Tough timing over rise in Olympic costs
There was once a golden political scenario that featured the London Olympics.
It was that an incoming government in 2010 would have to launch a period of austerity, since all the main political parties accepted the need for spending cuts.
But by 2012 the pain would be starting to ease because growth would be powering away again, and some politicians believed the year in front of us could represent a turnaround in national morale - alongside a much rosier view of our economic prospects.
The latter thought seems to be disappearing rapidly. While the Eurozone crisis continues to simmer, the predictions for the British economy suggest we have a chance of being in recession again for a period of 2012.
Today's report by Standard Chartered Bank says the UK economy could contract by 1.3% next year - when it was only March this year that the official government forecast was +2.5%.
There could hardly be a more uncertain macro-economic backdrop for these Games - and they will take place with many people in the UK worried about their jobs and the prospects for their families.
That's why it must have been tough timing for the government and the organisers to announce last week that bills for the ceremonies and security were going up.
As a BBC employee, I have no public view on matters of political debate - but let me add a couple of thoughts for background.
The first is that many people with expertise in ceremonies always thought the budget of £40m for four events (Olympics opening/closing and Paralympics opening/closing) as they were imagined was impossible.
Sure, you can have the athletes marching in to the stadium for very little cost. Maybe the UK should have contemplated that. But if you want the opening ceremony in particular to be a showcase for the UK - and we can imagine the storm if it's panned as a rubbish performance - then money has to be allocated.
All eyes will be on the Olympic Stadium during the opening and closing ceremonies.
The second is the wider point that every major political party in the UK is committed to these Olympics, and nobody is seriously suggesting they should be called off because of our economic difficulties.
In that context, there can be no compromise on the Games being delivered competently - which means proper logistics, security and sport competition. It would be a brave organising committee or politician who made the cut that was later alleged to have allowed protesters to run riot in the Olympic Park.
None of this is an argument for extravagance, and some of the bills still make the eyes water - while there are obvious risks about the level of facilities being provided for officials and international VIPs.
This is not the moment to be waving a bottle of champagne from an exclusive balcony viewing area.
But in these tough times, the opportunity still exists in 2012 to see ourselves in a better light as a country - hosting the biggest sporting event in the world and using it to showcase the people of these islands and to seek a legacy for them.
The climate is chillier than anyone imagined, but there's little choice other than carrying on and doing our best; and for most people, a 2012 with the Olympics in London is still a better prospect than one without.