I haven’t checked. But almost certainly, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard isn’t an anagram for Hieronymous Bosch.
Still, in recent months, I’ve started to wonder whether this one-man engine of doom strapped to the Telegraph’s business desk can take the strain.
The Telegraph and Evans-Pritchard have been whipping their readers into a singular frenzy about recession and depression for several months now. I’ve started to imagine City editor Damien Reece emerging ashen-faced from the business hub and crying out to Will Lewis: “Cap’n, the engines cannae take it anymore”.
But they can, they certainly can.
Today, online, the Telegraph‘s business section features a piece by Evans-Pritchard which suggests that the global economy is “at the point of maximum danger”.
It claims that the IMF has “abdicated into schizophrenia”. The European Central Bank is “fixated on the rear-view mirror, not looking through the windscreen”. Washington has its back to the wall. All over the world, it seems, the darkness is encroaching:
Britain, Japan, and the Antipodes are stalling. Denmark is in recession. Germany contracted in the second quarter. May industrial output fell 6pc in Holland and 5.5pc in Sweden.
The coalitions in Belgium and Austria have just collapsed. Germany’s left-right team is fraying. One German banker told me that the doctrines of “left Nazism” (Otto Strasser’s group, purged by Hitler) had captured the rising Die Linke party. The Social Democrats are picking up its themes to protect their flank.
This is the healthy part of Europe. Further south, we are not far away from civic protest. BNP Paribas has just issued a hurricane alert for Spain.
What does this call to mind? How about Edward Grey, the 1st Viscount Grey of Falloden, speaking on the eve of World War One (“The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”)
Or perhaps W.H. Auden 25 years later, waiting for another war to start while sitting in “one of the dives/On Fifty-second Street”.
Thankfully, the Telegraph‘s web folks aren’t quite so high-falutin’. They have decided to illustrate Evans-Pritchard’s piece with a mock yellow triangular sign featuring a skull and crossbones. Bless.
Anyway, enjoy. For as Ambrose knows, it’s always later than you think.