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A familiar divide

Nick Robinson | 10:12 UK time, Wednesday, 1 April 2009

It's familiar. It's as it's always been. It's almost reassuring.

Today the leaders of Britain and America stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of an economic threat. Hours later, the leaders of France and Germany will stand together too. Europe versus the Anglo-Saxons once again.

Barack Obama and Gordon BrownThis divide matters because France and Germany blame Britain and America for the world's economic woes. They argue that the under-regulated brash excesses of New York and London caused all the problems. Their underlying message at this summit is: we told you so. We need to ensure that this doesn't happen again.

That is the fascinating thing about this summit. The leaders here understand the need to be seen to stand together but they're here too, as of course they should be, to fight their own countries' corner.

And remember, these four veterans of the old world are far from the only players at this summit.

What will really matter is what's heard from China, from India, from Saudi Arabia et al. It's going to be quite a two days.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    So far this morning has been cringeworthy. Does not bode well for tomorrow's summit.

  • Comment number 2.

    France and Germany do not seem to be happy.

    http://creditcrunchedoutinuk.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 3.

    Welcome back Nick.

    Why have all the contentious blogs being closed?


  • Comment number 4.

    Great first question at the press conference Nick. I think it's the first time I've seen Obama lost for words...

  • Comment number 5.

    Some things never change. Perhaps someone should mention this was not the "stability" we had in mind.

  • Comment number 6.

    France and Germany have got it right. At least Sarkozy and Merkel have the balls to put their countries and their people first. Gordon and his cronies put themselves first, and what they can get out of it as regards taxing us all to the hilt next. What the people of Britain actually want comes a very long way down the list.

  • Comment number 7.

    There's one thing I'd really like to know about the G20. Why do all the participants bring their wives with them? Are we (and the taxpayers of the other G20 countries) paying for that?

    If I took Mrs Disgusted with me on my next business trip and tried to claim her flights as a legitimate business expense on my next tax return, I think we could all imagine how well that would go down with HMRC, couldn't we? Just another example of one law for them, and another for the rest of us.

  • Comment number 8.

    Since when has America been a part of the 'old' world? Du-uh!

  • Comment number 9.

    I have occasionally taken my spouse on business trips (when I was working, that is), and I paid for the accommodation and travel out of my own pocket. To claim for that as an expense would have seen me laughed out of my manager's office.

    The good taxpayers of Britain are forking out somewhere in the region of £9m for all this pomp - after all, we're just the mugs who have to keep on putting our hands in our pockets to make Gordon look as if he's a world leader. What a complete and utter waste of our money!

  • Comment number 10.

    Brown is a total embarassement to this great nation

    He thinks by standing next to Obama people will vote for him! What total nonsense. This man will be remembered as the worst PM and politician we ever had.

  • Comment number 11.

    Merkel and Sarkozy are correct: the way to deal with debt isn't to spend, tax, and borrow more and create more debt. We must return to sensible banking/investment and leave the casino years behind. Brown, as one of the main architects of the irresponsible decade behind us, must stand down. He is more preoccupied saving his own skin than finding a sensible way of resolving the crisis he is largely culpable for.

  • Comment number 12.

    How to write like Robinson:

    "On a day when so many world leaders are in town, it's no wonder that many are asking what it's all about.

    These questions and more are on the minds of many. None less so than the protestors on the streets of London today. But what will they achieve?

    No wonder there are those who think the G20 may not achieve its goals, nor indeed agree with those goals.

    The question they must be asking is when will it all be over. The answer is simple. Not yet.

    Back to the studio."

  • Comment number 13.

    Were the press provided with sick bags before they sat or can be found under each seat? This is tacky stuff at the moment...

  • Comment number 14.

    No 8.


    America is older as an independent nation than a number of old world countries, Germany for instance.......

  • Comment number 15.

    "And remember, these four veterans of the old world are far from the only players at this summit."

    So after less than three months in the job, Obama is now a "veteran"? Presumably that gets round having to call him a "novice"?

    By the way, any thoughts on Lord Myners' little difficulty with the TSC?

  • Comment number 16.

    Nothing to say on this thread at the moment, but I thought I had better get a comment in before you close the thread down!!

  • Comment number 17.

    Can anyone answer me this.

    Was it true that the demonstrators were not allowed to protest outside the gates of Downing Street? The report this morning intimated that they "did a deal" with the police to go and demonstrate elsewhere.

  • Comment number 18.

