The contrast between the decisive moves of the US Federal Bank to try and end the agony of the US Bank Bear Stearns and Labour’s politically-motivated dithering over Northern Rock could not be greater. The former sorted out its problem over a weekend whilst the latter wriggled for months on the hook whilst they worked out which solution was best for Labour’s electoral prospects.

Now, though, some of Labour’s North-Eastern pigeons are about to come home to roost. One of the swords hanging over Northern Rock from day one has been that of EU Competition Law and the extent and nature of government assistance that could lawfully be extended before it fell foul of the restrictions on State Aid. Labour got away with its relatively small bung to Rover when it went bust precisely because the bung was pretty small. This time, however, the sums involved are potentially astronomic.

Labour’s problem is that the bulk of the jobs in the Bank are in the North-East, long a Labour heartland that it treats as its own fiefdom, to be run entirely for Labour’s electoral benefit. In addition a fair chunk of the mortgages its has on its book are in the North-East so the failure of the Bank would have had catastrophic consequences for Labour MPs at the next election had not Brown and Darling been prepared to bail it out with Taxpayer’s money.

The EU is finally beginning to catch up with these crooks, though, and there is every likelihood that the workforce will have to be slashed as part of the requirements of meeting EU Competition Law. We are now within two years or so of an election, so this loss of jobs is going to be keenly felt. For every employee who loses their job, there will be family and friends who will see at first hand what Labour’s pretence to a reputation for economic competence means in practice.

So too will some 213,000 of the Rock’s mortgage holders who are coming to the end of their fixed-rate terms and who will now suddenly have to find typically something like an extra £100 per month to fund their new deal. Many already struggling to make ends meet may find this the last straw and go belly-up. Again, that is a huge number of voters and their families who will have first-hand experience of Labour’s economic competence.

It will be interesting to see if Brown, Darling and others decide to spin this as “all the fault of the EU”. It will be a considerable temptation in a cadre of politicians that always blames someone else if it possibly can for its own incompetence. It would also be a delicious irony given that this is the self-same institution to which Labour MPs have recently voted to accord vast new sovereign powers by railroading through Parliament the EU Constitution. When they lose their formerly copper-bottomed seats in Rotten Borough Land, will they, one wonders, remember at whose behest all those jobs had to be junked? And if so, might it, in future, make them pause for thought about the wisdom of being in thrall to the EU?

Almost certainly not. They are, as a group, some of the more stupid human beings on this earth and will probably never make the connection. Instead they will resort to blaming the last Tory Government or wicked City of London Capitalists or anyone who is not Labour. Still, if they do so as ex-MPs, who cares?

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