Friday, 19 September 2008

Financial Institutions and Toothless Regulators

It looks as if they might just about stopped the financial world from unravelling but recent events make my previous comments (12th September) look strangely prophetic. The banks with the most money are gobbling up the lesser banks and we all know the consequences of that for the workers in the financial services industry. The corridors of the Parliament (both in Westminster and Edinburgh) are awash with crocodile tears as the Capitalist system creaks under the strain of unfettered greed. Apparently 'Greed is good' doesn't apply any more.

Meanwhile the regulator issues a toothless ban on short selling of the shares of banks and insurance until the end of the year. The whole system of share trading has turned into a giant casino where no-one really knows the rules, because there are no effective rules. Big Gordy and Smirky Salmond might try to scapegoat the short sellers, but they were acting completely within the law, and it is Governments which still make the law. The fact that there are too many financial institutions in the USA and the UK which have grown so large that if they are allowed to go down they take the country with them is a national disgrace. It means that they can indulge in massively risky behaviours in the knowledge that the taxpayer will cover the losses should they fail.

The real answer is to break them up, and sooner rather than later and preferably put them into public ownership so that the workers who generate the profits share in the success of the enterprise, rather than the present situation where the greed generates massive losses, the workers lose their jobs, the bosses walk away with all the remaining assets, and the taxpayer bears the loss.

This crisis was avoidable, and had the regulators real powers to stop abuse then the people would have been better protected.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Coming Soon ... A New Prime Minister

It looks like the end for Big Gordy, the big clunking fist. The self destruction of New Labour continues apace. Scotland Office Minister David Cairns has put another nail in the coffin of the New Labour project. When ministers of his status (as opposed to his ability) start to resign then it is time to go. Rats and sinking ships spring to mind. Still, I don't suppose he will be on the breadline. Labours big business pals will rally round and get him an earner as usual.

But we still don't know who is orchestrating the coup.

We should remember that he who wields the knife never wears the crown ! Come on, show yourself.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Paddy's Market

The proposed plans by Glasgow City Council to re-develop the site of Paddy's Market should be a source of some sadness for the people of Glasgow, even if it has become a run-down area. I presume it is going to become another gentrified city centre development for the middle classes to occupy while they consider where they really want to live when city centre lifestyle becomes too fraught (when they have kids).

Paddy's market has a long history. It was where the immigrant Irish of the East end of Glasgow went to buy second hand clothes for themselves and their children after they had been evicted from their lands and suffered from the potato famine. They were welcomed in Glasgow but found the same sort of poverty for working people there as they had left. Paddy's market was a necessary evil. The real sadness is that it still exists today for nearly the same purpose. Among the rip-off DVDs and CDs there are still stalls selling second hand clothes for the really poor. On a recent visit my son remarked that it was terrible that people had to sell this kind of stuff to live, but it is worse that people have to buy this kind of stuff to live.

Re-develop Paddy's Market by all means, but re-develop it as a memorial to the plight of working people. It is a piece of working class history, you might even call it an International Working Class Heritage Site, but there was never a member of the aristocracy living there so it won't count, will it?

The Heilan-man's umbrella (under the bridge at Central Station, for my foriegn readers) also served as a dossing down place for Highlanders dispossed in the Highland clearances, hence the name, and it is still in use by the homeless whenever Strathclyde's finest don't move them along.

Just more working class heritage messing up the post-modern image that Glasgow tries to promote by completely invented heritage like the 'Merchant City'. Real heritage is far too 'gritty' for them.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Douglas Alexander and Hugh Henry (Shuggie and Duggie)

Following the fall from grace of Wendy (second trumpet in the Alexanders' rag time band) Alexander (for it is she), it seems as if Hugh (the hammer) Henry and Douglas (the golden one and future anointed) Alexander are getting some training in for new careers, presumably in anticipation of the result of the next Westminster elections. Shuggie and Duggie have little to commend them to the voters next time round. Shuggie has been virtually invisible, no doubt not wishing to associate himself with the rest of the duds in his party. Duggie, on the other hand seems to have his own personal photographer who follows him around while he is grinning and gripping the hand of anyone who still feels that they want to be seen with the man who reduced our electoral system to Zimbabwean levels. One sycophantic Labour placeman described duggie to me as 'one in a million' and my immediate thought was 'Christ, how unlucky can you get?' Still, at least he and his cronies are on the way out.

I think the bin bag might be filled with pictures of Big Gordy, the big clunking fist.
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Saturday, 13 September 2008

New Leader for Scottish Labour

Andy Kerr, another po-faced humourless clone, long on talk but short on talent. I'm very much afraid Smirky will eat this guy alive. Remember when Scottish Labour had some socialists in it ? Better days and better people.

