Friday, October 10, 2008

Does the Prime Minister Have a Plan B?

Gordon Brown spent yesterday with a smug smile on his face, which appeared to radiate the self satisfaction of a man who thought his time had come. He thought the £500 billion taxpayer funded bailout was a masterstroke and would solve the economy's problems at a stroke. He even alleged that Britain was leading the world and felt able to make jokes about banks going bust.

Today his hubris reached new heights when he told an audience in Swindon...
Oil prices are now beginning to come down because of actions we have taken...

Er, how so, exactly? Last time I looked he had not reduced petrol tax. Petrol prices are coming down because of the world oil market, which has absolutely nothing to do with actions taken by Gordon Brown.

And if the smile hasn't been wiped off Brown's face by now, he can't have looked at the stock market. It's now below 4,000 for the first time in five years. The Pound has now fallen to a five year low. The £500 billion bailout was supposed to restore confidence. It did. For a matter of hours.

Does the Prime Minister have a Plan B?

UPDATE: Anyone seen the FT's Supplement today? It's titles “The bonus issue: how to spend it”. Surely the FT’s readers are slightly sensitive about the issue of bonuses at the moment? And with ads inside for £16k watches and exclusive jewellery, it doesn’t exactly chime with age of austerity! What a spectacularly mistimed feature.


Tony Sharp said...

Of course there is a plan B. If this scheme does not work, borrow more money and ramp up our national debt even further.

People are forgetting that Brown's answer to everything has always been to throw money at every problem in the hope that fixes things. The only variation has been whether to get that money through taxation or get it on the never never.

Hughes Views said...

I'm confused Iain, are you no longer all in favour of the "free market" and of companies being allowed to set up "compensation packages" for their employees as they see fit? I'm sure that's what your hero Regan thought.

Or have you become one of those dreadful nanny state people who feel HMG should meddle in everything?

Andrew Efiong said...

To claim some credit from the oil price falling is a strong example of how he's turning this crisis into a partisan issue, he's literally trying to claim credit for the sun shining.

Maybe he could look closer to home and ask why the FSA wasn't warning about the risk of depositing savings in Iceland. Even I knew this was risky.

Anonymous said...

Tony Sharp

Exactly. Clown Brown think nothing of throwing OTHER people's money at his disasters. He was only too keen to back the plank Paulson on the £700bn bailout WITHOUT KNOWING THE DETAILS. Just throw taxpayers money at it.

And what will it do? Transfer the bankruptcy of the banking system to UK plc. Will the Chief Executive resign and not take his index-linked pension?

When the mass of the morons realise what is happening here......

Anonymous said...

Speaking of mistimed features, I was watching Sky News the other day, one economic disaster after another, then comes the break - first advert? The beaming spiky haired chap singing 'Ah-woke up this mornin' feelin fine...'.

You know the one I mean.

Alex said...

"The bonus issue: how to spend it”.

This year, have you thought about sticking it in the Christmas pudding?

Unsworth said...

Let's understand that Brown is being driven, he's certainly not in the driving seat. If there's any Plan B at all it certainly won't be his.

Colin said...

The sooner this JACKASS realises that there is virtually nothing his or any other government can do to halt the slide in confidence, the better.

In fact, I think he's actually making things worse. How long before we have speculators taking a determined run at the pound?

Anonymous said...

The smug smile will soon be wiped off Gordons face.

The oil price has been dropping for weeks. We (and the U.S) are going into recession, demand for oil is dropping. OPEC are meeting because they are worried the price is dropping too low.

Brown is trying to claim credit for it, I just hope people see through this man quickly.

Guthrum said...


Lola said...

Tony sharp - small correction 'Throw other peoples maney at every problem'

el sid said...

Iain - petrol prices have nothing to do with the oil price.

On the other hand, successive tax rises - sorry, "Supplementary Charges" on oil production - leading to an unwillingness to invest in exploration, have been one reason for UK oil production halving since 1999 - which in turn is one reason why world oil prices have been going up.

And world oil prices are still up year-on-year - and even more spectacularly so in sterling terms thanks to the collapse of sterling against the dollar. Hmm - there would be a line of attack....

Lord Elvis of Paisley said...

Yes, he does have a Plan B. It's called the Civil Contingencies Bill.

strapworld said...

Plan the lifeboats!

