Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Brown: The collapse of the UK economy was down to me

Gordon Brown today admitted he made a mistake in not introducing tougher bank regulation when he was chancellor.  The PM, chancellor from 1997 to 2007, said that in the 1990s the banks had all been calling for less regulation.

"And actually the truth is that globally and nationally we should have been regulating them more," he said in an interview on ITV1's Tonight.  The Conservatives said Mr Brown had "failed", while the Liberal Democrats said his admission was "not enough".  The prime minister said he should have put the "whole public interest" before the banks.

Mr Brown said: "In the 1990s, the banks, they all came to us and said, 'Look, we don't want to be regulated, we want to be free of regulation'." ... "All the complaints I was getting from people was, 'Look you're regulating them too much'. And actually the truth is that globally and nationally we should have been regulating them more," he added.

"So I've learnt from that. So you don't listen to the industry when they say, 'This is good for us'. You've got to talk about the whole public interest."
Ed Balls, who worked with Gordon Brown when he was chancellor, said both had previously admitted they should have done more to control the financial sector.  At Labour's morning press conference he said: "In retrospect we should have been tougher with some of the investment banks which did not know the risks they were running."

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson added: "Regulation should have been more intrusive and the regulatory practice of the Financial Services Authority should have kept pace with the fast-changing developments in the financial services sector."

Shadow chancellor George Osborne said: "So finally Gordon Brown admits he failed to regulate the bankers and increased taxes on the poor (removing the 10p tax band). We've had 13 years of his economic mistakes. Britain can't afford five years more."

Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable said: "It's not enough just to hold your hands up and say sorry without having a plan for making sure that the same thing doesn't happen again."

Most people (particularly in the blogosphere) know this already, and many (including myself) believe admitting to being partially responsible for the worst economic mistakes for generations is not enough (i.e honesty) - if he had represented us properly (which as Prime Minister is his job!) he would have always acted in our interests (not the banks), if he was a capable leader he would have asked far more questions (rather than simply listening to the banks), and if he was selfless, honest (and honorable) he would have admitted his mistakes at the time (and resigned without question or delay) ... instead of using spin to create a smoke-screen (e.g. a 'global problem') and deflecting blame onto others (e.g. America - which President Obama will never forget) ... both strategies regularly adopted by those who apply Poweromics* (to maintain their grip on Power).  Given we are fining the leaders of Northern Rock for their failings, perhaps we should fine/charge Gordon Brown for his role too**, so he is made bankrupt, never forgiven and never allowed into a position (or to profit from a position) of power again (e.g. relinquishing any right to a position in the Lords)*. 

* Poweromics = People using position and power for their own personal gain, based on poor moral values, self interest and greed. 

** NB In China he would have been locked up and probably receive the death penalty (for 'economic sabotage').