Osborne: Speaking truth to wealth and power? Really?

George Osborne was presumably aiming at himself and his friends, when he vowed “to speak truth to power and wealth” at the Tory party conference this week, but dare he speak economic truth to the rest of us? – simultaneously published on Left Foot Forward >

On the narrowest of bases, he might still claim he spoke “truth” to the weak and powerless when in the House of Commons debate on the economy on August 11th he made this challenge:

“Those who spent the whole of the past year telling us to follow the American example, with yet more fiscal stimulus, need to answer this simple question: why has the US economy grown more slowly than the UK economy so far this year?”

It was a ‘brave’ claim when he made it, and it’s looking even ‘braver’ – and more disingenuous – now.

Continue reading… ›

My verdict on Ed Balls’ conference speech – apologies are not enough

Published in the Guardian Cif alongside responses from Jonathon Freedland and Sheila Lawlor:

Ed Balls said sorry for Labour’s record on ultra-light-touch financial regulation, and that must be acknowledged.

But apologies are just not enough. He and Ed Miliband must stop attacking his electoral base, “hardworking families”, many of whom are trades unionists.

As Balls recognises, unless urgent action is taken, this may be the gravest economic crisis in history – given the global integration of finance and the growth of world population.

So Balls must go further.

First, he must declare loudly and forcefully that Labour will never again be captive to neoliberal central bankers like Alan Greenspan; or private bankers like Sir Fred Goodwin of RSB.

Continue reading… ›

ABC daily report – ‘Let them default’

While I was in Australia I recorded this interview with ABC’s daily show. This went out on 15th September. Watch it above or on ABC’s website here >

This is a crisis of, and for bankers, not taxpayers.

RBS chief executive Stephen Hester Source: Getty Images

Dear readers…This is my blog posted on the New Statesman website today, 7 August, 2011 – with one minor correction in the fourth sentence.

“Let’s get one thing clear: this is not a crisis of, or for governments. This is first and foremost a banking crisis.

EU governments do not need a fragile, reckless and immensely wealthy private banking sector. However, as the financial markets made clear last week, the fragile private banking sector urgently needs Eurozone  taxpayer largesse.

Continue reading… ›

Bankers tighten their grip

13 May, 2010

With a backdrop of bankers looting the EU’s Treasuries (via a bailout that rivals George Bush’s TARP) let us consider one of the most significant Dem-Con appointments (and a non-appointment) to the British cabinet.

That of someone who until now was invisible: David Laws the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

His Wikipedia profile (updated on the day of his elevation, and before he had taken up his ministerial responsibilities) depicts him as the man that speaks for his party on matters relating to kiddie-winkies and families and, no doubt, motherhood and apple pie.  He is also commended for his conciliatory role in negotiating the Scottish Parliament coalition.

No mention here of his real background.

For, according to ePolitix, David Laws was once Vice President of JP Morgan and Co and based in the United States, before becoming Managing Director of Barclays de Zoete Wedd in 1992.

Now, in my book the most obvious candidate for the job of Chancellor, or Chief Secretary to the Treasury,  was surely Vince Cable, a man credited for his prescience in predicting the financial crisis, respected for his ongoing analysis of that crisis and regarded as a “scourge of City ‘fat cats’.” Continue reading… ›

Banksters for Parliament?

6th April, 2010

I wrote the piece below  for the Labour Party site Labour List but it got bumped across to Left Foot Forward.  While waiting for its publication I did some superficial research on the use of the term ‘banksters’.

It is a term in wide use in the US, where it is associated with progressive political forces, and where the debate pits ‘Wall St’ against ‘Main St’, or ‘Wall St’ against ‘the little guy’ or ‘taxpayer’.  See for example, this piece by the wonderful Rolling Stone writer on finance, Matt Taibi, and the associated cartoon.

Two Irish authors, David Murphy and Martin Devlin have written a book titled ‘Banksters – how a powerful elite squandered Ireland’s wealth’. So the Irish are not precious about the term.

But here in the UK the word is not widely used. Its use tends to be associated with the far right, and their anti-Semitism.

Which might explain British nervousness with the term. On the other hand our fastidiousness may just reflect the collusion of our various elites – political, media and otherwise – with the finance sector, and the excessive deference bestowed on bankers, sorry banksters.

Anyway, here follows the piece on how banksters are standing as parliamentary candidates for the Conservative Party.

Continue reading… ›

Osborne's puppet-masters: Société Générale.

15th January, 2009.

Patient readers this blog is triggered by Jeff Randall’s column in the Daily Telegraph today.

In it he inadvertently discloses the identity of the puppet-masters dictating the Tory political agenda around public spending cuts.

In a somewhat histrionic column in which he describes the public deficit as a ‘disaster’ ( he should mind his language: Haiti’s earthquake is a disaster) Randall quotes a piece of ‘research’ by the French bank, Société Générale.  The paper is titled “Popular Delusions” and its authors explain some simple facts about government spending cuts to Telegraph readers:

Continue reading… ›

A tale of two presidents

5th January, 2010

Sorry about the delay in posting, but this is my latest blog for the Huffington Post.

“One is president of a country of about 300,000 people — Iceland — a country about the size of Virginia, President Olafur R. Grimsson. The second is president of a country of about 300,000,000 people, the United States. President Obama.

Both their presidencies have been scarred by the financial crisis. Both have had to balance the interests of their people against the interests of their bankers.

President Obama has allowed that balance to tilt in favor of the bankers.

President Grimsson yesterday took a stand against bankers and international creditors, including the British and Dutch governments.

Instead, he stood up to defend the interests of his people.

Continue reading… ›