Government Has Already Lost £8 Billion in the Banks

If you thought your pension portfolio was doing badly you should see the government’s share portfolio. When it decided to nationalise banks HM Treasury said:
The Government’s investments will be managed on a commercial basis by a new arm’s-length company, ‘UK Financial Investments Limited’ (UKFI), which is wholly owned by the Government. Its overarching objectives will be to protect and create value for the taxpayer as shareholder…

UKFI of course differs from other funds “managed on a commercial basis” in one important respect, it is unable to sell underperforming assets, and underperform they have, destroying value for the taxpayers as shareholders.

Barclays took petro-dollars to recapitalise, so could and should have these banks. Northern Rock should have been put into receivership and whatever was of value sold to other banks. Instead, somewhat pointlessly, taxpayers have been lumbered with an £8 billion loss to date. The government is no better at investing in banks than it was at investing in British Leyland.

Instead of being lost in the stock market, £8 billion could have been used to raise tax thresholds by £1000 per income taxpayer for a year with plenty leftover. Helping those on lower incomes the most.

"A Vampire Feeding On Our Misery"

Is Paul Dacre away from the office? This morning’s Mail has two scorching attacks on the Prime Mentalist. Quentin Letts captures the essence of Brown, Peter Mackay unloads both barrels:
Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s political stocks continue to rise even though Britain is facing an economic crisis.

Deceit and hypocrisy are as common in politics as in everyday life, but for Labour to suggest Shadow Chancellor George Osborne might undermine the pound by criticising Gordon Brown suggests new depths of political depravity.

There is already a run on the pound, which has lost 25 per cent of its value against the dollar and the euro. Trying to pin it on Osborne seems cowardly as well as disgusting.

Brown wants complete freedom to do as he pleases during the current economic crisis, even though it’s likely that it was his let-it-rip fiscal recklessness which to a large extent caused our worst-of-all-nations fix.

He demands silence from his political opponents, calculating that if his schemes go wrong he can avoid responsibility by saying he had cross-party support.

Brown practised the same dirty politics when pressed by David Cameron on the Baby P tragedy. He said Cameron’s questions were politically motivated – in other words, they wouldn’t have been asked if the case hadn’t happened in a Labour borough, Haringey.

He must know this isn’t true. He can’t possibly be so cut off from what’s going on that he didn’t know the whole country was talking about the case. But he refused to withdraw his snide remark. His reaction was: ‘This is harmful to me.’ So it was OK to accuse Cameron of playing party politics.

Nothing is allowed to mar Brown’s new lease of life in which – bafflingly – his poll ratings rise while the country goes down the tubes. He feeds on our distress like a vampire, bursting with energy while others wonder how they and their families will survive.

His trip to Washington for President George W. Bush’s G20 economic summit was all for show. Bush wants credit for helping clean up the mess he caused. So does Brown, who also needs to win a general election.

But President-elect Barack Obama wisely kept clear of them – and, we must hope, their attempts to write his new policies.

Brown now hopes Obama will agree to a new G20 summit in London in April. A world-famous new political star with whom he can be photographed again. Thereby fulfilling his greatest dream: that he can demonstrate to the world – not just Britain – that he, and he alone, has the answer to its problems.

All who aspire to public office need to have faith in themselves, but Brown is in a class of his own. And he’ll literally say anything to advance himself or keep back others. He pulls more stunts than Gerry Cottle’s Circus.

As for his colleagues, aren’t they a dismal crew? They were threatening to dump him in order to save their seats. Now the polls have improved, they’re in the grip of collective dementia.

They can’t understand why they’re being rewarded for their mistakes but the new prospect of electoral victory drives them mad with excitement.

No one may threaten their fragile dream by questioning the Government’s competence. Hence their insane jeering during the Commons questions on Baby P and the pathetic attempts to blame Osborne for the collapsing pound.

Brown is now poised to bribe us with tax cuts and other goodies (‘fiscal stimulus’, he calls it) before springing a 2009 general election, saying he needs a new mandate to steer us through the troubled waters ahead.

He doesn’t care how much he spends – or how much debt he piles up for our children and grandchildren – because its a heads-he-wins, tails-you-lose game.

