Tuesday, October 7, 2008

+++ RBS Down 39% +++

No short-sellers were involved this morning. Yet Gordon and Darling said they were banning short selling to protect financial institutions (Cable, who should know better, cheered this on). Guido and most objective market observers said it was irrelevant. Today’s market action proves the point. QED

What a Mass Bank Bail-Out Does to the Currency

This is what could happen to the pound if the Treasury decides to print cash to bail out collapsing banks. The Icelandic Króna has lost 40% in value in three months. The Icelandic Króna is not the Great British Pound, the UK economy is far larger and hopefully stronger. Little Iceland could go bust and end up begging the IMF, a humiliation suffered by Britain under the last Labour government. Nothing, however, is impossible.

The FT reports some good news; $500 billion in derivatives contracts related to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were settled yesterday. Friday, 17 October, sees $400 billion of Lehman Credit Default Swaps (CDS) come due for settlement. If this goes through without mishap, market liquidity could improve as fears of systemic failure recede and the biggest ever stress test for derivatives contracts passes.

If…

Monday, October 6, 2008

PLP Changes Bets

The collapse of the Miliband putsch and reports from the PLP that there is to be an end to hostilities” has made Guido shift his bets. Guido is now backing a May 2010 general election date with the Labour Party led by Gordon Brown. (Incidentally, you can get 12 /1 on Brown leading his party and Cameron not, an outside bet if you feel lucky.)

It seems to Guido that not even a disaster in Glenrothes will divert the Labour Party from its lemming instinct.

Newsnight Mess Up the Market Report Yet Again

Kirsty correctly informed us that the pound had “tumbled almost one and three quarter cents” yet the graphic had it up +1.74 cents. Viewers have to guess the truth, one wonders does anyone at Newsnight actually care?

Guido watched Randall Live on Sky earlier this evening interviewing Martin Sorrell. An adult conversation about business and the markets with some interesting insights. Sorrell explained what he was up to re-domiciling WPP in Ireland. It wasn’t at all the hectoring quasi-Marxist business bashing that so often characterises the BBC’s reporting – which might be fine for Guardian readers but is pretty tiresome for people interested in business news. Randall is recommended.

Clegg : Mandy Was Poisonous to Me Too

Nick Clegg is recounting to acolytes that back in 2004/5 when he was still an MEP he had dinner with Mandelson in Brussels. Over the courses Mandy spent most of the evening being vitriolic about Brown.

No doubt this will be attributed to LibDem propaganda and dirty tricks. Everyone else is clearly lying except Mandy…

Just as Well They Banned Short Selling, Eh?

As the markets tank the question is how low can we go? There is quite simply no immediate floor for the FTSE 100, after 4500 the next level is the January 2003 level of 3600, a drop of some 20%. Think that is impossible? Stocks are down more than 20% since the beginning of the year.

So it isn’t hard to see that kind of market capitulation happening. In the tech bust of 1999-2000 many stocks fell 90%. Some bank stocks have already dropped 90%. There is nothing government can do to alter the reality and this has to play out. Tokyo had near zero interest rates for the best part of a decade (sorry Vince that was no panacea). The liquidity problem is/was a precursor to the solvency problem. Governments can flood markets with liquidity but that can’t fix insolvency. This is going to be painful.

Politicians who claim to have solutions to the credit crunch are infantalising the electorate. The best they can do is ameliorate the problems. They can’t alter the underlying reality. Over-priced assets are crashing and bringing down the banks – not all – some like HSBC are relatively unscathed. There are pluses as well, if you are in your twenties you will have a better chance of getting on the property ladder now…

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Meet the New Deputy Leader of the Commons

Another serious person for serious times. Chris Bryant is the deputy leader of the house. His main qualification for this is that he is a Brown loyalist, one of the curry house plotters who can be relied on to be alert to and determined to frustrate the ambitions of Miliband.

Presumably that is the reason for the installation of the strange Sion Simon as a minister for the crown. Tom Watson also remains close to the centre of power in the Cabinet Office where he can continue to brief against internal enemies of the the Prime Mentalist. Watson will have been pleased with himself having seen off Stephen Carter. Nick Brown as chief whip is the ultimate factional enforcer.

This government intake are the second-raters who would never have prospered during New Labour’s prime. They are distinguished only in the way that Kamikaze pilots were distinguished in their loyalty to the emperor. It is going to be a heck of a lot of fun, and a dirty fight to the death.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sion Simon Made a Minister, No Really

Sion Simon has been appointed Skills Minister. His skills with video satire and political forecasting were obviously the decisive factors. Minister for Mad Hatters would have been more appropriate.

Brown Buggered : Latest Poll of Marginals Has Labour Losing 164 Seats

The News of the World’s post conference season poll of marginals shows that things have got worse for Brown since last year – with Labour now looking set to lose 164 marginal seats (full data set pdf).

Can Mandy save Gordon? After taking a post-conference break from politics for a day to reflect and re-charge, Guido can only see this appointment as an act of desperation. Mandelson is despised by three-quarters of his own party. He is a poisonous political operator. He repels voters and represents so much of what is wrong with politics.

The Labour loyalist pundit David Aaronovitch was asked what he made of the return of Mandelson, “I don’t think I understand anything anymore” was his reply. The only way to understand this is to put yourself inside the mind of the politically weak Prime Mentalist. He needed to buy time. Bringing back Mandelson may buy off some of the former Blairites, hugging his enemy close. (Although if there is one person Charles Clarke hates more than Gordon Brown, it is Peter Mandelson). This won’t be welcomed by the voters.

UPDATE : Have just noticed, and this must be a first, that Kevin Maguire shares Guido’s analysis: Gordon Brown’s Bonkers Moment of Mandy Madness“. Glad to see Kevin, just like Polly did, is finally coming round…


Seen Elsewhere

Carswell is a True Moderniser | Charles Moore
Assembling a New World Order | Henry Kissinger
India’s Modi Bypasses Mainstream Media | Index
Bercow on the Knife Edge | Quentin Letts
Welcome to Mississippi | Conservative Women
LibDems Select Hancock Replacement | Blue Guerilla
Carswell Resigning: “Moment Labour Won Election” | Labour Uncut
Why We Need Change | Douglas Carswell
The Howard Roark of Westminster | Guardian
Carswell, the Clacton Cassandra | James Ford
Love Bomb Carswell | ConservativeHome


VOTER-RECALL
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Douglas Carswell’s side-kick Dan Hannan MEP pours water on the obvious question:

“I won’t be joining UKIP, though I wish Douglas Carswell all the best. He has been a superb MP, and it’s honourable to stand for re-election.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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