The UK is back in recession

Cameron's week gets even worse.

It just gets worse for David Cameron. The Office for National Statistics has confirmed that the UK is officially back in recession. Output in the first quarter of this year fell by 0.2 per cent, following a drop of 0.3 per cent in the previous quarter. In other words, the technical definition of a double-dip recession (two consecutive quarters of falling output) has now been met.

Following the politically catastrophic Budget, this could not have come at a worse time for government. At the very moment that voters are losing faith in George Osborne's ability to manage the economy, the data confirms that they are right to do so. Ed Balls, who warned of the risk of a double-dip recession before any other senior politician, has been entirely vindicated.

And the economics are little better. The figures could yet be revised up (or down) but one thing is clear: there is no recovery to speak of. The worse-than-expected figures (the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast growth of 0.3 per cent) mean that Osborne will be forced to borrow even more, further damaging his reputation and imperiling the UK's cherished AAA rating. The Chancellor will, inevitably, pin much of the blame on the eurozone crisis but the inconvenient truth is that growth evaporated long before the current troubles.

As for Cameron, with PMQs and Rupert Murdoch's appearance at the Leveson inquiry still to come, the worst day of his premiership has barely begun.

British Chancellor George Osborne meets residents during the official opening of the Google Campus on March 29, 2012 Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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“Trembling, shaking / Oh, my heart is aching”: the EU out campaign song will give you chills

But not in a good way.

You know the story. Some old guys with vague dreams of empire want Britain to leave the European Union. They’ve been kicking up such a big fuss over the past few years that the government is letting the public decide.

And what is it that sways a largely politically indifferent electorate? Strikes hope in their hearts for a mildly less bureaucratic yet dangerously human rights-free future? An anthem, of course!

Originally by Carly You’re so Vain Simon, this is the song the Leave.EU campaign (Nigel Farage’s chosen group) has chosen. It is performed by the singer Antonia Suñer, for whom freedom from the technofederalists couldn’t come any suñer.

Here are the lyrics, of which your mole has done a close reading. But essentially it’s just nature imagery with fascist undertones and some heartburn.

"Let the river run

"Let all the dreamers

"Wake the nation.

"Come, the new Jerusalem."

Don’t use a river metaphor in anything political, unless you actively want to evoke Enoch Powell. Also, Jerusalem? That’s a bit... strong, isn’t it? Heavy connotations of being a little bit too Englandy.

"Silver cities rise,

"The morning lights,

"The streets that meet them,

"And sirens call them on

"With a song."

Sirens and streets. Doesn’t sound like a wholly un-authoritarian view of the UK’s EU-free future to me.

"It’s asking for the taking,

"Trembling, shaking,

"Oh, my heart is aching."

A reference to the elderly nature of many of the UK’s eurosceptics, perhaps?

"We’re coming to the edge,

"Running on the water,

"Coming through the fog,

"Your sons and daughters."

I feel like this is something to do with the hosepipe ban.

"We the great and small,

"Stand on a star,

"And blaze a trail of desire,

"Through the dark’ning dawn."

Everyone will have to speak this kind of English in the new Jerusalem, m'lady, oft with shorten’d words which will leave you feeling cringéd.

"It’s asking for the taking.

"Come run with me now,

"The sky is the colour of blue,

"You’ve never even seen,

"In the eyes of your lover."

I think this means: no one has ever loved anyone with the same colour eyes as the EU flag.

I'm a mole, innit.