Peter Mandelson: make London more competitive, not less

Isn’t it time Gordon Brown stopped the FTSE stampede?

Whoa there. Hold your horses, folks. The rustle of alarm is turning into a scuttle, and the scuttle is turning into a drumming roar of feet in flight. As the economic position gets worse, it is reported that this country is starting to see some notable departures.

Is Peter Mandelson and his business nous our only hope?

The immigrants – the very immigrants about whom those MPs were so recently in a lather – are high-tailing it back to eastern Europe and, according to the National Farmers’ Union, there has been a 70 per cent fall in the number of Poles and Lithuanians willing to pick our potatoes.

The British themselves are so fed up with listening to the gloomadon-poppers of the BBC that an amazing 24 per cent of the population is “seriously considering” leaving the country for a better life abroad.

And now, in the latest insult to this country, we read that the lions of the FTSE-100 are leaving the Pride Lands of London and decamping to Dublin, or Luxembourg, or Zug, for heaven’s sake. There will be those who think these defections are nothing short of treachery.

Take Sir Martin Sorrell, the amiable bespectacled ad king and founder of WPP. With dash and élan, he has conquered markets in China and India. He has built up a colossal British firm, a world champion. He has been knighted by New Labour, but has friends and admirers all over the British political-industrial complex.

And what is he doing now, this titan of British capitalism? He is taking the headquarters of his firm and plonking it in Dublin.

“How dare he?” people will ask. There will be some who say it is the patriotic duty of all members of the Footsie to stick it out here in Blighty, to weather the storm along with the rest of us.

Here we are, shivering in the draught of an economic downturn, with our petrol and our food getting ever more expensive, and our taxes going up, and the Government desperately trying to scrape together the wherewithal to bail out the banks and provide for the winter fuel allowance, and, instead of showing solidarity with the suffering of the people, we have dozens of FTSE-100 companies either departing or threatening to depart.

In the minds of some people, it is as though the Royal Family had left London during the Blitz. Regus the serviced office provider, Henderson the asset manager, Kingfisher, the owner of B & Q – they have all either gone or are threatening to go, and now the accountancy firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers says it is advising 40 per cent of the Footsie how to vamoose to Dublin and pay less tax.

Are they traitors to Britain, in her hour of need? They are not. They are being completely rational, and are simply responding to a mixture of dithering and bullying by the Treasury.

For the past two years, the Government has been mulling over changes to the tax regime, ostensibly designed to crack down on avoidance of tax payable on the profits of overseas subsidiaries. In a nutshell, the idea is for Gordon to get his hands on more of the booty, when profits are repatriated to London.

This manoeuvre is not unconnected with the £100 billion deficit the Government is currently running, and, in a sense, one can sympathise with the Prime Minister’s position. He has to get the money from somewhere. The trouble is that, for a firm such as WPP, the bill is estimated to be anything between £50 million and £70 million per year, and they have a duty to their shareholders.

There are other parts of Europe – notably Ireland, Holland, Luxembourg and Switzerland – that do not impose these taxes, or to nothing like the same degree. So the captains of industry are off to Dublin, and this is not just some accounting dodge. This is not just a brass plate job. There will be more to it than making sure you turn over the bedclothes in Jury’s Hotel.

When you move the headquarters, you cannot help but move some of the intellectual capital. You move the company secretary. You move the secretary of the company secretary in order to keep the company secretary company. You find that some of the investment that used to go into taxis and entertainment in London is being sunk into pints of Guinness.

Pretty soon you find that you have decapitated the corporation, and transferred the head overseas, and the body will of course be yearning to be united with the organ of control.

And by the time enough of the Footsie has decamped to friendlier tax regimes, the Treasury will, of course, discover that we have lost far more in tax than we ever hoped to gain from new taxes on profits of overseas subsidiaries, and the Government will have completed another of its virtuoso demonstrations of how to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

It is of a piece with its peculiar hostility to the non-doms, who now face 40 per cent taxation on any money they bring into Britain, to invest in anything, no matter how beneficial that investment may be to Britain.

I know that the sword does not exactly leap from the scabbard to defend some of these people, but the net effect of these actions is to make Britain look ever so slightly xenophobic, and hostile to the arrival to some of the talented foreigners who have (on the whole) contributed vastly to the British economy.

