So consumer price inflation isn't falling as fast as many commentators had expected. Is that a surprise? Well not really.

Ok there are lags in the systems. But with oil price falls, the cut in VAT and deep discounting the big plot twists pre-Christmas, it was hard to see where the further downward pressure was going to come from in January.

And anyway the next chapter in the UK inflation saga seems to be all about the sinking pound and higher import costs.

This opens up a whole new front for debate (fertile ground for economists) on whether inflation or deflation is the spectre we should fear most.

I probably share few of the positions taken by Liam Halligan, the chief economist at Prosperity Capital Management and Sunday Telegraph columnist. But I find myself in large part agreeing (although not quite so rabidly) on one point, that there may be excessive fear over the likelihood of deflation in the UK economy.

This puts me in the minority I know and I hasten to add that I take this position not just out of pride and convenience, having expressed quite strongly concerns over inflation in the fairly recent past.

But the chat on BBC's Today programme just before 9:00 this morning with Mr Halligan and Steven Bell, chief economist at the hedge fund GLC, had me musing on why the fears over deflation are so great, compared with concerns over the possibility of rampant inflation.

The spectre of the "lost decade" in Japan seems to loom large in the debate. And for party people particularly the idea of a downbeat dull economy for years on end does seem to be a dour prospect.

Worst of all deflation can entrench and exacerbate imbalances in the economy.

Look at the UK in 1970s, in so many ways seen as a basket case economy. But one day we had house prices over valued. Bang, double-digit inflation for a couple of years. Sorted - house prices were back in line.

Now imagine deflation and the prospect of watching your negative equity grow year by year. But you would have the comfort of near zero interest rates to make you feel better.

I digress, back to the point of the musing. I was set to wonder whether we place too much emphasis on the Japanese experience and here is why.

I recall many years ago a debate on interest rates (I can't sadly recall who exactly was debating the subject) where it was pointed out that in Japan interest rate rises were generally cheered in the media not booed because savers not borrowers were centre stage.

I claim no expertise on the habits of the Japanese, but I understand that it has a much more embedded savings culture. Would this not make it as a nation more susceptible to deflation? Well, to some degree yes.

Somehow, culturally, I find it hard to imagine in the instant gratification culture we have studiously developed in the UK over the past few decades that a tendency towards deferred purchasing would grow into a habit.

Is it not interesting that despite most experts expecting further and significant drops in house prices, the noises coming out of the surveyors' body RICS suggest willing buyers are increasing in numbers?

Naturally deflation is not just all about consumers.

But there is a further point to be made on the Japanese experience. When it was suffering the worst of its deflationary problems, globalisation was holding down inflationary pressures in the developed world quite markedly as production switched to lower cost locations. This effect will be less potent in the years ahead.

So perhaps - just maybe - policy makes could be a tad less fearful of parallels with the Japanese experience in the lost decade and keep a rather more vigilant eye on long-term inflationary pressures.

Because, neither rampant inflation nor embedded deflation provide a happy backdrop for a flourishing construction industry.

That said - and where Mr Halligan and I would find ourselves in opposite camps - I do believe that the Bank of England's Debden printers should get busy.

And my first purchase with, say, £20 billion of that newly printed cash would be to finance the building of 200,000 homes over the next two years ready for sale in, say, 2015. That has to be one of the best business opportunities the Government will ever have and one of its best chances to reduce debt long term.

As the Bank of England Governor Mervyn King kept repeating in various forms during his press conference on the Inflation Report: "That's the paradox of policy; we are doing things that we will not want to do in the medium term precisely in order to dampen the strength of the recession."