The future direction of interest rates and inflation has become a national obsession. This obsession appears singlehandedly to be responsible for suppressing the much sought FF (Feelgood Factor). Contrast this with Germany, where the economic recovery has spontaneously been accompanied by a healthy FF: after years of fiscal rigour, the Germans can no longer conceive of UK-style inflation concerns, let alone the horrors of 1922-23, which brought on such fiscal rigour.
Here, Chancellor Clarke and Governor George are doing their best to impersonate the Bundesbank, thereby fuelling the national obsession further. It is time to recognise that this obsession and its impact on the FF is a good thing for the UK: it is possibly the best way of controlling inflation - the more we fret, the more secure our defence. Sadly, this fertile paradox is liable to come a cropper in the face of the Government's firm belief that the next election cannot be won without an FF. If Kenneth Clarke can persuade his cabinet colleagues that this belief is unfounded, then that really will be something to feel good about (with a small f, please).