Nigel Farage talks to the media as he canvasses for votes in the South Shields by-election in April 2013. Photograph: Getty Images.
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UKIP's own privately educated clique

The party attacked "privately educated" Times journalists. But its leader, treasurer, a third of its MEPs and all of its peers were similary well-schooled. 

In an attempt to portray the Times's investigation of Nigel Farage's EU allowances as part of a sinister establishment plot, UKIP yesterday published a series of disparaging profiles of some of the paper's senior journalists (Daniel Finkelstein, Matthew Parris, Alice Thomson, Hugo Rifkind, Rachel Sylvester, Tim Montgomerie and Alexi Mostrous).

It drew particular attention to the fact that six of the seven were privately educated, an odd line of attack given that its leader was schooled at the none-too-shabby Dulwich College. And Farage isn't the only senior Ukip figure to have passed through the nefarious public school system.

Two of the party's other MEPs, Stuart Agnew and William Legge, were educated at Gordonstoun and Eton respectively. In addition, all three of its peers were privately schooled (Eton, Stowe and Institut Le Rosey), its treasurer, Stuart Wheeler, is another Old Etonian and its defence spokesman, Alexander Fermor-Hesketh, was educated at Ampleforth College. 

As I said, a dubious line of attack indeed. 

Here's the full list.

Nigel Farage (Leader): Dulwich College

Stuart Wheeler (Treasurer): Eton College

Alexander Fermor-Hesketh (Defence Spokesman): Ampleforth College

Stuart Agnew (MEP): Gordonstoun School 

William Legge (MEP): Eton College 

Lord Stevens (Peer): Stowe School

Lord Pearson (Peer): Eton College

Lord Willoughby de Broke (Peer): Institut Le Rosey

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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The Brexit slowdown is real

As Europe surges ahead, the UK is enduring its worst economic growth for five years. 

The recession that the Treasury and others forecast would follow the EU referendum never came. But there is now unmistakable evidence of an economic slowdown. 

Growth in the second quarter of this year was 0.3 per cent, which, following quarter one's 0.2 per cent, makes this the worst opening half since 2012. For individuals, growth is now almost non-existent. GDP per capita rose by just 0.1 per cent, continuing the worst living standards recovery on record. 

That Brexit helped cause the slowdown, rather than merely coincided with it, is evidenced by several facts. One is that, as George Osborne's former chief of staff Rupert Harrison observes, "the rest of Europe is booming and we're not". In the year since the EU referendum, Britain has gone from being one of the west's strongest performers to one of its weakest. 

The long-promised economic rebalancing, meanwhile, is further away than ever. Industrial production and manufacturing declined by 0.4 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively, with only services (up 0.5 per cent) making up for the shortfall. But with real wage growth negative (falling by 0.7 per cent in the three months to May 2017), and household saving at a record low, there is limited potential for consumers to continue to power growth. The pound's sharp depreciation since the Brexit vote has cut wages (by increasing inflation) without producing a corresponding rise in exports. 

To the UK's existing defects – low productivity, low investment and low pay – new ones have been added: political uncertainty and economic instability. As the clock runs down on its departure date, Britain is drifting towards Brexit in ever-worse shape. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.