Peter Hoskin

Is Darling paving the way for some “humility” from Brown?

Is Darling paving the way for some "humility" from Brown?
Text settings
Comments

Hm.  I was quite surprised by Alistair Darling's interview with the Telegraph this morning.  To my ear, Government rhetoric has been hardening over the past few weeks; the same old soundbites about "Tory cuts" and "Problems which started in America" used ever more defiantly.  But here we have a softening of approach, and - although there are some sleights of hand (Darling refers to mistakes made over the "last 15 years" - i.e. these were Tory mistakes too) - something close to an admission of Government guilt.  Here are the key passages from the article:

“There are a lot of lessons to be learnt by regulators, governments, all of us,” [Darling] says.

“The key thing that went wrong was that a culture was allowed to develop over the last 15 years or so where the relationship between what people did and what they got went way out of alignment, especially at the top end.

“If there is a fault, it is our collective responsibility. All of us have to have the humility to accept that over the last few years, things got out of alignment.”

....

He says: “There are some very hard questions to be asked about the regulatory model we have operated for the last few years.

“The model of us saying to them [the banks] ‘you say it’s OK to us and we’ll go along with it’ has failed. You should regulate according to risk ... financial services have to be properly run and supervised.”

Given that Ed Balls has also admitted some government responsibility for regulatory failures, it seems that Darling's words are 'on message'.  So you've got to wonder: why now?  Could we be seeing some "humility" from Brown in his Big Stateside Speech?  Watch this space.