Thursday, October 9, 2008

Terror Laws Used Against Icelandic Bank

The FT reports that a freezing order was issued under the 2001 Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act against Landsbanki’s estimated £4bn UK financial assets. Guido doubts that it was the intention of parliament when it voted on this draconian Act that it should be used in this way.

Is Guido the only one uncomfortable with this abuse of the law? Aged hecklers first, now foreign bankers. We are all terrorists…

Islamic Piety

Hugh Muir in the Guardian diary reports* that the controversial Young Muslim Advisory Group was launched at the Foreign Office on Tuesday.
Jacqui Smith, David Miliband and Hazel Blears were there. The right notes were struck, but when things become tense and the nuances begin to matter, it will be essential to ensure that the right people are in charge of all the preparations. Melton Mowbray may be lovely but it is known the world over for its pork pies; so whoever decided to ferry the young Muslims there for the group’s first away day took a bit of a risk, culturally speaking.

*N.B. Attribution is easy, try it sometime Hugh.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Exclusive : Michael Howard Complains to FSA Over Pesto-Wire

City outrage over Peston’s reporting has been voiced by Michael Howard. He has written to the FSA to ask for an investigation into the leaking of intensely market sensitive information to Pesto-Wire. Good.

click to enlarge

UPDATE : During this afternoon’s debate Howard challenged Darling over the Government’s conduct. Darling noticeably did not specifically deny that the Government leaked details of the bail-out plan. Howard has also tabled a PQ asking if the Chancellor of the Exchequer “will initiate an official inquiry into the leaking of market sensitive information to the Economic Editor of the BBC relating to the recapitalisation of Britain’s high street banks”. Fingers are pointing towards Catherine Macleod, Darling’s very own Spin Mistress…

Put them on the National Economic Council

BBC reports :

Four years ago, fearful of a property crash, David and Maureen Somers sold their house and bought gold… Mr Somers and his wife Maureen claim it would be “vulgar” to say how much they invested in gold. However, he does say they sold their three-bedroom, detached house in Poole for a significant profit, and the couple have since almost doubled their money again in gold.

“Over thousands of years gold has never reached zero. The price is a risk, but at the end of the day I will still have the same amount of gold,” he says.

“There are people who probably hold bank shares that would have been seen as conservative investments and you could question what they are going to be left with.”

Gold-bugs, not so crazy now, eh?

"Vertu Blessaður" Singer & Friedlander R.I.P. Founded 1907, City of London – Bust 2008

So Guido says goodbye (in Icelandic) to Singer & Friedlander :

From: Armann Thorvaldsson
Sent: 08 October 2008 13:53
To: DL All Staff

Subject: Important Message to All

Dear Colleagues

I wrote to you yesterday about our intensive efforts to work through the current crisis and promised to give you more news today. We have worked with a number of investment banks, our parent in Iceland and the FSA over the last two weeks to explore a large number of possible options to ensure the future of KSF. On several occasions, we have come close to finding solutions but the chaos in financial markets has consistently undermined our efforts. We now face the prospect of insufficient liquidity, rapid deposit outflows and no prospects for correcting the situation in the short term.

I have therefore convened a meeting of our Board in order to consider the next step. That meeting has concluded we have no choice but to place Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander into administration with immediate effect. We will give you all more information on the implications of this decision in the course of today and ask for your patience in order to make the best of a very unhappy situation for all of us. Can I ask you to continue work in as normal a fashion as possible, cooperating with the Administrators in their work with us. This decision relates only to KSF Ltd and not its subsidiaries. They will continue to trade unless advised otherwised. We will give a more complete information update later in the day, certainly before 4pm.

You have all worked with incredible effort to make KSF a success and we were well on our way to achieving it before the credit crisis had such a sudden and disastrous effect. Now I can only ask for your help in making the end of the process as orderly and professional as possible.

I am personally gutted that it has come to this, especially in light of the fact that our problems have arisen out of association rather than any fundamental problems with the business. On the contrary I belief that we have built a great business over the last couple of years and during this time I have worked with many of the most talented and professional people I have ever met. I am very sorry.

Sincerely,

Kind regards

Armann Thorvaldsson
CEO
Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Group Plc
One Hanover Street

Won’t be the last…

Osborne : "Fox is a S**t"

Didn’t take Mandy long to get revenge on Osborne for grassing him up about their cosy Corfu taverna gossip. Maguire reports this morning the rumour that Osborne “turned the air blue and ridiculed defence spokesman Liam Fox as a “s**t” in an incredible four-letter tirade.” Is this news?