    "Great first question at the press conference Nick. I think it's the first time I've seen Obama lost for words..."

    That sounds interesting. You or Nick care to elaborate?

  • Comment number 19.

    It is hard to argue against the German stance, their finance minister was particularly eloquent on Newsnight setting out the case for not saddling future generations with debts, they are obviously playing the long game as they do not have an election looming. It was edifying to hear such a coherent explanation from a politician.

    The USA because of its global position and the strength of the dollar can embark on its fiscal stimulus without worrying about how it affects others.

    In the UK we simply do not have room for manouevre because of government debt - the previous attempts at fiscal stimulus have not worked because the general public is more prudent than our leaders and is battening down the hatches and putting money aside for a rainy day. We may just have to accept this is a long haul and there is no quick fix but are our politicians mature enough to do this or does their self interest with the election a year away control their actions?

  • Comment number 20.

    A very new renewal of the special relationship between the USA and Britain and a clear end to Blair and Blair's old ways.

  • Comment number 21.

    Nick, how long have we got to comment before this closes?

    Surely (as a rule of thumb) there should always be at least one open...

    On the matter in hand - so the fact they all turned up is a 'triumph'...

    Is there any set of circumstances that wouldn't be considered a triumph?


    BTW: Given Obamas slipping popularity, I am surprised he is tarnishing it yet further by associating with Brown. I would have thought he would want to be seen as part of a bright new dawn, rather than part of the seedy sunset on browns dismal career.







  • Comment number 22.

    #14
    Only in a political sense...and political sense isn't exactly something that springs readily to mind these days!

  • Comment number 23.

    #20 derekbarker

    A very new renewal of the special relationship between the USA and Britain and a clear end to Blair and Blair's old ways.

    .........................

    Yeah, right.

  • Comment number 24.

    Just thought I'd say, I feared this blog would be closed soon so I commented on Andrew's

  • Comment number 25.

    Heard a Nick Robinson snippet on Today earlier - pass the bucket please. Sounded more like Nick Witchell blathering on about a Royal visit.....

    This G20 lot need nailing to the mast on the real issues and their proposed solutions, but of course this is not what it's all about. One big expensive photo-op, primarily to big-up Brown who is, whilst being completely contemptuous of the British electorate, totally delluded if he think we will not remember how we got here during his 12 year tenure...

    Oh and anothe 2p on fuel TAX this morning - good day to bury bad news.....

  • Comment number 26.

    #19. "they are obviously playing the long game as they do not have an election looming."

    There's a German election in September of this year, that's the biggest reason why Germany isn't coming up with big expenditure plans because they'd have no chance to be re-elected.

  • Comment number 27.

    But will anything be achieved? Seems to me to be just a load of grandstanding.

  • Comment number 28.

    Shoulder to shoulder. Isn't it reassuring to know we have Prime Minister Brown's broad shoulders to lean on in these hard times? At last we have a bloggers' forum, since all the ones where naughty opinions were shown and quickly moderated, were closed down, so I must tread carefully. Well, Nick, you have your salary for another month.

  • Comment number 29.

    "we are hours away from global concensus..."

    that has to be the best April Fool's Joke I've hear all day!

  • Comment number 30.

    #19

    On the contrary, Angela Merkel faces re-election later this year. However, unlike the Crashmeister, she is not prepared to mortgage her grandchildren to try to buy power for power's sake. She actually appears to have a policy and is prepared to take the consequences of that.

    The English praising the Germans, who'd have thought it, eh?

  • Comment number 31.

    Ok Chaps, Lasses,

    Thats one sick bag for you, one for you, one for you.......... get ready

    (Countdown to live coverage....)

    Here we go everybody, remember its smiles and only the nice stuff today....

    (Wisper)...I've heard the Germans & French aren't happy?
    (Sshhushhh) ...Geeez keep it down, don't let them hear you say that in here, you'll be out the back door quicker than you can say 'Global Stimulus'.....

  • Comment number 32.

    #20

    A totally different approach to Blair?

    British PM sucks up to US President and offers unconditional support.

    Different how, exactly?

  • Comment number 33.

    I don't see any point In David Cameron meeting with Barack Obama. From the comments he made during the news conference with Gordon Brown, it is obvious he and DC are poles apart. Everything DC is for, BO is against, particularly with regard to DC's do nothing policy and negative response to any form of fiscal stimulus. DC seems to be out on a limb here.

