Last time Labour were in power things got so miserable we had to invent a special index to keep tabs on it. The Misery Index comprised the arithmetic sum of the inflation and unemployment rates, and every month we watched morosely as it climbed ever higher.
Frankly we had hoped never to need it again, but today's disastrous inflation numbers call for its immediate reinstatement. So there it is, in all its miserable glory.
Our calc uses the original unadulterated ingredients - the year-on-year percentage increase in the RPI (now 5%) plus the unemployment rate (now 5.2%). So the Misery Index currently stands at 10.2%.
And as we can see, life has definitely got more miserable under Labour. In May 1997 they inherited an index that was 9.6% and set to fall rapidly; today they've given us an index that's not only higher than they started with, but is also shooting North at an alarming rate. And we haven't even had the inevitable spike in unemployment yet.
By a spooky coincidence, legendary BBC TV exec Bill Cotton died today. His heyday was also the 1970s when as Head of Light Entertainment, he was responsible for a host of legendary BBC progs, like Monty Python and the Two Ronnies (well, no he wasn't really - they both started well before he took over - but that's what today's gushing BBC obit says).
Somehow it feels like there's a bad moon rising.
PS Just for the record, in May 1997, RPI inflation was 2.7% year-on-year, and unemployment was 6.9% seasonally adjusted.