There's probably only one major politician who has come out of the economic downturn with their reputation intact and enhanced - Dr Vincent Cable.
The MP for Twickenham says he has been concerned about the level of debt and inflated house prices for the best part of five years and knew it couldn't be sustained before the bubble eventually burst.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Informer he said: "I raised it with Gordon Brown in Parliament five years ago. He swotted me away, saying I was doom-mongering, but I was right and we are now paying that price.
"The inflated boom in property is now leaving people in negative equity. I'm getting a steady flow of worrying cases where quite a few who have suffered a loss of income are now threatened with repossessions.
"In the last two weeks, I have been involved with ministers in trying to save one major employer, whose whole company was on the brink of collapse because of the Icelandic bank fiasco. Most of the company has been saved now.
"There are a large number of publicans who are worried about if they can continue.
"I've had builders and IT consultants whose work has dried up and I think there will be a post-Christmas reaction in January and early February, when people get a quarterly return on their pensions and face job losses.
"Of course, there is quite a strong correlation between economic worries and mental stress, with people succumbing to depression."
The MP, who has held onto his Twickenham seat for 11 years, believes Britain has neglected its financial education and is pleased a college in his constituency, Richmond College, is now running courses for teenagers.
He says he has observed people in total denial about their finances when in fact the worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand.
According to Dr Cable, another disturbing aspect of the crisis is the number of people in their mid-30s who have never lived through recession before, and had access to easy credit and have now run up huge debts. They will have to seriously think hard about their finances, he said.
But with house prices falling, he believes the good news is that more young people would be able to get on to the property ladder in the next year or so, providing they could secure a mortgage.
Turning his attention to the jobs market, Dr Cable said education and nursing will be strong growth areas in 2009.
But the building trade and the financial industry will remain unpredictable as the economic downturn takes a hold.
However, he insists it's not all doom and gloom as people may be able to redefine their lives and move into alternative employment.
"What we will see is that people who work in the city, hit by cutbacks in the financial industry, will have enough cash behind them to embark on new careers and those professions will become very much sought after," he said.
"Schools are sources of secure employment and they will bring with them a great degree of skill and expertise into this sector."
Dr Cable said it was generally accepted 2009 is going to be a difficult year economically.
"The issue is whether this is a nasty but quick recession, or one which drags on strongly," he said.
"I am very supportive of emergency measures and have been very critical of the Government for being complacent over the warning signs, but within the last few weeks they did act decisively and correctly.
"I do think changing the VAT was futile and it is causing businesses a lot of irritation. They are now spending thousands of pounds changing their computer systems.
"The two big things to come out of this crisis will be a return to old-fashioned values of thrift and it will hopefully make people less materialistic and selfish."