The reality is that under Osborne far more money has been poured into preventing the cardiac arrest of the economy that results from a lack of circulating money. This is the money created through quantitative easing and the difference between it and what was spent by Darling during the crisis is that the QE money was direct credit creation whereas the money spent by Darling was generated through the sale of bonds and hence features in our national debt.
Since 2009 £375 billion has been created directly by the Bank of England and poured into financial institutions. They have greedily hoovered up this money and paid it to shareholders as well as improving their balance sheet position. They have barely loaned any of it to businesses or invested it in the economy, although the government could have used it for such direct investment, as I argued at the time. This explains why the wealthy and those with interests in finance are flourishing while the rest of us are suffering austerity. The £80 billion created for Funding for Lending has similarly not resulted in an increase in debt and has also been kidnapped by the banks rather than being fed into the real economy.
The Treasury bonds that were bought during the quantitative easing programme are still sitting inside the Bank of England presumably with a big label saying 'do not touch'. If they were to be cancelled, which they could be since they are IOUs issued on our behalf, nearly a third of our national debt would be wiped out in an instant. What a marvellous way of reducing the burden of austerity - or not depending on your political objectives.
These are political choices and hence the narrative of austerity politics that there is no alternative is simply a lie. Darling could have created money directly to save the banks; Osborne could create money directly now for investment in a renewable energy transition. Darling's unwillingness to resort to direct credit creation in the early days is hard to fathom and perhaps resulted from a failure of understanding. Osborne's refusal now to engage in any type of monetary policy that would assist the real economy is a consequence of his desire to use the financial crisis to achieve his long-term policy goal of destroying the public sector.
Almost without challenge Osborne portrays himself as the saviour of the economy while Cameron claims deceitfully to have reduced the debt. The national debt is of course still increasing (see the Spectator graphic) and while the deficit is slightly decreasing we're way off Osborne's original projections. However, this is all smoke and mirrors since the Conservatives have no intention and no desire of reducing the national debt: it's far too useful to them politically.