Tonight’s YouGov poll has topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%. We are perhaps seeing a few more polls with small Labour leads than ones with small Tory ones, but for all intents and purposes the two main parties remain pretty much neck-and-neck.


372 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 39, LAB 40, LDEM 9”

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  1. @Tinged Fringe

    They didn’t need us to continue (see discussions past), so I don’t see what concessions we’ll get for Cameron admitting he didn’t ‘veto’ anything. I’m sure something will be announced for face saving value tho.

  2. @Colin

    Fair point

    @SoCalLib

    You’re welcome

    Regards, Martyn

  3. Milliband writes to PM over “Inaccurate ” PMQ’s claim.

    “Dear Prime Minister,

    I wanted to write following this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions to draw your attention to some inaccurate claims you made today.”
    You can read the rest of it here http://labourlist.org/2012/01/miliband-writes-to-pm-over-inaccurate-pmqs-claims/

    but I was wondering if this was normal procedure or a new tactic.
    I also note he avoids the use of the “L” word.

  4. TSITSIKAMMA – nah, it’s a regular thing.

    Not really sure why they do it, as it gets no pick up and the minister in question inevitably writes back quoting slightly different measures, time scales, etc where they are correct.

  5. @Anthony

    It might be a little tougher when it’s the PM not just a minister of state. Particularly when press reports on his performance at that particular PMQ are not going in his favour. (Not even in the Daily Mail!)

  6. R Huckle

    Agree with your comments about RBS under Goodwin. Remember that Salmond asked if Scotland could “help” in the acquisition of ABN Amro !

    Your comments on Hester are very fair.

    Re Investment Banking-I hope & believe UK will be in the vanguard of moves to segregate this from retail banking -so that the shareholders of high risk trading operations bear the cost of failure-and not taxpayers.

    MARTYN

    Thanks :-)

  7. Re RBS – and banks in general.

    Firstly, 2008 is the wrong starting point for the problem. That was the point when the over-inflated balloon burst and the damage became obvious. But the banks did not suddenly puff up their balance sheets.

    There had been a decade prior to that when governments and regulators were doing their best to keep inflating the economy by encouraging consumers to keep spending supported by easy credit. To blame the banks only for what was a widespread political, social and economical malaise is like blaming car manufacturers or petrol stations for a motorway pile-up.

    The 2008 crisis occurred because Governments, corporates and consumers had all over-borrowed, to the point where it became clear that the debt levels were unsustainable.

    In 2008/9, governments, as those possessing the deepest pockets, propped up those institutions which were essential to maintain stability in the system. It is arguable whether Northern Rock needed saving, but RBS and Lloyds clearly did need support.

    Since 2009, the corporarte sector has done an excellent job at deleveraging – a by-product of which has been lower business investment and hence reduced output.

    Since 2009, many – but by no means all – households have also been addressing their credit exposures. This of course has had a much greater impact on demand – and hence output.

    Since 2009, what have governments been doing about addresing their own imbalances ?

    The record across the world is patchy at best. What is most noticeable is that those countries which had been prudent (as in properly fiscally prudent, not GB style) before 2008 are also those who were best able to adapt to the crisis by applying a temporary fiscal stimulus, but have also since been able to tackle the resulting imbalances.

    Many countries have carried on as if excess deficits were a result and not a cause of the problem. Their problems have got worse – to the point where several major countries are now effectively bankrupt.

    The UK waqs headed down that path until May 2010. Since then, the government has set about the mammoth task of bringing the public finances back under control. The task is much harder than it needed have been had GB managed the public finances better when he was chancellor. There is still an enormous amount left to do, but we are on the right track. This country will be suffering the consequences of Brown’s profligacy for years to come.

    To pretend that our problems are the fault of bankers is a convenient – but nonetheless misguided – way of deflecting blame from those truly responsibile. It is also politically convenient because the blame is so widespread among the electorate.

    Unless we each as individuals come to terms with our own part in the excess spending / credit in the run-up to 2008 (and since if still guilty) we cannot start to rebuild a strong and sustainable future for ourselves and our families.

