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Doesn’t add up

Douglas Carswell shows us exactly how bad governments involving all three main British political parties have been at primary school level arithmetic.

Here’s a thought; spending to prop things up cost us £390 billion we do not have. Abolishing corporation tax entirely would have cost the Treasury less than half that amount – £140 billion – in lost revenue over the past three years.

Or it could have been of personal taxation or a mix of things. Either way people would have had money in their pockets to spend on things they needed or wanted. Instead of which a few banks which should have gone down the swanney survived.


Can Cameron really be this stupid?

Click for linky

Dave? Do you think that this might possibly have something to do with the fact that you haven’t stopped spunking away money by the billion as fast as you can tax it off of the current workforce and borrow it on behalf of their children? Fucking hellfire, in the last couple of days we’re told that you’ve blown half a billion on the Northern Rock sale, granted perhaps unavoidably, and that you’ve decided to throw almost the same again at the building industry while underwriting all the mortgages of first time buyers. Not only have you not cut public spending you’re actually spending even more than Labour did, and incidentally failed to get the public sector to stop thinking of that as a cut as well as failed to get them to stop hiring for bullshit jobs instead of people who actually provide useful services. You’ve carried on taking money that could have paid down some of the UK’s eye watering debt and handing it to the EU, IMF and international aid, and you’ve continued Labour’s wars at significant cost and embarked on a military adventure of your own. The bonfire of the quangos was at best a barbecue of a handful of them – one of those small barbecues made of thick tinfoil that you get from petrol stations, and for which you probably paid in cash and told the attendant to keep the change from a million quid. And you’ve failed to create growth because you’ve refused to provide the conditions for it to occur. That’s just off the top of my head and I’m sure I could think of more given time and find out more still if I started looking. And here you are scratching your arse – it apparently being interchangeable with your head – and wondering why the plan’s not working.

I’ll tell you why, David. It’s because it’s basically the same fucking plan that Gordon Brown was using, you hopelessly inept cunt. How the hell did Britain come to this? It’s had some dim politicians and not a few dim PMs, but how in Christ’s name did it get landed with you: a PM whose extraordinary dimness must surely result from being so dense that light can’t escape if it falls into his head? It’s not madness that is doing the same thing and expecting different results, it’s stupidity. And that’s actually the generous alternative because if I thought you knew what the fuck you were doing I’d be describing you as evil.

I hate to go all Private Frasier again, but if these fuckwits aren’t dragged out and chained to something solid where they can’t do any harm – the Lusitania for example – I really do think the UK is doomed.

Come back, Gordon Brown… UPDATED

All is not forgiven by any means, not even remotely. But when the Cobbleition are doing things that are just as stupid as those Gordon Clown himself did there’s a case to be made that you might as well put the lurching, snot munching, cyclopean horror with the faecal Midas touch back in charge and be bloody done with it.

The Prime Minister and his deputy, Nick Clegg, will unveil proposals to help first-time buyers of new homes by carrying part of the risk of their mortgages.

Dave, Nick, say it ain’t so. Tell us that even you aren’t so monumentally stupid that you can’t see that it’s precisely this kind of policy – using taxpayers’ money to underwrite loans for overpriced housing to people who are at higher risk of being unable to repay them – that led with grim inevitability to the fucking subprime mortgage crisis in the fucking first place. And what did that lead to in its turn? Oh, yes, that’d be adding to an unsustainable bubble with a bonus prize of a banking crisis, wouldn’t it? And you two freak shows are now standing here telling us that you want to fucking do it all over again in the deluded belief it’ll get the economy moving. Folks, I think this year’s Jeff Buckley Award for being the Public Figure Most Hopelessly Out of Their Depth may end up being shared.

They also propose subsidising the construction of 16,000 homes by giving £400 million of taxpayers’ money to property developers.

Oh, why not just round it up to a neat half billion? It’s only money, after all, and of course you don’t need to worry because it’s not yours anyway. Listen, you morons, every bloody pound of subsidies – every penny the government spends, in fact – is a pound that must be taken off someone’s disposable income either now or in the future. You’re taking money away from people who might otherwise be able to put it towards the deposit for a house, d’you see? Or a car, or a meal out, or a newspaper or any number of things. They might even decide to stick it in the bank and save it if someone gives them an interest rate that can’t be described as comical. Now tell me I’m wrong but if you want the housing market to pick up does it really make sense to take money away from people who need it to buy houses with? The very people that are currently worrying you because they’re not buying houses because lenders aren’t all that happy with the risks at the moment? Dave, Nick, please try to understand this: more disposable income + lower house prices = more houses being sold. Okay? And conversely less disposable income + higher house prices = … want to take a guess? Do you see now, you pair of utter fucktroons?

