They were widely accused of dithering earlier this week but Gordon Brown and Chancellor Alistair Darling have now finally caught up with events and have tried for the first time to overtake them by unveiling a 50-billion pound rescue package for the banks.
One thing looks certain after Alistair Darling’s speech to***the Labour Party conference on Monday — he’ll be Chancellor of***the Exchequer for a while yet.****** Prime Minister Gordon Brown is expected to reshuffle his***ministerial team next week and there’s been a lot of speculation***that Darling could lose his job and be moved to another***department.****** The silver-haired finance minister has had a rough ride***lately. The economy is on the brink of recession and his***comments in a magazine interview saying the economic challenges***were the greatest in 60 years caused a furore and were blamed***for sinking the pound.****** But delegates at the Labour conference today just loved him.***They stood and clapped and then they clapped some more after***Darling hit out at unfettered capitalism and the huge payouts***given to bankers that he said helped cause the credit crunch.****** Darling looked genuinely embarrassed. He called for them to***stop but the delegates just went on. Besides modesty, the***finance minister had another reason for wanting them to stop.****** He had another type of conference call to attend to. A G7***one. The finance ministers and central bankers of the rich***nations club were having a hastily-arranged telephone chat at***1230 London time to discuss the latest bout of market turmoil.****** Given London’s position as one of the world’s top financial***centres, Darling could hardly miss out and he rushed off the***stage to get on with his G7 buddies.****** The crisis also looks to have cemented Darling’s position.***It would seem odd to remove the finance minister when the whole***world financial system is in the middle of the biggest upheaval***in a generation.****** With Brown making his economic experience a key selling***point, he needs Darling on side.
(updated on July 15 with news that Gillespie won’t join as chairman)
Alliance & Leicester had increasingly been looking like a takeover target and Spain’s Santander has taken advantage of 75 percent collapse in the mortgage banks’ share price over the past year.