I wrote this piece for Comment Is Free yesterday. The immediate crisis has passed. But for how long?
"For all I know those impervious queuers who've been emptying the vaults of Northern Rock really are the bunch of lemmings both the bank and government's top brass think they are yet daren't say so. But I'm inclined to look on them more fondly. Would you sink a single penny into that company just now? The sound of on-message Andy Burnham, chief secretary to the Treasury, squirming away from just such a question on yesterday's PM programme has been a highlight of the Great Rock Crumble so far.
What its customers think they know, is that investors, City wiseguys, politicians and the rest know that no one is in full control of this credit crunch thing, and that the whole edifice of debt whose shadow we've been gorging in is wobbling. Listen again (from 0708) to those interviewed hours before dawn this morning and you'll see what I mean. It's sobering stuff. At the same time there's something horribly thrilling about catching the great god of global finance, if not in its birthday suit, then in surprisingly threadbare underwear. That goes too for the search for scapegoats. Perhaps it's a further measure of how amorphous is that mystic entity "the markets" - hallowed be their name - that no one can agree on what or who is to blame."