Monday, October 6, 2008

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…

Friday, October 3, 2008

+++ Sky : Yelland – Ex-Sun Editor to Downing Street +++

David Yelland was a vice-chairman at Weber Shandwick, where Mandelson protege Colin Byrne is CEO. Interesting to put a former Sun editor up against Andy Coulson, ex-editor of the News of the Screws…

UPDATE : No confirmation of this yet. Have not seen a retraction either.

UPDATE II 17.20 : Yelland is at Brunswick (former home of Stephen Carter).

UPDATE III : Friend of Yelland tells Guido – “Nah, embarrassingly for Adam, all bollocks. He was in yesterday telling them to calm down about The Sun showing support for Cam.”

Friday Caption Contest (Boy from Brazil Edition)

Whatever Happened to an "End to Spin"?

The return of a troika of three New Labour high priests of spin is striking. Draper is never off the airwaves, Campbell is popping up more and more often. Now the Prince of Darkness himself returns to Westminster from across the sea. New Labour lives!

UPDATE : Am beginning to think that Brown has been quite clever, with the return of Mandelson, he will no longer be the public’s most hated Labour politician. This is going to be more fun than an Irish wake.

+++ Mandy Back in Cabinet +++

Lord Mandy!

McSnide is going to spend more time with his Peroni.

Des Browne leaves government, Hoon goes to transport.

Newsnight is a Shambles, Come Back Peter Barron

Guido has given up on bothering to report the number of times they get the market report wrong, suffice to say that it might as well be a random number. If you can’t rely on a simple thing like that what does it say about the more nuanced reporting? On the day last week that U.S. markets had the huge downward move, Newsnight had a graph showing that it had plunged from roughly 10,100 to, errm, 10,400. Pathetically bad.

Grossman managed to pick up one decent story at Labour Party conference which led to the 3.15 a.m. drink fuelled McBride briefing. Two-ways from the conferences were persistently plagued by technical problems. One night Paxman said on air what all the viewers were thinking “it is a bit of a shambles here tonight.” They spent the conference season playing “Place the Face”, demonstrating that Michael Crick may have a more promising career as a game show host than an investigative reporter. Just a bit of fun? The Guidoisation of politics? Maybe, however is that dumbing down really a good use of the expensive resources of the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme? When Crick finished his Place the Face finale piece on Wednesday, Paxman sneered and Crick exited the stage a minute or two later walking across screen in front of the camera, a dark Crick shaped shadow obscuring the Newsnight discussion with Finkelstein and the pair of cliche merchants he spars with. It was emblemic of the state of the show. Amateurish isn’t the word for it.

They have a Trotskyite reporting from Wall Street on the travails of capitalism – comical. Iain Martin in the Telegraph has also lost patience with the only show the entire Westminster Village watches. They have yet to finalise a replacement for Peter Barron. They need someone to get a grip on it because it is becoming a joke.


Seen Elsewhere

PC Worries Prevent Police Protecting Young Girls | Jill Kirby
Miliband Should Win Rochester | Martin Kettle
Thatcher Minister Sir John Nott ‘Voted for UKIP’ | Times
Time to Listen to Drugs Experts | Guardian
Drug Laws Don’t Work | Times
Our Moral Duty to Cut Taxes | David Cameron
Greens Ahead of LibDems | Guardian
Channel 4 to Spoof UKIP Election Win | Guardian
The Threat to Press Freedom | Paul Dacre
White House Scoop Strategy | Post
Labour Council Retweets BNP Endorsement | HandF Forum


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