Ex-British finance minister attacks 'arrogant' bankers

2nd September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's former finance minister Alistair Darling has attacked "arrogant and stupid" bankers in his new memoir of life during the most turbulent period of the financial crisis.

Darling was particularly critical of some senior bankers, saying the former chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Fred Goodwin, "deserved to be a pariah" for refusing to give up his pension after the bank required a huge state bailout.

In "Back From The Brink: 1,000 Days At No 11", Darling said: "My worry is that they (the bankers) were so arrogant and stupid they might bring us all down."

Darling compared Goodwin's attitude to the crisis with someone "off to play a game of golf", according to extracts from the book reported on the Labour Uncut website.

The former finance minister, or Chancellor of the Exchequer, describes Andy Hornby, chief executive of the stricken HBOS, as "looking like he was about to explode" when confronted with the scale of the banks' difficulties.

The book, which is to be serialised by a Sunday newspaper, will also give an insight into former prime minister Gordon Brown's "brutal and volcanic" demeanour.

Darling was finance minister from 2007 to 2010, when Brown's Labour government was voted out of power.

The Labour government spent billions of pounds bailing out a string of major banks at the height of the 2008 credit crunch, resulting in the nationalisation of Northern Rock and multi-billion-pound rescues of RBS and Lloyds Banking Group.

The taxpayer now owns 82 percent of RBS and 40.2 percent of rival Lloyds, while Northern Rock remains in public ownership.

© 2011 AFP

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