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Sorry for what?

Nick Robinson | 10:51 UK time, Friday, 6 March 2009

Apologise for what? That is the question that Gordon Brown asks every time someone suggests that he ought to say sorry.

It is the right question to ask. Just think back to the bankers facing the select committee. When the word "sorry" is said insincerely, or when it means only sympathy to those who suffered - when it is not an apology for mistakes made - it has little value, or none at all.

gordon brown and george osborneToday, the shadow chancellor George Osborne has delivered a speech suggesting what Gordon Brown ought to say sorry for. It is, argues Osborne, an economy built on debt: personal debt (in the form of mortgages that people couldn't afford); corporate debt (in the sense that companies were built on borrowing rather than on equity investment) and public debt (in the form of excessive public spending and borrowing).

What's more, he argues, the regulatory system has failed, with the Bank of England setting an inflation target that ignored the housing bubble, and the so-called tripartite regulating system failing to keep control of the banks, let alone what we must now get used to calling "the shadow banks": the hedge funds and other financial institutions.

Recently, ministers have been suggesting that they regret not being tough enough on the banks. Ed Balls has said it; Peter Mandelson has too, and so has Alistair Darling.

In this curious public debate between ministers about whether to say sorry and what to say sorry for, Gordon Brown seems to be answering his ministerial colleagues by insisting that national regulation alone could not have prevented the current crisis.

After all, RBS bought a Dutch bank that had been cleared by the Dutch authorities. That's why, at the G20, he will argue in favour of a council of regulators - of co-operation between regulators but not a single global regulator. The problem one instinctively sees is: if individual national regulators failed, why should they succeed when they are merely linked up?

This debate about what to apologise for, if anything, goes to the heart of learning the lessons from the crisis that we are now facing.

This is what matters - not some media storm over whether saying the word "sorry" would transform Labour's polling position or not.

Comments

Page 1 of 8

  • Comment number 1.

    "Gordon Brown seems to be answering his ministerial colleagues by insisting that national regulation alone could not have prevented the current crisis. "

    Exactly.

    The man has a lot more to answer for than just creating ineffectual regulation and regulators.

  • Comment number 2.

    Actually, "sorry" is no longer an option, as far as I'm concerned.

    It's a public face-full-of-custard or nothing for me.

    Followed by resignation and forfeit of his pension.

    Court of Public Opinion judgement issued 6 March 2009

  • Comment number 3.

    "This debate about what to apologise for, if anything, goes to the heart of learning the lessons from the crisis that we are now facing. "


    Nick, it is no longer a crisis that we are facing, it is a crisis we are already in the middle of.

    Personally, I'm not interested in an apology from Mssrs Brown et al, what I want is for them to actually put their collective hands up, admit that we are already up to our necks in the brown and smelly stuff and stop telling us how much better off we are in relation to other countries.

    It may be selfish, but would our esteemed leader please let the other countries sort out their own problems and concentrate on sorting out our own? Only if and when they get a handle on what is wrong here at home and admit their part in the fact that the economy is in this sorry state can we begin to make progress. Then, and only then, will we be in the position to lecture to other nations on what needs to be done.

    Of course, by then, the rest of the world will probably already be out of recession and there will be nobody for our government to lecture.
  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Nick and our debts are still lower than the US, Germany and France. If Gordon had brought in tougher regulation the city would have shouted to the press about business leaving the UK and going somewhere else. That was their big stick.

  • Comment number 5.

    Brown obviously can't say "sorry" because true to form, he blames everyone else but himself. Far from being well placed to deal with the 'down-turn', we are worse off than most other countries due to Brown's disastrous blunders and personal failures. The fact that he inherited a sound economy, but is now reduced to printing money (not unlike Mugabe!) tells us everything we need to know.

    There are indeed lessons to be learned... by the electorate, that is. Labour proves yet again that it cannot be trusted with the economy.

  • Comment number 6.

    Fair comment Nicholas.

    I'm not sure its even about an apology as such. More about acknowledging that some of the decisions that were made had consequences that really should have been foreseen.

    I referred to it a couple of days ago when Gordon said to you "forget about that, I'm trying to tell you, I need to know whats broken and then try and fix it"

    The analogy I used is that whilst it is indeed useful knowing how to find your way out of an alligator infested swamp, it is arguably of equal importance to ensure that your planning avoids taking you anywhere near said swamp in the first place.

    And it also goes back to the other point of there are no bouquets without brickbats.
    You cannot claim the glory for everything and then shirk the responsibility - and definately in the case of an (quasi)elected official like him - the accountability that goes with the political position.

    I dont want him to say sorry. I want him to acknowledge that decisions that he was personally responsible for have not worked as planned and that he is going to do something about it - and back the words up with action.

    If he keeps on saying "I wont run away from personal responsibility", then he should put his money where his mouth is and face upto the personal responsibility; starting with the half baked implementation of the FSA, the lack of a referenda on Lisbon, even though it was an electoral pledge, the 10p tax debacle, the VAT stimulus that didnt work...

  • Comment number 7.

    I do find this media fixation (and the Opposition's) with saying sorry opportunistic and a total waste of time - are we to go back over our recent history and get our Leaders of that time to say sorry for everything htat went wrong? Let's get dear old Maggie to apologise forthe falklands War; Major for the ERM fiasco; Poll Tax; Miners Strike - where will it all end? People, you, me, everybody need to accept that politicians and business leaders do not make decisions based on personal gain or aggrandisement, they genuinely believe they are doing the right thing at the the time. If we accept that premise then we can can accept that s**t happens and move on and respond and fix and improve and develop. So Gordon apologises for I know not what - I don't care - I want him to help us get out of this recession and I believe that is what he wants as well.

  • Comment number 8.

    Isn't it ironic, that where responsibility is most required [i.e. in the head job of supposedly running the country] it is least accepted.

    You want the top job Brown, you took the credit while it looked good, you now need to take the big hit now it's gone pear shaped. It failed on YOUR WATCH.

    The attitude of zero accountability of the parlimentary labour party is sickening.

  • Comment number 9.

    3#

    "Fit Like"????

    A Doric handle, no less?

    A-W, is that you, posting incognito???

  • Comment number 10.

    Nick..Whilst I appreciate that you are asking a rhetorical question about what Brown should (or should not) apologise for,I am in disbelief that you should suggest the issue of apology is only over regulation of the Banks!

    The British General Public want him to apologise for crass mismanagement of the Country over a period of almost 12 years..in his positions both as Chancellor and Prime Minister.

    I will not bother to list his catastrophic decisions..they are all well known.

    Really,Nick,please do not treat people as idiots.

  • Comment number 11.

    Hell will freeze over before Mr Brown says sorry. He is desperately trying to portray himselg as Flash Gordon, the saviour of the universe - which does not fit with his role in the universal collapse.

    Look on the bright side. In another 15 months he will get slung out of Downing Street! So let us grit our teeth until then - after all we are already broke now. When you are already bancrupt, becoming more bancrupt is almost irrelevant.

  • Comment number 12.

    Sorry Nick, but the tone of your piece is way off base.

