And now we've just got time for a brief report from the London markets where in early trading the pound has opened down three-quarters of a German pfennig to a new low of nought point nothing very much.

'Well that's it for today.'

I wonder if tomorrow will be any different?

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