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Friday 7 October 2011

Verity Murphy | 11:53 UK time, Friday, 7 October 2011

Moody's has downgraded the credit rating of 12 UK financial firms including Lloyds TSB, RBS, Nationwide and Santander UK amid concerns that the government is now less likely to support some firms if they get into trouble.

Moody's also downgraded nine Portuguese banks, blaming financial weakness.

Tonight Andrew Verity reports on the significance of this news and whether the belief that the days of UK government bank bail outs are over is correct. We will also be getting further analysis by studio by guests.

And Stephen Smith has a fresh Citizen Smith report. He's had an exclusive look the first wave of community organisers who are meant to build David Cameron's big society and we talk to Civil Society Minister Nick Hurd.


  • Comment number 1.

  • Comment number 2.

  • Comment number 3.

    'We will also be getting further analysis by studio by guests."

    Any hint as to who they may be, so as to assess the potential worth of their analysis?

  • Comment number 4.

    £75 billion QE?

    GO/BOE might have well have just ... 'put the money in a bank'

  • Comment number 5.

  • Comment number 6.

    1. At 13:28 7th Oct 2011, brossen99 wrote:

    2. At 13:42 7th Oct 2011, brossen99 wrote:

    It's a presentational style I am not used to, and I find the host's straying into personal mockery self-defeating, but I stuck with these as the topic was of interest.

    If what is claimed is true, I have to wonder why the MSM is not covering this more deeply.

    From the sound of it, it is not 'bad' energy vs. 'good', but using 'green' to simply enable regime change.

    And now I see such as this, I wonder even more...

    Wall Street Occupation Goes Green

    Thanks to the internet, I am also privy to many videos that suggest alternative stories that many edit suites would have us favour.

  • Comment number 7.

    That should be "Andrew Verity will tell you in a whining complaining voice that we're all doomed and there's no hope left. By the time he's finished you'll all be feeling suicidal."

  • Comment number 8.

  • Comment number 9.

    #6 Junkk

    Alex does tend to get carried away on the eco-fascists, he's been reporting the facts for years and the US MSM like the eco-fascist leaning BBC fail to cover anything which can open people's minds to the truth about the Climate Scam. ( Fox sacked Glen Beck ) Apparently GE were big funders of Obama and the Democrats at the last elections, a fact that the Wall St interloper treehuggers were hiding, the whole green movement is intellectually dishonest.

  • Comment number 10.

  • Comment number 11.

    A wee story here - might be a good investment for HS2 ?

  • Comment number 12.


    Any news on civilian death toll? I know it is only Johnnie Foreigner, but has the total passed that expected in Benghazi, when 'NATO' resolved to protect civilians?

    "BUT 'TWAS A FAMOUS VICTORY" ('After Blenheim' - Robert Southey)

    By Jingo! Will our 'leaders' never learn?

  • Comment number 13.

    prefer Andy Verity at half five in the morning on 'Wake up to Money' with his mate, Micky who likes a pint, he has made the progression to NN and left WUTM the poorer, this happened with another stalwart George the sports guy off 5live who now hops over to BBC News24...please leave these talents in their true mediums i.e. Radio...

  • Comment number 14.

  • Comment number 15.


    Looks like the end of the woodchips from mature quality timber scam I wrote about a few weeks ago ? ( #42 )

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Banking downgrade:

    G Osborne goes on about how the deficit reduction plan has made the UK a "safe haven" - now the ratings agencies downgrade most of our major banks - the ONS says our growth rate this year was even lower than first thought and the& OECD, IMF etc say we're in danger of slipping into recession.

    GO's response? The downgrade is "good" because it shows they believe the UK government when they say no more bailouts, conveniently forgetting the big 2nd bailout a few months ago he carried out for the dangerous loses in Eire on property speculation suffered by major UK banks.