And pardon me for asking, but what the hell does the government need the housing market to pick up for anyway? It was overpriced. It still is. It doesn’t need ‘unblocking’ like it’s a toilet that Gordon Clown and his badger faced sock puppet left bunged up after a particularly nasty dump – it needs the very correction you idiots are trying to forestall. Nobody disputes that the British economy needs reviving, but if there’s a lesson to be learned from the last government, and Christ knows there’s more than just one, surely it’s that an economy that’s running on a spending boom fuelled by a combination of cheap credit and appreciating house prices making people feel richer than they really are is not an economy that will run indefinitely before hitting trouble. Yet, Dave and Nick, this seems to be pretty much what you want to do.

In a further move, ministers are working on a scheme under which billions of pounds of money in pension funds will be used to finance the construction of power stations, wind turbines and roads.

What? WHAT? WHAT? Are you fucking serious? On top of everything else have you two started channelling Robert Maxwell or something?

Treasury sources said talks had been conducted with pension fund managers for months. They are hoping to attract managers to invest in infrastructure schemes because they provide a better rate of return than government bonds.

Oh, no shit? And the Cobbleition government, unlike its predecessors of all stripes, has suddenly got good at picking winners and reckons that the best investments around at the moment happen to be the things that it does and taxes people for because… uh, because there’s rarely profit to be made in them.* Oh well, at least they’re not talking about using Labour’s idea of helping themselves to money in old accounts, even if that’s probably just because they’ve already cleaned them out.

Look, Dave and Nick, the government already lighten the pockets of the British motorist to the tune of some £45-50 billion, in return for which about a fifth of that is spent on the roads, and now you want to fill in the few zillion potholes you’ve missed with the contents of their pension funds? Oh, and erect a few more bird mincing white elephants that are, to use Malcolm Tucker’s phrase, as much use as a marzipan dildo, and so uneconomic that nobody in their right mind would build even one if not given someone else’s money to offset the otherwise certain losses. And no, I’m not just saying that because Phil the Greek thinks so. Might I suggest that if you want more to be spent on road maintenance and other infrastructure (but not bird mincers) you stop spending money somewhere else? It’s called living within your means, which is a concept that even plankton in the oceanic depths could probably wrap what passes for their heads around – in the depressingly likely event that you can’t find anyone in Whitehall who understands go out and find a real person to explain it to you.

As for power stations, again I feel there is a lesson that should have been learned from the Labour years – just get out of the bloody way and let someone build the fucking things. Seriously, it’s not like a power station doesn’t produce something that people need and for which a ready market exists – Christ, even wind turbines have got that much going for them, they just can’t produce it steadily and reliably – so there should be a return on building them providing the initial costs aren’t prohibitive. That means not having interminable inquiries before graciously allowing someone to begin work on building something that people need, and then telling them to stop again because some middle class white kid with dreadlocks and a dream of erasing the memory of the silver (plated) spoon by not washing has found a pond, and look, there’s like all tadpoles in it, dude. It means, as I mentioned, the government doing it’s best just to get out of the fucking way.

Separately, Lord Heseltine, who advises the Government on growth, said MPs should waive through critically important infrastructure projects to get the economy moving.

It pains me to agree with a man who still wants Britain to sign up to the currency version of Heaven’s Gate but that’s kind of the thing I’m on about, though as an aside this isn’t:

The former Cabinet minister said the Government could work with Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, to agree on which major projects to push through.

Yes, very good, Michael, a government of literally all the twats. Wonderful. Nurse! He’s out of bed again.