    Like it or not, Gordon Brown was the Chancellor of the Exchequer for a decade, controlling virtually all aspects of business and finance policy in this time. He set the policy agenda, he decided the regulatory regime and what it should do. Since that time, he has been Prime Minister.

    This recession and its outcomes, in financial terms, dwarfs any that has gone before it. Most recessions involve a loss of tax revenue and an increase in welfare costs. This one also included massive bail-outs for banks that operated virtually untrammelled, especially since 2001. We will all be paying off this debt for the next 20-30 years.

    You are correct if you think an apology from Gordon Brown would now be meaningless. But this is not because he is not culpable - it is because it would be insincere.

  • Comment number 13.

    Can we discuss using 'every legal means' to claw back Brown's pension? Now that would be a worthwhile diversionary tactic from worrying about having a job....!

  • Comment number 14.

    Fit Like? wrote:
    It may be selfish, but would our esteemed leader please let the other countries sort out their own problems and concentrate on sorting out our own?


    My impression is that you have it backwards, Gordon Brown isn't doing what he is doing to help other countries sort out their problems he is trying to organise a united front in the hope that if America drop a massive wad of cash into the economy that some of it ends up here.

  • Comment number 15.

    Brown say sorry? Nonsense! I always think that actions speak louder than words.... he should call an election instead.

  • Comment number 16.

    Apologise for what you ask?
    OK - I'll have a stab.
    Apologise for selling gold at bargain basement prices when he was strongly advised not to.
    Apologise for crippling taxes on pension schemes that destroyed them, when he was strongly advised not to.
    Apologise for saying no more boom or bust, when anyone could see that cheap chinese imports and crazy credit would come home to roost at some point.
    British jobs for british workers - say sorry.
    Abolishing 10p tax rate - another classic.
    Apologise for releasing selective, misleading, knife crime figures when he was told not to.
    Apologose for watching a select few private equity and hedge fund (Sir..., Lord... ) individuals pillage the economy and pay no tax.
    Apologise for creating a benefits culture that has an underclass breeding like rabbits to draw down money for booze, fags and plasma screens.
    Apologising for saying you are bringing children out of poverty when what you are doing is giving their undreclass parents more money for booze, fags and plasma screens.
    Apologise for replacing District Councils with impersonal unitaries when every referendum votes against them.
    Apologise for the security mess at airports which inconviniences the majority at the expense of upsetting a minority with profiling.
    Apologise for the wars.
    Apologise for the Obama visit - ye gods, that was painful.
    Apologise for the Audit Commission, Ofsted, Quality Care Commission, Constabularies inspectorate and all of the other gestapo oraganisations that styop people doing their real jobs and make them tick boxes that tell you nothing and cost billions to run - does Haringey ring a bell.
    Apologise for that while you are on a roll.

    Just say sorry and go.


  • Comment number 17.

    Colonel re "Court of Public Opinion judgement issued 6 March 2009"

    I think the point about public opinion is that it's not just your opinion, my friend. In a sense 'public opinion' is an oxymoron.

    I can relax now I've joined the oxymoron club.

  • Comment number 18.

    There are issues around competition between nations, such that if one national regulator takes measures to reasonably restrict financial services they may simply move offshore. If under a council of regulators they can all agree to take the same (sensible) measure then they can through that council do what in practice they cannot do as individual national regulators. I think it is as simple as that - a global regulator would not be acceptable globally, and there are systemic problems with national regulators acting alone. This is a practical solution. That's not to say it's perfect, but this is the answer to your instinctive question about what they can do together as a council - that's all.

  • Comment number 19.

    Nick,
    Brown as chancellor encouraged and praised the city in thgeir development of financial engineering, or as he says now 'the shadow banking system.
    I refer to the piece in the LA Times posted on your previous blog :- In June 2007, in words that haunt him, from one of his final speeches as finance minister, Brown congratulated London's bankers and financiers on their "ingenuity and creativity," which had ushered in "an era that history will record as the beginning of a new golden age."

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-britain-brown3-2009mar03,0,6506674.story

    Brown smugly told us for twelve years how good he was at running the economy, his entire reason for being, was centered around that falacy. Now as the financial system collapses around him, to admit any part of being the cause of it's demise would deystroy his credibility. What he does not realise is that everyone now knows and that the only person he is kidding is himself. Very sad.

  • Comment number 20.

    Nick was in my dream last night... it was most curious.

  • Comment number 21.

    It's got way past an apology for me.

    Whatever Gordon says now will not make one iota of difference to the way my spouse and I feel. Everything we've worked hard for is being ripped out from under us.

    He has proved to us all time and time again, that he is an arrogant and self-serving Prime Minister, and his recent trip to America, for me, just reinforces that fact. He's more interested in scoring points with Obama than sorting out our problems here.

    The sooner he goes, (and forfeits his pension) the better.

  • Comment number 22.

    #7

    Well said!!!

    Makes a difference to read a bit of sense in blogs such as this as oppsed to the political posturing and claptrap

    TCP

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    #7 windwatcher

    People, you, me, everybody need to accept that politicians and business leaders do not make decisions based on personal gain or aggrandisement, they genuinely believe they are doing the right thing at the the time.

    .............................................

    I'm sorry, I beg to differ. I think personal gain and aggrandisement is right at the top of the list!

    Let's see what actually happens when he closes the door on tax havens. Let's see if it affects our politicians...after all, they're (allegedly) classed as high earners.

    Yes, I agree, s**t does happen, but only to those of us at the bottom of the heap!

  • Comment number 25.

    Every Labour MP should resign and they should be sent packing without their fat pensions just like they demanding from Fred Godwin.

    Oh and this includes Tony Bliar.

  • Comment number 26.

    So Osborne and the Conservative party want us to save for the future. So that we can lose value and get, virtually no interest?
    Just ask the pensioners who saved for decades and have lost the income they counted on.

    Let us see some proposals that will show the overpaid, over expensed, politicians making sacrifices as a real lead to the rest of the country. Not just calling for everyone else to tighten their belts.

    Typical of all politicians really.

  • Comment number 27.

    Hi Nick,

    It is very, very worrying if GB feels there is nothing to apologise for. Because that would literally mean that he thinks he did everything right.

    Not a good sign for the future.

    GB wants a new "global early-warning system".

    I suppose if he was to apologies for anything, it would be ignoring the warnings issued to him by the IMF, World Bank in 2002-2004 that the banking regulatory system would end in disaster.

    What's the point of having a new early warning system, if you can simply ignore the warnings?

    See you in the pub.

  • Comment number 28.

    Good to see the RBS-ABN AMRO deal being spoon-fed to BBC and Guardian commentators. Well, ABN AMRO certainly is not the prime source for all the real estate loans that are going sour within the RBS balance sheet; it's very easy now to blame this acquisition.

    Brown should not be let off the hook so easily.

    Neither the US, nor any tax haven, nor any shadow bank, nor ABN AMRO forced UK banks to sell 125% UK mortgages to UK customers.

    Neither the US, nor any tax haven, nor any shadow bank, nor ABN AMRO forced HBoS especially and RBS to extend risky loans to Irish and UK real estate developers.