  8. @Paul H-J

    I gave up posting some months ago because some of the left leaning posters were becoming excessively irritating and irrational.

    However yours is the best post I have ever seen on the cause of our current financial problems and I had to say so. Spot on!!!!!!!

  9. pul h-j and the other howard

    There is ongoing controversy about what caused the problems we are in. My preferred theory is that speculators (including within banks) blew up bubbles to magic up cash on a global scale and when the bubble burst it demanded that they get all moneys owed byt he banks even though the banks didn’t have it. So because the banks going bust would have been very messy, money was printed on a collossal scale to bail out the banks.

    We are still printing money to give to the banks, but they still won’t put it into circulation, preferring to hoard against bad debts (because they are still all bankrupt) so there is no money for anybody else to spend. Yes there was cheap money and some was let subprime but these dodgy debts were DELIBERATELY spread amongst everybosy many times over so all the buyers and sellers earned commission and the banks would all fail at once. Hence my pension cut and salary frozen and may lose job, and so on and so on.

    I borrowed to buy my house and still have a mortgage that I can afford…unless I lose my job. I don’t have any other debts. So in what way am I responsible for a trillion pounds being owed?

  10. Thanks Anthony,

    Thought that might be the case.Although presumably any inacuracies are corrected in the records.

  11. Thanks Anthony, thought that might be the case. Presumably though any inaccuracies are corrected in the records

  12. OOPS ! Sorry, double entry ——- and now a third .( Smiley thing )

  13. TSITSIKAMMA – No, if a minister has said something they can’t substantiate in some other way they might end up apologising to the house (which would obviously go on the record), but the back and forth of letters is just political point scoring: it doesn’t have any effect other than putting egg on a minister’s face if they can’t substantiate it and have to apologise.

  14. Jayblanc

    ‘It might be a little tougher when it’s the PM not just a minister of state. Particularly when press reports on his performance at that particular PMQ are not going in his favour. (Not even in the Daily Mail!)’

    Although not a frequent reader of the Mail, when I have had the opportunity I have read only criticism of DC from the Mail since the Coalition was formed. They seem to have a phobia about the LDs, and express far stronger anti views on them than Labour. As for DC he is a Liberal Conservative. Enough said – the Mail will never support him.

  15. @ Colin

    What a ridiculous comment-sorting out the monstrous mountain of disparate companies & debt which Goodwin built to the cheers of Brown & Salmond is “hardly rocket science”.
    ————————————
    Tell me one thing that Hester has done well, Colin. Give us one example of how he is making a better job of sorting out the RBS than any competent manager would.
    8-)

  16. @ Colin

    Sir Philip Hampton, the chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland, has given up a £1.4m bonus he was due later this year, the bank has announced.
    ————————————————-
    Here’s the thing, Colin. This action by the Chairman casts Hester in a poor light. Whatever Sir Hampton may say, his actions speak louder than words.

    So, I put it you Colin, that the Chairman himself does not believe that the team have done anything, yet, which is out of the ordinary & deserving of a bonus.
    8-)

  17. AMBERSTAR…………Stephen Hester was appointed by Alastair and Gordon to replace Fred Goodwin, surely, given your unmitigated support for these Scottish hero’s during their disastrous incumbency, you should give him a chance to show how shrewd was their judgement. :-)

  18. @Ken – “When you have political leaders insisting that there will be no return to boom and bust, it’s no small wonder that everyone joined in the rush to take advantage of infinite growth. Human nature”

    To ‘no more boom and bust’ you could have added ‘sharing the proceeds of growth’.

    @Paul H-J – your last post is sensible and thoughtful, with much I can agree on. However, regarding banks and their level of responsibility, there is one overriding factor that free marketeers must confront.

    In a market economy, broadly speaking a free market albeit with some regulation, banks have a duty to their shareholders to aquire value. They do this by lending money and providing financial services.

    Banks went bust, wholesale. Clearly, and with inescapable market logic, they got it wrong. You can argue all you like about consumers, businesses and regulators, but your comment;

    “To blame the banks only for what was a widespread political, social and economical malaise is like blaming car manufacturers or petrol stations for a motorway pile-up….” is wrong. Car manufacturers have a duty to their shareholders to sell cars. Beyond ensuring cars are legal and meet all the regulations, they have no responsibility regarding how cars are driven.