    GET REAL - Osborne is playing with fire - and when the UK is downrated which it is bound to be when the recession bites next quarter, the whole strategy will fall to dust overnight and his remarked about the UK as a "Safe Haven" will be as laughable as his comment that Eire was a "Shining Example", barely a year before the entire economy there tanked - following precisely the same austerity nonsense as he's inflicting here.

    Come 2012, Cameron is going to have sack Osborne - assuming the LibDems don't pull the plug before then.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    Something on NN tonight seemed to remind me of an expose of bent tele-evangelists conning the public with fundamentalist quasi-religious dogma that they don't really believe themselves - maybe I dozed off and dreamt it...

    Phil Collins' song "Jesus Knows Me" hits the nail on the head for me when I listen to the claims for "the Big Society" - and you may be able to guess which role in the song I reserve for Civil Society Minister Nick Hurd - but don't take my word for it, you can google the song lyrics for yourself. -NB other search engines are available.

    The "community organisers" seemed to fall into the "true believers" and those who might just have a somewhat more jaundiced view of the organisation they are being bankrolled by - or is that just my critical view of what I saw?

    OK - take a fair, objective and balanced view of what we saw - IMHO it revealed the Big society to be a paper-thin tissue of half truths, dogma and deceits - and running a three day training course for these community organisers strikes me as the sort of gesture politics I'd expect from far left political parties or anarchists - OH - forgot - IMHO the Tory Party ARE in the business of "smashing the state" too - It completely slipped my mind.

  • Comment number 20.

    Liked the Smith piece on the Big Society, it was sensitively done, though I fear the Newsnight team has rather caged in his raptor-like sardonic humour by giving him such a subject.

    With regard to the current banking credit downgrades - I'd like to see more widespread facts and figures about the economy so that we can all make up our own minds about what's going on. Too many economists are rather too choosy in their selective (mis-?)use of data. So I think we should have a little more interpretation and explanation from your correspondents who specialise in it, for the benefit of people like me, who lack a university degree in PPE.

    Given the basic tools, perhaps we can all stand on the shoulders of the resident brainiacs?

    I haven't bothered to check the recent exchange rate trends for a while, but might it not be the case that recent events suggest a pattern of the developed countries deliberately devaluing their currencies against the likes of China in order to make the developed countries' exports more competitive at the expense of China's exports? (and partially pay our debts via inflation?) From the point of view of our beloved leaders, perhaps this is a sort of economic war that can only be won by delivering pain (or at least, discomfort) to the people of one's own country?

  • Comment number 21.

    Just out of interest, what did you say that broke the rules, Richard? :)

  • Comment number 22.


    not entirely sure:

    1. quoted some song lyrics from "Jesus Knows Me"?
    2. questioned motives/apparent mental health of those becoming BS acolytes?
    3. inferred Civil Society Minister Nick Hurd=two-faced US tele-evangelist type ideologue who doesn't really believe one word of BS BS?
    4. inferred it is D Cameron's "face on the billboard" as per "Jesus Knows Me"?
    5. quoted "won't get fooled again" by the Who?

    I thought it was mildly whitty, not really offensive - heyho - compared to Paxo's regular stuffing of interviewees, I was poking fun @ the story - he evidently is allowed to give it to them straight between the eyes - us lesser morals have to stay in line...

    I think NN appears to be bottling it a bit because the story revealed just how pathetic the BS plan is and Govt spin doctors are on the warpath, so want the blog toned down?

  • Comment number 23.

    Newsynightie gets a mention too!

    But that lady is, truly, worth every penny of her market rate. If transferred to comedy.

    For added irony, as a BBC employee interviews a BBC employee about the BBC...

    And in the immortal words which can so often close for comments... that's all we have time for!

  • Comment number 24.


    I am typing quietly in the hope that the dummies who are lending to UK at good rates will not realise that George is just LOOKING confident to fool them. It would be awful if they found out. And before any one says "They must know", let's all remember that nobody knew that world money was imaginary, before the collapse. Yeah right.