  • Comment number 34.

    oh nick you have restored my faith in the BBC....did you ask that question to win a bet? it was brilliant, you could see obama's brain going into overdrive in an attempt to be diplomatic...and Gordon as usual didnt answer the question. For those who didnt see the press conference nick's question was along the lines of ..."the G Brown blames America for the crisis and the rest of the world blames the UK and America.....who do you think was to blame?....

  • Comment number 35.

    "I don't see any point In David Cameron meeting with Barack Obama."

    Probably due to him being the likely next Prime Minister and therefore Obama will have to work with him for a couple of years at least.

  • Comment number 36.

    Ref #34"..."the G Brown blames America for the crisis and the rest of the world blames the UK and America.....who do you think was to blame?...."

    Truly Brilliant.

    Nick you will be off the PM's christmas card list.

    You probably should keep looking over your shoulder for the dark lord as well

  • Comment number 37.

    Valdan and derekbarker still trying to raise ZanLabour - blame Thatcher - DC - why not Churchill. This pair illustrate EXACTLY why ZanuLabour will be obliterated at next election.

  • Comment number 38.

    A brave attempt to make a mountain out of an over-hyped mole hill, Nick.

    In the real world, Europe’s leaders are giving Obama the cold shoulder and voters here are preparing to give Brown the boot. 

    Brown has staked his political future on the G for Gordon summit and the endorsement of the Popular One.

    But London's locked down as the Likely Lads polish their egos in a money wasting charade, amid unprecedented hype and security. 

    When the dust settles, Brown will be left alone with egg on his face, with only his Downing Street photograph album and a boxed set of unplayable DVDs and taxpayers will be left with the bill. 

    http://theorangepartyblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/g2-likely-lads-on-road-to-nowhere.html

  • Comment number 39.

    Nick's question was along the lines of ..."the G Brown blames America for the crisis and the rest of the world blames the UK and America.....who do you think was to blame?...."

    Ahahahahahaha....welcome back to the role of journalist Nick. Splendid stuff.

  • Comment number 40.

    Anglo Saxons? ANGLO SAXONS?

    Barrack Obama and Gordon Brown?

    One's a black American and the other is a Scot that hates England and the English with a passion.

    Come on Nick!

  • Comment number 41.

    W're looking at 20 million pounds of our money in terms of organisation and policing to produce a G20 communique drafted over a week ago stating things that we already know? This is nothing but a photo op for the main participants. If Gordon Brown wasn't already The Prime Minister I'd suspect him of name dropping in an attempt to elevate his status. What did he say yesterday in an aside to International Trade Unionists? 'I've just been on the phone to Obama'. Why the need for name dropping and the cynical attempt to bask in the reflected glory of the newly elected President? Little wonder that the French and Germans are gnarked.

  • Comment number 42.

    #20 derekbarker

    A very new renewal of the special relationship between the USA and Britain and a clear end to Blair and Blair's old ways.

    .........................

    Yeah, dream on.

  • Comment number 43.

    Frequently, almost traditionally, the French and Germans have been dissenting voices in different of areas of European co-operation. Their reported stances on this occasion appear to follow their historical trends. The danger of this G20 gathering is that Brown wants it to become the Brown/Obama show, it doesn't necessarily follow that Brown, as the host, should drive forward his own egotistical agenda. If the French and Germans can qualify their reticence with well reasoned arguments good for them. Gordon Brown, with his very evident allergy to humble pie, should stop talking and start listening.

  • Comment number 44.

    Nick, your question was fanatastic. Audacious and fantastic.

  • Comment number 45.

    #33:

    I think there's every point in David Cameron meeting Obama. He could very well be our next Prime Minister. Informal discussions may well set the scene for a long working relationship post 2010.

  • Comment number 46.

    I hear that Russell Brand complete with teacosy hat is one of the protestors in the street. Why am I not surprised?

  • Comment number 47.

    Well, if I was French or German, the first thing I would want to see is a sign of responsibility from the leaders of the US and the UK, being the two most complicit countries in the creation of this crisis.

    I hate to sound like I'm jumping on a certain bandwagon, but that would involve some sort of recognition of responsibility, an "apology" if you will, especially from those who were actually in charge of their economies for the past decade or so....

  • Comment number 48.

    Naomi Campbell has been convicted of Reckless Assault in America, banned by British Airways for spitting at a policeman during a temper tantrum at Heathrow and has well reported problems with drug addiction.
    Can anyone explain to me why she is considered a suitable person to be invited to a dinner at Downing Street hosted by Sarah Brown for the spouses of world leaders attending the summit?
    Trivia I know, but once again an indication of this Government's obsession with fame and celebrity. It doesn't exactly sit easily with calls for a return to family values or do they only apply to bankers?