    The banks duty is to make money from loans. They have a direct responsibility to their shareholders to ensure loans they make are safe, and I’m afraid the comparison you draw is completely meaningless. They got this wrong. Wildly, inescapaably and massively wrong. This is no one’s responsibility but their own, and no theorising about regulation, politics or society can escape this simple fact. The banks duty was to make money, and they failed to spot bad assets and went under.

    I can agree that many other mistakes were made in the years and decades leading up to 2008. Essentially, the central mistake was that no one should trust the financial sector because they don’t have a clue what they are doing. This doesn’t mean the banks weren’t at fault.

    What is clear is that many on the right are preaching ‘personal responsibility’ to poor people and ‘living within ones means’ to the state sector, while apparently wishing to absolve one of the wealthiest and most culpable sectors of the economy from their share of responsibility.

    Nothing in the world made banks lend this money and take these decisions except their own desire for profit. The fact that we have here an arguement that regulators were also to blame is merely to accept the fact that banks were making these mistakes and no one stopped them.

    To borrow an Americanism, it really is time for the banks and their right leaning cheerleaders to ‘man up’ and admit the collective failure of almost the entire finance sector.

  19. I’m trying to look up this… But I can not easily find a recent occurrence of a Prime Minister being required to apologise to the house for their own misconduct. Let alone for three incidences of misleading the house.

    Reading Hansard for Wednesday, I am afraid that DC has boxed himself in by using some specific language about the time frame and measure of his claims. “There are more people in work today than there were at the time of the last election” is unfortunately quite specific on the dates of reference and the measure, and was easy to identify as untrue using Government statistics. I am sure there are plenty of the PM’s personal staff currently doing their finest to come up with tangential reasons for such a phrase to possibly have a taint of truth to it, but if not…

  20. I think people are rather missing the point about Hester and the Banks. The real political problem is that what is happening signals to the rest of us that the banks basically intend to go on in the same way as before. And we all know where that led.

    If all the government can do is make tut-tutting noises while making very desultory attempts at reform and blocking international efforts, then they will be prime targets for attack by Labour. The fact that Labour carried out the same policies isn’t really an answer, because it invites the response that if “Labour has changed its mind, why don’t you?”.

    The Banks here are acting as a stand-in for most of the financial service industries – but in truth probably they were the most guilty sector of it. They became addicted to the easy profits of gambling on the markets and the enormous bonuses and commissions that went with it, while at the same time becoming worse at their basic tasks as retail bankers. When things went wrong, not only did they expect to be rescued by the State which they complained about, but like a spoilt child they want to do the same thing all over again.

    Any attempt to defend the Banks and pretend that the real culprits were Brown or Clinton or Carter or Edward I is just partisanship gone mad – like defending phone-hacking because Cameron happened to employ Coulson. After all no matter what the law allowed or prevented, acting in a way that would have destroyed the companies they worked for was hardly evidence that the banksters are people who should be supported.

    It’s a rather silly to attempt to divide the world into two camps you can label ‘good’ and ‘evil’ and then attack those in the opposite camp as responsible for every thing bad since the Black Death. It’s also foolish to believe that just because someone is in the tent, they’ll direct their p*ssing outwards. But it’s unnecessary too, you can be partisan for something without having to be 100% against everything else.

  21. To my last post I meant to add that ‘blaming the system’ is quite rightly not a defence the right tend to accept when issues like dole fraud or petty crime are being debated, but it seems an acceptable defence for incompetent bankers.

  22. SoCalLiberal @ John B Dick

    “Thank God [Gabrielle Gifford] survived and thank God she’s getting better and improving in her health.”

    Well, I don’t do God, but I have unqualified admiration for the team that by the exercise of skill and knowledge at the highest level have saved her life and set her a far along the road to a complete recovery as is currently possible in the circumsstances. That includes the engineers and scientists that design the equipment and consumables.

    If anyone deserves a bankers bonus it is these people.

