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Osborne’s debt plan will come at a huge cost

And so another bank goes bust and lands us, the taxpayer, with the bill. Bradford and Bingley is to be nationalised and broken up, the good bits given to other private institutions like the Spanish bank Santander, the bad bits taken on by the state. That’s another £41 billion of bad mortgages to add to … Continue reading

Troubled assets need your help now.

Last week the US Treasury secretary, Hank Paulson, got down on his knees and begged the Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to endorse his $700bn bailout of his Wall Street friends. “I didn’t know you were a Catholic” she reportedly replied, in one of the sharpest asides in modern political history. Father Paulson used to … Continue reading

Nationalist Brigadoon or Labour land?

Scottish Labourites at their conference in Manchester last week were practically punching the air at the collapse of HBoS. They think the crisis vindicates their unionism and reveals Alex Salmond as a tartan fantasists living in an economic Brigadoon. Mind you, some Scots might prefer Brigadoon to Labour land. The collapse of HBoS and the … Continue reading

A brief history of short selling

It’s the investment strategy everyone’s talking about: short selling. No, nothing to do marketing summer sports wear, but a strategy for making money from falling share values in companies like HBoS. It’s easy, once you know how. First you borrow some shares in HBoS from a bank or insurance company or pension fund, and sell … Continue reading

Bad bank bailout is a bad idea

Today we will learn further details of what could turn out to be the greatest act of grand larceny in history: the US treasury secretary, Henry Paulson’s, trillion dollar bailout of the US banks. Following last week’s crash, the US government has decided to use taxpayers money to buy up all the bad mortgage debts … Continue reading

Welcome to the future: financial corportatism

It’s said that the New York banker, J P Morgan, finally realised the Great Crash was coming when his shoeshine boy started offering him share tips. Well I had my own low rent version of this financial epiphany eighteen months ago when the waiter in my local Indian restaurant offered to get me a mortgage. … Continue reading

Gordon is saved by the collapse of capitalism

Can Harry Potter save Gordon? Or is the PM’s situation now so dire than not even the supernatural can save him? The donation of £1m to Labour from the Potter author, JK Rowling, only emphasised the depths of Labour’s own credit crunch: the party is £18m in debt. And with Labour twenty points behind in … Continue reading

HBoS – the end of an auld sang

September 17th will go down as the blackest day for Scottish finance in three hundred years. HBoS, Scotland’s second largest company is to be merged into a London-based monolith called Lloyds Halifax. And rumours circulating the City that Scotland’s largest financial institution, Royal Bank of Scotland may shortly be merged with HSBC. It doesn’t get … Continue reading

David Cairns resigns.

David Cairns is being described as an obscure Scottish politician of whom we know nothing. That may be true in England, but not north of the border, where Cairns is well known and respected as one of the brightest and ablest politicians in the Scottish parliamentary group, and a sound media performer. The departure of … Continue reading

Is Iain Gray Labour’s Scottish saviour

It’s been called the worst job in the world, and with cause. Since devolution, Labour has had five Scottish leaders. One died prematurely, two others left in disgrace, and the fourth resigned after Labour’s worst election defeat in half a century. Can Iain Gray do any better? Well, things can only get better – especially … Continue reading

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