    Neither the US, nor any tax haven, nor any shadow bank, nor ABN AMRO forced UK banks such as Northern Rock and HBoS to depend on wholsale funding to such a large degree.

    Neither the US, nor any tax haven, nor any shadow bank, nor ABN AMRO forced UK banks to become the weakest-capitalised banks in any large country at the end of 2006.

    Neither the US, nor any tax haven, nor any shadow bank, nor ABN AMRO forced Brown to run a budget deficit in the years before the crisis became evident.

    The IMF has warned time and time again, albeit in diplomatic language, that the UK housing market was a bubble, UK consumers were hooked on debt and the UK's budget position was not as sound as the then chancellor made out.

  • Comment number 29.

    #7 windwatcher

    You're right. Saying sorry doesn't matter.

    But that doesn't mean we should draw a line under it and move on. It doesn't mean we have to accept that Gordon will be the one who sorts out the mess. I want somebody competent to do that.

    How do you think people would react in suggesting that Fred Goodwin is the man to lead RBS out of its difficulties?

  • Comment number 30.

    I agree that part of the problem is that if some countries have strict (now agreed to be good) regulation, and others have lax regulation, then the business moves to the lax countries and the strict ones suffer. So they relax, the lax ones relax further, and so on until bubble, burst, meltdown.

    It's called the 'race to the bottom' and has been known for some time to be destructive.

    The trouble is, Brown's position seems to be that he went for global regulation ten years ago and was rejected, and that was then an excuse for joining the race at maximum speed.

    All through the Blair years, the government was touting the superiority of the 'anglo-saxon model', by implication deriding the alternative European approach, and Brown bears his part in that.

    Had Britain gone for stricter regulation, what would have happened? Well, obviously it depends on the detail of how much stricter, but you'd think the median outcome would be we'd now be suffering quite a bit (look at continental Europe), but not as much as we actually are. We would, of course, have been slightly poorer than we actually were in the intervening years, too, which is why there's political pressure to join the race to the bottom.

    So, not *all* the government's responsibility, but when they decided to take their foot off the brake, they didn't need to then push the accelerator to the max.

  • Comment number 31.

    The IMF certainly told Brown a few times that he was living on borrowed time (Brown probably knew and was fine tuning his deficit and low interest rates for an election in the autumn of 2007 or spring 2008)

    Below a few quotes from the IMF about the UK economy indicating that not all economic policy was sound and that the UK slump was an accident waiting to happen (keep in mind that the IMF uses very diplomatic language in its published findings). I do not see the IMF warning Brown that tax havens or shadow banks are contributing to their findings below. And ABN AMRO was not really in the picture here.


    IMF 2001 findings on the UK:

    "Moreover, other developments (the high level of private debt, the prolonged rise in house prices), while possibly structural, might also be symptomatic of underlying imbalances. Such imbalances could increase uncertainty regarding the impact of policies and, if they reversed abruptly, could hinder macroeconomic performance."

    "We do not see much room for raising the deficit above the path projected in the PBR. In particular, the PBR deficit path does not include certain measures that are yet to be decided or costed ..."

    "... revenue prospects are uncertain: the buoyancy of tax receipts in the last few years is partly unexplained and, thus, the revenue shortfall this year may not prove as temporary as expected. Third, sizeable fiscal impulses are already envisaged in the period ahead and, while there are downside risks to the macroeconomic outlook, there are also upside risks (see below)."

    "Over and above the issue of the appropriate size of the fiscal deficit, the policy debate has recently refocused on whether it would be appropriate to raise taxes to finance public spending beyond the amounts envisaged in the PBR outlook. Again, we would call for caution. Additional spending increases should be undertaken only if clear-cut economic justification can be found and in the context of reforms to raise spending efficiency. But, even in this case, the speed at which certain expenditure targets should be reached needs to be examined in light of the already rapid acceleration of spending envisaged in the PBR: primary spending is projected to rise by a cumulative 16 percent in real terms in the current and subsequent two fiscal years."


    Some IMF 2003 findings:

    -The main risk to this baseline relates to the effect that a sudden drop in house prices could have on consumption.

    -While inflation is low, we see a case for pre-emptive, gradual tightening of monetary policy as signs of recovery are confirmed. This is reinforced by the ebullience of the housing market.

    -The widening fiscal deficit does not raise sustainability problems, but a gradual strengthening is needed over time.

    -The PBR sees a turnaround in the public finances even in the absence of policy actions. We see significant risks to these projections. On unchanged policies, we see only a small improvement over the forecast horizon, with the deficit about 1 percentage point of GDP above the government's projections by FY 2006/07.

    -Our preferred mode for achieving fiscal adjustment is by moderating the growth of spending in areas where current plans involve sharp increases, with associated risk of inefficiencies. The expenditure policy framework has been strengthened, but it is not yet clear to what extent public spending is achieving the desired results with value for money.



    IMF in 2004:

    "... resolution of the widely perceived overvaluation of house prices and its implications for private consumption are major uncertainties, with the balance of risks for both activity and inflation probably on the downside."

    "Considerable uncertainty about the course of [tax] revenues over the medium term has heightened the debate about whether current policies will return the fiscal accounts to a sustainable position consistent with the government's fiscal rules. Should recent trends in the trade deficit not stabilize as we expect, implications for the valuation of sterling must be carefully monitored."

    " The fiscal position deteriorated substantially in recent years, and questions are emerging about how and when the necessary correction will take place. Despite the recent history of optimistic revenue projections, the PBR projects that revenues relative to GDP will rise over the medium term to close to the peak ratio at the turn of the century, while expenditure growth will slow sharply after FY2005/06. If these projections are realized, the net borrowing requirement will fall to 1? percent of GDP over the medium term-the level consistent with stabilizing net debt below 40 percent of GDP. Our central forecast, however, is for lower revenue growth, reflecting mainly slower real GDP growth in 2005 and a less pronounced rebound of corporation tax revenue over the medium term. On these projections, the net borrowing requirement will fall only to 2? percent of GDP and measures to close the gap vis-?-vis the PBR forecast will be needed."


  • Comment number 32.

    What ever happened about this ?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2007/dec/05/banks.northernrock

    Do we now have a state run bank operating in a tax haven ?

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    I think we are way past the point where an apology for anything would actually mean anything.

    Gordon Brown seems to think that swanning around displaying his personality defects to the whole is a better way to proceed. I think that he genuinely thinks that he is right all of the time, and that everything he did was perfect, only to be upset by the events and actions of others. Whatever the global nature of events, the 10p tax fiasco, dodgy crime statistics, multiple losses of personal data (BTW- have they found any of them yet ?), 42 days detention etc were all down to his government.

    The New LAbour government have damaged the country in so many ways in the last 12 years, that an apology isn't enough.

  • Comment number 35.

    I agree Nick's implication that whether or not the PM says sorry is of very limited significance. The real question isn't -
    Is the Prime Minister sorry ? but -
    Don't we have a sorry Prime Minister ?

