Monday, October 13, 2008

Conservatives Must Hold Brown to Account

"There are many lessons to be learned about what has happened over the last 10 years. There are many interrelated things that we have got to think about. I think at the macroeconomic level we probably allowed a boom to go on for too long, with too much rising house prices, rising share prices etcetera. There are issues that we need to think about about the whole macro-economy."

This wasn't a Conservative politician (or even a blogger) trying to apportion blame today. It was the chairman of the FSA, Adair Turner (Hattip Paul Waugh). Reading through the comments on the previous thread I do wonder which country I am living in, or if I occupy the same plant as some of the commenters. Many of them (anonymous, natch) put the entire blame for the crisis on Margaret Thatcher, almost as if the last 18 years hadn't existed. They also try to convince us that David Cameron and George Osborne have been mute. What absolute rubbish. It was Osborne who first suggested in public the idea of recapitalisation. Of course they won't get as much media coverage as Gordon Brown at the moment, but to say they have been silent is ridiculous.

And can we destroy the myth about the Conservative attitude to regulation? No Conservative I know believes in the law of the jungle which implies no regulation at all. Neither do Conservatives believe in overregulation. What we do believe in is effective regulation. For several years Conservative politicians (and Vince Cable) have warned that the tripartite system is not working, yet the Prime Minister (who created the system) ignored those warnings. There were many warnings that debt was getting out of control and that mortgages were being awarded too easily, with little reference to people's ability to pay them back. They were all ignored both by Brown and the FSA, who had the power to intervene.

This whole crisis happened on Brown's watch, and that is what most people will remember. The three day week happened on Ted Heath's watch. It wasn't the miners, or the world oil crisis which got the blame, it was Heath and his government. And yes, I obviously realise there are some differences and I am not comparing like with like - but it's the nearest analogy there is.

If Brown his allies cannot be allowed to persuade the British people that he and his government had no part in allowing this crisis to happen. The British people are more intelligent than that, but Conservatives spokespeople need to get out there on the media and tell it like it is. No pussyfooting around. Give it to people straight. They can take it, and above all, they want their government held to account for the disastrous errors of judgement they have made.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Quite well put, Iain.

Could have done with a bit more 'pizzaz' or, indeed, 'wowza' though.

Praguetory said...

Anyone who invokes Thatcher in this debate is a loser. As ever, the Beeb is acting as Labour's media arm.

DocRichard said...

Way to go Ian! And was probably Gordon Brown and his shady friends conspiring together behind the scenes in a Marxist plot to bring down the hated capitalist system 20 years later, that brought about the 1986 Big Bang deregulation fo the City. You betcha!

Iain Dale said...

I deleted the Krugman article posted anonymously, because it has been linked to several times on the previous thread. Feel free to add a link on here, but the full text is too much.

John M Ward said...

Oh, it'll be no surprise to find the most influential right-leaning 'blogs swamped by comments from those with their own agenda, just as happens on (for example) the Telegraph. As is well known there, many of them are Labour people paid to do just that, and not just the Hazel Trees and Quietzapples either...

I agree with your sentiments, and indeed posted something similar in a bullet point summary this morning.

The message must keep being pushed now, though it would have been counterproductive to have done so at last week's PMQs, which Cameron rightly sussed out and didn't fall for it. Now is the time to start getting the truth out there and keeping it in the public's mind.

Anonymous said...

The media, on television at least, seem to have given Gordon Brown a free ride since his conference speech.

Anonymous said...

It's nothing to do with Thatcherism - I thought Labour were saying this was a Global problem?

If it is a UK problem then Labour could have averted it?

Brown is the man who created the British economies problems - how typical of the 'man' - he blames a politician he invites for tea!

Anonymous said...

No issue with this post Iain, but let's get this mess sorted out first then start apportioning the blame once we're out of the woods.

Guthrum said...

You are in the loop Iain, why is call me Dave not ripping Brown's face off ?

Anonymous said...

Dear Iain,
Do you honestly believe that the British people are intelligent?
I mean, apart from you?

Anonymous said...

Iain - it's about time you took a lead from Hector Saints and temporarily banned the anonymous short sellers.

I don't agree with everyone on here but at least I've got the balls to give my name and try to respond intelligently to anyone who I have a difference of opinion with.

