Watching Jon Snow interview some Labour minister (I think it was Yvette Cooper) on last nights Channel 4 news was an excruciating experience.
Snow has a reputation - undeserved, in my opinion - for being a tough interviewer, but he is only tough when it suits him to be. In other words, when the person he is interviewing doesn't share his socialist world view, Snow can be a tough interviewer - but last night was a lesson in deference and forelock tugging obsequiousness.
Discussing the current official rate of inflation - which, through manipulation of the way inflation is measured is actually far lower than the real rate of inflation - Snow allowed the minister to blame it all on oil and food prices and was quite happy himself to play down the comparisons to previous times of high inflation.
Not as bad as the early nineties, nothing like the eighties and far removed from the seventies - all this was allowed and more.
The truth is that inflation - which had run out of control under a Labour administration - was on a downward trend since the early eighties and well under control by the time Labour came to power in 1997. Labour can not and should not be allowed to take credit for the low inflation which we have enjoyed for a relatively long period.
One of the things that annoys me most about our media is the willing acceptance of the myth that Brown was a good chancellor, but the truth is that Brown was fortunate to inherit a Treasury with a solid economic base. The fact it took him 10 years to fuck that up is nothing to be proud of and nothing to crow about.
Inflation is not 3.3% - even though that is the official figure. By the old measure of inflation it would be closer to 5%. When Mervyn King estimates that the official figure will reach 4% by the end of the year that means the real rate will be closer to 7%.
And even then that is not an accurate measurement because, when it comes to the essentials - food, fuel, housing - the real figure is nearer 15-20%. You don't need to be an economist or the governor of the Bank Of England to work that out. Most of us know from our trips to the supermarket each week how fast our food bills are rising. The fact that the latest plasma TV has come down in price by 5% is irrelevant when your weekly food bill has increased by 20%.
And every truly prudent family knows that when you're in times of plenty the prudent thing to do is to put a little aside for when times get a little thin. Brown didn't do this. He embarked on a spending spree which has provided little improvement and left the coffers empty at the very moment we need to be tightening our belts. With inflation rising rapidly it is only a matter of time before the public sector start flexing their restored muscle and demanding inflation busting pay rises. Once that happens, inflation will really kick off.
But Snow didn't challenge the minister on any of this. He just let her say what she wanted when she wanted and meekly sat there and fed her the lines like the Labour stooge he is.