Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning Views

+++ S&P Predicting UK Housing Market to Fall 30% By 2009 +++

Bloomberg TV is tonight reporting the Standard & Poors credit rating agency predicting a fall of 30% in UK house prices (from 2007 peak) in 2009.

Back in April Charles Bean, the Bank of England’s Chief Economist, gave an under-reported speech that shook up the Gilts market. It should have shaken up everyone. According to Mr Bean the Bank’s research found that 5% of mortgagors had less than 20% equity in their home. That is equivalent to 650,000 homeowners.

A 30% fall would see more than a million homeowners better off giving the bank the keys to the front door. This could be some bust…

UPDATE : Pound is tumbling as Asian markets open tonight. The pound is now at the weakest it has ever been against the Euro, tumbling against the Swiss Franc as well. Guido is short…

“John McCain Left Both His First Wife and Mitt Romney for Beauty Queens.”

Made Guido laugh. Mitt Romney gave Guido the creeps…

Carter Out of the Bonkers Bunker?

The Indy’s Jane Merrick is reporting “that Stephen Carter, Mr Brown’s high-profile strategist, is to leave his job after a bitter turf war inside Downing Street. The public relations guru’s move to a lower-key role is a victory for the Prime Minister’s long-serving advisers….”

Guido is cautious about the story because it smacks of wishful thinking by some in the Brown bunker, Carter and Muir have not been sugar-coating the dire focus group feedback. It stands out that no one else is reporting the demotion story, Merrick may have just been spun by the Brownies.

Getting rid of Carter and replacing Darling with Ed Balls would signal that the Brown bunker is bonkers, the Treasury is clearly in revolt at the £40 billion state house building splurge supposedly planned by Downing Street. Having nationalised home lending via Northern Rock, Gordon plans to double up on the mistake and nationalise home building. A last gasp of socialism to appease the Labour core-vote – public sector mass housing has been such a success hasn’t it? Huge estates of stable families, high employment, low crime and civic responsibility.

Wonder if Vince Cable will support him this time as well?

UPDATE : Dale says Merrick claims the report is triple sourced though Downing Street denies it. If Carter has quit rather than been demoted what does that say about the dysfunction in Downing Street?

Osborne : Is it Brown or Darling Who Is Telling the Truth?

The Chancellor’s candid confession that the economy is tanking worse than previously admitted has been seized on by his shadow. Osborne asks

Who is telling the truth at the top of Government? The Prime Minister says the economic situation isn’t as bad people think and that Britain is well placed to weather the economic storm, but the Chancellor says we are at a 60 year low. Gordon Brown has briefed out stories that he has an economic recovery plan all worked out, meanwhile the Chancellor says the downturn will be more profound and long-lasting than people thought.

Mulling over whether or not to bet the shop against sterling…

UPDATE : The Chancellor in the interview does appear to know the price of eggs. We can relax. Phew.

Newsnight Cock Down Up the Market Report Yet Again

A co-conspirator reports that Newsnight reported the Dow up 171 points tonight. Reassuring in these times of financial market uncertainty. Alas Guido has to report that the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs programme (budget £3 billion) has managed to get it wrong yet again. The Dow closed down 171 points. This would never have happened in Peter Barron’s day, oh hold on…

How hard can it be to report the closing price of the world’s most watched market correctly? Can’t they get a trained monkey to do it?

Friday Caption Contest (Sane Edition)

U.S. Growth 3.3% v U.K. Growth 0.0%

If all our economic woes are made in America as Gordon claims, why is that their economy is showing healthy growth (despite high oil prices) and the U.K. economy is flat-lining?

Could it have something to do with George Bush’s timely $150 billion bi-partisan growth stimulus package in February? Both the Democrats and Republicans are running on tax cutting platforms. We have bi-partisan tax and spend sloth policies. Guido understands the politics of it, the economics of it are what disappoints. The Finkelstein “you can’t win promising tax cuts” approach was always timid, it is now the wrong strategy at the wrong time. The voters have moved on, they recognise the economy needs tax cuts to grow.

