I get very squeamish when I encounter stories like this one. Woolworths looks like it is about to sink. Around 30,000 people will lose their jobs, with another 20,000 retirees facing the prospect of losing their pensions. While I might understand the logic of the market, I really hate hearing stories of mass redundancies.
Mandelson has called in Woolworth's bankers to ask why the company is being pushed into admininstration.
It is an fascinating question. Where would an answer start? I don't think it would be enough to simply say that consumer spending has just fallen off a cliff. Nor would it be enough to say that consumers have disappeared because of the credit crunch.
No, the answer would have to go much deeper than that. It would have to start with the appalling policy errors that generated a massive credit bubble, which in turn, led to the horrific crash that now stands before us.
If Mandelson is looking for the real answer to his question, he shouldn't be asking Woolworth's bankers, he should be asking the clowns that sit with him around the cabinet table.