The net effect of the change to tax on overseas subsidiaries is to make London less attractive as a place to locate your HQ – and that, in the current climate, is the last thing we need. Now is the moment to be doing everything we can to make London more competitive, not less.

It may be that the Irish soon find they have to raise taxes themselves, what with their guarantee for all bank deposits. But by then the damage may be done. I never thought I would say this, but our only hope appears to be Peter Mandelson, a man credited by the business world with understanding the issue and having the clout to sort it out.

Come on, Mandy: knock some sense into Gordon and stop this embarrassing exodus.

[First published in the Daily Telegraph on 07 October 2008 under the heading: “Isn’t it time Gordon Brown stopped the FTSE stampede?”]

56 thoughts on “Peter Mandelson: make London more competitive, not less”

  1. Bang on, Boris, only I fear it’s too late. The monkeys have got the key to the Banana Plantation, and the planters are leaving for more fertile, less infested ground.

  2. Oh no Jaq, Boris can’t go there, we need him here!

    Boris is so sweet, the way he thinks that Peter Mandelson is back to do constructive things and help with the economy! Bless! I’m not going to be the one to disillusion him…..

  3. Perhaps it’s all part of this ‘scorched Earth’ policy Mr Duncan was talking about the other day.

    I think it’s more likely that Brown is stuck, he can’t change his policies. If he reduces taxation on big business and non-doms he will suffer the wrath of the Unions and back-benchers.

    If he continues the way he is going there will likely be well over two million on the dole by May 2010, a tide of reposessions, and the electorate will vote him out.

    He will therefore stick with the one policy he knows, borrow lots of money and spend it. He hopes that this will hide the damage being done to the nations finances for another 18 months when he will boast about how he has steered us away from impending doom.

  4. Oh sure, borrow lots of money when we owe billions, to try to buy his way back into the affections of the nation, that won’t work. Then he can blow the economy so badly, that the Conservatives, who are going to get back in 18 months, will have a titanic task to renew the damage and will have to bring in super tough measures, which he hopes will make them unpopular.

    Whatever Gordon does, you can bet one thing without a shadow of a doubt. None of his actions is motivated in any way at all by the desire to help or care for us. We could all go to hell in a handcart as much as he cares. All he cares about is keeping out his bete noir and nemesis, David Cameron and ruling from his bunker.

    As for Peter Mandelson, and Boris obviously does know this, but is too polite to say, he has been brought back for one reason only, to attack and divide as corrosively as possible. His parents, Mrs. and Satan Mandelson are watching his progress with excitement.(JOKE)

    There is no confidence in any member of the Labour government whatsoever at the moment and the lack of confidence is affecting the economy badly. There is only one thing Gordon can do to earn the country’s undying
    approbation and that is, call a general election.

    ps. Astrologically, November 6th is a turning point, both for this country and for the US. It happens to be voting day for the US and the Glenrothes by-election here. Maybe the fates will decide.

  5. Peter Mandelson should not be allowed to come back into Local or national Government as he has resigned twice already. Surely this shows that the man is likely to do it again if he cannot get his own way.Boris shouls spend more time working out what LONDONERS REALLY WANT , like he promised he would in things like “looking again at the LEZ” which was forced upon us by ken livingston even after we told him and his so-call cosultation that WE DID NOT WANT IT!!!TRY looking at what we want instead of telling us Boris and stand up for us for once. WE feel let down!!

    [Ed: LEZ = low emission zone]

  6. If Boris thinks Peter Mandelson has the ability to sort something out, I guess that must be right, but it is very hard to believe. I see Mandelson as a very touchy disruptive person, who holds grudges for ever and waits years for revenge. Not much of an example for modern youth.

  7. Forget this LEZ thing, Boris has been busy dealing with Sir Ian Blair and the reaction from that. Don’t tell Boris to stand up for us, because he has been doing nothing else, BORIS FOR PM.

  8. Peter Mandelson would have been much more appreciated if he had been born in the 16th century, in the court of Catherine de Medici’s birth in Florence. People were always appearing and then disappearing, never to be seen again. Intrigue was all.

