Was action delayed because of the planned November election?
With the government having lined up a veteran City executive, Ron Sandler, to run a nationalised Northern Rock there’s been a big downward move on the stock market on the NR share price. The expectation is that if the government steps in then equity investors will suffer.
But what is the political price of such a move which has been advocated by the Lib Dem treasury spokesman, Vince Cable, for several months?
A lot depends on how much this is going to cost the tax-payer and, no doubt, the plan is to bring some stability to the institution and then try to sell it off.
But could the government be accused of not taking proper action in September because of fears that such a move could have damaged the build-up to the planned November 1st general election?
And will we hear opposition politicians like Cable and Osborne argue that that it could all have been sorted at a much lower cost then if the right decisions had been taken?
The danger for Brown and Darling, surely, is if the argument develops that the taxpayer is being left to foot the bill for the costs of deferring proper action beyond the planned general election date.
It might all go well for ministers but one of the reasons why I moved from a being Labour buyer to a Tory buyer on the commons seats spread markets at the weekend was my view that NR could caused further undermine Labour’s poll ratings.