Cameron will be hoping England do the business tonight

The World Cup has started in earnest and it has provided a welcome distraction from the talk of cuts and emergency budgets. As the teams do their best on the various fields of play in South Africa there will be some in government hoping that England keep the distraction going for as long as possibl

The World Cup has started in earnest and it has provided a welcome distraction from the talk of cuts and emergency budgets.

As the teams do their best on the various fields of play in South Africa there will be some in government hoping that England keep the distraction going for as long as possible.

Unemployment figures are heading ever closer to the three million mark and the news in the budget tomorrow is unlikely to be very encouraging. Already the leaking and media manipulation has started preparing us all for cuts in local services and hikes in taxes.

Small business groups have been busy calling on the government to defend their sector by reducing the tax burden and ensuring that the fragile recovery is not dented.

They will have to wait and see like the rest of us quite what will happen.

Of course, if the England football team can get over the hiccup that was the performance against the USA and build on a victory against Algeria tonight then large segments of the country might continue to forget its woes for a while longer.

Go on and win the entire thing and most of us might even forget there has been a recession.

That is surely the scenario that the politicians must be hoping might emerge in the next few weeks.

But it could go the other way.

If the World Cup antics end in defeat and the team has to come home to a dreary and disappointed welcome at Heathrow then the last 18 months of pain will feel even fresher than ever.

It is a difficult time for Cameron and co because events are largely out of their hands. If things go right then it is going to be a great summer, one to really remember. If they go wrong then winter is coming early.
This was last published in June 2010

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