An interesting set of comments from Gordon Brown, first pointed out by a commenter on Guido Fawkes' blog. You can watch the Brown interview with Sky News here, and the PM's comments are copied below. Gordon Brown said:
"You can't excuse the irresponsibility that took place in a number of
institutions. Its got to be cleaned up and its got to be cleaned up
"What I am saying is, what we are discovering is that
there were large off balance sheet activities that were being run by
some of the major companies in the world..."
"They were not fully
disclosed, they were therefore the problem that had to be dealt with
when the markets started to fall, and so you have had some of the
biggest companies in the world having to bring back on to balance sheet
and declare huge losses from off balance sheet activities that people
were not fully aware of."
The hypocrisy is breathtaking! Has he forgotton public sector pensions, PFI, Network Rail and nuclear decomissioning? Not to mention Northern Rock, although to be fair Northern Rock will be coming onto the balance sheet. As we point out in our report, published today, total government liabilities (including these off balance sheet items) are well over 100 per cent of GDP, compared with net debt of less than 40 per cent (see full report for references):