Monday, February 02, 2009

An Apology

Last Wednesday I wrote a blogpost titled IMF: BRITAIN MAY GO BANKRUPT. It was based on a Sky News report, which I had just been listening to ...
The IMF says that we will have a negative growth rate of 2.8% this year, worse than any other advanced economy. They also say the prospect of the UK going bankrupt cannot be ruled out.

A heated debate ensued in the comments in which a commenter called Despairing Liberal maintained that the IMF report said no such thing. I retorted that I had heard Kay Burley on Sky News report that very thing. The debate went on, and on, and on. In the end I asked Sky for a clip of the report which would verify things one way or the other. I have just received the clip and regret to say that Kay Burley said the following...
The Fund's boss also warned that countries going bankrupt could not be ruled out.
So there was no specific mention of Britain. I clearly misheard her. I have a policy on this blog of holding my hands up when I have got something wrong, and I do so now. And at the same time I readily apologise to Despairing Liberal and Canvas.

I am updating the original post with this information.


Bird said...

Will you get a smack on the botty from the fragrant Kate?
If it's too daunting a prospect I offer to interpose my body between you.

@molesworth_1 said...

Fair enough, but the 2.8% contraction is still on, yeah? And we might still go bankrupt...

Anonymous said...

Iain, you are a true gent. ;)
apology accepted with thanks.

Demetrius said...

Having run around very many of the relevant web sites, it seems that just about every intelligent and relevant observer on the IMF report made exactly the same "mistake" you did. Or was Sky News too frit to admit the real message and its implications? See Dr. Eamonn Butler of the Adam Smith Institute on Mugabenomics.

an ex-apprentice said...

If someone points out an error once, fair enough.
But DespicableLiberal went on, and on, and on in his usual drab, boring pedantic way.
He's like the man who goes to buy a house and insists on counting the bricks!
He succeeded, of course, in his main intention, which was to divert attention from what was important in the substance of the post.
And now you've apologised, he'll be even more insufferable!

wv: fluct - close!

Unknown said...

Ah so does that make you think more critically of Sky News? Reading your blog at times I feel as if you are their PR spokesman.

Iain Dale said...

Andrew, are you being a prat on purpose? I got it wrong, not them.

Do feel free to point to any blogposts where you think I have unreasonably praised Sky. The only occasion I can remember was their local election coverage in contrast to that of the BBC, which was universally panned.

Vienna Woods said...


What she did, or didn't say - how about looking at the running caption at the bottom of the screen! That's probably why you linked this to what she was saying .....or am I making a tit if myself?

It Will Come to Me said...

As Mr Punch used to say before the PC brigade emasculated him "Thats the way to do it" (the apology that is).

Gordon, are you listening?

Unsworth said...

Yes, well very magnanimous. Nice to see a man with some intellectual and moral integrity.

I wonder if it will be reciprocated by Despairing - and I wonder if he's now going to withdraw his accusation that I am a liar ("your little untruths")?

Don't think I'll bother waiting for that, though.

Unknown said...

This country is bankrupt, no question about it. If the UK was a company with outgoings and debt commitments in excess of it's income it would not be allowed to trade under Company legislation and would be declared insolvent and either go bust of maybe administration if they were lucky. With debts and outgoings nearly 4 times current tax receipts how come anyone says this country isn't bankrupt?

The only reason countries aren't allowed to go bust is because of the so called damage it would do to the world economy. How about if every country went bust, what would happen then? Do you think the IMF could bail out everyone? Where would they get the money from?

George Bush, end of last year, basically put 2 fingers up at the US creditors and said they wouldn't be paying off their debts. Couldn't even afford the interest payments....bankrupt or what? When will it end?

jailhouselawyer said...

"I have a policy on this blog of holding my hands up when I have got something wrong, and I do so now".

So tired, tired of waiting, tired of waiting for you

to apologise to me.

Iain Dale said...

And hell will freeze over before that happens, I can assure you.

jailhouselawyer said...

I wasn't expecting one from you, merely pointing once again how untruthful and hypocritical you are. And you have just proved it with your response. Honest John Hirst v Dishonourable Iain Dale. Now, Phil Wheatley, Director General of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), I recall him saying "When I get something wrong, I hold man hands up, and move on". I have the greatest respect for him, because I have not known him to ever lie. They catch up with you, so it is pointless. Like your entrenchment. As you so much like awards, I would not be surprised if you received one of these

jailhouselawyer said...

