A reader has pointed me to Matthew Parris's column in today's Times. He reckons we're stuffed. Economically, anyway. Reading his prose about the kind of hopeful language that politicians deploy in these circumstances made me think back to a question Ann Widdecombe was asked last night during our theatre show in Bournemouth.
"If you were Chancellor of the Exchequer, what would you do to get us out of recession?"
The audience was expecting Ann to announce a series of economic initiatives which would rescue the economy. But her answer was rather different.
"Haven't a clue," she said. "And the trouble is, nor has anyone else."
She accused politicians of announcing initiatives for their own sake, rather than because they were sure to have an effect. They were keen to be seen to be doing something, even if it turned out to be the wrong thing.
She has a point. No politician in government or those in the senior echelons of the Opposition can be seen to be shrugging their shoulders in despair or admitting they really don't know what should be done because we are in uncharted territory.
But that's exactly where we are. So when we hear Gordon Brown repeatedly saying that "we're doing everything we can" or "using all the weapons at our disposal" what he's really saying is "frankly, we ain't got a clue what to do either, but we can't be seen to admit it."