It’s us little people who are gonna be fucked again, here, isn’t it…


So what? Well I’ve banked with RBS for 20 years, for my sins. This last year of fucktitude not withstanding, they’ve been pretty good.

And now the EU wants to fuck everything around, which will no doubt cause some hassle for me, whether it’s losing access to branches, or worse, my account being moved to NatWest (and going back to square one with the ‘how long have you been with your bank?’ question, not to mention the persistently inferior NatWest customer service ethos).

Royal Bank of Scotland could be made to sell more than 300 branches by the European Commission as a penalty for receiving billions of pounds of state aid. Negotiations between the Treasury, the Commission and RBS, which is 70 per cent owned by the taxpayer, were last night intensifying.

The Government is understood to back a plan which would involve RBS giving up its 312 branches under the RBS brand in England and Wales. It would keep its NatWest branches.

RBS has made plans to re-brand its RBS network south of the border under the Williams and Glyn’s name, a brand that disappeared from the high street 24 years ago.

Neelie Kroes, EU Competition Commissioner, may want to push RBS even further. Although her term of office expires at the end of the month, the Commission can continue to make decisions on state aid after that date.RBS’s 30 per cent share of the small business banking market has come under intense scrutiny by Brussels.

Why is the EU having to step in an do this? Why didn’t the UK competition (M&M) people speak up when all this shit was happening last autumn? I certainly had concerns that these problems would emerge.

And if you’re with Lloyds (and probably HBOS), you’re gonna get the same fucktwattery coming your way.

Lloyds Banking Group, 43 per cent owned by the taxpayer, is under pressure by the Commission to shrink its share of personal accounts, where it is the No 1 operator in Britain with 22 million customers.

Because we all know what that means – it means millions of people who have banked with LTSB/HBOS for years are going to get letters saying ‘we no longer want your custom’ – and naturally it’ll be the least revenue-rich customers.. OAPs, students, low paid etc. We’ve been moving back towards a situation in which a significant minority can’t get a bank account at all – without which you’re pretty much fucked in this day and age. This cannot possibly improve things.

As an aside, it may probably won’t interest you to know that LTSB/HBOS (Lloyds Banking Group as they are now) are going through a business integration and rationalisation process at the moment. I’ve long believed this to be a dangerous strategy, in light of the competition implications of the blizzard of consolidation that occurred last year. Which is why the altogether more sensible Nationwide Building Society isn’t doing any integration of the other building societies they acquired last year – they’re ring fencing it all, realising that the costs of integration are not defrayed by sufficient benefits, given the likelihood that these mega-banks (and building socs) are inevitably going to be broken up again at some point.




State owned banks pwning private businesses…

This is decidedly smelly…


Several companies, which declined to be named, have expressed concerns about RBS’s aggressive tactics in return for much-needed credit.

One chief executive of a FTSE 250 company said: "They have us over a barrel. What can we do right now? Nothing. They are in everyone’s facility. No one will be able to escape.

And here comes the rub…

But wait two years, when the lending market recovers, and we will never do business with RBS again."

This is solidifying my view that RBS shares will never recover to their pre-crash levels. This pains me.

So what is it they’re doing, exactly?

RBS, now 70pc-owned by the state, has been asking corporate clients to sign "side letters" alongside bridging loans or refinancings to formalise their mandate on future equity or bond issues as well as M&A advisory work. RBS has been on almost every deal this year, bagging £46.8m in fees from equity placings alone, according to Thomson Reuters.

The strategy is being driven from the top, as Stephen Hester, chief executive, is keen to repay the taxpayers’ £20bn as quickly as possible by chasing profits aggressively. The bank is now using its vast loan book to cash in on the equity and advisory capabilities acquired with its ill-fated purchase of ABN Amro by tying customers into pledging higher margin investment banking work.

The practice is known as "tying" and is illegal in the US. However, it is allowed in the UK and Europe. Before the financial crisis, though, clients were able to shop around. Most big lenders have since reined in credit, leaving "survivor banks" in a strong negotiating position.

Some company directors feel RBS is abusing its role, with at least two considering a formal complaint. One insider said RBS has been asking for a 10pc arrangement fee for re-financing debt: "Ten per cent is an egregious amount. They are a state-backed bank that we own. They should be helping corporate Britain, not crippling it."

I’ve lost count of the number of levels of wrong here.


Excellent Speech…

My first knowledge of Rush Limbaugh was via Bill Hicks, who never held Mr Limbaugh in particularly high esteem. So, it’s somewhat surprising to find myself uttering words of respect for this speech he gave to the Conservative Political Action Committee.