Ask the PM : Gordon’s G20 Statement

Have just been watching Gordon’s G20 Summit statement live. He gave a comprehensive account, Cameron gave a comprehensive rebuttal. So far so good.

After that every single question from the opposition was responded to without an answer being given. Instead the responses were just attacks on Tory / LibDem policies real or imagined. Gordon even mis-quoted Thatcher and claimed it was unpatriotic to question policy with regard to sterling.

An exasperated Michael Spicer asked him one simple straight forward question. Why is the pound falling? He just ignored the question and started on about the Tories.

Via the Downing Street online engagement initiative Guido has asked the PM a question about adding up the true national debt, a few others asked some tough questions via Downing Street’s YouTube channel. This is supposedly all about Gordon engaging with people. Do you think he will answer the questions?

Voting appears to be still open if you want Gordon to answer Guido’s question on the real level of government debt. Also worth voting for the questions from stevex1969, jonhoops1982 and the Taxpayers’ Alliance. Tough questions all – will there be any direct answers or is it all a sham?

Pound Trading Higher

Must be really disappointing for Mandy, Brown and Darling that the pound is up this morning. They were all ready to enjoy themselves blaming Osborne breaking some unheard of convention and trashing the economy.

Ahh well, back to painting Gordon as the Saviour of the World.

Liam Byrne’s twist on "There’s Only Rubbish on TV"

While investigating his cappuccino control freakery, Guido came across this brilliant use of YouTube by Liam Byrne. Credit where credit is due – what a good idea. Highlight rubbish tipping on a YouTube video, upload it to the local MP’s blog-like website. He can be bring quick results when the council executive responsible for street cleaning can see where he has missed rubbish. Videoing and shaming…


Cost of operation to Liam Byrne and the taxpayer? Nothing, digital camera, upload to YouTube for free, call council and tell them it is there. So what if only 50 people watch these videos – doesn’t matter so long as the person responsible for street cleaning is one of them and takes action as a result.

Guido hears a lot of nonsense about Web 2.0 and politics – this is a really simple, effective idea.

Pound Opens Higher – "George Who?"

Markets don’t care what Osborne says…

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Brown’s Empty Claim to Economic Leadership of the World

Only Nick Robinson would give Brown’s ludicrous claim a serious hearing:
“BBC political editor Nick Robinson said the fact that a series of countries now look likely to implement packages of tax cuts and spending increases would allow Mr Brown to claim the UK is in the lead when it came to dealing with the economic crisis.”

Well it will allow the Prime Mentalist to make that claim to “leadership” only if Nick fails to ask the right questions. Here are a selection of packages already announced from around the world:
  • The U.S. fiscal stimulus plan worth $150 billion went into play in February with bi-partisan support.
  • The Chinese stimulus package is a $586 billion public works acceleration plan announced last week.
  • The German Cabinet approved a stimulus package weeks ago, as did the French.
  • Australia’s second stimulus package was announced last month – though they have the advantage of a massive budget surplus after a decade of Conservative economic policies.
  • Spain’s fiscal stimulus package was announced in April.
  • Conservative run Canada also has for years run a budget surplus and remains determined to balance the budget and cut taxes.
  • Japan has been doing fiscal stimulus for two decades.
In fact of the G7 countries it appears that only Berlusconi and Brown have yet to announce a fiscal stimulus package. Of course Brown is way behind the curve on this, because he was until a few months ago delusionally claiming that our economy was strong and in better shape than the rest of the world including America. Brown’s last budget as chancellor was a fantasy in forecasting. Some leadership…

How the Tories Could Lose in 2009

Robert Winnett in the Daily Labourgraph maps out the Brownies fantasy scenario for power. It has some elements of truth in it. ConservativeHome summarises the map succintly:

Brown cuts taxes… Osborne doesn’t find room for serious tax cuts… Infighting breaks

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Crash Gordon : Saviour of the Universe

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Friday Caption Competition (Corfu Edition)

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Gordon Endorses Bush Policies Warns Obama Against Protectionism

Back in February George Bush pushed through a tax cut based growth package with bi-partisan support. Reported on this blog thus:

Guido looks at the economy and sees real trouble ahead, it needs decisive action, not hand-wringing words from politicians

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

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