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Get Cable in as he’s the best man for the job

It was good to hear Gordon Brown telling the world that 100% mortgages were to be clamped down on.

The only problem with that statement is that unless you have had your head in a bucket for about a year, most of us are aware that 100% mortgages have been pretty much unobtainable for many months already.

Still, it was good to hear some words of wisdom from the Prime Minister about the mortgage industry at last, even though they were a little behind the times. Act has come into force. It seems the Bank of England will now be able to intervene at an earlier and more discrete stage to assist banks that find themselves in trouble.

Critics claim it throws a cloak of secrecy around the banking world, which sounds like the state of play that existed until around two years ago.

Since then, we’ve all become painfully familiar with what has been going on.

Perhaps in this case, the old adage that what you don’t know won’t hurt you, might be one to bear in mind. Let the Bank sort stuff without us ever having to know.

Getting back to Brown, I think he should get Liberal Democrat shadow chancellor Vince Cable (pictured) to cross the political divide and recruit him in his Cabinet.

Since mid-2007, Cable has been the voice of common sense and realism among a sea of bystanders. No-one else seems to regularly come up with sensible and practical ideas for how we should proceed in this crisis on a level that everyone can understand.

So I say get Cable in and get Darling out. Of course, Brown has much ground to travel before this could become reality, but in the spirit of getting the best bloke for the job, regardless of whether he is a Labour MP, I think he should give it a shot.

If Mandelson can make a comeback, surely Cable can make the leap.

More local doom and gloom in the mortgage industry last week. We heard with some surprise that Abbey is planning to close its underwriting units across the country, replacing them with super-centres in Manchester and Glasgow.

I believe our local underwriting unit in Birmingham is one of the casualties, with the loss of many experienced staff.

I recall Abbey taking a similar decision several years ago and reverting to smaller, user-friendly units at a later stage.

Sometimes I wonder if anyone in our industry can make their minds up. I hope it works this time.

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