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Rock deal should have been secret

I suspect that your columns will be full of comments arguing about how the crisis at Northern Rock should have been handled. I cannot help wondering if the entire matter could have been dealt with far more satisfactorily by the trio in question – the Bank of England, the FSA and HM Government?

In a democracy, the overriding consideration is the right to know. But if this doctrine is followed blindly, our security service would be posting all their secrets on the internet. Would that be good for the country as a whole? Certainly not.

There are some things that we do not have a right to know – such as when national interest overrides. What benefit has the release of the Northern Rock information given? I suggest, none.

The point here is that if the Bank of England been able to assist Northern Rock quietly to overcome the current (hopefully short-term) problem, without the need to release information, the whole country would have been better off.

The Bank of England has stated there was nothing to worry about, as did the Chancellor, so why release information which was bound to cause the inevitable panic we have witnessed?

Other than unecessarily concerning and distressing thousands of people about their savings, look at the damage caused to the reputation of the banking industry.

I fear that other banks might soon be facing similar difficulties and the knock-on effects could be devastating.

Could this situation not have been foreseen and avoided by those charged with protecting the integrity of our banking system?

Could this sad scenario have been dealt with in a more sensible manner?

The regulators appear not to have regulated, the Bank of England could have been more discreet and the Government has performed yet another U-turn.

Barry Johnson
Barry Johnson Financial Services


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