Financial Crisis and Banking

Go on. Admit it. You don’t feel altogether sorry for those bankers, do you? When you read about the collapsing pillars of the temples of mammon, you don’t feel the tears beginning to prick the corner of your eyes.

The City is a global industry in which Britian excels: we should not exult as banks fold.


When you read that the masters and mistresses of the Universe are being expelled from their glass palaces, ferrying their possessions in cardboard boxes, you can’t quite find it in you, somehow, to mourn.

Oh no. On the contrary. You snuffle and truffle your way through the yards of newsprint, searching for fresh news of folding banks and speculating who will be next.

So Lehman Brothers has bitten the dust, and the gloomy reverberations are being heard in Porsche dealerships on both sides of the Atlantic. Merrill Lynch has been sold, and now the tide of destruction is lapping about the feet of Morgan Stanley and – can it be true? – Goldman Sachs!

Amid the anguish, amid the despair, I am afraid I detect in the coverage a tiny but audible batsqueak of glee, and sometimes it is more than a squeak.

Every Lefty from Alex Salmond to Gordon Brown is queuing up to kick the “spivs and speculators”, who are apparently the authors of their own destruction, as well as the destruction of immeasurable wealth across Britain and the world.

At the very moment last week when banking stocks were a sea of gore, and thousands of jobs were being lost, the Prime Minister thought fit to announce that the “City must clean up its act”. In respectable conservative free-market newspapers you will find yammering columnists demanding new laws on usury, so that nothing of this kind can ever happen again.

As the banker-bashers survey the wreckage of Lehman Bros, the main complaint is that the carnage does not go far enough. Why, when ordinary people are suffering from plummeting house prices, are these ex-Lehman partners allowed to waltz off with multi-million pound bonuses?

Why, when they have so terminally stuffed the financial system that most people are finding it tough to get a mortgage, are these incompetent loan sharks still cruising the world in their yachts and Bugatti Veyrons? Yes, there are some pretty strong feelings out there: Schadenfreude at the bankers who have been punished, indignation at those who have not.

Which is why it is time for this column – ever alert to the noble but unpopular cause – to enter a note in defence of the banks, the City, and the general practice of lending money for profit.

Let us be clear: the banks have been greedy, sometimes hideously greedy. And they have collaborated in encouraging the greed and credulity of home-owners, on both sides of the Atlantic, who have taken on more debt than they can manage.

The banks have made it worse by taking that bad debt, and chopping it up into funny parcels called derivatives, and selling these products to each other to make even more money; and then they have made things much, much worse by lying.

They have been lying to each other about they extent to which they hold this toxic stuff, and so trust has broken down, and the banks have stopped dealing with each other, and no one can get any credit, and the short-selling hedge funds have begun to close in – quite reasonably – to sell the banks’ shares and start the bloodbath.

Last week we seemed to be faced with a full-scale run on the banks, and governments in America and Britain had no choice but to act. The Labour Government has flouted competition rules to protect HBOS, and both governments have banned short selling.

It is an incredible turn of events, and for a free marketeer it is quite dizzying. There can be no doubt that government has a duty to get involved, not least to protect innocent depositors. Someone needs to make sure there is no more sharp practice, and that someone is government.

How come Lehman was allowed at the last minute to whip an £8 billion cushion away from London, and transfer that cushion to New York? The result was that the defenestrated bankers of New York had a softer landing than Lehman folk in the City. It looks damn suspicious.

We need an answer, and fast. But we should also remember that whenever government gets involved in the market – whenever they use taxpayers’ money to defend the price of a share or a currency – they create a risk and they create an opportunity.

When Hank Paulson nationalised Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, he was issuing a feeding call to the sharks, as obvious as the boasts of Norman Lamont that he would fight to the death to protect the parity of sterling against the German mark. The hedge funds saw a one-way bet, then and now, and the paradox is that Paulson’s initial actions may have made the banks more vulnerable, not less.

What will happen in January, when the rules on short-selling expire? And whatever else government does, we must remember that regulation introduced in response to one crisis almost always helps to create the next one.

London’s recent success as a financial centre – and our edge over New York – has been at least partly to do with the post-Enron Sarbanes-Oxley rules that fettered American markets.

Before you attack the bankers of London, remember that this is one of the few global industries in which we truly excel; the City contributes about 9 per cent of Britain’s GDP – think of all the professions and trades that feast, directly or indirectly, on the nourishment provided: the lawyers, accountants, PR firms, architects, interior designers, builders, taxi drivers and just about everyone else.

And before you go whingeing to me about house prices boosted by City bonuses, I leave you with one final thought: whatever the disasters of the sub-prime sector, these products allowed millions of Americans to own their homes, and the vast majority are making their payments.

They will enjoy the long-term benefits of home ownership, and that is thanks to the ingenuity and enterprise of people who lend money for profit. Of course there are spivs and speculators out there.

But before we get carried away with neo-socialist claptrap, we should remember the huge benefits brought to this country by bankers and the City of London.

[First published in the Daily Telegraph on 23 September, 2008 under the heading ‘ Financial Crisis: Bankers and the City of London provided a roof over people’s heads’]

114 thoughts on “Financial Crisis and Banking”

  1. It is incredibly amusing how Labour MP’s sanctimoniously blame the banks for the present crisis at their conference. Short selling is not illegal. There is only one person responsible for the present financial predicament and that is the man who not only allowed the conditions to exist for the present crisis, he positively encouraged them. That man is Gordon Brown.

  2. If I may interject some neo-socialist claptrap here, (and distance myself from messrs Brown and Salmond who are firmly on the right as far as I am concerned), I take little joy in the collapse of the financial institutions, because the only losers, as ever, are going to be the poorest and most powerless. This has always been the case and always will be, and you, Bozza, with your neo-Thatcherist let-them-eat-cake claptrap show no sympathy or concern for those who are unable to protect themselves against the total selfishness and callousness of the banks and stock traders.

  3. I may be completely wrong, but I suspect people (and politicians) imagine politicians have much more influence in these matters than is the case.

    There have in recent years been concurrent housing booms in a considerable number of countries all over the world. This is unprecedented – housing booms have historically occurred on a per-country basis, quite distinct from one another.

    The reason for the global housing boom in recent years has been the liberalization of credit. This has promoted demand across the developed world, because people can now afford houses where previously they could not.

    The availability of credit causes consumer sentiment to become positive and this in turn reinforces expectations and people pile into the properly market.

    This of course cannot continue forever. What eventually happens is that there is a shock of some kind – for example, restrictions on credit availability, interest rates rise, etc.

    (Restrictions on credit of course being a major factor now in the UK).

    This has the real effect of reducing demand and of course hammers sentiment; people back out of buying. The market then turns, as is happening now.

    Politicians are not involved. They neither caused this not did anything significant to hinder or help it.

    The other issue to consider is that housing prices are in fact fixed, in the long term – fifty, a hundred years. If you construct a table, that table is not somehow worth twice as much in ten years time. This is also true for houses. In the long term, house prices vary in a fairly tight range. In the short term, prices vary greatly – but they will always eventually revert to the real value.

    People only look at the last five, ten, twenty years and declare house prices always rise. This is absolutely, totally and completely incorrect over the long term. And the long term can mean NOW, in that the recent rises could be ending and we could now be reverting to the long term real value.

