John Swinney, the Scottish Finance Secretary, was ridiculed by the House of Lords economic committee on Tuesday for trying to argue that an independent Scotland would be able to remain in the EU because it would still be part of the UK when the negotiations took place. The "last refuge of the scoundrel" sneered one Peer. "Doesn't know what he's talking about," said another.
George Osborne's admission that his austerity policies will last at least until 2018 has led to much anguish and soul-searching as the Great Recession, as it has been called, slides into a Great Depression.
It's bad. No point denying it. Britain's slump has already lasted longer than in the 1930s, though the impact has been disguised by falling unemployment figures. However, this is largely because millions of people are now working part-time in dead-end jobs with no security and no future.