I think it sums up much that conservatives and many libertarians are concerned about just now on both sides of the Atlantic.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

H/T Stephanie Gutmann at the Tellywelly.


Because there are still people who think Broon was a good chancellor…

 Gold: Does Gordon Brown’s regret selling half of Britains’ gold reserves 10 years ago?

A decade ago Gordon Brown started to sell-off Britain’s gold reserves – at the time the price of gold was $282 an ounce, today it is $900-plus.


And another graph I like that tells of the same period….


And Wat Tyler reminds us of a useful rubric:

Why Do You Always Forget?

This used to be an economy


  • MacDonald – ruins
  • Attlee – ruins
  • Wislon -ruins
  • Callaghan – ruins
  • Bliar/Broon – ruins


See the pattern?

Now WTF can’t you just remember it?

Is that so much to ask?

Remember all of this when you’re next in a polling booth, if you’re thick (or heavily invested in the state) enough to even consider voting for these useless bastards.


Threat of deflation? Nah

The most laudable Wat Tyler, writing at Burning our Money, reminds us that any talk of deflation is an illusion. Just as the retail price index (and consumer price index for that matter) underplayed inflation when it did seem to be getting out of control, with prices of food and fuel spiralling, it’s still being underplayed now (exploiting the large effect petrol prices have on perception) -Which justifies their ‘quantitative easing’ of the entire exchequer into the puckered ringpieces of workers and savers alike.

Anyway – over to the expert Mr Tyler… I’m quoting in full, because the blog is written by a true pro:

Inflation Accelerates


As we’ve blogged many times, our currency is being systematically debauched. Interest rates have been slashed, the printing presses are roaring, and savers are being raped.
It’s all being done on the pretext of fighting the bogeyman of deflation. Deflation, we are told, will destroy our economy and leave us in Japanese-style penury.

Never mind that Japan’s per capita GDP is still virtually identical to ours despite their supposed "lost decade", and despite our 15 years of unsurpassed nomoreboomnbust. And never mind that inflation is just as good as deflation at destroying economies, and that as the 70s showed, you can easily end up with inflation and recession side-by-side.

And where exactly is this much touted deflation?

We were told that it would break cover this morning in the latest inflation stats from the ONS. All morning the BBC was saying that the year-on-year RPI would go negative for the first time in 60 years.

But guess what – it hasn’t. It’s actually just shaded down from 0.1% in January to zero in February. And that is entirely down to the sharp fall in mortgage rates – the RPI excluding mortgage costs (RPIX) is running at 2.5% pa, up from 2.4% last month.
Worse – for our deflationary scaremongers – inflation on the CPI measure, which is the government’s preferred measure, has actually increased.

Let’s say that again:


The price of food is soaring – up 12.5% year-on-year (compared to 11.1% last month). The price of non-alcoholic beveridges is also increasing faster. Drink and tobacco are going up faster. And many imported items like clothing and footware, which have been falling in price for a long time, are now falling less fast because of the weakness of sterling.

Right across the board, inflation is accelerating. The ONS groups its CPI shopping basket into 12 major headings, and all bar one show higher annual inflation compared to last month’s figures. The one exception is domestic fuel supplies, but even that can offer only the scant comfort of an inflation rate falling from 36% to 23%.

You need to remember this the next time you hear someone spouting about the dangers of deflation.

We haven’t got deflation.

It’s not your imagination increasing the price of your supermarket trolley.

Our clothead rulers are turning a drama into a crisis.

Brilliant… and against the backdrop of inflation and weakening of sterling, it’s not difficult to see why people are starting to demand double digit % pay rises. No good can ever come of it.

I foresee another round of ‘redefining’ inflation from Gorgon and Pals.


Explain something to me…

As an (extremely pissed off) RBS shareholder, I have just received notification that there is to be a new rights issue. Existing shareholders to be entitled to buy 3 shares for every seven they own.

Now, RBS are currently at about 26p. The broker recommendation in The Times is a 100% sell.

Why, then, would I want more of their shitty shares at 31.75p each?!

Am I missing something or do they just think I’m fucking stupid?

Just one other question. As UK PLC owns around 70% of RBS shares, will they be churning even more of our cash into the benighted Royal Bank of Looting Scotch Bastards by this mechanism?


I like this thinking…

Via Mr Eugenides… an Oirisher has a novel and compelling solution to the credit crisis.