    Point of order: The 5 year Coalition cannot be dissolved, Nick has SIGNED it.

    In passing: The Coalition is part Conservative. The Cons used a False Instrument, distributed (presumed knowingly) by 10 now-sitting MPs. The Coalition is illegitimate.

    D MOCK CRASS Y? (Y do we allow the charade to continue? - 'D' is for Dunce.)


  • Comment number 25.


  • Comment number 26.

    If major banks are to be allowed to go bust, there has to be an emergency plan to keep cash flow and cash machines working, or everything will grind to a halt overnight. The lack of such a mechanism was what convinced AD that RBS and HBOS needed to be rescued by one means or another. If there is such a mechanism for a "financial state of emergency", I am not aware of it.

    According to Peston, before going bust, "under the terms of its government bailout, RBS has the right to sell new shares to the government at 50p per share, or roughly twice the current (share) price ......."

    Let us not forget this headline from earlier in the year "RBS bankers get £950m in bonuses despite £1.1bn loss"

    and this one:

    This article by Paul Mason is truly chilling, and in my view entirely realistic:

    Paul's conclusions are certainly compatible with a much longer series of articles in Spiegel about the design flaws in the Euro.,1518,790568,00.html

    But these design flaws in the Euro, are symptomatic of other design flaws in the whole financial system. Instruments/institutions intended for one purpose become perverted to another. From Spiegel: "Although CDSs were designed to insure against the risk of credit default, someone who holds government bonds can also use them to speculate. It's as if someone had purchased fire protection insurance for a house he didn't own. He could conceivably have a strong interest in the house actually going up in flames."

    As JK Galbraith said: "every financial innovation contains the seeds of its own abuse", and about Wall Street's supposed existence to facilitate investment rather than speculation: "Wall Street, in these matters, is like a lovely and accomplished woman who must wear black cotton stockings, heavy woollen underwear, and parade her knowledge as a cook because, unhappily, her supreme accomplishment is as a harlot.”

    My conclusion is better expressed by someone else: ....... Unless?

  • Comment number 27.


    The problem with money, as with rioting, cannot be overcome with mechanisms. Hence no one is considering a framework of protocols for street-looters.

    The mentality of HomSap is the problem. It is quite likely that nominal male dominance is OK, in small groups, living a subsistence life. But the male ethos boils down to 'size matters' and 'maximise dominance' - these drives are inimical to the manipulation of money; the more so, to GLOBAL money.

    There is, as I type, without doubt, at least one MAN who wants to dominate the world. Many have shown just how much one driven man CAN dominate. Such men ALWAYS strive for power - they don't do 'nice'. Westminster is witness.

    No amount of tinkering with monetary mechanisms will make a difference to the final mess. Douglas Adams tried to warn us:

    “This planet has — or rather had — a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.”

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 28.

    @27 Unhappy green pieces of paper? ..... Laughing as the ship goes down! :-D

  • Comment number 29.

    '25. At 10:37 8th Oct 2011, barriesingleton wrote:'

    Made my day, tx.

    Meanwhile, talking of talking the economy up, down, or simply getting paid to talk..

    '26. At 11:27 8th Oct 2011, Sasha Clarkson wrote:
    This article by Paul Mason is truly chilling, and in my view entirely realistic:'

    Possibly, but I am a but intrigued by the variations in who or what Mr. Mason supports, and why, depending, especially given his support for those in the US currently protesting some kind of thing to do with billionaire consumerists, whilst having odd exemptions on billionaire consumer types and the toys some seem addicted to in 'sourcing' news.

  • Comment number 30.

    the Daily Mail:

    A police office "who is black and homosexual, was giving evidence at an employment tribunal where he is suing the force for homophobic attitudes and racial discrimination"

    "He also said counter-terrorism officers would target black and Asian people for random stops in a queue at the London airport"

    Maybe they should've pulled the Catholic Nuns for questioning at the airport whilst they were looking for suspected terrorists or how about the young and drunk English speaking fellas wearing bright shirts, beer belly and singing football songs, go waste a bit of time and ask them what they've been up to and what their politics is..have they recently been to Pakistan would be a good question to ask eh..that bulge could be a bomb belt.