BUT, quite seriously, what is Cameron's Plan B? Where is he?

el sid said...

OK - I've just reread that, it's obviously a bit of an exaggeration to say that petrol prices have "nothing" to do with the oil price in the literal sense. But it's important to distinguish between oil prices and petrol prices. There's lots to criticise Brown for on the oil price front without getting side-tracked by petrol prices/taxation.

Blue Eyes said...

£500 BILLION Iain!

Is this what South Vietnam felt like when the Communists took over. I can feel the value of the cash in my wallet disintegrating by the hour.

Anonymous said...

Could be worse though.

Darling is doing IMHO a very good job and Gordon does have a network of financial leaders around the world.

Try to imagine what it would be like if Boy George and Call me Dave were put in charge at this moment, I don't think they would have coped half as well.

maas101 said...

Plan B? Did he even have a plan A? Everything I've seen appears to be a knee jerk reaction to the previous days events. Pesto reports that the banks have met Darling expecting a plan and getting nothing, the FTSE tanks as a result so overnight a cunning wheeze is hatched.

It's so half baked they haven't even worked out under what terms the finance will be given.

I haven't seen a plan from Cyclops since he spent 10 years scheming behind Blair's back. Once that plan was successful he has been completely bereft of them.

Old Holborn said...

Iceland up for sale on ebay

99p, no reserve

labourparty said...

es the Tory Party have a plan A? Nope. 'Nuff said.

Lola said...

Andrew Efiong:- "Maybe he could look closer to home and ask why the FSA wasn't warning about the risk of depositing savings in Iceland. Even I knew this was risky."

That's not what the FSA does or can do. You are asking it to assume the role of a rating agency. In effect giving a government kite mark to every financial insitution. This would end in the stifling of innovation as bureaucrats fought shy of ever saying 'yes' or taking any responsibility. They never do.

You have to understand and accept that the whole FSMA 2000 is flawed and hence the FSA is flawed. Ruth Lea tried to make this point on QT last night and was shouted down by Huhne. KK was more effective but again was prevented from making the point cogently by Huhne/Denham/Dimbleby. I have run an FS business under the FSMA 2000 and its predessor regulations and I can tell you that the current system is nationalisation lite. And being so it has a seminal role in the current fiscal debacle. Creating a pseudo nationalised FS industry, especially in banking and insurance companies, was always going to end in tears. Retail banks are a process driven utility. If the process is set to be 'compliant' with prescriptive regulations on the assumption that those regulations are somehow guaranteed to be 'right' because they have been drafted by state bureaucrats...well you can see what happens all around you.

The two main causes of the banking crisis are the 'regulations' and G Brown's profligacy and abandonment of any prudence with the control of the money supply. These are linked by the daft FSMA 2000 which emasculated the one institution - the BoE - that might have been able to act on the money supply problem. In fact the FSMA 2000 was designed by Brown purely to allow him to carry on in his profligate way.

As to plan B, I'm sure he does. But it is not Plan B to save us or the economy. It is plan B to save him. Please remember at al times the man is very political and essentially deceitful in his public dealings.

norman said...

Gordo, the economic wizard is at it again, selling his snake oil brand2.A few years ago he lectured Europe about how to run their economy showing his snake oil brand1, saying he deregulated the finance market, established FSA, gentle regulation and bingo, Her Majesty's subjects have become rich and even the working class can live in semidetached homes, boom and bust, stop and go is history etc.. etc..
Now Brown blames the entire solar system for the financial ills, and thunders that he will punish the fat cats in city. I just heard a city lawyer in Radio4 say that it will not be possible to put a cap on the bonuses if institutions are hell bent dishing them out. Digby Jones appeared and was saying that the entire investment institutions may move to Shangai leaving LONDON,Frankfurt and Newyork markets in the league2. The Americans are aware of this and to some extent the Germans know this. Gordo who has just come off his tablets needs to improve his poll rating quickly. Hence his awkward grin which seems petty suspicious! This man and his govt can't hold onto hard disk drives containing confidential details of people- he would say that that is the job for Cameron and he did not do it!
Gordo and Lord Sleaze's rebuttal brigade would say that the whole world is suffering but would not say in Gordo's years at the Treasury the whole world's economy was behaving and had nothing to do with Gordo's snake oil brand1.