NEWTON’S OPTIC: THE ANSWER to all our problems is staring us in the face. It may even be quite literally staring at you, right now, across the breakfast table.

So put the paper down, stare back and ask yourself a selfless question.

Does the woman in your life really need a job?

Admittedly, this is not a fashionable question. From Iceland to Australia, men are blamed for causing the credit crunch, while a more feminine approach to finance is proposed as the solution.

Of course there will always be a place in the world of business for exceptional women. Women also have an important role to play in jobs that are too demeaning for men, like teaching. But the general employment of women is another matter. Indeed, working women almost certainly caused the credit crunch by bringing a second income into the average household, pushing property prices up to unsustainable levels.

Consider the issue of unemployment. There were 221,301 men on the live register last month and just under one million women in work.

Surely at least half these women have a partner who is earning? Surely at least half would be happier at home? One half of one half is a quarter and one quarter of a million is roughly 221,301. I think we can all see where this argument is going.

It would be ludicrous to suggest that women should be sacked purely to give men their jobs. In many cases, their jobs should be abolished as well.

Women are twice as likely as men to work in the public sector. They account for two-thirds of the Civil Service and three- quarters of all public employees.

Do pop along to the Oirish Times and read the rest… I needn’t wonder what sort of postbag this generated.


A disastrous confluence predicted in European banking

Can’t remember where I saw this link – probably from Chris Dillow – but this is an alarming collection of Pan-European looming disaster:

The Looming Collapse of European Banking
by Gary North

The banking system of Europe is at the edge of the abyss. A brief story by The Telegraph revealed this last week. The original was almost immediately deleted. A new version was substituted.

You can see the original headline on Google:

European banks may need £16.3 trillion bail-out, EC document warns …

There are dozens of these links. I read the story last week. I saved the link. But, lo and behold, when I clicked my saved link on Monday morning, the story did not mention a specific figure.

There was a reason for this. The editors at The Telegraph had taken out the following paragraphs:

European Commission officials have estimated that impaired assets may amount to 44pc of EU bank balance sheets. The Commission estimates that so-called financial instruments in the trading book total £12.3 trillion (13.7 trillion euros), equivalent to about 33pc of EU bank balance sheets.

In addition, so-called ‘available for sale instruments’ worth £4trillion (4.5 trillion euros), or 11pc of balance sheets, are also added by the Commission to arrive at the headline figure of £16.3 trillion.

Fortunately, web sites around the globe have posted the deleted paragraphs.

Converted into dollars, £16.3 trillion are the equivalent of $25 trillion.

The original paragraphs can be found in several links in the Google list of headlines.

Why did the editors do this? A call from some government bureaucrat? Or the realization that the article might start a bank run? I think the latter. In either case, it’s scary.

The current article begins with a lie: "Last updated: 6:34 GMT, 11 Feb 2009."

The original February 11 story was a shocker. The author claims to have seen a secret European Commission report. The report estimates that losses (write-downs) by European banks will be in the range of $25 trillion.

If true, then to save the banking system, European governments will have to find an extra $25 trillion, fast. There is only one source of such funding: the central banks, mainly the European Central Bank (ECB).

For comparison’s sake, consider the $700 billion banking bailout in the United States last fall. Of this, only about half has been spent. That was sufficient bailing wire and chewing gum to keep the American banking system going. More will be needed, but so far, this has sufficed. The Federal Reserve did a lot of asset swaps in 2008 – Treasury debt for toxic assets – and pumped in an extra trillion dollars or so. But the system has held.

Adding these together – the increase in the monetary base and $350 billion in bailout money – the total is around $1.5 trillion. Then think "$25 trillion." This is a sobering thought for some, and a reason to get unsober, fast, for others.

The European Central Bank will have to serve as the lender of last resort. There are over a dozen national EC governments. How will they coordinate their respective bailouts? Think of a dozen Barney Franks and a dozen Nancy Pelosis. Think of a dozen Henry Paulsons. Think of a dozen Gordon Browns. Terrifying, isn’t it?

Here is the story, as airbrushed by the editors.

"Estimates of total expected asset write-downs suggest that the budgetary costs – actual and contingent – of asset relief could be very large both in absolute terms and relative to GDP in member states," the EC document, seen by The Daily Telegraph, cautioned.

Very large? That’s it? Just very large? Twenty-five trillion dollars in losses are merely very large? That is twice the size of the gross domestic product of European Union.

