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When Thieves Fall Out

I noticed with no little amusement this article from the Metro regarding Alistair Darling’s new book.

Then I recalled two previous postings from this very journal firstly this one:

And then this one:

To be kind one would just have to say that Al’s memory is playing tricks. The less kind amongst us may say he was being less than frank on at least one occasion.

If he was being entirely honest with his opinions, then I have to ask:

Could it be that a blogger who plays the moothie and likes a dram but alas has no financial or political experience whatsoever, had a better handle on what was going on than the Prime Minister or the Chancellor?

Only asking.


Number Crunching

One hundred and thirty eight million

1) The number of taxpayers in the USA.

2) The number of pounds that Eddie Stobbart sold the best known haulage company in the UK for in 2007.

3) The number of Sony Playstation 2 consoles sold worldwide.

4) The number of dollars that Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon has just sold a million shares in the company for.

5) The number of pounds that Portsmouth FC are in debt.

Portsmouth’s average attendance at home matches is 16,497.

Some people are waking up and smelling the coffee about the economy and what it means for fitba’. Others are carrying on with similar abandon to previous seasons.

In these tough economic times, how many fans will see attendance at football, or the £50 a month to Sky, as a luxury they can do without?

You’re so wrong Darling

(Thank you to Introducer Today)

No, not over the fact that he has been claiming thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money for his family home in Edinburgh while living rent free at number 11 Downing Street.

And not because while he was claiming this cash he was pocketing the rent from a London flat he owns and rents out.

Both of which are within parliamentary expenses rules.

So what has the man in charge of the country’s finances got wrong?

Well, this time he’s failed to do his job properly and has underestimated the severity of the recession.

He defended his failure by claiming that no one else saw it coming either. (!!!!)

“The downturn since last autumn has been far deeper than people expected in any part of the world,” (!!!!) he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

Sounding almost defeatist, Mr Darling added: “I think there is some way to go yet. A lot really depends on actually how much other countries do.”

But taxpayers can rest assured that prime minister Gordon Brown won’t lose sight of his role.

His focus will be on more important issues than MPs’ expenses – i.e. the economy and terrorism.

Which begs the question, where is Osama Bin Laden?



Really Darling?

From yesterday’s Sunday Times:

David Smith and Isabel Oakeshott

The chancellor, Alistair Darling, has admitted that he and his Treasury officials got it wrong over the length and severity of the recession and that he will be forced to tear up his economic predictions.

He will slash his growth forecast in the budget and warn that there will be no economic recovery until the end of the year, dashing hopes that last week’s G20 summit will be followed by an early upturn. “It’s worse than we thought,” Darling said this weekend

From the Ben Lomond Free Press 5/1/09

Deep Doo Doo

Latest News!


VAT’s Wrong!

I notice various media sources, amongst them The Times reporting on the call by The Centre for Economics and Business Research for a 5% reduction in the standard rate of VAT in the UK.

I heard various economic ‘experts’ blathering on about it on the broadcast media yesterday. They all seem blissfully unaware that Mr. Darling could not unilaterally reduce VAT by this amount. The minimum standard rate of VAT in the EU is 15%. The UK is bound by this minimum.

Even if the government had this power it would have a very limited impact. Hard pressed retailers would be unlikely to pass on the savings for example. They would justifiably see it as a cash injection during particularly hard times. I have a feeling that the service sector would view it in the same way and probably manufacturing would take the opportunity of a hike in prices of somewhere around, hold on let me think about this, 5%.

It would therefore be inflationary as these things are calculated on a net price basis.

VAT is an unfair non-progressive tax. By non-progressive I mean that everybody pays the same rate. Income tax is progressive i.e. the more you earn the more you pay. However this is not the time to reduce VAT even by the allowed 2.5%. The result of this would inevitably be a hike to 20% or even 25% in the future.

Humbly once again, I direct any passing economists or chancellors to my own suggestions for a boost to the economy via VAT.

Whatever they do I have the feeling it’s too little too late. I’ve lived through two recessions. A slump will however be a completely new experience.