I hear that some are saying that the Two Jags encouraged the Local councils to maximise their savings income to putting the dosh in those
banks which gave good interest returns.

Anonymous said...

"Oil prices are now beginning to come down because of actions we have taken..."

I fear you are being unfair to Gordon Brown. Oil prices are falling as the world is falling into recession. That in turn will lead to reduced demand for oil, and so the price is falling.

Gordon Brown is therefore being uncharacteristically honest, his actions, in the failure of his regulation, have played an important part in bringing down oil prices.

In fairness, other countries are also to blame. But Gordon Brown did lead the world into this "light touch" regulatory regime.

The treasury called it the "Better Regulation Action Plan" in May 2005, when Brown claimed that the idea that light touch regulation would encourage companies to act irresponsibly was an outdated Victorian viewpoint.

John Bull said...

This is the last straw for this Labour so-called "government".

The British public will not stand for seeing their hard-earned money being thrown at the economy by this Trotskyite, proto-Communist Prime Minister and his pathetic Red Army of socialist cohorts. Brown is allowing his outdated left-wing political philosophy in by the backdoor under the pretence of protecting the banking system.

Fortunately, the people of England have seen through it. They are fed up. But they know that soon they will have a government that will stand up for them while at the same time putting the economy back in shape. A government which truly understands the world economy and whose leaders are respected, rather than laughed at, by the rest of the world.

A Conservative government.

Kafka said...

Seems like only yesterday it was Black Wednesday & we were being told that the UK Government didn't have the wherewithal to buck the market and the laws of economics. One would have thought it was a lesson well-learned, except obviously Gordon Brown knows better. The lesson is being re-taught, but now on a much larger scale and to all the other idiots as well.

Albert M. Bankment said...

Oh, come now, Iain. Don't take such a cheap swipe at the FT. You, of all people, know AAAAALL about publication schedules. "How To Spend It" is a regular supplement, stuffed with expensive contracted advertising. It has a contracted publication date, and it has to adhere to that.

To pull publication would be both awkward and expensive. Anyway, the gods know that we all need some light relief this week, of all weeks.

I'll just nip out now and buy my £29,000 amplifier and £75 pocket hankie. See you shortly ...

yarnesfromhorsham said...

And from the comments in the Times today the financial rescue plan was all GBs own work. Yeah Right

Not a sheep said...

Has any interviewer tackled Gordon Brown on this particular "Brownie"? Of course not, they are too concerned with whether the Conservatives might increase taxes if they win the next election or how this whole problem is the fault of the Conservatives for deregulating the City in 1987.

Joe said...

Firstly, to his credit Brown has come up with the best plan thus far from any Government thus far (not that that says much). Just a year late, and with little international agreement.

There would have been an alternative a year ago of letting weak players go under and backing up the strong ones, but it is too late now.

Now the problem is that everyone has been busy announcing policies BUT noone has actually stated putting the money in. And the money is needed now.

The only alternative is to nationalize all the banks. Close the stockmarket. 30%+ unemployment. See Iceland.

davefromluton said...

The real Plan A is to repeat loud and often that the problem is all down to world market conditions - particularly the collapse of the sub-prime market in the US.
So far he is doing very well and the Tories are doing virtually nothing to rebut his arguments.
Unless Cameron and Osbourn make the case much more strongly that Brown's actions here are a major cause of the problem, he will get away with it.
So wake up Dave and George. Start showing how our position has deteriorated since 1997 as a result of Brown's actions. And start exposing those 'Brownies' as the lies they are.
This is no time for political consensus. Where do you think the UK would have been if Churchill had tried to reach a political consensus with Neville Chamberlain?

Alan Douglas said...

"Does the Prime Minister have a Plan B?"

Did he ever even have a Plan A ?

The ONLY thing that will "restore confidence" is HIS departure, with or without whisky and a pearl-handled revolver. He did say he would do whatever it takes ....

Alan Douglas

john miller said...

He is clinically insane. Can you imagine Benn, Kinnock et al, if Lady Thatcher was running around at the time of the Falklands saying "ohh, goody a war!" Or picking up the phone and saying "Is this another Belgrano going down?"

Brown is so dysfunctional, he thinks that he can make jokes about banks going bust. He can't see further than his eyelids, never mind the end of his nose. A bank going down is just another means of showing how wonderful he is. The real impact of a bank failing doesn't register with the frontal lobes. I wish this was a swear blog...