  • Comment number 49.

    #30 obangobang
    #26 Gunota

    Thanks for the correction chaps - I am not used to responsible government.

    That makes the German stance even more praiseworthy

  • Comment number 50.

    This is Gordon's last stand - thankfully we won't have to put up with him 'representing' the UK at these events for too much longer.

    At one level, the French & Germans are right to be sceptical given the poor regulation, particularly in the US & the UK.

    However, their continued protectionist approach does not lend itself to a global solution.

  • Comment number 51.

    Nick, I have a lot of respect for your ability to frame all the current news into one or two questions. You have certainly earned the right to ask the first question at these kinds of pressers.

    But after watching the entire press conferece live, I am disappointed that BBC World chose to quote half a sentence from the presidents reply. If you can't quote at least the whole reply in context it's better not to quote at all and just paraphrase. Anyone can imply whatever meaning they want from half a sentence. BBC World can definitely do better than that if they just try.

    And, by the way, this president is the least likely to want to have his ego inflated. It is just not in his nature.

    The BBC needs to be careful that, in trying to define the world as they see it, they don't simply risk defining themselves.

  • Comment number 52.

    Now that I have paid homage at the shrine of N.R., do you think that it is alright to comment on here, or should I go to another blog?

    I do not want to do all this work for nothing, I do enjoy commenting, so please let me know just how I offended, please.

  • Comment number 53.

    This is all just posturing really - nothing usefull will be achieved during this summit, it's merely a platform to prove how well everyone gets on (or not in some cases!)

    It will cost a fortune and nothing will be realised - just some nice pictures for the papers. Each nation will continue to become more protectionist whilst pleading anything but to the rest of the world

    I agree that some kind of financial regulation is required on an international level - but that won't be done here and now. The G20 summit is just band-standing to try and prove that the world's leaders know what is going on and what to do about it.

  • Comment number 54.

    48. "Naomi Campbell has been convicted of Reckless Assault in America, banned by British Airways for spitting at a policeman during a temper tantrum at Heathrow and has well reported problems with drug addiction.
    Can anyone explain to me why she is considered a suitable person to be invited to a dinner at Downing Street hosted by Sarah Brown for the spouses of world leaders attending the summit?"

    You beat me to a similar post - Why? Why? Why? - At first I though this was an 'April Fool' - apparently not!

  • Comment number 55.

    I am of the same opinion as Oldrightie at 1, I thought this mornings press conference with Obama and Brown was cringeworthy.

    I thought your question Nick was inspired, and Obama did not really answer it. The second question which I thought was very illuminating was when Obama was asked 'do you want people in your country to spend or save?'. Obama was in real difficulty over this question because of course, his fiscal stimulus policy relies on people spending, running up more personal debt, the very thing which got us into this crisis in the first place. If people cannot spend due to losing their job etc, how will this pull Americas economy round. They will just sink further into Government debt, much as we are. He kind of answered the question by saying, 'well it is up to the individual'. Well if this is the case, that people should decide on their own future, why does he believe in big government and intervention by government.

    Obama may have outstanding charisma, but I am afraid from this mornings conference, he came across as more show than substance. I do not think he has a clue how to deal with the economy.

    I personally am not a big fan of the EU, but between Brown and Obama, they came across as though they thought, they were leading the world and no other countries opinion mattered very much. Their comments about Sarkozy were very arrogant indeed, these two could very well be riding for a fall.

    All the G20 is achieving is costing Britain more money in my opinion.

  • Comment number 56.

    In about 12 months time Mr Brown and his discredited government will be gone from office. Obama will be around certainly for another 3 and possibly up to 7 years after that. The person he is likely to have to do most business with in this country is David Cameron. The meeting with DC and his team today, however brief, is probably the more telling in terms of how the medium to long term future may pan out.

    Gordon Brown may get his agreement, of sorts, tomorrow but implementation and clearing up the mess he has caused will fall (from a British standpoint to Cameron and his team. Lets hope he succeeds

  • Comment number 57.

    Nick, I normally give you stick for your bias towards Labour and that dreadful man Brown, today you have shown again with your great question to that man (which you should have asked when Brown visited the USA)that you value your job in the future when there will be a tory government in charge of the BBC. Please keep up this approach with the PM and any other government ministers and the tories/liberals.

