Had Keynes not been cremated, the policies of austerity pursued in this country and the eurozone since 2010 would no doubt have had him turning in his grave.
Thanks not least to Gordon Brown in 2008-09, the teachings of Keynes were briefly rediscovered. Unfortunately the international coordination initiated by Brown and endorsed by Presidents Obama and Sarkozy did not last. Mistaking a banking crisis for a fiscal crisis, European leaders – including, not least, George Osborne – went for premature fiscal retrenchment, with results that were all too accurately forecast by critics.
In recent months even that traditional bastion of fiscal tightening, the International Monetary Fund, has seen the error of its ways. But Osborne ploughs on, with another round of spending cuts planned for later this month, while every day the media report the hardship and disruption to families caused by cuts in social security and housing benefits that are economically unnecessary.
In his desperation, the chancellor has been economical with the actualité both about the IMF's general criticism and in particular about its views on how and when the nationalised banks RBS and Lloyds should be returned to the private sector. The IMF does not approve of a hasty return, with shares sold at a knockdown price, in the interest of giving an early and minor boost to the short-term budgetary position.
In which context, the retiring governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King, is being accused by those who were at the coalface of rewriting history when recently claiming that he had a bigger and better plan for rescuing the banks than the one with which the Brown government came up.
This is hotly disputed by both the Darling and the Brown camps, who are also bitter about the role King played in supporting the coalition's deficit reduction strategy.
Now, there is nothing sinister in governors having confidential discussions with opposition leaders, whether or not they are in the process of forming a coalition. One recalls how Chancellor Kenneth Clarke was perfectly relaxed about letting the then governor, Eddie George, have discussions with the Brown-Balls team in the runup to the 1997 election.
Indeed, it is one of the more attractive aspects of the unwritten British constitution that such discussions can take place. But an undoubted source of grievance between Labour and the governor has been the way that King – whose brief was, and continues to be, monetary policy – was seen to add fiscal policy to his armoury of advice.
Not that Sir Mervyn had any responsibility for fiscal policy. But it is well known that privately, and to some extent publicly, he backed Osborne's ill-fated deficit reduction plan.
Osborne himself has from time to time made it clear that, in adopting this strategy, he was influenced by the view that the fiscal tightening that took place in Sir Geoffrey Howe's 1981 budget led to an economic recovery. In taking this view, Osborne displayed an unfortunate misunderstanding of the strategy behind the 1981 budget, which involved a major shift in policy towards easing monetary policy and lowering the exchange rate.
Even so, it is a myth that this rebalancing of policy led immediately to a recovery. Unemployment went on rising until 1986, and the UK was the only major OECD economy to experience a fall in gross domestic product in 1981. Moreover the eventual recovery depended on the abolition of credit controls.
By 2010, when this eccentric coalition was formed, we had already experienced a sensational devaluation, and there was precious little scope for an expansionary monetary policy.
The obvious thing to do – the lesson that Keynes had taught several generations, including those to which King and your correspondent belong – was to use fiscal policy as an expansionary device, to offset the contractionary effect of the depression. Instead, fiscal policy was, and still is, being used to aggravate those depressionary forces.
In Five Days in May, his invaluable book on the negotiations that led to the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, Lord Adonis establishes that, to their eternal discredit, Nick Clegg – of whom we are told "economics bores him" – and David Laws of the Liberal Democrats were gung-ho for this anti-Keynesian strategy. So, it saddens me to hear, was my old friend Chris Huhne, once a solid Keynesian.
Although the nation is taking a long time to wake up to it, the result of the last election and the resulting coalition has had tragic consequences for our economy and our society. The IMF has now got the message. George Osborne remains, to use that dreadful but sometimes useful phrase, "in denial".
■ Five Days in May: The Coalition and Beyond, Andrew Adonis, Biteback Publishing
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