    (For references, start looking up the Herengracht Index – house prices on the Herengracht, Amsterdam, since about 1650 – there are also now similar, lesser indexes for NYC back about a hundred years, and Norway back about I think a hundred and fifty).

  4. Vicus Scurra wrote:
    > … for those who are unable to protect themselves against
    > the total selfishness and callousness of the banks and stock
    > traders.

    Who are these people who cannot protect themselves and so have suffered?

    Are you referring to people who recently bought houses and are now beginning to experience negative equity?

  5. Excellent explanation of derivatives. I actually understand that, hooray!

    I’m no economist, but if things are not illegal, like short selling, how can you blame people for doing them? If it is so reprehensible, why didn’t the government put a stop to the practice earlier? I just don’t understand how they have the bare faced cheek to come over all sanctimonious at this late stage in the day.

    As set out in THE ART OF WAR (Sun Tzu), talk is cheap, It is what you do that matters. It’s fine for the government to talk tough about this now, just like they are also talking tough about welfare dependency and saying how they are going to help the poor and vulnerable. They have had 10 years to get tough on welfaire dependency and ten years to help the poor and vulnerable, and ten years to keep an eye on the city.

    Their brainwashed delegates fall for it every time, some poor deluded delegate said “It is wonderful to hear Gordon talking about helping the poorest of society….”

    Read the Art of War Mr. Delegate. It is so easy just to talk. Talking about something and actually doing it…. BIG DIFFERENCE.
    ps. I need to read this article at least 20 times more, because so much of it is hard to understand. Better contact my share dealing friend.

  6. When I’m feeling quite low, I cheer myself up by going into the garden to try and find a safe place to bury my money.

  7. If I “abstract” this further, and take a few steps back, I see yet another lost opportunity for real growth as a society and as a species. It was a chance for those who wielded financial power to prove that they had the responsibility to govern themselves, that regulation was less necessary than previously thought, and that government could stay out of the markets. It’s hardly Lefty or Socialist to expect honesty, competence and foresight from people, regardless of what field of endeavour they occupy. The “masters of the universe” have now, officially, cocked it up, and governments are being asked to step in and kiss the boo-boos better.

    There will be more regulation, some (if not all) of it overbearing, short-sighted, which will lead to more bureaucracy, more taxation, and more Socialist policies, regardless of which colour ties hang in Number 10’s closets. It doesn’t help to know that, in the UK, this process is in the hands of a government who thinks that Buy-To-Let and property “flipping” are “wealth creation”. Hint: building a house is wealth creation, because the builder has created something that was not there before. All the speculation that follows is merely shuffling wealth around the country (or, in or out of it) without actually creating NEW wealth. For everyone who gets richer on the “property ladder”, someone else gets poorer: why is this not OBVIOUS?

  8. The wealth, acumen, power and mystique of bankers has incurred the bitterest envy throughout the centuries.

    The Knights Templar invented international banking and also the cheque. They were the first capitalists. Founded in 1096, they protected crusaders travelling to the Holy Lands to fight, but they also built up a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom and protected by the Pope, paid no taxes.

    In 1150, the tide turned against Christians when Saladin took Jerusalem and eventually, the Crusaders left the Holy Lands.

    By 1305, Philip IV of France was deeply in hock to the Knights Templar, because of money he had borrowed to fight in the Crusades. Feeling the pinch, he started to eye the bulging wealth of the Knights Templar.

    He started a smear campaign, (an example of evil medieval spin) by suggesting that the Knights indulged in deviant sexual behaviour (homosexuality was regarded as a dire sin), worshipped the cat, and committed heresy when iniating novice Templars. It was all the foulest lies.

    Grand Master of the Templars Jacques de Molay was seized and eventually admitted to the charges. He had been horribly tortured on the rack and his feet burnt to the bone.

    Pope Clement V was the puppet Pope of Philip IV. He was kept prisoner in Avignon and not even allowed to go home to the Vatican. Only he could save the Knights. At first he found them innocent and absolved them, knowing they were pure. The Knights Templar seemed safe. However, when Philip threatened to set up another Church instead of Catholicism he caved. He betrayed the Knights Templar.

    Jacques de Molay was burnt at the stake. As he died he retracted his forced confession. He cursed the Pope and King Philip and said they would soon follow him in death. His curse was powerful.

    The Pope died within a month. King Philip sickened with a hideous deforming illness and died within the year in a hunting accident.

    When Philip raided the Paris bank where the fabulous wealth of the Knights Templar was kept, the bank was found to be empty. Less important Knights of the order had spirited away the loot and it was never found. Rumour said that they had fled to Scotland and the power of Robert the Bruce had protected them and the vast wealth, but no-one ever knew for sure what the truth was.

    The Knights Templar were brought down by their own success and were victims of their own mystique. Slander bankers at your peril, we should not smear that which we do not understand.

  9. What really gets me about the kicking on bankers is that the government has lost the bigger picture!

    The way I see it – the banks took risks (lending risky mortgages & selling them on), right or wrong it was a risk they took (as business’ do). Due to the fall in house prices (which may I add precipitated the banking crises as we see it today), they bet wrong. So the banks have got it in the neck, they have gone bust, have changed their business model or have been taken over.

    To coin the US treasury phrase “main street” is supposedly being hit by this crisis. Is this really from the relatively small job losses in the finance industry (in the view of the whole job market). More likely, it’s going to be due to the general rises in oil prices & falling house prices.

    In Gordon’s time of need he is riding a populist wave in using the bankers as the economic scapegoat. In reality we should let these guys fail and nurture conditions for them to come back, not chastise them for taking risks which failed – for if our economy is to succeed in the future these guys need to take risks again.

  10. Ah, so Boris is in favour of government handouts, but only to investment banks? When capitalism fails, the great libertarian cries for the Dole?

    It was not actually necessary that the government step in at all; it did so not to preserve investments, but to preserve careers. The money is gone anyway, but this way the institutions (those same corrupt and self-evidently incompetent capitalist institutions, ie in the business of handling capital, that got us into this mess) will carry on, capable or not. The banks that have not been badly managed will have to put up with the incompetent overlord class still.

    Tens of thousands of people who were assured they could afford home ownership were bilked for years and have now lost their homes. Millions of people who held pensions and investments have lost their money, perhaps their life savings. An institution in the business of growing money which has been responsible for a failure of such profundity as to cause its own bankruptcy should surely be allowed to die, whether it’s the socialists or the libertarians who dance on its grave.

    [Great to see you back, Raincoaster. Ed]

  11. “Although the primary mission of the Order was military, relatively few members were combatants. The others acted in support positions to assist the knights and to manage the financial infrastructure. The Templar Order, though its members were sworn to individual poverty, was given control of wealth beyond direct donations. A nobleman who was interested in participating in the Crusades might place all his assets under Templar management while he was away. Accumulating wealth in this manner throughout Christendom and the Outremer, the Order in 1150 began generating letters of credit for pilgrims journeying to the Holy Land: pilgrims deposited their valuables with a local Templar preceptory before embarking, received an encrypted document indicating the value of their deposit, then used that document upon arrival in the Holy Land to retrieve their funds. This innovative arrangement was an early form of banking, and may have been the first formal system to support the use of cheques; it improved the safety of pilgrims by making them less attractive targets for thieves, and also contributed to the Templar coffers.[4][14]

    Based on this mix of donations and business dealing, the Templars established financial networks across the whole of Christendom. They acquired large tracts of land, both in Europe and the Middle East; they bought and managed farms and vineyards; they built churches and castles; they were involved in manufacturing, import and export; they had their own fleet of ships; and at one point they even owned the entire island of Cyprus. The Order of the Knights Templar arguably qualifies as the world’s first multinational corporation.[13]

    Had to give you this quote from Wikipedia. Just think, the Knights Templar were possibly the world’s first multinatinal corporation, that is amazing.