But really, why not? The Cobbleition really are as bad as Labour, and we all know Labour were pretty shocking. But I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve ranted and raved and railed at some new piece of pettiness or authoritarianism or nannying or incompetence or lack of backbone (especially with regard to the EU) or just plain epic fuckwittery. I’ve lost count how often I’ve said that it’s just like Labour never left office. I even began this rant with the observation that if this is what Dave and Nick want to do then Britain might as well give up and bring back Gordon Brown to finish the demolition job he started. And if all the main parties are bent on Britain’s self destruction and disagree only on the speed at which it should happen, if the only long term hope is to rebuild from the ashes, then it’s starting to look to me like the petrol and matches and matches may as well be given to the worst nutter of the lot.

The alternative, of course, is to get rid of the whole bloody lot of them and replace them with sane people, but for some reason this doesn’t seem to have very broad appeal in the UK. I’m sure the millions attached firmly to the tax tit and the millions more brainwashed to believe that this is how it has to be haven’t got anything to do with it.


UPDATE – Trust The Daily Mash to get to the essence of it.

The prime minister said: “This package will help to reinflate the house price bubble and give mortgages to people who can’t really afford them. Unless anyone has any better ideas?”

Wonderful caption on the picture, too: “If it’s broke fix it with the thing that broke it.”

I feel like Private Frasier.

UPADTE 2 – Also blogged superbly and without all the swearing over at Counting Cats in Zanzibar.

* That often there’s rarely profit to be made precisely because government is involved probably doesn’t occur to them.

Not just the heirs to Blair

Nope, the Cobbleition is also a proud wearer of the Crown of Brown.

UK Financial Investments said it has agreed to sell 100pc of Northern Rock to Virgin Money for £747m in cash immediately, but this could potentially rise to around £1bn.
Under the deal, another £50m is “expected” to be paid within six months. The Treasury will also benefit by up to £80m if the bank floats in the next five years and retain £150m of Tier 1 capital notes.
Northern Rock, which signalled the start of the financial crisis in Britain when it collapsed in August 2007, is the first bank to be returned to the private sector.
The Newcastle-based lender received a £1.4bn bail-out when it was nationalised in February 2008 at the height of the credit crunch. So on paper, taxpayers end up with a loss of £400m, but this could rise to £650m.

Marvellous. Just fucking marvellous. Memo to Gordon Clown, and of course also to his blinky pet Ed Balls who sadly did quite not lose his seat in the election:

This is why you should have let Northern fucking Rock go to the wall,
you witless pair of financially incompetent cunts.

Happily for them, though miserably for everyone else, they’re not alone.

George Osborne said the deal was a “good thing” for taxpayers, consumers and the banking system.

Did he say that? Did he really fucking say that? The Chumpcellor of the fucking Exchequer thinks that losing nearly half a billion quid, and possibly as much as two thirds of a billion, is a good thing. Has Gordon Brown got his fist up George’s arse and is making his mouth move or something? That’s got to be the most retarded thing to come out of the mouth of the finance minister of an industrialised nation since some fucktroon decided to sell nearly 400 tons of gold near a long term low in its value, and then fucking announce it in advance so the price fell even further. Oh, and that was a British one too, wasn’t it? Come to think of it, it was… well, we all know only too well, don’t we?

And although it wasn’t quite on the scale of the billions and billions Gordon flushed away when he dumped gold at a historic low, which his mouth may well have helped make lower, Boy Georgie thinks it was a good thing for taxpayers to lose another half billion or so. Yes, the Cobbleition inherited the situation, and yes, it was Gordon, his badger faced sock puppet and Ed Bollocks who made the incredibly bad decision to bail out a bank that deserved to fail rather than just make sure of the investors’ statutory protection. And yes, in that position you have to take the best offer you’re going to get, and this is probably better than it might have been. But to have the new-ish Chumpcellor stand there saying it’s anything than the loss of another half a billion pounds, perhaps more, is anything other than a colossal fuckup due entirely to the headless chicken panic response of the previous government is at best not very politically astute and at worst an indication that he’s every bit as fucking stupid as they were.

And of course it’s not over yet because only the good bit of Northern Rock was sold, which is presumably why they only got £747m for it. Oh, no what we can still think of as Northern Wreck is still there. And it’s got company.

In January last year the company was split into a “good bank”, which Virgin has bought, and Northern Rock Asset Management, the “bad bank” of closed mortgages and unsecured loans which remain in Government ownership.
As well as Northern Rock’s “bad bank”, UKFI still owns Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group and Bradford & Bingley.

