But in advertising, it seems there's still room for cheer. The British Television Advertising Awards took place a few hours after Darling's announcements, but they were a much merrier affair.
Not only was The Great Room at The Grosvenor full to bursting, but there was a fantastic display of creative work, the likes of which we haven't seen for some years.
Fallon's input was remarkable; Cadbury's "gorilla", Skoda "cake" and Sony "Play-Doh" among the stars. But the talent was broader than that. Beattie McGuinness Bungay's Carling work, Mother's Boots ads and Bartle Bogle Hegarty's "dangerous liaison" for Levi's meant the gold Arrows were shared around. The work of Mother's Mark Waites and Robert Saville was celebrated along with the tremendous achievements of The Mill and Rattling Stick. All in all, an awful lot of great ads were on show.
Not only that, but they were TV ads. Although these days it's regularly said that television has been pensioned off as an advertising medium, displaced by fragmenting audiences and a love of all things digital, last Wednesday night showed the medium's power, potential and resilience.
Thinkbox was the event's headline sponsor, and it proved a very apt association. The feel-good factor of a great TV ad is something every brand wants. Awards ceremonies do far more than recognise great creative work, they bring the best work together in tidy selections that truly convey the power of good advertising.
Let's talk ourselves out of that downturn.