Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Clegg Speech : Tax Cuts and Social Justice

He also said the Labour Party was finished. Not a bad speech.

Who Told Peston?

If as many suspect the Treasury panicked and tipped Peston off about the HBOS bid in order to stem the collapse we could be looking at serious consequences.

This is a clear breach of the Take Over Code:

2.2 WHEN AN ANNOUNCEMENT IS REQUIRED

An announcement is required:—

… when, following an approach to the offeree company, the offeree company is the subject of rumour and speculation or there is an untoward movement in its share price;

when, before an approach has been made, the offeree company is the subject of rumour and speculation or there is an untoward movement in its share price and there are reasonable grounds for concluding that it is the potential offeror’s actions (whether through inadequate security or otherwise) which have led to the situation

It is doubly serious, because he said the price would be near £3, then said it would be nearer £2, millions have changed hands on the basis of false information…

UPDATE : Informed City co-conspirator emails

What is more significant is the fact that at least one city law firm is in the early stages of rounding up plaintiffs among the fund community for an action relating to the price manipulation of HBOS shares this morning.

Peston admitted “over-egging” the price while the panel stood by and the companies made no announcements. No suspension of trading either.

Funds who sustained losses stopping out short positions entered at around 180 – the key level that broke down on volume over the past couple of days, will be placing the blame fairly and squarely with the entirely false idea given cynically to retail punters by the bbc that the price would be set around the 300p level.

This is going to get very interesting indeed.

UPDATE : Peston now says on his blog “I am hearing that this deal has been negotiated at a very high pay grade level, with the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, talking to Sir Victor Blank, chairman of Lloyds TSB, about how helpful it would be if Sir Victor could bring himself to end the uncertainty hanging over HBOS by buying it.” He also says the deal is an all share deal which, wait for it, will be worth near £3!

UPDATE II : Have just been reminded that Peston wrote Brown’s biography Brown’s Britain.

+++ HBOS Collapses 38% +++

UPDATE : Rumours circulating that Lloyds are looking to buy HBOS on the cheap. HBOS slumped 51% at one point, now bounced to off 19%. FSA has released a statement saying HBOS is well capitalised…
UPDATE II : Robert Peston’s reporting has been, errm, interesting. He said earlier this morning that Lloyds was looking at paying £3 for HBOS. This seems suspiciously toppy.

Peston should have known that the disastrous HBOS rights issue in late July was priced at £2.75. The market shunned it with the underwriters getting stuffed and left holding two-thirds of the £4 billion offering. So why would Lloyds want to pay more than the price which was shunned two months ago when conditions have deteriorated? Doh! He now says it will be nearer to £2.

Peston needs to be careful that he doesn’t get accused of creating a false market. There are laws and a Stock Exchange Regulatory New Service for market moving news!

+++ FTSE Drops Despite AIG $85 Billion Bail-Out +++

FTSE looks set to fall below the psychologically important 5000 level….

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pensions Plundered, Stocks Slumping, Gordon’s Dead-Hand

Some commentators (who should know better) warn that in these times of economic turbulence we should keep Gordon at the helm. It is a desperate line seized on and spun by his few remaining supporters. Who, they ask, knows the economy better than Gordon Brown? This is repeated so often you would think it a truism. Fraser Nelson pointed out some time ago that all Gordon knows about the economy is how to tax it. Look at how the stock market has performed during his chancellorship. Guido has pointed out before how much better other G7 stock markets have performed in comparison. Gordon’s plundering of our retirement pensions to fund his profligacy has sucked capital out of pensions to pour into his social engineering.

In the ten years prior to May 1997 before Gordon got his hands on the levers of the economy the FTSE rose from less than 2000 to more 4000. After a decade of Gordon’s stewardship of the economy the stock market has gone nowhere. Pensions have had no capital gains, what gains they have made have been taxed. During his time we have had the first run on a bank for a century. As the FTSE teeters at the 5000 level those who are retiring soon have a terrible future ahead, whereas at one time the British private pension system was a model for other countries. UK stocks under performance compared to other countries is partly due to Gordon looting pension funds to pay for current spending.

Newsnight Reports on a Market That Doesn’t Exist

Well this is a first, they have in the past reported up markets down, down markets up and once even reported dramatic moves in a market that was closed. Paul Mason has just breathlessly reported from New York that a late breaking after market story on the Bloomberg newswire has “halved AIG’s share price on the futures markets”. There is no open futures market for shares, as anybody who knew anything about financial markets would know.

There are electronic markets where stocks trade after hours. Perhaps that is what he meant? With Newsnight’s market reporting you just never know.

