Peter Hoskin

Far from secure

Far from secure
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Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling have just delivered an absurd medley of deceptions, unwarranted boasts and blame-shifting.  Their Northern Rock press conference in brief: everything's the fault of global forces, and we can be happy that Brown's "long-term decisions" will stave off the worst of it all.  There's plenty of material there for the Spectator's Brownies campaign.

The worst part, though, was Brown's claim that "the reputation of London [as a financial centre] is secure".  In truth, there are few scenarios which will dissuade foreign investment more than the forced nationalisation of a bank.  When you factor in the Chancellor's track record - the misguided capital gains and non-dom tax proposals, and the attacks on executive wages - then it's clear that this Government has massively undermined business confidence in the UK.  

The worry for investors is that - with the full force of the credit-crunch yet to be felt, and with Darling at the helm of the economy - things may only get worse...