Northern Rock Plan Backfires on Brown

Scathing critics slam Labour handling of bank's failure
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2008 10:55 AM CST
A sign is seen outside a branch of Northern Rock in London, Monday Jan. 21, 2008. Britain's Treasury chief Alistair Darling outlined a plan Monday for ailing mortgage lender Northern Rock to issue government-guaranteed...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A day after the chancellor of the exchequer announced new plans to accelerate the sale of Northern Rock, the British press sees serious trouble for Gordon Brown's government and no certainty that the taxpayers' $110 billion will be repaid. Anatole Kaletsky, a leading Times columnist who has been sympathetic to Labour in the past, is scathing: "Mr. Brown's career as a serious politician ended yesterday."

Brown, who for 10 years established Labour as the party of economic competence, had to "explode the entire fiscal framework on which Labour has built its tax and spending policies," Kaletsky writes. Other papers are equally disappointed: The right-leaning Telegraph bashes the "inept handling of this crisis from the outset," and an Independent columnist finds the "complacency" over the Rock's collapse "very hard to forgive."