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Leading Article: Our flair for irony

WHO SAYS there is no such thing as progress? Anyone reading the Institute of Management's recent survey comparing our sad lives in 1979 to our glorious existences today will swiftly conclude that the world - or at least Britain - is getting infinitely better. In the late Seventies, the abstract average Briton was barmy enough to drive a Ford Cortina, drink Hirondelle (wine) and watch Blankety Blank in its pristine Terry Wogan period. Ten years on, the Fiesta had arrived in our hearts, we adored Piat d'Or, and Coronation Street was the viewing of choice.

Today, our fellow citizens have leapt away from uncoolness past and drive a Ford Focus, drink from Jacob's Creek and prefer the gritty drama of EastEnders. The curious thing is if the Seventies were so awful, how come flares and sandals are back and Lily Savage MCs Blankety Blank? Or is that what is now called irony?