    Courtiers regularly consulted astrologers, sorcerers and soothsayers for love potions, or much badder potions. You could easily dispose of someone by giving them a pair of perfumed gloves (that had been poisoned), put something in their food, or if the worst came to the worst, dump them while joisting, with a well aimed spear through the bonce.

    Scheming and back stabbing were daily occurences, and Gordon wouldn’t have lasted five minutes in such a hothouse atmosphere, the way he treads on peoples’ toes. He would have been the first for the chop, particularly as a miserable countenance was supposed to presage back luck.

    I would clock Boris for the role of Henri de Navarre. He clowned around so much in the French court that Catherine de Medici didn’t rate him as a threat. He loved sport, (tennis and hunting) practical jokes and had several mistresses on the go at the same time, so she dismissed him as a pleasure loving lightweight and didn’t bother to have him poisoned. BIG MISTAKE.. The bonhomie and jokes were all a monster bluff and he eventually challenged her sons for the throne, beat them all through brilliant military tactics and ruled France from 1589 to 1610, without even have a strong genealogical claim to the throne (he was descended through the illegitimate line to royalty – like Boris!)

    Henri de Navarre really cared for the people unlike his predecessors, was a brilliant architect and wanted every peasant to have a chicken for his dinner at least once a week. He earned the title of the best loved king the French ever had and the country deeply mourned his demise.

  9. I know nothing of Peter Mandelson’s business nous. All I know is he had the screaming ab dabs when anyone got in his way or did anything he didn’t like. And our country’s business future is resting on such a man?

    Still, if Boris thinks Mandelson has some of the answers…. come to think of it, he hasn’t done badly for himself financially (PM I mean) and that is always a good sign.

  10. Of the myriad comments on the return of Mandelson, the rude cartoons, the insulting reminiscences, the repeated insults and the bitter jests, everyone jumping on the band wagon to hammer hails into the coffin of this Dracula risen from the grave, only one man has any good point to make about the situation. Boris Johnson. His is the lone calm voice pointing out there might be a point to it all.

    Boris Johnson, you truly are an independent thinker.

  11. It is a good point angela, and from what I’ve heard the plutocrats of this world have a lot more time for Blair and Mandy than they do Gordon Brown.

    The trouble is that Brown is hellbent on staying in power and seeing through his ‘vision’. The man is walking a tightrope.

    The Tory benches pledge of cooperation will die down as soon as the latest round of panic and fear does. Soon the government will announce their latest round of intervention in the financial markets, things will settle out, there may even be a bounce.

    Brown will not only face increased hostility from the public as the recession starts to bite in the real economy. He will also face louder calls for higher taxation of corporations and individuals from the unions and lefty backbenchers that used to believe he was the solution.

    The danger, in terms of tory politics, is a public mood swing in favour of increased interventionism, regulation and taxation. In my view we need a recession to sort out the economic imbalances we’ve accumalated, but then I’m not a politican and I can say the unpopular.

    Brown will continue to try and deliver Nike Air-Max and Nitendo Wii’s to the unemployed in order to shore up his core vote.

  12. Mmmm. The points you make are interesting, and we need this sort of comment because to be honest, a lot of what is happening is extremely confusing.

  13. It is confusing, anyone who is paying any attention is confused and afraid.

    Here’s what the government announed to the markets this morning:

    http://research.cityindex.co.uk/news/news.html?ID_NEWS=86150835

    To cut a long story short, they are pledging the following cash:

    £200 billion of loans to be made available secured against mortgages and other debts the bansk are holding.

    £50 billion of taxpayers money to be made available in return for preference shares (the terms of which are yet to be agreed) or ordinary share capital.

    £250 billion worth of taxpayer guarantees against interbank lending.

    There’s some very vague terms and conditions attached, for example:

    “In reaching agreement on capital investment the Government will need to take into account dividend policies and executive compensation practices and will require a full commitment to support lending to small businesses and home buyers.”

    The banks have to take up the capital to get the interbank lending guarantees they need. If they go for it Gordon Brown effectively takes over the policy making decisions of the banking industry.

    Be afraid, be very afraid.