Correction, that should read "my" and not "man".


weggis said...

and therein lies the reason, perhaps, you are not a PPC?

Iain Dale said...

What a laughable comment. I'm not a PPC because I haven't applied to be one for 15 months.

Martin S said...

Despairing Liberal maintained that the IMF report said no such thing.

Which was not what the IMF report said, either.

Had Despairing Liberal known what he was talking about he'd have said: "The IMF report said that it could not rule out countries going bankrupt, but did not mention any country in particular."

John Moorcraft said...

I might has misinterpreted the previous remark on PPC's…I took it to mean that you’re not a PPC because, unlike most of them, you have the ability to apologise when you make a mistake :-)

DespairingLiberal said...

Thanks Iain, my respect for you has increased considerably and this sustains your position as a serious commentator and someone to be reckoned with.

I have to admit that it does look in hindsight like you were not too far wrong, at least in general terms, given that the Eurozone and UK predictions from multiple sources now imply strong contraction and the state of UK public and private debt is shockingly bad. We may not yet be technically bankrupt but we are in a heck of state.

I suppose this is also an example of Sky exaggerating somewhat as I still can't find anything in the IMF statements to back up that specific comment of theirs.

Many thanks for your assistance and input on this.

Tim said...

"I have a policy on this blog of holding my hands up when I have got something wrong..."

How you can claim this with your long history of belligerent attacks, childish petulance and cries of 'stalker' is beyond me, but do go on; I do love watching you congratulate yourself for the occasional show of manners when you have failed so completely that even you can see it.

This may seem a bit harsh Iain, but you're again claiming a policy that's not in keeping with the reality on this site of yours, and you seem perfectly happy when I have a go at Draper about things like this.

DespairingLiberal said...

Thatsnews, there is to be fair quite a big difference between saying "Britain is bankrupt" and "some countries face it" and Sky to be fair are usually fairly careful about such distinctions.

The question of what makes a country bankrupt is more sophisticated than just having to go to the IMF for a handout. Britain did not really need to go the IMF under Dennis Healey as history later showed. There can be an element of panic involved.

A lot of economists would take national bankruptcy to involve a total default on debt repayments, as for example in Latin America - many of those countries have since recovered strongly after "rescheduling" and "restructuring". The UK is a long way from bankruptcy if you compare foreign debt to foreign assets and also if you look at ratings on debt securities.

jailhouselawyer said...

On another thread there is the left or right position of the BNP. Here it is a question of right or wrong. If I am being cynical, then Iain Dale has the qualities for being an MP. He displays the promise and then breaches it. He displays dishonesty associated with MPs (and Lords). He has the belief of being morally superior, but is sadly mistaken.

Yesterday I was researching in relation to the big stink at Christ Church college Oxford, another example of bullying, and read their prospectus. I was interested in the part where it stated that students had to be prepared to either modify or defend their views.

With this in mind, I challenged Iain Dale. The following is an admission that I am in the right and he is in the wrong. "And hell will freeze over before that happens, I can assure you". Otherwise he would have said "what the hell are you going on about?". This is the classic spitting the dummy out tantrum mode of a baby and not a grown up person. As the Americans say, he's been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Now he is attempting to brazen it out. However, his victimisation of me does not go unnoticed.

Unsworth said...

@ Jailhouse

"However, his victimisation of me does not go unnoticed"

So you're a professional victim now?

Do grow up, you big girl's blouse.

Tim said...

Actually, JHL raises a good point; is your actual policy that you will put your hands up and admit when you're wrong only if there's no 'history' between you and whoever dares to contradict you at any given time?

Because your stated position with JHL appears to be that you will not admit error(s) and apologise to him, even when proved 100% wrong, until their are snowdrifts in hell.

If anything, you seek to undermine what some people have to say by attacking/dismissing the person, and not their position.

How often do you do this when you're in a position when you know you are wrong on any given position?

It seems a desperately childish way to conduct yourself, but for now if you'd simply be so kind as to make your actual policy on this clear, it would be appreciated.