    We live in an upside down world driven by nut cases with certificates for attending diversity courses. Don't they do profiling at airports then?...apparently not.

    Do you ever get the feeling something ain't quite right in the world we live in?!

  • Comment number 31.


    It's the Age of Perversity Kev - you can be suppressed for calling a trowel a trowel.

    In many areas of life, the majority GO OUT OF THEIR WAY TO CONFORM to the (SELF-DEFINING) norm. Clearly there is a drive to conform; my guess would be: it is innate.
    My next sentence need not be written.

    On the Thursday thread I addressed physiological difference. Before unwise Man 'stirred the pot', Nature - clearly unheeding of future mixing - MODIFIED THE INDIGENES TO SUIT THEIR LOCAL CONDITIONS. Problems accrue, not just in procreation, but in both physical and mental health. MAN WAS NEVER 'MIX-READY'.

    But unlike the Jatravatids -'s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy

    modern man invented Political correctness BEFORE doing appropriate studies into DIFFERENCISM.

    To quote the, equally quotable Kev: "Do you ever get the feeling something ain't quite right in the world we live in?!"


  • Comment number 32.


    I just caught a comment from a woman with Muslim hinterland, offering the view that her white, atheist man-of-choice was appealing, in part, because of his FREEDOM from the sort of constraints she felt INTENSELY.

    When we look at our UNCONSTRAINED (taboo free) life, it is precisely THAT freedom, that has led to the mired state we are in. And whilst, to the woman above, HER experience (so far) of that freedom, may look enticing, when her children encounter it, she might have another view. Also, her RENUNCIATION of the 'old ways', only arises because CULTURES HAVE MIXED. It takes much wisdom and maturity to navigate those waters.

    Oh what a tangled web pertains since first we charted shipping lanes.

  • Comment number 33.

    I met this local politician guy from near Kirkham today who spoke out in a training meeting when one of the other participants brought up the subject of solar PV panels with regard to planning applications. It was not discussed in the meeting as it was not technically on the agenda and time was short and I didn't have much time to talk after the meeting. Anyway it turns out that in practice solar PV panels generate far less electricity than their salesmen attempt to portray, almost to a point where they are totally uneconomic. Where they have longer experience in Germany, customers are apparently taking the companies who sold and installed them to court in order to get their money back. Solar PV would appear to be yet another green scam !

  • Comment number 34.

    Tony Blair facing parliamentary probe over secret meetings with Gaddafi

    Senior MPs are demanding that Mr Blair reveal all details of his private meetings with the dictator since leaving Downing Street.
    The move follows revelations in The Sunday Telegraph that Mr Blair had at least six meetings with Gaddafi since quitting as prime minister.
    Five of those meetings took place in a 14 month period prior to the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber sent back to Tripoli to serve out the rest of his prison sentence in the comfort of his own home.

  • Comment number 35.

    It is impossible to read any more than the first 5 comments on Paul Mason's latest Blog

    Can you sort this out please?...Are you deliberately running the BBC website into the ground or is it just incompetence?

  • Comment number 36.

    Daniel Kawczynski

    He recently published a biography of the Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi, entitled Seeking Gaddafi. In October 2009, Kawczynski appeared on The Doha Debates as a delegate supporting the motion of "This house deplores the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi".

    Now why might that be?

  • Comment number 37.

    Occupy Wall St – Systemic Change Please

    By Michael Hudson

    Michael discusses the growing Occupy Wall St movement and the opportunities for banking reform. "How are you going to re-criminilise fraud? Tim Geithner is a bank lobbyist and should not be in charge of the Treasury".

  • Comment number 38.

    There have been lots of rumours and unconvincing denials from Liam Fox in the past wrt his sexuality. Personaly I dont care about the particular persuation of a politician, the only prerequisite is honesty and integrity.