And I don’t doubt that if or when RBS, Lloyds Group and B&B are sold back into the private sector at a further loss to the taxpayers Georgie Lame will say that’s a good thing too. It’s good that it’s over, but in all other respects it’s hard to find anything good to say about the taxpayers having to drop their trousers and grip their ankles yet again because the fucking Treasury (along with most or all of the rest of government) has got next to no fucking clue how to spend money wisely and thinks there’s an inexhaustible supply of it.

Jesus Christ on a borrowed bicycle, the place is fucking doomed.

Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala we can’t hear you

Via the von Mises blog, the latest move in Europe to solve the continent’s economic problems: ban credit ratings agencies from downgrading member states’ credit ratings.

The European Commission on Tuesday (15 November) is to unveil proposals to clamp down on the credit-ratings industry, seen as one of the key villains in the eurozone debt crisis melodrama.

Internal market commissioner Michel Barnier is to propose a series of measures including a ‘blackout’ in the rating of troubled states in an attempt to limit the ratcheting up of market instability the EU executive accuses the sector of being responsible for when it has delivered downgrades to the credit ratings of countries.

The draft law would allow the EU to temporarily ban companies such as Standard & Poor’s, Fitch and Moody’s from issuing ratings changes if regulators assess that such moves would exacerbate market volatility.

Nice to see such great value being placed on free speech in the EU. If it might harm the project, even if it’s an honest opinion, you can’t say it. End of. As was said at von Mises, this is simply shooting the messenger. In fact it smacks of such desperation that I’m surprised that the messenger isn’t already saying, ‘Look, fuck that, I’m not going anywhere near the place and I’d advise anyone else with a vestige of sanity not to go anywhere near it either.’


On taxing the sixth element

Or rather one of its oxides. Via the Real World Libertarian and quoted en bloc, a post by Viv Forbes of the Carbon Sense Coalition.

Back to the Dark Ages

The passage of the carbon tax bills today is no reason for celebration. It is a step back towards the dark ages.

Just a few generations ago, humans lived in a “green” world. There was no coal, oil or gas providing light, heat, transport and traction power.

In this green utopia, wood provided heat for cooking fires and forests were felled for charcoal for primitive metallurgy; farmers used wooden ploughs and harvested grain with sickles and flails; the nights were lit using candles and whale oil; rich people used wind and water power to grind cereals; horses and bullocks moved coaches, wagons and troops; there was no refrigeration and salt was the only preservative for meat.

Towns were tiny as the whole family was needed to work the farm. For most people, the daylight hours were filled with heavy labour to produce, preserve and transport food. There was no surplus to support opera, bureaucracy or academia.

Humanity was relieved from this life of unrelenting toil by carbon energy – steam engines and electricity, machines, tractors, cars, ships and planes.

Today the pagan green religion celebrates the first step in their long campaign to destroy industrial society and reduce population.

They should be careful what they wish for.

For example, just a few more bitter winters in Britain will see their wind powered lights going out.

A British observer once said of the Whitlam government: “Any fool can bugger up Britain, but it takes real genius to bugger up Australia”.

The Gillard-Green Government is showing the sort of genius needed to dim the lights in the lucky country.

I would say that this should serve as a warning to those outside Australia to do their damnedest to prevent their governments joining this madness, but as I mentioned at the weekend it seems that no other governments are all that keen anyway.

Great work, Jules. Really fucking outstanding.

New £50

I’m going to take a punt and guess that the most significant new security feature is that it’ll soon be worth about thirty-six quid after the government tries to inflate away some of the national debt.

And people wonder how governments run up such huge debts

Take Italy, for instance. Everyone knows it’s up a certain creek without a certain implement. Everyone knows that if the shit hits the fan in Greece Italy could be next. And yet the Italian government is buying 19 Maserati Quattroportes and modifying them with armour at a cost of a couple of million Euros… for just one ministry.

Italy’s Ministry of Defence has been forced to defend its decision to purchase 19 Maserati limousines at a time when the government is cutting billions in public spending in response to the European debt crisis.
The four-door Maserati Quattroportes, which start from $118,000 in Italy and are powered by a 4.2-litre V8 engine, are reportedly replacing the ministry’s fleet of Audis and Lancias. They have been armour-plated for additional protection.
Italy’s defence minister, Ingazio La Russa, has accused the opposition of a “witch hunt”, claiming the Maseratis were purchased using funds from the 2008-2009 budget and therefore before the introduction of cuts by the Silvio Berlusconi government.

