Karl Whelan’s case for nationalisation is very powerful but we shouldn’t lose sight of the dangers that were traditionally uppermost in our minds. (This does NOT equate to support for the Bacon plan). Even commercial banks are subject to strong political pressures. Remember the write-offs of Haughey’s personal debts, and even of some of Garret’s? (Though the similarity ends there, as the Moriarty Tribunal found. While Haughey’s assets remained intact, FitzGerald’s write-off occurred only after his assets had been exhausted). It would be much more difficult for a nationalised bank to resist political pressures (or do we really believe that “crony capitalism” will end with the current crisis?). Quite apart from the other problems with the post-dated levy idea, as identified both by Karl and the FT, it is easy to imagine that it would be applied only very leniently, if at all, for political and pressure-group reasons; the same dangers that arise in the case of nationalisation. Sweden seems to have a different political culture. And would a nationalised banking system be able to resist demands that there be no foreclosures on defaulting mortgage holders? I doubt it. What would that do to Karl’s figures? These problematic governance issues need to be carefully considered.