David Cameron and his crew must be cursing their luck. On the day he made his Big Speech to the party conference, when everything seemed to have gone off so smoothly (apart from the cat), he was overshadowed by those terrible economic figures.
It meant that instead of him dominating the news with his message of sunny uplands and hope, the agenda was doom and gloom.
It was always going to be a long shot to persuade a nation in which the majority of us are suffering the worst drop in incomes since the 1930s that "the best for Britain lies ahead". I pointed that out at a fringe meeting to be told by Damien Green that I had turned into a grumpy old man.
There are no indications that this country is headed anywhere but down. The most that any government can do is ease the downward path.
As Andrew Dilnot pointed out at that same fringe, technical and other advances mean that we are four times better off now than we were after the war, so if we continue to benefit from further improvements, the pain will be lessened. But that doesn't mean the UK isn't going through a similar shock to the system that it did when it lost its empire.
Politicians have to look on the bright side because no one is going to vote for doom-mongers. At least, that is what they think.
But if voters are so dumb they refuse to accept reality, there really is no hope.