    Having sad that, I see a very interesting contrast between his

    Don't blame me / forces beyond our control stance

    and his cynical isolation and villification of Sir Fred Goodwin. I have no axe to grind for Fred the Shred and find him a deeply unattractive character but there is something sinister and positively indecent about the way in which he has been deliberately isolated and handed to the mob to be vilified as the villain of the banking piece.

    First, he was one member of a board of directors whose members were judged to be high calibre with a long pedigree of business success. He did not act alone in causing the problems for RBS.

    Second, hardly any bank of any size in the world was not hit to the tune of £ billions by the credit crunch and its aftermath. RBS did not suffer alone.

    Third, the seed of the problem which has hit the global banking system was sown by the top people in the global banking and finacne community. They came up with a scenario which they said would make the banking system more stable and reduce the risk of banking failures. This was promoted by the International Banking Federation and endorsed by the IMF.

    It had precisely the opposite effect to that envisaged. It paved the way for ‘off the books” SIVs etc which not only laid the foundation for a destabilised banking system with risk distributed in such way that nobody had any confidence in anything when the bubble burst, but also encouraged more risky behaviour by individual banks and made regulation more difficult.

    Fourth, we have the behaviour of our government in contrast to its stance now, complete with heavy re-writing of history. Gordon Brown’s Mansion House speech of 2006 did not see him castigating bankers for their irresponsible behaviour but lauding their dynamism innovative products etc.

    He did not call for tougher regulation but boasted of the part played by the government in continuing with light touch regulation in the face of suggestion to beef it up.

    He did not call for effective cross-border regulation but stressed that he has resisted calls for a single EU regulator and would continue to do so. And we now know from the head of FSA that the pressure on them was to not get too heavy with the banks.

    He did not seek to dampen down the risky behaviour of banks, businesses and individuals but encouragedby assuring us repeatedly “No more boom and bust”, not too mention setting an example by running up public spending like there was no (bust) tomorrow – including his expansion of “off the books” PFI spending.

    He did not have Gordon condemn the huge earnings and bonuses in the City – merely lapped up the tax revenues.

    Fred Goodwin was not a source of worry or criticism – more a regular presence in Downing Street, at Chequers and at the head of Government Task Forces, not to mention collecting a knighthood.

    Maybe Fred should be in the dock, for his part in what has happened to the banks and the economy but, if so, he should have plenty of company. Gordon should not acting as prosecutor in chief or even juror but as a fellow accused.

    To see a single individual deliberately served up to be vilified, timed so as to divert the headlines from the extra billions being thrown at the banks and the critical comments of the Government from the FSA, the National Audit Office and the B of E is sinister and indecent.

    And what do the Tories and Lib Dems do ? Join the lynch mob.

    Depressing stuff.

  • Comment number 36.

    No apology required, only the opportunity for "court of public opinion" to bring an end to the "era of irresponsibility".

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 37.

    This appears to be an excellent example of the media (there IS a 'me' in media) massaging events to follow its own agenda rather than reporting on those events.

    The text of Osborne's speech is available at PoliticsHome.com, and whilst he does start by explaining why the need for Crash to make an act of contrition is, in his opinion, important, the main thrust is about why the UK economy's dependency on cheap debt is the root of our problems and how he suggests the Tories would deal with it.

    Now I am neither qualified, nor minded, to comment on the likely success or otherwise of the Tory plans. I expect we'll get to find out for ourselves in due course anyway. But it is puzzling why, when as was shown on PoliticsHome yesterday, and I think is generally reflected on this, and similar blogs, that a majority of the public no longer care if Brown apologises, you continue to pursue this as if it is the major issue of the day.

    Andreas Whittam-Smith in today's Indy suggests The Crashmeister's obsession with global regulation is a symptom of Displacement activity, i.e. he is busying himself with something he thinks he can influence because he doesn't want to face something (the economic meltdown) that he can't. The fact that the reform of global banking regulation will have no meaningful impact to the current issues facing the UK economy is irrelevant in these circumstances.

    I wonder whether there is any analogy to be drawn in your insistence on pursuing this story, Nick?

  • Comment number 38.

    #16

    Well put, that's a good start! Snowflake's chance in hell of that happening though.

    However, I get the impression that we will be getting some kind of apology soon. Last week's revelations that Gordon's been studying videos of Obama apologising in order to fake some sincerity, followed by this strangely surreal entry from Nick upon his return to the UK (which suggests a private, off the record conversation between him and Brown - with Nick being used to test the water of the electorate before the event)

    Gordon probably now thinks that if he can get 17 standing O's in Congress that he's now capable of convincing the electorate of the UK to fall in line and also, gawdhelpus, running the country effectively.

    However, any apology would be empty and meaningless whilst he openly defies public opinion and governs without mandate, backed by enelected Cabinet members. If he was actually sorry in any degree for his part in destroying the nation, there's only one thing he would do:

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 39.

    What is your (and the rest of the media) obsession with Brown saying "sorry"?

    If (say) five years ago if Brown -or anyone else for that matter- had proposed the level of regulation now being considered (the FSA vetting bank bosses for example) you and the rest of the media would have eviserated him. You would have derided it as totally unnecessary state intervention into the private sector and so on.

    It is very easy to sit here now with hindsight and potificate about what "should" have been done but that doesn't change the simple fact that if anyone -in government or business- had tried to suggest it 5 or ten years ago they would have been slammed for doing so.

    Now I'm not saying government and buisness aren't at fault because they are. But, maybe, if you are wanting to apportion blame you should also look at the continually irresponsible media coverage of the economic situation over the past year.

  • Comment number 40.

    #9 Fubar

    I can catagorically state, for the record, that aye-write and I are two entirely different people (even if we share a similar taste in coastlines).

    Given the current situation, I can't help remembering a Labour party billboard advert for the 1992 General Election, sjowing John Major and Norman Lamont peeking out over the top of a sand-bag barricade with the caption: 'Tory Defence Policy - It's not our recession'.

    Things seem to have come full circle.

  • Comment number 41.

    Guess Brown will also blame bankers for sublettting his constituency office.


    And Mr Robinson, when you boast a lot about your own contributions and rubbish those of others, you should expect to be measured against high standards. Those in glass houses .......

  • Comment number 42.

    There's no point in Gordon Brown saying sorry. He should have done it months ago and by not doing it, his reputation has been irrepairably damaged.
    We've all judged him, found him wanting and moved on.

    So should you Nick.

    He's history, the Labour party knows it, even President Obama knows it.

    Harriet Harman didn't do herself any favours in PMQs, so just who will fill Gordon's clown shoes?

    Lets have some detail of Labour posturing please Nick.

  • Comment number 43.

    Nick,

    Isn't it obvious?!

    Although it is too late for an apology now, we are owed one (well several).

    In the good times Gordon basked in the glory of a successful economy, he took the credit and told us he'd ended 'Boom and Bust'.

    In actual fact - during the boom time his actions have ensured that in the UK we will now suffer more than most the effects of the recession (which was always inevitable).

    So the apology should have been quite wide ranging and take into account:

    1. Apologising for ill placed smugness during the good times

    2. Growing our debt in the good times

    3. 11 years back stabbing Tony Blair and not showing him the budget until the last minute. Hence putting personal ambition over the good of the country.

