Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Well then, it's the turnips

Brown's miracle cure seems to be getting the finger from the market.

In the UK, Lloyds long suffering shareholders are livid that Gordon's drinking pal Lloyds' Chairman (for the time being...) Victor Blank swallowed the punitive terms of the cash quite so readily in the rush for HBOS and its wonderful mortgage and retail businesses, and effectively wrote off the value of Lloyds shares for the next 5 years!

And this seems to have set the the tone for a general reaction to all the indicators that the economy is indeed, deep in the Brown stuff. The FTSE is still plumbing the depths. Unemployment is up, and the government cannot spin them any harder to hide the truth.

Of all the banks, Lloyds was least exposed to the toxic market, mostly because it was dozing quietly for the past few years, almost devoid of ambition to do anything more than sweep up as many small retail bank accounts as possible, when they got the feeling their competitors had taken their eye of that steady if unexciting "bread and butter" ball. So what are they now doing on their (shareholders') knees, with their shareholders holding the unwanted, unlovely and extremely bastard offspring of messrs Broon and Blank?

But far from "swivelling", Brown leaves Harriet Harperson in charge as he sweeps through the corridors of international power on his familiar cushion of self-importance and hubris as he tries desperately to leverage his temporary omniscience to set up a global conference on finance and trade, to "prevent excessive risk". That's fine by us, since clearly the biggest risk we face as a nation is the possibility of Labour remaining in charge of the UK.

Listen up Gordon, we STILL have not been told exactly what went wrong and why - so how come you know all about fixing it? It just might be as simple as a series of criminal acts of evasion of perfectly adequate existing regulations, coupled to dopey regulators that were not up to the job - and the dubious collusion of politicians that were determined to believe in the continued existence of the credit fairy, which had been so handy for securing feelgood votes.

In fact, if you do know so much about fixing it, then it begs the question why did you allow it to happen in the first place? Or will you conveniently try to hang that one on the old sleasemeister Blair: "I voz only following orders, mein Fuhrer..."

Since this is mostly about a crisis of confidence, then just maybe people have no confidence in his ability to continue to govern ? Sooner or later he's going to be rumbled for what his old boss Blair always understood him to be: an obsessive control freak, creative with numbers, devoid of vision. And now properly undone by the most laughable statement of modern political times:

"There will be no more Boom and Bust"

Which works very well as an epitaph.

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