    If there is anybody who DOESN’T need a bankers bonus to motivate and reward them it is these people.

    You can’t put a money price on job satisfaction, self respect and the esteem of colleagues in a position to evaluate one’s work as well as those who directly benefit from your efforts.

    Bankers have to make do with money as compensation as they don’t have any of that..

    Bill Gates has both. He is trying to be the richest man in the world apart from the money, using his money and his management skills to help people and he might well get there.

    He has a good opinion of himself. Who’s to say it is undeserved?

  23. AMBER

    RBS was -briefly-the world’s biggest company by assets & liabilities.

    The suggestion that “any competent manager” could return it to profit from the largest annual loss in UK corporate history of £24.1bn; whilst unwinding the conglomerate & disposing of the plethora of companies acquired by Goodwin , shrinking it’s balance sheet by more than £600bn since 2008;reducing it’s ratio of assets – loans and investments – to its loss-absorbing equity capital from 50 times to 20 times; reducing the ratio of the loans it has made to deposits from 154% to 112% , whilst keeping the whole show on the road-is just silly.

    Competent manager from where ?-Asda-Aston Villa?

    It needed a banker -and one of some repute & ability.

    That’s why the Labour Government appointed him non-executive deputy chairman of the newly-nationalised Northern Rock before asking him to sort out Goodwin’s mess…………presumably.

    ( facts from various sources-do your own research)

  24. AMBER

    @”So, I put it you Colin, that the Chairman himself does not believe that the team have done anything, yet, which is out of the ordinary & deserving of a bonus.”

    Put it how you like.

    Hester’s Bonus will not have been dreamed up by someone-it will result from a contractual obligation & defined performance criteria.

    The ONLY question is whether he should voluntarily waive in all the circumstances.

    I have no idea why RBS’ Chairman is contractually entitled to a share bonus. He is not CEO so far as I know. Does he have any executive responsibility?

    Why did Darling award him that contract in 2009?

  25. alec

    “To my last post I meant to add that ‘blaming the system’ is quite rightly not a defence …..”

    Or expenses abuses.

  26. Although I am far from a friend of bankers and Fred Goodwin in particular I have little doubt that if his bid for ABM had failed and as a result they had been spared the crash, he would now be being portrayed as a giant of banking by all the politicians who said he was before the crash and who are hounding him then.

    Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP).

  27. Peter Cairn’s

    @” if his bid for ABM had failed and as a result they had been spared the crash,”

    You cannot make that assumption.

    ABN was certainly a catalyst but you cannot know that it was the only cause of RBS’s demise.

    The April 2008 rights issue to raise £12bn in new capital was to offset a writedown of £5.9bn resulting from credit market positions as well as to shore up its reserves following the purchase of ABN AMRO. .

    This was, at the time, the largest rights issue in British corporate history & RBS also announced that it would review the possibility of divesting some of its subsidiaries to raise further funds.

    It was clear that the mad acquisition spree was already stretching liquidity before the disastrous ABN/Amro deal.

  28. More from the IMF that the current round of austerity might cause more problems than it solves,

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16771939

    I tend to agree, but I am not sure whether the markets would stand for more borrowing, before any proper growth gets going. There would need to be an agreement to assist some countries restructure their debts and for countries to agree to policies that might help. I think the world needs to unite together, as if a world war had just finished, requiring the world financial system to be rebuilt.

    Tonights Sunday Times poll preduction.

    Labour 39%, Tory 38%, LD 11%

  29. R HUCKLE

    “I think the world needs to unite together, as if a world war had just finished, requiring the world financial system to be rebuilt.”

    We probably need a Chinese Marshall Plan. That way the countries devastated by economic warfare can be bailed out, and the Chinese can recreate the world in their own image. :-)

  30. @ Ken

    AMBERSTAR…………Stephen Hester was appointed by Alastair and Gordon to replace Fred Goodwin, surely, given your unmitigated support for these Scottish hero’s during their disastrous incumbency, you should give him a chance to show how shrewd was their judgement.
    —————————————–
    Unmitigated support for Alistair Darling? That’s nonsense. I have respect for those things which Alistair has done well but I am one of his harshest critics in UKPR world.