It is not as though there is a lot of time to deal with this. Bank runs can take place very fast. What if Europeans try to pull out currency? There will not be enough currency. So, they will move their assets to American or Japanese banks. They will have to sell their domestic currencies to buy dollars and yen. The euro will crater.

"It is essential that government support through asset relief should not be on a scale that raises concern about over-indebtedness or financing problems."

Wait a minute. If asset relief is not on this scale, then what will sustain a bankrupt European banking system? You are telling me that these banks are sitting on top of $25 trillion in losses, and this can be concealed? Does no one audit these banks?

The secret 17-page paper was discussed by finance ministers, including the Chancellor Alistair Darling on Tuesday.

National leaders and EU officials share fears that a second bank bail-out in Europe will raise government borrowing at a time when investors – particularly those who lend money to European governments – have growing doubts over the ability of countries such as Spain, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Britain to pay it back.

National leaders apparently have a clear perception of the public’s lack of faith in specific governments’ ability to repay. But that does not answer the crucial question: "What are the depositors’ fears regarding their individual banks?" It’s one thing for a government to be unable to pay back loans over the next two decades. Of course they will not pay it back. No national debt is ever paid back. It is rolled over. It’s another thing to deal with bank runs.

The Commission figure is significant because of the role EU officials will play in devising rules to evaluate "toxic" bank assets later this month. New moves to bail out banks will be discussed at an emergency EU summit at the end of February. The EU is deeply worried at widening spreads on bonds sold by different European countries.

In line with the risk, and the weak performance of some EU economies compared to others, investors are demanding increasingly higher interest to lend to countries such as Italy instead of Germany. Ministers and officials fear that the process could lead to vicious spiral that threatens to tear both the euro and the EU apart.

Ministers and officials have got the picture. They are facing a breakdown of Europe’s economy. If the bailouts are insufficiently large in every nation to reduce depositors’ fears regarding their banks, there will be a rush out of the euro and into dollars and yen. If the bailouts are sufficiently large to stem the tide on bank fears, then there will be a rush by bond investors out of government bonds. This will make the existing recession much worse.

If each country has widely different rates, the euro will break down. The poorer countries will borrow at low rates from the European Central Bank. The Germans will revolt. They could demand an end to the ECB, which will have become a welfare agency for the Mediterranean governments. That would end the euro. That would end the attempt to create a new European order. This thought brings to mind one of Johnny Mercer’s masterpieces.

So you met someone who set you back on your heels – goody, goody
You met someone and now you know how it feels – goody, goody
You gave him your heart too, just as I gave mine to you
And he broke it in little pieces, now how do you do?

You lie awake just singing the blues all night – goody, goody
And you think that love’s a barrel of dynamite
Hooray and hallelujah, you had it coming to y’a
Goody goody for him, goody goody for me
I hope you’re satisfied, you rascal you,
I hope you’re satisfied ’cause you got yours

But I digress.

"Such considerations are particularly important in the current context of widening budget deficits, rising public debt levels and challenges in sovereign bond issuance," the EC paper warned.

These considerations are indeed important. But solutions are a lot more important. The report is 17 pages long. The solutions – if any – will be a lot longer.


So far, the euro has not collapsed. It has fallen, but there is no rush for the exits. Why not? These answers come to mind.

  1. The story is not true: no such document.

  2. The document is wrong: banks are not really that much in the hole.

  3. The banks are in the hole, but public faith in their governments remains high.

  4. The report is true, but it is not believed by currency speculators.

  5. The report is true, but currency speculators believe that the governments and central banks can handle it without major shifts in currency values.

European bank stocks have fallen since the article was published, but they are not in free-fall.

In my view, the European public still has faith that the governments and the central banks will successfully intervene to restore commercial banks. But if the original article was correct, that 44% of bank balance sheets have disappeared, then the public is living in la-la land. The entire structure of Europe’s capital markets is at risk. Or, I should say, what remains of the capital markets is at risk.

How are governments going to replenish lost capital? It’s gone. It’s missing in action.


Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has explained this in a Telegraph article published on February 15.

If mishandled by the world policy establishment, this debacle is big enough to shatter the fragile banking systems of Western Europe and set off round two of our financial Gotterdammerung.

He was referring to loans to Eastern Europe. He used Austrian banking as the example.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) says bad debts will top 10pc and may reach 20pc. The Vienna press said Bank Austria and its Italian owner Unicredit face a "monetary Stalingrad" in the East. . . .

Stephen Jen, currency chief at Morgan Stanley, said Eastern Europe has borrowed $1.7 trillion abroad, much on short-term maturities. It must repay – or roll over – $400bn this year, equal to a third of the region’s GDP. Good luck. The credit window has slammed shut.