  • Comment number 58.

    Nick, I wonder if we are paying for this G20 shindig with QE funny money that the BoE is currently churning out. Now that would be Ironic!

  • Comment number 59.

    #7 not all the partners are travelling with the attendees neither Carla nor Mr Merkel for some reason!

  • Comment number 60.

    freeman @ 35

    Probably due to him being the likely next Prime Minister and therefore Obama will have to work with him for a couple of years

    yes, that's what my crystal ball tells me too ... Clowns in next year, Cam as PM for a short while, Clowns out in 2012 or thereabouts ... so glad I'm not alone

  • Comment number 61.

    They only need Peter Doherty, Kate Moss and Amy Winehouse to complete the set.

    Time was when people of substance were wheeled out to meet dignitaries not shallow celebrities.

  • Comment number 62.

    Have the Mods gone home?

  • Comment number 63.

    Saga @60..

    "yes, that's what my crystal ball tells me too ... Clowns in next year, Cam as PM for a short while, Clowns out in 2012 or thereabouts ... so glad I'm not alone"

    Oh well..at least you are acknowledging that your lot will be thrown out with the dishwater.

    But how do you work out the 'Clowns' will be 'out by 2012 or thereabouts'?

    Surely you don't expect a vote of no confidence and the Lib Dems to get in do you?

    My!..that would be interesting,considering how long your lot have stayed in power despite themselves.

    Love and kisses...

  • Comment number 64.

    #60 sagamix
    freeman @ 35
    Probably due to him being the likely next Prime Minister and therefore Obama will have to work with him for a couple of years
    yes, that's what my crystal ball tells me too ... Clowns in next year, Cam as PM for a short while, Clowns out in 2012 or thereabouts ... so glad I'm not alone
    --------------------------
    2012…..dream on

  • Comment number 65.

    Blimey, two blogs still open simultaneously... theres a novelty!

  • Comment number 66.

    48. sonofthedesert

    It was either the Naomi woman or Amy Winehouse or Jacqui Smith's husband. They chose the most glamorous one!

  • Comment number 67.

    grief @ 63

    no, I expect the economy to get so bad that the public (finally!) see the error of their ways ... cue the birth of Clear Thinking Progressive Labour ... new Leader, new Manifesto ... landslide ... and we all live happily ever after!

  • Comment number 68.

    #66 in response to 48. sonofthedesert
    I wrote a stupid blog (#66) which I sincerely regret. Foolishness must be infectious, and there is enough about in high places!
    It is ridiculous to invite Naomi Campbell to a dinner with the Obamas. It shows how artificial Nu Labour's multiculturalism is, if they sincerely think that a woman of Mrs Obama's intellectual and social standing could have anything in common with a vulgar model, with a criminal record who has passed her sell-by date. It is like expecting Sarah Brown to sit down with Kate Moss, just because they are both white women. If they really wanted to invite a suitable black woman, we have many who have made their mark by honest intellect and talent. Dame Kelly, is one, then there are the politicans and lawyers, all ladies who are educated, erudite and graceful dining companions.

  • Comment number 69.

    rotwoten @ 64

    dream on

    you must have dreams ... no?

  • Comment number 70.

    67. At 7:42pm on 01 Apr 2009, sagamix wrote:
    grief @ 63

    no, I expect the economy to get so bad that the public (finally!) see the error of their ways


    I think we are already getting close to that point but New Labour appear to be willing to hold on to the bitter end.

    I am sure you can't be suggesting that a future Conservative Government party would have the honour to face the people before they actually have to when your Labour party prefer to keep their snouts in the trough to the end?

  • Comment number 71.

    69. At 7:50pm on 01 Apr 2009, sagamix wrote:
    rotwoten @ 64
    dream on
    you must have dreams ... no?
    -------------------------------
    Dreams Yes - Fantasies No
    Should you not be writing your NuLabour manifesto? You have only just over 3 years to go.
    On second thoughts leave it blank. Gives deniability if you screw up....its not in your manifesto and of course its easier for people to read. Yep you can write your manifesto as you go on, that is assuming you get in. Added bonus it saves all the tedious hassle and effort of writing it.

    To show there is no hard feelings I will even suggest a name for it NuLabour - NuUtopia.
    Hey you can even make it a green agenda, just include one page!

    btw Black Sabbath, not Floyd.

  • Comment number 72.

