Vince Cable says this of the recapitalisation of Barclays:
This is a scandal of mammoth proportions. Here is a bank which relies on the taxpayer to bail it out if the going gets rough but which has offered Middle Eastern investors a much better deal than the banks are offering to the British taxpayer.
The FT doesn’t mince words – “Vince Cable, Loony” :
We have to ask why Barclays is willing to offer a better deal to foreign investors than the British taxpayer… The answer is simple: they don’t want the British Government stopping them from paying massive bonuses to their executives.
So apparently the LibDem Treasury spokesperson would rather the UK taxpayer was taking the risk here. Odd, because not so long ago, Cable was thundering on about the unbearable burden the taxpayer was being forced to bear. More than the other banks, Barclays operate a high-risk casino operation which makes the bank particularly unstable but which gives very rich pickings to the top executives. The British Government must not simply let this pass.
You heard it: only the mediocre will do. Too bad they’re otherwise engaged in the LibDem Treasury team.
Guido has said it before; Vince Cable’s real expertise is in soundbites and faux gravitas.
“National debt is low and we’re able to borrow to do it.”
This is just delusional, he has run up the debt burden during his decade of unfunded spending, we have the biggest national deficit of all time, the books have never been so unbalanced as they are now. He fiddles the statistics, we know that, the Office of National Statistics even says so. Journalists know it. His own cabinet knows it. The Civil Service knows it. The City knows it. Foreign investors know it. This is why the pound has plunged against almost everything apart from the Icelandic Krona.
Guido Asked the PM to explain why, for example, the unfunded public sector pension debt is not government debt and hopes he can answer it without evasion. Because if he can’t he must either be (a) bonkers (b) a liar. Which is it?
Maybe they only want Andy Marr to ask Gordon a question? Perhaps they will commission Deborah Mattinson to do a citizen’s consultation? Totally pathetic. This exposes the whole Downing Street “engaging with the people online” stuff as bullsh*t spin. This is classic New Labour “consultation” and “engagement”, they want the online equivalent of a Potemkin Village. Still that means another two weeks for you co-conspirators to Ask Gordon about the economy. To your webcams!
The Fink had a go at “punk tax cutters” yesterday despite always claiming that he is in favour of lower taxes (in the long term) – it is just that those pesky voters don’t believe politicians who promise them – so don’t promise tax cuts – is his argument. Well a new poll from ComRes suggests he is wrong and that if a credible politician made a credible promise, it would be popular. It found that:
- 67% of people now think we are paying the price for government overspending.
- 59% of people agree tax cuts would be a better response to the downturn than increased public spending. Only 18% disagree.
- 68% supported an immediate and substantial cut in interest rates.
- 67% agreed that Gordon Brown should take a 10% pay cut.
Guido started writing boom to bust pieces in September 2007, Fred Harrison, the Renegade Economist, made his prescient call on the property market in 2005. His 2005 book has just been re-printed, Boom Bust: House Prices, Banking and the Depression of 2010.
He has also produced this video accusing Gordon Brown of covering up his cupability. It is apparently the first in a series. Fred’s diagnosis is interesting, Guido is not sure however that his tax reform proposals are that appealing. Definitely worth seven minutes of your time.
- As of 0900 this morning the punters (after 200 votes) are splitting 61% for the SNP and 39% for Labour.
- Over on PoliticsHome the PH100 Index “daily tracker of uk insider and expert opinion” is calling it 61% / 31% for Labour to win. Strikingly inverse proportions.
The London based punditry are out of touch, they talk too much to each other. Our old friend Tom Watson has been briefing the press that Labour will win Glenrothes and this will be a great victory for Gordon. He has convinced Gordon to stake what little political capital he has on a Glenrothes comeback campaigning in the constituency. However, as Ben Brogan has detected, so chronic is the shortage of local activists and supporters Labour are press-ganging English Labour MPs and Northern CLP activists to trek past Hadrian’s Wall to help in the constituency. Not exactly a sign of a forthcoming resounding victory.