Not even Russia can easily cover the $500bn dollar debts of its oligarchs while oil remains near $33 a barrel. The budget is based on Urals crude at $95. Russia has bled 36pc of its foreign reserves since August defending the rouble.

"This is the largest run on a currency in history," said Mr Jen.

This reminds me of the bankruptcy of Long-Term Capital Management in 1998. That hedge fund had bought ruble-denominated assets on a leveraged basis: 30 to one. When the Russian central bank failed to defend the ruble, LTCM went bust in a few days. It had to be bailed out by $3.6 billion in loans from New York banks. Today, the European banks are gutted, not a lone hedge fund.

Russia is going belly-up. It will have to liquidate most or all of its reserves of Western currencies. It has stopped buying U.S. Treasury debt. It is selling.

In Poland, 60pc of mortgages are in Swiss francs. The zloty has just halved against the franc. Hungary, the Balkans, the Baltics, and Ukraine are all suffering variants of this story. As an act of collective folly – by lenders and borrowers – it matches America’s sub-prime debacle. There is a crucial difference, however. European banks are on the hook for both. US banks are not.

Almost all East bloc debts are owed to West Europe, especially Austrian, Swedish, Greek, Italian, and Belgian banks. En plus, Europeans account for an astonishing 74pc of the entire $4.9 trillion portfolio of loans to emerging markets.

They are five times more exposed to this latest bust than American or Japanese banks, and they are 50pc more leveraged (IMF data).

This is the ringing of the bell. The bell of the Great Depression of the 1930’s rang on Wall Street in October 1929. But that was not the cause of the Great Depression. The causes were these: (1) monetary base expansion in the 1920s, (2) the cessation of this expansion in 1929; (3) the governments’ raising of tariff and trade barriers in 1930 all over the West, and (4) the collapse of the Austria’s Credit Anstalt Bank in 1931. In the USA, we saw the first two, 2000–2007.

Central banks will inflate to keep any major bank from collapsing. But the trend is ominous. Russia and Eastern Europe are gonners. European banks that lent to them are, too. So is the purchasing power of the euro – and maybe even the actual euro. I can see Germany cutting and running sometime before 2011. Evans-Pritchard pulls no punches. This is a gutsy forecast.

Whether it takes months, or just weeks, the world is going to discover that Europe’s financial system is sunk, and that there is no EU Federal Reserve yet ready to act as a lender of last resort or to flood the markets with emergency stimulus.

If he is correct about the inability of the ECB to imitate the Federal Reserve System, this means a collapse of the banks. That means the collapse of Europe’s economy.

"This is much worse than the East Asia crisis in the 1990s," said Lars Christensen, at Danske Bank.

"There are accidents waiting to happen across the region, but the EU institutions don’t have any framework for dealing with this. The day they decide not to save one of these one countries will be the trigger for a massive crisis with contagion spreading into the EU."

He ends with this: "If one spark jumps across the eurozone line, we will have global systemic crisis within days. Are the firemen ready?"

The capital markets do not indicate agreement with his assessment. People still trust the banking system. Generally, I trust capital markets rather than journalists. But I think the report is too explosive to ignore. I think the optimism of investors is greater than the optimism of European bankers, bureaucrats, and newspaper editors.


The West’s economy really is at the edge of a leveraged disaster. The politicians know only one answer: deficit spending. The central bankers have only one significant tool: monetary inflation. The speed of events is increasing.

The markets don’t reflect this yet. This gives time to a few people to get out. But the vast majority cannot get out. There are too few escape hatches open.


Join the campaign for Scottish Independence – from south of the border…


In this morning’s Indypedant, Dominic Lawson lays the blame for our financial woes squarely in Scotland. With the bankers, but also with Gordo and Ally.

Sometimes I wonder if hubris is a Gaelic word, rather than ancient Greek. It seems only yesterday that all of Scotland was in uproar over the takeover of HBOS by Lloyds TSB.

Gordon Brown can protest in vain that he – and indeed his equally Scottish Chancellor, Alistair Darling – was denounced as "a traitor" by the Scottish Nationalists when he pushed the deal through. It is now his sorry fate to be despised by English and Scots alike. Note, by the way, that there was no such uproar in Scotland when the Westminster Government took a majority stake in RBS, thus saving the other of Edinburgh’s banking behemoths from immediate liquidation.

