Iain Dale thinks that Mandelson has run out of optimism. Well, it would be hard to blame him.
If you are the Speer in the final days of the Brown Reich. Knowing the realities. Knowing just how big the real debt is, how fragile the economy is, how little the tax receipts will add up to in quarter 2.
No matter how skilled he may be, his leader is not facing realities.
Why pick a fight with the Gurkhas? Why try and bounce through expenses when you know that the opposition has been setting this trap for you for months. When Brown himself abstained over the issue, but now pretends the whole thing was his idea. The government has run out of credibility.
No wonder if Mr Mandelson has begun to feel a bit like this.
Thursday, 30 April 2009
Iain Dale thinks that Mandelson has run out of optimism. Well, it would be hard to blame him.
Really, the way out of the Chrysler fiasco in the US has come to this.
First Daimler walked away when they realised that Chrysler makes no vehicles that are of any good quality or wanted in the market. Then the Private Equity players stepped in and now they have been burnt too (they are called Cerebus, you would have expected this with this name - see picture).
Now the US Government has stepped in to save this company. it's finance firm is shot, it makes awful vehicles and lots of the now not to popular SUV's.
In a last throw of the dice the US Government is offering to try and partially bail the bondholers (paying one third of the value of their bonds) and merging the company with Fiat. Fiat thinks its small underpowered cars like the Punto are a great story for the US market. Plus it can introduce the Alfa brand back into the US. This is pure genius, I can't see any downside myself.
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
The outworkings of the US banking stress tests are nigh, and they don't sound like good news at all. Another huge round of recapitalisation seems to be looming.
Really, a few people get the usual dose of flu and it comes to this? The WHO have form for calling for the end of the world; kind of helps their funding to keep everyone panicking.
At the moment we have a small bout of flu except in Mexico. The result is a panic by our government to order flu masks from the US (mark up 150% from last weeks price, go civil service buyers, go) and to issue a leaflet to everyone in the country. After all, there must be many people who have no access to the Internet, TV, Radio, NHS Direct or GP's.
Even the markets, jittery at the moment, have given up and companies like British Airways are rising strongly again.
The country is bankrupt and this is a completely wasteful measure. It does however fulfill the traditional political criteria; something must be done, this is something...therefore the government will look good an in control.
Sadly, I would bet many in Government are secretly willing the Flu to become serious so that they get a bounce in the polls again.
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
It is quite something when the Prime Minister of the 6th largest economy in the world can be humiliated in front of the world's press by the Polish Prime Minister:
"I want to emphasise that banking sector supervision, abiding by the rules and not living excessively on credit are the surest ways of avoiding crisis."
"I should not be speaking as a reviewer of an economic policy of any country. All I can say is that the Polish government, at a time of financial crisis, behaved with full responsibility in terms of public funds and the level of budgetary deficit."
"After a few months, you could see that our economic financial policy has been accepted and understood, both at home and abroad."
"The assumption that we adopted as the method to fight against the financial crisis is not to multiply expenditures but rather to increase responsibility for public funds."
Then again, when you had immoral and inept financial management for a period of 9 years, I guess it is to be expected.
Monday, 27 April 2009
See this post from last week. I havebeen a bit slow to update as I have been travelling since Thursday afternoon (when I closed all my positions). Somehow the sun of the continent seems better than that of England, certainly there is not the air of despair that I sense on landing at Gatwick. Perhaps not having such incompetents in charge helps the atmosphere.
Saturday, 25 April 2009
This week's statement on the future permitting of coal-fired power-plants is good, worldly-wise strategy: the type we appprove of hereabouts.
Friday, 24 April 2009
"The publication of MP's expenses is causing some embarrassment.
Whilst MP's may claim that all of these expenses are above board and necessary for carrying out the work of a backbench MP or a Multi-Quango holder and for the effective running a constituency office, some expenses seem to defy explanation.
We asked William Quango , the MP for Surreysex East, to explain some of the more unusual items he had claimed on his expense. we were met with the usual litany of "Above board - within the rules - approved by the parliamentary standards committee - It's complicated - Is standard practice - necessary for security reasons - similar levels of expenses to a leading banker or a pop star - Necessary for reasons of travel - Is normal practice in government -not requiring a receipt for MP's"
However a closer scrutiny left a few items demanding clarification
Here are just a few off the list
By Daily Mail Reporter
Labels: Friday Fun
Thursday, 23 April 2009
I COMMEND THIS BUDGET TO THE HOUSE = IF YOU WILL EXCUSE ME, I HAVE TO TELEPHONE THE IMF.
