Nick Clegg's pledge that the Parliamentary Liberal Party will pursue a policy of public-spending cuts after the election lines it up very neatly with the philosophy being pursued by David Cameron in calling for even more rapid cuts in public expenditure.
The unholy circle of dealing with the issues of public debt by cutting public expenditure was completed when Alistair Darling opined that a re-elected Labour government would pursue cuts in public spending, albeit in a more socially responsible way.
The problem started when media debate went from moral outrage at the banks' behaviour in the crisis of 2008 and onwards, to an acceptance that the only way forward is to reduce public expenditure - knowing full well that the majority of recipients of public expenditure are the less well-off in our society.
Last week the House of Commons voted through the Fiscal Responsibility Bill, which was designed to get all parties and members to support a long-term reduction in government expenditure, irrespective of the economic situation it applied over the next six years.
In opening the debate Darling explained that the deficit-reduction plan is intended to halve it over a four-year period, believing that at the same time this would maintain public services.
When challenged on this, he did believe that a government would be completely hamstrung by it even though the Bill requires halving the deficit within six years.
In clause four of the Bill, Parliament will be invited to hold the government to account on compliance of its fiscal plans within this artificial timetable for debt reduction, irrespective of the social damage done by this policy.
This is ominously redolent of the straitjacket of 1930s thinking that, whatever the social costs, public expenditure had to be cut. This was paid for by poverty and dole queues.
Darling and Gordon Brown were right to propose the nationalisation of the banks, but they've done this within the parameters of the same market economy that allowed the looming disaster to develop.
Austin Mitchell's EDM - number 554 if you can get your MP to sign it - congratulates the Icelandic government on including its people in the decision about who pays back the debt. It is realistic in blaming both Icelandic and British regulatory authorities for the catastrophic financial situation of the Icelandic banks, and suggesting that the burden be shared.
In terms of overall UK government spending, health and personal social services account for Â£150 billion per year, education Â£88 billion and transport Â£23 billion. Defence - ie arms and armed forces - takes up Â£38 billion per year.
Within this context, it can only be right that we demand the cancellation of the Trident replacement, thus saving over Â£70 billion over the next 20 years, as well as the running costs on the existing Trident fleet. We should start looking seriously at the burgeoning bill for new weapons, aircraft and aircraft carriers.
The debate on public expenditure is being conducted within the narrow field of assuming that the only way to recompense the Â£74 billion invested in the banking system is to cut the rest of public spending. Surely we ought instead to be looking at who was responsible for the crisis that we're in and the unjust distribution of power and wealth in our society that is a product of that system.
This crisis is a time for redistribution of wealth and improvement for living standards of the poorest, not an opportunity to protect those who brought the crisis about in the first place.
Unemployment is costly and wasteful. Richard Murphy of the Left Economics Advisory Panel has produced an excellent analysis of the effect of unemployment on a single parent earning Â£25,000 a year. If they continue in employment, their net contribution to the government on an annual basis is Â£9,140 after taking into account benefits they are entitled to receive.
If they become unemployed then their living standard falls rapidly as their income reduces. Instead of becoming a net asset for public spending they become the opposite and cost the government Â£12,160 per year.
This scenario multiplied through mass public-sector redundancies rapidly turns into something horrific. It makes the essence of maintaining public services and public investment becomes even more crucial.
On Monday the ever-faithful London Evening Standard led with the news that Boris Johnson had predicted that the very minor tax charges on bankers' bonuses could lead to the exodus of 9,000 bankers from Britain.
Perhaps we should end the whole notion that we can become a half-way tax haven for people who have been grossly overpaid and under-taxed for a very long time, and go a bit further.
Gordon Brown's proposal of a Tobin tax on financial transactions is a welcome development which he will hopefully pursue.
The 2010 election is the place for this crucial debate. It is up to the unions and the left in this country to advance the argument for high levels of socially responsible public expenditure.
We cannot allow the whole thing to become an unseemly auction between the leaders of the three parties on who will cut the most, where and how fast.
Jeremy Corbyn is Labour MP for Islington North
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