Since over half of the Scottish economy is bankrolled directly by Westminster – amounting to a gigantic subsidy by English taxpayers – this arrangement could be seen as entirely normal, exciting neither outrage nor gratitude. It certainly helps to explain why Alex Salmond, himself a former chief economist of RBS, made no fuss about that particular bail-out. I think we can rule out embarrassment as a factor, although given that Mr Salmond declared a year ago, "The Scottish banks are among the most stable in the world", it would have been the natural human emotion in such circumstances.

Not the least of the ironies of the Caledonian debacle is that it was the takeover of the National Westminster Bank by RBS a decade ago which lies behind so much of what subsequently unfolded. RBS had in fact to fight a bitter battle with the Bank of Scotland for the control of NatWest. Both Scottish banks were much smaller than the English financial institution they wanted to buy, and both were openly dismissive of the fuddy-duddy "Captain Mainwaring" London management of NatWest who did not understand the modern style of banking, which believed in a much more ‘dynamic’ use of capital.

I say Edinburgh, because it was Scotland’s financial establishment which backed Sir Fred Goodwin to the bitter end.

Imagine, for example, what might have been the case if the banks which had needed to be bailed out with the taxpayers’ billions were not those run by Scots of fiercely meritocratic mien, but London-based concerns dominated by boards consisting entirely of pin-striped English ex-public schoolboys. I wonder if Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and John McFall – or indeed the British public as a whole – would have been quite as understanding.

Yet if they already had independence, who would have had the wherewithal to bail out these porridgeous institutions?


Paddy DiFaulty

Boggist update…

Ireland ‘could default on debt’

FEARS are mounting that Ireland could default on its soaring national debt pile, amid continuing worries about its troubled banking sector.

The cost of buying insurance against Irish government bonds rose to record highs on Friday, having almost tripled in a week. Debt-market investors now rank Ireland as the most troubled economy in Europe.

Simon Johnson, the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, called for this weekend’s meeting of G7 finance ministers to put Ireland’s troubles at the top of the agenda.

Johnson said: “Don’t, please, tell me more about the basic principles of financial reform unless and until you have addressed the Irish problem. And don’t tell me the Irish have to sort this out for themselves. Eventually, the world always comes to help; check your notes on Iceland.

Bacon and cabbage broth for breakfast, lunch and dinner – coming right up.


Mundane Monday

THE CHAIRMAN of the Committee on Standards in Public Life says electoral fraud has increased since Labour’s postal ballot reforms. Just like in Glenrothes, from which Labour seem to have benefitted massively – that the records have gone missing makes this difficult to prove. Not that Labour are the only ones to have, benefitted, with Tories also being copped at the electoral fraud racket.

Labour have neglected to implement the safeguards recommended by the Electoral Commission, which would have curtailed such activity.

A COMPLAINT has been lodged with the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards regarding Jacqui Smith’s expenses scam. The complaint cites the previous case of Michael Trend MP, and raises the possibility that Jacqui Smith has committed offences under the Fraud Act, which should be investigated.

This could mean the Boot for Jacqui. I wonder if there’s a market on her departure? Oooh.. here it is.


And out of interest, here’s Darling’s:


WHILE GUIDO appears to have taken leave of his senses – at least in respect to bonuses for RBS bankers – Barclays announce that their executive directors will get no bonus this year, in spite of posting profits of £6.1bn.

THE PREVIOUSLY noted Northern Ireland Environment Minister, Sammy Wilson, continues to have the courage of his convictions. Lentils are being thrown from prams. H/T B&D who address the environmentalist arguments with aplomb. Also providing this link regarding the fact that temperature increases precede CO2 increases.

OBO SAYS “Aussie fires: Sounds like they’re definitely keeping the Ashes this year.”

THE DEVIL brings us a chuckle…



A thought on bankers’ bonuses…

So, RBS are dishing out big bonuses to some of the monkeys responsible for the company posting the biggest loss in British corporate history.

This is RBS, which is now 70% owned by GB PLC. Which ultimately reports into the Treasury. Which is run by Alistair Darling.

Alistair Darling is the MP for Edinburgh South West. RBS’s world headquarters is in Gogarburn – South West Edinburgh.

If Gogarburn isn’t is Ally’s constituency, it’s damned close and how many of these bonused bankers do you reckon live in his constituency (where some of the best properties in Edinburgh are)? Quite a lot of them I’ll wager.

Of course, nothing untoward could possibly be underway – and certainly, there is no suspicion whatsoever that the Labour Party have any record whatsoever of electoral fraud and gerrymandering in Scotland. None. At all.


