1. GDP. This fell 1.3 per cent in the worst four quarters of the 1991 recession. The Bank of England reckons the chances of a repeat in the next four quarters are a roughly two standard deviation event - less than a one-in-20 chance.
2. Unemployment. The consensus among independent forecasters (pdf) is that the claimant count will rise by around a quarter million - to 1.1 million - by Q4 2009. In the 1981 and 1991 recessions, it rose three times as fast. It rose twice as fast in 1975.
3. Household incomes. Yes, these have been squeezed recently. But independent forecasters expect the squeeze to abate next year, and for real disposable incomes to rise 1.1%. In the worst point of the 1981 downturn, they fell 2%, and in 1977 - when incomes policy bit - they fell 4%.
4. House prices. OK, so these’ll fall. But this means diddly squat. House prices are not net wealth. Many people gain from falling prices.
5.Financial conditions. The stock market has risen in the last few weeks. The All-share’s dividend yield is 4% - slap in the middle of the range (3-5%) generally considered to be a long-run normal rate. People who are staking money on the UK economy, then, don’t think we face a crisis. Contrast this with 1974, when some people genuinely thought capitalism would collapse.
Yes, sterling has been weak. But this is as much a help to the economy as a problem.
So, what’s going on here? One possibility is that Mr Darling is much more pessimistic than reputable forecasters - which is an odd turnaround, given that he was more optimistic than them just four months ago. Or maybe he knows nothing about economic history.
There’s a third. The monetary policy committee meets next week. Darling is, in effect, pleading for them to cut rates. But why should they believe such hysteria?