Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne was defiant yesterday in the teeth of Opposition calls for an economic policy U-Turn.
Britain's output fell by 0.5% in the last quarter of 2010. Expectant experts had expected a small amount of growth.
Mr Osborne admitted the figures were "a bit of a shame", but he had no shortage of ammunition with which to answer the fire of the Con-Dem Coalition's critics.
The Governor of the Bank of England has predicted the biggest drop in living standards for ordinary households since the 1920s. Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor, told Mr Osborne to "get a plan B". Other economic gurus called the stats "shockingly bad."
But Mr Osborne painstakingly dissected the situation and delineated the true scenario.
"November was a particularly severe month, for weather", he replied. "The bad weather adversely affected the economy. It is well known that weather is subject to cause and effect. The bad weather we, as a nation, had to suffer in November, was the result of the meterological forces that began to build under the previous government. We have had to mobilise our snowploughs and gritters, in an effort to free the nation from a devastating cold snap brought about by the short-sighted weather policies of Gordon Brown.
"We have had to deal with, are dealing with, and will continue to deal with unprecedented levels of bad weather. Bad weather bequeathed to us by the previous government.
"But we will not be blown off course, or snowed in, or flooded out. Things always get a little choppy when you are trying to undo years of socialist weather-neglect and restore the balmy blue skies that should ever smile upon the playing fields of Eton.
"It takes time to rebuild a nation and reclaim the economic, educational and political power that has been stolen from those with the inherited right to govern, and tossed willy nilly to the lumpen proletariat, ever since the aftermath of the Second World War gave people false ideas about justice, freedom and the right to participate in the shaping of this country. The weather is against us, but we must stick to our task."
Not content with routing his critics, Mr Osborne was also able to offer an optimistic forecast for the months ahead.
"I am able to offer an optimistic forecast for the months ahead. It will soon be March, then April will follow, and probably May too, after that, if we are lucky. Spring is usually expected to bring with it an improvement in the weather. This can only mean less bad weather. Less bad weather news can only be good news, as far as weather is concerned.
"But we might never see Spring if we do not continue to hope. We must carry on crossing our fingers and hoping for the better weather. Carry on cutting and hoping. Crossing our fingers, hoping and cutting. And hoping. For better weather. Better weather than the weather we inherited from the previous government. Weather we have had to cut before we could even begin to think about crossing our fingers and hoping for better weather.
"Yes, there are those who will say: 'he doesn't know what he is doing, talking about the weather. What's that got to do with the price of fish?' To those people, I say: 'I may not know what I am talking about, I may not know as much about fish as you do, but I do know about wallpaper, and I have a message for you.
"'My message is this. We will not be diverted from our course. Crossing our fingers, cutting and hoping are not all the weapons in our arsenal. We also have an utterly vacuous White Paper all about growth which we can put on the table in our meetings and use for scrap note paper on which to write down brilliant ideas for more cutting and hoping and for drawing funny gnome pictures of Mr Cable on.'"
Meanwhile, a spokesSwiss for Klosters, the exclusive resort Mr Osborne buggered off to recently for a luxury holiday, denied the link between bad weather and economic hardship. "We are not understanding the linkages economic and the weathers. Herr Osborne, he is a rich man, with no poverty. The snow and the ices here are much money making for us. Mr Osborne is a rich man who enjoyed the fondue, and was not able to talk about the price of the fishes, but very much trying to sell us the wallpaperings which we did not want. What is this with the hardships? Mr Osborne has not the hardships."