Tag Archives: Commerce

Have I got a deal for you!!


“Mr Starling. If you were ever accused of understanding all of the issues surrounding  the collapsing house market – would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

For instance, there are only two reasons why house prices are falling and why the house market is moribund.

Moribund? Just look up New Labour.

The market is at death’s door because:

1. Obtaining a mortgage at a decent interest rate with a good Loan-to-Value is becoming increasingly difficult. It has nearly got to the stage when the only people who can obtain a mortgage are the ones who do not really need one.

2. House prices are falling at an ever increasing rate. 

House values are likely to fall by 15% in 2008 and probably about 12% in 2009. (Source: Howard Archer, Global Insight, Sept 2008)

Let’s do a quick calculation:

Assume that I buy a house for £175,000. If the value drops by 15%, after one year, I will have a house worth £148,750. 

Then if the value of my £148,750 house drops by a further 12%, my house will then be worth £130,900.

That means that in two years I will have made a paper loss of (£175,000-£130,900) which is £44,100.

So, Mr Starling what you are saying is that you want to encourage me to go ahead and buy this house by removing the Stamp Duty which will be £1750?

I am no Einstein but that does not look like a good deal to me.

Oh, I know that you will help me when I get into arrears by making my home a part-council house and there may be a small bung to help me with a deposit. But no thanks.

I realise that life on Planet Westminster  is a bit different to the real world but I would suggest that you change your advisers because the “suits” who are advising you at the moment appear to be tragically out of touch.

Mervyn? Mervyn King?

Great darts player. You should get advice from Eric Bristow as well while you’re at it.

Can’t do any more harm.

mervyn-king.jpg Mervyn King

Give us a clue


1-across is SWAT TEAM”

“I’ve got ‘T’ as the first letter”

“That doesn’t surprise me.”

The latest desperate initiatives of an increasingly desperate Prime Minister and  a Chancellor who is already packing his parachute  have just traversed the laughable and blundered into the surreal.

The plot so far: The banks rip each other off by granting a mortgage  to anyone with a pulse – irrespective of whether or not they can repay the loan. The banks then tart-up these dodgy mortgages by packaging lots of them up them up into a fund (securitisation)  and then they flog shares in these funds to each other. 

The money rolls in and  is lent to more dodgy individuals until someone realises that selling shares in  “funds” that are not producing any income because no-one seems to be paying their mortgage is not a good thing.

(The American banks started it but we aped them and then blamed them.)

The banks then decide that there is a crisis and the only way to deal with it is to stop lending – to each other and to the public.

This strange new situation is given a name – Credit Crunch.

Then these privately-owned banks go cap in hand to the Bank of England which has been “advised” to bail them out. Others, such as the Northern Rock are given money directly by the Government.

That does not seem to do the trick because the banks decide to sit on their (our) money because they don’t want to take any more risks. Why not? Because these ersatz corporate entrepreneurs can only function when things are going well.

They have no real idea what to do next – except perhaps to rip off existing customers by increasing interest rates on anything that they can get away with.

When they did play at being entrepreneurial with these so-called “securitised ” mortgages, they messed up – big time. They should all be standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the dock.

However, the banks know that if they do nothing for a few months, the desperate government will be forced into action. They know that the New Labour government has only two ways of doing business:

1. No Crisis = No Action.  

2. Crisis = Panic = Action = Handouts = Big Bucks.

Today we have the announcement that the government will lend money to first-time buyers and there will also be a package for those who cannot repay their mortgage and for good measure, Stamp Duty for properties with a purchase price of £175000 or less will be suspended for a year.

So the government lends to the banks then it lends to the borrowers so that the banks can lend some more to the borrowers.

Why doesn’t the government cut out the middle-man and give the money to the builders to build houses which can then be rented out with a post-dated option to purchase.

When will we all wake up to the fact that the “owner-occupier” skirmish with hard capitalism has not worked  and that we have to be re-educated into thinking of a house as a home and not as a commodity.

This is what Gordon Brown had to say:

“No-one in this country who works hard and plays by the rules should be left alone to bear the impact of the current global economic downturn, and I am determined to see the government do everything we can to help British families weather these difficult times.

