When Nick Leeson ruined Barings bank he at least had the decency to place a A4 sheet of paper on his keyboard giving his apologies. That was just before he did a runner.
On that sheet of paper were two words.
In total he lost about $850 million.
Nick Leeson went to jail and Barings went bust.
It looks like history may be repeating itself, although on a far grander scale. Nick Leeson's losses were, all-in-all, a mere smidgen of the amount of wealth vaporised by Gordon Brown and associates.
Liam Byrne of the outgoing Labour administration also left a note, just before making an exit. It was addressed to his successor at the Treasury.
The note read:
"I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left."
I suppose at least that shows a level of honesty. (See Timesonline article here)
A level of honesty similar to Nick Leeson's anyway. But I don't expect anyone will be going to prison.
As for the main architects of this calamity, namely Messrs Brown and Darling, barely a squeak. The only statement being a piece of flannel coming from Darling. He stated that Osborne's warnings about the Labour debt mountain were simply propaganda.
Actually I'm surprised Darling didn't blame it all on the last Conservative administration.
The one thing Osborne must not do is to try and hide the magnitude of the problem. OK the pound may take a hammering, we may lose out AAA credit rating but the facts of this catastrophe must be made public.
Electorates rely on information to make their decisions. That is why Brown postponed the last spending review. The present government has started well and must continue to treat voters with honesty and clarity.
Osbourne will be doing nobody any favours by papering over the fissures left by the Brown and Darling.
I hope we hear the unbridled truth. However bad it may be.