    4. Ignoring various warnings over a period of years by the IMF

    5. Setting up an incompetent regulatory system

    6. Selling gold reserves at rock bottom (reserves which are needed to provide stability in bad times)

    7. Boasting about the housing bubble.

    8. Excessive public expenditure and vast off balance sheet debt.

    9. Dithering over Northern Rock

    10. Wasting £12 Billion on VAT stimulus

    11. The blizzard of economic rescue initiatives - many of which were 'just' press announcements

    11. Uneccessarily taking on so much risk onto government books by bailing out banks in the way he has.

    12. Not relaxing capital adequacy demands on banks - so that they can lend more.

    13. Avoiding debate in parliament over issues like printing of £75 Billion pounds.

    14. Doubling national debt.

    15. Raiding and crippling pensions funds. The future don't look bright does it - given taxes will have to rise in the future to pay for Gordon's 11 years of incompetence.


    Of course the full apology list is longer.


    Gordon will not apologise - thus when the Conservatives get into power, they will have to write a 'Doomsday Book' to record the utter destruction Labour leave behind.


    The Doomsday Book will serve many functions - especially:

    Ensuring that everyone knows what Gordon should have apologised for.

  • Comment number 44.

    [i]7. At 11:34am on 06 Mar 2009, Windwatcher wrote:
    Let's get dear old Maggie to apologise forthe falklands War;[/i]

    It was right then and it's right now.

  • Comment number 45.

    Given Osbourne's background and circle of friends his speech was a bit rich - practice what he preaches. Will he get money back from his hedge fund chums?

    Brown has been a bad chancellor; didn't seem to have a clue about management around a balanced scorecard. However you can't blame him for everything - however much we would want to.

    The silliest thing is that he never talks about the spending he did when he should have cut back; never mentions the new schools, hospitals, infrastructure investments, etc.

    I wonder why not.........

  • Comment number 46.

    Where would you like to begin?

    Perhaps with the man who gave us "stealth taxes" buried in the fine print of his budget reports; the man who over-complicated the tax system (witness CGT, which few even in the then Inland Revenue could understand); who promised not to raise income tax but increased National Insurance; the man who presided over a widening gulf between rich and poor?

    The man who gave us complicated tax credits, which made it harder for honest people to claim (and perversely, easier for fraudsters) and brought in means-testing for pensioner benefits, such that many still don't receive thir full entitlement?

    Or how about the man who raided pension funds by removal of ACT and tax refunds on dividend credits? A man who brought in a cunning windfall tax on third-generation mobile phones?

    Or the man who stuck to the fuel duty escalator and brought us the highest fuel prices in Europe?

    The man who brought us extra jobs - yes, but in the public sector, placing yet more burden on the tax-payer?

    The man who could have raised his voice in Cabinet about the illegality of going to war against Iraq - and maybe have prevented the whole thing from taking place. (The horseshoe nail - without Brown, Bliar may not have pushed his agenda, with Bliar Bush may not have pushed his)?

    The man who - allegedly - briefed against his own party leader for a decade?

    The man who has probably presided over the greatest tax take in UK history, spoke of "prudence" yet continued to increase taxation throughout a boom cycle?

    The man who promised an end to "boom and bust"?

    The man who - again allegedly - interfered in the day-to-do running of the financial regulator he set up, commissioned the Hampton Report into lighter regulation and bascally encouraged the City to make its own rules, as long as it brought in tax revenue and kept the party sweet?

    The man who is gambling the wealth of the taxpayers, their children and grandchildren on an untried and untested strategy that basically transfers the "toxic assets" from the balance sheets of the banks to the taxpayers, by stealth?

    The man who cut a sad, lone figure, signing the Lisbon Treaty on behalf of the people his party had promised a referendum?

    The man who not only sold off a major chunk of our gold reserves at the bottom of the market, but signalled his intention to do so (and signalled his intention to pump money into the banks)?

    I could go on, there's plenty more, but that better do for now.

    This is a man who is a great big bold red liability on the UK balance sheet. If he cannot say sorry for himself, then he should let us say it for him.

  • Comment number 47.

    An apology from a politician carries as much weight as one of their promises.

  • Comment number 48.

    Gordon brown is a man who blames everyone for what has happened but dnies any personal responsibility. How about saying sorry for:

    1. Enron style accounting: The government keeping PFI, Northern rock etc off teh government's books.

    2. Regulation: Let us not forget that it was Gordon who set up the tripartite regulation framework that failed so septacularly.

    3. City greed: He told us that the city bonuses were an important contribution to our taxes every year.

    4. Poor auditing control: This applies to both private and public sectors. The accountancy firms are to involved in consultancy and other services to be independent in their core duty.

    5. Autocratic management: He believes that he knows best in all situations, fails to show any humility to those who disagree, lacks real empathy with the people he works for (us).

    6. Fails to acknowledge that he has done anything that has contributed to this mess but put most of the blocks into place that have led to our economic woes.

  • Comment number 49.

    The amount of spin above is staggering (Mandy clearly got a brainwave following this morning's events):

    What can not be unspun or spun:

    The number of broke big UK banks:

    Alliance and Leicester
    Bradford and Bingley
    Northern Rock
    HBoS
    RBoS (would also be in dire straits wihout the ABN AMRO acquisition; and it bought only a part of ABN AMRO)
    London Scottish Bank (rather small, ok)

    Clearly, these banks were all made bankrupt by a conspiracy of the US, tax havens and shadow banks.

    Such a list of banks, to which the odd building society can be added, does not point to any culpability of the regulator, BoE and Chancellor at all. How could anyone be so stupid to think that the government should shoulder any of the blame.

    Indeed, consumers were so reckless to spend all their disposable income in 2005 and 6, but this is the piece of the jigsaw Brown and all the quantitative easers are missing.

    Good WE and don't get spun

  • Comment number 50.

    This is easy:

    Starting from the beginning, he should apologise for gross hypocrisy; having criticised Nigel lawso in the House of Commons for building a boom on credit he proceeded to repeat the same mistake.

    Secondly having repeated this mistake he set up a regulatory system that allowed an even lighter touch than there has ever been before so running the risk that the boom would get completely out of control.

    Thirdly, as the boom got completely out of control Gordon Brown decided that the revenues from this boom could be spent on an army of useless, unproductive public sector newlabour supporters.

    Fourthly he destabilised the financial system by taking away a source of income from pension funds and selling all our gold.

    Fifthly, he's obviously a bully and a coward and we don't want one of those running the country..

    So int he name of God, go

    Call an election

  • Comment number 51.

    If there is an afterlive, and if Brown meets the captain of the Titanic then, at least he can sing ...

    ... I DID IT MY WAY ...

    ... followed by ...

    NON JE NE REGRETTE RIEN!!!!


  • Comment number 52.

    Sorry for what?!!!!!

    Setting up yet another pointless quango regulatory body and taking power away from the BOE?

    Or how about for every single moronic knee jerk action that will inevitably extend our recession?

    Pointless VAT cut?