I understand what it means to see people struggling to get mortgages or homeowners who, through no fault of their own, suddenly find themselves unable to keep up with their repayments. And it’s not just families who are finding it tough but businesses as well, with house-builders now experiencing difficult conditions after years of extremely favourable circumstances.

So to address these issues, the government’s new £1 billion housing package will give first-time buyers a leg-up onto the housing ladder, help homeowners in difficulty and support the UK’s housebuilding industry.

First-time buyers are one of the groups hit hardest by the credit crunch and are crucial to driving the wider housing market. They would usually benefit from falling prices, but a combination of the higher cost of borrowing, bigger deposit requirements and weakening consumer confidence means this has not happened.

To do everything we can to support them, there will be a one-year stamp duty holiday for all properties sold for up to £175,000 – helping to restore market confidence and giving first-time buyers the extra help they need. And, alongside this, 10,000 more first-time buyers will benefit from a new £300 million shared equity scheme called “Homebuy Direct”.

The current housing market difficulties are also leading to increased repossessions, so we are introducing a new £200 million mortgage rescue scheme that will help thousands of vulnerable families to stay in their homes.

And to do more to encourage social rented housing, we are bringing forward £400 million of government spending to deliver up to 5500 new social rented homes over the next 18 months.

Taken together, I am confident these measures and the other new steps we have announced will help create the best possible environment for the housing market to come through these challenging times – and I invite you to read more about our proposals on the Number10 website. “

Darling – listen to what I mean, not what I say.


We know what Alistair Darling said but do we really know what he meant? What was the subtext? Let’s try and sort out any misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

Last week, according to the Chancellor, the British economy was going down the toilet and the public was “pissed off” with the Government.

YESTERDAY he said that the “fundamentals” of the economy remained strong.

So what were his motives? He must have known that he would come in for the mummy and daddy of all bastings by the media and his Cabinet chums. Dave Cameron and his hooray happy slapper mates think that Christmas has come early and if they’re thrown any more Labour screw-ups, they are in danger of sensory overload.

Not one commentator has spotted Mr Darling’s motives for his outburst to the Guardian.

Whether he’d had a glass too many of (courtesy of the Guardian) Glencrap, whether he was feeling naughty  or whether he thought that he would piss on Gordon Brown’s strawberries just for the hell of it – none of that matters.

We suspect that there may have been a touch of  “In Vino Veritas” but that does not matter either.

This former Edinburgh councillor and small-time Solicitor who for some miraculous reason is running our economy is (and looks) stressed beyond limits.

Another case of a politician being promoted above his level of incompetence?  Or one who has just looked up “fall guy” in his Thesaurus.

What he would like more than anything is for Gordon Brown to put him out of his misery and replace him with David Milliband.

Darling’s own personal “end of term” will come in mid-October when Brown yet again rearranges the deckchairs on the sinking SS New Labour. (You started it, Prescott).

Darling’s outburst to the Guardian is a transparently conscious provocation and New Labour should be prepared for more. To continue the nautical metaphor : in Brown’s eyes, Darling has now become the shit deserting the sinking rats.

Do you remember Geoffrey Howe’s devastating attack on Margaret Thatcher during his 1990 resignation speech. Darling obviously decided to dictate his suicide note to the Guardian rather than make a speech.

He and Howe are both examples of “Yes” man morphing into “Fuck you” man.

If Brown does not “redistribute” him in the next reshuffle, Darling will resign either for health reasons (good early-pension scam) or the more likely “I want to spend more time with my family”.

We have already had the “anti-gaffe” brigade attempting to water-down  and reinterpret Starling’s indiscretions but it’s too late.

Man the lifeboats!

And the Milliband played on.

Troubled over Bridgewater

dianaactaeon.jpgOverheard conversation between the 7th Duke of Sutherland and a peasant:

“So how did you come into the possession of this so-called Bridgewater Loan collection, m’Lud?”

