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Do pray for us Mr Darling

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by Gill Montia
Do pray for us Mr Darling

As yesterday morning’s speaker on BBC Radio 4′s “Thought for the Day” urged a bleary-eyed nation to consider in its prayers the plight of bankers, whose lives may be torn apart by the credit crisis, and bear in mind their efforts in support of charity, a new day of financial turmoil was about to break.

Initial reports of a £50 billion rescue package for High Street banks came with the prospect of the taxpayer being able to partake in the future profits of restored banks.

In a matter of a couple of hours, another zero had slipped into the equation as the package actually offers £50 billion to bolster banks’ balance sheets, so that Tier 1 ratios are at least worthy of a Bradford & Bingley bowler hat, and a further £450 billion in loans and guarantees.

Reassurances followed, that risking this colossal sum of money was effectively the lesser of two evils.

At midday yesterday, the Bank of England’s Monetary Polity Committee had announced an emergency 0.5% cut in the base rate.

Wise commentators on a crisis that has become a daily event advocate putting aside questions of responsibility, culpability or even the forgiveness mentioned on “Though for the Day”, until calmer times.

For many the television spectacle of Richard Fuld, former chairman of Lehman Brothers, answering to US politicians does not bring on a strong desire to see senior UK banking executives in a similar position.

Not least, those most likely to be sitting in the hot seat lack the sheer architecture of Mr Fuld’s face.

Maybe offices will be lost and Knighthoods snatched away but as the British taxpayer squares up the burden ahead, we can only hope that someone, somewhere is saying their prayers.

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News posted: October 9, 2008

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