The Sketch: When the mine falls in on Gordon, he'll be quite happy

Click to follow

Historic occasion. The parliamentary approval for a state takeover of the banking system. None of us had ever seen anything like it. I didn't see half of it myself. There should have been cymbals. Past a certain point you can't discern what the Chancellor is saying because you're unconscious.

I had drifted off thinking about the number of vindictive, low-minded, self-destructive interests who would enjoy the collapse of the global economic system as long as it crushed the reputation of the Prime Minister. That looked to be very much on the cards. But now we – they, I mean "they" – have the worst of both worlds. Vast wreckage, with the PM wading through it like Big John in the song. "Through the dust and the smoke of a man-made hell came a giant of a man the bankers knew well. Big Brow-ow-own, big, bad Brown."

The Tories have rallied with such energetic reluctance that they have had to leave open hostilities to another day. They promise co-operation, and constructive support. Such as identifying "the 10 years of mistakes that have led the system to the brink of collapse", and the uselessness of the PM's international regulatory regime, and the farcical failure of the FSA and the Treasury to see what was happening, and how little money is going to be available after this crash and how the Government has minced along after the virile Tory party's idea to recapitalise the banks.

There are other areas of support George Osborne didn't offer – who are the Government directors on these bank boards looking after? Legally they're supposed to be looking after the company's shareholders. So, shouldn't they be insisting the bank uses every offshore method of avoiding tax? Or denouncing the Office of Fair Trading for attempting to extract refunds for £2bn worth of "unfair charges"? And demanding fast repossessions and overdraft cancellation and higher fees and high dividends to attract investors?

Yes, will the Government act in the interests of bank shareholders in order to sell a profitable bank quickly? Or does it want a utility industry run in the interests of the next election?

The PM won't care in the long run. Because remember, after he's saved everyone, the mine does collapse on Big John. Oddly enough, I don't think Gordon would mind if it happened to him in that way. The glory in it would be the thing we'd all remember.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

Comments