Something Odd in the Banking Bill

Guido is suspicious about this seemingly innocuous amendment in the new Banking Bill:

Banking Bill
Part 7 — Miscellaneous

Weekly return

Section 6 of the Bank Charter Act 1844 (Bank to produce weekly account) shall cease to have effect.
The 1844 Banking Bill ensured transparency in the operations of the Bank of England. It has been good enough for over 164 years.The section the new Banking Bill seeks to abolish reads as follows:
And be it enacted, That an Account of the Amount of Bank of England Notes issued by the Issue Department of the Bank of England, and of Gold Coin and of Gold and Silver Bullion respectively, and of Securities in the said Issue Department, and also an Account of the Capital Stock, and the Deposits, and of the Money and Securities belonging to the said Governor and Company in the Banking Department of the Bank of England, on some Day in every Week to be fixed by the Commissioners of Stamps and Taxes, shall be transmitted by the said Governor and Company weekly to the said Commissioners in the Form prescribed in the Schedule hereto annexed marked (A.), and shall be published….

Surely it can’t be that they don’t want us to know how fast the Bank of England’s printing presses are going to be running?

Krazy Kaschke Kraut

Rather than going into tedious detail about why LabourHome’s Alex Hilton is being sued by Johanna Kaschke, Guido just wants to say that Johanna Kaschke is definitely ‘one cherry short of a Schwarzwalderkirschtorte’.

Last year she claimed to be “a member of the GMB Union, the Respect Party, the Communist Party”, this year she is a member of the Conservative Party. Blue clearly is the new red. Mockery is not actionable Kaschke, so don’t bother sending a writ…

Friday Caption Competition (You’re Nicked Edition)

Hain : CPS Statement in Full


CPS decides no charges for Peter Hain MP


5 December 2008


The Crown Prosecution Service has today advised all concerned parties that there is insufficient evidence to charge Peter Hain MP with any offences in relation to donations made to Mr Hain’s campaign to support his bid to become Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in mid 2007.


Stephen O’Doherty, reviewing lawyer from the CPS Special Crime Division said: “Although Mr Hain did not report all regulated donations to the Electoral Commission within the 30 days stipulated by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, in order to prove a criminal breach of the Act the Crown must first prove that Mr Hain held the position of either a ‘regulated donee’ or, if operating via a ‘members association’ he was the ‘person responsible for dealing with donations to the association’.


“The evidence in this case shows that Mr Hain’s campaign was run through an organisation named ‘Hain4Labour’ which was made up of members of the Labour Party. That organisation had its own bank account and the funds for Mr Hain’s campaign were solicited for that account and cheques donated were made out to that account. Those were all characteristics of a ‘members association’ as defined in the Act. Mr Hain was not a signatory to that account and did not direct where funds should be spent.


“In light of this evidence, I have concluded that Mr Hain was not the ‘regulated donee’ and nor was he the person responsible for dealing with donations to the association under the terms of the PPERA.”


“As to who should have been responsible for reporting these regulated donations, it is not possible to prove from the evidence available that any other individuals involved with Mr Hain’s campaign fell into the category of being either the regulated donee or the person responsible for dealing with donations. Accordingly I have advised the police to take no further action.”


Following a review into donations received to support Mr Hain’s election campaign by the Electoral Commission, the matter was referred for investigation to the Metropolitan Police Service in January 2008. Following their investigation, a file was submitted to the CPS in July 2008.

So you can raise some £100,000 without declaring it to the Electoral Commission in support of an elected politician using a shady “think tank” / slush fund and get away with it, so long as you muddy the waters enough. The Progressive Policies Forum was a slush fund. It had done nothing, had undertaken no known political activity, had no employees, no policies and there was no forum or indeed any meeting ever. When it quacks like a slush fund, acts like a slush fund and washes money like a slush fund, it is a slush fund.

Was it really not possible for the CPS to prove who was responsible for dealing with donations? Some donations we know were sent to the offices of Morgan Allen Moore, Steve Morgan was running the campaign. Steve Morgan, told Radio Wales on January 8, 2008 that he had been brought in to the campaign to “bring order to chaos”.

Here is a clue*:

—–Original Message—–
From: Huw Roberts [mailto:huw@huwrobertsassociates.com]
Sent: 24 April 2007 16:23
To: ian@tmcommunications.net; alan.cummins@waitrose.com; ‘Dai Davies'; russell.goodway@thechamberofcommerce.org.uk; showell@freshwater-uk.com; gary.mawer@up-ltd.co.uk; kate.lewis@morganallenmoore.com;
frank.specsavers@virgin.net;
nigel.roberts@paramountinteriors.com;john@clearco.co.uk

Cc: steve.morgan@morganallenmoore.com; andrew.bold@walesoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Subject: Dinner

Dear all

Thank you all for joining us at dinner last night. I thought it was a thoroughly enjoyable event as well as very helpful to Peter’s campaign. As I am now off to France to recuperate, Kate Lewis has very kindly agreed to follow up on the delicate matter of the contributions to the campaign fund.

Cheques, made payable to “Hain4Labour” should be sent to Kate at Morgan, Allen, Moore, Bay Chambers, West Bute Street, Cardiff Bay, CF10 5BB.

Best wishes,

Huw

Is it really impossible to determine who on the campaign team was responsible for donations?


Bear in mind, if Hain had “bought the election” having spent double the expenditure of the other candidates, he would now be deputy leader of the party of government, and beholden to secret donors unknown to us. That is not a minor technicality.

*The authenticity of this email was confirmed by Huw Roberts to the journalist Martin Shipton of the Western Mail.

Clegg Right to Boycott Speakers Ruse

Nick Clegg is not allowing the Speaker to get away with packing the committee looking into the Green affair, the LibDems will boycott the committee. The Speaker plans to establish a seven strong committee with four Labour placemen in the majority. A fix in other words.

Another LibDem, Chris Huhne, gave one of the most spirited speeches in defence of Green’s whistleblowing and against the government’s heavy handedness.

The unprincipled partisanship of the Labour hierarchy over this has driven the LibDems to side with the Tories again. If the next election is competitive Labour may regret having driven the LibDems towards the Tories so many times on so many issues…

+++ BBC – CPS Taking No Action Against Peter Hain +++

Statement due at 10.00.

Banks Have to Make a Profit

As the politicians all start to bash the banks for not passing on the full rate cut, Guido asks how can the recapitalisation of the banking system be successful if they don’t make a profit? This is the danger with quasi-nationalisation – once you start putting political considerations before commercial imperatives, banks will be perpetually loss-making burdens on the taxpayer.

The fact is the banks have to earn a spread from the rate they lend against the rate they borrow, otherwise you get into the Northern Rock position with the cost of borrowing exceeding the return on lending. Politicians will nevertheless huff and puff regardless of reality.

UPDATE : The government is going to force banks to double their holdings of government bonds, supposedly to increase their “liquidity reserves”. Handy when the government is desperate to find buyers for gilts to keep itself afloat. If they have to buy gilts, it will make it even more difficult for banks to extend credit to corporate borrowers… doh!



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Quote of the Day

Janan Ganesh on Labour’s soft left

“Ms Cooper does not believe the previous Labour government was wrong to run a fiscal deficit after 15 years of economic growth. Both she and Mr Burnham think families should be entitled to tax credits for a third child. These views are not mad. They are just a bit too left-wing for Britain. For any serious party, that amounts to the same thing. The soft left is more electable than the hard left but then Mars is more habitable than Neptune: neither planet will host human life anytime soon.”

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