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Iceland default credit crunch Baugur

Baugur it! We’ll not let Johnny Icelander seize our assets!

Well, it makes a change from fighting over fish. I can dimly recall scenes of from last cod war with Iceland in the 70s – gallant British trawlers biffing Johnny Icelander where it hurt, right in the fish stocks. We lost that one.

But this time it’s personal. The Icelandic fiends have frozen British bank accounts – and they know a thing or two about cold storage up there. Britain retaliated by seizing £4bn of Icelandic bank assets under our anti-terrorist laws. Clearly, these assets were dangerous Icelandic militants armed with suicide belts set to explode in branches of the Bradford and Bingley.

But as ceasefire talks begin in Rejkyavik the horror continues. British savers are being slaughtered in their savings accounts. Other casualties include local authorities with millions lost in Icelandic accounts, housing associations, charities. Even police authorities lost their shirts and now want Mr Landsbanki to help them with their inquiries.

It’s at times like this that the nation has to pull together, so thank goodness for our Great Leader. It’s Gordon’s finest hour. “We shall fight them in the branches, we shall fight them in the savings accounts, we shall fight them in the bankruptcy courts and shopping tills- we shall never surrender”.

It may seem an unequal struggle. Iceland has 330,000 against our 60,000,000 – but they do have a lot of puffins on their side. And Iceland is a very cold country where British soldiers would not be allowed actually to fight because of the health and safety. So we will have to use British ingenuity to win this great fight. Undercover bankers with golden parachutes will be dropped on Reykjavik to wreak havoc on their banking system with crazy derivative schemes.

There is one problem though. The Icelanders have already conquered most of our high streets. Over he last decade House of Fraser, Debenhams, Whistles,, Iceland (honestly) and West Ham United, have all fallen into Viking hands as a result of brutal raids led by flame-haired billionaire Jon Asgeir Johannesson backed by Icelandic bank-terrorists. Plans are afoot to seize these stores for Britain and hand them over to the councils as part of recreation and leisure.

Only it isn’t quite as easy as that. Turns out that the Icelandic retail group, Baugur, didn’t actually buy shares in the high street companies, but bought derivatives called “contracts for difference”. This is a wonderful piece of bubble-era financial “engineering” which allows investors to hold a stake in companies without actually owning shares. Or owning the money to buy the non-shares. It means that no one knows who owns what. It’s a mess.

There’s only one solution. Alistair Darling will have to organise a new multi-billion pound bail out of the Icelandic banks, so that Gordon can demand our money back. That’ll Baugur them!

About @iainmacwhirter

I'm a columnist for the Herald. Author of "Road to Referendum" and "Disunited Kingdom". Was a BBC TV and radio presenter for 25 years - "Westminster Live" and "Holyrood Live" mainly. Spent time as columnist for The Observer, Guardian, New Statesman. Former Rector of Edinburgh University. Live in Edinburgh and spend a lot of time in the French Pyrenees. Will that do?


One thought on “Baugur it! We’ll not let Johnny Icelander seize our assets!

  1. While the British government has limited British bank deposit guarantees to stg£50,000 (€63,222), savers at the British Post Office now have 100% protection for their deposits following the decision by the Irish government to guarantee bank accounts. ———smithsannew way to advertise

    Posted by sasiraman | October 14, 2008, 9:44 am

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