    However, I do wonder what the back story is here to this 'all of a sudden' aparently out of the blue issue with his long time confidant and friend.

    Smells like an ultimatum has been given by someone outside the UK government and Liam will be shown the door in the least 'damaging' way possible without reference to previous rumours. Perhaps some indiscretion on a foreign trip upset someone.

    Dunno,something just does not ring true about it being simply a ' non security clearance' issue.

    Lets see how many papers make reference to the past rumour tomorrow, I am betting not one of them will mention it. He will get different treatment compared to celebrities for example on such matters ... why is that? Why this complicity in maintaining a false auroa of honesty arounf politicians which no one else enjoys in the collective media glare.

    Of course, on here at least, we all know the answers to that.

  • Comment number 39.

    '35. At 22:31 8th Oct 2011, muggwhump wrote:
    It is impossible to read any more than the first 5 comments on Paul Mason's latest Blog

    Oo, so it is.

    A new twist mind.

    But as Eric once said...'There's a lot of it about'.

    Oddly on this chap's blog more than most.

    Maybe something folk are saying?

    Recall one not so long ago that was closed before it opened, and when it eventually opened managed about two before 'moving on'.

    ...Are you deliberately running the BBC website into the ground or is it just incompetence?

    Nah. It's faster, fairer, easier, cheaper and better. Or, maybe... the cutsssss!

  • Comment number 40.

    '33. At 19:44 8th Oct 2011, brossen99 - Solar PV would appear to be yet another green scam !'

    In the last several months, my home has been bombarded with emails, DM and phone calls from legions of companies keen to help me usher in a new era of free electricity via the joys of solar.

    Seems that is a pot of dosh around. Now, why do I suspect this is mostly my own (in the form of taxes and levies on fuel bills) that are siphoned from me, to be passed back, with all sorts of lovely box-ticking bonusses to those 'administering' the subsidy aspects, to seduce our family into a very dubious scam for our finances.. or any chance of reduced GHGs.

    The likes of the EU and Mr. Huhne can probably explain.

    Anyway, a nice man is coming up from Cardiff Monday, his 'supervisor' having scoped my roof out on Google Earth to ensure we 'qualify'.

    However, that this expert in renewable energy was not too terribly sure if we were talking solar for electricity or hot water suggest that the conversation may be 'interesting'.

  • Comment number 41.


    An entire system of global trade is at risk

    With the European banking system again on the verge of collapse, there is a sense that politicians and economists are out of options, that governments and central banks are powerless before events. The best of the cavalry has been sent into battle, and it has come back in tatters. The fiscal armoury has been exhausted, the support offered by the boom in emerging markets such as China and India over the past two years seems to be on its last legs, and there is but the small rifle fire of the central bank printing presses left to defend us.

  • Comment number 42.

    @38 Jericoa

    It's been observed on these pages before that Fox is not a team player. He wanted to be leader and PM. Since going to the MOD, a number of leaks embarrassed the government, but enhanced Dr Fox's reputation with the Tory right. Fox claimed to have "no idea" who was behind the leaks, but suggested it might be a cabinet colleague. I always felt he did "protest too much".

    Guido's blog ( does a bit of digging, and also contains plenty of speculation, including about Dr Fox and Mr Werrity's interest in Sri Lanka. Fox used to be a favourite of Guido's, but the caption competition shows clearly that he's now joined the feeding frenzy.

    I don't think it's foreign orders: I think that Fox has been guilty of hubris, and Cameron has bided his time, now taking this convenient opportunity to destroy a rival once and for all.

  • Comment number 43.

  • Comment number 44.

    The Mail On Sunday:

    'How climate change zealots are wrecking every last industry this country possesses'

  • Comment number 45.

    "Dexia's Funeral Will Be Announced On Sunday" As "Weakest Link" Slovakia Prepares To Bury The Euro

  • Comment number 46.

