The Chancellor's report on the pre-G20 summit showed very limited signs of life. You know what he's like? He was like that with his report but unbearably more so.
What is it, apathy? It might be an apathy produced by hopelessness. None of them know – or can know – what's going on. So nothing is proposed with conviction and nothing is properly deconstructed.
The Tories are the worst. Except for Labour. They are really bottomlessly bad. Vince Cable is good but he's a Liberal Democrat so it doesn't matter whether he's good or bad.
Anyway. Darling told us what his stupid summit had agreed. It was all unanimous. The world economy was going to contract for the first time in 60 years. Unanimity! Whatever action that needed to be taken would be taken. More unanimity! And the most unanimous idea of all: everyone had agreed they'd do something completely different!
I'm making this sound a lot more interesting than it was. George Osborne made a point but polished it off in a mouthful when he might have made a meal of it. The Government is going to set up an "early warning system" to stop banks over-extending themselves. But why, Osbo asked, would the Government take heed when it ignored IMF warnings on the subject five times since 2003?
I could tell you what Darling says he's going to do but when you hear that 25 Supervisory Colleges are involved along with a Financial Stability Forum you will realise it's a fat lump of congealing nothing. You might be more energised to hear him say: "All countries have to live within their means." And: "Full transparency in off-balance sheet transactions is essential."
How can he expiate himself for these things? His head should be put on a pitchfork next to the Prime Minister's and taken on a tour of the country. That's what focus groups want.
Vince Cable asked why these banks owned by the Government were still allowed to operate tax avoidance schemes that cost his Treasury billions? The Chancellor talked about some sodding code of conduct he was drawing up to ask banks "to obey the spirit as well as the letter of the law".
Our leaders are absolutely cowed by the banks, the poor fools. Darling can only scoff, "So did you!" when criticised for supporting light touch regulation. There's nothing wrong with freedom but paying the full price of failure is the other side of that coin. Listening to both sides you heard a great failure of the collective. A fitting response perhaps to the great collective failure that caused the problems in the first place.Reuse content