Guido thinks the punters not the pundits are right, again. Gordon’s personal visit should, if the curse of the one-eyed son of the manse still holds, have doomed Labour’s candidate. Labour are throwing the kitchen sink at this, heck the 10p tax bailout cost a few billion during the Crewe by-election, this time the bailout of Scottish banks cost tens of billions for this by-election. It will be close…
We know, as Trevor Kavanagh reminds us, that Mandelson is a proven liar, however he is not an idiot. He no doubt has heard the rumours of tapes and boasts by oligarchs that they have western politicians in their pocket. So perhaps the explanation for his reticence in answering the question, and uncharacteristic aversion to risking a lie to deny ever discussing tariff cuts worth billions to Deripaska, is the fear that he will be contradicted.
Paul Waugh reckons “the only sensible conclusion to draw is that Mandelson did indeed discuss the tariffs.” He is surely right.
No doubt on full pay….
As well as the fun of asking Gordon a question that will undoubtedly be seen by tens of thousands of co-conspirators, Guido will throw in an extra prize of his own to the video submission he judges best- two tickets to the preview screening of Frost Nixon – An Epic Battle for Truth in London next week. The prize includes the opportunity to quiz the screenwriter and producer Peter Morgan afterwards. The film dramatises how three years after being forced from office, Nixon remained silent. But in summer 1977, the steely, cunning former commander-in-chief agreed to sit for one all-inclusive interview to confront the questions of his time in office and the Watergate scandal that ended his presidency.
This competition requires you to be Frost and ask the question that confronts Gordon about how his handling of the economy will end his Premiership. Go here for instructions on how to upload your question for Gordon, then email Guido the link to your video when you have uploaded it and Guido’s geeks will copy it – just in case Downing Street tries to erase your question in the same way Nixon wanted to erase those tapes. Gordon increasingly reminds Guido of Nixon…
This has one benefit, it helps exporters. However Britain runs a current account deficit and imports more than it exports. Key commodities are priced in dollars, so although oil has fallen 50% in price, the fall in the pound against the dollar means that that benefit is reduced by 25%.
The reason the pound is falling is because foreign investors don’t want to hold sterling assets. Money supply (M4) is off the chart, the government is flooding the debt markets with cash, gilt issuance is going to be a massive £100 billion, the government is still a AAA risk for now, but so were many investment banks until recently. Nobody believes Gordon’s “we have reduced government debt” routine, it is laughable, where did the money for all the schools, hospitals, quangoes and bureaucrats come from Gordon? Include all the taxpayers liabilities and UK government debt is up there with Italy at over 100% of GDP.
There is a lot of scepticism about Gordon’s borrow more, spend more solution. It will be years before any capital infrastructure spending will come through to the real economy, it will worsen the government’s indebtedness and crowd out the private sector. The Tories seem incoherent and without a macro-solution, a little help here and there for small business isn’t going to turn around the economy. “Sound money and economic responsibility” is all very well, if that had been government policy rather than just an opposition slogan we might not be in this mess. It has come to something when the LibDems offer voters more in tax cuts than the Tories. Today Britain desperately needs a real growth package for the real economy. The Tories are too timid and scared of the old Labour attack lines. Voters understand that government spending has to be tightened, Clegg senses that too, why not the Cameroons?
The ultimate baddie was a Russian spymaster. What no evil Christians? No duplicitous Americans, no Israeli Mossad manipulators, no big business plutocrat exploiters? This is the BBC, we expect to be force fed left-wing platitudes and propaganda, not given a patriotic tear jerker.
The 10 O’Clock News returns things to normality: “Tonight America is accused of terrorism…” Don’t start paying the TV licence fee just yet.
“I think I did make a mistake. In politics it is not just what you say and what you do, but how things look. This did not look very good and I regret that…”
He sounds like he is willing to take his punishment.