    @43 It's clear to me that Dr Fox, inadvertently perhaps, fitted his own self-destruct button some time some time ago. But his naked ambition has been obvious for a long time too.

    IF Downing Street decided to trigger Dr Fox's booby trap, then the following event might have had something to do with it.

    This was a political event at least as much as a personal one. Mrs T's appearance was a clear sign of personal endorsement. It can't have been welcome to the old aristocracy who have retaken the Tory Party, and are also trying to use the recession to put the middle and working classes firmly back in their places.

  • Comment number 47.

  • Comment number 48.

    The more I read of John Quiggin's work, the more I respect him. Love or loathe the Euro, this article, with Henry Farrell, is a brutally honest analysis of the problem:

    "At their core, Europe’s problems are political, not economic."

    "Europe’s leaders have deliberately tried to obscure the political costs of economic rescue. This is the traditional method of European integration—boring citizens into submission and taking the real decisions out of the public view.

    It won’t work anymore. Citizens still do not understand the European Union, but they increasingly view it as a threat"

    Going back to the Fox affair, I rather think the photo on the link above (@46) demands its own caption competition!

  • Comment number 49.

    It would appear that the eco-fascists are now trying to hijack the Wall St protests, I was just wondering how long it would be before they tried to muscle in and brainwash all the apparently empty headed controlled opposition by " Corporate Nazi's " like Sorros.

    ( useful idiots ? ? ? ).

  • Comment number 50.

  • Comment number 51.

    Clamping Down on Rapid Trades in Stock Market

    Regulators in the United States and overseas are cracking down on computerized high-speed trading that crowds today’s stock exchanges, worried that as it spreads around the globe it is making market swings worse.
    The cost of these high-frequency traders, critics say, is the confidence of ordinary investors in the markets, and ultimately their belief in the fairness of the financial system.

  • Comment number 52.

    Deal Is Reached to Nationalize Belgian Bank

    I wonder how Cameron will deceive the British public when he finally has to bail out RBS, as the taxpayers surely won't accept any more bank bailouts...oh hang on, what's QE2 for again?

  • Comment number 53.


    Matthew 7. The house built on sand collapsed. The house built on rock stood firm. But what of the 'house' built on corruption?

    I never cease to marvel at the BUILT-IN FEATURES of the EU House. Not for the EU a slow addition of some wonky coving here or a misalligned arch there; it was jerry-built with woodworm, subsidence, heave, weak mortar, undersized timbers, and misplaced load-bearing walls, from the day it got its dodgy certificate.

    And The New World Order contemplate an even bigger melange!

    Makes Babel look like a linguists convention.

    D MOCK CRASS Y. What Dunces we are to allow ourselves to be MOCKED by such a CRASS bunch of needy juveniles. Y do we let it continue?

  • Comment number 54.


    Ask how the British People WILL ALLOW THEMSELVES TO BE DECEIVED - AGAIN! Especially by DAVE TRISMEGISTUS - proven Three times Master of Deception.

    Where is the English Spring? We used to make good springs - Eh Brossen99?

  • Comment number 55.

  • Comment number 56.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    @55 lizzy

    As most MPs do what they're told, they don't need to be sober enough to think clearly about their decisions - just sober enough to find the right lobby during the votes - and the whips will herd them there like sheep anyway!

  • Comment number 59.


    I assert post #57 was entirely my own work.

    'Someone had blundered'. (That is a quote from 'Charge of the Light Brigade.)

  • Comment number 60.

    muse v wrote:

    'Occupy Wall Street': A media blackout?'

    BBC Fox et al has ignored it...Russia Today has been running this story very heavily. They even link up the hypocrisy of the Obuma admin supporting the Arab spring but taking no notice of this mass movement outside Wall St and the Fed Buildings across the states.

    Maybe someone should invade the USA and give the people what they want, or at least provide air cover or someting. Maybe Russia aand China can rustle-up a few aircraft carriers. They won't need to arm the protesters as the US constitiution already has that covered. It'll be over in 3 days.

