April 1st, 2014

SKETCH: So How Many Royal Mail Shares Did Labour Buy?

Years ago, I felt a British decline in my bones, and an imminent currency collapse – lo, it came to pass.

Sterling almost went to parity with the US dollar and I said, with triumph, to a banker friend, “I knew that was going to happen.” He looked at me with admiration, “So, how much did you make?”

“Oh, I didn’t.”

Then what contempt! “So, you didn’t know,” he said, witheringly.

When Labour denounce Cable and Fallon for selling the Royal Mail too cheaply, at a knocked-down price, on firesale terms, with a guaranteed profit built-in – it is worth asking how many shares they bought?

Chuka told the Commons this afternoon that the Government could easily have got hundreds of millions more – it does beg the question, did he tell his investment planners, his analysts and brokers to put in for the maximum allocation? He could have donated the guaranteed, safe-as-houses profit to Labour’s election campaign.

Vince didn’t do as badly as Labour might have hoped. He had a neat answer as to why so many “long-term investors” got out so quickly. “They considered the price after the sale was over-valued.”

Some quiet, admiring laughter. Some yelps.

His other defence was Labour’s record in selling Qinetiq. That went for £125m, the civil servants and advisers got £107m, and the company was promptly valued at over 10 times the initial offering: £1.3bn.

There is much to jeer at in the Royal Mail sale, and much to criticize, no doubt. But it’s not absolutely clear that Cable and Fallon would, in China, be hanged as economic criminals.

What it does show is the constitutional inability of politicians to get the best price for assets. They’re not set up for it. The incentives are all wrong.

And poor old Vince. Now that the share price has doubled, he looks like another Tory fall-guy. His privatization of Royal Mail bookends a career that started by introducing £9,000 tuition fees. He has turned out to be a good punchline for the best Tory jokes.

What will they make him do next? Tax food banks? Make people pay for their own disability assessments? Charge for Employment Tribunal actions? Make people pay for A&E! He really deserves to go out on a high.


  1. 1
    osrick says:

    Also don’t forget Brown sold gold reserves at average $275 per ounce. Look at price now.

  2. 2


  3. 3
    Government ministers are right because they say so says:

    Man in the street – “it’s dark at night.”

    Vince Cable – “No it’s not.”

    Idiot on the Clapham omnibus – “This bus goes to Clapham.”

    Michael Fallon – “No it doesn’t.”

    Galileo “The earth orbits the sun.”

    Government ministers “No it doesn’t.”

  4. 4
    Can black people be racist? says:

    Fascinating stuff, blud!

  5. 5
    Michael Fallon's approach says:

    I know it’s a Rolls Royce b ut if I sell it for £50 it’s bound to sell and that would be value for money.

  6. 6

    Cable is also slang for the pound dollar fix, but what that has to do with the price of eggs…

  7. 7
    Britain's Obama prices his Whitehouse out of the market. says:

    If Chuka is such a business mastermind, why is his luxury “Whitehouse” Villa on Ibiza not fully booked this year?

    Perhaps at £243 a night most consider that too high a price to pay. But it does have 3 spare bedrooms to tax.


  8. 8
    PedanticEconomist says:

    Nope – it would be value for money if you could buy it back for the same price.

  9. 9
    Firm But Fair says:

    Labour can’t have it both ways. They were talking down the privatisation and their union baron backers were talking of a wave of strikes. No wonder the price wasn’t good.

    If Labour had supported the sale and it was backed by a constructive union the sale price would have been much higher.

  10. 10
    Mugging victim says:

    Well if you look at the statistics white people are more likely to be subject to a stop and rob search by muggers than black people.
    Is there some organisation I can complain to with a view to getting this obvious bias corrected?
    Preferably one that isn’t institutionally racist like the Labour party.

  11. 11
    No jam, just lard says:

    When the EU told the Liebour crap to sell the Royal Mail during their reign of terror, they passed it to Mandy and all he did was to try and discredit the posties in an attempt to get the price so low the posties would fall over themselves to get it sold just to keep what was left of the jobs, it wasn’t until they got some real management in , it started to make money ,but the EU wanted it sold and like all good zombies the politicians were only following the EU’s orders.

  12. 12
    Owen Jones Book of bum facts says:

    I may not have been a coal miner but that book I wrote certainly was the pits.

  13. 13
    Labour is the nasty party. says:

    Some how Labour and economics do not go hand in hand.

  14. 14
    Daedalus says:

    Ah the dollar at parity to the pound; happy days. I was getting paid in dollars back then, I blew the extra quids on a bespoke Harris motorcycle that I still own.


