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I Just Don’t Know Anymore!

The financial stuff is now leaving this humble blogger bemused. I honestly don’t know if yesterday’s measures, to take control of a large section of the banking sector will work or not. Do these guys know what they are doing? or are they like some compulsive gambler having lost his wages and the housekeeping, putting the house and holiday money on a good tip on the last race at Plumpton?

It was Harold Wilson who said that a week is a long time in politics but a few short weeks ago who would have guessed at the events that have unfolded. Yesterday Gordon Brown compared himself to Churchill and Roosevelt and there was hardly a snigger. Never in the field of global crisies can one man’s career have had such a boost.

The reason that nobody laughed at Broon’s comment is that we’re all shit scared. Shit scared for our jobs, houses and pensions. A siege mentality/ wartime spirit is now evident. And yet…..and yet……although shares in general recovered yesterday, the three banks (HBOS, RBOS and Lloyds TSB) continued to plummet. HBOS ended up 27.5% down.

Gordon Brown says a condition of bailing the banks out is that mortgage lending must return to 2007 levels. Hang on! isn’t that at least partly what landed us in this mess in the first place?

As I say, I’m a humble blogger. I just don’t know anymore.

22 Responses

  1. So the economy is going tits up. Someone want to run past me who the Chancellor was for most of the past 11 years? No one sniggered because we passed out at the thought. You’d be as well comparing my musical ability to Eric Clapton.

  2. Ach Robbo, c’mon, get real. Even under Gorgeous George of the Osbornes, things would be the same.

    The banking crisis was triggered by the industry themselves, in whole and in part.

    Greedy selfish bastards the lot of them.

    How ironic that the very thing that is held up as the beacon in a capitalist world has to be saved by a socialist principle of nationalisation.

    And should we help the bankers (sic)? Yes, of course we should. It’s the right thing to do.

    Can’t wait for ‘Just Call Me Dave’ to get in. Actually, that’s not true. I can.

    Go on Broon Boy, get it up ’em!

  3. Robbo if there was any contributory factor in all this by Broon it was the almost total disregard for regulation of the free market and the city. It’s really to much of a leap of imagination that the Tories would have done things differently.

    Even countries who have acted in a much more responsible manner have been drawn into this crisis so to lump the blame on to Broon is a little disingenuous.

    Tell you what too, it’s put the whole independence thing way down the agenda. Salmond has not done himself any favours over recent days.

  4. BTW Alan the last time we had nationalisation as a government policy the UK very nearly went bankrupt so I wouldn’t hold that up as some kind of answer to all ills. Also the ‘nationalisation’ is framed to be temporary. We’ll see.

  5. Fair point Rab, however a mixture of the two ethos would give us Utopia.

    Things that shouldn’t be subject to profit to include :

    Transport (how fucked up is this under a free market?)

    And to have private utility companies make billions out of poor people is obscene.

  6. Thanks for the update, I like to get things right. If it’s bad under the Tories it’s Thatcher’s fault, if it’s bad under Labour, it’s everyone elses. Thanks. Got it now.

    As you say Rab, if the de-regulation is to blame and it was so obvious, Saint Broon o’ Fife not noticing / not doing anything about it for 11 years is an interesting point.

  7. Whilst the bankers, encouraged by wantonly neglectful right-wing free market Goverments (Labour, Tory, it’s irrelevant), bear a very heavy responsibility for the current mayhem, we the people are not without blame.

    That nice neighbour next door may well be the chap who bought shares in every utility sell-off, enthusiastically accepted a cheque for £500 to demutualise his building society, and demanded ever greater dividends and share values at AGM’s.

    Let’s face it, these folk are everywhere and they were not only too happy to suspend disbelief for as long as it suited, but were also first in the queue demanding blood when the likes of Nothern Rock went tits up.

    What the UK Government is doing right now risks encouraging the banking sector to simply return to it’s desperate ways. Real biting and firmly-enforced regulation is now a prequisite, and anyone who says that such a measure would kill entrepreneurship, stifle innovation, etc., is basically using coded language for one thing – the right of an elite to continue to make lots of money irrespective of the consequences.

    I also take issue with your comments on nationalism Rab; it’s precisely because Scotland, and Edinburgh in particular, is so heavily dependent on reckless UK institutions that people here will be clattered.

    The problems now are nothing to do with national boundaries, but lie within the banking sector. Iceland is in freefall not because it’s an international minnow but because it’s (unregulated) banks behaved disgracefully.

    Sure Salmond has shot from the lip, but those (Labour) politicians who are reacting with glee never mention, for example, the Bank Of Santander which stayed well away from the fool’s gold and as a result is in relatively good health.

    A properly managed Scottish national bank(s), regulated by an independent Scottish government could have avoided the fate of most. Or are we now going to allow ourselves to be cowed by fear and black propaganda into accepting that our best interests lie in being hitched to a bankrupt UK ?

    I don’t get the logic in all of that. Still, we’ve always got Son Of Trident to look forward to…….

  8. Blimey! everyone is het up!

    Quite a few points. Alan yes agreed a mixed economy is best.

    Robbo If you check back, I have blamed Labour and Tory where I felt it was due. I merely pointed out to you the irony of blaming Broon for a global crisis and all I said was that the Tories would have acted the same.