  12. I won’t put much more on this in case nobody but me is interested, but apparently the Knights Templar were such fearsome fighters and tacticians, that at the Battle of Montisgisard in 1177, a force of 500 of them helped to defeat a force of 26,000 men under the Muslim ruler, Saladin. King Baldwin IV sent a few thousand men, and Saladin, who couldn’t believe the Christians would attack with so few men, allowed his huge force to disperse over the countryside, pillaging and looting. most of them were too far away to be of use when the Crusaders attacked.

    The Christian forces aimed straight for his centre and totally defeated him.

    Anyway, as well as fighters, the Knights Templar were the earliest international bankers and also the earliest multinational corporation.

  13. Gordon said “The City must clean up its act” – he has been cosying up to them without a word of reproach for the past ten years and now that it has all blown up in his face, it is all their fault. Pathetic.

  14. I’m afraid I’m with Vicus on this one, completely.

    The Banks are dreadful bullies who rip off the little people blind. They regularly heap unlawful charges onto those struggling to pay and fighting such big institutions is often beyong the strength and knowhow of the victims of this theft. Theft that is multipied throughout the land. Once more it is the honest decent person who suffers most.

  15. “The banks have made it worse by taking that bad debt, and chopping it up into funny parcels called derivatives… (Boris)”

    Whilst I agree with the premise of your article Boris I don’t have much time for your support of the current misinformation campaign on ‘derivatives’.

    Collaterized debt obligations (the packages of dodgy mortgage debt you refer to) are asset-backed securities, not ‘derivatives’. This kind of carelessness is making ‘derivatives’ a dirty word Boris, in offices and pubs all over the nation the great unwashed are now talking about the evils of ‘derivatives’.

    As someone who likes a bet, be it on the gee-gees, the roulette tables and yes, those evil derivatives, I’m dissappointed by your sloppiness here Boris.

    Someone even came to work the other day and told me that the latest round of the financial crisis was ‘because of people like you, with these deriavtives’ which is far more damaging than the neo-socialist claptrap doing the rounds at the moment. The danger is there will be a clamour to ban these wonderous little instruments, meaning more job losses in the city and the bottom rung of the ladder being moved up another few metres for Joe Punter.

    Please be more careful in the future.

  16. Maybe Gordon Brown’s ancestors, the Gay Gordons, made off with the fabulous wealth of the Knights Templar. The curse of Jacques de Molay haunts him still, explaining why whenever he attends a football or rugby match, we lose by a landslide. It could explain everything.

  17. Did Boris actually write the article on finance all by himself? Don’t tell me he knows all about the economy as well as the classics and the other things he knows about. i didn’t think he was an economist. (like Angela, I can’t understand all the article). Still we should make a huge effort and force our brains to understand it.

  18. mr boris
    yes i heard about ur comment about the bankers and traders in general…….u actually think that they get loads of bonuses and that is illegal….may be u dont mean that way but i want to make a point. all those people who worked for lehman payed YOUR TAXES. we are all not in govt benefits u see we all work hard for it…….its sweat you just said it off!!!!!!! most of the people there worked for 17 hrs a day………do u even kno wat that means. yes iam very angry at ur comments. we all love london and done everything to make it safe and mind it clean. and we pay tax and we are proud of it. but now that bank doesnt even exist u dont feel the slightest pain for those who lost their precious jobs. That was our life ,like your life is london and its people pls respect that sir. now i feel sorry for myself for giving such a man the chance to look after this city. very rude of you to comment in such a situation.

  19. An extended period of bleak austerity will do much to restore decency in the British people.

    At least it might stop the piss-heads from wrecking my town every weekend.

  20. PS, DON’T call a General Election. The country is ruined anyway and a year more of Brown should make it clear to even the dullest wit that it’s all Nu Labs’ fault.

  21. “Which is why it is time for this column – ever alert to the noble but unpopular cause – to enter a note in defence of the banks, the City, and the general practice of lending money for profit”

    Tina, I don’t blame you for being confused – heavens knows Boris is not always easy to understand – but surely Boris is defending bankers and the importance of the banking system in London? You will see from the Boris’s quote that I give above, he says he wants to “enter a note of defence of the banks….”

    Although he doesn’t agree with people who abuse the banking system, he is strongly in favour of bankers and points out that London excels as far as the banking system is concerned. So you needn’t feel bad that you voted for Boris, he is on the side of people in banking who lost their jobs and is not happy about it at all.

  22. “Politicians are not involved. They neither caused this not did anything significant to hinder or help it [the credit bubble/house price boom]” (Blank Xavier)

    I disagree, it is the politicans that make the law, and as such have control of the monetary and fiscal levers that can be used to change the economic behaviour of individuals and businesses. No government operates a completely ‘free market’ changing interest rates, central bank targets, key economic indicators (such as inflation targets), regulation and taxation are all examples of government intervening in the ‘free’ market.

    Given the fact we live in a globalised world, and UK politicans have no control over the monetary and fiscal regimes in USA and China, there are severe limitations to what the UK government can do to regulate the economy. However I would not go as far as to say that they were powerless to counter the huge economic forces that causes the house price hyperinflation we have seen since the new Millenium.

    None of this, however, changes that fact that Gordon Brown harped on for years on end at us about how we had a ‘strong housing market’. He told us there would be ‘no return to boom and bust’ and promised to deliver consistent low inflation, low interest rates and economic growth. A generation of consumers grew up believing that rising house prices of fifteen or twenty per cent per annum was normal. He fobbed them off into thinking that ‘boom and bust’ was just a nasty tory policy, deisgned to punish the poor.

    Even now his government continues to promote shared equity home-ownership schemes, they try desparately to fill the tens of thousands of shoebox flats that we banged together in order to meet his number 10 imposed house-building targets. He speaks as if the looming recession is just a minor economic glitch on his glowing record, his Ministers repeat parrot-fashion his promises of policies to ‘revive the housing market’.

    For years he has warbled away about ‘delivering affordable housing’, now when prices break below the threshold of ten-times average income he rabbits on about how good it would be should the bubble re-inflate.

    The sad truth of the matter is that he will say or do anything to get re-elected. If he budges an inch to the right there will be mutany from the back benches, trade unions will plot to pull the plug. If he moves an inch to the left, appeasing his party-faithful middle-England will desert him in droves as employers flee his great grabbing fist.

    All he can do is sit tight, clinging onto the codswallop policies the army of juvinille yes-men civil servants he surrounds himself with swear will steer UK plc from impending disaster. You won’t find him talking about ‘boom and bust’ any longer, from now until the glorious day he departs number 10 the watchwords will be ‘global financial crisis’ and promises to deliver ‘stability’.

