Guido got his hopes up when he saw that Gordon Brown would be appearing in the dock in a Kuala Lumpur court, but sadly the Prime Mentalist will only be a witness rather than a suspect. According to Malaysian newspaper The Sun Daily, Gordon has been summoned by the defence in a bizarre sedition trial halfway across the planet. At least that gives him another chance to rack up some more air miles…
After resigning as CEO of Barclays this morning, Bob Diamond may yet exact some revenge on the government when he testifies tomorrow in front of the Treasury Select Committee.
There are two LIBOR fixing scandals – the first involves traders massaging the settling of LIBOR rates a few basis points, mere hundreths of a percent, off market reality to flatter their trading books. It appears to have been going on for years and not just at Barclays. This was not so petty corruption.
The second LIBOR fixing scandal is of a different order altogether – it involves the wholesale systematic substantial misrepresentation of true LIBOR, with the encouragement of the Treasury, the FSA and in particular the Bank of England. The policy was to under-report LIBOR rates at much lower levels than were actually trading in the market. This deliberate policy was to cover-up the increased risks to the UK banking system revealed by higher LIBOR rates.
It is emerging that Gordon Brown’s economic adviser in Downing Street, Shriti Vadera, an ex-UBS investment banker, circulated a paper on ”Reducing Libor” at the height of the banking crisis, which she argued would be “a major contribution to the stability of the banking system and to the health of the economy”.
That message will have gone out to the Treasury in Whitehall, the regulators and the Bank of England. They in turn will have given a nod and a wink to the investment banks. Bob Diamond is reportedly furious that the “lowballing” of LIBOR rates by Barclays – which was explicitly encouraged by the authorities to stabilise already panicked markets – is being used against Barclays. Bob Diamond is expected to testify tomorrow that the Bank of England’s deputy governor Paul Tucker encouraged the “lowballing”.
The politicisation and manipulation of interest rates is ongoing even after Gordon Brown and Shriti Vadera are long gone. The £275 billion Quantitative Easing (QE) programme implemented by Mervyn King with George Osborne’s blessing is designed to artificially lower interest rates. We currently have a false market in Gilts, it is arguably the biggest bubble since the South Sea Bubble. It is cheating pensioners and savers of income on an unprecedented scale. This is a robbery organised from within the Bank of England …
The star witness at any future banking inquiry…
News International has today written to the Leveson Inquiry asking them to seek further evidence from Gordon Brown over his claim that the Sun illegally accessed his son’s medical records. Gordon Brown is getting his lawyers on to The Times…
Read all about it… over on MediaGuido…
The Times is reporting that News International has written to the Leveson Inquiry asking them to seek further evidence from Gordon Brown over his claim that they illegally accessed his son’s medical records. The move comes after the Dundee-based Sunday Post revealed that they had got a story about his son a few weeks earlier but decided not to run it after contacting Brown. The Sun denied Brown’s claim when he made it last July at the height of the phone-hacking scandal claiming the source was a “dad whose son also has the crippling disease and he wanted to highlight the plight of sufferers”. Claim and counter-claim are being traded.
News International asked the inquiry to seek written evidence from The Sunday Post and Mr Brown. Sources at The Sunday Post tell Guido they only knew that Brown’s son was unwell, not his exact illness. When they contacted Brown’s spokesman and he refused to comment they left the matter there and did not pursue it. Guido sources tell him that Brown’s lawyers will be contacting News International shortly to advise them accordingly in the strongest possible terms. Brown is adamant, and will it appears be backed up by The Sunday Post if required, that his son’s illness was not in the public domain.
Lord Sugar revealed all about his ill-fated spell as Gordon Brown’s enterprise champion during a speech to the Industry and Parliament Trust at Portcullis House last night. The Labour peer recalled how their conversations on boosting business achieved nothing as Gordon would regularly lose the plot:
“It was frustrating. Gordon wanted me to give him ideas on how to make British business great again but everything I said fell on deaf ears. It would always just end with him shouting me down.“
Sugar went on to accuse Brown’s “British jobs for British workers” pledge of being an empty promise, describing his annoyance at the Prime Mentalist’s lack of desire to fight EU red tape. It must have been a new experience for the Apprentice boss to have been on the receiving end…
According to Alastair Campbell’s diary entry for Thursday, 26 September 2002, after being told of the latest act of sabotage by Gordon Brown, Tony Blair told him “He’s brilliant and ambitious but he’s also bonkers and I just can’t be bothered with it.” After another row on Friday 4 April 2003 Blair tells Campbell “One thing is for sure. At the moment he is crackerjack. My big worry is that he will bring the whole show down.” Guido disputes the “brilliant”.