Anonymous said...

Having since this imbecile on various news reports through the day how his expression goes from being serious to that ridiculous grin for no reason leads me to conclude that the man is a total loony.

Miranda said...

An interesting item on Guido showing a psychologist on the BBC Politics Show who says that Gordon is self-harming, by bringing back Mandy, and is deeply insecure and so spends money he does not have - absolutly brilliant.

The idiot BBC woman at the end thinks it great the Brown looks happy again - never mind that no-one else does!!!! We've got a madman at the helm at the media have completely missed it!!!!!!

A must see

Dave H. said...

To John Miller @15:11 Insane? Dysfunctional? A shrink on Daily Politics has just said Gordon's away with the fairies. (from Guido)

Dave H. said...

(Sorry Miranda)

Anonymous said...

I am finally worried about all this stuff. It does look like spending all that cash was the last idea they had doesnt it?

judith said...

Well, DavefromLuton, Osborne was on Newsnight last night, being 'interviewed' by K Wark. She did her best to blame everything on the Conservatives in 1986, Osborne sighed and said 'ok, if you want to discuss regulations, much of this is because of the regulations introduced by Gordon Brown'. He then explained why, twice (in answer to her repeated allegations), and very clearly.

Result? Osborne 1, Wark 0, and she wasn't happy!

Man in a Shed said...

Iain - if people stop spending it will have the same impact in the economy as if you stopped pumping blood.

The real challenge of the government is how to keep the panic at bay and keep people in the economy.

It the economic heart attack that's coming we need to worry about - not other peoples spending - today.

Our debts will have to be met, but that will have to be done gradually over a few years. ( Something Gordon Brown might like to think about when bullying Iceland. )

PS You haven't been drinking the water when you visit the BBC have you ?

Man in a Shed said...

PS Plan B...

Lets remember the Argentine government nationalised peoples savings and pensions to pay itself.

And the US govt required everyone to hand over their gold in the 1930s.

I wonder how far away that is ?

Anonymous said...

Oil prices are now beginning to come down because of actions we have taken...

Totally true... Global pressure from PMs Presidents ( WE ) etc on OPEC countries to up production, and not to slow production during the current climate.

...perfectly reasonable statement

Anonymous said...

Expect the Downing Street Spin Mchine to go into overdrive - Lord Oakeshott - LibDems is alleging that he personally warned The Treasury in July that the Icelandic Economy was going bust and that the government should be very concerned regarding the amount of investment by British taxpayers and Institutions in Icelandic Banks but only got a "waffling answer" from A "Treasury Minister" which was full of re-assuring platitudes.

Anonymous said...

The only alternative is to nationalize all the banks. Close the stockmarket. 30%+ unemployment. See Iceland.

We're in the process of nationalising the banks.

The stock market is doing a pretty good job of closing itself.

30%+ unemployment - that's coming whatever he does.

See Iceland. That's also coming whatever he does.

A man with too much time on my hands said...

Ever since he was a young boy,
he failed to make a call.
From 10p down to pensions
he must have f***ed them all.
But we don't want anything like him
or his crooked Jaw...
That lefty, bumbling blind bid
Sure slays ag'in us all !

He motionless like a statue,
taxing in the name of green.
Feeding us the statistics
Licking fingers clean.
He plays us by insatution,
His digit counters fall.
That lefty, bumbling blind bid
Sure slays ag'in us all !

He's a spin call wizard
There always to be a twist.
The spin call wizard,
S'got a magicians wrist.

'How do you think he does it? I don't know!
What makes him a crook?'

Don't listen to no distractions
won't hear those buzzers and bells,
Won't see lights a flashin'
Can't sense he's gonna fail.
Always has a reply,
'n' always denys it all...
That lefty, bumbling blind bid
Sure slays ag'in us all !
We thought Blair was
The Ballshitting king.
But we just handed
The spin talk crown to him.

Even when he's unstable
He doesn't give it a rest.
His disciples won't vote him out
And he continues the unrest.
He's got thievin' flapper fingers
For bogeys right to pull...
That lefty, bumbling blind bid
Sure slays ag'in us all !

Anonymous said...