    Wasting astronomical, incomprehensible amounts of money propping up insolvent banks that my 2 year old son could run better?

    The vast number of benefit claimants and unneccessary public sector workers?

    Reducing interest rates when they need to rise?

    Selling OUR gold at rock bottom prices?

    Stealing pension money?

    Rigging elections with dodgy postal votes?

    Taxing the population into oblivion?

    False manifesto promises - WHERE IS OUR LISBON TREATY REFERENDUM?

    Or his so called ministers gorging themselves at the trough of public money.

    I dont want to hear sorry, I want him and his sycophants gone - the man is at best incompetent. It is hard to believe that anyone could make so many dumb decisions deliberately.

    The list is endless...

    GET LOST GORDON CLOWN, GO BACK TO SCOTLAND AND RUIN THEIR COUNTRY INSTEAD

  • Comment number 53.

    Nick,

    In fairly measured tones, the leader article in The Times today spells out what Gordon Brown should be apologising for:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article5854306.ece



    The British financial system is dysfunctional and has damaged the wider economy. Mr Brown is its author. It might hasten necessary repairs if he were to acknowledge those errors.


    Of course an apology won't make any difference to Gordon's electability. The public will also judge him on smugness, arrogance, inability to accept blame and inability to apologise.

    Brown's goose is well and truly cooked.

  • Comment number 54.

    Nick

    Some of us who are old enough can remember the previous boom and busts in the 1970's, 80's and 90's know that this one is the same as all the others but on a far larger scale. The government (small g) continually claims that it is a global problem which is correct, but it has been caused by irresponsible lending in the "Anglo Saxon" countries, in particular the USA and UK. Gordon Brown cannot deny responsibility for allowing banks and building societies to give 125% mortgages on fictitious salary claims because it was widely reported. Likewise anyone with half a brain should know that if the UK mortgage industry is being fed by foreign banks securitising loans into the UK it must make the economy vulnerable to that money drying up especially when house prices went beyond any reasonable level, pricing first time buyers out of the market. Houses stopped being a home and became a "one way investment". If Gordon Brown cannot see that what happened in 2008 is just a much bigger 1992/3 he is even more stupid than we all think.

    He is as much to blame as the bankers for the mess that we are in. If he like us considers that the pension given to Sir Fred by this government is unacceptable he should also recognise that he too is to blame for the current economic mess and not take his. It isn't however just a matter of apologising to the British taxpayer, it is apologising to the rest of the World for the financial mess he and others have caused to the world economy. The reality is that the UK economic growth over the last 10 years has been nothing more than a mirage funded by government and personal debt. He should stand up at the G20 conference accept his share of the blame and apologise to the rest of the world. The Labour party has never left the British economy in a better condition that it took over, but the current shambles is a mother and father of a disgrace.

    What a legacy he has left for future historians to pick over.

  • Comment number 55.

    Lets get back to basics here and not be distracted, I dont want an apology from Brown or this Government I want them to CALL AN ELECTION!

  • Comment number 56.

    #27 laughatthetories

    I don't know if i coated the expression in enough self-preserving irony.

    I'd have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for those pesky oxymoron comments!

  • Comment number 57.

    Laughatthetories wrote:
    In a sense 'public opinion' is an oxymoron.


    Except it isn't really an oxymoron. An oxymoron is when one part of the statement contradicts the other part - public and opinion aren't contradictions.

  • Comment number 58.

    Idea: let's come up with all the pop songs that deal with the aplogy conundrun!

    I already mentioned 'Je ne regrette rien'

    and there are quite a few back-into-the-ones

    maybe mention your (least-)favourite politician to sing it

    it's too easy to mention the guy most unlikely to snig it

  • Comment number 59.

    @17 laughinglefty

    Think you need to drop the oxy, then you're in the right club!!

  • Comment number 60.

    #7
    "everybody need to accept that politicians and business leaders do not make decisions based on personal gain or aggrandisement, they genuinely believe they are doing the right thing at the the time"

    Did you miss the recent labour lords cash for amendments story, Mandelson on a yacht, money for peerages etc?

    Brown and his cadre were blinded by city money - simple as that. It swayed their decision making. Did he genuinely believe that abolishing 10p tax was right while Philip Green pays 0% on his 1.3bn dividend? If so, he's not fit to lead the country, especially under the aegis of a labour government.

  • Comment number 61.

    This debate about what to apologise for, if anything, goes to the heart of learning the lessons from the crisis that we are now facing.
    This is what matters - not some media storm over whether saying the word "sorry" would transform Labour's polling position or not.


    Nick,

    You seemed to have hit the nail fairly squarely but fail to actually surround it with any kind of context.

    Many people see Brown as the architect of failure because he continually set the parameters for debate, and gave platitudes to sooth even when warnings were coming from foreign independent bodies. "A golden Age"

    Just like Sir Fred he has been in charge whilst it would appear all the bodies he set up to "protect" us were given mixed messages and forced to look the other way

    The 30 day rule may indeed prove the situation quite damning as his instructions will be laid bare

    I have no desire for an apology, because I don't think that he could have done anything any differently to keep his profligate spending plans fully funded.

    What I would like is "accountability" and some honesty. I would like a full independent enquiry with a wide ranging remit to discover what went wrong, what went well, and what could we change so that we can prevent this type of Crash happening again.

    That report would allow us to learn from any mistakes and also enable prosecution of those who misrepresented the situation

    What is missing from the whole debacle is "trust", and in normal circumstances in industry that would be sufficient to end any contract.

    In Brown's case that contract needs to be renewed, and then we can have confidence to pull the country out of this crisis.

    I doubt whether Brown will actually say "Back me, or sack me" though, so we will have another 14 months of dithering and new policies even though we are now in a blind alley hurtling at full pelt, and no one knows if the way is clear.

  • Comment number 62.

    I'm reminded of former Prime Minister Bliar's "expression of sorrow" over the slave trade, yet stopping short of a "full apology".

    Even for one so wily with words, and unlike the bankers, Bliar knew that saying "sorry" has consequences.

    Brown knows this too well, and knows the consequences.

    "Seize the day?" Preacher, know thyself.





  • Comment number 63.

    The peoplpe on this site who frequently attack Margaret Thatcher should remember this.

    In all her time as PM she never collected her salary.

    Can't see any evidence of Tony or Gordon doing that.

  • Comment number 64.

    Gordon can't say sorry.....because Peter has told him that it would give too much succour to the Tories.

    Yes the very same Peter who dripped poison about Gordon into George's ear on Corfu last summer.

    Peter knows that the writing is on the wall and is having fun being Machiavellian at Gordon's expense.

    You would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

    Long may Gord. fail to apologise, I say!

    And hats off to Peter too, a true son of Nicco, after my own heart.

    Shame Gord. appears never to have got round to reading what was a set book for his European 2 history course as an Edinburgh undergraduate.

    A shame for him. But evidently not for the vast majority of the Robinson Bloggers!

  • Comment number 65.

    Of course the UK banking crisis is part of a global phenomenon. But as Osborne pointed out, the fact that so much of our (UK) economy has become dependent on endless easy credit has resulted in a far greater impact than we would have suffered otherwise.