"Hard to find a single economist who believes that the economy would grow by 1.25% in 2010, let alone grow by 3%-plus for the three years after that. Yet, without that turbocharged performance, there is not the remotest possibility of the budget deficit being halved by 2013-14" (Larry Elliott, Grauniad)
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
There are many, many reasons to be disappointed with the current Government. That they manage to cram all of them into a single budget is phenomenal.
Well CityUnslicker's really.
(Bill Quango is at home claiming the last of his expenses after yesterday's shock annoucnemnt)
- End public sector pension schemes from today onwards and announce that any new public sector worker will be on a defined contribution scheme like in the private sector.
- Move MP's to defined contribution pension scheme from beginning of next parliament.
- There are over 1000 quango's, promise to close at least 250 throughout the course of this budgetary year.
- Re-impose stamp duty and do not support the housing market. next year, when prices have stabilised will be the time to support this action.
- Increase VAT back to 17.5% as this policy clearly failed.
- Small rises in alocohol and tobacco taxes
- End child benefit for higher earning couples
- Do not encourage people to buy more cars
- Do not raid private sector pensions again when the 1997 raid destroyed the best system in the Western World.
- Don't raise any extra taxes on income, allow people to spend what they have.
- Do not encourage saving this year by raising isa thresholds more than the minimum. Announce a large increase for next year.
-Do not move tax bands with wage inflation, leave them the same, 'reward' those in work.
- Use the savings/tax rises to pay down potential borrowing and at least try and balance the books. Do not issue £200 billion of long-dated guilts that will saddle my toddler children with debt.
That is what I would do, I will not be surprised to see this as the diamtetric of what Darling proposes
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
Ps the Marks and Spendless post is worth a look if for nothing else but the picture of the model in the M+S bridal lingerie. Grrrr.
CU was at a breakfast in the City today with old timer Vince Cable doing a speech on the Budget and state of the country. Due to excessive sausage sandwich consumption my notes are more illegible than usual due to spillage:
- UK GDP 2009, -4%
- Unemployment by end 2009, at least 3.5 million
- Government borrowing, £175 billion
- House prices have a long way to fall, he thought back to 3 or 4x average earnings (CU- 50% fall + in total as they reached 8.5x at height of boom)
He thought it would be a very unexciting budget as the Chancellor has fired his guns last year and has no ammo left. He also suggested it was a Monetary solution that was being followed and not a fiscal one. he thought he was very clever talking about Friedman and Keynes.
(CU- And wrong too. What is blindingly obvious is that the Treasury that has the money has splurged in a Keynesian fashion and the Bank of England that has the monetary supply has done QE as a cure. So we have a nice messy mix of both. Might work, might not; definitely the expensive option)
As for the Lib Dems, he said raise no tax threshold to £10,000 and pay for it by removing pensions incentives and harmonising capital gains with income. This is arch Brownian redistribution which even Labour have not tried. So much for Vince being an orange book man. Clearly a long-time since he had to work for a living in the private sector.
The only other thing he said of note was to agree with Reform who have a report out suggesting ways to cut public spending. happily he said all this can wait a while, big questions like public pensions, mass uni education, defence spending all need rationalising. But no now, not with an election in a year. Pathetic. At this point he made one or two partisan jibes, all aimed at George Osborne. Don't think he mentioned Darling once in the speech.
So now you know what a Lib Dem approach would be. Raise taxes, massive redistribution of wealth, promise to cut spending but never do it, bash the Tories. A vote for Vince is a vote for Gordon; can't see how they would ever go into Government with the Tories with these policies.
He had one good answer when someone asked if we should stop talking down the economy. he said all that sort of talk was nonsense, the economy was in a right state and we should admit it and try to fix it, rather than bullshit (quote) that thinking happy thoughts will make things right.
Guess he agrees with my short position on the FTSE then....
Monday, 20 April 2009
After years of misinformation and delusion, it is good to report that the enviro-energy lobby has essentially given up pretending the UK can meet its fatuous renewables targets. Formerly, the wind lobby in particular was keen to assert that wind farms could bridge the gap between where we are heading on current trends, and keeping the lights on post 2015. But now, Miliband has
Fresh from my recent success of trading the G20 (still continuing, never sold LLOY stake and it has continued to fly in the face of reality). I have below my political based hunches for the Budget from a trading perspective.