Please can we have a temporary ban on anonymous postings?

Anonymous said...

Osborne asked Darling why the sudden change from preference shares to Ordinary shares. Of course we got obfuscation from Darling.
But as 'CoffeeHouse' points out ...
http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2217526/why-the-government-is-taking-common-shares-in-these-banks.thtml
... it was because the Labour Govt 'had not done its homework.

The argument now (assuming the crisis eases - God lets hope so) is to articulate how the financial world needs to be managed as we go forward.

Osborne pointed ot Adairs damning comments today - strange how the Dolly Trollys keep trying to suggest he is ineffective.

Anonymous said...

Look, just because I said the article needed that X factor, that 'zing' or, even, that 'pazow' it's no need to bad anon posters, Iain.

Yours in nobility
The Prof

Anonymous said...

"Do you honestly believe that the British people are intelligent?"

The British people are intelligent - indeed, the most intelligent in the world. And that is why this economic crisis is the final nail in the coffin for this incompetent, proto-communist Labour so-called "government".

Every time they hear the lies of Gordon "Mc" Brown on television and Labour's broadcasting wing, the Brown Broadcasting Corporation, or see how the Labour trolls of Dolly Draper swamp decent blogs like this one, they thirst ever more for a Conservative government.

They contrast that with the sensible, statesmanlike and inspiring behaviour of the likes of David Cameron and George Osborne over recent days, and it couldn't be more stark - one of these pairs looks like a Prime Minister and Chancellor now. Cameron and Osborne.

The people of England are rising. And, as a man, they are saying "We want a Conservative government".

Anonymous said...

Tripartite regulation , a creation of Brown and none other, was a disaster and a major cause of what happened.

The other angle of attack should be Brown's chronic overspending and the the impact on the national debt.

Anonymous said...

john bull - I hope you're sincerely not including me in the Dolly's Trolls!

I have a personal reason to despise the man, he kicked me out of my office in 1997!

Anonymous said...

BTW Iain -

- just how do you propose the Conservatives or anybody holding Brown to account when we have the BBC, as they did yesterday (via Peston), blaming it all on Thatcherism and Big Bang in the City.

If I were Lord Lawson I would be thinking about suing the BBC for defamation.

The Daily Pundit said...

At least someone is making a few quid out of the crisis - fancy breakfast with Robert Peston? Tickets are going like hot cakes.

Anonymous said...

Well put Iain

I used to work in City- when I started in '86 (big bang etc), regulation was by Bank of England, they knew what they were doing, had experienced staff and bank directors and managers were afraid of crossing them.

Now nobody is in charge (G Brown's new regulatory system has BofE, FSA and Treasury, so effectively noone actually runs things) and certainly noone is afraid of FSA.

Apart from rubbish regulation, real problem (worldwide, UK is one of worst countries) is massive credit boom by individuals and countries spending money they did not have. Now we have the fall-back, and it will be painfull.

Anonymous said...

I think they also need to be aggressively putting this "global problem all imported from US and in the best place to weather the storm" myth to bed.

Canada, Australia, Sweden, few problems there. The markets are down, but no panic and no banks anywhere near bust. Other European countries are in nowhere near the trouble the US and UK are.

B&B went busto, because of it's involvement in UK buy-to-let. NR caused itself a lot of problems, due to being allowed to aggressively stupid mortgages. All allowed to do so by the FSA.

There are numerous factors to this crisis of which the US sub-prime is one, but also the poor position of our government and banks to handle any bad time / problems in the system. An over-reliance on credit and not holding enough capital.

It shows that for instance HSBC were initially hit hard by sub-prime in the US, but realised the problem and got themselves in decent position to manage to suck up the blow, spread capital from other regions and carry on as normal.

David Lindsay said...

Of course there should be seats on the Boards. As much as anything else, no one thus appointed could possibly be any worse than those thus replaced.

As of today, we are the Queen's bankers. And Tony Benn's, I bet. Coutts is owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland. And the Royal Bank of Scotland is now owned by you and me. Give that a moment to sink in.

Today also sees the first rversal of a Thatcher privatisation. TSB. Here's to many, many more.

Laurence Boyce said...

