It’s a long read but made easier by the cute little pictures of the participants which give the transcript a nice comic book – photostory kind of vibe. The pictures are also just the right size for prodding angrily with your forefinger
Vince Cable was, obviously, on form...
Taxpayers are already committed to the hilt; they have already advanced staggering sums. In normal circumstances, I would not dream of recommending my solution, but we are in an extremity—and in an extremity we have to look at the options. The one that I propose is the least undesirable; I shall come to the reasons for that.
...as were most of the other elected representatives who spoke – greasy, self-serving, deceitful little shits right down to virtually the last man and woman.
A selection of some of my favourite greasy, self-serving, deceitful contributions from the session…
Jim Cousins, Labour
I come back to this point. One of the real skills built up by Northern Rock's workers is making mortgage lending available to the lower end of the income scale and making those mortgages work in a sustainable way. So far, the published record indicates that the bank has been very successful in doing that. That set of skills is of enormous value to our current housing market and it would be sensible not to downgrade those skills and destroy that reputation, which would make that work impossible.
Peter Atkinson, Conservative
The hon. Gentleman has been dreadfully dismissive of the small shareholders, of whom there are 140,000. Yes, some acquired their shares on demutualisation and have been counting them as their savings for retirement. Many others, including people in my constituency, bought small quantities of shares because they wanted to support a good local business. They are the ones who will suffer. They should not be dismissed and put out of the picture.
Doug Henderson, Labour
I understand theoretically some of the points that the hon. Gentleman is making, and I have read the motion. Is he aware that Northern Rock employees do not want nationalisation? If it is difficult now to sell the business as a going concern, they wonder how much more difficult it will be to do so in future. The small shareholders, some of whom I see in the Gallery, oppose nationalisation because they would lose any value that they have.
Kevan Jones, Labour
Is the hon. Gentleman at one with the leader of the Liberal Democrats on Newcastle city council who, along with the majority of elected politicians in the north-east, supports efforts to get a solution for Northern Rock? Is he not in danger today, with the emotive language that he uses, of running down the company and making matters worse?
Plus one strange exchange where someone actually seemed to be trying to suggest something constructive for a moment...
David Drew, Labour
I, for one, congratulate the hon. Gentleman on calling the debate. Did he consider another option—the possibility of remutualising Northern Rock? Some of us feel strongly that one of the great problems of demutualisation is that it was predictable that some companies, because of the nature of the marketplace in which they operate, would overstretch themselves. Is it not time we looked at the strength of mutuals again?
Vincent Cable, Liberal Democrat
That is a helpful intervention, with which I have a great deal of sympathy. I used to be involved in an organisation called Save Our Building Societies, which campaigned against the original demutualisation of Northern Rock for precisely that reason. After a period of temporary public ownership, that might be one of the options that appear viable, but rushing into a sale now would preclude it. The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right.
…and then everyone went back to the serious business of being greasy, self-serving, deceitful little shits
So, remember boys and girls, Northern Rock is a superbly managed financial institution which is only suffering problems because of a) something which happened in America and b) the acting Leader of the Lib Dems, one of the handful of apparently sane and honest people in the House, talking it down all the time. A kindly, bearded and jovial man in a big balloon is shortly going to make everything alright again in time for Christmas
- The Virgin bid is bollocks
- As the result of a special recipe secret blend of incompetence, corruption and outright fraud, Northern Rock is going down
- Other banks and businesses are also going down
- It is going to hurt
- A lot