Outlook Will the dastardly Mervyn King stop at nothing? Not content withhaving planted his size nines all over the political ground he issupposed to avoid – at least that is what colleagues such as Monetary Policy Committee member Adam Posen have accused him of – it now turns out the Bank of England Governor wants to usurp Gordon Brown as saviour of the banks.
That suggestion is grossly unfair of course. It is not Mr King who has let it be known that he came up with a blueprint for a bailout of the banking system a full six months before the former prime minister "saved the banks" with a similar initiative, but Wikileaks. Its latest disclosures include a March 2008 briefing from the US embassy in London that Mr King had spent some time thinking about the need for a global bailout – and how such a scheme might work – well before the collapse of Lehman Brothers brought the matter to a head.
In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter who came up with the idea for the bailout, of course, but this revelation will detract from one of the few successes that Mr Brown is entitled to point to from his tenure at No 10. It will also enhance the reputation of Mr King – and repair some of thedamage done to him the last time he featured in the Wikileaks files, when he was exposed as having expressed doubts about David Cameron and George Osborne.
Mr King will also be relieved he hasn't been dropped in the soup by Wikileaks to the same extent as Hector Sants and Lord Turner, the chief executive and chairman respectively of the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Another new Wikileaks revelation is that Sir Philip Hampton, the chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland, told American politicians he thought the banks' former directors had failed properly to discharge their "fiduciary duties".
In stark contrast, the FSA has just come to the opposite conclusion, freeing those who brought RBS to its knees from the threat of legal action, and the regulator also continues to refuse to publish its report on the bank's collapse. The pressure to reconsider that refusal will be heightened by the disclosure of Sir Philip's views.Reuse content