In all the current “hang the bankers” frenzy (see BBC Question Time every week) coming out of left wing throats most of those voices seem to conveniently forget that Gordon Brown, from the moment he became Chancellor not only schmoozed with bankers but gave them the green light to encourage banks and building societies to lend money like a drunkard who has just won the lottery. We also know that Ed Balls, now shadow chancellor, was Brown’s creature from the very start. So yesterday’s statement from the Reverend Paul Flowers, Methodist minister, former Bradford Lalour Councillor and the ex Chairman of the collapsed Co-operative Bank that Ed Balls encouraged the bank to expand certainly rings true.
The Rev Paul Flowers, who was resigned as chairman of the Co-op Bank in June, said he had “absolutely no doubt” the lender had political and regulatory support for its 2009 takeover of the Britannia Building Society that has largely been blamed for putting a £1.5bn hole in the lender’s balance sheet. Rev Flowers said shadow chancellor Ed Balls had given his full support for the Britannia deal as a minister in the then Labour government
We also learned that that Rev Flowers authorised a payment of £10,000 to Ed Balls
Rev Flowers confirmed he had been involved in authorising the payment of £100,000 to Mr Balls and his Parliamentary office, though he said the money had come from the Co-op Group and not the Co-op Bank as the lender was “politically neutral”. “We believe in supporting our political friend,” he said, describing the donations to politicians as “small amounts of money”.
The hapless Reverend also had a confession to make
Rev Flowers admitted during his evidence his only qualification for chairing the Co-op Bank was four years spent working in a bank after he left school and said his experience could be considered “out of date”.
Four years of working in the real world – doesn’t sound much does it? But it’s four years more than self proclaimed economic mastermind Ed Balls. Though one has to admit that Ed certainly displayed a mastery of financial legerdemain in the way he operated his parliamentary expenses…