Vince Knows He Called it Wrong on Northern Rock

When Northern Rock was nationalised, Vince Cable cheekily told Gordon the government could have had his advice for free, unlike the advice for which they paid millions to Goldman Sachs. The Commons chamber laughed. Vince said it was the “best way” to protect taxpayers: “After five months, the Government are now in the best position to ensure the repayment of the taxpayer’s money.” Guido said “bollocks”.

The Tories sent mixed messages, essentially they didn’t want to nationalise it (they are not that left-wing) but they didn’t want to say “put it into administration” (John Redwood was the most coherent Tory voice on the issue here and here).

Cable today says that he knew all along that it was iffy:

“These figures confirm the suspicion, held by many of us, that the Government and the regulators were badly deceived by Northern Rock’s former managers when they agreed to bail it out on the basis that it was a good bank with a good loan portfolio… I am encountering cases of people being repossessed as a result of deeply foolish loans and the bank and the taxpayer who now own Northern Rock are having to absorb the resulting losses”

So why did Vince happily congratulate Gordon on nationalising the Rock? Socialising the losses and privatising the profits is not a good deal for the taxpayers. Vince is currently on a damage limitation tour of newsrooms salvaging his reputation for sound judgement…




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