  • Comment number 66.

    Just heard:

    No charges will be pressed against the protestor over the "green custard incident";

    It was a trifling offence

  • Comment number 67.

    5 Important things Gord the unelected said to Obama:-

    1 Global
    2 Global
    3 Global
    4 Global
    5 Global


    5 Important things that Gord did NOT say to Obama:-

    1 The downturn started in the United States
    2 This is no time for a novice (like you)
    3 For the longer term
    4 I saved the world
    5 It wasn’t me guv

  • Comment number 68.

    A sorry would be too late and I don't see the point in making him apologise now anyway.

    I don't think he is sorry, I don't think he feels the slightest bit of culpability or responsibility for the state of the economy, I actually don't think he cares about much other than simply 'being PM' - you can see this in statements like...

    'I believe that what the people want, is for me to get on with the job'

    ...It's a fair enough comment in a way, but since we never actually asked him to do it in the first place, I feel like he should at least find out if that IS 'what the people want' instead of appointing himself as 'spokesperson of the people'

    He's like the prat uncle at christmas who decides he is in charge of handing out nibbles... I CAN GET MY OWN NIBBLES THANKS, LEAVE THEM WHERE THEY ARE!!!

  • Comment number 69.

    Where have I seen that Alan Johnson before part 2

    The late sixties and he was a Butlins Redcoat. There was always one that looked a bit out of place - an older bloke, always a cheery smile on their face; hail fellow well met. But something indefinable creepy about them. You couldn't quite put your finger on it......

    Anyway I can see Alan Johnson to this day in his Butlins Redcoat. But what I can't see is him at the dispatch box. Not unless he is giving it a good polish along with the brasses. Long live Gordon is what I say until the penny drops that Alan is no alternative other than as a potential further source of public mirth. That should take about ten seconds.........

  • Comment number 70.

    "People, you, me, everybody need to accept that politicians and business leaders do not make decisions based on personal gain or aggrandisement, they genuinely believe they are doing the right thing at the the time."

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    Good one.

  • Comment number 71.

    Nick,

    it might be better if we could get Brown to apologise for his involvement in the Iraq war, and the problems now under his watch in Afghanistan. There must an inquiry into Iraq, and there must be a formal statement from the PM to parliament about what the Afghan project is all about. It is not good enough to say it may take generations to sort out.

    The lives have been wasted, before we know we will be part of a coalition in the war against pakistan, and then the trouble will really begin for obvious reasons.

  • Comment number 72.

    Gordon Brown has already said that he doesn't think any regulatory system could have prevented the current crunch.

    He needs to apologise for his stupidity for not recognising this fact earlier.

    Regulators cannot predict the future any better than any one else.

    We need to ditch these expensive quangos, de-regulate and let the free-market get on with it.

    The governments role should be to work on a new framework to protecting the public and taxpayers from the consequences.

    Bailing out the banks is the worst possible thing that brown could have done.

    It was not 'our' problem until brown sold us, our children and grandchildren down the river -- while the bankers retire in the ultimate luxury.

  • Comment number 73.

    If he doesnt knwo what to say sorry for how about letting us throw custard at him for a day?!!

    I'd pay quite a bit for the privilige and I doubt I'm the only one, might even help the black hole budget defecit....

  • Comment number 74.

    Nick, you are a genius.

    Just noticed on the BBC "Quiz of The Week's News" that Brown did receive 19 standing ovations when he addressed congress.

    So the official version - as released by Nick while the speech was still going on - is correct, and all those commentators who listened and counted only 17 or 18 are clearly wrong.

  • Comment number 75.


    Evidently the conclusion to be drawn is that GB considers that he has done nothing wrong. And consequently, overwhelming debt is good....

    Which would explain his preference for QE and his snub at savers.

    Or
    He did nothing wrong because he wasn't/isn't in control. If he's not, should he expect any of us to have confidence in him?

  • Comment number 76.

    Maybe GB has more integrity than we think.

    Maybe he won't say sorry because he isn't.

    Like many of the left he may believe that the British (well, OK, mainly the English) should be punished for their past misdeeds - slavery, the potato famine, empires (of all kinds), the extinction of the dinosaurs, etc, and this is his way of doing it.

    As a 'son of the manse' he may well have been schooled in the 'wages of sin' philosophy.

    And I know the saying of 'never assign to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence', but really - that much incompetence?

  • Comment number 77.

    #7

    "People, you, me, everybody need to accept that politicians and business leaders do not make decisions based on personal gain or aggrandisement, they genuinely believe they are doing the right thing at the the time"

    Pull the other one!! So you honestly believe that Jaqui Smith pocketing £116k was doing the right thing. Or that Lord Myners - responsible for the government's position on Fred Goodwin's pension - is himself as a former director entitled to a £4m RBS pension.

    Start by saying sorry to the taxpayer for the despicable culture of greed, hypocrisy that has been allowed to fester unchecked for the last 12 years.

  • Comment number 78.

    Sorry seems to be the hardest word in Brown's NWO fuelled campaign of controlling the world and ruining Britain in the process.

    He should also come out a live in a place like South Harrow to see what he and his government have allowed to happen to our country over the last eleven years. Unchecked immigration resulting in foreign countries within our own.

  • Comment number 79.

    c'mon, this is a phoney debate - politicians NEVER say sorry, do they? - funnily enough, I have a feeling it could be a powerful and effective thing to do ... for the very reason that nobody ever does it

    would be risky though

  • Comment number 80.

    Nick,

    Do you really think it wis for a PM to apologise for screwing up the land after running the show for more than a decade, not much more a year before an election?

    You are looking at PMs past, so look at dear Nev - he screwed up and went. Like the banks he had in his hand a piece of paper... it was worthless.

    Talking of blitzes... I wonder Nick, whether you are being cryptic, leading us up the Churchill road this week...

    Looking back to the past, when the seeds of the current problem with light touch seem to have been sown, are you pondering whether it was wise of Gordon to reflect on the spirit of the blitz?

    Yes, we endured the slings and arrows, but we looked at who it was that was bombing us out of our houses and businesses and said:

    Hitler and his Nazi gang have sown the wind; let them reap the whirlwind.

    And they did....

  • Comment number 81.

    Apologies are insufficient. At least in the US the authorities prosecute resulting in fines like for Lloyds TSB (USD 345 m) for account name stripping breaking money laundering laws or in the case of individuals custodial sentences - remember the NatWest 3?

    Here in the UK only knighthoods and seats in the House of Lords beckon. What do you expect in a bankrupt banana republic?

  • Comment number 82.

    40#

    No worries, my apologies for any confusion.

    Just that there are very very few Doric speakers on these blogs, so when they crop up, they tend to be noticed!

  • Comment number 83.

    Yes, definitely should apologise for the mistakes made with regulation, house prices, over-spending and over-borrowing. More than anything he should apologise for the deceitful way in which he and his government have tried to introduce things on the British public that they did not want. Some examples being uncontrolled immigration, PFI to hide borrowing and short-term policy designed to win votes and not in the longer term public interest.