    And I do have some measured criticisms on Gordon Brown but how likely is it that rational comment would be heard above the hysterical clamour for his head on a stick?

    Regarding Hester, he may yet do something worthwhile. At this point, there has been no reports of him achieving anything that exceeds basic managerial competence.

    I am amazed that you & Colin believe public sector workers should receive £1M bonuses for competency. I thought you chaps were all in favour of reducing public sector remuneration costs.
    8-)

  31. @Oldnat – “We probably need a Chinese Marshall Plan. That way the countries devastated by economic warfare can be bailed out, and the Chinese can recreate the world in their own image.”

    Smaller, and with no spoons.

    Nightmare.

  32. ALEC
    @ The banks duty was to make money, and they failed to spot bad assets and went under.’

    It was less a case of ‘failing to spot bad assets’, more recognising that they were bad assets & bundling them up with other assets, getting them AAA rated and then selling them to investors, so they got rid of them. And even worse, recognising that they were bad assets, selling them to investors as good ones & then insuring through AIG in case they went wrong & even betting through CDO’s that they would go wrong. The problem came when the merrygoround stopped and they were left holding mountains of the stuff & of course AIG ended up insolvent like the banks because of all the cross insurance. The likes Poulson & Greenspan & several others were absolutely criminal in either their actions or their inactions.
    That does not absolve the likes of Brown, who during times of booming tax revenue, was not only spending that revenue but was borrowing even more & selling the gold reserves, at a time when he should have been putting some away/ reducing the National Debt. So that when the sh1t hit the fan he was caught with his trousers down and the country ended up with a massive debt. Add in the lax regulation & you have a disaster waiting to happen. And I agree, it would probably have happened the same if the Tories had been in power, but they weren’t.
    So, yes the bankers acted criminally, Governments acted irresponsibly, wasting money right left & centre & individuals acted greedily, spending money they didn’t earn & couldn’t repay. If only Brown had stayed wedded to Prudence, he might have rightly been waiting his sainthood from the Pope!

    In summary, No body is not to blame (sorry for the double negative)

  33. Colin,

    The acquisition was a three way split with ABM being subsequently broken up.

    Fortis got the European part that turned sore for it, RBS got the US to add its drive into the American market, just before the US market went south and Santander got the rest, of which Banko Real in Brazil was the bit they wanted.

    That bank, now Santander Brazil, looks like having been a very good piece of business, or will be if Brazil doesn’t overheat and make the same mistakes as us.

    You are absolutely right that you can’t make the assumption that Fred would be a hero as a lot of other things were going on too.

    It’s like chaos theory, we can say we know it would have been different, but we can never say we know how different.

    The point I was making wasn’t to defend RBS, but rather that this debate about good and bad bankers misses what I think is a more important point.

    They are, as far as I can see, either all much of a muchness or all as bad as each other depending on your point of view.

    I think the good and bad capitalists line that we seem to be getting is an attempt mostly by politicians too distance themselves from what the public don’t like while backing what the public do like.

    Rather than admit that the system produces perverse results and we can’t change it they seem to want to focus on and blame individuals.

    It’s a bit like Scottish football, we endlessly debate managers and players and analyses each and every game, but rarely get anywhere in addressing the main issue…. It isn’t very good!

    Cllr Peter Cairns (SNP).

  34. @Amberstar – I’m with you on the Hester bonus. The real problem is that there is a group of people at the top of the corporate tree who genuinely think that there is no one else who can replace them and who therefore can’t understand why people think they are paid too much.

    There poisonous thinking has helped to infect the public sector also, aided by politicians of all parties who have been suckered into thinking that salary = worth.

    At some point, we need to see governments declining bonuses and inviting boards to walk. There is always someone in the ranks who can step up to do the next level of job, and there simply has to be a show down with the super rich to make them realise that they are as dispensible as the next person.

    Only then will we achieve sanity in the world of senior executive pay. We might even get people into senior positions who do less for the massive wealth it generates but more out of loyalty to their company, or – get this – their country. What a weird world that would be.

