AS: But you must have seen that while you were Chancellor. Surely those alarm bells should have been ringing for you?
PM: Well, I am angry at the behaviour of banks because we did not know what was actually happening behind the scenes. We did not know that they were operating all these investment
This is just not credible. He was Chancellor during all these years and many politicians and economists were telling him exactly what was happening. He also trawls out his "it started in America line" but then goes on to explain it. It's very revealing...
PM: We do need a lot of blunt speaking at the moment about what has happened.
Something happened in America, it then spread across to Europe and to Britain
and now it is engulfing the whole world and it is unique. It is the first global
AS: Did you ever in your wildest dreams believe that you were going to walk into this hornet’s nest as far as the financial crisis is concerned? Why have we in England got this problem? I mean what has it got to do with America?He says it started in America, but this is exactly what was happening in this country at exactly the same time. And his own regulatory system, which he set up, failed to address the issue. It wasn't just American banks which were offering mortgages at 125%. UK banks were too - under his watch. Opposition politicians pointed this out but were slapped down. Yes, it did happen in America, but it happened here too - at the same time.
PM: Out of America, a lot of people were persuaded to buy mortgages, they couldn’t pay for them, nobody quite knew when they bought these mortgage products that they were totally worthless. They parcelled them up so you had thousands of mortgages, and some of our British banks made mistakes. They were spending hundreds of millions of pounds of their own customers’ money buying products that they thought was going to make them a big profit.
UPDATE: A reader alerts me to THIS fabulous piece in today's Telegraph by Irwin Stelzer, which makes the points I make above, but far more eloquently. It concludes...
Gordon Brown's search for a villain might better take him to the nearest
mirror than to Washington, DC