  • Comment number 61.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 62.

    "Brain 'rejects negative thoughts' "

    "Optimism seem to be good for your health. .......... The negative aspect is that we underestimate risks."

    This is relevant to more or less every story discussed here, and probably explains the natural instinct to "shoot the messenger" in the case of bad news.

  • Comment number 63.

    60. At 01:11 10th Oct 2011, kevseywevsey wrote:
    muse v wrote:
    'Occupy Wall Street': A media blackout?'
    BBC Fox et al has ignored it..

    Not sure that's quite the case. Mr. Mason, for instance, did resort to tweeting in support, and I had presumed this is the main means of news dissemination these days chez Aunty.

    'paulmasonnews Paul Mason
    RT @PennyRed: Here they go!They're pepper spraying everyone! #occupywallstreet

    (that last is a hashtag, not a call to anything)

    However, it is true the levels of coverage do seem more restrained. On twitter, again, there is this cute new twist that the BBC right wing because it didn't cover the Sunday march/blockage to the taste of organisers and those who gave up their Sunday roast to be against things. One hopes this will not be the precursor to the the occasional 'see, we're fouling up on two extremes, so statistically we are perfect' notion so beloved of market rate executives making 'tough decisions' about the careers of those a few tiers below.

    Personally, having looked at both sets of protests using the internet (free and varied), I'd like to think more measured heads have prevailed, and are waiting for something coherent to emerge that is worth reporting upon, as opposed to ratings-intended 'down with this kind of thing' vague televisual jollies sponsored by so many activist groups they can't seem to coordinate any sensible message.

    And speaking of sober heads, well, it seems you just can't get the staff these days...

  • Comment number 64.

  • Comment number 65.

    On matters HR, that Mr. Fox and Mr. Huhne are, after their recent antics alone, still deemed the best in their respective fields to 'lead' in any form, much less by example, suggests a very meagre selection to choose from 'at the top'.

  • Comment number 66.

    To my mind, there is an intellectual deception behind the rationale for QE2 insofar as the BoE states that bonds that it purchases in exchange for QE money will eventually be released back into the market and the money received destroyed thus making the overall effect on the money supply neutral.

    Does anybody believe that that will actually happen?

    Wiemar ground to a halt partly because the sheer logistics of printing and distributing all that paper money became overwhelming.

    In the era of infinite electronic money, at least the BoE (ditto ECB and the Fed) do not have that problem but some say that QE is the last resort for a desperate Government and it is hard to disagree with that sentiment as the toolkit is exhausted.

    The whole edifice is not only built on debt but also crucially - trust, which is now in very short supply.

    That ticking clock is getting louder and louder.

    Methinks I really should have got that allotment when I had the chance.

  • Comment number 67.

    @60 Kevsey "Maybe someone should invade the USA and give the people what they want..."

    The question is which people? To call US society schizophrenic is an understatement. There is frighteningly little common ground, even in mainstream politics. Religion plays such a big part in much US politics, that it has infected every area of debate. Faith matters, and facts are despised if they don't fit a simplistic worldview.

    Here's a very frightening example of the mixing of religion and politics:

    "Robert Jeffress, Southern Baptist Convention leader and pastor of the 10,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas ...... announced that he was throwing his support behind Rick Perry."

    "Jeffress is an important figure. His television show, Pathway to Victory, reaches 1,200 stations. In January, he has a new book about the apocalypse coming out, jauntily titled Twilight’s Last Gleaming: How America’s Last Days Can Be Your Best Days. Mike Huckabee (another one time presidential wannabe) penned the foreward, writing of Jeffress, “I stand in awe of the clarity of his convictions and the clarion call for believers to come out of hiding and act like they serve a King!"

    The prophesy of apocalypse may be self-fulfilling. I'm afraid it's only a matter of time before one of these fruitcakes gets their finger on the nuclear button.

