(17 Dec 08) It would be foolish to offer any trite ‘solutions’ to the current financial debacle, not least as the situation will be radically different by the time of the next General Election.  However, it is questionable whether the accumulated follies of irresponsible borrowing and lending, and running the economy on mere shopping, can be corrected by more of the same.  (But then, what else might we expect other than the usual dog vomit legislation?)
The economy will be righted, of course, but not by floundering politicians, economic ‘experts’, financial journalists, or the hysterical gamblers manning the world’s stock exchanges.  It will be righted by us, battling our way through it: economizing, adjusting, adapting, and doing our damnedest to keep our jobs.  Many, sadly, will learn, the hard and bitter way, the importance of financial probity – some simple but very old financial principles:  spend less than you earn, being in debt is bad, saving is good (another aspect of self-sufficiency), and, not least, clearly differentiate between your needs and your wants.  Perhaps too, the banks will revert to basic banking, i.e. looking after our money properly, supporting small businesses, and lending only to those who are likely to repay the loan. 
As for the cause, we need look no further than the bonus-fuelled greed, hubris, and complacency of the great and the good of the banking world, all unhindered by any restraining influence from Westminster.  Sadly, most will probably walk away scot-free; but that mortgages have been granted against self-assessed (i.e. unchecked) salaries and for amounts in excess of the value of the property ( i.e. instant negative equity), and that complex ‘exciting and innovative fiscal vehicles’ have been blithely accepted (also unchecked), indicates massive and shameful negligence.  The banks having failed so dismally to regulate themselves, their victims, society, through legislation, must do it for them.  Steps must also be taken to protect the silent and particularly undeserving victims of this mess – the thrifty and careful who have managed to accumulate a little capital to fund their businesses or to help them in their later years, and now see their investment income being slashed.