  35. @ Colin

    I have no idea why RBS’ Chairman is contractually entitled to a share bonus. He is not CEO so far as I know. Does he have any executive responsibility?
    ————————–
    To quote your own words: “Do your own research.” ;-)

    I’m guessing I know as much about the RBS as you do Colin. Probably more, actually. Do you think it is possible to be an Edinburgh finance professional with an interest in politics & economics & not know an awful lot about the RBS?
    8-)

  36. @ Colin

    …..shrinking it’s balance sheet by more than £600bn since 2008;reducing it’s ratio of assets – loans and investments – to its loss-absorbing equity capital from 50 times to 20 times; reducing the ratio of the loans it has made to deposits from 154% to 112% , whilst keeping the whole show on the road-is just silly.
    —————————————————
    Anybody who thinks Hester did it without help is not being sensible, Colin.

    If you think I’m wrong: “Do your own research” – be sure to include the phrases “Quantitative easing” & “Further Asset Purchases by the BOE”, if you are doing it by googling.
    :-)

  37. Pay the contractual bonus.

    Sack the people who agreed to pay it.

    They haven’t got what it takes to do the job.

    Tell them that, publically, pour encourager les autres. They may walk away with more than my lifetime earnings, but they would have the disgrace and the shame too.

  38. To be clear, I am not attacking Hester. I am simply saying that he has done nothing extraordinary. He may yet achieve something worthwhile.

    There is a school of thought which says people should get bonuses for competency; that not ‘screwing up’ is actually an achievement. It’s a reasonable position to take. But I’d respond by saying: You must take that position consistently for it to have credibility. In which case, all public sector workers should be given a bonus for not ‘screwing up’.
    8-)

  39. AMBER

    @”I am amazed that you & Colin believe public sector workers should receive £1M bonuses for competency. I thought you chaps were all in favour of reducing public sector remuneration costs.”

    I think there is some difficulty on those grounds.

    BUT-this is a special case by any definition.

    Public Sector managers do not manage risk-they tend to manage the distribution of assured income streams.

    It isn’t every day that the world’s largest Bank, which made the countries largest loss , joins the public sector.

    To try and manage it’s rehabilitation & return to the market with a team of civil servants would be a recipe for disaster.

  40. alec @ Amberstar

    “There is always someone in the ranks who can step up to do the next level of job, and there simply has to be a show down with the super rich to make them realise that they are as dispensible as the next person.”

    In an organisation of any size there are plenty of people who think they can do the bosses job better than he can. Some of them are mistaken, but not all.

    Many would take the bosses job without an increase in pay just for the power and perks.

    A good manager ought to prepare for succession.

  41. PETER CAIRNS

    @”The point I was making wasn’t to defend RBS, ”

    Sure-& I can understand why :-

    h ttp://www.cityam.com/latest-news/alex-salmond-backed-rbs-s-abn-disaster

    You are very wise not to. In a recent TV prog. films of a series of RBS AGMs prior to the crash were shown. Goodwin & his Chairman persisted in denying any significant exposure to mortgage backed securities until they had to start writing them off. They always turned to the guy running that division to answer questions.
    The impression & implication was that they didn’t actually know what was going on until the bad debts started appearing.

    @”They are, as far as I can see, either all much of a muchness or all as bad as each other depending on your point of view.”

    No I don’t think that is true-any more than for any other group of managers & industrialists……….or politicians.

  42. AMBER

    @”I’m guessing I know as much about the RBS as you do Colin. Probably more, actually.”

    Then you will already know the facts I quoted-most of them were reported by BBC.

    I too have “an interest in politics & economics “-doesn’t make me an expert in anything. I just try to read relevant stuff.:-) :-) :-)

    By the way-Hester’s Chairman said he waived his bonus to take the heat off Hester-who was “doing a good job”.

    Having just watched a re-run of an interview with Peston, in which Sir Philip Hampton said bankers were overpaid……..I can understand why he waived that bonus :-)

    I wait with interest to see if Hampton’s shares were linked to performance criteria -or whether they were just part of his price for signing up with AD.