    Robinson and the BBC should apologise for biased reporting and being a mouthpiece for this terrible government.

  • Comment number 84.

    Want of foresight, unwillingness to at when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until emergency comes, until self-preservation strkes its jarring gong.

    I think those are all things for which Mr Brown could consider apology. And he might just recognise them, since they come from a speech of his much more esteemed antecedent, Winston Churchill, to the House Of Commons in 1935.

  • Comment number 85.

    Other than the blessed St Vincent of Cable, I am unable to recall any opposition politician raising any concerns about private debt, up until the US mortgage market collapsed last year.
    However in the spirit of compromise, once the Tories, represented by Tebbit, apologise for provoking the Miners Strike & the Poll Tax, Gordon could apologise to all of us, on behalf of New Labour, for being too enthralled by the City.

  • Comment number 86.

    P.S.

    It might be just me bing slow, but the first person I heard banging on about what a good idea it would be to have a temporary cut in VAT if we can aford it like.... was......

    KEN CLARKE.

    Before he was invited back to the front bench for the tories and before he started villifying it as a completely ineffectual waste.

    Oh well.

  • Comment number 87.

    Nick, I'm afraid your standards have slipped below measurement level. It seems you, along with the politicians, have fallen out of step with the majority of opinion in this country, and therefore seem to have little relevance to any of us.

    I'm not going to list all the things that Brown and his cohorts should say sorry for, since this particualr post could break all longevity records on your blog.

    Suffice it to say that Mandelson's custard overcoat should just be the beginning, and I hope its not long before he gets another one, and the rest of the cabinet can get matching outfits. Perhaps then they might begin to take notice of the people they claim to represent!

  • Comment number 88.

    Apologies if someone has already linked to this.

    Crash may not have caused the "Global Recession" but there are plenty of things he did which has made our position worse and for which he should apologise.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    Hat Tip: The Times, Danny Finkelstein

  • Comment number 89.

    Laughatthetories, your assumption that all the anti Gordon posts on here are from tory supporters is offensive and stupid.

    Your arguement taken to its logical conclusion seems to be that Labour can destroy the economy, bring in repugnant anti terrorist laws, invade 2 countries and give Harriet harman a job as being ok, because its still better than the tory party, its that kind of arrogance that will lead to Labours downfall.

    Not aTory and not a labour supporter

    Kentish independence

  • Comment number 90.

    #7 windwatcher

    People, you, me, everybody need to accept that politicians and business leaders do not make decisions based on personal gain or aggrandisement, they genuinely believe they are doing the right thing at the the time.

    -------------------------------------------

    Does that include releasing misleading data on knife crime?
    And then not allowing the release of accurate data on immigration this week because they didn't like what it showed?

    How is this in our interest rather than in their interest?

    If you truely believe your statement, then you are truely naive.

  • Comment number 91.

    Re the quantitative easing, which seems to fail logical and rational explanation, I saw one comment that indicated that the bonds the BofE plans to buy would not form part of national debt, and I'm not sure exactly how this can be.

    However, if by some miracle it is, then the BofE should give each and every citizen £10,000 immediately. This is only a starter of course since I don't wish to appear too greedy.

    We could then use this money to kick start the economy by purchasing British cars, British consumer goods, and British holidays.

    Then we might all feel better, and may be prepared to support the government. Of course, I might be lying, but it you don't try it, you'll never know. Since that seems to be the supporting logic for quantitative easing, you might as well push the boat out, provided its been built in Britian by British workers, of course.

  • Comment number 92.

    Econoce

    How about:-

    The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum.

    :-)

  • Comment number 93.

    Saying sorry is not going to help. We need an election now. Printing money is a disaster that will totally wreck this country. If you think it is bad now, wait until 2011. God help us.

  • Comment number 94.

    Brown will not say sorry until the groundwork has been done by his colleagues and apologists first. The lack of a need to apologise was clearly shown in your report yesterday where you published half an hour before the Brown US speech was even finished and consequently quoted an incorrect number of ovations. By having pet reporters instead of critical ones he can continue to get away with it and move on. The lack of your own apology shows the low level that the political bubble has reached and is surely hypocritical for you to publish a speech about saying sorry the very next day. Shameful.

  • Comment number 95.

    Crash will never get away from the fact the economy failed under HIS WATCH while both chancellor and PM.

    Regardless of whether he apologises or not, banks failed and his policies have failed.

    Only yesterday the BofE implied this when the started 'printing money'. The many and varied Goverment initiatives to get the banks lending to business have failed and so the BofE have had to step in and lend directly to business.

    This Gov't is all talk and no trousers.

    No more proof than that required.

  • Comment number 96.

    Okay, young Robinson, here's what the Golem should apologise for: the statements regarding his abolishment of "boom and bust". Everything stems from that. He should also apologise for trashing his "fiscal rules".
    The global crisis might not have been avoided, but Britain's exposure to it would've been greatly diminished if the Golem hadn't been such an arrogant, ignorant numpty.

  • Comment number 97.

    Oooh, it's Friday and the mods seem to be on a go slow.

    How about Brown saying sorry for NOT stopping the spin culture as he promised after his coronation. It seems that the premature release of the knife stats that he seems to have authorised from No 10 (if it wasn't him, then who?) is a continuance of that poisonous activity.

  • Comment number 98.

    How about Brown saying sorry for the impoverishment of those thrifty people who have seen the value of their investments in property, equity, pension funds, ISA savings, and cash savings decline significantly under his stewardship of the economy?

    I am providing one apology request per post in an attempt to provide british jobs for british workers when there is obviously a staff shortage in the BBC's moderation department.

  • Comment number 99.

    Its not so much as wanting Brown to say sorry, as wanting him and his party to accept that he, (Brown), as an individual was as calpable as the bankers who have quit or been fired as a result of the part they played in bringing about the recession in this country.

    Just when you think the worst is over another bank bailout is made, putting the economic survival of the country even further at risk.

    Brown does not seem to get it. If you are the boss, it is a case of the buck stops here and you walk.

    An apology from him would be meaningless.
    He would not mean one word of it. It would be another Cherie Blair moment, written by AC.

    The only honourable course of action is for him to resign and let the country decide if we wish to continue with NuLabour in government or to choose another party.
    If Brown has the courage of his convictions,
    he would go to the country now.

    All these many billions and billions of pounds, so great no one has any real idea
    as to how much has been spent so far, are being spent in our name by the trio of Brown, Darling and Mandleson. Without the authority or recourse to parliament. How democratic is that?

    Before any more of our future wealth is spent, its time to stop and reflect where we are and more importantly where we are going and let the electorate decide, not this gang of three.

  • Comment number 100.

    Nick

    I don't want Brown to apologise - I want him to go

    I don't want Osborne to keep asking him to apologise - I want him to go as well.

    All I want is for an inspirational leader to emerge who can clearly articulate the necessary stages for recovery

    We are not only sliding down the economics league table

    We are also sliding down the political leaders league table

    My vote for Cameron at the next election will be mainly based on "anyone but Brown" rather than "this guy knows what to do"

 

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