The air is filled with noisy outrage about the moral emergency of the day. We are, according to the leaders of every major political party, in the midst of a crisis of capitalism. However bountiful the free market system may have been at its best, it is now in such deep disrepute that any politician who wishes to remain credible must join in the general vilification.
Even in this storm of condemnation, everyone has to admit that there is actually no alternative to free market economics or to the private banking system. So the competition is strictly between adjectives: “responsible” or sometimes “socially responsible” banking are great favourites, but now Ed Miliband has produced something called a “national banking system”, which is presumably not to be confused with a nationalised banking system. The Miliband neologism is intended to suggest banking that takes the concerns of the nation (or the population?) as its own. Whether he sees this role as voluntary or enforced was unclear from his speech last week.