    His spin-doctors peddle the story that mortgage salesmen in Arkansas, lending to folk who couldn’t make the repayments are the cause of our woes. Back in the bunker the wonks he surrounds himself with conitune to punp out reams of codswallop on ‘financial inclusion’ and ‘helping people on the housing ladder’.

    He is backed in a corner. His currency of spin and deceit is as worthless as the mountains of silly policy documentation that underpin it.

  23. Ros, oh yeah, I do have the odd coins to bury in my back garden, ya know!

    What’s the difference between the mission to save the global economy and attempts to shore up Gordon Brown? In both cases, big guns are pooling all the resources at their disposal to rescue a shattered but revered institution- capitalism in the City and the Labour party in Manchester.

    On the money markets, eye-bleeding sums of your money are being poured into endangered banks and pension giants. Here at the Labour party conference, slightly dog-eared credit is being mobilised to save Gordon Brown.

    Cabinet ministers, some of them sworn enemies of the PM, are lying through gritted teeth in his support. They are ready to pretend the corpse in Labour’s shop window is still alive and kicking. As a result, shares in both Gordon and the City have risen, with some optimists predicting the worst is over. More likely, both recoveries are little more than a dead cat bounce.

    Stock market celebrations might yet turn into a wake. Gordon is already a dead man walking. Gordon hopes something will turn up, but rival Miliband has made it clear in weekend mag interviews that he is still after Gordon’s job. Alan Johnson also made that prospect even more likely by ruling himself out and offering to be Miliband’s running mate.

    Meanwhile, Brown is hoping to turn the economic crisis into a stay of execution. The trouble is that as a Chanceller, Gordon ran the economy in much the same way as the bosses of troubled companies such as HBOS and Northern Rock.

    Gordon blames America for the global economic crisis. But none of this came out a clear blue sky. Even people knew a year ago we were in trouble. One of the merchant banks that went bust last week had already warned executives not to talk about the impending catastrophe- EVEN to each other !!!

    Wildly irresponsible lendind by HBSO and Halifax had been worrying senior executives for years. If people knew this, so did the most powerful Chancellor Gordon at that time.

    Alistair darling was so horrified by what he found at the Treasury when he took over from Gordon that he blurted out that we face the biggest financial crisis in 60 years.

    The question is: Why didn’t the Chancellor Gordon and Prime Minister Gordon who preached prudence and promised no more boom and bust do anything to stop it ?!!! And where did Gordon study economy at ?

  24. Amusing enough to see you Tories not even realizing the big turnabout coming on. Turnabout New Labour, we all know what’s happening. And people will vote Labour. Not bad you’re underestimating your opponent if you’re looked at by a Labourite, but actually… I was kinda hoping you’d have an agenda to present, and defeat Labour. Seems like I hoped too much. We’ll see…

  25. Iwatched a very interesting film called Zeitgheist the other day, I found the whole thing rather intriguing but particularly appertaining to the banking industry. Anyone else seen it? I would love to hear what you make of it Boris.
    Kindest regards Merilyn

  26. Boris, i thought your defence of the city was spot on today. I am glad you are looking after London properly and openly. Even if it is not popular with the more easily led members of society at the moment. I know you defend the BBC but it does rea;lly need to be cleansed of the partisan element when the Conservatives get in power. These people are destroying a great institution by their political bias.
    Jane Trellis (Mrs)

  27. Bankers got more than richly compensated for every contribution they have made. However they must be punished for the crimes deceits they committed too. They must take personal responsibilities for all the irresponsible bad things they do.

    I pay a great surgeon for the great eye job he does to me. But if next time he makes my nose like the one on Michael Jackson, I’ll sue the life out him.

  28. @dave: “There is only one person responsible for the present financial predicament and that is the man who not only allowed the conditions to exist for the present crisis, he positively encouraged them. That man is Gordon Brown.”

    So the thieves should be excused if no police there to stop them? Or they should be excused for stealing if a bad police let them do what they do?

  29. Here’s a brilliant idea: since the US government just announced they’ll use $700,000,000,000 yes, seven hundred BILLION dollars, to buy junk assets, this site has decided to let the people market their crap directly to the government, no middle man required!

    http://www.buymyshitpile.com/

    and, just in case that doesn’t work (been so long I don’t remember) BuyMyShitpile.

  30. Comment-eating monster doesn’t like my comments! I may have to storm off in a huff! MY FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS BEING SQUASHEROONIED BY NEFARIOUS AND POSSIBLY ILLUMINATI-CONNECTED INVESTMENT BANKERS!

    [Lol. Nothing so gloriously picturesque – comment was just redirected by the technology. It’s now been rescued. Ed.]

  31. Raincoaster, the thought of the Illumnati squasheroonying you is thrilling to me. It is such an exciting idea that there are ancient societies secretly manipulating events.

    I have fallen in love with the mysteque of the Knights Templar and am getting hold of loads of books on them….

    Ricecake, stealing is illegal. Short selling isn’t. there are useful advantages to short selling…. I’m not quite sure what, because my reading has not made that clear, but I will come back to you.

  32. There was an article in the Standard on 19th Sept. headed “Only a fool will blame us short sellers” by Keith Dovkants.

    A short seller, Simon Cawkewell, says “there is nothing new about short selling,the Phoenicians, probably did it.” He thinks it is an integral part of the way the market works and banning it is pointless. The ban is only a temporary measure, which he says supports his view. He continues..

    “We had this huge bubble of credit, which was engineered by the government. It suited Gordon Brown to have all this money around. It produced lots of taxes which he was able to use to finance lots of political schemes. That bubble has now burst. Not because I have shorted shares, but because those workers have been let down by policies that couldn’t be sustained”. He is against the practice of telling lies about a company to drive down its value.

    “But if you tell the truth?” Cawkewell says telling the truth about what is really happening in a company should be applauded, not legislated against. These guys do their research.

    David Einhorn, the daddy of short sellers, would agree with him. He made £1.7 billion from shorting Lehman Brothers, and his attitude is summed up as follows: if a company’s share price is overvalued, it is a legitimate target. The standard says “Einhorn has been hailed as a hero by a large section of the financial commmunity. Investors say he has campaigned for honesty and transparency while some companies….have obscured their true positions.

    Lehman Brothers was a perfect example of this, Einhorn’s supporters say.” short sellers may make huge profits, but they also absorb massive losses when things go wrong.

    Cawkeswell says “Does anyone feel sympathy when I get it wrong?”

  33. When Jacques de Molay cursed those who harmed the Knights Templar, just before he was burnt at the stake in 1307, he also cursed their descendants, “even unto the 13th generation”. That means the curse is still working – you do the maths.

  34. “Short selling also provides the market with some of the necessary liquidity” (dave)

    At the end of the day short-selling banks is a lot of fun. I don’t care how much ‘liquidity’ it provides or how else it helps the financial system. It’s fun, the market-makers actually pay you to do it, and if you’re lucky you can even make a few bob along the way.

    Like Jaq pointed out before regarding penalty charges, they don’t think twice about kicking the punters when they are down. The buggers have stung me with these charges many a time.

