The FT reports that a plurality of economists believe that the UK's return to growth vindicates Osborne's austerity policies. This reminds me of a lot of football reporting, in that it seems an example of the outcome bias - the tendency to assess behaviour by results rather than by the quality of that behaviour.
In football, this bias takes the form of judging teams' play by the final score and downplaying the fact that the result was affected by luck. So, for example, Liverpool and Arsenal are deemed to have been poor because they failed to beat Man City and Chelsea - despite the fact that these failures were due in part to some dubious officiating*.
Similarly, the fact that the economy is now growing makes Osborne's fiscal policy look good.
This, though, is wrong. As Tony and Simon have said, a belated return to growth is entirely consistent with the orthodox Keynesian theory that austerity depresses output. To give Osborne credit for the recovery is like praising a taxi-driver for getting us home when he has taken us on a two-hour detour.
Instead, what we should be doing is blaming him for the detour. The belief that austerity would lead to decent growth was an unscientific one - simply a bad decision. The fact that the economy is now growing does not alter this fact, any more than a refeering error should alter our assessment of a team's quality.
My point here is not simply to rehash what Simon and Tony say better than I could. Instead, it's to point out that cognitive biases are ubiquitous. The same sort of error that causes us to misinterpret football games also causes us to misread the economy. The front halves of newspapers are as warped by irrationality as the back halves.
* The fact that the bad decisions favoured teams owned by multi-billionaires is of course mere coincidence.