Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Mail on Sunday’s frontpage reports that the Ed Balls has come up with a plan to plug Brown’s black hole in unfunded public spending. Issue Sharia Law compliant “sukuks” designed to allow the government’s Debt Management Office to raise money from the Saudis:
Britain is to become the first Western nation to issue bonds approved by Muslim clerics in line with Sharia law, which bans conventional loans involving interest payments as ‘sinful’.

The scheme would mark one of the most significant economic advances of Sharia law in the non-Muslim world.

It will lead to the ownership of Government buildings and other assets currently belonging to British taxpayers being switched wholesale to wealthy Middle-Eastern businessmen and banks.

Such is the parlous state of the public finances that the Treasury can no longer rely on the centuries old method of financing government debt, demand for Gilt edged securities. No Western nation has ever relied on Sharia financing and the U.S. Treasury bans banks from engaging in the practise because of potential links to Middle Eastern terror financing. Ed Balls first came up with the Sharia sukuk strategy when he was Gordon Brown’s Treasury SpAd and final consultation on the plan closes this Thursday. Alistair Darling is expected to give full approval for H.M. Sharia Treasury issues before the March budget…

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Newsnight Reports Valentine’s Day Market Massacre(That Never Happened)

Newsnight just doesn’t do business reporting very well. Guido suspects this is because they are neither interested in, or sympathetic to business. They would much rather review some new feminist state-subsidised play than the FTSE 100′s profitability. The saga of the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme being repeatedly unable even to report the market closing price correctly has been pointed out by Guido before. Peter Barron told us after the last multi-day FTSE fiasco “I despair! We are having a complete revision of the way we collect and check the markets information.”

On Valentines Day Newsnight reported (above) another bad day in the markets, off 80 points or nearly one and half percent down. Time for a stiff whiskey nightcap before examining your stock portfolio in the morning?

No. It was down 0.8 points, some 0.0136%, which is what market experts call “flat”. Stephanie Flanders, Newsnight’s economics editor, said after the last time this happened that it was “unforgivable and embarrassing”. Clearly it was forgivable because it was announced yesterday that she has been promoted and will now be the BBC’s chief economics editor. Jeff Randall is on Sky…

Hat-tip : Musing Markets

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Caption Contest

Bradford & Bingley Shares Down 23%*, Queues Outside Tomorrow
*This week, 63% on the year.

Guido has said it before and he will say it again, Lee Jasper is a shake down artist. Although it was only 12 hours ago that the Mayor informed us that he had full confidence in Jasper, Ken clearly realises that he can no longer bluster his support for Lee Jasper in the face of a criminal investigation. Nothing to do with a forthcoming election…

Britain Needs a George Bush Style Growth Package
Not a George Osborne Tax Simplification Package

Later this morning Osborne will deliver a speech on tax simplification. Guido looks at the economy and sees real trouble ahead, it needs decisive action, not hand-wringing words from politicians about tax simplification. The property market is seized up and consumer confidence is draining away. A massive pro-growth tax package is required now, the earlier the better.

George Bush is pushing a bi-partisan growth package targeting $150 billion in tax relief at individuals and businesses to kick-start private sector spending. That is a stimulus equal to 1% of U.S. GDP.

In the U.K. the equivalent amount would be a £13 billion, a quarter of what the government has used to prop up one insolvent bank to protect a mere 6,000 jobs in Labour’s North East heartlands.

A growth package should include two simple elements of action:

Housing market – stamp duty should be abolished for two years to help resuscitate the property market. House builder shares have slumped as demand expectations have plummeted, this is a relatively cheap way to boost sentiment and help young families in particular.

£500 per taxpayer flat relief – no matter what your level of taxation. This would disproportionately favour those taxpayers on lower incomes, boosting high street spending at a difficult time for retailers. It is simple and easy to implement, would be populist and would let individuals, rather than Whitehall, decide their own spending priorities. The receipt of a cheque for £500 by millions of taxpayers would boost economic growth from the bottom up in a healthy, decentralised way.

