Wednesday 31 December 2008

2008: a year to forget?

If nothing else, 2008 confirmed that the North East continues to lead the world. Northern Rock proved to be to bank failures what the Stockton & Darlington Railway was to transport. So much for those who sneered that this was what happened if you let people try to run a bank from the Regent Centre rather than Lombard Street or Canary Wharf.

It was also a year that demonstrated the total uselessness of forecasters. Twelve months ago the derided Bottler Brown was heading for disaster as the Tories coasted to an easy landslide victory. Now he is implausibly repackaged as SuperGord, saviour of the planet. People have even started saying that maybe Mike Ashley is not so bad after all. It’s strange how abject terror can affect our reasoning.

Although 2008 may seem like a year to forget, it has all the makings of “the good old days” if the relentless scaremongering about the cliff we are about to fall off proves even partially correct. For me, financially, it was the worst year I have experienced since 1987. It was also the happiest of my life to date. The best advice for these times is surely to remember that money isn’t everything.

Originally published in The Journal, Newcastle upon Tyne.

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