If you have been watching BBC news or reading the Guardian you would think that Brown’s testimony was proven and Rupert Murdoch had made up the whole claim about Brown “declaring war”. At the Leveson Inquiry Lord Mandelson was questioned about the “war” call from Gordon Brown to Rupert Murdoch. It is worth revisiting what he said in his sworn testimony:
Jay Okay. You say in your book that Mr Brown was stunned by the news that the Sun had shifted allegiance, and that this grew greater, as it were, over the forthcoming weeks. Was it your assessment that Mr Brown was personally embittered by this?
Mandelson I think he was greatly upset by it. I don’t think he should have been surprised, but he took these things very personally. Look, different politicians will take these things in different ways, and he did feel stung by it. He thought that after all that he had done as Prime Minister, all that he had done to deliver our economy from the greatest post-war crisis that we had seen, during which he felt that in respect of the banks, for example, he had received a lot of encouragement from Rupert Murdoch and Irwin Stelzer and other informed commentators, that it was sort of unfair in a sense for them to turn on him now. He also felt wronged over Afghanistan, with good reason, and I was very sympathetic to him, but he shouldn’t have taken it so personally. You know, this is politics. …
Jay You might be able to throw direct light on that belief by a piece of evidence. We heard from Mr Murdoch — and he said it twice, sitting where you are — that there was a telephone call between him and Mr Brown when Mr Brown delivered what was tantamount to –
Mandelson But the interesting thing about the phone call –
Jay Can I –
Mandelson – is Mr Murdoch himself said that he did not agree with the method and timing of what had been done.
Jay Yes, but we don’t know yet from your evidence whether you know whether there was such a call, and that was the question.
Mandelson Oh, I’m sorry.
Jay The allegation is — or rather the evidence was from Mr Murdoch — that Mr Brown said or uttered the words ”declare war on News International” or words to that effect. From your own knowledge, Lord Mandelson, can you assist us as to whether there was such a call? …
Mandelson I assume that there was the call because I seem to remember the Prime Minister telling me that Rupert Murdoch was not at all happy with the method and timing of James and Rebekah’s action.
Jay What did the Prime Minister tell you, Lord Mandelson, about the call? Did he communicate to you that that’s what he told Mr Murdoch?
Mandelson No, he didn’t say that. He told me what Mr Murdoch had said to him.
Jay So there was nothing about what Mr Brown said to Mr Murdoch? Is that your evidence?
Mandelson Yes, it is. I cannot remember being told by Mr Brown what he said, and I have no way of knowing. But I – but I know what he said to me about Rupert Murdoch’s reaction, which was to say basically: “I don’t like how it’s been done and I think it’s a bad day to do it and I wouldn’t have done it this way myself, but that’s life and we have to get on with it.”
Jay Mr Murdoch’s reaction to what, though, Lord Mandelson?
Mandelson The decision of the Sun to switch support from New Labour to the Conservative Party, which he has said, if I recall correctly, was James and Rebekah’s decision. Not the editor’s, incidentally.
Jay Can you at least assist us with the timing of this call? We know that there was a later call relating to the letter to the mother of the soldier who died in Afghanistan. We’re talking about an earlier conversation, if it took place.
Mandelson There would have been a number of — I mean, Gordon did not hold back in talking to Rupert Murdoch. He did telephone him, he had every right to do so, and when he thought that he was being traduced, as he did, by the Sun, he wanted to give vent to his feelings about that. I mean, who can blame him in the circumstances? Personally, I think it is better to go to editors rather than proprietors, but he did have a good relationship with Rupert and he invoked that friendship.
Rupert Murdoch has just tweeted that he is not backing down:
I stand by every word is aid at Leveson.—
Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) June 15, 2012
Given that as well as denying making any such call, Gordon denied all knowledge of what Ed Balls, Charlie Whelan and Damian McBride did on his behalf, Guido knows who he believes...
Guido’s Column | Sun
UKIP’s Contempt for Our Free Press | Alex Wickham
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Farage’s Aide and Her Pussy at Work | Times
UKIP Funding Controversy | Times
We Need a Democratic Reinvigoration | Chris Deerin
Clegg’s Patriotic Guff | Quentin Letts
Even the BBC Accepts the Licence Fee Must Go | ConHome
More to Women Than Boosting GDP | Ruth Lea
ThinkProgress Controlled: “I Was an Obamabot” | Zaid Jilani
Free People Don’t Care About Politics | Fraser Nelson
Alan Rusbridger opines…
“One thing that Snowden has taught us journalists is that it’s essential to be paranoid.”