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Blame Brown, don’t bash the bankers

While I won’t claim to have watched the full three hours and 15 minutes of last week’s Kangaroo Court – sorry, I mean the Treasury Select Committee’s grilling of the naughty bankers from HBOS and Royal Bank of Scotland – I watched enough to get annoyed.

We all know that a few bankers have made ridiculous amounts of money by exploiting weaknesses in the system but what about the thousands of ordinary bank workers who are not paid a fortune and in no way contributed to the banking system’s failures?

In my view they should not be denied a bonus provided the bank can afford to pay out the cash. What I found more annoying was that the real culprits are getting away scot-free.

The reason we are in this situation is that the cost of credit has been dirt cheap for 10 years and borrowers and bankers have gorged themselves on this seemingly unlimited supply of happiness.

If credit is predicted to be cheap and in plentiful supply, bankers will take more risks when lending it and borrowers will consume more of it.

The economy has been based on this assumption since Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated continuously that he had banished the boom and bust cycle and we could look forward to a low inflation, low interest rate environment.

Bashing the bankers seems about as useful as smacking the kids because they have eaten all the sweets in the sweet shop. I blame the parents.


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