Weak GDP figures suggest something really bad may have happened a few years ago

THE latest set of GDP figures indicate the UK economy may have suffered some sort of cataclysmic event about five years ago.

Experts said the 0.3% growth in the first quarter was much lower than would be expected, unless something important had happened, such as an effective collapse of the global banking system.

Julian Cook, chief economist at Donnelly-McPartlin, said: “It’s absolutely fascinating. I suspect that if we delved into the ancient records, perhaps looked at some old copies of the Daily Sketch, there may be some mention somewhere of a huge financial disaster.

“It may not be obvious at first. You’d be looking out for key words and phrases like ‘meltdown’ or ‘trillion dollar bank bail-out’. Anything along those lines would be the first clue that some sort of catastrophe had taken place.”

But Labour’s shadow chancellor Ed Balls said he has spoken to four people who were alive in early 2008 and none of them are aware of anything bad happening.

He added: “I asked Alistair Darling if he knew anything about a ‘catastrophe’ and he said his time as chancellor was very straightforward and he spent a lot of time just ‘people watching’ from a first floor window.

“Therefore the only reason growth is so weak is because of things that have happened since 2010. I was alive in 2010 and I remember all of those things very clearly.”

A Treasury spokesman said: “If there was some massive, mind-buggering disaster, then our current stagnation would suggest the economy of 2008 may have been over-reliant on financial services and consumer debt.

“Unfortunately, because of the complete absence of historical records we have no idea how long it takes to recover from a huge financial crisis. Which means it is perfectly reasonable for people to expect everything to be fixed really quickly.”

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Google's vision of the future

An exclusive extract from The New Digital Age, by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, the men who run Google.

Hi. I’m Eric.

Hi, I’m Jared in bold. This is how all books will be written in the future, like cut and pasted instant messenger chats.

Let’s crack on.

Right. We already know everything about you. Where you’ve been, who you know, what you think. We know about your health, work, home finances and dreams. We can even single out your stool from a million others with the latest Fecal Recognition technology. And that’s today, so just imagine what we’re capable of in twenty years time?

Yeah, we’re going to turn you into cyborg automatons unquestioningly obeying our every command.


Works every time. No chillax guys, we’re going to be super cool with the incredible power we’ll wield over the entire world. Getting corrupted by power is so American.

Don’t you mean Googlican?

Exactly. We’re renaming America in 2023. Anyway, what would a 70-year-old tech boss rejuvenated by bio-digital body parts want with total dominion and a harem of the most beautiful women on the planet anyway?

Beats me. So tell them about the future Eric.

Well, driverless cars, wearable computers, holograms and a device embedded in your heel of your shoe that gives you a gentle pinch – a reminder that you must swear allegiance to The Cloud or you will be deleted.

Ooo sounds harsh! What do you mean deleted Eric?

Erased from history like a spelling mistake. The press of one button and as far as the world is concerned you don’t exist.

Oh yeah I remember!  We can and will do that.

The beauty of The Cloud is that it’s a planet-ruling hive mind with an innocuous-sounding name. If it was called Skynet everyone would be freaking out. It’s like Google, which sounds like a friendly clown that drives a collapsing car, not a vast bunker full of unfathomable computing power. Jared, tell them about The Cupcake.

The Cupcake, you’ll love this!

The Cupcake is the robot that disposes with your physical remains if you don’t obey. It’s essentially a human hoover with a massive tentacle that sucks you out of your home and spits you into a holding container where you’ll be used for experiments.

Cool right?

We think it’s really cool and so will you! Like you have a choice.