Monday, October 13, 2008

I always wanted to own a bank

I always fancied owning a bank. Now, it seems, I own four - obviously not on my own, I share the ownership with whole population of the UK.

'We're living in extraordinary, turbulent times.' So says the Chancellor on the morning he's taking big stakes in three high street banks - RBS, HBOS and Lloyds (these last two are still about to merge to form a super retail bank).

So, the 1983 Labour manifesto pledge to bring the banks into public ownership has been fulfilled by a Labour Government whose economic policies owe more to Margaret Thatcher than Karl Marx.

I think such ironies can be enjoyed - even in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the last one. Indeed Alastair Darling keeps using the words 'exceptional and extraordinary' to describe these events. He's not wrong there.

'The world has had a shock,' he says. Too true. I was glad that in the midst of this shock, the chairman of the World Bank reminded the G7 leaders of their commitments to the poorest of the world, calling them to ensure they redouble their efforts to see the millennium goals achieved by 2015.

Let's hope the world - and the Chancellor - is listening.

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