Can it really be that, only seven years ago this month, a quarter of a million people, all dressed in white, encircled Edinburgh in the campaign to Drop the Debt of developing nations? It seems like a different world, now that countries like Britain are drowning in their own debts - which make the debts of African countries look like small change.
While Bob Geldoff was hurling expletives at the G8, Britain was indulging on the greatest borrowing binge in history. This wasn't just government borrowing, which rose to an unsustainable £155bn per annum in 2010. The real big spenders were you and me, the households of Britain, who embraced debt as no generation has ever done before. Household debt in Britain is now off the scale, at 150% of GDP – heading towards £2 trillion. There is no precedent for this in British economic history.
If you add in the debts of British banks, unfunded public sector pensions and PFI deals the debt mountain rises to 507% of GDP, according to analysts McKinsey and this has actually risen since 2008. Spain's total debt by the same measure is only 385% of GDP. But here's the really scary thing: many economists say the only way to get out from under this massive debt burden is by spending more in the hope that this will revive the economy. And they are probably right.