The truth’s stranger than science fiction

No-one would have believed in the first years of the 21st century that human affairs were not being watched by the regulator.

No-one could have dreamed we were not being scrutinised, as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

Few men even considered the dangers of short selling and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded HBOS and Lehman Brothers with envious eyes, and slowly and surely they drew their plans against us.

At 7am on September 18, a huge mass of luminous takeover gas erupted from Lloyds TSB and sped towards HBOS.

Across 200 million miles of void, invisibly hurtling towards them came the first of the missiles that were to bring so much calamity to the mortgage market.

As Mortgage Strategy watched, there was another jet of gas. It was another missile starting on its way in the shape of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

And that’s how it was for the next 10 nights. A flare, spurting out from Lloyds TSB bright green, drawing a green mist behind it a beautiful but somehow disturbing sight (with apologies to HG Wells).

If someone had said to you two weeks ago that Lehman Brothers was set to file for bankruptcy and HBOS would be bought by Lloyds TSB, you would have told that person to stop taking whatever they were snorting, smoking or drinking.

Mortgage Strategy has been a long-term and vociferous critic of chancellor Alistair Darling but it seems his dire predictions for the UK economy were bang on the money.

Labour’s beleaguered leader Prime Minister Gordon Brown actually said something sensible too when he stressed the need for the market to return to sound banking practices.

Lehmans dead and buried, HBOS bought by Lloyds TSB, edeus outliving HBOS and Mortgage Strategy agreeing with Labour – you couldn’t make it up.