Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Gordon Brown's Friends, The Bankers

Just keeps on getting smellier and smellier, doesn't it?

Gordon Brown's extra special friend and adviser "Sir" James Crosby was Chief Executive at The Halifax and through execrable TV advertising aimed at the LCDs expanded it's mortgage business exponentially. Then he became the boss of the merged HBOS and did the same thing there, pursuing ever more risky business. He and his fellow directors were warned in 2004 that the risks were becoming extensive and dangerous, and promptly sacked the messenger, and gagged him with a confidentiality clause.

Then good old "Sir" James abandons ship at HBOS, handing the poisoned chalice to Andy Hornby, and gets a cushy job writing a report for Gordon Brown on trying to sugar coat the nasty taste of ID cards, for which he is promoted by appointment as Deputy Chairman of the Financial Services Authority, whose remit is to ensure banks are not taking undue risks. Nice One!

Under the protection of parliamentary approval, the sacked Head of Risk Management at HBOS is at last able to spill the beans, and it turns out not only did he tell the directors at HBOS that things were in up shit creek with no paddle, but also took his concerns to the government watchdog tasked by Gordon Brown with regulating the banking system, that's the one, the fucking unfit for fucking purpose Financial Services Authority, who did nothing because "they like a quiet life".

"When Gordon Brown first set up his new system of banking supervision, the amount British banks lent out was matched by the amount that they held on deposit. In fact, they were often in overall surplus. By the time he finished as chancellor, they were lending over £625 billion more than they held on deposit. That’s not supervision – it was sheer recklessness. It’s that funding gap which is the key to understanding how our banks have crumbled." Michael Fallon MP

Andy Hornby's little chat with the Star Chamber also revealed that he was busy trying to undue the "rush for growth at any risk" culture that "Sir" James had been pursuing at HBOS but ran out of time especially when Gordon and his shitty little gob-piece Peston destroyed their share price to ensure a takeover by Gordon's other friend, Sir Victor Blank and Lloyds TSB. Do you suppose that Gordon knew of the problems at HBOS from chatting to "Sir" James?

Do bears shit in the woods?

The Penguin

UPDATE : "Sir" James falls on his sword just in time to save Gordon's blushes.


Dungeekin said...

Something needs to be done about bankers.

I propose a partial lifting of the ban on hunting with hounds.

And, when we've run out of bankers for the dogs to shred, let's start on the politicians. The running will do tubby Gordoom McMental some good.


subrosa said...

Morning Penguin, I think that's perhaps the most accurate analysis of the HBOS disaster that I've read. Thanks.

Dennis said...

FSA stands for "Fucking Say Anything". No good expecting much from that quarter, or indeed any other.

It all reeks to high heaven.

The Penguin said...

Not insider knowledge, Subrosa, just a healthy does of cynicism and a few times around the block.

Last year I spent a few weeks helping a small building society complete the new reporting forms for the Bank Of England, who had decided they should be better informed. The FSA quickly chose to uprate their own forms, like some stupid fucking competition to have more (useless) data which they don't understand and will do nothing with.

It was a surreal experience. The rules on "mark to market" and "assessment of risk" are 100% gobbledegook.

Many centuries (it seems) ago when I was Divisional Financial Controller for a major player in wholesale and distribution, we were required to sent quarterly returns to the National Statistics Office. Problem was, they wanted to know things that the business had no interest in tracking or knowing, so in many cases I just had to "approximate" things. From this the government make decisions?

And we'd ALWAYS get some idiot on the phone in the last quarter wanting to know why our stocks had gone up so much compared to the other quarters. Christ on a Bike,Had these twats never heard of Christmas? Or the Budget? We'd fill the warehouses with fags and booze and pray for tax increases.

They do not have a fucking clue.

The Creator said...

Among the horror stores of this government, perhaps the most pernicious, worse even than the stench of corruption and the endless amorality, is that every time – and that's a lot of times, an awful lot of times – Gordo McNutter gets stuck into the detail of any policy, he does it with a kind of maniac, cackling glee, not unlike that of a precocious but deranged 10 year old, convinced that yet again he has pulled off some stupendously cunning ruse that will boost further his self-proclaimed reputation as a man of genius (and of course do down the Tories).

The reality is a hideous mess of insanely complicated, ruinously expensive and laughably inept regulations and initiatives which never work. Ever.

His greatest and most brilliant ruse was to hose money around the public sector to create an artificial boom enabling him to boast not merely that he had abolished boom and bust but that he had created three million jobs by investing in vital public spending. That this simultaneously called into being what he assumed would be a captive core Labour vote was a further benefit to his Belzeebub-like scheming. This tottering edifice would then be financed in perpetuity by a financial services industry that would growing at ever more dizzy rates.

The only flaw in this otherwise brilliant scheme is that the financial services industry, regulated under a characteristically hopeless scheme devised by the Great Gordo himself, has been brought crashing to the ground. As a result, the rest of us will all shortly be doing likewise.

In short, 'Britain's greatest-ever chancellor' is now presiding over an economic calamity of appalling proportions, as that nice Mr Balls helpfully pointed out last week.

What's interesting about this impending catastrophe is how Brown, hard-wired to know that he is always right, will reconcile himself to the reality of what he has brought about. To date, his response has been first to dither, then to deny that there is any such crisis, then to claim Britain will weather it better than anyone else and then to blame it on everyone else. Briefly, casting himself as the saviour of the world, he then attempted to persuade us that he had concocted a rescue of the ailing banks et al that left the rest of the world gasping in admiration.

Except that none of it has worked. He is now just about reaching the end of the road. You can practically see the sparks flashing out of his brain as he wrestles with the horrendous prospect that he has monumentally fucked everything up to the tune of hundreds and hundreds of billions of pounds and millions out of work. But as such a scenario cannot exist in the world he created, clearly it can't be happening.

Very, very soon and I suspect it may be just a matter of days now (I admit there is a significant element of wishing thinking at work here) his brain will simply seize up. There may be a momentary smell of burning. And then I think his head will simply blow up.