Here’s a new candidate for governor of the Bank of England. Andy Haldane is an insider who thinks and talks like an outsider. On Monday night he was causing waves by claiming that the Occupy protestors were roughly right – and he’s the Bank’s Executive Director for Financial Stability.

His remarks are much more than grandstanding. He has form when it comes to thoughtful analysis of our banking monsters. As he told the IEA : “The square-cubed law explains why a flea, even if it were the size of a man, would not be capable of jumping to the moon. It explains why a hippopotamus cannot turn somersaults. And it explains why King Kong and Godzilla were physiological impossibilities – the weight transfer associated with a single step would have shattered their thigh bones.”

That sounds rather too familiar to the shareholders in Lloyds (King Kong) or Royal Bank of Scotland (Godzilla) as they view the shattered remains of what they had considered one of the safer investments in their portfolio. To get some idea of the scale of banking incompetence (or worse) Haldane calculates that even during the good times, too-big-to-fail translated into an annual subsidy from the world’s taxpayers of $70 billion a year, or half the post-tax profits of the world’s 29 largest banks. Once the implied promise became explicit, the subsidy ballooned to over $700 billion a year. (He measures the subsidy by looking at the difference in yield on bank debt with, and without, state support).

There’s a lot more like this in his excellent lecture, but his conclusion is that we’ve hardly started taking the steps needed to resolve the banking crisis in a way which makes a recurrence unlikely. He is in no doubt that this must change, and that today’s banks are not too big to fail, but just too big. This assertion, and the claim that Occupy was right, have both been made before, but not by a director of the Bank of England. As governor, Haldane would be ideally placed to dismember Britain’s bloated banks. If he hasn’t applied, he should get on and do so.

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