Thursday, December 13, 2007

The illustrated adventures of Vince Cable

Thanks to anon for leaving me a link to a transcript of last night’s House of Commons debate on the Northern Rock farrago

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. 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

"Look! It's Richard Branson - He'll save us!!"

  • 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



Shutter said...

Vince's remartks worthy of note included

"We are very much in the middle of a banking crisis that is without precedent— certainly in my lifetime and probably for most of the last century."

Although that nasty turncoat Quentin Davies had to make a snide reference to "London and County Securities bank, which had as its director at the time Jeremy Thorpe, then leader of the Liberal party."

"The sum is the equivalent of about £5 million for every Northern Rock employee."... which make sit surely the most expensive Job Creation scheme in history.

"it has become painfully and increasingly apparent that, with the money markets now largely closed, it is simply impossible for any of the bidders, however credible or reputable, to raise the amount required, including the money necessary to guarantee the full repayment of the taxpayer."... a point now reinforced by the withdrawal of one of the bidders

"We now have an extraordinary situation whereby the chief executive of the bank, Mr. Applegarth, who drove the bank on to the rocks, is still sitting in the chief executive's chair driving the company and managing the Government's taxpayers' money." .. extraordinary ...mild words .. Mr AA increasingly reminds me of Mr Toad Poop! Poop! time for the Police Sergeant to appear methinks

"Mr. Applegarth, the chief executive. He is still there, sitting in his chair at the bank. He understood all this and, at the peak of the market, he sold his shares. He was urging the small investors—to whom the hon. Member for Hexham (Mr. Atkinson) has rightly drawn our attention—to invest in his bank while he was selling up. We all know what happened. He invested his money in a very large country estate and bought a fleet of sports cars for his wife. That person is still at his desk at the Northern Rock bank; he is directing its affairs and is responsible for taxpayers' money. That is one of the unbelievable aspects of how this whole affair has been managed."

Kitty Ussher

I can say that the Government are not paying the fees of the Virgin group. I understand that there is an arrangement between Virgin and the company to pay fees up to a specified cap.

Let us hope the Treasury Solicitors are burning the midnight oil preparing a Bill for Nationalisation.

Reading the deabte one is again reminded of Count Oxenstierna the great Swedish Chancellor who took his sone to watch Parliament.."Now you see my son with how little wisdom the world is governed"

Stef said...

"Now you see my son with how little wisdom the world is governed"

or, as I thought when I read through the debate

"For fuck's sake are those fucking arseholes really supposed to be in charge"

I suspect Count Oxenstierna probably had a somewhat classier education than I did

Anonymous said...

Very impressive stuff from Vince. He's clearly far too clued up to be a politician.

Alex Fear said...

Thank God for Peter Atkinson. 140,000 (the number who will attain a place in the heavenly zion) vs 60mil taxpayers.

Don't you realise?! No-one is thinking of those poor shareholders- especially those ones that rushed in *after* the crisis:

Those same poor shareholders who believe in LOCAL business!

Oh think of the wretched employees! How will they survive if they are unable to continue duping the poor into stretching their budgets for that coveted home of their own.

That's right folks, don't you know? There's a shortage, take as much money as you like, you'll easily be able to pay it all back!

Anonymous said...

For me, one interesting point was uttered by Vince; thus,
"Many of the people who call themselves "small investors" are not small; I believe that Lord Stevens is a large investor who bought into the company quite recently in order to make a killing from it. The key shareholders, of course, are the hedge funds, whose role I shall deal with shortly."

So, 2 points ... Vince has got the needle for Stevens - don't know exactly why, any offers? Secondly, the hedge funds. Mish (mish's economic global blogspot) has predicted a huge collapse of the hedge funds. Already RAB (a 5 % investor in Northern Rock) has posted profit warnings. This is gonna happen all over that sector with forced sales. Northern Cock is the very thin edge of the wedge. Say bye bye to Kansas Dorothy.

The Antagonist said...

Vince has got the needle for Stevens - don't know exactly why, any offers?

Why would anyone have the needle for Lord Sir John Stevens of Kirkwhelpton?

The Antagonist said...
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