A defence minister there, missing the point by a fucking mille miglia. Of course Britain should resist any temptation to get at all smug about this.

From Jan 18th
From August 14th

And let’s be realistic, with the Cobbleition’s track record over its 18 months driving the bus it won’t be long before spend some money they haven’t got on something far more catastrophically stupid.

Chinese whispers

Click for linky


Jin Liqun, chairman of China Investment Corporation (CIC), the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, warned that Europeans should “work a bit harder” if they want to pull the eurozone out of recession.


He said people in the West are too reliant on welfare payments and the benefits system, looking for external solutions to the debt crisis rather than tackling the problem from within.


Mr Jin also said the long-term economic slide could only be solved by amending the restrictive labour laws that mean Western workers are unable to compete in global markets.
“The root cause of the trouble is the over-burdened welfare system, built up since the Second World War in Europe – the sloth-inducing, indolence-inducing labour laws.

Double ouch, but I can’t see where he’s wrong. It might be hard to hear it from someone representing a country where freedom can be a pretty notional concept and the state tries to oversee practically everything, but the guy’s got a point. In the west the governments don’t try to oversee as much – or at least most of them don’t yet – but they have encouraged the raising of a couple of generations who rely on the state to wipe their arseholes for them because they couldn’t find them by themselves bent over a mirror with a greased stick. Money no? Economy bad? Is wrong. Government fix. Government fix now. Also done poo-poo and now smell bad. Government fix that now too please.

And it brings to mind something I said back in January when I came across a US site advocating protectionism and other anti free trade measures: I think that the Chinese might turn out to be better at capitalism than we in the west. Well, as long as they don’t make a habit of producing seven foot long slippers by mistake.

In Masho veritas?

Well, if it applies to wine couldn’t it apply to The Daily Mash talking here about the ‘Occupy’ mob’s spread from New York to other cities?

… first-time protestor, Roy Hobbs, insisted: “I’m here because I’m sick and tired of all the greed that stops me from getting what I want.

“That’s why I’ve come up with a plan that will solve everything. It involves dividing all the money in the world equally and then waiting to see what happens next.”

You know, I really believer that is the plan. I really, really do.

Too close to reality

‘Are you a customer of ours?’

Occupy Wall Street…

… and then what, you clueless bunch of fucknuts? Going to throw America’s captains of industry from the roofs of their own buildings, are you? Should be pretty fucking entertaining given the US has a national debt on the order of fifteen trillion dollars. Now, what’s Mandarin for, “Nice one, you fucking idiots”?


Wallets out, everybody

Little time for blogging this weekend, so my comments on this will be brief.

British taxpayers risk being caught up in a £1.75trillion deal aimed at saving the euro by allowing Greece to default on its massive debts.
The eurozone deal, being brokered by the G20 group of nations, would seek to “ring fence” the crisis around Greece, Portugal and Ireland – preventing it from spreading to major EU economies such as Italy and Spain.
It would involve the bailing out those European banks – mostly French – most at risk from their massive lendings to tottering economies.
Greece, crucially, would be able to default on at least some of its more than £300billion debts but remain inside the eurozone. The Greek government’s private creditors would bear most of the increased costs.
At this stage, a new bail-out programme would be devised for Greece – with cash coming at least in part from the International Monetary Fund, in which Britain holds a 4.5 per cent stake.

And so…

This could mean British taxpayers paying out more than the £1billion they are already slated to have to contribute under the terms of the first Greek bailout fund.

I suspect ‘could’ in this context means ‘will’. How can Britain avoid it when the IMF is involved? And so I’ll make my usual comment in this kind of situation:

It’s not your fucking money!

And add only that actually allowing a default isn’t a bad thought but this idea is still, to use Douglas Carswell’s phrase, bailing water into a sinking boat. The idea that a bail out involves adding more of the problem is just gold standard professional window licking.

Innocent ’til Jon Snow decides otherwise?

Veteran Channel 4 newsborg Jon Snow blogs on the eeeevil bankers, and specifically asks why they haven’t been arrested, and by extension I imagine charged, tried, found guilty, purged, flayed, subjected to the Pear of Anguish and possibly also the Banana of Discomfort and the whole Fruit Salad of Much Inconvenience, and finally hung, drawn, quartered and buried in five limed graves each. But that may just be the impression I get.