    It’s at least a once in decade event when they get their begging bowls out and we have the opportunity to kick them back. I shorted RBS when they announced their rights issue. My only regrets are not having had the wherewithall to hold onto the position for much longer and not shorting HBOS too while I was at it.

  35. Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and Dr. John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, launched strong attacks on the world’s stock market traders last night, condemning them as bank robbers and asset strippers. The Church of England does have dealings in the stock market itself, as per the link below.

    http://www.cofe.anglican.org/about/churchcommissioners/assets/

    Dr. Sentamu said no one was guiltless in the present crisis and everyone had joined in worshipping the false god of money.

    It is very hard to understand the rights and wrongs of these situations unless you are an expert. Even if we think our dealings are blameless, can we know that for sure?

    “Judge not lest ye shall be judged. For the judgement ye judge ye shall be judges. Matthew 7. 1-3.

  36. I have just spotted a photo of Boris on this page- standing with his back to the camera, scratching his head, his blond hair was all over the place, looking scruffy, I mean rugged, as ever.

    I blame his PA for not vetting his photos carefully. I mean if Boris is sporting the Beach Style hairdo using Beach Hair styling hair gel, then it’s fine. But if he is not, then I would love to give him a haircut myself, with extras thrown in for free.

    joke, sorry!

  37. With the country already reeling from the credit crunch, Gordon predicted a RISE in CRIME and THEFT in an interview last week! And he insisted he was the man to protect the nation from the troubles ahead !

    But in a massive new blow to Gordon, insiders can reveal 4 ministers intend to resign after the conference. Ruth Kelly has just resigned- to spend more time with her children !

    Gordon said the battle against recession and Labour’s struggle to win back voters would only be achieved by unity. But that unity is set to be blown apart by the ministerial resignations in the days ahead.

    One of the rebels said: We have to let Gordon have the conference and say his piece, but I believe nothing will have changed in a week. We need to make another statement and take action before we are wiped out in the Glenrothes by-election in November.

    It is understood the 4 set to quit include 2 middle-ranking ministers and 2 MPs who are ministerial assistants. They plan to quit while Gordon is in New York at a world economic forum. That move will wipe out any attemps at unity forged at the conference.

    Last night, Britain’s EU commissioner Peter Mandelson, one of Gordon’s biggest enemies refused to back him for the PM job. Blair’s wife, Cherie also failed to endorse him as the right man to lead the country ! Asked at the conference to confirm that Gordon is the best man for the job, she refused to comment.

  38. Just look at his Cabinet- they have gone from fearing him to mocking him. Health Secretary Alan Johnson now talks about his PM as Les Dawson spoke about his mother-in-law.

    ” I think Gordon has a nice smile. He worked on it as well. He paid quite a lot of money for that smile !” – Alan Johnson said.

    And loyalty? -” I’ve never been a great Brown cheerleader !”- Alan Johnson said !

  39. Stacey, being perfectly turned out all of the time just isn’t Boris. He can scrub up well when he really has to, but the untidy mop, crumpled trousers and missing button look is part of his charm.

  40. ps. Gordon Brown as protector of the nation? We need protecting from Gordon. He has trashed this country, and declined badly since Labour came to power. It is so depressing to think about it.

  41. Stacey, DAvid Miliband looks an absolute DOOFUS! That is his prime ministerial aspirations set back a couple of decades then…….

    That banana shot!

    After the huge hairy tummy, Ed Balls was pictured picking his nose….. He desperately needs a makeover.

  42. Gordon Brown is using the credit crisis to try to pose as a world leader and economic genius. He has mucked up the economy here and left us with no resources in reserve to face the future…. ok, he is not to blame for everything, but he has borrowed like a madman and wants to carry on doing that. Drop the act, Gordon, you are not fooling anybody. And as Stacey points out, intercenine warfare in your own party shows they are fighting each other and want to bring you down, like rats on a sinking ship.

  43. angela,

    It’s not thing about short selling I was speaking of.

    What those investment bank brokers did is no different than menacing a huge chunk of ruined spoil dead meat into small piece and then repackaged them in fancy glossy bag then sell them out to the masses nationally and internationally, so let the masses to pay their great loses. Probably they thought they could get away with it if the massive lose (of their clients) is massively diversified, diffused sneakingly planted into the ocean of the masses of people. Strategically they were stealing out from personal financial portfolios of millions even billions bit by bit. The owners don’t even know.

    The money brokers in return to get more than beautifully compensated for doing such “brilliant” “Clever” “Clean” and “Capital” job making great sums by selling out stocks of death and ruination.

    May be at first they did it in a small scale or in one of the banks. Then as money rushing into their pocket in the speed of Usain Bolt world record, they became more more greedy and daring. Then other investment banks found out the secret and they too started to do the same thing. So, eventually they operated such scam in a great scale.

    I would like to know “Who Are They” who came up with idea and design this whole scam of deceit? Doubtless they are bunch of the smartest from the top schools financial departments. Best Talents indeed.

    One thing is very clear that these the world’s best investment bank brokers involved knew what they were doing. It’s also very clear who ever designed this system is pure evil and criminal.

    However when these cleverest brightest kill they make sure leave not a finger print nor DNA sample to be traced. Their hand are clean and dry. Now they might be lounging around somewhere in some islands of paradise, enjoying their early retirement with their happy families and friends, left behind the financially gang banged raped and robbed society and it’s little people.

    Many enduring great lose are just because their 403k/401 retirement happened assigned into the hands of certain financial service firm by the companies they work for. Not only that, now their tax money is also needed to fill up the black hole.

  44. It all sounds very alarming rice cake, and ordinary people who do not understand the mechanics stand little chance of being able to commment on the rights and wrongs, let alone prevent themselves being victims.

    Certain things are clearly wrong – excessive bank charges for example, but that has still not been decided, because the banks are appealing and dragging out the process.

    The only way to save the public from the sort of thing you describe is for the government to step in and regulate to avoid creating these black holes, but according to you, it is too late anyway. Anyway, the perpetrators are so clever that Unless you are a financial genius these days, you are just a lamb to the slaughter, they will only think of something else. Thank you for your explanation, I understand a bit better now.

    ps. Do you believe in karma, ricecake? There is meant to be a law of the universe isn’t there, whereby every action creates a reaction, and if you take from someone that which is not yours, you are punished.

    Maybe that will level out the playing field.

  45. Raincoaster, did Warren Buffet really say that? I thought he was a good man.

    I am hopeless at maths – my father made me take maths. O Level until I passed, which was three times. I am also totally uninterested in the mechanics of finance and had to force myself to understand about mortgage rates and so on. I am now quite good at the basic practicalities of finance – I can hunt down a good fixed rate -when there were any, but the erudite machinations described by ricecake are totally beyond me. However, you HAVE to understand. I will read more and force myself, because it is no excuse to be lazy and only read thngs you like to read, and it is just an example of laziness and stupidity.

    It would be so great if there was an eternal and almighty heavenly regulator, who engineered balances in our lives, so every good deed was rewarded and every selfish mercenary deed was levelled out. I half believe this exists……but we still have to make ourselves as aware as possible.

