On the eve of the chancellor’s pre-budget statement we would do well to memorise yesterday’s testimony to the parliamentary commission on banking standards. It’s pretty shattering stuff.

Take Sir James Crosby – once the CEO of HBOS. Under fire from the politicians, he grudgingly reached the verbal admission that incompetence, at least much as the global financial crisis, had smashed up his bank. He was “deeply sorry” for the HBOS catastrophe.

So sorry that he’s keeping his half million pound-a-year  pension. Oh, and he’s keeping his knighthood, perhaps because he’s so low profile that no one has remembered that he has one, or so it seems. I mean, we have all heard of Fred the Shred Goodwin, but Sir James Crosby?

Oh, and by the way Crosby also admitted he’d sold two thirds of his shares in HBOS in the two years that led up to the bank’s effective collapse. So he was more competent with his own money than he was with ours? Is that an offence? Almost certainly not.

But then these extracted “mea culpas” from both Crosby, and his old HBOS mate Andy Hornby have perhaps eclipsed the most shocking evidence heard at the inquiry yesterday.

Andy Haldane, who looks after financial stability issues at the Bank of England, stated that the banking crisis was “as bad as a world war”. Gosh! And George Osborne is having a bit of a job reducing the deficit.

Hold onto your horses, tomorrow is another day.

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