From the spectator
Brown's get-out plan
Peter Hoskin 3:21pm
Is this the sound of Brown changing his story? Seems to me he's deploying a slightly different version of his "I'm trying to get other world leaders to follow my lead" theme. Here's what he said in a BBC interview earlier, explaining why the fruits of his financial labours will only start showing up in the medium term:

"What we need now - as I said this morning - is other countries to do similar things [to our bailout package], because this is a global financial system."

It's a subtle but significant shift. The implication being that

Anonymous said...

Plan B should be simple, nationalise the banks and the insurance companies, take everything back into public ownership privitized by the Tories
Then arrest charge and find guilty all those who were responsible for it.

'The Thatcher Revolution is eating its own children'

'We sowed the wind in the eighties now we are reaping the whirlwind'

Anonymous said...

Will any of our lying politicians confess to being responsible for racking up the largest debts UK plc have ever seen?

I'm sure there are reasonable alternatives to the path chosen by Brown, unfortunately Call me Dave and George Osborne have decided to share in the borrowing frenzy of the past week. I'm afraid by acquiescing with the government thay have made themselves appear quite lightweight.

nick said...

Anonymous, 7.06:
"Plan B should be simple, nationalise the banks and the insurance companies, take everything back into public ownership privitized (sic) by the Tories"

Yes, because nationalising British Airways and what's left of Rover would really help at the moment wouldn't it?

norman said...

Re: K Wark

I watched this woman trying to pin all the problems onto Thatcher years and Osborne politely reminded her that When Gordo arrived on the scene he changed every thing, removed the BOE's strong oversight which was there and put the FSA with gentle touch. K Wark kept on going back to 1986 and Osborne politely reminded her what happened after Gordo took power as the Chancellor. If I was Osborne, I would not have been so polite.

KWark, the scotty is Labout through and through and was known to invite Labour leaders for a bash in her Spanish property. She and Naughty of Radio4 are Gordo's admirers and we are paying these imbeciles through licence fee to provide us an unbiased inquisition of politicians. Naughty, the nasty
assumes a reverential attitude when asking questions to Gordo as though he is interviewing His Holiness Dalai Lama. With Tory leaders, he becomes wer wolf, interrupting with cynical questions galore. The BBC has no shame. Even after being kicked and punched by Campbell they are giving this imbecile airtime contract. The BBC is another institution which nurtures fat cats by dishing out generous salaries and perks to pedestrian managers by sucking license fee from the poor and those who do not watch programmes put up by this pinko edifice.

Watervole said...

Let's get this straight, anon 1.39.

Brown didn't have a plan A - he was panicked by the banks into the £500bn bailout - so he shouldn't get any credit for that. He did in fact stoke the crisis as it gave him a chance to fulfil his agenda and boost his ratings.

Second, Brown doesn't have a plan B 'cos he didn't know what he was doing in the first place. He tinkers and dithers which is what he calls "getting on with the job", "doing whatever it takes" and numerous other totally vacuous and vague statements.

Third, he has now created his own monster - a major inflationary spiral - which is beyond his control.

My money, had Brown left me any, would be on Dave and George any day - the sooner the better. In a few months time when the depression begins to bite, I predict you will eat your words and wish Brown anywhere but in the UK.

The man is bonkers - he has his finger on the red button - and he will not be content till he has destroyed this country. He has already done more damage in 1 year than Hitler and the Luftwaffe in 5.

I suggest you take up religion real quick and start praying like the rest of us.

norman said...

anon 1.39 is a cranked up Labour rebuttal human with the brain
the size of a bacteria. These automatons are deployed to put in rebuttals in all Blogs. Gordo's wise words and snake oil brand 2 blurb in The Times has attracted respsonses which remind his part in this financial fiasco. Despite the perorations by these Labour rebuttal automatons, the majority responses are hostile to Gordo there, rightly so.

Now we hear that Chelsea building society lost a few millions in Icelandic banks and I got an e-mail message as part of a general message by the VC of the Open University that they lost a couple of millions. My suspicion is that a few universities may join the OU's predicament.

Gareth said...

Lola 1.46 PM,

"That's not what the FSA does or can do. You are asking it to assume the role of a rating agency. In effect giving a government kite mark to every financial insitution. This would end in the stifling of innovation as bureaucrats fought shy of ever saying 'yes' or taking any responsibility. They never do."

Kite Marks for financial products - Chancellor Darling's very plan to save the mortgage market after the nationalisation of Northern Rock.