Friday, February 22, 2008

Whisky Business at the GLA

These pictures of a “lively” Ken are from a recent meeting.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

EXCLUSIVE : The Numbers Are InThe Myth of the "Quality Loan Book"

Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown chant the same mantra, the government’s investment is backed by the assets of the bank, “a high quality loan book”, which they claim has been verified by the FSA – as if the FSA employs surveyors and has the competence to take a view. Anecdotaly this untruth was unraveling, Anatole Kaletsky said this week that it was a delusion to believe that “Northern Rock had a “sound book of assets” when it was the country’s biggest lender of mortgages worth more than the houses on which they are secured.” Guido now has the hard numbers to prove it:These figures were compiled yesterday and are taken from analysis of the Courts Service, Possession Claims Online Database. Guido has obtained the list of 690 individual Northern Rock Possession Claims, averaging some 40 every working day. Of all mortgage lenders Northern Rock has the absolute highest rate of possession claims. Hardly evidence of a sound loan book…

UPDATE : As of midnight last night Northern Rock has withdrawn from offering 125% mortgages.

UPDATE :
In the comments a co-conspirator has made an effort to normalise the results by market share using market leader HBOS against Northern Rock:

HBOS has 20.4% of the market, with 520 reposessions in Feb = 25 repos per 1% of market

Northern Rock has 7.2% of the market, with 690 reposessions in Feb = 95 repos per 1% of the market.

In short, Northern Rock repossesses almost 4 houses to every one repossesed by HBOS, when market share is factored into the equation.

Hat-tip : HousePriceCrash.co.uk via LabRat

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.

+++ Government Loses Northern Rock Vote +++

Lobby and All Turn Against Speaker

Some members of the Lobby have detested the Speaker from the beginning, dubbing him “Gorbals Mick”. This allowed him to shield himself by blaming his bad press on posh public schoolboy scribblers. Sensitive as he is, he even got the taxpayer to cough for Carter-Ruck to protect his reputation. He is really dreadful and it is now recognised by all sides they he has to go, the question is how to get rid of the worst Speaker in living memory? The Speaker enmeshed in an air miles fiddle when he is supposed to oversee the crackdown on MP’s fiddles may provide an opening.

The feeling is that if the PM and/or leaders of the opposition let it be known that it was time to take the ermine he would have little choice other than to go. There is no constitutional mechanism for deposing him.

Jon Craig is tipping Sir George Young and Deputy Speaker Sir Alan Haselhurst. Rumour has it that John Bercow fancies himself in fancy dress as well. He seems a bit too young for the job…

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.

Benn Was Against the CAP Before He Was in Favour of the CAP

Hilary Benn, like his father Tony, makes a strong claim to moral authority. His years as Secretary of State for International Development saw him campaign against the inequities that make life difficult for the developing world. Chief among those inequities is the functioning of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In 2006 Benn railed against the farm subsidy regime:
“Through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), two fifths of the EU budget goes on subsidies and support to Europe’s farmers who represent 5% of Europe’s population, and produce less than 2% of Europe’s output. Most is not spent in the poorer parts of Europe where it is needed. Most goes to the biggest farming companies and landowners, not small farmers.

Hilary Benn is now at DEFRA. His tune has changed as well, now the developing world’s small farm exporters are the competitive enemy and he is leading the British effort to ensure that there is no limit to the subsidies that the biggest landowners in Britain claim. The European Commission proposed to redistribute subsidy money away from farmers receiving more than €300,000 a year. DEFRA opposes even this sensible modest suggestion.

Hilary told the NFU conference this week that “We’re alive to some of your concerns about limiting higher levels of payments. We share them.

Hilary’s father Tony, the second Viscount Stansgate, has now retired to the family seat, Stansgate Abbey Farm on the Essex coast. From this satellite picture it appears to be a working farm. Guido wonders if the family farm benefits from CAP subsidies?

Hat-tip : CAP Health Check

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

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…

Gordon’s Birthday Prize Competition

Guido will give a prize to the wittiest 200(ish) word long description of Gordon’s ideal day in the style of A Day in the Life.

A full 24 hours please (remember Gordon is rumoured to be suffering from insomnia – those demons torment him). In the comments please, closes Friday morning. A book to the winner…


Seen Elsewhere

NUT’s Loony Defence of Status Quo | Jago Pearson
A Dozen Reasons to Be Cheerful | John McTernan
Political Bloggers Are Equal Opportunities Attackers | ConHome
Michael Gove Should Resign | Conservative Women
Sarah Wollaston’s Naming and Shaming of Bloggers | LibDemVoice
Fraser Nelson: Put Your Money on Ed Miliband to Win | Guardian
Guido Fawkes is Too Aggressive | The Times
Ditch Tobacco Plain Packaging | Grassroots Conservatives
What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV
Dave Stung by Jellyfish | Sun


new-advert
Guido-hot-button (1) Guido-hot-button (1)


Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


Tip off Guido
Web Guido's Archives

Subscribe me to:






RSS


AddThis Feed Button
Archive


Labels
Guido Reads