    Fern Cake, I take issue a bit with what you say. The only shares I have are in Standard Life which I got when they were virtually forced to demutualise. Whilst there are some people as you describe many others, my elderly mother included, having been brought up to save regularly and wisely, could end up with bugger all. Their efforts to be independent and therefore not a burden on the rest of us cast aside.

    Are the Santander you refer to the same ones who wanted to buy HBOS, the Alliance Leicester and did buy the Abbey?

    As a non socialist I believe the Labour government of the 70’s did make a total mess of things and simply paved the way for Thatcher. They promised trade unions the earth and they couldn’t deliver. Free beer for the workers indeed.

    A few weeks ago in an earlier discussion Denmark was brought up as a good example of a country with a socialist government. Sadly they are one of the worst affected countries by this crisis. Ireland too were hit badly. It is of course hypothetical to speculate on how an independent Scotland would have fared but to say we’d have been ok contradicts evidence elsewhere.

    My statement on how this all affects nationalism isn’t I’d suggest a personal view rather than an observation. This will make people less confident and less likely to take a leap into the unknown. I can’t be held responsible for human nature!

    The old liberal ideology was the most preferable in my opinion. Small manageable businesses operating competitively in a properly regulated market and a mixed economy (with state owned sectors divided into managable units) . Regulation where it is required but keeping unnecessary red tape to a minimum. A properly funded welfare system.

  9. Vote for Rab – see manifesto above.

    A (non socialist) capitalist leaning entrepeneur with a liberal attitude and a conscience that would help the poor.


  10. Aye it’s called social liberalism


  11. Good article there Rab

    I liked the phrase “commercial middle classes”.

    Made me laugh out loud!

  12. I too have standard life shares and I am hanging on to them to help to pay off the mortgage shortfall
    the greedy “independent financial consultant” who promised me I would be loaded when my policy matured has disappeared
    aye if someone had said a year ago nationalisation was the answer that would have raised a chuckle
    heard on the grapepine that a gent was walking home past highgate cemetary last night and he heard laughter
    curious to find out what was happening it was coming from the tomb of Karl Marx

  13. Alan, I checked and the phrase is used when discussing the history of liberalism in the nineteenth century. If you find it funny then fair do’s.

    Campbell, I often wonder about the attraction of Marxism. In practice it led to austere corrupt authoritarianism. Queues generated by shortages brought about by the failed concept of trying to tell people what they want and need (planned economy). As I’ve said a couple of times the main difference between an average Cuban worker and an average British one is that the British one can afford a fortnight in Havana.

    If socialism/communism was a desirable system then it would have taken hold worldwide as people became more educated. Instead it was rejected wholesale by the people where it was the system of government. It works in the early stages in a revolutionary sense before the inevitable power struggles and splits.

    I’d be interested to know if there is a country (or has been a country) run on Marxist principles of the means of production where the workers have had a better income/ standard of living and quality of life/healthcare than those in Western Europe. Answers on a postcard.

    As Frank Zappa said, ‘Communism doesn’t work because people want to own stuff.’

  14. You are right Rab, Communism is extremism much like the flip side of Marx’s values.

    Middle ground is the answer, obviously, and turning the question back on you, if social liberalism is the solution, then where has that been a success? I hope you have an answer, cos’ if SL won’t work, then we are all fooked.

    And yes the phrase ‘commercial middle classes’ I did find funny. Why? Because I hate these daft labels that are given to people. Daily Mailisms indeed.

  15. It really depends on your definition of success Alan. Nothing is perfect as you know but the model of a mixed economy with welfare provision as witnessed in much of western post-war Europe has worked fairly well for the majority. Is it perfect? of course it’s not. While unemployment, inequality, poverty, terrorism and the threat of war exist it’s not perfect. It needs a radical shake up obviously when events like recent ones happen. It needs constant tweaking and adjusting otherwise there’d be no point in having elections.

    The banking system needed radical reform and governments stood by and watched top heavy, corrupt, unwieldy organisations who could only survive by being taken over or expanding, implode.

    I hope they take note and radically reform the EU before it’s too late. The parallels are there. The European rail system can’t cope with all the gravy trains.

    Anyway, I’m sure Marx wouldn’t be laughing. His ideas failed big time and are now pretty much part of history. Hugo Chavez may be carrying the torch but as soon as the Venezuelans’ standard of living improves, they’ll probably moderate.

    As for the commercial middle classes, within the context of the article it probably saved a few words using that description.

    Anyway this blog’s getting too serious. I’m away to write about Ringo Starr.

  16. Just when I was going to join the fray again….but OK let’s leave it there.

    Last word, never mind Marxism, etc., what’s the betting there will soon be a newspaper article or ten imploring us all to rediscover religion ???

  17. queues generated by by a failed concept
    like the one outside northern rock and fannie and fred

  18. Fern Cake,you’re right.

    Campbell, aye but the queues wont be day in day out for seventy years before action’s taken to redress the situation.

  19. Aye Rab
    I am glad Iam retired and dont have to worry about my job or buying a house or feeding weans
    only derby and joan to look after
    probably we are in a better position than most
    big robbo excepted of course
    he is minted

  20. Campbell I’m sure the banking crisis has coincided with Robbo’s early retirement from RBS!

    Come back Robbo! we need you!

  21. A social liberal and a democratic socialist must be related somehow I think.

  22. […] a wider note, Big Rab and Otan2 express a degree of frustration and bemusement at matters, while Shuggy outlines how […]

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