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Alistair Darling hits out at ‘arrogant and stupid’ bankers

Extracts from memoir reveal former chancellor’s reaction to 2008 financial crash

Former chancellor Alistair Darling has attacked “arrogant and stupid” bankers in his memoir of life in No 11 Downing Street.

In extracts revealed by the Labour supporting website Labour Uncut, Darling writes caustically about the bankers involved in the financial crash of 2008.

The website quotes his book, Back From The Brink: 1,000 Days At No 11, as saying: “My worry is that they were so arrogant and stupid they might bring us all down.”

Darling – who chose to return to the backbenches after Labour’s defeat in the 2010 general election – describes the attitude of the former RBS chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin as being in keeping with someone “off to play a game of golf”.

He said Goodwin “deserved to be a pariah” for refusing to give up his pension after taking the lender to the brink of collapse.

Darling described the former HBOS chief executive Andy Hornby as “looking like he was about to explode” when faced with the scale of what had happened.

The book, due to be published next Wednesday, is also set to give an insight into former prime minister Gordon Brown’s “brutal and volcanic” demeanour and also confirms that Brown tried to force Darling out of No 11 in 2009.

According to the website, Darling singles out the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, and former business minister Baroness Vadera as key allies of Brown, and repeatedly claims they were running what amounted to a parallel Treasury operation within government.

The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, insisted he was concentrating on the issues facing the country rather than Darling’s memoirs.

Asked about the claim Balls ran a parallel Treasury operation, Miliband said: “I certainly didn’t see that.”

Speaking to Sky News, he added: “Alistair’s got a perfect right to write his memoirs and talk about his reflections on his time in office, and I’m sure they will be interesting for people.

“But the important thing for me to do, which I’m going to do, is talk about the needs of the economy going forward and the needs of the country.

“And there are urgent issues we face, not simply reflections on time in office – and I’m sure Alistair will be the first to say this – but how do we get our economy growing?” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds