Granite’s Lawyers Boast of “Socialist Model”

Angela Clist is the mega-bucks partner at City lawyers Allen & Overy who advised Barclays and Merrill Lynch on the establishment of Northern Rock’s £20 billion mortgage-backed note programme, “Granite Master Issuer plc”.

In a tombstone note to clients she boasts that

The Granite Master Issuer plc securitisation restructured the existing Granite RMBS master trust, with cashflows being changed from a “capitalist” to a “socialist” model to simplify the addition of new tranches of debt from a single issuing vehicle.

How prophetic of her…

Hat-tip : BOF2BS gets sent a well deserved T-shirt for this tip.

Does Yvette Know Her Granite from Her Elbow?

The Granite securitisation vehicle is causing the government a lot of confusion, it may even cause the LibDems to back out of supporting the government’s nationalisation of the Crock. Yvette Cooper stated in the Commons debate definitively that Granite is not covered by government guarantees. “It is not being taken into public ownership and it is not, in fact, owned by Northern Rock, so it is not part of the taxpayer’s exposure and has never been so.”

Compare and contrast that with the Treasury statement of 18 December, 2007: HM Treasury today confirms that the guarantee arrangements for Northern Rock plc described in HM Treasury’s announcements dated 20 and 21 September 2007 and 9 October 2007 are being extended, at the request of Northern Rock plc, to the following unsubordinated wholesale obligations, whether now existing or arising in the future... all obligations of Northern Rock plc to make payments on the repurchase of mortgages under the documentation for the “Granite” securitisation programme.

That seems pretty clear. Looks like the lawyers are going to get rich out of this…

UPDATE : Something of a stewards inquiry in the comments as to the nature of the obligation – though no one has argued that there is no obligation – except Yvette when she said “it is not part of the taxpayer’s exposure”. Like Guido said, the lawyers could have some fees out of the argument.

UPDATE II : Northern Rock’s Annual Report 2006, Note 22, Page 86 states that the Granite group of companies “are regarded as legal subsidiaries under UK companies legislation”. Odd because they aren’t really structured that way.

Scotland Yard is not playing ball with Ken’s request to investigate a crime that no one said Jasper had committed. So this means the “no running commentary on an ongoing police investigation” strategy to push the issue off the agenda has come unstuck.

Brian Paddick, the ex-Scotland Yard Deputy Commissioner and LibDem candidate for Mayor puts it succinctly:

“Last week, Ken Livingstone suspended one of his closest aides, Lee Jasper, saying he wanted to enable the police to investigate the allegations of malpractice and corruption made against him.

We now learn from Scotland Yard that there is no such police investigation taking place. It begs the question why was Lee Jasper suspended in the first place?”

The GLA will now presumably be able to cross-examine Jasper. The police are still investigating six companies which have enjoyed the LDA’s generous patronage…

Fijian PM is Commander Bainimarama British PM is Completely Bananas

Guido is not making this up, this is the official advertising campaign for the Fijian Visitors Bureau:Fijime.comGordon gave permission for the use of his image according to the advertising agency behind the advert “so long as it was not derogatory and it did not appear that he was endorsing the islands in any way. We showed them the image of the Prime Minister with the red flower behind his ear and they said it was okay to use”. Presumably the PM just wants to show solidarity with another unelected PM?UPDATE : Have just been looking into the situation in Fiji, widespread human rights abuses, suppression of pro-democracy activists, violence against activists by the dictatorship and the jailing of independent bloggers in the forefront of the widely suppressed anti-government media. You can see the attraction for Gordon…

Huck Me

Drink to Cuba Libre!

Guido will be down in Bar Cubana, Waterloo (map) this evening drinking to the ill health of Fidel Castro. The bar is owned by blogging ex-Tory MP Phillip Oppenheim and he has been prevailed upon to contribute a few drinks to celebrate the end of Fidelismo. So if any of you fancy dropping in after work…

(Oppenheim was called a “c**t” by Shadow DFID Minister Andrew Mitchell over this blog story).

Labour’s Anathematising of Hain & Morgan the Organ

Guido has heard that it was made clear to Steve Morgan, Peter Hain’s sleazy campaign manager, that this year he was not welcome at the recent Welsh Labour Party conference. Guido has checked with the Labour Party press office and they will only confirm that Morgan did not attend. (Nor incidentally did the disgraced former Secretary of State for Wales).

That is a little strange for a man who likes to think of himself as an important Welsh Labour Party mover and shaker, usually he can be found glad handing and ingratiating himself with the Welsh Labour Party’s big-wigs in the bars. Wonder why he didn’t attend? Why miss out on all those photo and client-opportunities?

Could it be that he was a little embarrassed about his efforts on behalf of Hillary Clinton? Surely not. Could it be that despite all the spin from Morgan Allen Moore about the lobbyist industry’s APPC professional standards investigation going nowhere, it is getting seriously embarrassing for Morgan?

Morgan spun a line to the public affairs trade press that the complaint had been lodged by an aggrieved Tory ex-employee and would go nowhere. However when the APPC Management Committee met on 5 February they concluded there was a cause for complaint and referred it to the APPC’s Professional Practices Panel.

International spin merchants Grayling were rumoured to be on the verge of a multi-million pound takeover deal for MAM until this scandal blew-up and they pulled out days before the deal was to be agreed. Grayling were one of the founders of the APPC. Guido tried to get confirmation from David Thomas, Grayling’s finance director, without success…

Government to Make Darren Minnikins Homeless

In Bishop Auckland right now the “People’s Bank” is attempting to make Darren Minnikin homeless.