Cracking Brownies, Gromit…

Unbelievable….. Friday it was:

Gordon Brown admits he failed to see economic crisis coming

Today it’s:

Gordon Brown: "I called for global financial reform ten years ago"

Gordon Brown claimed today that he had been warning for ten years that the international financial markets needed to be more strongly regulated.

The Prime Minister said that it was a decade ago in Harvard that he first called for an international early warning system to alert countries to developing crises in any part of the world, because the huge global growth and reach of financial systems meant that all markets, all economies and all banks were now interdependent.

Mr Brown said that he had recognised the need for a stronger regulatory framework ever since the crisis in Asian markets in the 1990s.

But as Guido points out:

"by moving away from the old blanket approach, of 100 per cent form-filling and 100 per cent inspection that is inefficient and wasteful of your time, to a new approach based on risk… And I believe, too, we should consider how we can continue to extend our risk-based approach, applying the concept of risk not just to the enforcement of regulation, but also to the design and indeed to the decision as to whether to regulate at all… And we will take the fight on deregulation to Europe.”

Source: Speech to the CBI, 5 June 5, 2006

Is he delusional, or counting on the rest of us to be?


The Winter of Our Discontent Marches On…

After the 30th anniversary of the start of the Winter of Discontent was celebrated last Thursday, The Indypedant on Sunday today reports on the lurching of the national workload – in the general direction of the three-day-week.

Britain is facing return of three-day week

The prospect of the three-day week returned to haunt Britain yesterday as it emerged that ministers are considering paying firms to cut hours in order to survive the recession.

Tens of thousands of businesses are already planning to scale back working hours this year in an effort to stay afloat. But as the country comes to terms with the reality of a recession, it emerged that the Government is looking at compensating employees, through their firms – thereby drawing comparisons with the shutdowns of the 1970s.

While the move would safeguard jobs, it would mean that the financial crisis is on a much larger scale, further undermining confidence in the economy with the suggestion of Britain grinding to a halt.

This country would benefit most from the government and civil service going on a permanent 3 day week.

As Wat Tyler reminds us, every Labour government of the last 100 years has driven the British economy into a ditch.

Labour governments always always ALWAYS end in economic disaster.

Look, let me spell it out for you:

  • Ramsay McDonald – economic disaster
  • Clement Attlee – economic disaster
  • Harold Bloody Wislon – economic disaster
  • Jim Callaghan – economic disaster
  • Bliar/Brown – economic disaster

See? See the pattern?

I want Brown’s head on a platter.


H/T Political Betting

Twat was the week that was….

image Image4

Well, it’s been quite a week in politics. I refer not to the intercontinental cluster-wank that was the Barrython. First up was Bodger and Badger’s de-whelming second bank recapitalisation on Monday. Next came Monosnot & Harridan’s reversal over a statutory instrument exempting MPs’ expenses from Freedom of Information requests. There has been intervening squirming from this moribund government. Peter Hain was upbraided by the Parliamentary Standards and Privileges committee for his dodgy funding.

Meanwhile over the fence, one Tory MP seems to have handed over correspondence, from a constituent, to the coppers, and all without any warrants. Stephen Pollard previously took the measure of this man, and he annoyed Melanie Phillips. Next up, Call me Dave is bolstering his communist credentials.

In today’s papers, though, the tin lid has been put on the whole week, if not month.

Alistair Darling: bear with us, we need more time to beat recession

Today’s 1.5 per cent fall in GDP follows a 0.6 per cent fall in the previous three months, meaning that the widely accepted definition of recession as two consecutive quarters of falling output has finally been met.

This puts Britain officially in recession for the first time since the early 1990s episode that is seared into the memory of millions of homebuyers, workers and business people.

Sterling slumped to a new 23-year low today, with the pound falling to $1.355, down more than 12 cents since the end of last week.

There was widespread pain in all sectors of the British economy except agriculture, which managed to eke out a 0.1 per cent expansion in the final three months of the year.

But manufacturing output plunged by 4.6 per cent, while the services sector, which accounts for nearly three quarters of the economy, shrank by 1.5 per cent.

The construction sector also contracted by 1.1 per cent, as housebuilders struggled amid a sharp downturn in homebuying.

Precisely how much more rope will you be needing from us, you Scotch twat?

Meanwhile, over at the Tellygraph:

UK Recession: Gordon Brown admits he failed to see economic crisis coming

The UK has slid officially into its worst recession for 29 years, as Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, admitted that he had failed to see the economic crisis coming.

