Without clarity and leadership, there’s plenty to fear for the UK economy | Larry Elliott

With Covid cases and unemployment both rising, and a no-deal Brexit possible, a coherent strategy is urgently needed

It was the sort of speech Boris Johnson used to make. Britain is on course for the most spectacular quarter of growth in its history. Consumers are spending freely on houses and cars. Good news about the economy is being crowded out by the doomsters and gloomsters in the media. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

This, though, was not the prime minister, because since the start of the coronavirus crisis Johnson has turned from Tigger into Eeyore. Instead it was left to the chief economist at the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, to make the sort of rallying cry that was once the PM’s trademark, hitting out at those determined to wallow in pessimism. The Threadneedle Street official called it the economics of Chicken Licken, after the fictional fowl who, having been hit on the head by an acorn, felt the sky was about to fall in.

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