    In my book a Chairman should not be entitled to performance related pay. His job is to ensure the right CEO & board members are in place .

  43. Con Home reports that In today’s Telegraph Liam Byrne announces that Labour will support the Coalition’s benefit cap as long as it is regionalised.
    The Shadow Work & Pensions Secretary writes:

    “While all that £500 a week might get you in central London is a one-bedroom apartment, in Rotherham, Yorkshire it would get you a six-bedroom house. How can a “one-size-fits-all” cap be fair to working people in both London and Rotherham?”

    CH gleefully anticipates Byrne now accepting an end to one-size-fits-all public sector pay rates , & the reaction from the unions.

    Will DC/GO now capitalise on this by agreeing to regionalised benefit caps , when the Bill returns to HoC

    Interesting.

  44. @Roger Mexico
    “I think people are rather missing the point about Hester and the Banks. The real political problem is that what is happening signals to the rest of us that the banks basically intend to go on in the same way as before. And we all know where that led.”
    ________________

    Indeed. The banks intend to go on in the same vein, the Government passively goes along with them here, it actively blocks international attempts at reform, and in this rare instance where it finds itself with the ability to send at least a token signal of intent, it flunks it.

  45. “Tonights Sunday Times poll preduction.
    Labour 39%, Tory 38%, LD 11%”
    Con 40, Lab 38, LD 9

  46. @Colin
    “CH gleefully anticipates Byrne now accepting an end to one-size-fits-all public sector pay rates…”
    __________

    Are CH that out of touch with the public sector that the existence of London weighting allowances within pay rates has passed them by?

  47. COLIN,
    Not really a surprise – Labour have been saying for a long time that they back the benefit cap in theory, but wouldn’t support it in it’s current form – David Lammy on QT implied that the Labour policy was one of regional caps.
    Which essentially fixes the main problem with the benefit cap – that people in London (where rents are high) would suffer.

  48. @ Amber Star

    “I’m Krugman – but more so – on Smoot-Hawley. I don’t believe it caused the depression; & I go further than Krugman, I believe that ordinary American’s would have suffered even more following the 1930?s crash without it than they did with it.

    Blaming Smoot-Hawley was a similar tactic to that which the open market fanatics are using now: Scapegoat government for a problem which was caused by the banks.”

    I don’t believe that it caused the Depression but the evidence is clear that it did make things worse.

    @ Amber Star

    “And yet the bail out of the auto industry this time – which is a form of protectionism – has been quite a success, from what I hear.

    The last time around (70?s & 80?s) it didn’t work out so well: Partly the energy crisis, partly bad management, partly vindictiveness towards unionised labor, partly the workers response to that attitude etc.”

    I think we might have a different definition of protectionism here. When I think of protectionism and use the term protectionism, I’m reffering solely to trade policies where government through either tarriffs or some other kind of tax favor goods produced by companies owned by their citizens.

    Bailouts are different. As are tax breaks for companies which manufacture on your shores.

  49. A regional benefit cap that allows people in London a higher rate than those in Scotland won’t be a Labour policy their MSP’s will look forward to defending.

    Regional pay rates will be even more dangerous for them.

    With the SNP appealing to much of Labours Scottish support they are in danger of being pulled in two directions even more than normal- back London and a policy their supporters dislike or distance themselves from it and seem divided.

    If Labour in Scotland backs regional benefit caps and wage rates a lot of their supporters may well ask what they are actually for.

    Of course Independence would automatically mean different rates, but that would be as a result of a choice made in a referendum, rather than a party changing policy.

    In addition national rates of wages is supposed to be one of the benefits of the UK as is not having a separate benefits system.

    I did suggest that their might be as a result of a change in stance on the economy a shift to the SNP might occur. So far no sign of it but I have a felling that a series of changes over the last and next month will see the SNP move to close to level pegging with Labour in Scotland.

    Cllr.Peter Cairns ( SNP).

  50. @ Colin

    By the way-Hester’s Chairman said he waived his bonus to take the heat off Hester-who was “doing a good job”.
    ————————————–
    “Doing a good job”.

    The traditional way of faintly praising managerial competency.
    8-)

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