Sunday, 19 April 2009
For those staying up waiting for Guido news, here are some links to other top bloggers who are thinking about the forthcoming budget:
Labels: Blogging Links
Alistair Darling and his disreputable henchmen have the duty of presenting a budget for UK the next fiscal year this week.
Labels: UK Budget
Thursday, 16 April 2009
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
A keen eyed commenter on the previous thread has pointed out this article in the Telegraph.
I can't wait to see what Alice thinks of it....
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Obama says he sees the green shoots of recovery. it is nothing of the sort, what we are seeing now is the levelling out of the crash phase of the recession.
Monday, 13 April 2009
The economic recession that we’re in is causing stress for everyone and that stress has the potential to put a big strain on relationships. Smart couples are tackling the problem by working together to come up with creative ways to keep their relationship strong despite their financial stress. Unfortunately, many other couples are stuck in a negative pattern of fighting over how to deal with the recession and sabotaging each other in ways that create additional money problems for themselves. Many married couples are feeling more like divorcing than ever before and yet they also feel like they can’t do so because divorce fees are an unnecessary expense in today’s economy.
Sunday, 12 April 2009
Small departure from normal monetary based comment from me. Just wanted to say maximum respect to Guido Fawkes for his revelations about Damian McBride and the sick heart of new Labour.
The Brownadder tries for a Fourth term
new BBC comedy/farce
Captain Brownadder was in his bunker surrounded by boxes and boxes of blank postal votes.
He was addressing his team of Lieutenant Geoff and Private Ballsdrick on his latest cunning plan.
"Its perfectly simple. You look down the register of the deceased from 1991, you then use these forms to register them to vote, and then apply for a postal vote at the address we rented, and then when the postal vote comes, you register them to vote for us. Is that clear?"
The two men stared blankly at Blackadder. Lt Geoff raised his hand and asked "But why would the dead be voting sir? There's no ectoplasm tax or dead persons allowance? Surely they couldn't have much interest in whichever side won an election."
"A Euro election too sir" chipped in Ballsdrick. "Well quite. Thank you Private. A Euro election result to boot!" laughed Lt Geoff.
Captain Brownadder pinched the bridge of his nose in a weary resignation and took a deep breath. "Look cretins. The dead are not voting. We are voting for them, in order that they will vote for us, and we remain in power..although sometimes i wonder if its worth the bother, having to be Prime Minister and the Kindergarten Cop. So, lets have a go at a form. Sit down Ballsdrick. Right ..lets see.. Name"
"A spiritual belief in a higher being that created all life on earth and man in his own image"
Brownadder sighed. "Fine. Which party do you want to vote for?"
"Well, we hate that Tony Blair, so I'm going to vote him out"
"I'm the leader of the Labour party now, you idiot"shouted Brownadder.
"Are you sure sir?"asked Ballsdrick.
"Yes, I don't remember any leadership election either sir,"said Lt Geoff. "Is that what these forms are for.. the leadership election of the Labour party?"
Brownadder sighed and dropped his head into his hands. It was going to be a long night.
Capt Brownadder read the reports. Pte Ballsdrick and Lt Hoon stood before him at attention.
Brownadder was furious. The plan to fake voters had not gone well."This is the biggest cock up since someone ordered Apache helicopters without avionics software. Since Tony Blair said 'its not so hot today, I won't need a t/shirt under my shirt just for a speech.' If you will, it is as bad as having to follow John Prescott into the lavy.
One Billion pounds wasted. You Ballsdrick got your team to put "Ballsdrick - Secretary of state for children, on EVERY SINGLE FORM."
"Just like we rehearsed sir" said Ballsdrick proudly.
"But I chose all different names sir," spoke up Geoff. "In fact we had a lot of fun doing it. Joe Hannesburg. Jack O'Lantern. Fred LeShred and so forth."
"Yes. Well that bit of foolishness might not have mattered IF you hadn't put age - zero, on each form."
"Well they are all zero. They all died in 1991."
"And if they were alive today they would be..?"
"Erm..hang on a bit..just take my sock off.."
"They would be eighteen. Eighteen years old! First time voters just registering now. That was the whole point. That was the plan. And you two blew it like a terror list in a transparent folder.