    If anyone truly believes that The Electorate will trust Labour to take over after one Conservative term then you're truly dreaming. It'll be a cold day in hell before this lot are ever trusted with the Nation's purse again!

  • Comment number 73.

    @ 71

    Should you not be writing your NuLabour manifesto?

    yes I am - just took a short break to watch Capello's rather promising looking team beating Ukraine at ZaNuWembley

  • Comment number 74.

    Saga @67...

    "no, I expect the economy to get so bad that the public (finally!) see the error of their ways ... cue the birth of Clear Thinking Progressive Labour ... new Leader, new Manifesto ... landslide ... and we all live happily ever after!"

    Sorry,Saga..(no pun intended)..but how does that get us to 2012?

    Surely,following this incompetent bunch of trough snufflers example,any possible new (non Labour) Government will hang on to at least 2015..eh?

    ..and who,may I ask,is going to lead your 'new' CTPL Party...Milli the Molly?

    ..and under what banner?....New New Labour?

  • Comment number 75.

    grief @ 74

    I think you may have a rosier outlook than me, as regards the economy - imagine how bad you think it's going to be and then triple it, okay? - now, if you add a bit more on to that, you arrive at approximately a quarter of how black I reckon things are likely to get - and in circumstances like that, I can see an emergency election in 2012 - maybe 2013 but no later

  • Comment number 76.

    Saga in the last post...

    I have no illusions that the outlook is anything other than extraordinarily deep black.

    But,if you think that the British Public are going to forget your lots' unbelievably incompetent handling of the economy in 3 or 4 years time, and want to re-elect them,you underestimate their intelligence.

    Let's face it,this bunch of idiots have been blaming the previous Party in Powers' Government for 12 years.

    Cameron has got an awfully long time to repay the compliment.

  • Comment number 77.

    Saga

    ..and just for my information..by what process do you expect this 'emergency election' to be called?

    It seems probable (at this stage of events) that Labour will be whitewashed..so where will a vote of no confidence come from,and have any hope of success?

    love and kisses..and nite nite.

  • Comment number 78.

    hey hang on, I haven't gone yet!

    I see this far more as a breakdown of capitalism than something caused by particular policies of New Labour - the only "policy" to blame is their chickening out of reforming the system

    so the anger of people, as it intensifies, will be directed at things like the City and Bankers and Big Business, not at sideshows like Jacqui Smith - especially when it's a Clown government and Labour are back in opposition

    a genuine party of the Left (Labour Reformed, let's call it) will then have a real chance - and how will the election be triggered? - well, a bit like Heath in 74, that sort of thing

  • Comment number 79.

    #72 sicilian29

    Again, remember who put in place the funding for our starved hospitals after 1997. They were delapidated and dirty and unable to provide the service we expected after 18 years of Tory neglect. So, after your holiday in Turkey, remember which side of your bread is buttered and by who. You come across as someone with either, a very short memory, or just an ungrateful so and so.

    The blame for now rests firmly on the get rich quick merchants, if you want a command economy, just say so. If not let the speculators have their day, cream off wealth and spirit it away to their tax havens and just be grateful there is any left for the hospitals, should we be unfortunate enough to need them. But whatever you think of Gordon Brown, don't forget that he has balanced the free-market demands with being able to fund improvements to hospitals, schools and other infrastructure. He has provided the minimum wage. Not the way I would like to see it done, but with-in the parameters set by an apathetic nation, who will not shout for what they want. If indeed they know what they want.

    But as sure as eggs are eggs, those that do know what they want, and that is your's and my share of the wealth we help to create, will be planning how to wrench it from us.

    So enjoy your holiday, and while you are resting, anticipate what a Tory driven Britain will be like. Then start planning your next trip to the doctors and imagine how long the wait will be for the next out-patients' appointment.

    Send us a postcard please.

  • Comment number 80.

    Watched the potted version on the news tonight after the footie.

    Prize for outstanding courage goes to the peaceful protester attempting to stop the looting marauders at RBS. With no thought for his own safety, says 'please' and attempts what others would quake to do. A true gentleman upholding our civil right to peaceful protest. A real hero and ambassador of true British behaviour. Well done. Someone give this man an MBE.

    Prize for outstanding dignity to the Obamas. Love 'em or hate 'em, they have charisma and bearing, and as for manners....not a sign of disgust when greeting our prime minister, when I have to confess I shudder when I see GB on tv-particularly when he mobilises his bottom teeth. Yuck!

