Yes, it has reared its head in relation to Northern Rock and not just from the lips of Vince Cable. Nationalisation of the troubled mortgage lender has been given a de facto blessing 'urbis et orbe' by no less a figure than the Governor of the Bank of England.
Those of us old enough to remember the 1970's shudder at the thought of reverting to the policy of rescuing failed companies. But potentially each taxpayer has already pledged £2,000 to the cause of Northern Rock given that the Bank has now guaranteed institutional loans to the Newcastle based bank.
Apparently nationalisation could be a good idea as it would stop the shareholders (of whom there are a lot of individual ones) blocking sensible plans to restructure the company. It might then be possible to sell off chunks of the bank to other lenders and private equity companies, recouping most of the money.
It will, however, create another opportunity for the Conservatives to attack the Government for mismanagement.