  14. New Labour has done everything it can to make the UK a worse place to live, having destroyed everything that was good along with some of the bad things that needed to go.
    It is no surprise then that the top companies are relocating to Dublin. I was in Dublin 2 years ago, it was a lovely place to visit and very modern and thriving.
    Also the Irish people are very sensible in voting No to the Lisbon Treaty, and the Irish government did the right thing in letting people vote on that, even if they wanted a Yes vote. The British government will not let its people (not even the ones who elected Labour into power) vote on the Lisbon Treaty nor anything else of importance.
    Eventually there will be no one left except the government. The time to flee will come eventually, unless something is done to replace the current administration with one that cares about people.
    Hopefully Boris can make a difference in London and set a good example of leadership, although it is not easy under the present New Labour regime.

  15. Ros: > Peter Mandelson has the screaming ab dabs when anyone get in his way and does anything he doesn’t like < Ha ha ha ! So funny !

    Thanks ED for explaining Lez stands for low emission zone. I thought Lez meant lesbies !

  16. Billy – I didn’t know what LEZ was either, and had to look it up, you learn things on this site. Oh yes, it’s a laugh a minute here…. lucky someone is laughing in the present crisis.

    I do find Boris very reassuring, because you always know he isn’t lying and if for some reason David Cameron could not step up, and Boris were PM I am sure it would restore total confidence in the economy. He just has that reassuring look. We would know that everything that could be done was being done and there was no dithering!

  17. “particularly as a miserable countenance was supposed to presage back luck.” (from angela’s post on the Italian court).

    Good God, nothing is more miserable than the countenance of the Prime Minister! We are cursed!

  18. This is simply the latest (and possibly last) stage of outsourcing, Boris. Why the panic ?

    It was decided long ago by Tories and Labourites alike that Britain no longer exists. A bit late to start invoking patriotism now, don’t you think ?

    As for Peter Mandelson … please tell me you’re having a laugh with us.

  19. Kevin, Boris is not having a laugh with us, and Peter Mandelson is clever and there is obviously something he can do to help Gordon and I do believe Boris now.

    Of course Britain exists, but it is an evolved Britain. I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

  20. I don’t want to be rude, but there is something very entertaining about Peter Mandelson. To see such a fascinating, larger than life character express such dark emotions so openly (“I love you, but I can destroy you!”) is rivetting, and there are bound to be hosts of amusing headlines now he is back. I much prefer a colourful politician like Mandelson to someone like David BLunkett (his autobiography was massive but hardly sold any copies) or Alastair Darling, poor man, who seems to have had the life kicked out of him.

    I am sure Mandelson is not as bad as he is painted, but it is so exciting all the stuff about the black arts, the killing curses, the voodoo – if he has an awareness of the dark side, it does exist. Mr. Mandelson’s favourite day is coming soon… you know, Halloween!

  21. What, we’re losing an advertising company? Well with any luck it may mean one ot two less interruptions of my Saturday night viewing.

    But surely this is the new globalised world kicked off back in the 80s by the mad dame herself when we sold anything state owned (mostly to the French I recall), followed by just anything British (latest being British Energy….still to the French), and then shipped abroad any career that looked like it might provide some employment for the middle classes (the ‘little tax payers’) e.g. IT, solicitors, engineers, scientists.

    Well, my IT job has been off-shored three times so I can;t get too upset because some lardy-da advertising execs switch their lunchtime g&ts (ahhh, I remember lunchtimes, halcyon days) to guiness, probably with a lemonade top.

  22. “Courtiers regularly consulted astrologers, sorcerers and soothsayers for love potions….”

    Had they discovered Viagra in 16th century Italy?

  23. HOW MANY books has Boris Johnson written? The number seems to be growing, and he is also writing these fantastic weekly articles. One of Boris’s books seems to be a childrens’ book that he ILLUSTRATED HIMSELF…….. how fecund is his brain that he can be this productive?

  24. Ros (5.11)

    Let’s wait and see how well ‘Britain’ performs with power cuts and food shortages before we decide how ‘evolved’ it has become. It’s easy to overlook the faults of a country during times of plenty.

    I suspect the exodus of cash and people with ideas has much to do with the fact that this is no longer Britain.

    As for Peter Mandelson – he’s NOT clever. Merely a nasty man lucky enough to live through times of low morality and scrutiny – and even then he managed to get caught twice. If this really is the best we can do then we’re fffff….