    I missed your obviously pertinent question Nick, so I think you must share the prize for outstanding journalistic questioning with the gentleman who asked about where the money was coming from as the B of E has said we can't spend anymore! Love to know what Gordon wrote down so hastily-the journalist's name to add to his black list maybe? And how many times did Gordy try to get a word in edgeways as President Obama waxed lyrical?!

    I love to see the Obamas - I so wish we had similar charisma from a leader in this country. Yes, I admire his sobriety and courage too where money is concerned-perhaps he can help Gordon and Alistair form a 'crack down financial fraud' action plan?

    France, Germany and America are getting their own houses in order first-nothing wrong with that. Common sense, surely, to make sure your house is safe before you help put out a fire next door?

    The 4 things I saw mentioned tonight-

    Greater controls on hedge funds
    Greater global financial regulation
    Opening up of tax havens
    Tighter controls/restrictions of bankers' pay and bonuses

    What, exactly is there to disagree about there?
    4 ticks they can all go home early, job done!

    Pretty straight forward to me

  • Comment number 81.

    #79:
    I don't know what a Tory driven Britain would be like but I sure as heck know what a Labour driven Britain looks like and I'm willing to take the punt on a change. I will indeed enjoy my holiday. Bodrum is a great place to relax and I'm lucky that my partner's sister lives there. Let's hope the G20 agenda is off the menu when I get back because as Robert Peston writes 'It really isn't going to solve a great deal until the banks start lending again.'

  • Comment number 82.

    Gordon Brown delights in telling David Cameron that he leads the "do nothing" party.
    I am looking forward to Gordon Brown's reaction when David Cameron tells Mr.Brown that Mrs.Merkel,Mr.Sarkozy and the Governor of the BoE agree with him.

  • Comment number 83.

    79. At 01:31am on 02 Apr 2009, wasowenright wrote:
    #72 sicilian29

    ...But whatever you think of Gordon Brown, don't forget that he has balanced the free-market demands with being able to fund improvements to hospitals, schools and other infrastructure. He has provided the minimum wage. Not the way I would like to see it done, but with-in the parameters set by an apathetic nation, who will not shout for what they want. If indeed they know what they want.

    ===

    Thought you might be interesrted in this:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7976621.stm

    "A total of 144 colleges had building projects put on hold after the Learning and Skills Council ran out of money."

    If only we hadn't wasted the money on a pointless VAT cut eh? Wouldn't the money have been better spent on completing these projects rather than GBP22 off a GBP500 TV?

    Oh by the way, what happened to the notion then of bringing forward infrastructure projects to help with employment and the economy? Seems like more building jobs lost to me.



  • Comment number 84.

    gavin @ 82

    yes but Cameron doesn't have ANY ideas, does he? ... all he does is wait to see which way the wind is blowing and try to catch it ... like, for example, the banking bailout ... a very solid case that it was good money after bad ... but did DC oppose it when it was happening? ... no he didn't

    if the Conservatives had had the balls to go against the facile consensus back then, I would have respected that ... might even have considered voting for them ... and, given the vote of a CLEAR THINKING PROGRESSIVE counts ten normal votes, that would have been a real shot in the arm for Her Majesty's Opposition

    I know Vacuous Posh Boys isn't the most popular phrase on this blog but, you know, if the cap fits ...

  • Comment number 85.

    This is all crazy, there are no quick instant or fast solutions to the credit problem


    thrush

  • Comment number 86.

    Does being Anglo Saxon mean being English or British or is it to do with this special relationship we have with the USA Wasps White Anglo Saxon Pros who rule the USA them and the New York Jews lets not be coy here.But this idea that we are not connected is rubbish. Europe of which we are a part off it we were joined to France once and our Royals spoke French before English, we sent what we did not want here and in Europe for what ever reasons but usually to make the USA white as we did with Australia and New Zealand and Canada we lost the USA and see what happens like the spoilt child it has taken over and is now a superpower that seeks to own and control the world just as it saw Britain do, but people do not want to be slaves and that is what the New World Order is and who will rule but Gods chosen ones, well I do not fancy that.

  • Comment number 87.

    The massive elephant in the room at the G20 seems to be a lack of cheap oil, and what we can do about dwindling and ever more expensive oil supplies in the face of massively increasing competition for it. Our world economy is predicated on this, and so far I've heard nothing from any leader about how it will be addressed - other than vague wishes from Mr Obama. Oil supplies were low even before China and India started their industrial machines in earnest. China wants the West's economy to recover only so she can start exporting to us again. This will mean greater employment in China, which in turn will lead to even more demand for oil. Previous recessions/depressions have not had to face a world shortage of oil. Now we do. Are our esteemed leaders going to debate this and look for solutions, or are they going to wait until the gauge is on 'empty' and the engine is stuttering?

