+++ Gordon Wants IMF to Sell Gold Stocks +++

That has worked so well for Britain.  Not.

UPDATE : Guido didn’t see C4 News but a co-conspirator over on HPC reports Mandelson on the subject of IMF bailouts as telling Jon Snow

PM : We won’t be at the top of the queue”

JS : “You didn’t say we won’t be in the queue”

PM : “I don’t think we will be in the queue”

Honestly he didn’t want to say that last bit. He was more or less forced to. Very sheepish and quiet whan he said it. All this after Mandelson spent a good minute talking about how the stigma of going to the IMF was being reduced and it wouldn’t be embarrassing to go to them now. He even used examples of other countries, Mexico, that were considering using the special drawdown facility. We are being primed. Pure and simple. Just as we were for low interest rates and QE.

Apparently Mandelson said “We are destigmatising going to the IMF”Anyone got the video?

Queen and King

Queen & King A governor of the Bank of England has never had an audience with the Queen before.  King had just told a stunned Westminster that there is no more money for another fiscal splurge.  Perhaps Her Majesty is worried that the currency adorned by her face is being recklessly devalued.  If she next calls in the generals for an audience our unelected, unmandated Prime Minister should really get worried…

Gordon’s "Favourite Banker" Has £14 Million+ RBS Pension

Derek Wanless – Gordon Brown’s most trusted banker – who chaired Northern Rock’s audit and risk committees, also has a multi-million pound pension paid for by the taxpayer. Vince Cable railed at the “collapse of Northern Rock; a product of greed and reckless gambling by overpaid executives”.

It was Wanless who failed in his responsibility to rein in that reckless gambling.

The government’s holding company, UK Financial Investments Ltd, is the majority shareholder in both RBS and Northern Rock. Based on the pensions data below, the taxpaying public as shareholders are funding a £14 million plus pension for Wanless. Does Brown think his friend Derek Wanless should be so rewarded given his catastrophic failure in his responsibility to exercise oversight of the risk?

Graphic credit : Paul Waugh

*Based on standard 20 x multiple.

Say that Again, Where Did the Problem Start?

Gordon was like a puppy on heat in the Oval office, clearly relieved that Obama managed to squeeze in his photo-op in between lunch and seeing the Boy Scouts of America. Here is what Gordon told the squashed in Lobby
“This is a global problem. It needs global solutions. There is a global banking collapse that we are dealing with. If we could have the same standards and the same rules that we are about to apply in the USA and in Britain to apply to other countries around the world, the same standards of disclosure and accountability and remuneration, I think the confidence in the banking system will be restored.”

For some reason he didn’t say the phrase about the problem “which started in America”. He did however ignore the questioner* who asked him would he apologise.

*Guido is sometimes harsh on Nick Robinson, but that was a blinder, Gordon looked winded as if punched in the solar plexus. We can but dream….

Canada "Best Placed to Weather the Global Financial Turbulence"

Canada, alone in the industrialised world, has not faced a single bank failure, has no need for a bailout or government intervention in the financial markets. According to the World Economic Forum, Canada’s banking sector is best placed to weather the global financial turbulence (which apparently began in America).

Gordon Brown’s Britain is ranked 44th.

What are the Chances of the IMF Bailing Out Britain?

Brown says Cameron is “ridiculous” to talk about the possibility of the International Monetary Fund being called in to bail-out Britain. Brown reckons that is impossible.

The money markets though say different, clearly they think it is a possibility. How probable is a bail-out? Guido listened on Wednesday to Gerard Lyons, Chief Economist at Standard Chartered, Geoffrey Wood, an economist at Cass Business School and Paul Ormerod, author of Why Most Things Fail: Evolution, Extinction and Economics talk at a Policy Exchange seminar on the Credit Crunch. They were far more sanguine about the economic prospects than Guido. Essentially they thought the recession would run its course over a year or two and we would come out of it with a huge bill in terms of the national debt. The consensus was that Britain probably wouldn’t be humiliated at the IMF again, but it wasn’t impossible. Some joked that if we were going to have to go to the IMF we should get to the front of the queue.

Given most of Britain’s external debt is denominated in pounds, the way to avoid going completely bust is to print more money and devalue the debt. Which is what the markets expect to happen, hence they are dumping pounds…

Economics is a dismal science, but playing www.BailoutBrown.com is a bit more fun. Enjoy throwing your money at Brown for a change…

UPDATE 26 Jan, ’09 : Paul Ormerod emails to correct the impression that he isn’t pessimistic:
I am a great fan of your site. I am sorry you thought I wasn’t pessimistic enough at the Policy Exchange, I thought I was being. I did, for example talk about a 6 per cent switch in GDP purely through consumer attitudes, and on top of this is the impact of tight credit on the corporate sector. So I think things are pretty grim.

+++ GDP DOWN 1.5% Q4 2008 +++

Recession is now official.

Gordon’s Unfunded Spending

The UK budget deficit for December alone was £11.4 billion. The numbers are so big that you have to break them down. The government is overspending – tax receipts minus expenditure – by over £14 million an hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

At PMQs Gordon seemed to boast about his plans to overspend. This is not sustainable.

Economic Recovery Needs the Audacity of Hope

The City, home of eternal optimists, has begun to seriously price in the all too real risk of national bankruptcy. It would be the first time Britain has defaulted on the national debt since the dark ages. An historic legacy

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Barclays Shares Down 25%

Most of the losses occurred in the last hour of trading. The City is awash with rumours as to why. With the Treasury looking at a second round of bank bail-outs it looks like the taxpayer is going to need

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Business Lending Package, Too Late and Too Little

Guido’s main concern about the Tory plan to insure bank-to-business lending was that it would encourage risky lending in a failing economy. The lenders would not really have to worry too much about the risk because the taxpayer would pick

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Indebted Slavery to the Gilt Market

The Tories are highlighting the terrible debt burden being foisted on Britain’s children. Guido was recently chatting to the economist Tim Congdon about the gilt market and the historically unprecedented taxpayer liabilities in terms of the government’s admitted debts, the

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Liz Kendall is asked by Tom Newton Dunn if she would ever ban the Sun from one of her press conferences:

“If you stripped naked and ran in front of me, Tom, I might have second thoughts about it, but apart from that, no.”

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