Click through, if you can bear it. And here.

Guthrum reminds us, on Old Holborn’s blog, that yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the winter of discontent.

Some fine commentary from Wat Tyler at Burning our Money.

Meanwhile, there are further erosions of liberty due to come into force next month.

Bring on the election, you bunch of evil, thieving, looting cunts.


Royal Bank of Scotland shares @ 11.3 pence !!

I’m ashamed to admit that I laughed when Railtrack shareholders got shafted by the government. I’m not laughing now.


The Sweaties disappoint me. This bloke puts a more considered tone to the matter.

Alex Salmond who, as this column has noted before, has always regarded himself as a de facto member of Edinburgh’s banking community said in February last year: “The Scottish banks are amongst the most stable financial institutions in the world.” It is a statement that subsequent events proved to be one of the most inaccurate any politician has ever made.

Good effort, moonface.


Update on the Boggoes

Earlier blether on the Celtic Paper Tiger. Today’s Tellygraph paints an all too predictable picture.

Help Ireland or it will exit euro, economist warns

A leading Irish economist has called on Dublin to threaten withdrawal from the euro unless Europe’s big powers do more to rescue Ireland’s economy.


"This is war: countries have to defend themselves," said David McWilliams, a former official at the Irish central bank.

"It is essential that we go to Europe and say we have a serious problem. We say, either we default or we pull out of Europe," he told RTE radio.

"If Ireland continues hurtling down this road, which is close to default, the whole of Europe will be badly affected. The credibility of the euro will be badly affected. Then Spain might default, Italy and Greece," he said.

Mr McWilliams, a former UBS director and now prominent broadcaster, has broken the ultimate taboo by evoking threats to precipitate an EMU crisis, which would risk a chain reaction across the eurozone’s southern belt, where yield spreads on state bonds are already flashing warning signals. The comments reflect growing bitterness in Dublin over the way the country has been treated after voting against the EU’s Lisbon Treaty.

"If we have a single currency there are obligations and responsibilities on both sides. The idea that Germany and France can just hang us out to dry, as has been the talk in the last couple of days should not be taken lying down," he said.

Keep pushing….

More here:

Monetary union has left half of Europe trapped in depression

Events are moving fast in Europe. The worst riots since the fall of Communism have swept the Baltics and the south Balkans. An incipient crisis is taking shape in the Club Med bond markets. S&P has cut Greek debt to near junk. Spanish, Portuguese, and Irish bonds are on negative watch.

Dublin has nationalised Anglo Irish Bank with its half-built folly on North Wall Quay and €73bn (£65bn) of liabilities, moving a step nearer the line where markets probe the solvency of the Irish state.

A great ring of EU states stretching from Eastern Europe down across Mare Nostrum to the Celtic fringe are either in a 1930s depression already or soon will be. Greece’s social fabric is unravelling before the pain begins, which bodes ill.

Each is a victim of ill-judged economic policies foisted upon them by elites in thrall to Europe’s monetary project – either in EMU or preparing to join – and each is trapped.

[Belm] Seems like a good time to join the Euro [/Belm]


H/T Obo, who doesn’t think the Paddies in Power have got the stones for it.

Daily Mail Piss Boiler

This is quite remarkable, and the twats involved are going to rue the day their company was associated with this, in a national newspaper.

Father returns home to find locks changed as wrong house is repossessed in address mix-up

Arriving home with his 12-month-old daughter, Matthew Brooks was in a rush to get her out of the rain.

Then he saw the large notice on the front door telling him that his house had been repossessed and the locks changed.

Mr Brooks, 42, knew he and his wife were up to date with their mortgage – but he also knew his protestations were unlikely to cut much ice if bailiffs arrived to start clearing the house.

The estate where the Chelsea Building Society seized the wrong home

Blunder: The estate where the Chelsea Building Society seized the wrong home

Stranded on his own doorstep, and needing to pick up his elder daughter from primary school soon, he had to act fast.

A call to the estate agents named on the notice began to unravel the mystery and finally led to the blunder being laid at the door of Chelsea Building Society, which amazingly had made a mistake with the address of a house it was repossessing.

The society has now apologised to Mr Brooks and paid him compensation, but he said yesterday it had got off lightly.

This is something worth mentioning at a time when Bailiffs, who already a bunch of thugs, crooks, thieves and bullies are getting much more unbridled power than before.

The Chelsea Building Society should be utterly and completely ashamed. This bloke should sue the life out of these useless tossers.