  15. 15
    You can call me Chichi...Well fuck me says:

    Chichi & Patricia Umunna WTF

  16. 16
    Yvette Cooper says:

    Wai ai, man! Is yow trying to say that our poorty’s racist, pet? Cuz we’ll nut you one. What are yowze gonna dooo about it, man?

  17. 17
    Reverend Flowers says:

    “He really deserves to go out on a high.”

    How much does he charge for K?

  18. 18
    Sick of the greed and lies(still) says:

    I heard Michael Fallon getting grilled on R4’s Today and wondered if Gordon was grilled in the same way when he sold the gold reserves?
    Somehow, I suspect not.

  19. 19
    Toxic Labour for Spongers, Parasites, Criminals, Green Nazis, Peedos and other Wasters says:

    Yes they do but with words like crash, debt, tank, negative, overdrawn, destroyed, light touch regulation ha ha and maxed out!

  20. 20
    British Bulldog says:

    The Conservatives privatised the Royal Mail, not the EU. Hurrah for them!

  21. 21
    April Fools says:

  22. 22
  23. 23
    Labour is the nasty party. says:

    Where is Ed Balls hiding ?

  24. 24
    Labour is the nasty party. says:

    Have they sold their gold for a knock down price yet ?

  25. 25
  26. 26
    A nonny mous says:

    Talking of the lying hypocritical lib dems and Cleggs smearing of Farage.

    It seems Clegg was an advisor to the Russi@ns, Putin, G@zprom and none other than Gadaffi….

    It seems if you lie often enough and big enough, you can get away with it..


    Nick Clegg was once a partner in the Brussels lobbying firm which counsels Russian president Vladimir Putin “in major international news stories.”

    The firm, GPlus Europe, also acts in Brussels for Gazprom, the Russian state-controlled energy giant which has threatened to stop gas shipments to Ukraine.

    Clegg’s former partners, who have offices in a prestige address around the corner from the European Commission, the European Council, and across the road from the United Kingdom’s Permanent Representation to the EU, boast they can “shape the debate on issues” in the EU institutions. They assure clients such as Putin’s Russia that their lobbyists can “plan actions to achieve your goals.”

    However, Clegg’s time as a partner in GPlus Europe is omitted from his biography on his own website and from his official website as Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister, even though a Liberal Democrat spokesperson told Breitbart London that it was “a matter of public record”.

    Also omitted from his official biography is mention of his career in the early 1990s as a lobbyist with GJW Government Relations, whose subsidiary GJW International worked a multi-million pound public relations account on behalf of Libya under the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

    The account included advising Gaddafi on his position on the Lockerbie bombing.

  27. 27
    jgm2 says:

    Ned is following orders. Every time he appears on TV Labour sink even further in he polls.

    They’re hoping he takes the hint and retires to spend more time with his family.

    That’ll only leave Labour with the problem of how to get rid of Useless Ned Miliband then.

  28. 28
    David Cameron's army training guide for educationally subnormal bummers says:

    Multiple Choice Assessment

    1) An enemy combatant in identifiable uniform has fired several shots at your position with clear intent to either maim or kill.

    Do you:

    a) Return fire, when it is safe to do so.
    b) Shout ‘Hater’ and hope the enemy combatant goes away shamed.

  29. 29
    Two giggly ladies says:

    I wonder how his “nuclear option” is going?

  30. 30
    Chuka Umunna says:

    He at least gave us the “from Stalin to Mr Bean” line on Gordon a few years back.

    Gordon’s face was a picture.

  31. 31
    No jam, just lard says:

    c) do you jail the soldier who shoots back and kills the enemy combatant.

    After all we are not at war with these lovely people, we are just there spending our billions in helping their politicians to set up a nice Swiss bank account and at the same time help them help German motor industry.

  32. 32
    Bosun Higgs says:

    Can somebody explain why they didn’t just invite bids for Royal Mail shares, like on eBay?

  33. 33
    Gordon McBreath says:

    When I said I wanted to be free of all guilt the Treasury sold the gilts.

    That’s the story I tell in my book and I’m sticking to it.

  34. 34
    Ralpho says:

    “So How Many Royal Mail Shares Did Labour Buy?
    how many did UKIP, LAb, Con, LibDem, and Independent,
    MPs, and councillors buy
    should be the question.

  35. 35
    Bosun Higgs says:

    Actually, the Earth orbits the centre of mass of the Solar System. OK, same diff I suppose.

  36. 36
    Bosun Higgs says:

    Too many mirrors?