  46. Why should taxpayer’s money be used to bail out bankers who are by any standards on high salaries, any more than it should be used to buy houses for tenants on West Highland estates? If anything it should be used to ease the pain for those who are trying to repay their debt. As one of the first posters said, for all this ‘support’ the poor bloody infantry at the bottom will still end up being screwed by the banks. All that is happening is that we the taxpayer end up paying for bankers extravagant lifestyles, on the bogus argument that their spending keeps the economy going. Utter hypocritical claptrap. I am perfectly capable of spending my own money on women fine wine and expensive cars. I do not need their help. If I was taxed less I wouldn’t have to borrow from the vultures in the first place.

    And another thing, what about all the Conservative MP’s who are on retainers from Merchant Banks? Can they be regarded as impartial?

    Brown may have contributed to creating this mess. Clearly he hasn’t a blind clue how he got into it or how we might get through it. He is NOT a financier, he is only a career politician. If we are going to get out of it there is going to have to be a far more rigorous professionalism in the City or what’s left of it at the end. I would also say that the idea that this is all down to poor houses in the American Mid West is just another excuse. next it will be Climate Change. There aren’t enough poor houses in America to do this to the financial markets. What we are actually seeing is the exposure of much of the growth in investment value over the last ten years, and for which big salaries and bonusses have been paid, as fictional.

    The Emperor has no clothes. Give a coat and put him out on the street.

  47. And yet another thing.

    Remember all the hoohah years ago about the Labour Party throwing money at twilight industries, British Leyland, the Coal Board, all to preserve jobs. This is wrong, said the Conservatives, these industries are inefficient and must go.

    What exactly is the difference between that, and throwing huge amounts of financial support at inefficient and incapable financial services sector?

    Answer: There is no difference, except that some of the jobs are held by Tories. I’m no socialist, but this isn’t right.

  48. I read an article about him – he has worked his way up from humble beginnings, and is personally frugal, but has earned gezillions all by himself. not a nice person! Oh dear!

  49. My lawyer friend tells me it is partly the short sellers, but Gordon has encouraged the huge bubble of credit and the inflated housing market because it suited his purposes and he got Stamp Duty and all that. He certainly bears a large part of the blame that we are screwed and basically this is going to take a long time to get out of. But as a patriot, he believes we will do it! The British spirit will win through and we will learn valuable lessons in the process.

  50. ps. When I listen to the Archbiship of Canterbury, I can understand why the Church of England is in decline. It is easy to santimoniously lecture in times of trouble and hardship, but what has the C. of E done to help the poor and needy over the past few decades, not a terrible lot, have they?

    The Archbishop is the C. of E’s very own Harriet Harman really holier than thou, convinced he has all the answers, and a hot line to God, and keen to chastise, while rather short on positive ideas on how to help matters.

  51. “My lawyer friend tells me it is partly the short sellers…” (angela)

    That’s rubbish, the people who are really to blame are trying to scapegoat the hedge funds, because they are an easy target. All hedge funds do is manage peoples money for them on commission. They manage the wealth or private individuals, organisations and pension funds and take a cut of the profits.

    The price of a companies stock has no effect it’s profitability or solvency. Look at BT, BT was trading at £10 a share in late 1999 at the top of the dotcom bubble, right now it is trading at £1.63, yet BT is not going bust nor does it have it’s begging bowl out.

    The banks are going bust for two reasons:

    1) The market has revalued the assets (the debt) on their balance sheets.
    2) Some of them have business models that relied on them being able to borrow money over 3 months, lend it out over 25 years, sell on the debt and start again. It’s getting harder and more expensive for them to borrow money and no-one wants to buy the debt products that come out the other end.

    People are quite rightly selling (and have been shorting) their shares because they are going bust. If an organisation goes bust then it is the fault of the senior management.

    If a sector going bust has serious implications on the wider economy then it is the fault of the government for not overseeing and regulating it better.

    Everyone has had a hand in the last decades credit boom, but it is those at the top who are to blame, that is how responsibility works.

    Brown, Darling and the management of the banks are simply scapegoating the asset managers – who are just doing their job and managing peoples pension pots.

  52. Who do you think is responsible for short-selling angela?

    Who lends the shares? Have a look down the distinguished membership list of the International Securities Lending Association here:

    http://www.isla.co.uk/members.asp

    They are mainly big banks and insurance companies.

    Who provides the facilities for ‘spivs and speculators’ to participate in short-selling? The very same banks that are supposedly going bust because of it (see above post with links to RBS and Halifax’s services)

    Who regulates stock lending and the provision of financial services? The Financial Services Authority, created by legislation made when Gordon Brown was Chancellor and regulator-in-chief.

    Don’t let the banks and politicans try and fob you off that they are not to blame for the financial crisis.

    I accept the argument that the market was simply providing consumers (and indeed voters) what they wanted – i.e. easy credit and house-price hyperinflation. I do not however accept that people who shorted bank stocks are to blame for the inevitable bust that is now following the boom.

    All the short-sellers are doing is calling the crisis and trying to make a profit from it, they are no different from the buy-to-let landlords that called the boom and cashed in on the way up.

  53. But I said I agreed the banks and the politicians are to blame as well! There is ethical short selling and unethical short selling, isn’t there? The latter when rumours are made up and so forth.

  54. At the Labour conference, Cabinet members must keep their speeches to just 7 minutes. The poor Labour MPs struggle to introduce themselves in that time. So the ” plotting ” will be restricted to 2am moaning at the bar. Yet this won’t mean Gordon is safe.

    Of course, there are some professing undying loyalty to the PM. Glenys Kinnock. John Prescott. Margaret Beckett. When this lot are your best character references you know you’re in trouble.

    Things are not looking up. JK Rowling may be donating £1m – but Gordon needs her magic, not her money !

    Take the last cabinet meeting – it was meltdown. Ministers were sending text messages, rolling their eyes and stiffling laughs whilst Gordon was speaking on stage.

    Gordon told them his leadership should not be discussed until after the economic storm was over. ” That showed us how weak he is,” one Cabinet member told a journalist afterwards. ” The best he can say is ‘ not now ‘. ”

    One of the spies in No 10 has revealed that- the first draft of Gordon’s Conference speech was full of apologies. He says ‘ things have been more difficult than I expected ‘. But then he says ‘the global economy is collapsing so you need me, me and more me’. Cue applause.

    Given by a brand new PM, Gordon’s speech might have been impressive. But then I remember that the man making promises such as “We will be the party of law and order… the family” etc, has been in position of power for the past 11 years.I just want to shout: “Why haven’t these things been done already?”

    And when Gordon promises “fairness for all”, I remember that his fingerprints are all over some of the disastrous policies that have made the majority of hard working Britons feel like second class citizens in their own country.

    A decent man he seems to be, I doubt there was much in his speech to change Labour’s course towards the inevitable rocks of the 2010 election.

    The Brown premiership looks set to end not in a bang but like a bad sitcom, loosing audience.

  55. Sorry, I was only joking ! I know there is something about Boris that even when he looks scruffy he still looks very posh and yet endearing. I don’t know what it is but it just there.

    Have you seen an oil painting of him when he was about 10 – a thick mop of unruly blond hair, thick lips, those faraway eyes… so lovely !

  56. Boris never ever pretends to be anything he is not. People just love that, don’t they?

    Did anyone see Hazel Blears on Question Time last night? All she needed was a red duffel coat to be a dead ringer for the killer that finishes off Donald Sutherland on the streets of Venice in the renowned movie DON’T LOOK NOW.