Claim 8PA12900:
Northern Rock plc versus Mr Darren Minnikin

Congratulations Mr Minnikin. You are the first victim of socialist economics today…

Guido Now Available On Bloomberg Terminals

Guido is happy to report that, in response to demand, his cutting edge political and economic news analysis is now distributed worldwide directly into dealing rooms via Bloomberg’s terminal network – the fastest-growing real-time financial information network in the world.

Guido is now more accessible to the world’s central banks, investment institutions, commercial banks, government offices and agencies, law firms, corporations and news organisations in over 150 countries.

You’re either in front of Guido, or you’re behind…

Whose Home Will Brown & Darling Repossess First?

Right now, across the land, stringers for tabloids are looking for the first tragic but photogenic family to have their home repossessed by “the people’s bank”, Northern Rock. They will be the poster family for this whole incompetent mess.

As Goldman Sachs walk away laughing after offering counsel that will have earnt them a fee not unadjacent to £10 million for advice that Vince Cable offered for free, Tom Scholar,* Gordon Brown’s former private secretary, joined the board of the people’s bank yesterday from the Treasury. He will be not just the eyes and ears of Darling and Brown but the one who casts their vote. So much for an “arms length” relationship…

Home repossessions are already up 94% since Labour ran this poster during the 2005 general election campaign. Now the government won’t just get the blame for rising home repossessions, it will actually be repossessing homes. The state will then of course be obliged to re-house them. Welcome back to the world of socialist economics…

*The girls in the typing pool at Northern Rock should be aware that he follows in the tradition of former CEO Adam Applegarth’s hands-on management style.

U.S. Markets Closed for Public Holiday Today

Just Guido being helpful. Wouldn’t want you guys to get it wrong. Again…

UPDATE 20.15 : A co-conspirator points out that BBC Radio 4’s 6 o’clock news has reported the Dow down 29 points – which was Friday’s change. Doh!

Gordon’s Jinx : It Is Official!

At the Lobby briefing this afternoon the PMOS confirmed that Gordon is a Jonah. A member of the fearless Lobby asked the PMOS “Which football match had the Prime Minister attended on Saturday?”

“Raith Rovers” replied the PMOS.

” They lost, didn’t they,” said the correspondent.

” I don’t know,” said the PMOS. ” They must have done – every team he goes to watch loses,” continued the PMOS.

Things are now so bad in England under Gordon that residents in the Northumberland town of beautiful Berwick-upon-Tweed have voted in favour of becoming part of free Scotland under the SNP.

According to a poll for ITV1’s Tonight programme (to be broadcast 8pm, errm, tonight) 60% want the town to be administered by Scotland. Better public services, including free care for the elderly, were the main reasons. The SNP’s Christine Grahame has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling for the town to “return to the fold”.

If only we could return Gordon to whence he came so easily…

First Draft of the Dodgy Dossier Released

Download it here. There is no mention in the FCO’s first draft of “45 minutes…” This will result in many trees slaughtered and much ink spilt by hand wringing lefties over the government lying to us. Old news…

UPDATE : As pointed out in the comments, this was a different dossier. Now corrected. Guido never read any of them. Not a fan of fiction…


UPDATE : More on Slugger.

Usual fiddling politician resigning for no reason. “I am not going because of some hidden or some revealed wrongdoing”. So why resign?

Seventies Socialism Returns

In 1975 Britain was told by Tony Benn that the nationalisation of British Motor Holdings and the Leyland Motor Corporation would be “partial”. Alistair Darling today says the nationalisation of Northern Rock will be “temporary”.

It is worth taking a moment to reflect on how we got here. When Northern Rock’s troubles became critical there was no systemic risk to the financial system. There was a risk to 6,000 regional jobs which was a political risk in a period of election fever in Labour’s North East heartlands.

If Northern Rock had been put into administration the shareholders and probably the employees would have lost out. No mortgage holders would have been worse off, depositors would, since we are told by the government the bank’s assets are good, have got their money back.

The only cost to the taxpayer would have been the unemployment benefit payments to redundant Northern Rock staff – most may have kept their jobs with new owners of the business (Lloyds TSB was said to be interested). Instead of the normal commercial and legal run off process taking its course, the government intervened. The result is the biggest nationalisation of the century.

Many would argue convincingly that depositors would have not been able to extract their money in the event of a liquidation, or at least not in good time. The government could have in that case guaranteed the deposits and collected the money back as a normal creditor. For a moment in the beginning that did seem to be a real possibility. That would have been a much smaller risk to the taxpayer.

Now we have a situation where £100 billion of taxpayer’s money is being bet on the UK property market as it teeters on the edge. Gordon Brown repeats the mantra that the public’s money is secured against the bank’s assets. The bank’s assets are what exactly? The equity in mortgagee’s homes belongs not to the bank, it belongs to the homeowners. The only properties Northern Rock has an interest in are it’s own branches and offices. The only homes it owns are those where it forecloses, usually and increasingly at a loss due to negative equity (remember all those 125% offers). The other major asset the bank owns is it’s profit stream from the spread it makes on lending versus borrowing. That has disappeared because of the credit crunch. Right now there is no profit stream to speak of, that is why the bank is bust.

What is most disturbing about the new legislation being proposed is that it will empower the state to nationalise more banks. Which seems to contradict Darling’s claim that this is a “temporary and exceptional” measure. It has always been the objective of British socialists to nationalise the banks. Thirty years ago they wiped out the British owned car industry, now they are coming for the banks. New Labour is dead. Socialism is back…

UPDATE : Anatole Kaletsky agrees – wind-up the bank.

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View


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