You two will find yourself on a tour of the South East explaining to business where the promised finance is. You are about to find out just how green you can be by taking a fact finding mission to the Arctic circle.. "
"I do have another cunning plan sir"
"Spare me Ballsdrick. Your plans are about as likely to succeed as a manifesto commitment."
"But sir, it is a good one. You make friends with President Obama. Then you stand next to him smiling. Or doing that thing that you do that's sort of like smiling but makes you look like you've swallowed a coat hangar. Then, you get the world leaders to agree to another massive debt creation exercise that will give you funds for a tax cut for the April budget before the Euro elections"
Brownadder stared at Ballsdrick in amazement.
"Ballsdrick. That's brilliant. I'll get all the leaders to London and hold the world's biggest photo opportunity. Then, when they've agreed to my fiscal stimulus we can print,borrow,create,give,take,lend or throw about as much money as we need. I didn't need to create voters for the Euro election, I just needed to buy them. "
"Geoff, Ballsdrick, touch nothing until I return. I'm off to see General Mandelchett for some hosting and PR funds. This is going to be the biggest party since the BBC's 1997 election night special impartial victory bash."
And he swept out of the dugout and was gone.
Saturday, 11 April 2009
The Brownadder tries for a Fourth term
new BBC comedy/farce
Captain Brownadder has rushed to HQ to see Captain Darling of the King's own Pay Corps.
"Captain Darling.. how nice to see you" said Captain Brownadder, walking around the Treasury office.
"Captain Brownadder" said Darling, seated behind his desk, his eyebrows twitching. "What do you want?"
"Well Darling, I was wondering if you could let me have a billion pounds."
Darling snapped the pencil in his fingers in two with a loud snap and leapt to his feet. "A billion pounds. No chance Brownadder. There isn't a single sixpence left. You spent the last of it on that failed gilts purchase. I wouldn't let you near the Treasury again if you were the last Labour supporter in England"
"Well, now you come to mention it.."
"What do you want the money for anyway Brownadder?"
"Oh, just some odds and ends. A printing company, a stack of blank postal voting forms, an electoral role database, 1,000,000 stamps, a few thousand boxes of pens, some chairs, some tables, a conference centre, enough money to pay a large number of the unemployed to do some form filling and enough left over for a slap up binge at Mrs Prescott's pie shop."
"What are you up to Brownadder?"
"I'm starting my own postal service. I've decided against TNT"
Just then the inner doors opened and in marched General Mandelchett.
The two captains leapt to attention.
"Bhaaaa. at ease at ease. Hello Brownadder. I've just been reading briefing notes on the Red Menance."
"The Russians sir?"
"No. Hazel Blears. What are you doing here Brownadder?"
"I just came to ask for some supplies from Captain Darling."
"I hope you said yes, Darling? Captain Brownadder likes to spring supplieses on the electorate."
"Well, you see General, there aren't any supplies left."
"Jhooonsense" cried the General" Take some from the Business Development Fund. They're not doing any good in there. More dust on them than on Tony McNulty's events speaking diary."
"I rather think Captain Blackadder needs more than that sir." squirmed Captain Darling.
"Oh well in that case, tack it onto the Olympics budget. No one will know. And its not as if we shall be around to have to pay for it, what Brownadder?" chuckled General Mandelchett merrily.
Mandelchett crossed to his desk.
"Now help me with my speech to the CBI Darling. Where's my graph...ah thank you. Yes, yes.. I shall say 'things are really beginning to look up'"
"Erm, the graphs upside down sir. It goes downwards" whimpered Darling.
"Then I shall say "things are getting worse less quickly than before." Alright Darling?"
"Well, I suppose so sir. I'm still worried about this Brownadder money sir. Its such a lot."
"What's it for Brownadder?"
"The Euro elections in June sir."
"Of course. You want to have a chance to put yourself to the electoral test and vindicate your leadership under the harsh trial of a genuinely democratic election campaign."
"Well, something like that sir."
"Alright, Quantitative Easing time again, Darling"
"Print more money for Brownadder then sir?"
"No. Guacamole and Gazpacho lunch at the Carlton Club. Come and help me with my dicky tummy Darling. Goodbye Brownadder."