    The Blairites are all ganging up on Gordon to make him their scapegoat, but it won’t work. Nobody wants GB as PM anymore, if they ever did, but they want other Labour ministers even less. They are the most unappealing shower EVER. None of them stands out as a potential replacement, and most of them would be even more disastrous than GB. In fact, they all would.

  57. Thank goodness Nick Clegg will never be in charge of the economy. He can’t even manage his own finances, as he moans he is mortgaged to the hilt, and even with two healthy salaries coming into his household, he and his wife are struggling. Keep him away from the economy then!

  58. Jaq! Huge laugh from me! I do hope you are feeling better and recovering, we have missed you.

    This is a very serious worrying time for our country. It doesn’t make me feel any better to think that Gordon Brown’s main priority, above what is best for the economy, is staying in power and doing down David Cameron.

    We have seen how he was prepared to sacrifice poor people and let them suffer if it meant he could steal a march on DC and gain points. What else regarding our safety is Gordon prepared to sacrifice to hang on by his toe nails as Prime Minister? His own party are sick to death of him, but deep down they know they are doofuses and wouldn’t do any better.

    How much damage could Gordon do in the years up until an election in 2010? REALLY A LOT.

  59. “Before you attack the bankers of London, remember that this is one of the few global industries in which we truly excel”

    Banking is not an industry. For years I have been at pains to point this out to people who told me that everything was OK. Well things weren’t OK. This very misconception is at the root of how our economies and our people became so over valued.

  60. 3 ways to beat the economic crisis and keep your money safe :

    – Buy gold bullion bars.
    – Buy gilt.
    – Put your money in National Savings or banks like HBOS or Northern Rock as these banks are 100% backed up by the British Government so if they took your money and run away you would get your money back, up to £35,000 max. Of course with the other banks, you might get your money back, but it would be a very long process. Warren Buffet said so.

  61. The troubles in the City are having a huge knock-on effect on the taxi trade. A cab driver told me today that their fares are right down because the City boys are either sharing cabs or not taking them at all.

    Anyone who gloats at the demise of bankers should think of all the people they keep in employment, who will now suffer.

  62. I wish we had the the US democratic system. Then we would never have been made to suffer a PM who was not elected by the country.

    If the Labour Party kick Gordon out before the next general election, we will have another dummy inflicted on us undemocratically, unless they call a general election. You would think they would not dare to do that, but I bet they do dare.

  63. You say ‘the City contributes about 9 per cent of Britain’s GDP’, but I ask you, was this calculation before or after the crash? I think you will find that when this disaster has run its course, the ‘gain’ will have become a loss.

  64. How totally right were David Cameron and Geroge Osborne to disagree with some major Tories and refuse to make promises of tax cuts. Recent events have shown how right they were.

  65. In one Sunday Paper they showed the pic. of David Milliband holding the banana at a weird angle and said it matched his yellow streak!! Tee hee!!

    don’t forget to catch Boris’s speech today at the Conference in Birmingham, I think he speaks around 2 pm. not sure of the time. It is on Freeview, British Parliament Channel.

    Also, Boris is working on a brilliant idea with the Mayor of Beijing, (with whom he developed a rapport – but whom doesn’t Boris develop a rapport with) to embark on a joint educational project, in which China would invest £2.5 million for our Olympics! That’s the spirit Boris! Let the Labour talk, you are working to save the cash of Londoners. Others talk, you perform!

  66. correction: scrub the £2.5M figure. The investment has yet to be confirmed. We have a £250M black home in our Olympic funding because of the credit crunch and falling house prices. Therefore Boris is negtiating a possible investment from the Chinese in exchange for a share in a university which could one day “be run jointly by Institutions in Beijing and in London.” (today’s Sunday Times).

    The Chinese government is also interested in investing in other large scale infra-structure projects in the capital, such as Crossrail, the London underground and the proposed Thames estuary airport, knicknamed “Boris Island”.

    What a great idea, Boris you are our star!

  67. I loved William Hague’s speech at the Tory Conference today. SOOOO witty. quote “Gordon Brown’s years of plotting have moulded his ministers in his own image”. Oh well said William Hague. Made fun of Miliband’s remark about his Heseltine moment.

    Strongest comment by Hague “Britain cannot move forward until we get rid of them all!”

    George Osborne is now taking a strongly practical line to our economic troubles, giving really practical advice for us. Very good line to take. The conference led with this economic line, some excellent helpful suggestions.

  68. David Cameron has totally united the party. They all seem to get on excellently well and be good friends as well as colleagues. The Labour Party preen,bitch and back stab worse than the X Factor judging panel!

  69. I agree with Ros. I would aswell. But Gordon Brown will not give an election now as his pathetic party are not ready. He will stick it out until the last minute which will be when there HAS to be a election, and I will be voting since i will be 18! Many of my friends are not interested with politics and many do not understand, I do understand what is going on and I understand that this country is in turmoil and needs to be saved and cleared from this loss of confidence in our own government.

  70. Can you believe it? Nigelle’s husband Charles Saatchi loses 4 stone eating 9 boiled eggs a day and nothing else !

  71. Stacy, I know, gosh fancy sharing a bed with him! A very unhealthy way to lose weight, but he has lost tons! And he lives with a cook!

  72. yes Mr Hague’s speech was wonderful today! He is absolutely right and Boris your speech was brilliant too, not only were your words wonderfully creative and infomative, but you never cease to make me laugh! The bit about the different places you may or may not have insulted! Great stuff!

  73. I was chortling at the way Boris described Arnold Schwartzenegger as a monosyllabic cyborg. Very droll. Who in the Labour Party has any sense of humour at all? They trot out a few feeble jokes, obviously thought up by some tired spin doctor. Boris has no trouble writing his own jokes!

    But Boris’s vision of London is inspirational and he was brilliant in his focus on reducing knife crime and tackling its root causes and also in his steely determination to slash waste expenditure and keep costs down for Londoners.

  74. Yes, Boris was referring to Operation Scouse Grovel, ha ha ha!
    Boris has galvanised politics into something truly exciting, if Cameron was not the outstanding leader he is, Boris would lead the party.

    William Hague was outstanding as well. He is a brilliantly witty speaker.

  75. I am glad Boris spoke up for the bankers. when the City is functioning efficiently, they are supporting so many other people and keeping them in healthy employment.

    Also, we see from history, how certain people envy the acumen of bankers and financiers. Philip IV of France first targetted the Lombard bankers and stripped them of their wealth in the 1290’s. His next target was the Jews. The financial talents of the Jewish race have excited the bitterest envy throughout the centuries from peoples not as talented.

    In 1295, Philip forced them to reveal all their financial dealings, which the ruthless greedy monarch then plundered.

    “In the July and August of 1306, all Jewish property throughout France was seized and the dispossessed owners were expelled from the country.”

    THE KNIGHTS OF THE HOLY GRAIL.” by Tim Wallace Murphy, chapter 12 – “Philippe Le Bel, the Templars and the
    Spanish Inquisition.”

    After Philip had robbed the Jews in France, he set about robbing the Knights Templar, as described above.

  76. Thank you for your good wishes, Angela. Blogging may be sporadic as I recover but I’m on the mend 🙂

    I’m yet to be convinced by David Cameron and felt rather sorry for Gordon Brown. Boris for PM.

