The question I am often asked these days is whether or not today's recession is as bad as 1974. To my mind it is much worse. In 1974, the secondary banks failed; today, leading banks of the calibre of Lehman and Bear Sterns have already failed and the world's banking system is still in grave danger. In 1974, interest rates in the UK were as high as 12 per cent, so there was plenty of scope for dramatic easing. At the start of this recession our interest rates were about 6 per cent, with much less leeway for impressive reduction.