Friday, August 28, 2009

The riskless world of the quango

TMP worries about the number of appointees without any experience of "the real world" that seem to float to the top of this wretched junta and its many quangos. How come so many people with backgrounds in academia, consulting and "pure politics" now rule the lives of the rest of us, who live in that real world?

This risk-free club of the unworldly is almost Masonic in its nature and coverage of Labour's establishment. Its members all seem to speak the same dialects of newspeak (ranging from ancient tripe to modern tripe) and for all us outsiders know, they have funny handshakes and other techniques to help them to easily identify fellow travellers, to ensure that no one with a realistic view the world should be allowed in to spoil their deluded view of the world.

Lord "Red Adair" Turner appears to be another fellow-travelling, peerage collecting, hack quangoista, with nothing on his CV that suggests he has ever been involved in what the majority of us plebs would regard as faintly akin to sustainable wealth creation within "the real world".

He lasted less than an year in the only job on his CV that has any resonance with a "real wealth creating business" with his employer - BP - before moving his double first in History and Economics to Chase Manhattan and then McKinsey, who are not famous for pulling the levers at the coal face of the economy, as much as nudging the buttons of rarefied deal makers and bankers.

Before his time at Merill Lynch, his period as DG of the CBI (95-99) was regarded as "disappointing" and the CBI members subsequently may have regretted picking him as a compromise choice, (possibly to appease what in 1995 looked like the inevitability of a Labour government). And then when Blair/Brown duly arrived, Turner seemed instrumental in engineering that brief but disastrous period of rapprochement between the business community and New Labour that set the scene for Brown to raid the pensions industry - and be allowed to get away with it! Just what was that deal about ? Was it a "trade" that allowed bankers to make personal fortunes for themselves, and vast taxable profits for the banks, while the rest of us paid with our pensions?

Had the ever-conniving Brown worked out that allowing greedy (and frequently quite dim) bankers to make vast taxable profits from their dodgy dealings, fairy mortgages, and excessive interest charges (surely against every one of his Marxist principles?), was going to provide the opportunity for the biggest stealth tax grab of all ? Had he simply set up a gullible finance industry to become vicarious tax collectors - effectively taxing the UK's gullible property owners, who eagerly believed in the artificially inflated values - through the medium of mortgage interest ?

During this time, Turner also built a cosy personal relationship with the Labour hierarchy that has kept him in comfortable employment and quangos ever since he left Merrill Lynch in 2006 - at the peak of Brown's phony boom..

In a world where small business founders are routinely expected to put their homes on the line in order to provide collateral, Turner and his ilk seem to spend their time smoozing and networking their way around quangos and government appointments, collecting salaries and pension contributions - and doing what they clearly do best - pontificating without any personal responsibility or financial risk.

Nevertheless, we'd pay to see Lord Sugar take him on in a celebrity Apprentice showdown challenge match - or attempt to pitch a business idea to the Dragon's Den..

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