  25. Glad you are looking on the bright side….. Attitude plays a big part in these situations. That is why I am a Boris Johnson supporter.

  26. Michael Vaughn, captain of the England cricket team, was not playing well and psychologically and tactically was not at his best. The team suffered a run of losses and luck did not seem to be on their side.

    Then Vaughn resigned, and bouncy, relentlessly positive Kevein Petersen took over from Vaughn. Against the odds,the English team beat South Africa in the next Test. Freddie Flintoff, uncertain under Vaughn, was suddenly reinvigorated into a match winner. When pundits praised he, he explained his ability had been ignited by the unshakeable confidence of KP.

    They then, also against the odds, won the next 4 one day internationals. KP’s self belief and optimism inspired the whole side and they took to the field under his leadership as though reborn.

    Under Martin Johnson, our rugby team feared no-one and conquered the world. His towering example inspired a generation.

    The leader of our Government, far from being bouncy, positive and optimistic, is gloomy, paranoid, self obsessed and insular. He couldn’t run a riot. He gives the impression that were he to lose his job, in spite of his lovely family, his life would have lost all meaning, and so, regardless of the damage he is doing to the country, he must cling on at any cost. Every time he appears on our screens to explain what is happening with the credit crisis, his explanation is always an apologia that the trouble is INTERNATIONAL and it is NOT HIS FAULT.

    How can European leaders take seriously anything Gordon suggests, when it is clear he is a busted flush?

    This glooomy attitude is infecting not only his ministers, but the country. We can practically see a cloud of bats hovering over his head. As in a sport, a change of leader is the only answer, but not from his own frightened, ministers, demeaned by half hearted leadership challenges that lacked conviction and guts.

    Give us genial, creative, realistic, deep thinking, eternally optimistic Boris Johnson, or supremely self confident, brilliantly tactical and assertive David Cameron as our PRime Minister. This country needs to feel inspired again. THE COUNTRY DEMANDS A GENERAL ELECTION.

  27. Jaq my baby, how are you?

    Do you really think that Jaq? Because I love this country as it is, and I love living here.

    On every financial programme you listen to at the moment, all you hear is “It is a question of confidence”. If we had a Conservative government there would be a huge bounce! There would be feasting and merry making in the streets and the FTSE would soar (I don’t know what the FTSE actually is, but I know we want it to soar).

    It would be like when Bonny Prince Charlie came home from abroad to be our Merry Monarch Charles II, and all the women rushed off to wear off the shoulder low cut tops while they sold oranges and flounced around on stage trying to catch the king’s eye, hoping they would replace Barbara Palmer. (an oversexed, violet eyed termagent, who bedded her pages, when she was not bedding the King). Ahhh! those were the days!

  28. I am optimistic, Ros.

    I’m of the belief that the last thing we need is a Tigger-ish bounce out of this mess (as I infer from Angela).

    What is needed is a period of serious introspection, some humility, some bravery … a return to sound values, sound leaders and sound money and a confrontation with the very real threats facing our way of life at the moment.

    Peter Mandelson has been part of the cause so I cannot see him being part of the solution – particularly as during his tenure as EU Trade Commissioner he put foreign workers’ jobs before British consumer interests. How ‘patriotic’ was that then ?

  29. What’s all this about Labour buying the bankrupt banks with £500 BILLIONS from the tax payers’ money and that everyone of us will become a £16, 500 shares holder? If that’s true then I will sell my shares straight away and spend all that money on holidays abroad. I’m not joking.

    What’s next? Labour’s going to bail out Virgin’s trains, M&S… to keep people in employment? What a joke.

  30. I mean I don’t mind they do that, but if the government makes a profit in these new state run companies then the local councils should receive a share of this and they should reduce the council tax accordingly. Not a bad idea actually.

  31. Kevin only a fool believes that a tiggerish bounce would SOLVE the mess we are in. But renewed confidence in the government would rub off onto investors, and help our economy. (I only got O level maths though).

  32. On the basis that it is better to be cheerful than miserable, here are some reasons to be tiggerish in the current crisis.

    GORDON IS CALM.

