Do Mr. Brown and his party really deserve blame for the crisis here? Yes and no.
Mr. Brown bought fully into the dogma that the market knows best, that less regulation is more. In 2005 he called for “trust in the responsible company, the engaged employee and the educated consumer” and insisted that regulation should have “not just a light touch but a limited touch.” It might as well have been Alan Greenspan speaking.
There’s no question that this zeal for deregulation set Britain up for a fall. Consider the counterexample of Canada — a mostly English-speaking country, every bit as much in the American cultural orbit as Britain, but one where Reagan/Thatcher-type financial deregulation never took hold. Sure enough, Canadian banks have been a pillar of stability in the crisis.
But here’s the thing. While Mr. Brown and his party may deserve to be punished, their political opponents don’t deserve to be rewarded.
An interesting column on the disjunction in UK and US politics.