It all started, of course, with Norman Lamont. As Chancellor of the Exchequer, in 1991, he spoke cheerfully of the "green shoots of economic spring". And although within a year the economy was indeed showing signs of life, he made his speech just as it hit the bottom. Cue much – arguably justified – ridicule.
So Baroness Vadera should probably have known better. But the Labour Business minister recklessly followed Mr Lamont's lead, in 2009, with claims about "green shoots" of recovery that were similarly premature and met with similar hoots of derision.
At last, it seems, the lesson may have been learnt. According to the CBI's latest analysis, there are signs that economic confidence is improving and Britain may yet avoid that infamous double-dip recession. We can only hope so. Thus far, however, there has been not a mention of any "green shoots".