  • Comment number 68.

    My feeling is that Fox's position has become untenable, and that Huhne's is nearly so, after his latest escapade (anonymously briefing against Theresa May).

    If there is any lesson to be learned from the political scandals of recent years, it is that hanging on to a lame duck minister does immense damage to the government.

    My betting is that Fox will be gone by midweek. If this were not a coalition, Huhne would be sacked too, but I expect him to be given a little more rope before being dumped, I would guess Novemberish.

  • Comment number 69.

    This blogger is more interested in the policies than the people but I accept that the general public have an interest in the sometimes lurid lives of these politicians.

    What is it about politicians flat-mates?

    Note that the most skillful politicians such as Blair manage to help their flat-mates (Falconer) without causing possibly terminal damage to their careers.

    Huhne will probably go shortly, if the DPP decide he has a case to answer over the speeding offense.

    A few years ago, somebody sent me a list of people with strings of civil and criminal convictions of one sort or another - it went on-and-on - and the punchline at the end of the list informed you that these people were all current MP's.

    Possibly they are proportionately representative of the general public, but then again, maybe not, given the somewhat peculiar attributes that one would seem to require to participate in the political game.

  • Comment number 70.


    Cockeyed optimists are bad enough, but a society lying to itself regarding everything from women's ability to park, to male-male coupling, needs a jolt of reality.

    I have long advocated a scanner in every courtroom - the judge goes in first!

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 71.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 72.


    There's a thing! CHELTENHAM burghers were treated to that great literary (though far from literal) work, the Conservative Liar Flyer, falsely threatening the CERTAIN return of Brown, for 5 years, UNLESS THEY ELECTED THE CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATE.

    They returned the LibDem (increased majority). Ooops - no Brown in No 10.

    When a major party LIES to gain votes, there is no redress.


  • Comment number 73.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 74.


    Westminster's parties screen candidates for Westminster Creatureness. I may not list the preferred attributes of the consummate parliamentarian, but they are inimical to mature national stewardship, and conducive to Fox/Huhne behaviours. We have 650 of them. Nuff sed.

    Post 64 relates.

  • Comment number 75.


    Excellent post, very perceptive, been on very good form I note recently Sasha.


    ''should have got the allotment when I had the chance''

    Lots of people who can are voting with their feet now, everywhere I look in the ranks of the useful professions with whom I interact daily (primarily engineers of all types and some academics as well) they are leaving in droves to Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, South Africa plus some other destinations.

    Most of them would not do so if they felt there were some viable alternative in the UK which would offer a vision to which they could positively contribute towards. The 'big society' does not cut the mustard it would seem.

    I must report that I will be joining them, come January I will be Sydney bound with my family.

    I have tried to raise awareness as best I could within my means since 2008 but there comes a point when it is obvious that it is too late now for that and there will be a physical correction to the crisis not an intellectual one which is unlikely to be pretty.

    If I were still a student or if my daughters were grown up and independent it would be different but as a married man with two young daughters I figure the best I can do is preserve that sanctuary of beauty, stability and dynamic 'reason' I try to nurture as best I can as a living positive inheritance for the future.

    I don't have an allotment either.

  • Comment number 76.


    At 74, I await the collapse of my private pension - no doubt with as much notice as Northern Rock. I shall then decide my next 'move'.


  • Comment number 77.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 78.

    If you took Mervyn Kings remarks at face value i.e. 'worst {financial} crisis ever', then you would be tempted to think in a 'Weimar way'.

    That is, the only people of any value during that unpleasant phase in history were manual workers and farmers.

    Virtually everybody else, especially the 'information workers', e.g. accountants, lawyers, clerks, paper-pushers of all sorts, had no value whatsoever and consequently found life very difficult indeed.

    Two of the three businesses I run are information based and therefore would probably have little to no value in an economic collapse but when the allotment opportunity came along a few years ago, it seemed then that I would not have enough time to manage it. Pity.



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