George Osborne's speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester dealt with themes we have come to expect from him: an emphasis on fiscal discipline and assurances that he is on the side of aspirational, "hard-working" people the length of the country. There were, however, also features we haven't heard before...
If you have ever been conned you will recognise the natural inclination of trying to convince yourself that you haven't - desperate to believe that you are not that gullible. For some time I have resisting the view that we have been 'done up like a kipper' when it comes to the economy. But we have.
The frenzy that the press are describing of rising house prices will make this worse - panic buying is back. No one wants to miss out. The fear is that to fail to grasp the rope of the balloon as it sails upwards will leave you renting for ever.
George Osborne's latest announcement is that "austerity works" as though we are all just living in a snapshot of a nostalgic poster of post-war Britain. You sit at home in your coat. Drag yourself to the cooker to pour some tinned tomatoes over some cold pasta, and try not to hurl it across the room in frustration when your toddler tells you he doesn't want it. But there isn't anything else. But aren't we supposed to just keep calm and carry on? There's nothing cosy and nostalgic about missing days of meals, turning the heating off for two consecutive winters and every bloody day and night in between.
Now is the summer of our discontent - if you're a Labour voter, at least. Backbenchers have been crawling out of the woodwork in the past few weeks, angry at the perceived lack of direction from Ed Miliband and his shadow cabinet, worried that the party is not doing what must be done to take back power in 2015.
David Cameron needs to get away from the fantasy that fracking would lead to lower energy prices and stop using the US as an example. He should know that the gas market on the other side of the Atlantic is different than in Europe. Even if the UK was to extract large amounts of cheap gas from fracking, it would not lead to cheaper energy bills...
When George Osborne recently unveiled the world's most generous tax breaks for shale gas extraction in the UK, in a desperate effort to kick start the shale industry here, he might have inadvertently sowed the seed for the largest environmental movement the UK has seen in decades.
For most people, life is getting harder as the cost of living rises. So while today's economic growth figures show a small rise in Britain's output - something which is both welcome and long-overdue - the sobering truth is that there has been no recovery yet for people on middle and low incomes.
George Osborne may be right to boast that opposition to what he's doing is "crumbling", after Ed Balls agreed to work within the coalition's spending limits. The Chancellor would enjoy further clout after the IMF and OECD rallied behind his deficit reduction plan. But such groups have tended to be rather fickle in their support for the Chancellor. Osborne should beware relying on fairweather friends as justification for his economic agenda, as they can easily turn against him.
As Chancellor George Osborne stated at the beginning of the year, the payments systems sit at the heart of the banking system. They are the invisible networks that allow your wages to be paid into your bank account and withdraw money from cash points.
Although braced for bad news in terms of cuts to their budgets, many cities also held high expectations that the Spending Review would bring some good news on additional freedoms for local areas to prioritise spending, and new capital investment to boost local growth.
Museums are a UK success story. Half the population visit them annually - they're even more popular than football matches. Museums contribute hugely to jobs and the visitor economy, as well as providing education and pleasure: eight of the top 10 visitor attractions are museums.
Allowing someone to claim unemployment benefit only three days after losing their job quite obviously did not crash our economy and is not holding back the long-awaited recovery. What else to conclude, however, from George Osborne announcing yesterday yet more ways of turning the screw on the poorest and most vulnerable in our society?
Research on shale gas reserves by the British Geological Survey has bolstered George Osborne's dream of bringing about a new dash for gas in Britain. The survey looked at the amount of gas trapped underneath Lancashire and Yorkshire, and it found lots of the stuff.
To give the Chancellor credit, there is now no serious politician arguing that we don't need to reduce the deficit and find a way to run a balanced budget again in the long-term. Given we are spending almost as much this year on debt interest as we are on education, that is something to be thankful for.
Looking back, democracy now seems to be a distant memory. We have been ruled by a Tory-led government for just over three years despite their failure to secure a majority at the 2010 general election, and ever since they have hacked at all remaining remnants of people power.