Greenspan says today the U.S. is teetering on the edge of recession, Mervyn King has said the same of the U.K., the cost of not acting now will be higher later…

UPDATE: Just read Osborne’s speech and am reminded that it is is already Tory policy to lift the stamp duty threshold for first time buyers to £250,000, taking nine out of ten out of the tax altogether.

Osborne’s Non-Dom Policy Now Worse Than Darling’s Policy

Polly Toynbee is wailing in her column this morning about the Chancellor’s U-turn. She reckons it is the “FT Wot Won It” and that Digby is Jones is the Thatcherite vetoing policy in Brown’s Big Tent. On one point Guido is in agreement with her; Labour claim they will take £650 million from non-doms, while the Tories claim they will squeeze them for £3.5 billion. Labour will tax them only after they have lived in Britain for seven years, whereas the Tories will tax them from day one.

So won’t the Tory policy drive more globally mobile wealth creators out of London? Isn’t Osborne’s policy worse for the City and more punitive?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Repossessions Surge :Remember this 2005 Labour Party Poster?

Repossessions are up 94% since Labour ran this election advert…

Mervyn King : "We Are F**ked"

Yesterday Mervyn King said the Bank of England’s predictions for growth in yesterday’s inflation report were “not inconsistent” with two quarters of zero or negative growth – the economist’s technical definition of a recession. For a central banker, that is strong language.

Meanwhile on planet Brown the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, claimed yesterday that “the fundamentals of the British economy are strong because of what we have done over the last 10 years. They will remain strong…. because of the robustness of our economy, I am confident that we can return to growth and we can keep inflation down to target.”
In reality inflation is now higher than in 1997 when Gordon took over, the ballooning budget deficit is 2.8% – the largest in Western Europe and nearly triple the pan-EU deficit average of 1.1%. Real incomes are now falling…

The Citizens Advice Bureau has just released a report which says “The number of county court actions for mortgage and secured loans has also risen steeply over the last few years. Between 2004 and 2006, the number of mortgage possession claims has increased by nearly 70% and the number of possession orders actually made by 94%. The number of possession actions in 2006 is now similar to that seen at the beginning of the mortgage repossession crisis in 1990.” Somebody should dig out that old Labour Party general election poster which blamed house repossessions on Hague and Portillo, changing the pictures to Brown and Darling. So much for an end to boom and bust…

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kampfner Gone from New Statesman

Sudden exit is say sources not because he was sacked and it wasn’t over editorial direction, which has not been as Brownite as the proprietor, Geoffrey Robinson, would have liked. Paid for weekly circulation is now only some 25,000 print editions which is a third of the Speccie’s print run. 25,000 readers is about what Guido gets on a good day…

UPDATE : Guido has got a sneak preview of the new post-Kampfner, Geoffrey Robinson edited New Statesman:

Arresting Position

Too little, too late…

The Labour Party is seeking to recruit a Compliance Administrator to work in our Compliance Unit in our London Head Office.

The successful applicant will work with the Compliance Unit Manager to ensure that the Labour Party complies with its obligations under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act.

Hat-tip : Tory Radio


Seen Elsewhere

Mo Ansar’s Silence | Adrian Hilton
Gove Loses WWI Battle | Conservative Woman
5 Reasons Labour Likely to Win General Election | Sunny Hundal
Dave Surrounded By Topless Women | Sun
UN Loony says Britain Most Sexist Country | Sun
Farage is a Good Reason to Leave the EU | Dan Hannan
UKIP Blocked Expenses Questions | Times
NHS Showdown Coming | Paul Goodman
Sons of Brown | Telegraph
All Three Parties Mulling Leadership | Staggers
Isn’t George Great | Simon Jenkins


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Cathy Jamieson MP, Labour’s Shadow Treasury minister, commenting on Treasury analysis of the economic impact of tax changes…

“If the Treasury is looking at the economic impact of tax changes, then surely it should examine the impact of the rise in VAT and cuts to tax credits? George Osborne’s £12 billion VAT rise knocked confidence, helped to choke off the recovery and has cost families £1,350 over the last three years.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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