Saw a little of Cameron's impromptu performance at Tory conference today. (They've had to rejig the Conference schedule - how many cheesy stunts, months-in-the-making, have had to be pulled so they can look 'serious' and grown-up? Cameron is apparently going to deliver his big Conference speech from a podium, with notes, not walking around with his shirt sleeves rolled up like last year. But isn't that just as much a stunt? He's doing it to 'look' serious and statesmanlike, just as last year he was doing it to 'look' like the sort of guy you wouldn't mind having a pint with. And while we're on the subject, I hope you all saw the story about him going for a jog at Conference, walking when the cameras weren't there, then starting to run again when he saw them?)
I think the Tories are probably doing the right thing, in saying that this is no time for party political point-scoring, and they'll support the Government's rescue package. Of course, this is partly because they haven't got a clue what they'd do in our situation - not least because they're not involved in the high-end discussions, so couldn't really be expected to - and this way they can simply sit tight, try to impress us with their gravitas (which will be difficult for the devil child) and secretly hope for it all to go horribly wrong so that they can blame us.
Actually, that might be slightly unfair. Let's not forget that many of the Tories will be victims in this too. As I never tire of saying, half of the Tory 2005 intake were millionaires. (And that's just the new boys). Not all of them made their fortune in the City, but even those who didn't will probably have their money tied up in property or shares or other investments. Some of them are still combining a bit of financial wheeling and dealing with being an MP. Not sure if they're going to toe the party line. I expect there will be an emergency statement on this on Monday when Parliament returns, either from the PM or the Chancellor. Will be interesting to see how the rank-and-file Tories respond.
On a more serious note, obviously many ordinary people, with modest savings and investments, or their money tied up in their homes, are worried about what's going on. I had a call yesterday from a constituent, a pensioner who gets his pension paid directly into his bank account. He wanted to know what would happen if his bank went under. Of course, up to £35,000 savings would be protected by a Government guarantee, but I guess that takes time to arrange and he's worried that he wouldn't be able to withdraw the money he needs to live on from week-to-week. So when people argue against rescuing failing banks, on the grounds that they (meaning the financiers) have brought it on themselves and have only their own greed to blame), they should bear in mind that we're not doing it for them but for their customers. And to prevent a knock-on effect on other banks, and other customers.