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February 2015

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I have a big issue with ‘green shoots’. I’ll make a bet with you: outside of the garden centre, you’ll probably find those words slipping smoothly out of the mouth of a politician – they are there to make you think that the calm, thorough and insightful work that he/she has been doing is cultivating the right conditions for a new golden bloom of economic prosperity, and with careful husbandry, wisdom and patience, all will be well.

So don’t worry, you’re in safe hands! Right. Well, no, actually. What you’ve just read is actually the stuff which should be spread on the roses instead. Thickly.

It’s always worth looking at the actual language people are using to persuade you of something, like military strikes are usually ‘surgical’, to make you think they are precise, executed on the basis of years of training and professional experiences, and, well…a bit painful, but basically the right thing to do. Or closer to home, the fact that the States are paying more attention to very young children’s development is announced with the creation of a ‘taskforce’ - really? Like the one which recovered the Falklands for British rule, maybe?

So, borrowing the language of medicine, the military, or in the case of ‘green shoots’, gardening, is done to paint pictures in our mind to lend weight to whichever point of view is on sale – with ‘green shoots’ it suggests that better times are on the way, and very soon, we will be enjoying the full flowering of recovery.

Except, it looks like it’s actually going to be a bit more stop/ start than that, and to push the gardening metaphor well beyond its sensible limits, there are numerous pests, or variable environmental conditions which may get in the way. The optimism of the end of 2014 has actually grown into a more cautious outlook in 2015 – and that’s going to be the way it rolls: not a steady growth to economic nirvana, but a frequent dash back into the shed to find something else which will get those pesky ‘green shoots’ moving again.

With that ‘disheveled, weary, but still on its feet, ready for another round’ metaphor firmly in mind, let me introduce our lead feature on page 22: our Chief Executive (Landscape Gardening Services) is Geoff Cook, and in this edition he sets out what needs to be done to protect our premium crop (financial services) from the various pests, bugs and poor conditions which it might encounter in 2015.

Connect: nourishment, not fertiliser.

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