"Reading through the comments on the previous thread I do wonder which country I am living in, or if I occupy the same plant as some of the commenters."

Surely you mean you wonder if you are consuming the same plant as the commenters?

Westminster watch said...

Of course Brown must be held to account and not allowed any wriggle room when the dust has settled.

That holding of account must include investigation into any possible market manipulation by the government and/or its agencies to lower the market price prior to its acquisition of RBS, HBOS and Lloyds TSB. It must include the Northern Rock and Bradford and Bingley episodes; it must include the regulatory incompetence of the last 10/11 years and where those responsibilities lie. It must include the role of the BBC. It must include why the UK was in a WORSE position (not better) to deal with the arising issues despite 10+ years of sustained economic growth. Above all it must place resonsibility where it lies - and do it in the short term.

The country should not wait for the truth to be unearthed and will not forgive.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to go off-topic, but when should the next edition of TP be in newsagents? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

capitalism
all in good in theory but doesnt work in practice

Anonymous said...

Really good that Boris was in the press today calling for more deregulation of the City not less and hands of the bankers bonus

Thats the Tories we like best

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

Robinson on Radio 4
"This was the moment that The Masters of the Universe were replaced by The Master Of The Universe - Gordon Brown"
"as Europeans followed GBs lead blah blah"

I sense the bullying, blackmailing return of Alistair Campbell. There can be no other explanation of the parroting by the BBC of the No 10 Narrative.


By the way "the GB" "plan" of injecting Government Tier 1 was the only solution for the World's banks. It is not a new idea, and certainly not Gordon Brown's who wouldn't know a sound economic policy if kicked him up the arse.

Ed said...

One of the biggest problems not often mentioned but which is directly attributuble to Brown is his mandate given to the Bank of England. This was totally lopsided and only focussed on the BOE controlling inflation through interest rates. The BOE should have been given a much wider remit, specifically they should have been charged to BALANCE the need to control inflation with the need of the economy in general. This would have led the BOE to also manage the dangers of asset price bubbles, which they clearly saw in the housing market, via the control of cheap and easy debt.

As it was, and still remains the case, the BOE were operating with one arm firmly tied behind their back.

This is in addition to the disastrous tripartite system that Brown/Balls implemented which served simply to give the impression of good regulatory oversight but was totally without responsibility on the part of the 3 parties. Each leg of the 3 legged system could, and do, blame the others. A bit like 3 people in a lift and there suddendly being a bad smell, each person could plausibly deny responsibility.

Man in a Shed said...

Iain - spot on. But the Conservative party has to get better at putting this message across.

The BBC was until about a month ago trying to be less partial, and to even hire the odd token non-communist, but now they are in full flow.

It is key that we remember this day and that the BBC must be disbanded under a Conservative govt.

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

By the way
Have you noticed the BC use of the term
"taxpayers money" when used to bail out the banks.

As opposed to "government money" when spending on the NHS etc is discussed

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

There is no way that the Bank of England PRIOR to Gordon Brown's new regulatory regime would have allowed Icesave to trade for so long.

Market sources would have pointed the finger and the BofE would have shut um down

Anonymous said...

The complexity of the problems, makes it easier for Liebour to hide behind spin and mis-information because the average voter hasn't a clue about macroeconomics and the complex banking/financial system. It is, therefore, easy for the government to soundbite their way through it using the Marxist BBC as it's principle mouthpiece, because few people know any different. But the obvious problem is the burden on the taxpayer. The Tories should concentrate on talking to the hardworking taxpayer, who hasn't over debted themselves and now see their taxes paying for the stupidity of the reckless. But, as ever, it is made very difficult due to lack of support in the MSM.

Anonymous said...

Whoa Andy C, don't tar all us anons with the same brush. I'm the anon who called brown a deranged power-hungry bully on Iain's earlier thread there (oops, I did it again...). You don't, you don't want us to... show ID cards do you?

Andy C eh? Must look you up sometime. I'll be sure and spell your name right.

Lola said...

Agreed, Iain, but how are they going to do it with the meeja, especially the broadcast meeja in thrall of Brown? The Beeb is terrified of the Tories getting back in because they suspect (hopefully rightly) that their cushy numbers are for the chop.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that you have become a Conservative again Ian. All that nonsense about supporting Brown and Obama had me worried for just a moment.