Click for linky

The publication of the Vickers report into British banking reform sparks the question why the UK has so far failed to prosecute a single individual for his or her misdeeds during the financial meltdown of 2008.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that maybe no actual crime has been committed. Negligence, probably yes. Gross stupidity, almost indubitably. Financial irresponsibility and incompetence of such breathtaking degree that it’s comparable with what some governments spunk away every week, for sure. And some of that may be tortious, but is there evidence that an actual offence has been committed and is there enough of it to make a successful prosecution likely? Because if the answer to both is no, Jon, there’s your reason why.

We were told at the time that the banking regulator, the FSA, had started a ‘major investigation’. Last night on Channel 4 News when I pressed the City Minister, Mark Hoban, he referred constantly to the FSA’s involvement. But where is the Serious Fraud Office? No sign of much happening on that front.

Well, Jon, do you have evidence of a serious fraud? And if so have you brought it to the attention of the SFO? Because if not have you considered the possibility that they looked and didn’t actually find one?

Yet investigators on both sides of the Atlantic have had no doubt that criminality, subterfuge, and downright dishonesty accompanied many of the ingredients that brought about the crash.

“No doubt of criminality”? Well, many people are in no doubt that a damn sight more parliamentarians were feeding of the taxpayers’ backs via dodgy expenses claims than the half dozen or so who’ve been found guilty and gaoled, and that far more than that deserved to have gone to prison in disgrace – possibly even some who didn’t even have the decency to stand down as MPs and have, thanks to seats in which tribal electorates would vote in a priapic chimpanzee if it was eating the appropriate colour rosette, even kept their seats – but lacking doubt is still meaningless if you also lack evidence. I don’t think that varies much on either side of the Atlantic.

The convenient fall-guy was the Ponzi magician, Bernie Madoff who was quickly jailed for thieving billions with his criminal scheme.

Quite irrelevant and only a fall guy in the minds of those who don’t understand that he had square root of bugger all to do with it, which is something Jon Snow brings up himself in the very next sentence.

But Madoff had nothing to do with bringing down the banks.

So why fucking mention him then? You might as well bring up Dick Turpin.

But his jailing served to suggest that a high profile scalp had been secured.

As I said, only in the minds of people credulous enough to think he had anything to do with it. His was a genuine fraud that had been going on for years, possibly since the 70s, and he could as easily have been caught, convicted and forgotten before the GFC began. About eight years before if the US authorities had listened to a guy named Harry Markopolos, who in 1999 realised that Madoff’s numbers didn’t add up after looking at them for about five minutes and reckoned he knew it was fraud four hours later. And incidentally, a fraud that’s not all that unlike National Insurance Contributions in that all the money coming in was going straight out to pay earlier ‘investors’, the quotes being necessary because little money and possibly not a single cent was ever actually invested. This is, of course, quite illegal when it’s not governments doing it, and if you don’t believe me try setting up a health insurance and pension scheme on exactly the same business model as NICs and see what it gets you. About 150 years if Bernie Madoff’s case is any guide.

Anyway, the point is that Madoff’s Ponzi scheme could not only have been stopped earlier had the SEC heeded Markopolos’ regular warnings from 1999 rather than ignored them until it imploded of it’s own accord, but was also as incidental to the GFC as the Enron scandal. It happened at around the same time, and that’s about it. In fact far from contributing to the GFC the effects of the GFC made it harder for Madoff to keep all those plates spinning and probably brought about an early end to the scam. If, as Jon Snow says, Madoff’s arrest and imprisonment suggested a high profile scalp had been collected then it was because the media failed in their duty to make it crystal clear what the significance actually was, i.e. none at all.

Last year, the then New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo produced a laundry list of institutions and individuals who were being investigated for potential prosecution. That work too has slowed.

Slowed, Jon, or just uncovered too little evidence of any actual indictable offences? You’re the journo – why don’t you go find out which?

In one month, hundreds of rioters and looters have been prosecuted and punished by the English courts, often for offences with a value of under fifty pounds. Yet the threat to the wellbeing of UKplc was far greater from the bankers than from any number of more arrestable rioters.

