Monday, 23 February 2009

Too Little, Too Late

Northern Rock's new mortgage funds, and more sensible lending policy, are too little, too late.

The basic problem seems to be New Labour's inability to grasp the opportunities opened up by the partial public ownership of some of the banks. New Labour doesn't know how to handle public ownership. It's an alien concept to Gordon Brown and his ministers. The notion of public ownership was ditched long ago by New Labour, sometime around 1991, I would guess.

Full public ownership of the banks is required, run on properly accountable lines, not just for as short a time as possible before handing them back at a knock-down price to the privateers so they can resume business as usual.

Public ownership doesn't mean 'micro-management' of the banking businesses by ministers. That's a scare tactic. It does mean transparency, effective monitoring and regulation, public accountability. It means banks doing a proper job for the country. No bonuses.

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