|Mr Brown spent ten years at the Treasury like this|
“I’m just an average wee chappie with a PhD in History, so obviously I haven’t got a clue about all that mumbo-jumbo about shares and bonds and whatnot,” Mr Brown told the Institute for New Economic Thinking's annual conference in New Hampshire, to the chagrin of conference organisers who paid him a large fee under the impression that he did. “All I know about banks is what I see in the adverts. To be honest, I didn’t even know that Abbey National was bought by Santander. That must be why they disappeared from the high street - I’d been wondering about that.”
“And I thought Lloyds ran the trains in the Channel Tunnel,” he added, to gales of laughter.
“You know, you’d think - with half the Treasury consisting of civil servants who’d been on lengthy secondments to the City and the other half being bankers on secondment to the Treasury - somebody there might have had some notion of just how much the banks were all mortgaged to each other. But no, apparently not,” insisted the man who was responsible for the economy for ten years.
“When I was setting up the Financial Services Authority, I did send a memo round asking if anyone could explain the basics to me,” he went on, as delegates rolled helplessly in the aisles. “But when I chased it up people just coughed, looked at their shoes and told me it was all completely straightforward and the worst that could conceivably happen might be one of the smaller banks being swallowed up if a huge sinkhole were to suddenly open up in Central London.”
“Tell me, was I so wrong that to be trusting?” pleaded Mr Brown, to rapturous applause.
“That Ricky Gervais charatcer, he kills me,” said one guffawing economist, wiping a tear from his eye. “At first you think he’s actually being serious. Gotta hand it to you British, you guys are shit hot at parody.”