  77. No, I don’t feel sorry for them.

    Nor do feel sorry for Arnie in the wake of your remark about the “monosyllabic Austrian cyborg”. Serve him bl**dy right too, he’s had that coming for ages.

    Well done, Boris!

  78. Jaq said:

    Thank you for your good wishes, Angela. Blogging may be sporadic as I recover but I’m on the mend. I’m yet to be convinced by David Cameron and felt rather sorry for Gordon Brown. Boris for PM.

    Sorry to hear you’ve not been well, Jaq, and glad to hear that you’re now on the mend. I didn’t realise you’d been ill, I’m behind with Boris’s blog since it seemed to become deathly serious then shut down around the time of the mayoral campaign. I’ve only recently realised that Boris is back online and back to normal – thank goodness.

  79. Thanks for taking a keen interest in my boiled egg diet. Indeed ! I appear to have lost a huge amount of weight and look even more like Nigella’s Pa than I did before.

    Charles Saatchi

    (Paarp !)

  80. Mr. saatchi, did you find it hard? Also, did you take any medication, to assist your digestion? You must have a will of iron, because you were faced with your wife’s tempting cooking on a daily basis and really we are all jealous of your success!

  81. Have you seen that NI is to scrap NHS prescription charges? That leaves England, once again, contributing mightily to the paperwork mountain and landing the chronic-ill (but taxed and working) paying while those who don’t pay tax – but are resident – pay nothing. Rather like one of the arguments against BBC licence fees, it is time someone in England did some joined-up sums and worked out the whole-transaction costs of prescription charges.

  82. oops. Just in case there’s any doubt: no I certainly do not advocate charging the chronic-sick resident non-tax payers. It’s a question of double-taxing the genuinely ill – some of whom earn very little and may, for example, still be paying back student loans or be looking after children and ineligible for free treatment because their spouse is paying tax.

  83. Sorry, Mr. Saatchi. We were not making fun of you. I did not know eating boiled eggs makes people windy. Sorry.

    Paaaaaaa……. aaar . .. ……. aa.. … .. .a . . . ………. .. aaa……arp…p..

  84. That would be many peoples’ idea of hell. To be dieting and to have the beautiful Nigella in your kitchen on a daily basis, concocting recipes that would tempt a saint! What kind of man are you? (JOKE – Answer – IRON MAN.)

  85. I agree William Hague spoke extremely well and his speech was as funny as Boris’s. Fluid, witty, thoughtful, it was gripping stuff, and shows the high calibre of Cameron’s team. George Osborne also came over well. He knows how to clarify without making it seem that he thinks we are idiots. A huge advantage in a politician nowadays!

  86. Gordon was rocked last night when his Chief Whip Geoff Hoon refused to be moved in a reshuffle by publicly declared that he wanted to stay in his job, fuelling concern that Gordon is struggling to keep his Cabinet in line, despite delivering a powerful speech at the Labour’s conference last week. As Chief Whip, he’s meant to be responsible for keeping discipline in Labour’s ranks- NOT telling the Prime Minister how to reshuffle his Cabinet !

    Asked by the journalists about reports he could be sent to Brussels as Britain’s next EU Commissioner, Hoon said:” I would like to remain a member of the government. That’s obviously a matter for the Prime Minister !”

    He also made clear he wanted to stay on as MP for Ashfield, Derbys. There were reports yesterday that a number of Cabinet ministers have threatened to quit if the Prime Minister tries to move them.

  87. Stacy, the lunatics are taking over the asylum. Gordon has marvellous control over his ministers, doesn’t he? They are all so busy rebelling, they don’t have time to do any work.

  88. ps. In one paper, a journalist said Boris might be in trouble for calling Arnie a cyborg. How’s that, he was a cyborg in the Terminator movie! He built a whole career on being a cyborg!

  89. They’re like a circus, aren’t they? Now Ruth Kelly says she’s very doubtful of Brown’s leadership and is praising David Miliband – her real life ex-boyfriend.

    And Cherie has furious row with Tony’s ex No 10 “gatekeeper” Anji Hunter whom Cherie claims Tony once referred to as ” my first defeat “.
    ( Google: CHERIE FURIOUS WITH ANJI HUNTER )

    Boy, this lot should go on Oprah Winfrey Show and tell all !

  90. Oprah is too classy for them. Make that Jerry Springer! or worse (I like Jerry, but not the show) make that Jeremy Kyle!

  91. Powerful, honest and practical speech from George Osborne, powerfully, honestly and practically delivered. Well done George.

  92. So Ruth Kelly dated Monkey Boy with the banana! Ruth and David Milibanana! David M. and Ruth! What a combination!

    Apparently the Little Britain sketch was in a show on the best political comedies showing David Walliams smooching all over the Prime Minister acted by Antony Head. Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy were the presenters and they were making naughty remarks that the sketch was just like Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson. I was told that they said that when the two of them were together in a room there was always an air of something going on that nobody else knew about.

    Whatever could they have meant? Naughty naughty!

  93. Boris got really good press for his Conference speech. After the jokes, he got Very serious. He wants to control the Met. Police. He is aiming for air conditioning on the Underground and hopes to get the Routemaster back on the road. He wants to deal with not just crime, but its breeding ground. River travel for the Olympics is still on the agenda. Bicycle ranks for all. 10 new City educational academies. He VOWS he will fix it so we pay no more for the Olympics. We have his word he will stay within budget. I believe him. Boris we love you.

    BORIS FOR PM.

  94. When you are doing such an important job as Boris is doing, you have to remain true to yourself and to what is in your heart.

    More than any other politician in politics today, Boris Johnson is true to himself.

    LET JOHNSON BE JOHNSON!

  95. right: the banking crisis, and what would Osborne do?

    Apparently George Osborne’s speech contained the truth about Gordon Brown.

    Well here’s some truth about George Osborne: he was in the Bullingdon Dining Club at Oxford.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-447223/Oxford-1992-Portrait-classless-Tory.html

    For those new to this, it was a club which meant public-schoolboys at Oxford could mix with their old public school chums rather than have to rub shoulders with boys from other schools. This must have added greatly to the sense of unhappy alienation that a northern state-school boy would have felt on arriving at a largely public school dominated college.

    The club seems to have gone out every now and again to a pub, smashed it up, then paid for the damage with some of daddy’s money.

    Boris Johnson and David Cameron were also in this club. What is going on, when the 3 most important Tories in the country belonged to the same exclusive little club at Oxford?

  96. What has happened is done … we need to move forward as one and try to make it a better world for all … a banker being rich is not the cause of others being poor. We can blame Brown
    or the US, lock people up. Take their money off them and make them poor. That is not the way. The way is for all to have what they need. And the world has enough for all. The city is a part of London like a heart is a part of a human. It must be saved.

  97. We are about to make matters far far worse with the clamour for the Bank of England to slash interest rates. A rate cut will have no impact on mortgage or business lending rates in the short term since the banks will use the increased differential between bank and Libor rate to generate more much needed profits. Inflation will explode in the medium term for the simple fact that the money governments are pumping into the economy doesn’t exist – they have to print it. Zimbwabi has been printing money for years and now has an inflation rate of over a milliom percent! This is the economics of the asylum!

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