Tuesday, February 19, 2008
As Guido points out, the Northern Wreck, if you will, shambles now offers the amusing prospect of a bank nationalised by a Labour goverment having to repossess the homes of the people. It will be a fitting, richly symbolic climax to the hard right, militaristic, viciously authoritarian, bureaucratic, wealth-worshipping years of New Labour. Northern Wreck is a story I have only half-followed. I am widely known as a bleak, pessimistic, gloomy, sour, misanthropic, bitter, twisted type, but, in this case, I had idly assumed that it would all go away quite soon and the City boys could go back to their screens, once more deluding themselves into thinking they had lives worth living. But, judging by Dispatches last night, it's only just begun with all the banks about to announce entertainingly enormous losses. The symmetry of error in this case is funny but troubling. The tripartite regulatory system, introduced by Brown, failed miserably - very miserably as NR's business plan was so transparently stupid. The media failed to point this out. And then, of course, the banks lent our money to the worst credit risks they could find in America, covering the whole thing with dodgy 'products'. We have a tripartite incompetence system. This is troubling because the whole mess is likely to end with everybody just shrugging their shoulders because everybody is to blame, which is the same as saying nobody is. Personally, much as I'd like to say Brown is the primary culprit, I think we should focus on the bankers. They should be scorned and humiliated for what seems to have been the most abject management failure of recent times.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 8:28 am