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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Bank Squad

One minute Cardinal Wolsey was the most powerful man in the Kingdom under the Sovereign, the next he was as helpless as a peasant, owning just the clothes on his back as gruff blokes with pole-arms ransacked his chests of clothes and valuables. The illusion of invulnerability is as easily shattered as that, and if the government had the will we could start on Monday with a new Bank Squad

Just six strong, made up of two of the CPS' brightest lawyers, a brace of ace forensic auditors and a pair of skilled interrogators from the SAS, all sworn in today as Special Constables and under a Met DAC, with a District Judge issuing warrants over the weekend, they could be on Diamond's doorstep at 6am Monday Morning (in the Maxwell manner, with press photographers present) and rummaging  through his knicker-draw by 6.30, carrying out his home computers by 9am and huge plastic bags of papers by lunchtime.

I wonder if Mrs Diamond will look as photogenic as Pandora ....

'Clunk rattttle' goes the Euro-can

So, at a critical meeting of the EU's joint 'Head of State' billed as perhaps the most important in its history, the caucus has agreed the following;

1. A Eurozone banking supervisor based on the ECB to come into action in about two years

2. Once in place, funds can be lent directly to ailing banks. Except the Germans will still have the final say on any pay-outs. 

3. A banking union to be developed for the 17 (says Cameron) or the 27 (says a Commission person) during some indeterminate period

Meanwhile, in the real world Greece is still headed for the exit this Summer and Spanish and Italian 10-year bonds are set to creep back to 7% next week - a position Mr Rajoy has described as 'unsustainable' in the short term, never mind the next two years. 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

It's time to sweep the Ordure from the City

The Scum at Barclays, it seems, are only the tip of the iceberg. We've long known that rampant and rapacious greed linked to a stratospheric bonus system and deliberately weak controls from senior bank managers that allowed them to swill in the same trough whilst maintaining a mendacious deniability has corrupted the banking system utterly. Corrupting a major financial indicator for private gain by not only Barclays, but, as the WSJ reports, Citigroup, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, RBS and Lloyds, was just symbolic of the rapacious despoilation, the moral degradation, the avaricious abuse of trust exhibited by the banking sector. Now the scum are running scared, like a nest of rats unearthed by lifting a tin sheet, squealing and squeaking and offering industrial shed-loads of money to US and UK regulators to avoid criminal prosecution. But they cannot be let off the hook this time. 

We have been forced to recapitalise the banks, mortgaging future generations and impoverishing the Kingdom, to pay for the bankers' greed and folly. Ordinary lives have been ruined, industry grievously wounded, the nation's trade, it's very life-blood, draining from severed vessels as these gilded popinjays, these pampered jades, these foul and corrupt excrescences continue to lie, steal, distort, manipulate and cheat to maintain their pillage of the national wealth. Though the temptation is to march on Docklands with a coil of hempen rope and decorate the lamp columns of Canada Square with this noxious fruit, we must leave it to the courts and the criminal justice system to exact retribution. For retribution there must be. 

For Diamond, Goodwin, Cummings and all the rest of this foul cabal there can be no forgiveness. They must serve jail time, and substantial jail time. As Nick Drew points out, Jeff Skilling of Enron is serving over 24 years, why isn't Goodwin already looking from a polycarbonate slit from his cell in Barlinnie? We may, for now, need the banks, but we don't need the ordure that has managed them or corrupted the trust of the banking system.  

Yeah, ain't that so right ...

The pricking of officious narcissism

If you're a government minister as unknown and obscure as Hugh Robertson, the very last thing you should ask recalcitrant security guards barring your way is 'Don't you know who I am?' Robertson (who?) is facing ridicule this morning after his little spat with guards controlling entry to the Olympic media centre. He's not the first angry little narcissist to make himself a laughing stock; when Sebastian Coe was advised he wouldn't be admitted to Centre Court without his pass, and would have to sort any problems out at the main ticket office he exploded "Don't you know who I am? I'm Lord Coe" to which the unfazed security guard replied "Well, you'll be able to run round to the office and sort your ticket out all the quicker, then .."

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Lying Barclays Scum belong in Jail

The lying scum from Barclays who have been found culpable of serious manipulation of the LIBOR market belong in Jail. For many highly technical reasons, it appears that what they did was not actually a crime in the UK - so the FSA have fined the bank £290m instead. The bank will, of course, recover this from all its UK account holders rather than charge shareholders - so any Barclays customers, be prepared for some inventive extra charges from the Bank that likes to Lie.

Fortunately, their actions can be classed as criminal in the United States, and I am today writing to the US Ambassador encouraging that nation to charge and extradite all the devious, dishonest, chiselling, crooked bankers involved in this scam; twenty years jail time in a Federal Prison is about just punishment for what they did. This is one time the fast track extradition process will actually assist in ridding the UK of this bent cesspit of shite.

Caption suggestions?

