LEADER: Less blame, more leadership, please

As the credit crisis rolls on, it is noticeable that all the major players have started apportioning blame via the media.

Danny Rogers, Editor, <em>PRWeek</em>
Danny Rogers, Editor, PRWeek

This week it was the turn of the Financial Services Authority, the very body that was supposed to be there to avoid crises such as Northern Rock. To be fair, it held up its hands to a 'lack of adequate oversight and review'.

MPs and financial journalists were quick to throw in their two-pennies-worth. Criticism of the Bank of England is mounting. Even Citigroup, one of the world's biggest banks, took a swipe at the Old Lady.

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Meanwhile politicians are making sure they are filmed looking grave and attending important meetings in the square mile to 'sort all this out'.

So who exactly was bringing the City of London to book early last year? The answer appears to be no-one.

As highlighted in this column in February, and even pointed out by right-leaning Jeff Randall in the Telegraph this week, the banking community argues for 'laissez faire' during the good times, but is quick to cry for state intervention when the gravy train runs dry.

Unfortunately this government and most of our media went along with the City's arguments for a long time.

Unlike the 1980s - when even the zeitgeist movie Wall Street had a moral conclusion - many seemed to have given in to a new consensus that greed was good after all. That record levels of consumer debt and astronomical City bonuses were sustainable.

Now we hear the state must prevent banks from going bust. Despite the fact that most of our pension funds are worth far less than six months ago, the banks' financial wellbeing is critical in restoring confidence to the economy, apparently.

The blame must stop before consumers' trust in banks and government sinks any lower.

Instead we need leadership, clarity and accountability from those who claim to run the economy, otherwise this downturn will only get worse.

Email: danny.rogers@haymarket.com

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