    The Daily Telegraph today said that Gordon Brown looks very calm, the calmest he has looked for months. That has to be good. (I bet the same cannot be said for Miliband, Darling and co. who are probably crying, shaking and holding each other for comfort with their thumbs in their mouths. When no-one is there, they hug teddies.)

    SALES OF VEGETABLE SEEDS ARE UP 20%.

    This is lovely because not only are more people aiming to be self sufficient, they have the joy of communing with nature and seeing things grow. I have just got 2 blackberry plants and 3 blueberry plants.

    DANNY CIPRIANI IS HAVING FUN.

    Sun tanned muscles and eyes as shiny as my blackberries have earned Danny Cirpriani a love life James Bond would envy. He shrugged off the date when the girl turned out to be a guy, and glided through the incident when Josh Lewsey knocked him out cold. (This was merely two king stags oozing testosterone, locking horns to see who was King).

    Danny (20 years old) is now dating the stunningly beautiful Kelly Brooks (28), so he has justified his status as a pinup. Fastest man in the team to get his kit off, he posed with only a rugby ball to hide his double O’s and seven. The days of the aesthetic Jonny Wilkinson seem a long time ago, but I am backing him to return and what a contrast they will make on the field.

    THE DUELLIST.

    The above fabulous film is available now on DVD for only £5! (Story – two soldiers duel endlessly through the Napoleonic Wars – Cipriani and Lewsey, take note.)

    CAMERON AND OSBORNE.

    There may be faint hearts in the front line but we have David and George to watch our backs.

    BORIS JOHNSON.

    We have Boris as our Mayor. In these troubled times, he is the bright ray of hope that no-one else could ever be.

  33. Here are some more reasons to be happy:

    1) House prices are falling to a more sensible and sustainable level.

    2) Our currency has fallen to a more sensible and sustainable level.

    3) Commodities prices have stopped overheating and fallen to a more sensible and sustainable level.

    4) Gordon Browns poll ratings have fallen to a more sensible level and he looks like an idiot for having stood there for 10 years promising ‘no return to boom and bust’.

    5) People are starting to adjust to living within their means.

    The only reason to be unhappy is that people are losing their jobs, other than this the ‘credit crunch’ is doing us a world of good.

  34. Hi Steven. Thanks for your earlier precis of CityIndex. If only mainstream financial journalists could be so concise and useful!

  35. And now that it looks as though whatever Mandelson’s done has been ineffective what do we try next ?

    I’d like to see Boris exhibiting more gravitas. This is not the time for a comedy routine.

  36. Kevin, what does :-)) mean? Nothing good, I bet.

    Boris has the best gravitas of them all and he is the only one that adopts a truly impartial attitude to the present crisis, putting the concerns and welfare of us, the people first. (David and George are renouncing partisanship for the sake of the country, but they are obviously boiling for a fight, can’t blame you for that guys!)

    On the Andrew Neill show last night, Dianne Abbott said “Gordon is having a good credit crisis!” EXCUSE ME! Gordon at the moment is a preen too far! It is always always all about him and his position, not us.

    He cannot hide his happiness when shares tumble and peoples’ security hangs in the balance because we are over a barrel – he is in charge by some fluke of nature, and he is loving his power and the fact that we can’t at the moment get rid of him. Don’t get too comfy Gordon……. there is still plenty of time.

    I feel calmer and more reassured just looking at Boris. And we know he will tell us the truth, no matter what!

  37. Steven I take your point about house prices and other things having been too high. That is why I don’t understand it when the news announcers are giving us the breaking news in bated breaths, like HOUSE PRICES HAVE FALLEN BY 13%! Wouldn’t it be more sensible to say “house prices have fallen by 13% but this level is more realistic – they were inflated previously”. or would that be too sensible?

  38. :-)) means :-)), Angela.

    Except when it means :-))

    ‘Impartiality’. What meaning do you have for this ?

    Impartiality is what has stuffed this country, Angela. The impartiality that politicians show between hard working taxpayers and scroungers, criminals and victims.

    I don’t want impartiality – not if it’s born of the same sort of nonsense that means there is equivallence between me and an unemployed oik with pugnacious little bulldogs and a nasty tattoo up his neck. (As my MP intimated to me recently)

    Boris has to do what is right for the people who provide the electricity, water, mend the roads, generate real jobs and otherwise keep this country going – otherwise, like the banks, we’re off too.