Yes, but as I’ve mentioned once or twice, stupidity, negligence and incompetence are not necessarily crimes. Rioting and looting, on the other hand, most definitely are. If you can’t find an actual offence and make a case then nobody goes to prison, see? And if you believe that every single looter and rioter will be punished you’re dreaming, because again they’ll have got only the ones with good evidence against them.

There is a strong impression abroad that the UK doesn’t want to prosecute anyone for the banking crisis, a crisis that has affected every tax payer in the Kingdom.

Look, the only reason it’s affected every taxpayer is because the Prime Mentalist of the day bailed the bastards out with taxpayers’ money. Had the meddling prick been able to restrain his urge to interfere the bad banks would have failed, affecting just staff, shareholders and people with money in them (less the compensation of up to £30K or so each account holder would have got from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme). Instead him and his badger faced sock puppet tried to fill in the holes with taxpayers’ money – that was their decision and nobody else’s. Yes, the banks came and begged to be bailed out, but Brown and Darling could and should have said no.

Soon enough the statute of limitations will kick in to ensure that no-one will ever be prosecuted for their role.

Oh, yes, that’ll be that famous statute of limitations that Asil Nadir so successfully used to avoid prosecution by kicking back in Cyprus for 17 years until he was untoucha… no, wait, actually the SFO arrested him as soon as he got off the plane, didn’t they? Still, Jon, how were you supposed to know about that? Apart from the fact you fucking reported on it on Channel Four news.

So tell us, Jon, precisely what statute of limitations are you talking about? I’m no lawyer so I’m willing to be corrected on this, but I was under the impression that the UK doesn’t actually have a statute of limitations. Not for criminal offences anyway, though as I keep saying, Jon Snow has mentioned precisely zero offences that have definitely been committed and a total of absolutely none laws that have been broken. But if it turns out otherwise, Jon, well, 17 years wasn’t long enough to protect Asil Nadir from arrest so you’re probably complaining about it just a smidgeon early.

However, there are time limitations on bringing a civil cases, and while I keep repeating that stupidity, negligence and incompetence aren’t generally crimes they may of course be tortious, and if that’s so then there is a ticking clock against which anyone who’s suffered a financial loss because of those overconfident cocksockets who bought up all those toxic assets without looking sufficiently carefully at what it actually was they were getting can sue the bastards. Not sure if it’s possible to sue someone into prison, as the oh so self-righteous Snow seems to wish, but for all my defence of them against Snow’s tirade I’m no fan of the likes of Fred the Shred – if I recall I called him a smarmy arsehole and expressed hope that he’d fall down the stairs and land, against all probability, on his balls – and would happily see them sued for every penny they’ve got. Which, when I wrote that, Fred Goodwin was, even if it was for the unusual offence of hubris and in an American court “where the courts are more flexible and less expensive” rather than a British one, making any limitations in Britain rather irrelevant.


But Jon Snow’s still not happy, and like that mad caretaker out of Harry Potter, shambling around screaming about his cat, he clearly wants to see some punishment.

Then we can all breathe easy – no banker will ever go to jail, and we can stop asking the nightly question, ‘why not?’

Because, Jon, as I keep explaining and as much as it pains me, you can’t send someone to jail unless you can actually prove they’ve committed a crime. It’s this thing we have in civilised countries called ‘the law’, and the idea is that ‘the law’ is extra extra careful about things like evidence and proving the case so as not to send innocent people off to prison all the time. It’s not that way to protect the world’s Fred Goodwins, it’s to protect you and me all the rest of us. Jon Snow is coming across a bit like Thomas More’s wife and son-in-law in A Man for All Seasons.

Arrest them.


They’re eeevil bankers who are greedy, stupid and negligent.

There’s no law against that.

So now you’d give the bankers the benefit of law?

Yes. What would you do?
Cut a great road through the
law to get after the bankers?

And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it  — do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.

A twenty-first century More might have put it like this: “If you’re so keen to bang people up that you’re prepared to shortcut things, Roper, then we’re all in fucking trouble.”


More vestigial blogging, but remaining on the topic of governments’ debts.

No comment necessary, really, except to note that it might be a little more now that dropping to a AA credit rating might mean an increase in borrowing costs. Tip of the Akubra to Restoring Britain, via Witterings from Witney and Oldrightie.