+++ Mr Bean in Charge of Monetary Stability +++

HM Treasury Press Release

Her Majesty The Queen has been pleased to approve, under the Bank of England Act 1998, the appointment of Charles Bean as a Deputy Governor of the Bank of England for Monetary Stability, for a period of five years.

This explains a lot.

Gordon’s £300 Billion Guarantee : £50 Billion Tier 1 Capital + £200 Billion Inter-Bank Guarantee + £50 Billion Northern Rock

Pretty soon we are going to be talking real money.

Guido has lost track of the repeated Bank of England interventions to try and flood liquidity into the money markets. Those alone could easily be as much as £200 billion or more.

The government bail out, never mind the Bank interventions, is secured against the hard work of Britain’s 28 million taxpayers. The government is risking more than £10,000 for each taxpayer.

UPDATE : The bail-out we are told was finalised at 5 a.m. this morning, the tri-partite authorities meeting in Downing Street was at 5 p.m. last night. Good to know that a £300 billion plan to “guarantee” the economy can be cobbled together in less time than it takes to do a school homework project. Fills Guido full of confidence.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Labour to Implement 1983 Manifesto Pledges

It is a quarter century since Labour’s Michael Foot signed manifesto was rejected by the British people. An unelected Prime Minister is now going to impose some of those plans on the British economy. The socialist dreams so roundly rejected in 1983 sound eerily familiar:
… a National Investment Bank to put new resources from private institutions and from the government…. Exercise, through the Bank of England, much closer direct control over bank lending. Agreed development plans will be concluded with the banks and other financial institutions. Create a public bank… set up a Securities Commission to regulate the institutions and markets of the City… Set up a tripartite investment monitoring agency to advise trustees and encourage improvements in investment practices and strategies… We expect the major clearing banks to co operate with us fully on these reforms, in the national interest. However, should they fail to do so, we shall stand ready to take one or more of them into public ownership. This will not in any way affect the integrity of customers’ deposits.

The National Economic Council of the people’s plutocrats is straight out of that unreconstructed dirigiste mindset. This isn’t going to work.

The big lie that we will hear this morning is that taxpayer’s money will be “invested” and the government may even make a profit – like the Swedes did in the nineties. Except the Swedes didn’t make a profit, Swedish taxpayers lost billions. One bank out of over 114 Swedish banks refused the deal. SEB, Sweden’s largest bank controlled by the Wallenberg family, arranged a private sector recapitalisation and returned to profitability within a year. So could the UK banks. British taxpayers are going to get screwed like they have never been screwed before.

Seen Elsewhere

Next Year’s Election Will Be the Dirtiest Ever | Speccie
Chicken Salmond Runs Away From Sun Cabbie | Sun
Scary No Messages Don’t Add Up | Sun
Feminist War on Children | Laura Perrins
An English Parliament is Inevitable Whatever Happens | Alex Wickham
Union All But Over Even if Scots Vote No | Janan Ganesh
Unionists Outgunned | Times
Unionists Outgunned | Times
Labour Will Lose Commons if Scotland Votes Yes | Times
Miliband Blanked Gordon | Damian McBride
Cameron Surrenders Keys to Union | Rachel Sylvester


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


Gyles Brandreth writes in his memoirs:

“Sunday, May 10, 1998

Early start: appearing on Breakfast With Frost, to be broadcast from 11 Downing Street. The Chancellor [Gordon Brown] is grouchily amiable, but so earnest — and still biting his fingernails to the quick.

After the show, he took us upstairs to his flat. He lives above No 10, while Blair and family are in the No 11 duplex, which is bigger and more like a proper house.

I was intrigued that, when he took us into his bedroom, the Chancellor rather ostentatiously opened the built-in wardrobes, as if he wanted us to see the women’s frocks that were hanging in there.

They looked quite large, but I don’t think they belong to Gordon. I assume they belong to his girlfriend [Sarah Macaulay, who he later married].

I presume he was keen for us to know that he has one — and that she’s not a ‘beard’. I don’t think he does anything without calculation.”



The British media are Hunts says:

Now the SNP know how UKIP voters feel all the time.


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