One man who isn’t on message at the start of the government’s economy week is Justin Welby, who has been warning against excessive jubilation at the end of this week when the next tranche of GDP figures are released. He told the Telegraph:
‘A flourishing economy is necessary but not sufficient. A healthy society flourishes and distributes economic resources effectively, but also has a deep spiritual base which gives it its virtue.’
This sounds a little bit like pre-2010 David Cameron, but it doesn’t quite chime with the political offensive that the Tories want to go on this week, accusing Labour of making consistently bad predictions about the economy. The amusing thing for the Archbishop’s team is that Downing Street often sees Lambeth Palace as another government department, expecting to get pre-notification of Welby’s interventions just as it would expect to see announcements from the Energy Department on its media grid. I hear there have been times in the past when Downing Street has felt it necessary to ask for advanced warning of a Welby intervention, forgetting that he’s quite studiously on no-one’s team in the political game, no matter how keen politicians on both sides are to claim him as their own.