Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mystic Dale

I've just been writing my Eastern Daily Press column this week. I thought I had better check what I had written in previous years, just to make sure I don't repeat some hackneyed old Christmas or New Year's anecdote. Well blow me down. This is what I wrote in December 2006...

The level of personal debt in this country will become a huge political issue over the next few years. In the end, individuals have to take responsibility for their own actions. Everyone knows what their income is and what level of debt they can service and they should act accordingly.
Well call me Mystic Meg if you like... And to think Vince Cable has managed to hoodwink the whole British media into thinking he was the only one who foresaw the debt crisis...

13 comments:

Paul Pinfield said...

Mystic Mog strikes.

Benny said...

What are next week's lottery numbers?

strapworld said...

Let us all see what you have written for the coming year!

I have written to the Sun as Mystic Meg has certainly lost her powers.

Michael Heaver said...

Dale, give us a prediction, Dale, Dale give us a prediction!

Chris Paul said...

Unlike Mr Cable then and the Tory front bench now you managed, at that time, to follow through with your philosophy of economic liberalism. Let the borrower beware. And the lender too. Indeed. Well done.

rob's uncle said...

Vince has been banging on about personal debt ever since he was appointed Shadow Chancellor . . in August 2003:

' . . Although temperamentally an optimist, I am quite worried about where all of this is heading. The economy is being carried along not by investment and export growth but on a debt bubble. Bubbles burst.

There is no need or call for a return to old-fashioned credit rationing. But prudent limits on bank and building society lending should be set by the government's financial regulators before it is too late.'
http://www.vincentcable.org.uk/articles/000053/shadowing_gordon_brown__the_challenge.html

Blue Eyes said...

Mr Mandelson was quoted on Peston's video thing as saying that the government were aware of the bubble but had hoped that it was manageable. Does that mean it is all America's fault?

Gavin said...

It is astonishing the Bank of England didn't see the debt bubble coming. Although it now seems they did but felt they couldn't act as they were only tasked with keeping inflation within target. This doesn't sound right and has Brown's fingerprints all over it. The only way he could keep the economy growing was by encouraging the public to spend what they didn't have.

Unsworth said...

Spooky, eh?

David Anthony said...

I see trees, many trees, what looks like woodland. And what's that? A bear! My, what is it doing over there? Oh, it's taking a....

;)

tomcharris said...

I don't want to rain on your parade, Iain, and I acknowledge your prescient tendencies, but you wrote that everyone should take responsibility for their own actions. Yet hasn't your party been saying exactly the opposite - specifically that the high levels of personal debt is the fault of the government, not individuals?

Merry Christmas, by the way.

PS: the word I have to type in order to post a comment spells "No men". What are you implying?

Iain Dale said...

Tom, I stick by what I said. In the end taking on personal debt has to be ultimately the responsibility of the individual who makes that decision. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that overall, levels of personal debt do not get out of control and threaten the stability of the economy. Brown and co took their eye off the ball and the regulatory regime he put in place failed to work.

In your head you know that I am right on this. But I don't expect you to admit it.

Happy Christmas to you too!

Jonathan said...

It's not particularly prescient, though, is it? I couldn't agree more with your comments on personal responsibility, but that was really a comment on the present rather than the future. Comments about the high level of personal debt are nothing new; it makes no sense to credit Vince Cable as being the only one claiming to be aware of the issue.

Prescience would have involved spotting why it became a hot political issue within a couple of years, and fundamentally this has been due to mistakes made by the financial institutions. It makes no sense to talk personal responsibility, and yet ignore the actions of the most irresponsible yet best informed of all the actors involved.

Arguably, focusing on the responsibility of the consumer blinded you to the real issues we now face. Although perhaps comparing yourself to Mystic Meg is therefore a fair comparison on the value of your prediction...