Captain Brownadder made his way back to his bunker. Now for the cunning plan he thought to himself. The most cunning plan since Tony Blair had suggested Rock,Paper,Scissors at Granitas.
to be continued
The Brownadder tries for a Fourth term
new BBC comedy/farce
Captain Brownadder is in his bunker addressing Private Ballsdrick and Lieutenant Geoff Hoon.
"This is a crisis. A large crisis. A fourteen storey crisis with acres of glass windows, marble floors, a fountain in the foyer and an RBS logo bolted above the door. I've just received orders that there are to be Euro elections "
"Hurrah and Huzzah!"beamed Lt Geoff happily. "A chance to get out among the masses and put the labour message to the test."
"Geoff. It is not a time for rejoicing,"scowled Cpt Brownadder.
"Why's that sir?" asked a slightly slow Pte Ballsdrick.
"Because we'll be massacred before you can say 'Glasgow East'. Our popularity has fallen faster than a Lloyd's bank share."
BrownAdder paced across his small bunker and sat on his cot. He needed to think.
"Why not call off the elections then sir? I mean, just tell the Frogs to hoppit and kick Mrs Kaiser up the Jacqsi and boot the eyetie wallah, whassisname.. Armando Iannucci, round the plaza."
Brownadder grabbed a Nokia from an ammunition box and hurled it at Lt Geoff.
"You really are a complete Timney! Its a Euro Election. I can't tell Europe what to do. No one can. We must hold the Euro elections, but we must win them, or i'll be out the door as fast as Cherie Blair is to attend a repossessed property auction in Belgravia."
"I have a cunning plan sir" said Pte Ballsdrick.
"Really Ballsdrick," said Brownadder wearily. "As cunning as an MP's second homes staying in the sister's back bedroom housing allowance fiddle?"
"As cunning as a top rate 2p tax cut, that is really a 1op tax rise?"
"Go on then...if you must"
Pte Ballsdrick began to outline his scheme.
"Well, the way I see it is, if the Tories mobilise their support, and then the Lib Dems mobilise their support, and then the SNP mobilise their support then we won't win"
Brownadder spluttered with incredulity. "Ballsdrick, that's as obvious as a 2.5% VAT cut won't encourage spending!"
"But here's the cunning bit sir. If we mobilise all our support AND some extra support then we win."
"And where do we get this extra support from? We can't bring in any more Somalians, they're making a fortune as pirates."
"No sir. We make them"
"We make them. I see. you mean you and I and Lt Geoff.."
"Have sex with girls. " leered Ballsdrick.
"Ballsdrick. That is the most useless plan since I told everyone we could rebuild the economy by lagging each others lofts. First we need some willing, possibly blind girls. Then we need to impregnate them. And then we need to wait 18 years until their offspring are old enough to vote. And in case you hadn't noticed the elections are in 2 months time"
"Ahh. There's always a tiny flaw isn't there sir?"
But then Lt Geoff piped up.
"He might be right though sir"
"Why? He never has been before. Sats tests, exam marking, lottery school placements, higher education funding, school leaving age raised to eighteen but completely unfunded...."
"But sir, if we artificially create more voters somehow, well, then we would be quite likely to win."
"Ok,I'll work on something"sighed Brownadder. "Give me that fag packet that you used to work out the necessary troop commitment for Afghanistan on."
"That's not a fag packet sir.. That's a postal vote. Would you like to use it? Sir, Sir! I say Ballsdrick, he's gone!"
to be continued
Thursday, 9 April 2009
How would he know this?....Gordon Brown predicted on the Jeremy Vine show today that banks would lend an extra £50 billion in the UK this year, helping to bolster the economy etc.
The markets have been snoozing really this week, with volumes very low and today they are even lower. There has not even been much speculation on the change in Bank of England base rate, quite rightly, as it was left at 0.5%. The first time there has been no cut in 6 months.
However, much to the dismay of Alice and House Price Crash, it does seem as though the government have engineered a blip in the housing market. Yes prices are still falling, but volumes of sales are up, as are mortgage approvals. It is all very early days, but in share price terms it has been amazing. Taylor Wimpey are up 50% in a week, as are Barratt's. No doubt it may be too late to join the throng, but things have come off the bottom.
The Banks shares too like LLoyds and RBS are way up, over 100% off their lowest points of the year.
There is still an odds-on chance of another leg down in the market and the economy, but signs of life in the these bombed out sectors is a good thing; perhaps we are not all going back to live in caves after all. Something to be cheerful for over Easter.