This is getting serious…

As the whiff of panic rises on a grey February Monday morning, there’s a common factor. The government has been dithering – and fatally. Is this part of the panic and should be ignored? I suggest it should be. The eye of the storm is not the right place to make the judgment, even though you feel the pain most.

Lloyds/TSB shares fall 15% in the first 10 minutes of trading after losing 36 billion in a few hours last Friday. £17 billion of public money poured into the ailing group has gone already, reports the BBC. Full nationalisation cannot be long delayed.

850 jobs go at Mini car factory. The government and doing too little too late, says Unite chief Tony Woodley

The Times
The CBI says that the country’s economic output will fall by 3.3 per cent this year – the sharpest annual contraction since the Second World War – and will all but stagnate in 2010. The CBI Director-General Richard Lambert attacked the Government for failing to head off the worst of the downturn. He said that the Government needed to draw up a timetable to outline when its multibillion-pound package of measures, announced last month, would come into force. “Business needs the Government to hurry up,”

The Financial Times
Only about £12m has been lent to companies under the government’s £1bn loan guarantee scheme for small business, a month after it was launched, according to analysis by the Financial Times and is “nowhere near enough.”

and the Sun’s Trevor Kavanagh, a big bellwether of political trends, once a big Gordon Brown fan..

WHY is Gordon Brown still Prime Minister? After the events of last week, why has he not resigned? And if he won’t go of his own accord, how long before he is hounded out by voters whose homes, pensions and jobs he’s put in peril?

Even sober political commentators like the Guardian’s Jackie Ashley are talking wild

I’m told the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has a favourite candidate to head (a new world regulatory body) – Gordon Brown. Doesn’t the party want Brown to take them through the election, go down fighting – if that’s what happens – and then start again with a new leader? Not necessarily. If Brown stepped aside and was replaced by, say, Alan Johnson, then Labour might do better (in a Spring election.) ..Better amputation than slow death…

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London