UPDATED : Who are the "Handful"?

N.B. This article was first published on the morning of Saturday, 13 September 2008, it is being updated and re-dated on a rolling basis as more names come out.

Guido has yet to see a list of the “handful” of MPs who want a leadership election. So with the help of you co-conspirators shall we compile the list? Guido will start it off:

Openly
Janet Anderson
Stephen Byers
David Cairns
Charles Clarke
Jim Dowd
Kate Hoey
Frank Field
Barry Gardiner
Ian Gibson
Mike Hall
George Howarth
Peter Kilfoyle
Fiona Mactaggart
Siobhain McDonagh
John McDonnell
Alan Milburn
Greg Pope
Gordon Prentice
Joan Ryan
Graham Stringer
Gisela Stuart

Coded
Karen Buck
Jon Cruddas
Patricia Hewitt
Kelvin Hopkins
Eric Joyce
Sally Keeble
Stephen Ladyman
Ivan Lewis
Martin Linton
Shona McIsaac
Denis MacShane
David Miliband
Margaret Moran
John Reid
Tom Levitt
Paddy Tipping

Add names and references in the comments.

UPDATE : Other likely suspects are Jeremy Corbyn, Anne Cryer, Ruth Kelly, Michael Meacher, Tessa Jowell.

UPDATE 20.30 13/9 : This represents the best information emailed in and from the news wires. Cruddas has arguably given an ambiguous steer. No doubt some left-wingers have been missed. The list has been updated throughout the day. Quite a few handfuls at the latest count. Michael White speculates that the numbers could be as many as sixty.

Rat Race Continues

The rats are bailing out of the Downing Street ship fast and furious nowadays. Last week Paul Sinclair jumped, this week it is the turn of Jo Dipple.

The Prime Mentalist’s strategic communications adviser is a former Daily Mirror journalist. She is leaving to become a lobbyist. No news on Stephen Carter’s exit, rumours still circulate in Labour circles that Maguire could succeed him. C’mon Kevin, save Gordon!

Somebody More Senior You Have Never Heard of Resigned

Nick Robinson, 10:05 GMT, 11:05 UK, Tuesday, 16 September 2008:

A source close to the Scottish Secretary Des Browne has insisted that David Cairns, Minister of State at the Scotland Office, has “no intention of resigning”.

4 hours is a long time in politics…

UPDATE : Cairn’s resignation letter.

NEC : Comrades, We Are All United Behind Our Glorious Leader

It is like some Stalinist missive from the politburo:

Press release

Tuesday 16 September 2008

For immediate use

Internal procedural debates will not divert the Labour Party from building a fairer Britain – NEC

The Labour Party National Executive Committee today agreed the following statement.

Dianne Hayter, Chair of the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) and speaking on their behalf, said:

“The Labour Party National Executive Committee is in agreement that internal procedural debates will not divert the Labour Party from our mission of building a fairer Britain and helping people through these challenging times.

“The NEC fully endorses the view of the Labour Party’s General Secretary and the party’s independent legal advisors. A Leadership election when in Government can only be held if requested by a majority of party conference on a card vote, only Labour MPs can trigger the process and the NEC is confident that most MPs know their responsibilities under the rules.

“The Labour Party has followed this procedure for 11 years, as long as we have been in government under these present rules, and it has not required the issue of nomination forms at any time.

“The NEC has a responsibility to ensure the party follows these long-standing procedures and we will do so. The Labour Party will not waver from its historic responsibilities to our country and to those in greatest need.”

That last line is classic pseudo-Marxist phraseology isn’t it?


Seen Elsewhere

5 Things We Learned From Guido’s Party | GQ
Revealed: Guido Fawkes Anniversary Dinner Guestlist | Peter Oborne
More Owen Jones Errors | Michael Ezra
Why Should Men Get Equal Maternity Leave? | Laura Keynes
Dentists Have Last Laugh Over Sneering Keynes | FT
Why’s Clegg Giving Men Paternity Leave? | Conservative Women
Cam Cannot Stem EU Immigration | David Keighley
9 Mansion Tax Questions for Ed Balls | TPA
Politicians are Lying to You About Immigration | Alex Wickham
Give Journalists Public Interest Defence in Law | Guardian
Cameron is Going to Have to Deal With UKIP | Dan Hodges


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Chris Bryant talks to the Times Diary about a famous gay actor:

“I don’t think I’ve had sex with him. He says we had sex in Clapham. I’m fairly certain I’ve never had sex south of the river”



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Great to hear Carswell call for inclusive policies and that UKIP must stand for first and second generation immigrants as much as the English.


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