Obama’s Speech Blog Style

Here it is in a word cloud. News you can use blog style. Cameroons who swoon at the words of “the One” should note: he is running on a promise to cut income taxes…

Here is the bit of the speech Cameron could lift with minor alterations:

“For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us – that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it – because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time. America, this is one of those moments.”

18 months or so to change in Westminster…

Maguire “Promoting Malicious Narratives”

According to the moonbats the Is Brown Bonkers? meme is cooked up by Guido on the orders of Andy Coulson at CCHQ. They reckon that Guido is

“starting and constantly promoting malicious narratives… [so] that it becomes a talking point for the mainstream media and that is how [Brown] becomes framed. The Republicans in the United States have been great at this for decades.”

Succintly echoing Nick Robinson’s accusation that Dale and Guido try to “make the political weather”. Actually we look at politics and report the political weather as we see it. Guido thinks the evidence is strong that we have a psychologically flawed PM.

Even Kevin Maguire is indulging in a bit of innuendo himself in the New Statesman.

It must be getting desperately bad for the Brownies when a former stalwart like Maguire starts mocking the Prime Mentalist. The end must be nigh…

Harry is Back

Harry’ s Place disappeared, Guido asked them what happened:

Last Friday, Harry’s Place republished an email sent to the Universities and Colleges Union activists email list by a Sheffield based academic, Jenna Delich. In that email, she linked to the website of the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke and recommended an article by the racist conspiricy theorist Joe Quinn, on the Israel/Palestine conflict.

As a result, LSE academic, Mike Cushman recommended that Ms Delich contact the DNS service providers of Harry’s Place, to complain that the article was defamatory. The complaint was made and the DNS address was taken down by the gutless Daily.co.uk.

The attempt to censor Harry’s Place has failed. Harry’s Place’s DNS service has moved to a more ballsy ISP: the Positive Internet Company. The site will be up again over the course of the next 24 hours.

Jenna Delich claims that she did not know who David Duke was, and didn’t notice that his website contained lashings of old fashioned White Power material. She has, however, been banned from the UCU activists list.

Now it is back. Moral of this story? Host your website with someone who is robust in dealing with threats.

Bag Lady Has Strop

This just forwarded to the inbox:

“I was one of the lucky BA passengers who got to fly home with the Olympians – an incredible honour. We were thrown off first and after we walked down the steps and past the paparazzi I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the Prime Minister standing in the doorway shaking hands with my fellow normal pasengers. I walked up to him and shook his hand and asked where we went to collect the bags. He was dumbfounded and the wifey minister* standing beside him with the t-shirt said rudely to me “that is the Prime Minister, ask someone inside”. It wasn’t as though I asked him to carry my bags. She is one ugly cow.”

*Tessa Jowell

Diversion to the Left

You co-conspirators are all mental for saying the Prime Mentalist is bonkers say the whining lefties. Actually, to be fair, some of them agree that Brown is bonkers as well. Worth visiting for the sport.

Have just got back from the spa and am now off for cocktails. Baby and Ms Fawkes with their grandparents…

Meme Thing

Tory Bear has tagged Guido to do Iain’s meme:

Princess Diana’s death – 31 August 1997
Can’t remember.

Margaret Thatcher’s resignation – 22 November 1990
Can’t remember. Haven’t voted since.

Attack on the Twin Towers – 11 September 2001

Watched second plane crash live on CNBC. Immediately got short S&P futures. Messaged via Bloomberg terminal friend working at EDF Mann in the WTC complex to get out. He replied. Didn’t here from him again for 24 hours. Subsequently he travelled to work with a full NBC suit in his hold-all for a couple of years.

England’s World Cup Semi-Final v Germany – 4 July 1990
Can’t remember.

President Kennedy’s Assassination – 22 November 1963
Not that old.

If British Soldiers are Like “Olympic Heroes”, Why Doesn’t Brown Meet them When they Return Home?

He fatuously told frontline soldiers in Afghanistan last week en route to Beijing that they were like Olympic heroes. He caught an early flight home from Beijing just so he could bask in the medal winners reflected glory – as if it had anything to do with him – shaking their hands on their return.

Bush and Sarkozy have solemnly met the coffins of their returning war heroes. Guido has never once seen a picture of Gordon Brown or Tony Blair showing their respects. It might not be such a good photo-opportunity, it would however be the right thing to do.

