Newsnight is a Shambles, Come Back Peter Barron

Guido has given up on bothering to report the number of times they get the market report wrong, suffice to say that it might as well be a random number. If you can’t rely on a simple thing like that what does it say about the more nuanced reporting? On the day last week that U.S. markets had the huge downward move, Newsnight had a graph showing that it had plunged from roughly 10,100 to, errm, 10,400. Pathetically bad.

Grossman managed to pick up one decent story at Labour Party conference which led to the 3.15 a.m. drink fuelled McBride briefing. Two-ways from the conferences were persistently plagued by technical problems. One night Paxman said on air what all the viewers were thinking “it is a bit of a shambles here tonight.” They spent the conference season playing “Place the Face”, demonstrating that Michael Crick may have a more promising career as a game show host than an investigative reporter. Just a bit of fun? The Guidoisation of politics? Maybe, however is that dumbing down really a good use of the expensive resources of the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme? When Crick finished his Place the Face finale piece on Wednesday, Paxman sneered and Crick exited the stage a minute or two later walking across screen in front of the camera, a dark Crick shaped shadow obscuring the Newsnight discussion with Finkelstein and the pair of cliche merchants he spars with. It was emblemic of the state of the show. Amateurish isn’t the word for it.

They have a Trotskyite reporting from Wall Street on the travails of capitalism – comical. Iain Martin in the Telegraph has also lost patience with the only show the entire Westminster Village watches. They have yet to finalise a replacement for Peter Barron. They need someone to get a grip on it because it is becoming a joke.

Top o’ the Credit Ratings To You

Despite Gordon’s whining to the EU it is now the case that Irish banks now represent the safest place to deposit money in Europe, with a AAA guarantee from a country with the lowest national debt to GDP ratio of any AAA country. Thanks to Gordon’s prolificacy Irish commercial banks are safer than even the Bank of England.

UPDATE : Lots of whining in the comments about this, so may as well mention that WPP is joining the taxodus and leaving Brown’s Britain and re-domiciling in low tax Ireland.

UPDATE October 2010 : This is quoted at Guido on a regular as some kind of evidence of terrible analysis. It is the case that Irish bank paper became safer in 2008 than any other European bank paper once the state guarantee was in place. The question that should be asked: Was a state guarantee a good idea? The impairment this has now brought to Ireland’s sovereign credit rating suggests not.

Sky : Boris told Blair to Go

Sky’s Martin Brunt is reporting that in a meeting yesterday London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson told Labour’s favourite copper that he could not support him. Sir Iain later saw Jacqui Smith the home secretary for reasons unknown.

This will be a popular move in London, will be popular with rank and file coppers. Speculation is shifting to who could succeed him…

Evil Short Sellers Part IV – MPs’ Pension Funds

There was a little union sponsored demo in Birmingham against “Cameron’s cronies cashing in on the credit crunch” organised by Charlie Wheelan. Unfortunately they seem to have missed out on the biggest short seller of Bradford and Bingley. None other than his old crony Paul Myners’ GLG Partners. Brown’s favourite financier, donor and deputy chairman of the Smith Institute, as well as Gordon’s personal financial backer during the leadership campaign.
GLG partners declared to the FSA the largest short position in the market, the massive hedge fund profited the most from being short Bradford and Bingley before it went under. If Charlie’s dozen strong rent-a-crowd don’t fancy demonstrating outside GLG’s City offices they could try demonstrating outside the Guardian’s offices. Myners is also chairman of the Guardian’s holding company.

Labour has also taken £1 million from Jon Aisbitt, non-executive chairman of Man Group, Britain’s biggest quoted hedge fund group. Derek Tullet, who made his money providing derivatives broking services to hedge funds, also sent £400,000 into Labour’s coffers.

Guido has already pointed out that one of the LibDems biggest backers, Paul Marshall of Marshall Wace, is an evil short seller with no less than three of his funds on the FSA’s register of short sellers.

It gets even better, the FT has discovered that MPs’ own pensions are invested in a hedge fund manager, Quellos. Not only that, in addition the MPs’ pension fund also made money lending stocks out to hedge funds to enable them to short shares. The hypocrisy is huge here, they condemn short sellers publicly and yet they roll up the profits of short selling in their pension plans.

Stats : 806,129 Pageviews from 562,536 Visits by 108,920 Visitors

The most popular story last month was Gordon Brown’s Downfall closely followed by Polly : Get Rid of Brown or the Labour Party Will Die.

It was fun.

Draper Reads Your Comments

Had a chat with newbie blogger Derek, you co-conspirators will be pleased to know that he is fascinated by the minds that abuse him. He was particularly interested in Guido’s fashion sense. He was attending the conference in his capacity as a Guardian blogger. Yeah, right…

Speech Reactions

Tim Montgomerie was reduced to tears and reckons it was “Camerons Greatest Speech”. Neil O’Brien thinks it synthesises three years of Cameroon policy thinking into a coherent single message of modernised traditionalism. Guido was looking around the press gallery for their reactions, Maguire had a face that was thunderous, Derek Draper looked miffed.

It was lapped up in the hall, it was solid and substantial. No flashy gimmicks, traditional Conservative themes like sound money, the Union and strong defence. He stuck to his guns on tax breaks for marriage. He explicitly rejected libertarianism saying the Tories were not just ideologically concerned with freedom. He identified a good ideological attack line against Miliband, turning the charge against Thatcher against Labour, that Miliband did not believe in society, only the individual and the state.

He deflected the experience versus novice argument by pointing out that if that was the case, Brown should never leave office.

