Sir Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, is nothing if not stubborn. He was never going to admit any more than tangential responsibility for the financial crisis. Yet when it came, his first mea culpa of any significance for the worst peacetime recession since the 1930s was so de minimis as to be barely perceptible.
Yes, he should have shouted louder about the build-up of leverage, he admitted in his Today programme lecture – in the circumstances, the least possible he could have coughed to – but on the question of blame, there was only the familiar list of culprits and old excuses to be had.
In any case, Sir Mervyn didn’t want to dwell on responsibility. Rather, he wanted to move on, and focus on the need for root-and-branch banking reform so that such crises can never happen again. Now coasting down to his retirement in just over a year’s time, this is indeed how Sir Mervyn would like to be remembered – as the great reformer. I doubt posterity will be so kind.