The last time we felt like this was the late 70s. High taxes, inflation, recession, dysfunctional public services, strikes, freeloaders, street crime, terrorists, the Russians, and a bumbling government that is totally out of touch: yup, the madness is back all right.
There is one difference though: last time, Sunny Jim and the man with the giant eyebrows were lashed to the IMF rescue plan for sterling, which severely limited their scope to offer electoral bribes. This time, all we have are Gordo's ludicrous fiscal rules, which are no constraint at all.
So we can look forward to more desperate moves like the recent £2.7bn tax U-turn. Here's our count so far:
- £2.7bn on personal tax allowances
- Flip-flop on non-doms taxation: Darling's attempts to squeeze more out of the non-doms largely abandoned in the face of high level squawking
- U-turn on CGT allowance for small businesses
- Deferral of fuel tax rise until autumn
And today, with mass fuel protests underway and Labour MPs panicking in the streets, we can confidently expect a U-turn on the new retrospective car tax, plus a further deferral of the fuel tax rise.
None of which will save them of course. It will simply mean even higher borrowing and an even bigger fiscal mess for George to clear up post-2010.
What they should be doing is to cut taxes on the back of cuts public spending. But ex-an IMF style disaster, that clearly ain't gonna happen.
As we've said many times, Labour governments always leave an economic nightmare.
Whereas Tory governments only leave one sometimes.
PS Peter Finch won the 1977 Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Howard Beale in Network. Who is our Howard Beale? Surely there's an opening here for Sir Trevor to rescue his faded career.