The common response to the imminent demise of BHS, or British Homes Stores as we used to call it, has been to dismiss it as an out-of-time store which has become a victim of new shopping trends.

Yes it is sad for the 11,000 workers, more than 200 of them in Sussex, but bright new online retailers have stolen the market and that’s about it.

In truth I have to confess I rarely step into one of their stores but as a man also out of time with fashion I have always been partial to its V-neck jumpers and cardigans with their excellent quality, simple cuts and absolutely no adornments nor stupid logos.

But the decline of BHS is actually only partially to do with unavoidable trends and quite a lot to do with the sort of rampant free market financial wizardry that we in Britain seem to give free rein to.

You don’t have to be a Marxist-Leninist to be exercised by this. A good old fashioned capitalist would be disapproving too. That there is no real sense of scandal here is the most depressing aspect of the whole affair.

So BHS was a basket case was it? How come a reported £25 million in management fees, interest fees and other costs have been paid into the holding company of the group of investors which owned BHS for little more than a year? That is, on the face of it, a fantastic reward for abject failure. And, before that, what of Sir Philip Green, the City darling often pictured surrounded by supermodels who sold BHS for £1, so desperate to get rid of it was he?

Sir Philip bought BHS in 2000 riding in on a wave of fan boy financial journalism. He was soon reporting massive profits and in the early years distributed £400 million in dividends to his Monaco-based wife. In total dividends and interest on loans Sir Philip and family are estimated to have taken well north of £500 million from BHS.

At the same time under him the pension fund went from a surplus to a massive black hole of £571 million.

Now the pensions regulator is considering whether to pursue the tycoon for between £200 million and £300 million to help fill the hole. If these efforts aren’t successful it looks like it’ll be you and me, the taxpayer, who picks up the bill to give those 11,000 workers some semblance of a pension.

Sir Philip meanwhile is reported in The Guardian to be awaiting delivery of his latest plaything, a £100 million super yacht called Lionheart.

Those with long memories will remember the 6,000 workers of MG Rover group who in 2005 lost their jobs and their pensions when the car group collapsed. Not before the men dubbed the Phoenix Four, who had bought the company for £10 five years earlier, walked away with more than £42 million in pay and pensions.

The four were dubbed the “unacceptable face of capitalism” back then. Now it is the turn of Sir Philip to be awarded the dubious accolade, given to him by a Tory MP this week.

We all know the old quote about those who don’t know history being doomed to repeat it. But here in Britain there should be no such excuse.

Companies collapsing while directors escape with their pockets full in the nick of time should not surprise us. The BHS collapse narrative is a well-worn tale.

What should trouble us though is that successive governments and their hands-off, laissez-faire approach to business have allowed that rapacious culture to flourish, so scared of criticism of anything that might reek of state intervention are they.

As for the rest of us?

Perhaps we should get a little more angry with politicians who prefer to have their tummies tickled by Big Money and a little less in awe of Masters of the Universe guys in smart suits and big watches exuding airs of self importance.

For them there are only rewards for failure. For BHS workers it’s a very different story.

The Argus:

You only have to get away from this country for a few short days to forget what miserable weather we’re having.

I went to Barcelona for a short break last week. Our skins turned pink instantly in the 25 degree heat, we sweated profusely in the midday sun but were able to sit out in short sleeves into the wee small hours.

Even though we were away for only four days, on returning it felt like we were walking into a fridge. My man flu returned instantly.

Back in the day the wonderful but predictable changing of the seasons here, as opposed to all-year-round heat, inspired poets and made us glad to be British.

Now we have an all-year-round mush of wind, rain and chill. Love to see Keats have a go at that.