Gordon Brown and the Pensioners (but only some)

He's not helping himself, is he? Big Gordy has fumbled the football again for the sake of childish spin. He was always going to get caught so why does he keep on doing it. He makes an announcement and the next day we find out that it was just half of an announcement intended to mislead us into thinking that the disaster was being addressed when in fact it was just a papering over of the cracks.

He's no different from Bliar

Friday, 12 September 2008

Gordon Brown, the end is nigh !

You know that when you have lost control and discipline in your party then the end of your leadership is in sight. You also know that when junior ministers call for a leadership election to 'clear the air' you have lost control and discipline in your party. Siobhain McDonagh is only saying what the rest are thinking, but the real question is 'Who Convinced her to fall on her sword and what was she promised in return?'.

New Labour is not so much in meltdown as in self-destruct mode. How long can this lame duck Prime Minister soldier on?

My own opinion is that he will take the country into the next election, whenever that may be, and take the battering that Labour will get, so that the replacement dud will not commence the job with the stench of a massive defeat all over him. His Presyterian upbringing would ask that of him, but we'll see, soon.

Racism and the Metropolitan Police Continued

Christ Almighty, Sir Ian, you must have a skin like a rhinoceros. You just keep on trying and failing in everything you do. This is your second try at this guy . For god's sake go and let someone come in who can clean up the mess that is the Met.

Legal Fees and Greedy Solicitors

The legal profession are at it again. Fees for solicitors in litigation with the NHS can be as much as £600 an hour. That money is being directly sucked out of patient care and represents one of the worst and least principled attacks on the Health Service I have ever heard of (and I lived through the reign of the evil witch of Grantham).

We simply have to move from a culture of litigation to a system of 'no blame' compensation for medical accidents. Doctors (no shrinking violets themselves when it comes to bleeding the NHS) could then possibly learn from the errors of others who would no longer have an interest in denial or cover up. Patients and relatives desperate for answers could be dealt with honestly and openly, and the greedy sods would just have to go and rob someone less vulnerable.

Nationalisation of Financial Institutions

Now that the UK has effectively nationalised Northern Rock (almost the first birthday of the nationalisation) and the USA has effectively nationalised both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, we can only applaud this new spirit of public ownership. It's just a pity that the taxpayer always seems to get lumbered with the losers rather than the shareholders who were paid large dividends rather than creating reserves to see their companies through financial crises. It's also a pity that the same spirit of providing a safety net for investors couldn't have been brought to bear on the problems of Farepak, but then their investors weren't already the rich so they don't count for much to Big Gordy.

Just a further comment on the global financial meltdown. Money doesn't just disappear, so if everyone is going to get poorer, who is going to get richer? Capitalists are fighting like ferrets in a sack each trying to save his own arse at the expense of the rest and, as usual, the poorest will pay the price and the rich will get richer. Banks are queueing up to buy each other at bargain basement prices and it's about time the national and international regulators stepped in and sorted out this fucking mess they have allowed to be created by pure greed.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Racism in the Metropolitan Police

Once again we have allegations of racism in the Met. but this time the allegations come from a senior officer in respect of himself. The reaction of the Met is as usual, try to gag the victim, suspend him from employment and give time for the cover up to swing into place. My views on the Met are well known and uncomplimentary. The nominal leader (inasmuch as the Police Federation allow him to call himself 'Chief') should really stand down. He is only making a bigger fool of himself every time he opens his mouth. He increases the shame of the name 'Bliar' and that's not easy.

Legal Fees and Greedy Barristers

I see that the greedy bastar, whoops spell check error, barristers are up to their usual tricks again. £91 an hour is being described as derisory. Well I must admit it certainly makes me deride them. I've posted about these greedy people before and have yet to see reason to change my opinion. They should grant rights of audience in the High Courts to ordinary solicitors as well as solicitor advocates and make the pompous elite compete for wages like the rest of us.

Gordon Brown and Fuel Poverty

I must admit that, despite my severe misgivings, when Gordon (the big clunking fist) Brown followed Bliar I thought that there might be a slightly increased opportunity for some sort of anti-poverty measures. Today's announcement on measures to relieve fuel poverty show that he is as big a coward in the face of big business as ever Bliar was. Brown/Bliar, it's like a choice between the pox and the clap. Both are awful but one is worse.

Pensioners will die of booty capitalism this winter because power generation and distribution is in private hands and a toothless regulator can do nothing to control price increases. Shame!