Unsworth said...


"Britain did not really need to go the IMF under Dennis Healey as history later showed."

Well, that's an opinion based on a retrospective view - and on a change in the general view of national economies currently held by some soi-disant economists. As your comment shows, economics and economic policy at national level is largely a matter of political opinion.

You pays your money and you choose your economist. We can be sure that Brown will choose his 'experts' on the basis of their political stance. Hence the likes of the fragrant 'Baroness' Vadera and the even more fragrant 'Lord' Mandelson.

However - and this is the point - Healey's opinion differs/differed from yours. So in reality the 'necessity' is/was completely irrelevant.

jailhouselawyer said...

Unsworth: It's simply A,B,C. Adult, Bastard, Child. Where do you fit within that? You added the word "professional", not me so that is a false accusation. I only said, victimisation. Yes, I am the victim here. I have grown up. I am a human being and not an inanimate object. You are confusing my clothing with what Iain may wear.

Unsworth said...


'Victim'? Explain what you mean by 'victim'. You don't like how you are dealt with on someone's blog? You want an apology for a perceived slight? Too bleeding bad, chum. You don't have to be here. There's the whole Internet for you to play with.

Any physical injuries involved? Psychological damage? Loss of property? Loss of anything - apart from marbles?

Childish, inane, garbage.

DespairingLiberal said...

Unsworth - Healey's opinion doesn't differ now - he has clearly stated many times that they were wrong with hindsight to go to the IMF.

jailhouselawyer said...


"'Victim'? Explain what you mean by 'victim'".

Tim Ireland has done so already quite adequately.

"Because your stated position with JHL appears to be that you will not admit error(s) and apologise to him, even when proved 100% wrong".

"You don't like how you are dealt with on someone's blog?".

You have summed it up nicely.

"You want an apology for a perceived slight?".

No. I would like one given Mr Dale's public statement about his policy on his blog. There is nothing perceived about a fact, it is what separates it from a mistaken belief.

"Too bleeding bad, chum".

Am I to understand from this that you are now the self appointed spokesperson for Mr Dale, and that he is unable to speak for himself, when legitimately challenged?

"You don't have to be here".

Correct again, it is my choice once Mr Dale removed his unreasonable ban (which is what the government needs to do in the Prisoners Votes Case).

"There's the whole internet for you to play with".

Yes, isn't it great, this internet freedom? A word of caution, watch the government because it is seeking to curb this liberty with draconian legislation.

"Any physical injuries involved?".

Not that I am aware of.

"Psychological damage?".

Not on my part.

"Loss of property?".

Yes, the first case I sued the Prison Service over and won was in relation to loss of property.

"Loss of anything - apart from marbles".

Yes, it was in relation to LPs, £362.50's worth to be precise. I was compensated in full. I did lose some marbles as a kid, not as valuable as Elgin's.

"Childish, inane, garbage".

Self praise is no recommendation. Or, were you referring to Mr Dale?

You have been well and truly fisked. Run along now, nothing more to see.

Unsworth said...

@ Despairing

So you'd agree with everything else? I used the present tense as in a current discussion about the statements. I used the past tense to acknowledge that Healey's approach was different then. Slightly abstruse, yes. Maybe I'll try to make it simpler for you in future.

Unsworth said...

@ Jailhouse

Yet more personal grievance nonsense?

I do enjoy a proper fisking - this was not it. Still, if this is the best you can do...

weggis said...

February 03, 2009 1:49 AM , John Moorcraft said...
I might has misinterpreted the previous remark on PPC's…I took it to mean that you’re not a PPC because, unlike most of them, you have the ability to apologise when you make a mistake :-)

Spot on. That is what I meant.

Iain Dale said...

Weggis, then I owe you an apology too! That's not how I interpreted your comment. I must stop being so chippy!

Anonymous said...

Iain, yes, please less cheapy chippy and more of the cheeky chappy!

I prefer it when you are in a 'reasonable' frame of mind. You can get a bit hissy sometimes...


jailhouselawyer said...

"I must stop being so chippy!"

"I prefer it when you are in a 'reasonable' frame of mind. You can get a bit hissy sometimes...".

Says it all really, save for the absence of another apology.