In today’s FT, Alan Greenspan describes the current financial mess as the “most wrenching since the end of the Second World War” (his hindsight being rather better than his foresight). Dismayed though Americans may be, they can console themselves with this fact. The Federal government did not end up having to nationalise Bear Stearns thus lumbering its taxpayer with £100,000,000,000 debt, à la Northern Rock. The cost of this has been kept in the banking industry. Britain will have many, many years to rue the fact that its government was incapable of banging heads together as quickly.