Labour MP Tom Harris has the details on his blog, however Guido wants to clarify one point. When Andy Burnham referred in the Commons debate to Guido’s unexpected support for the Bill (see previous They’ll Have to Prise the Keyboard Out of Guido’s Cold Dead Hand), it was of course support only in jest – and incidentally a breach of confidence by Burnham, since this was a jest made in a supposedly off-the-record consultation in his offices, following his request for a meeting.
Since this blog is hosted offshore, published by an offshore company and written by a foreign citizen, it won’t really make any difference to Guido – unless Britain invades Ireland again. You can’t regulate Guido, ask Mrs Fawkes…
The trustafarian anti-capitalists having taken quite a beating in last few matches in the City:
The 1999 Carnival Against Capitalism saw an estimated 5,000 people converge on the London International Financial Futures Exchange (LIFFE). In the early afternoon a small group of protesters broke into the exchange building, smashed up the reception area and tried to access the LIFFE trading floor, but were repelled by LIFFE traders in hand-to-hand fighting on the escalators. Outraged floor traders counter-attacked and drove terrified protestors out of the building.
However, the 2005 match saw the anti-capitalists take their worst beating so far. This post match report from The Times gives a flavour:
WHEN 35 Greenpeace protesters stormed the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) yesterday they had planned the operation in great detail. What they were not prepared for was the post-prandial aggression of oil traders who kicked and punched them back on to the pavement. “We bit off more than we could chew. They were just Cockney barrow boy spivs. Total thugs,” one protester said, rubbing his bruised skull. “I’ve never seen anyone less amenable to listening to our point of view.”
Another said: “I took on a Texan Swat team at Esso last year and they were angels compared with this lot.” Behind him, on the balcony of the pub opposite the IPE, a bleary-eyed trader, pint in hand, yelled: “Sod off, Swampy.”
Protesters conceded that mounting the operation after lunch may not have been the best plan. “The violence was instant,” Jon Beresford, 39, an electrical engineer from Nottingham, said. They were set upon by traders, most of whom were under the age of 25. “They were kicking and punching men and women indiscriminately,” a photographer said. “It was really ugly, but Greenpeace did not fight back.”
Mr Beresford said: “They followed the guys into the lobby and kept kicking and punching them there. They literally kicked them on to the pavement.” Last night Greenpeace said two protesters were in hospital, one with a suspected broken jaw, the other with concussion.
G20 protestors really do not want to meet a Lloyd’s Broker who has just had his gin and tonic spilt…
UPDATE : Am a bit worried that Miss Fawkes, aged 1 and 1/2, could be an anti-capitalist saboteur. Have just spent an hour searching for wallet hidden by her. Hmm…
Guido is going to be at the Bank of England at midday tomorrow, well not actually at the Bank, more overlooking the Bank. Having lunch at No. 1 Poultry and will probably be smoking a cigar on the balcony later, twanging his braces and proudly standing in his pinstripes after lunch. A select few capitalist co-conspirators will be there. Maybe Guido will see you in the bar. Guido will be the one shouting “Greed is Good” at the demonstrators below…
Some valiant counter-demonstrators will be taking the battle to the G20 unwashed. Guido would stay for the riot, but has to see his accountant in the afternoon.
Guido has had a call round the centre-right think-tanks and found that traditional support for sound money policies is now non-existent. Even the Institute of Economic Affairs’ shadow MPC unanimously supports quantitative easing.
The IEA is London’s spiritual home of Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman, and it was the IEA which in the middle of the 1976 global monetary crisis produced a pamphlet by Hayek; Denationalisation of Money. Guido has an original edition, it was in this groundbreaking work that Hayek argued that the government monopoly of money must be abolished to stop recurring bouts of inflation and deflation. How he must be turning in his grave to see the IEA advocate what he spent his life opposing.
Sound money was the traditional cry of conservatives the world over, Cameron even used the phrase in his speech to the Conservative Party conference as recently as last year. It is clear however that Osborne and Cameron have, in the face of a wider intellectual retreat, given up on sound money and are going along with quantitative easing – a mistake as momentous as their acceptance of Gordon’s spending levels. In all of Westminster’s Wonkland surveyed by Guido, only Madsen Pirie of the Adam Smith Institute is opposed to QE (also known as printing money). Policy Exchange’s newly hired chief economist, Andrew Lilico, told Guido there was no other choice. Lilico also told Guido that if QE was successful inflation and interest rates would be as low as 10% each in a couple of years – some success.
So Guido is looking forward to James Tyler’s speech tonight at Policy Exchange. Little known outside the City’s money markets – in which he is one of the largest and most invisible players – he is going to sound the cry for sound money in terms that Hayek would approve. All is not lost – Russian and Chinese economic policy makers have read their Hayek – and are said to be preparing to propose a new, more Hayekian monetary order after this credit crisis has abated. Sometimes it takes a crisis to precipitate a solution…
Just for the record, since the Guardian is trying to make something of it. Guido is satisfied that BBC Radio 5′s Nicky Campbell meant nothing malicious and it was a bit of early morning banter that went a bit too far. Campbell apologised on air there and then and later in person. His apology is accepted.
It is indicative of the BBC mindset that it is often the case that Guido is pigeon-holed by way of introduction, in contrast when say Will Hutton is on the BBC, he is not introduced as “the left-wing commentator”. This is not the first time this has happened. When Michael Crick referred to Guido as “the right-wing blogger” the immediate retort was to refer to “Michael Crick, the left-wing broadcaster”. See how you like them apples…
Following a party thrown by Eric Pickles a drunken fracas took place – inquiring minds want to know who got nicked and had to sober up in the cells? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt…
UPDATE : Paul Waugh has the full story.
Guido is one of the small number of British market commentators who does not buy into the deflation scenario – Liam Halligan is another – it is just too convenient an excuse for politicians to print money.
The Bank of England pension fund is managed on behalf of a very select and savvy group of people with access to a lot of market insight – the employees of the central bank. With great market timing the fund sold out of equities entirely at the end of 2006 cutting a 21.6% holding down to 0.1%, thus avoiding a 35% drop in UK equities since that time. Awesome market timing, the fund was consequently up 12% last year when all around markets crashed.
The fund’s holding of Index Linked Gilts has shot up from 25.6% of assets to a 70.7% proportion of assets during the same period. That is a big bet of the pension pot owned by everyone who works at the Bank of England. Index Linked Gilts are linked to RPI – the inflation rate – you buy them if you are worried about inflation. They are a hedge against inflation.
Hold on, if deflation is (as the political elite and their client media commentators claim) the big threat, why is the Bank of England’s pension fund betting 3/5 of the £2.2 billion pot on hedging against inflation? This is their personal pension fund. Money talks.
Source : Bank of England Pension Report [pdf]
Hat-tip : Peter Oborne
Of course if they didn’t keep it secret from us – the people who pay the bills – there wouldn’t be anything to sell. So release the receipts now…
UPDATE : Newsnight just flashed a trailer for a claim that the receipts are being offered to newspapers for £300,000 – uncensored.
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Ralph Miliband on the English…
“The Englishman is a rabid nationalist. They are perhaps the most nationalist people in the world.”