The Evening Standard has just released pics of Blair's day as guest editor, shown here with Sarah Sands. Captions invited ...
(" ... you see, they do syrups on here that actually match your own hair colour" is mine)

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Berlaymont carpetbaggers rewire Spain

El Pais reports the arrival of the Brussels carpetbaggers in Madrid in advance of the transfer of up to €62bn of EU funds to save the Spanish banks. In a further ratings downgrade by Moody's the Spanish banks, including Santander, now hover at ratings just above junk status. The paper reports that the 'missions' in Madrid of the Commission, the ECB, Eurostat and the EBA are playing an increasing role in managing Spain's tax and budget, with a commensurate loss of sovereignty. The role of the EU institutions is likely to be made more explicit in advance of the financial transfer, timetabled for 9th July. The demands of the EU missions, says El Pais, to the Ministry of the Economy and the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) are becoming increasingly frequent, including calls for changes in VAT and the production of six-monthly budget statements. 

One of the most controversial requirements of the Berlaymont carpetbaggers is to reverse the autonomy enjoyed by Spain's Autonomous Communities, or regions. Running their own schools, healthcare, universities, welfare services, economic development and other services, the ACs are responsible for some 38% of public spending against a central government spend of just 18% (with local councils spending another 13% and the social security system the rest). The Commission has called for the dismantling of the autonomous offices (or 'embassies') maintained by each of the regions in Brussels and is pushing the Spanish government to establish more direct control over them, allowing the commission a direct role in their economic governance and in re-formulating Spain's tax system. Brussels wants the ACs to have the same obligation to follow the bailout conditions as Madrid.

With a right to self-government established by Spain's 1978 constitution, the ACs employ 50% of Spain's public servants, with a further 24% employed by city councils and provincial diputaciones. 

This is the real meaning of 'closer fiscal union' - not only the re-writing of national budgets by Brussels, but the closing down of local autonomy in the subject territories of the Commission. Like everything to come out of the Berlaymont, it is profoundly anti-democratic and makes conflict and bloodshed in Europe more likely rather than less. 

Monday, 25 June 2012

Not all animals love their offspring

We did a job a few years ago on a site adjoining a white working-class council estate. When I say working-class I mean of course non-working-class; barely any of the gobby, chippy semi literate squabbling tenants actually worked. They complained that our plant was waking them up, and could we keep it quiet until 10am or so? Anyway, the kids from the estate turned out to be more amenable than their parents, and were soon on bantering terms with the lads on site, running errands and even banking delivery vehicles. One day the site manager asked them why a usually cheerful lad was sitting off by himself in deep despondency. "His parents are chucking him out the day after his birthday" they explained; at sixteen, unless he was in education, his child benefit would stop and unless in employment he couldn't make the difference up. If he wasn't bringing in money, he was out. And they meant it. The rest of the kids thought it maybe a bit extreme, but by no means uncommon. Not all animals love their offspring. And of course he'd qualify for a Housing Association bedsit or shared dwelling, with Housing Benefit to pay the bill. 

Cameron's proposal to stop HB for the under 25s would stop all this, of course, and save £2bn a year. Quite so. But to avoid the shop doorways being jammed with homeless kids he also needs to reduce HB for any social housing tenants who don't have full occupancy, or compel them to trade down to homes with fewer bedrooms if their offspring move out. Carrots and sticks.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

There can be no forgiveness for Labour

Balls has been uncharacteristically silent during Miliband's nostra culpate on Labour's immigration crimes - and little wonder. Nothing has changed in Balls' bunker brain from the Labour party that used immigration as a weapon to bludgeon the British people, to punish us for clinging to our village greens, red phone boxes and outdated notions of liberty. For our refusal to accept Labour's new Jerusalem of enforced equality under an all-powerful Central State we were swamped with an African diaspora, a mudslide of chronically sick and terminally ignorant Pakistanis and Bangladeshis complete with illiterate village Imams, a flood of Somalis with no historic links to the UK whatsoever and a great tsunami of eastern Europeans. So concerted and of such scale was Labour's assault on the British people that it will take three generations to break down and assimilate the aliens, whilst the additional costs of their healthcare, education, housing, policing and welfare will depress our per capita GDP for twenty years. For that there can be no forgiveness. 

As I've written many times before, all this was not the fault of the immigrants. If you or I were offered the same opportunities we'd take them. There is no moral difference between us. You simply can't blame the immigrants. Those that seek to do so are letting Labour off the hook; so don't march in Bradford, take your placards to Labour HQ at One Brewers Green, SW1 or to  Ed and Yvette's 'second home' in Stoke Newington.

As Alasdair Palmer writes in the Telegraph, we are not the only people to be troubled by open borders;

"A similarly agonised reappraisal is happening across Europe. A couple of weeks ago, EU governments adopted a measure that would allow them to reintroduce border controls, 'when the control of an external border is no longer assured due to external circumstances' ... The new measure was pushed through by the French and German governments to assure their people that there is something they can do: they can impose border controls, and they will do if necessary. The European Commission fiercely opposed the change, arguing that it violates the basic principle of freedom of movement within the EU – which of course it does. But it couldn’t prevent it: the issue was too important to the elected governments." 

Those boarded-up border posts and dismantled barriers on 'B' roads all over Europe may have to be urgently refurbished, local villagers recruited again as border guards, and visa applications reintroduced. Then it will start to feel like the Europe I know and love so well again.