Sam came on at the end wearing incredibly high red heels that were almost fetish shoes. Bet the tabloids spot that. Theresa Villiers was dressed as Sarah Palin.

Labour Website Closes

Labour Outlook which was launched to take on ConservativeHome has closed. Dreary and as characterless as it was it only emphasises the difficulties Derek Draper faces trying to ignite the Labour campaign online. Still the news that Labour’s Going Forth campaign, focusing on an online battle to win Labour a fourth term, will be led by John Prescott must be a worry for CCHQ. Or maybe not…

Cable Flip-Flops

Osborne was on all the news shows at lunchtime giving an interview outside the Treasury after his meeting with the chancellor – his message echoing Cameron’s speech this morning that the Tories would work with the government on legislation next week. Vince Cable has in response just done a waltz around the Westminster studios joining in with his own call for cross-party co-operation in the national interest – “We have to avoid getting caught up in narrow partisanship.”

The press releases sent from his office in the last 24 hours had a very different message:

“Gordon Brown’s response to the economic crisis has been too little, too late.”
“Conservatives don’t have a clue on the banking crisis”

This afternoon’s willingness to avoid point-scoring contrasts with the press release that arrived in Guido’s inbox from Cable at 10.23, just half an hour before Cameron’s hastily arranged emergency statement on the economy. In that press release Cable claimed only the LibDem’s plan would put money back in consumers pockets, cut energy bills, and stop home repossessions:

Gordon Brown and Labour can’t offer that. They got us into this mess. Now they are veering between complacency and panic. Dithering on key decisions, muddling along on half measures.

David Cameron and the Conservatives won’t offer it. At a time when those on the breadline are struggling more than for a generation, their top priority is tax cuts for millionaires.

…There is only one party in Britain today with a serious and credible plan ….

Politically astute operator that he is, Cable changed his tone pretty sharpish this afternoon as soon as he saw which way the wind was blowing….

Market Action Overshadows Tory Conference

There is a sense here in Birmingham that, as it was during the LibDem conference, the real news story is on Wall Street. Cameron is going to give a hastily arranged speech focusing on the financial market mayhem later this morning.

Still it is not all bad news,* Gordon’s favourite financier Paul Myners and appointee as chairman of the Low Pay Commission, is doing well. The massive hedge fund of which he is a director, GLG, had the biggest short in the market in Bradford and Bingley. Peter Oborne points out that Ronnie Cohen, “Gordon’s private banker” and a huge Labour Party donor, has just set up a new hedge fund to take advantage of the market situation. Good to see some people doing well out of the misery and mayhem…

*You won’t read this news in the Guardian. Paul Myners is the chairman of Guardian Media Group.

Evil Short Sellers Part III Gordon Brown’s Millions from Hedge Fund Shorters

Paul Myners is a director of the hedge fund manager GLG, which with $25 billion under management is one of europe’s biggest hedge fund managers. It was until recently 10% owned by Lehmans. Paul Myners gave money to Gordon Brown’s leadership campaign and he also gave money to Gordon Brown’s think-tank the Smith Institute. Gordon rewarded him with appointments to the Treasury’s pension review.

Derek Tullet has also given huge amounts of money to the Labour Party. Tullet’s broking firm specialises in servicing hedge funds who want to go short stocks and derivatives.

Gilad Hayeem of the Lehman Brothers backed $2 billion hedge fund, Marble Bar Asset Management (Cayman), contributed to Hilary Benn’s deputy leadership campaign.

There are plenty more “evil speculators” who have backed the Labour Party. Just in case you are wondering why Labour is silent…

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Miliband, the Fiddler Wife, Kids and Heavies

Guido just bumped into David Miliband and his family (plus two heavies) enjoying the sunshine on a waterside terrace restaurant outside the Barbican. Scruffy in jeans and his shirt hanging out. Presumably the missus is performing because she was carrying a violin. No photo because the kids were in shot and, well, that doesn’t seem fair on a Sunday. Did not see him pull any of his funny faces…

Evil Short Sellers Part II

The hysteria against short-selling of shares is as crazy as was the political hysteria against long-buying of oil. Every trade has to have a buyer and a seller, how else could a market function? Nevertheless journalists didn’t take long to figure out that they could compare the FSA register of declared short sellers against the Electoral Commission’s register of donors.
Lib Dem Lord Oakeshott is up in arms as a result about the Tories taking money from people who buy and sell stocks. Before he says something he regrets he should have a word with one of the party’s biggest donors, Paul Marshall who is worth some £300m. Marshall also funds CentreForum, the orange tinged think-tank. His donations are well into seven-figures.

He is half of Marshall-Wace, hedge fund managers, who are evil speculators who, whisper it softly, short shares! In fact they have a reputation amongst City brokers for having a particularly high churn. Just as well given the hundreds of thousands of Marshall’s profits that have ended up in the LibDem’s coffers.

The Labour Party as well as individual politicians like Hilary Benn have also pocketed plenty of money from hedgies. Let he who is without shorter’s profits throw the first regulation…

Hodge Quitting as Minister

Tim Walker is reporting in The Telegraph that Margaret Hodge, the Blairite culture minister and friend of Tony has had enough and will be standing down as a minister from Brown’s cabinet in the next re-shuffle.

Another day another Blairite departs.

Somebody wake McBride and tell him…

What Kind of Liberal Waters the Beer?

How they can describe themselves as “liberal” sometimes baffles Guido. Responding to Nick Clegg’s announcement today that the LibDems will support a minimum price on the sale of alcohol, Progressive Vision – the properly liberal think tank run by Mark Littlewood, ex-head of spin for the LibDems – has rightly called the proposals “nannying, patronising and regressive”.[…] Read the rest

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