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Ben Chu

Ben Chu has been a leader writer at The Independent since 2004. Before that he worked at the paper on the comment desk, letters department and the personal finance pages. He studied history at Jesus College, Oxford between 1997 and 2000.

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The Tories' clever honesty

Posted by Ben Chu
  • Friday, 13 March 2009 at 02:43 pm

I gather David Cameron will make a speech to the British Chamber of Commerce in Birmingham later this afternoon in which the Tory leader will admit that his party did not do enough to warn about the debt bubble in the private sector.
          This strikes me as significant. The Tories' prime strategy in this economic crisis, until now, has to been to try to conflate the issues of private and public sector debt. The party has looked to play down the greed and foolishness of the banks, fearing that a focus on this catastrophic market failure would take the heat off Gordon Brown.
        Yet while people are receptive to the idea that Brown made mistakes with the public finances, the Tories' attempts to pin the blame for the collapse of the banks on the Prime Minister simply don't wash - especially as the Conservatives themselves did not call for tougher regulation of bank lending in the boom.
            Now Cameron has admitted his party's failure in this respect. This is honest and therefore worthy of respect. Yet it is also good politics. Will Mr Brown now acknowledge his manifest failure to regulate the banks properly in an equally honest fashion? Over to you Prime Minister…



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