Martin Vander Weyer, The Spectator’s veteran City correspondent, was born to the business purple. The son of a Barclays executive, he followed his father into the bank, trotted the financial globe and had an inside view of that venerable institution’s near-death experience in the 1990s, which he chronicled in his first book, Falling Eagle: The Decline of Barclays Bank (2000). That particular death notice proved somewhat premature. Nonetheless, he had a ringside seat when the next major financial crisis, the global hurricane triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, came. So did he see it coming?
Well, yes and no. In a piece written in October 2008 in the wake of Lehman’s bankruptcy and reproduced here, he recalls receiving the first warning of the coming catastrophe as early as April 2005. Typically, Vander Weyer reveals, the warning was