Osborne goes through the motions, but what stymies him is that he is a believer in the very policies and attitudes that have delivered the crisis. It seems a matter of personal incredulity that free markets, in which he has invested so much political capital, deliver irrational credit booms and busts. In his mind, regulation is always the problem not the solution. Public intervention and ownership are always wrong. Thus he consistently opposed the only viable future for Northern Rock (temporary public ownership), and now helps make the mortgage crisis worse by insisting that Britain's fifth largest lender should pull out of the market because it is publicly owned. Mad.Hutton concludes that people still believe in the values that Labour - and Gordon Brown - represent:
These are Labour, not Tory, times. The next election remains his to lose.