Here’s how the OBR GDP projection looked in November 2010 (PDF):
And in March 2012, just 16 months later (PDF):
Now it’s true that the ONS data is provided quarterly and the OBR forecast is given on an annual basis but the divergence between what was forecast and the actual data would be a joke if British public policy was not based on it. I’m sure we’d all like to share the OBR’s continued optimism, but the trends of the two series diverge.
On 24 May 2011, I intervened in a debate on the economy to say:
I would say gently to my hon. Friend that only a few years ago the banking crisis was not foreseen, and the same people who did not foresee that are still giving us advice. We are probably in far worse trouble than is generally accepted.
I’m optimistic about humanity’s potential to make progress but, as I have said, I think economists and politicians have taken us down the wrong path. If in a year’s time the OBR is still failing to predict even the general pattern of events, I hope the profession of economists will examine why their theories are failing the Chancellor and society so badly.