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Friday, 30 April 2010

Lighten up Levin

I was going to post something earlier in the week about banker bashing at Goldman Sachs and how Carl levin seemed to be going over the top, but I had flu and I reckoned that it would just be read as an apology for bankers so I passed. However, since the Guardian is running something on similar lines, here goes.

The essence of Mr Levin's charges appears to be that Goldman made less than full disclosure about their own commercial position to customers when selling them assets, and furthermore that Goldman's held a different commercial view on the assets (which Mr levin thinks is wrong).

Both of these statements are of course tosh.

Goldman, or the creator/promoter of any other security, has always had an obligation to provide adequate information to potential purchasers of a security. They have an obligation to be diligent in the preparation of the information, to not mislead or withhold relevant information, but that is as far as it goes. They do not have to think the product is the best - the customer may well share their view. As ever, best advice in business is caveat emptor.

But the second point is more absurd. In business, there is always a difference of view between a buyer and a seller. A seller thinks the sellers are worth less than the cash price, and a buyer thinks they are worth more. That is why the deal goes through. If we all put the same value on every asset, nothing would ever be sold.

Wise up, Mr Levin.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

I can solve the UK budget deficit at a stroke

How? Answer: go to the IMF for a bailout. The markets might still be open for UK sovereign debt, but the IMF would insist on the same terms as Greeece, which of course the UK would have to accept, even for a very small bailout:

  • 2-3% increase in value-added tax
  • Three-year public sector pay freeze; recruitment frozen
  • 14% pay reduction for public sector workers; 5 per cent cut in allowances
  • No renewals for short-term public sector contracts
  • Closure of quangos
  • Opening up of more than ‘closed-shop’ professions
  • Raising average retirement age to 67 for men and women; cutting state corporation pensions.
  • Privatisation: sales of state corporations; flotations on stock exchange; sale and leaseback of state assets

Where do these bigots come from?

One can't help being disappointed with the British media once again over the minor spat between the prim minister and a 70 year old widow from Rochdale. Not that they shouldn't be concerned when elected politicians act spitefully towards members of the public, but because they missed the irony that he should call her a bigot simply because she enquired about the number of Eastern Europeans.

"bigot" is a very old word, and as far as we can tell it comes from the same French word, which the Parisians applied to the neighbouring Normans, implying that they were sanctimonious and stubborn bores. The Normans as we know had Scandinavian origins and were somewhat brutish fellows, so the epithet is hardly surprising, but where did it come from?

As any student of comparative linguistics will tell you, the consonants 'b' and 'v' are often interchangeable and as a result, it would not be a wild surmise that the "bigot" is in fact a contraction of the word "visigoth", a tribe whose sanctimonious boorishness far exceeded that of the most zealously partisan Norman.

It speaks volumes about today's media that Wapping's finest failed to spot that the Prime Minister had condemned Mrs Duffy as a member of a tribe that originated in North East Bulgaria in the 4th century AD.

Which didn't answer her question, but almost did.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Now there's a coincidence

Greece, home of the Olympic Games and cradle of European civilisation, has had its bonds rated as junk by Standard & Poor's. The Greek government needs to raise 9bn euros ($11.9bn; £7.7bn) by 19 May, but has said it cannot go to the markets because of "prohibitive" interest rates.

Which makes the position of the British government even more precarious, with a much higher deficit as a percentage of GDP, and a £170bn annual deficit to fund.

But the coincidence is that the British government is paying about 9bn to host the Olympics (not including the funding from other sources).

Monday, 26 April 2010

Obvious statements part94.

The next government will have to cut public sector pay, freeze benefits, slash jobs, abolish a range of welfare entitlements and take the axe to programmes such as school building and road maintenance – or make a set of equally politically perilous choices, according to an analysis by the Financial Times.

Wow, those chaps at the other pink paper don't miss a trick.

The government could also borrow its way to oblivion, devalue the currency until it is worthless or any other reckless ideas. The only way they could get away with it would be to reduce accountability through voting "reform".

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Reasons to not vote Lib Dem

  1. Because you believe in representative democracy, not some hypothetical "fair" allocation to a party based on the misplaced assumption that because you put up a candidate in every seat you deserve greater representation in Westminster.
  2. Because the Lib Dems are living off the proceeds of crime (£2.4 million to be exact).
  3. Because Nick Clegg's wife will not be voting for him. If she won't why should you?

Reasons to vote Lib Dem

Can't think of any, but feel free to add your own in the comments.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Think laterally - make a buck or two

European airlines are complaining that they can't make money withtheir planes grounded and should therefore be compensated for losing money while their staff are idle.

This should be resisted, but probably won't be. While Europe is covered in ash, those pilots could be usefully employed as emergency window cleaners. With 25 million houses in the UK alone at £20 a time, that is £500 million of revenue up for grabs.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

New Taxes

Whoever gets into power will need to raise taxes. I am not in favour, but it is a likely necessity.

So if it happens, let us give credit where it is due and call it he Brown Overspend Tax or somthing like that.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Boat Race Result

Hugh Gaitskell, Tony Benn, Michael Foot, Melvyn Bragg, Jeremy Thorpe, Cardinal Newman, Peter Mandelson, Natasha Kaplinsky, Fiona Bruce, Tony Blair, Richard Dawkins. Can you hear me Richard Dawkins? Your boys took one hell of a beating! Your boys took one hell of a beating!'