Posts Tagged ‘Brown’

So let me see.
As someone who has spent half their life building up a savings pot for retirement’ I’m now expected to lend my money, at pitiful interest rates, to mortgage borrowers who in some cases are on nil percent.

Factor in that many banks are effectively nationalised, and one must seriously question the competence of this goverment. If we’re going to have nationalisation why are the government allowing this?

It’s largely irresponsible borrowing that’s put us in this mess, why are we encouraging even more of this?

Where’s the equity in any of this?
Yet again in my lifetime has a Labour administration managed to screw up the economy so comprehensively.

Thanks for nothing Gordon.


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Mandelson: up to old tricks?

Gordon Brown must be kicking himself.

After having what most people on both sides of the political spectrum would describe as a ‘good banking war’, he must be ruing the day he decided that in order to bring the Blairites on board, and recover his bad public image, he should bring Mandelson into the Cabinet.

Mandelson is now under scrutiny over his links to the Russian aluminium ‘king’ Oleg Deripaska. In his time as EU Trade Commissioner, Mandelson has apparently had a series of social contacts with the Russian, and at the same time had twice reduced tariffs on imported aluminium, of which Deripaska’s company Rusal was the main beneficiary.

Mandelson of course has form, having previously twice resigned from cabinet. Who would bet against a third resignation?

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I find it quite a strange coincidence that the very first act of Gordon Brown as Chancellor was to strip occupational pension funds of their tax dividend relief. It is commonly acknowledged that this was the trip-wire for the rapid subsequent closure of final salary pension schemes. Thus affecting millions of people who found their pension planning was seriously compromised. (And I draw a parallel here and contrast this with the pensions of MPs that have received significant public funding increases in the last couple of years).

His final act (as Chancellor) was to cut the 10% tax band, thus making five million of our lower paid citizens worse off.

To paraphrase Neil Kinnock from his famous Liverpool militant speech, 

“I’ll tell you what happens when you treat the voters with contempt. You start with a stealth tax like abolishing pension dividend relief, this is then compounded into a series of taxes hitting those on middle incomes, and you go through the years sticking to that, out-dated, misplaced, irrelevant to the real needs, and you end in the grotesque chaos of a Conservative opposition,  – a Conservative opposition having to lecture a Labour Government and explaining why hitting five million lower paid is both unjust, unfair and contemptuous.”

Thanks Gordon.

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In a new television documentary to be screened next week, Tony Blair claims the credit for the historic decision to make the Bank of England independent, contrary to the received wisdom that it was Gordon Brown’s idea.  The truth is that neither had any choice in the matter.

In 1997 the UK was still on the fast track to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) within the EU. As a consequence of the Maastricht treaty in 1992, EMU was programmed as a three phase operation. The Conservative Major government, in signing the treaty had recognised the significant problem associated with stage III, viz the requirement to adopt the euro as the currency of the UK. They calculated correctly that the vast majority of the British public would rail against this, and it would have become an electoral liability. 

Hence during the EMU negotiations they secured an opt out from stage III, but critically they, or any future government were duty bound by stages I and II. EU preparations for adopting stage II began on January 1st 1994, and one of the requirements was that all states were required to make their central banks independent. Hence when the Blair government came to power in 1997, the decision to give Bank of England independence was already set in stone and they were legally bound to do so. 

At that time the Labour government were good Europeans, and were even intending to adopt stage III and sign up to the euro despite having an opt out. Clearly it wasn’t politically acceptable for Brown’s, (or Blair’s if you believe the TV documentary) first act to be sold to the British public with the reason given that, “we’ve got to do this because the EU told us so”, so of course Brown cynically presented it as his own decision.It was anything but.

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