Over recent months, I've discovered that one of the advantages of retirement is that when a particular issue niggles away at my subconscious in the middle of the night, I can cast aside the need to sleep (for the time being, at any rate) and get up, make a mug of tea, prop up the pillows at the back of my bed and open my laptop.
What had been intriguing me, by the way, is the manner in which, although there have been several quite extreme reactions to the coalition government's attempts to save money, no one seems to be disputing the suggestion that the situation in which they find themselves was created by their predecessors - and, in making that observation, I'm reminded that similar circumstances existed at the time an incoming government attempted to sort out the mess they had inherited thirty - or so - years ago.
The difference back in 1979, however, was that everyone knew there was a problem because The Winter of Discontent demonstrated the extent to which trade unions had been allowed to exert their perverse influence. Indiscriminate industrial action, for example, had become known as The British Disease and, in much the same way Messrs. Cameron and Clegg have chosen to sacrifice popularity for propiety, Margaret Thatcher felt obliged to adopt methods which were difficult for many to bear. As a consequence, few would argue against the fact that the reputation of The United Kingdom was restored during her time in office - but, within certain quarters, the policies which she advocated have made her an object of considerable and lasting contempt. This time round, Mr. Brown had been rather clever in concealing the problems he would be leaving and, some might say, created - and it will be rather interesting to see what history makes of it all.