David Prosser: Feeling the credit crunch at the ballot box

Outlook: If Mr Brown did see the need for more regulation, why on earth didn’t he do something about it?
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The Independent Online

So the credit crunch has claimed its first government, with the ruling coalition in Iceland collapsing yesterday following protests about the country’s parlous financial state. Iceland’s government may be the first administration to be wrecked by the credit crunch, but don’t bet on it being the last. And the way Gordon Brown is carrying on right now, he’s right in the firing line.

The Prime Minister is within his rights to point out that this recession is a global phenomenon triggered by a worldwide banking crisis. Mr Brown is also perfectly correct in pointing out Britain’s last two recessions, under Conservative administrations, of course, were caused by domestic factors that those governments either fanned or failed to control.

However, none of that excuses Mr Brown from his share of the blame for that banking crisis. Why doesn’t he just admit that, in retrospect at least, it would have been sensible for policymakers to be more interventionist on financial regulation over the past 10 years or so?

The claims made yesterday by the Prime Minister, that he called for better financial regulation 10 years ago, just make him look silly. Does Mr Brown now say he has spent a long and lonely decade campaigning for reforms that irresponsible colleagues around the world denied him? And if he honestly did see the need for more regulation, why on earth didn’t he do something about it? Perhaps then he really might have saved the world.

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