Who needs economists?

Just ask the bookies:

In a candid admission to MPs, Professor Steve Nickell said he turned to the betting shop to find out whether Euro is likely to fail in the course of his work at the Office of Budget Responsibility.

Professor Nickell is one of the independent experts brought in by George Osborne, the Chancellor, to make sure Britain’s economic estimates are robust. Asked whether he thought the euro was likely to fail, he told the Treasury Select Committee the department itself did not “attach probabilities”.

“I go and look at William Hill and they actually have the odds of these sorts of things,” he said. “Last time I looked, the odds of Greece not using the euro by the end of the year were of the order of 40 per cent.”

This reminds me of the time that I talked with an acquaintance about a meeting he’d had the day before in London. He was lamenting the sheer idiocy of the men with whom he had been meeting and I was a little shocked when he happened to mention that he’d been meeting with the Bank of England. Totally confidence inspiring.