Whoop-de-do, they’ve made a decision

Readers of this blog will realise I’ve been banging on about the Government’s indecision in the case of Northern Rock, so you can understand why I’m a little relieved that they’ve …

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20th February 2008 at 9:45 am

Readers of this blog will realise I’ve been banging on about the Government’s indecision in the case of Northern Rock, so you can understand why I’m a little relieved that they’ve at last done something. Granted it was only because plan A had failed several times, which is infinitely less than ideal, but at least we now know where we stand. Existing loans won’t be hit and the bank is open for new deposits. I’m not exactly rushing to put my life savings into it.

That they’ve come to the decision at which they should have arrived months ago is evident to many. The Times’ Anatole Kaletsky explained the events in his column yesterday with his customary lucidity and also points out that the Government’s apparent objective is out of sync with any likely outcome. I can’t help agreeing.

More interestingly there’s a precedent. I’ll leave it to the BBC’s Evan Davis to explain it in his blog, but it seems this whole bank loses people’s confidence-state tries to find a buyer-state fails dismally and nationalises has been gone through at least once before.

Which makes it all the more bewildering that the Government didn’t take this step when it first became apparent it’d be a good idea – when, in the favourite word of our Prime Minister, it was prudent.

Guy Clapperton

Guy Clapperton is a freelance journalist who specialises in small business issues and has written for the likes of The Guardian, the FT and the Daily Mirror. Guy has written about finance and franchising for SmallBizPod. http://www.guyclapperton.co.uk

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