Is it Gordon's Fault?
A lot of people seem to be questioning whether the crash is actually Gordon's fault. Forget that he promised no boom and bust, and just analyse the basic situation.
When Gordon became chancellor he handed interest rate setting responsibility to the Bank of England. He also tied their hands by saying you have to maintain interest rates such that inflation, measured using RPIX and then CPI, in a narrow band - essentially between 1 and 3%, with 2% as the target. This single act has created the crash that we now see. Why? Quite simply, since the late 90s we have seen a huge housing boom. Everyone knew it was happening, the newspapers constantly commented on it, everyone was talking about an eventual crash. But because house prices are explicitly excluded from the measure of inflation, and because CPI is actually politically manipulated to appear artificially low (for example putting big screen TVs in that are guaranteed to drop in price as new bigger and fancier models are released), the boom going on was not controlled. This in turn kept the "cost of money" very low which meant the banks could borrow huge amounts of money to lend into this boom. If Gordon had had the courage to allow interest rates to be set against RPI (including housing costs) then the housing boom wouldn't have happened, interest rates would have gone up to control it, and we would not now be sat in this mess. The situation in the US of course was worse, when both Clinton and Bush forced the mortgage underwriters (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) to lend to sub-prime, and some things that Gordon did have actually helped the situation in the UK (like removing mortgage interest relief from taxes). But essentially both the UK and US government have made running a high-debt company or household tax efficient. Why should someone in the UK bother with savings if interest rates are below the actual level of inflation. If interest rates are below the actual inflation rate, you should buy physical assets with debt (ie buy a house on a big mortgage). If you want to encourage saving, the interest rate has to be slightly above the actual inflation rate. Similarly, corporation taxation in both the UK and US has made running companies with high levels of debt more tax efficient. Markets work all too well, so when someone fiddles at the highest level of a market to make something bad (like running high levels of debt) more efficient, everyone has to do it to compete in the market.
Think about this at a very simple level. How many people do you know have released equity in their home to pay for a new car, or a holiday, or a new kitchen. This is only possible because house price inflation was not controlled with interest rates. This is fundamentally the Government's fault for not letting the Bank of England control interest rates against a measure of inflation that isn't corrupted by the Government.
That of course ignores the other big fiscal fiascos that Gordon Brown has managed to be involved in. Like adding about £8bn of tax to pension funds every year, which almost exactly accounts for the current pension fund deficit in the UK. Or selling half of the UKs gold at the bottom of the market. Or increasing the public sector massively which makes the country less efficient and stifles GDP growth. All these things are bad, but nowhere near as bad as keeping the cost of money too low when it should have been far higher.
Banks (and bankers bonuses) are a useful scapegoat to distract blame from where it should lie. There was certainly some problems in banks. But someone elsewhere in this thread pointed out how much was paid out in bank bonuses in the last 10 years. It would have been a little less biased if they also pointed out how much the banks (and their employees) have paid in tax over the same period. Also, if they compare the tax take in the last 10 years, with the long term impact of bailing out the banks - remembering that much of the money western governments have thrown at the banks is in the form of loans, which are getting paid back with high rates of interest. Don't forget that of the $700bn committed to TARP in 2008, the current budgetary commitment (ie the amount it has actually cost the US government) is only about $80bn. And even some of that money is still going to get paid back. Many of the bailouts are close to revenue neutral. The same is true in the UK (although I don't have the exact figures to hand).
The really scary thing is is that the markets have already figured out how bad Gordon is for the UK. The only reason the UK has now been credit downgraded is because the markets expect Gordon to not get elected. If he does get elected, his lack of a plan to reduce the deficit in the UK will almost certainly result in a credit downgrade, which makes the crazy debt he has run up for the country even more costly to service. Unless we get a government with more fiscal discipline into the UK this year, the UK faces 10-20 years of stagnation just like Japan faced, if not worse.