UPDATE : A co-conspirator asks in the comments “Yes, how come our armed forces have a part time minister and the Olympic games a full time minister?”

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Is Brown Bonkers?

It is time to bring the question out into the open: is the Prime Minister of sane mind?

Going right back to the Blair charge that he was “psychologically flawed” this question has periodically arisen. Whereas in the past people made a joke of it, now the issue is becoming a genuine concern. Labour MPs discuss it semi-openly and political journalists report evidence of hysterical rants, the rages, the odd behaviour. The question comes up in private conversations all the time. Guido has heard it seriously suggested that Gordon suffers from “high functioning Aspergers”.

It is becoming harder to cover it up whatever it is – some interviews border on totally loony – the repetitive mantras, the uncorrelated bizarre smiles, the complete inability to empathise. When Kay Burley asked him this week would he still have the PM’s job at Christmas his reply was “Of course, because we have got to get on with the job… We have got to get on with the job. People want us to get on with the job. Getting on with the job is the most important thing at the moment.” He snapped at the Mail on Sunday “I’m happy to talk to you because you are here… I have given you special time. That is very good of me. You are very fortunate.”

He told smirking political correspondents on the flight to Beijing that he was going to win the next election, he tells confidantes that he believes the economy will turn around in a few months. We are told to expect an economic plan to turn things around – a plan which the Treasury is openly briefing it knows nothing about. He is clearly becoming increasingly disconnected from reality.

It is low politics to hurl cheap abuse at opponents, but this is not borne of malice towards Brown, Guido feels like the boy who pointed at the naked emperor and said what everyone was too embarrassed to say. The head of government is clearly at the very least deluded and unable to function under the pressure. The worst is frightening to contemplate, for his party and the country…

Travelling Optimistically Today

Am en route with kids screaming and just caught some of the Olympics closing ceremony.

London 2012 will of course over-run in costs by billions, burden taxpayers in London in particular, cause immense problems for the host city, not get a return on investment and generally result in a lot of moaning. As a libertarian who would prefer it to have been run as a private venture – the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles made a $200 million profit – you would expect Guido to moan.

It will however also generate a lot of pride and excitement, so rather than begrudging it, maybe we should just make the most of it. Who knows, with Boris in charge and a Conservative government in power, it might, like Ronald Reagan’s 1984 Olympics, even make a profit – we can dream...

Microsoft Shifting Party Allegiance?

Iain Dale, who is bravely going to all the party conferences, asks what facilities are being offered to bloggers by the U.K. parties this conference season? In the U.S. they are being feted by the parties to some degree. Guido believes that Microsoft is providing free internet connections at both the Labour and Tory conferences – which is a sign that they must see power moving since they have usually kept close to New Labour and the Tories had more of an affinity with Google. (Obviously both corporation’s public affairs teams will deny it, pointing out the diverse backgrounds of different individuals.)

Not sure what special facilities bloggers really require. You can blog from your laptop with a 3G card, or at a push your Blackberry* or iPhone. Is it worth the parties making any effort to offer special access or have briefings for bloggers? Maybe if they want to shape the reporting. To be honest briefings tend to be worth very little, bloggers would be best advised going and getting their own stories rather than just regurgitating the spin handed out. That is what the lobby is for…

Guido is going to hit the bright lights of Birmingham for the Tory conference but is frankly unable to face going to all the conferences, even declining one corporate titan’s invitation to join his table at the Labour gala dinner – unarmed.

*Sony Ericsson press office please note: after years of loyalty Guido is switching back to Blackberry when the new Bold comes out next week. It has a 3G connection that can be piggybacked via a laptop, Qwerty keyboard, MP3, camera and GPS – a pretty hard to beat package. Of course you could still send over an ultra portable…

“The One” Chooses His Two : Biden Kinnock Copycat Windbag is VP Candidate

Guido laughed this morning, Obama has chosen the man who admired Neil Kinnock’s oratory so much he copied Kinnock’s speech – word for word. This will be Biden’s second try for the White House, the first ended badly in 1988 when he was caught lifting lines from Kinnock’s speech.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

“We have no plans to write off existing student debt.”

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