The Daily Mail's Stephen Glover lists ten reasons why the recession may bring some benefits to Britain.

These benefits include less immigration to Britain, Scots ignoring the pro-independence Scottish Nationalists by concluding that Scotland would be better off riding the storm as part of a larger nation than a small, independent one - and that the future of the Euro currency may be in peril.

STEPHEN GLOVER: Ten reasons why we can look on the bright side

09th October 2008
Daily Mail
Stephen Glover

Will the Government's emergency measures to save our banks avert a financial apocalypse?

No one really knows.

Many so-called experts not only contradict one another but also - sometimes within a space of hours - themselves. We may be in the grip of events which no government can control.

Even if catastrophe is avoided, no one can doubt that we are in for a very rough time.

Russian billionaire and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich with girlfriend Daria Zhukova: 'Over the past decade an ever widening chasm has opened between the super-rich... and the hardworking middle classes'

House prices will almost certainly continue to fall. The stock market is most unlikely to have hit the bottom. Pensions are threatened. Hundreds of thousands of people will probably lose their jobs. Some families may never recover from what is going to happen to them over the next year or two.

So it may seem perverse to put all that on one side for the moment, and to think about the silver lining.

The fact is that, even while frightening things are going on, there are likely to be some significant benefits of a recession. Not everything will be doom and gloom.

Here are ten good things - not in any order of importance - that could emerge from an economic setback. They amount to a social revolution.

1. The events of the past few days have shown that the idea of the European Union as a cohesive superstate is a fantasy. Each country has attended to its own problems, with Ireland and Greece guaranteeing bank deposits while others have not.

I certainly do not yearn for the EU's demise, only for the limits of its power and scope to be defined and accepted. In times of crisis, national governments are apt to act on their own behalf. The events of the past few days suggest that even the future of the euro will be in peril if EU countries continue to go it alone.

2. Britain will no longer be seen as a honey pot for immigrants coming from the four corners of the earth. Most of them were drawn here not so much to pocket state benefits as to get jobs, which have been plentiful.

Even those, like this Government, who have argued that mass immigration has helped the economy have become worried by the pressures on social services and schools.

The indigenous working class has sometimes been priced out of the labour market by immigrants prepared to work for less, and there have been increasing social and racial tensions.

A recession will curb the influx of immigrants, which the Government has been unwilling or unable to do.

England and Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney and wife Coleen: 'Brassy footballer's wives ('WAGs') will be less in evidence'

3. Here is a benefit particularly close to my heart. At least one Premier League football club, West Ham, is threatened by bankruptcy.

According to one authority, top football clubs have liabilities of 3 billion, and their debts far exceed their income. Football stars are being paid too much, and will feel the pinch over the coming years. The whole disheartening cavalcade could grind to a halt.

Brassy footballer's wives ('WAGs') will be less in evidence, and there may be a return to the days when footballers were sportsmen whom we could respect rather than vulgar cultural icons.

4. All of which leads to a wider point. Over the past decade, an ever widening chasm has opened between the super-rich, comprising overpaid bankers, Russian oligarchs, footballers and such like, and the hardworking middle classes.

Our culture has been debased by the triumph of a small group of over-rewarded individuals who do not possess a social conscience and worship at the altar of conspicuous consumption.

When things were going well for them, these people thought they were gods. Now many of them have been exposed as rapacious and incompetent hucksters. Let's hope they will be forced to pull in their horns more than any of us.

5. When building societies start lending again, young people will be able to enter the housing market for the first time for many years. Of course, those who own houses will feel poorer, but those who aspire to do so will no longer be priced out of the market.

Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister and leader of the Scottish Nationalists

6. The recession should be good for Great Britain. The Scots, a naturally cautious race, may ignore the blandishments of Alex Salmond (left) and the Scottish Nationalists, and consider the perilous fate of small countries such as Iceland and even Ireland during a global slowdown. Better be part of a large country weathering the storms than a vulnerable tiny nation buffeted about by them.

7. We will hear less from the environmental fascists. I am far from being a 'global warning denier' but over the past few years one might have easily thought that there was no issue in the world worth discussing apart from melting ice caps and peaky polar bears.

In times of plenty people can afford to chew the cud endlessly, but this becomes a luxury and a self-indulgence when families are wondering how they will manage to feed themselves next week.

8. During the Thirties depression in America, both popular and serious culture were transformed. Violent films gave way to more uplifting, romantic ones, many of them musicals with stars such as Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.

Audiences struggling to make ends meet were inspired by stories of optimism.

At the same time, the Thirties encouraged serious writers such as John Steinbeck and Theodore Dreiser to write about the dangers of materialism and the excesses of capitalism.

Perhaps our own cinema will become less nihilistic and violent, while we may produce serious novelists who, rather than gazing at their own navels, tackle great social issues.

9. As in the Thirties and the last war, austerity can draw people together and increase social cohesion. Instead of boasting at dinner parties about the ever growing value of our houses, we may share our tales of woe as we wait at the bus stop, and our sense of shared experience will nourish a new spirit of civility.

10. Not all the cleverest young graduates will wish to get highly paid jobs in the City.

People who have been trained as engineers may want to build tunnels and bridges.

Conceivably - or is this too much to hope? - we might get back to producing real things, as countries such as Germany and Japan still do, and reduce our economic dependence on financial services, which, as we have seen, can vanish in a puff of wind.

The reining in of the EU; the curbing of destabilising mass immigration; the humbling of the vulgar super-rich; young people being able to buy property; the preservation of the Union; the quietening of the eco-fascists; a renewal of popular and serious culture; a new spirit of social solidarity; a rejection by the young of casino capitalism with its shallow temptations.

Here are some powerful reasons, if these things should come about, for not feeling too depressed by the future. In fact, I could mention at least ten more possible benefits of a recession.

I do not say they collectively outweigh the pain and setbacks that lie ahead. It would be better not to have a recession. But as we are going to have one, we might as well look on the bright side. A prolonged slump would be another matter, since that might entail damaging social upheaval.

A sharp recession, though, does offer the prospect of an orderly rebalancing of our society. It is possible that, when the whole exhausting experience is over, we may emerge as a saner, less vulgar people - thriftier, more united and, who knows, even happier.

And then, of course, the whole corrupting process will start up all over again.