Welcome back onboard.

Anonymous said...

David Lindsay:

Coutts may be owned by RBS (as it was owned by Natwest before RBS bought it) but it has its own banking licence - as has Natwest.

It would be very easy for Coutts to operate as an independent bank as it is that rarest of creatures these days - a bank that has more deposited with it than it has loans to customers.

I doubt if Her Maj is losing any sleep...

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Tories have to turn into attack dogs. I'm sure they will. There is no shortage of ammunition and I can't see the heavy squad failing to fire it.

Timing is all.

Anonymous said...

Get these viral and not even the Beeb could ignore the (ir)responsibility as more and more people are reminded of his "promises".

Gordon Brown's 1997 Budget Statement -
"I will not allow house prices to get out of control and put at risk the sustainability of the recovery."

Pre-Budget Report, 9th November 1999 - "Under this Government, Britain will not return to the boom and bust of the past."

Budget Statement, 21 March 2000 - "Britain does not want a return to boom and bust."

Pre-Budget Report, 8 November 2000 - "So our approach is to reject the old vicious circle of the...the old boom and bust."

Budget Statement, 7 March 2001 - "Mr Deputy Speaker we will not return to boom and bust."

Budget Statement, 22 March 2006 - "As I have said before Mr Deputy Speaker: No return to boom and bust."

Budget Statement, 21 March 2007 - "And we will never return to the old boom and bust."

King Athelstan said...

When can I expect My first dividend?

Anonymous said...

I am drafting a Constituency wide In Touch - and I will be including the very points you make.

I am fed up with this crisis being blamed on Lady T.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous 6.38pm, Friday 24 October.

Anonymous said...

brown has shown himself in a better light over this crisis. I actually think he's doing a good job *well in the last ten days* a crisis is when prime ministers show there real metal. as an ordinary joe public neither left nor right the tories should be worried. while i still think cameron will be the next prime minister it won't be the walkover many predicted recently.

Anonymous said...

You are dead right, Ian, though you won't hear it on the simpering BBC. And I feel I should point out that in 1974, Heath was beaten by the electoral system, not by the people.

Anonymous said...

it makes me laugh the attempt to try and claim that George Osborne saw the solution to this crisis first. As someone who, until last year, work in this industry, it was obvious that recapitalisation was necessary. It is a bit like praising someone who suggest that the solution to a man dying of asphyxiation is to give him air to breathe. Sorry, Iain but Osborne is sadly out of his depth. I know that you have to support the myth that the current tory front bench is the best ever, but it does nothing for political honesty.

Anonymous said...

What rising share prices? The market has IMO been a relatively poor performer in recent years, perhaps because it was suffering from New Labour and was anticipating worse to come.

The meain problem has been toomuch cheap money and deby for at least a decade. Maggie and the monetarists were right.

Anonymous said...

Re Vince Cable, did anyone notice that Lib Dem Voice today had an excerpt from his Telegraph interview yesterday. At the time of writing (they may edit) the position is as follows.

Lib Dem Voice included:

Little wonder then, that the former chief economist for Shell has been inundated with people asking him for financial advice in recent days.

Lib Dem Voice did not include:

He laughs grimly: "I always say to people I'm not qualified to be your financial advisor."

How very sensible.

MPs, even clever ones, are not qualified to give financial or legal advice just because they are MPs. They need separate qualifications to dispense such advice. Why wouldn't Lib Dem Voice want to refer to that?

Anonymous said...

And I thought it was the bankruptcy of 1978, when the then Labour government had to call in the IMF to govern us, that caused all the problems!

Anonymous said...

Guthrum said...

"You are in the loop Iain"

No he isn't! That would cost a £50,000 donation to the leaders club. Iain wouldn't be so silly.

Anonymous said...

Adair Turner had it right about George Osborne. "Bloody fool" he said.

Anonymous said...

"Many of them (anonymous, natch) put the entire blame for the crisis on Margaret Thatcher"

Talking of the Blessed Margaret, I don't seem to have heard any tories recently boasting of how she and they transformed the entire world by freeing global markets to create wealth. Strange, as they used to say it almost every day. Has something happened?