  39. It is absolutely sickmaking. Gordon Brown is on the news, looking calm, relaxed (both of which are good) and happy (which is totally NOT good). They have just announced the pound has dropped to a give year low!

    Our PM should not be looking the happiest ever under such circumstances. As Angela says:

    “Gordon at the moment is a preen too far! It is always always all about him and his position, not us. ”

    All this man cares about is putting one over on David Cameron. This is just a repetition of the abolition of the 10p. tax band. How do we know that he will not drag things out as long as possible so that he can pose around at centre stage?

  40. “Wouldn’t it be more sensible to say “house prices have fallen by 13% but this level is more realistic – they were inflated previously” (ros)

    At the end of the day, most of the people that politicans and the mainstream media pander to are homeowners who hold a few bank shares from when their building society de-mutualised.

    Twenty-something single renters with no kids like me are just tax-fodder, here to pump up the value of everyones elses property portfolios and pay for other peoples kids Nike Air Max and Nintendo Wii’s.

  41. And all those twenty something babes hurling themselves at you as you caper around as blithely as Danny Cipriani, enjoying your freedom…. problems, problems, we should all have such problems!

  42. Steven L, it is probably a good thing, isn’t it, for Gordon Brown to have frozen Icelandic assets over here, because Iceland won’t guarantee UK deposits abroad? Isn’t it? Sounds fair.

  43. The thing I would really like to know, but maybe this cannot be expressed, is if all the rescue plans fail, what is the absolute worst that could happen?

  44. It’s not something I have spent much time thinking about angela. I would suggest it could deter foreign investment if the government show they are prepared to use anti-terror laws to freeze the assets of a foreign entity that British entities have a civil dispute with. I thought that Ken Clarke made a good point on QT last night when he pointed out they wouldn’t have done it to a big country like Germany.

    As for the worst that could happen, it’s all the banks going bust. Where that would lead is quite unthinkable really. I’m not sure which banks have taken up Browns offer and to what extent yet.

  45. Mmm. Well to return to Peter Mandelson, today there was a Peter Oborne review of the new book by Adam Boulton TONY’S TEN YEARS and Peter quotes Adam Boulton’s description of Peter Mandelson.

    “Mandelson never lied to me, dissimulated to me, in contrast to Campbell and Blair and many of their underlings.”

    Oborne goes on to say “Although this defence of Mandelson’s integrity sounds counter-intuitive, my experience as a lobby reporter was roughly the same.”

    Adam Boulton makes no bones that Campbell was a ruthless bully and compares his compulsive lying with the transparent honesty of his maligned Tory predecessor, Bernard Ingham.

    Can’t find a link for this review, sorry. It is in today’s Daily Mail, headed “The seedy side of the Blair machine” review in the Books section by PEter Oborne.

    I just absolutely hated Alastair Campbell as a horrible bully and liar. On top of everything, he always thought everyone fancied him, stupid man. I seem to remember that in Boris biography by Andrew Gimson there is an account of an incident when Campbell absolutely went for Boris and tried to bully him, and Boris was absolutely shocked that someone could behave that badly.

    If Alastair Campbell comes back (and there are rumours that he is already back behind the scenes,) it will be the end of the present government and they will go to hell in a handcart, because Campbell so disgraced them before and now people know that.

  46. re. my list of reasons to be cheerful, here is a reason not to be cheerful, Ospreys have dropped Gavin Henson! OH NO! I really like Gavin Henson and he is a very good player.

    I always fancied myself as a sports commentator, because a lot of men are uncomfortable with women talking about sport. So if you do that, you are getting double the enjoyment, you are talking about sport and you are winding up a lot of men. Which is fun.

  47. It is very very off putting how happy Gordon Brown looks now he is centre stage not to say totally inappropriate.

  48. Previously Gordon was funereal and spoke in a lugubrious monotone on every happy occasion. Now that the economy has hit the buffers, he is spritely, animated and as the news worsens, his demeanour brightens accordingly. He is actually smiling for the first time ever in a natural way! What an ambulance chaser! IT’S SICK!

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