  • Comment number 88.

    The clear answer to the question of blame comes from asking the following question:

    'What exactly are these 'toxic assets' and who created them? When they were created, did someone knowingly bundle them in a manner whereby their sale value was knowingly unlinked to their intrinsic asset value?'

    We know of 'sub-prime' mortgages packaged as CDOs. There were two crimes there. Selling mortgages to those clearly unable to repay them. And selling those mortgages on and repackaging them.

    We know that some of this originated in the US. Was it also going on anywhere else, and if so, what were the values of the mortgages sold, collateralised and derivatised in various geographies?

    What other asset classes are there? Credit default swaps?? Were those packaged up as well? Who packaged them and did they price them properly?

    At the end of the day, what we have here is a market driven not on product quality but on speculative bullshitting. The market players knew they were selling cack, but as long as buyers felt they could sell cack for more than they paid for it, they were happy to go along and buy it.

    Quite why so-called 'conservative' institutions managing OTHER PEOPLE'S money were buying such assets is perhaps the most pertinent question of all.

    And why they were allowed to manage people's money in such a reckless manner by those appointed to oversee them is a further point of contention.

    What I think we are being asked to swallow is this:

    1. The mortgage salesmen who took commission out made money.
    2. The brokers who bought them, packaged them and sold them on made money.
    3. So did those who brokered trades in future.
    4. The suckers left hanging on to them when the truth outed were stuffed.
    5. Those who were hanging on to the credit default swap products covering the suckers were also stuffed.
    6. All those whose savings were invested in the companies hanging on to toxic assets were stuffed.

    So blame to me seems to be as follows:
    1. Any person who wilfully set up businesses to sell mortgages to unemployed people and then sold them on to third parties is clearly a criminal. Anyone worthy of FSA-accredited-person status can see that the payors were ridiculously bad risk and they MUST have lied about status to have sold them on to any sane buyer. So what is the relative geographical distribution of that bunch of shysters?
    2. Anyone buying that sort of junk to pass on to third parties was either recklessly negligent in their due diligence or wilfully criminal in knowing exactly what they were doing. So what is the relative geographical distribution of that bunch of idiots/shysters?
    3. Any pension fund, investment fund or other vehicle supposedly investing in conservative, safe havens was recklessly negligent in their due diligence of the market place in which they were operating. So what is the relative geographical distribution of that bunch of idiots?
    4. Any regulator who allowed the save haven pension funds to start investing in new product classes without understanding what they were about might reasonably be said to be an incompetent idiot who was so lacking in an understanding of the market space they were supposed to be overseeing that they were a danger to the general public or financial sector who employed them. So what is the relative competence of the regulators around the globe, relative to the amount of trading in dodgy asset classes that group 3 were undertaking eh?

    I doubt you'll find that each geography will be equally represented in the four groups.

    Now if you consider the first group to be the MOST criminal, you may find that the US is high up the blame game, but by no means alone.

    But if you think that it was the third group, those managing your savings and those of Joe Public who were the most criminal, then I think the blame is spread pretty clearly around the world.

    And if you think that group four are the ultimate blame boys (I don't), then I suspect that the US and the UK can quite rightly look at other shrill voices and say: let he who is without sin cast the first stone.......

    But the question for the G20 on this is:

    Do we consider Joe Public who invested their money is so-called safe havens to be losers in global capitalism, in which case they takes their medicine and learns from it?

    Or do we consider the financial card-sharps to have been engaging in wilful grand larceny and lock their sorry backsides up in jails forever more?

    And do we draw up a long list of disgraced financial services operatives who will not be drawing large salaries in future for having profligately destroyed the hard-earned savings of their customers and as a result, be no longer worthy of the trust necessary to allow them to undertake financial stewardship roles in future?

    It's a hard call.

    But if you believe in the taking the medicine route, then you had damn well better have financial management as part of every national curriculum in the world of education.

    Because otherwise, you are creating a world designed to destroy hard-working and decent people.

    Which I don't think is a very strong electoral platform to be standing on.

    Is it?

  • Comment number 89.

    jaggar @ 88

    fabulous little note - let's have tons more of that

 

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