  37. 37
    still walking into darkness says:

    I met a Peruvian lap dancer a few weeks ago who for some reason or other got it into her head that I could arrange for her to meet Nick Clegg, why she thought that and more importantly why she wanted to meet him will remain a mystery.
    Perhaps she’s planning an atrocity or something and thought he could advise her on PR for the aftermath.

  38. 38
    Vlad the inhaler says:

  39. 39
    Labour Fyzzics says:

    That orbit is influenced by fatbots arse.

  40. 40
    Garfield says:

    Well If that stands up I hope our Nigel will use it, mind you the BBC will have the prog on a time delay so they will be able to erase it, tech difficulties sorry.

  41. 41
    Gerbil 7 says:

    It’s not really a problem depending on how much you need the £50.

  42. 42
    C.O.Jones says:

    They are also moving Greenwich to Paris. Mean time, here is the link.


  43. 43
    Scrap metal merchant says:

    I think that was how our last “fully operational” aircraft carriers were disposed of.

    If I remember rightly they both sold off for 50p each.

  44. 44
    Gerbil 7 says:

    Excellent sketch as always and again, right on the money… as it were.

  45. 45
    Winston says:

    So to summarise, the three main parties are equally incompetent, corrupt and wasteful of our money. Vote UKIP.

  46. 46
    Garfield says:

    Ed thinks the afore mentioned arse is a thing of beauty, a good socialist arse.

  47. 47
    jgm2 says:

    How many shares did Labour buy?

    Same argument I always deploy to the bedwetters when they whine about the miners and BL.

    Why didn’t the miners and BL workforce simply buy the mines and Longbridge? Then the workers really would own the means of production. But of course they don’t want to own the means of production. They want somebody else to own it and for that ‘somebody else’ to pay them whatever they think they’re worth. Generally about three times what they’re currently getting.

  48. 48
    Gerbil 7 says:

    On a separate note, Japan has just jacked its purchase tax up to 8% and rumour is that it will hit 10% next year.
    This is to pay back the trillions that were pumped in to the economy by the Keynesian Prime Minister last year – well, somebody has to pay it back.
    Japan was bumbling along the bottom but now it’s headed for free fall.

  49. 49
    Banana Republic Britain says:

    Foreign exchange reserves expose UK’s vulnerability to financial crisis


    Britain holds only slightly more foreign currency reserves than Peru, says Deutsche Bank

  50. 50
    Gerbil 7 says:


  51. 51
    IQ_of_154 says:

    Spot on….Labour will always Chukka Ourmoney away ‘cos they are fekkin’ clueless when it comes to all matters financial.

  52. 52
    Instant Pics says:

    Plenty of cameras in every room.

  53. 53
    Táxpáyér says:

    Assuming the rest of the universe cancels out.

  54. 54
    the mystic mould with the appearance of the face of Jesus says:

    I read that as “Britain’s Deadly Prime Minister” it has a strange ring to it.

  55. 55
    Chris Moyles says:

    I could sell it for you, for a small fee, obviously.

  56. 56
    lord hardon says:

    And UKIPs totally devoid of any corruption? – all are the FKin same

  57. 57
    Overpriced says:

    Looks a grotty

  58. 58
    Just Saying says:

    The man Cable is a danger to us all.
    He should go, but not over the Royal Mail IPO but a host of private sector “initiatives” that proved to be damp squibs.
    Go out on a high? Yes on a high yardarm.

  59. 59
    broderick crawford says:

    Yes the Black Police Officers Association … every compkaint is ………………….” …considered..”

  60. 60
    Steve P says:

    It was very evidently underpriced. So much so that I DID apply for shares, despite not having planned to.

    I had no intention of participating as I have no desire to own shares in it. But it became obvious that there were a few hundred tax-free quids to have so I subscribed for what turned out to be a well judged number – enough to get max allocation but not so many as to get nil.

    Flogged them at the off – “leave some for the next man”

    I used to play this game in Singapore so knew the score.

  61. 61
    bartslartbastard says:

    A lot, a LOT, of people connected with the State are going to be very, very wealthy when they retire.

    In 2015…

  62. 62
    micant1812 says:

    Reblogged this on My Blog.

  63. 63
    Tel E. Caster says:

    No it shouldn’t as they wouldn’t have been ideologically opposed to the sale the way that Labour were.

  64. 64
    Anonymous says:

    “How Many Royal Mail Shares Did Labour Buy?”
    We may never know. If the application, like the EU plebicite, got lost in the post.

  65. 65
    Derek Robinson says:

    They are Gold Reserves …. the clue is in the name.
    They are there to be used when needed and that is what Brown done. By the time of the election we were back into 2.6% growth !
    We are not “we buy any Gold” trading in the stuff.

    I suggest an economics course might help you understand.

  66. 66

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