” Well Brian,  that’s a funny story….. When the Froggies were trashing their aristocracy, a relative of Louis XVl flogged the paintings to one of my ancestors. He was called the Duke of Bridgewater – hence the name. Of course, they waited until the King had been beheaded. It was all quite kosher and above board  – no funny business. Got the receipt somewhere. So my family have owned the paintings for just over 200 years. We’re a bit strapped at the moment so I thought that I might tap up the National Galleries for a few quid. Of course, I didn’t say that I needed the cash. No, I said that we wanted to “diversify the family’s assets”. Looks like I’ve really put the cat among the pigeons this time! What a hoot!”

” So where did the Froggies get the Diana and Acteon painting from? That’s the painting that everyone says is the most famous. Never heard of it myself. Titian, the bloke who painted it was from Venice, as far as I know.”

” Yes, that’s right. Titian painted this painting for Phillip ll of Spain , along with six more. Sort of a set. They stayed in Spain until   Philip V gave the painting to the French Ambassador who passed it to Louis XVl. He of course kept it until he lost his head! That’s where my lot come in.”

” So it’s painted by an Italian for a Spanish King who gave it to the French?”


” So why is everybody screaming that the painting has to stay in Scotland? It’s not part of either Scottish or even (if you don’t mind me saying so) British heritage – is it? Some art critic poofter is even saying that it’s the most beautiful painting ever painted.”

“Well I don’t know about that but it is worth a few quid. About £50 mill I should think. The Duke of Bridgewater bought the job lot for about £43K – so potentially, it’s quite a nice little  earner.”

” You seem quite sure that they’re going to raise the cash, aren’t you?”

” You bet! About five years ago, I played the same trick with another Titian. It was called Venus Anadyomene – anyway it was some fat bird standing in a puddle. Got £11 mill for that one. Nothing like having a captive audience, eh? And don’t forget that there’s also Diana and Callisto.”

” Well, I’ve heard of that  Callisto one. That was owned by another French bloke…..No…. don’t tell me…. Jacques Cousteau wasn’t it. He was always on about the Callisto.”

” Are you sure that you’re not Brian Sewell?”

Mervyn’s Tea Party


Monetary Policy Committee

David Blanchflower sits on the pointless Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee.

The MPC is supposed to be acting and thinking  independently but it always seems that whatever they say has been sanitised so as not to upset the neighbours.

David Blanchflower says that in his opinion,  two million people will be out of work by the end of the year.

That’s more like it! We need some realism. We need truth and not the platitudinous crap that  Merv and his chums keep dishing out.

Blanchflower goes on to say that the MPC seems misguided in sitting there and worrying about inflation when the whole economy is in imminent danger of collapse.

He also says, quite rightly that the BoE’s forecast of “broadly flat” economic growth has a great deal of wishful thinking attached to it.

He also thinks that there will be a fall in property prices in excess of 30%. Bravo! Tell it how it is and how it is going to be!

The very worst that could happen at the next MPC meeting is that Mervyn might splash soup on his silk tie but otherwise, whatever they decide will be irrelevant.

As we have said many times before, they should be making things happen but sadly it looks as if the are simply wondering what happened.

See what Spygun wrote on 15th May 2008 

A Wamk in the Park.


This is from our occasional series on Magagement Bullshit.

There are occasions when the message that you have received is obviously wrong but you are not sure quite what the sender meant.

For instance, the five-word title to this article  is a texting-error about a walk in the park.

The full message was: “Thought a lot about you last night and then had a long wamk in the park.”

Below is a list of the 20 most common corporate lies but as the message is not always clear, translations are provided.

1. We have an entrepreneurial spirit.

“We don’t know what the f*** we’re doing.”

2. I like a man who speaks his mind.

“No-one likes a man who speaks his mind. You are an opiniated big-mouth.”

3. People are our greatest resource.

“We treat people like shit.”

4. The Boss is one of us.

“No he is not. If he was, he would be working for you.”

5. Staying small was a conscious decision.

“Our Standard and Poors  and Equifax ratings went down the toilet.”

6. Let’s keep this “off the record”.

There is no such thing as “off the record”.

7. Immediate delivery? No problem.

“Once we’ve got your money, you can whistle.”

8. W’ere going to lunch to talk business.

“Let’s get really pissed.”

9. Money? It’s just a score card.

“I earn more than you, you prat.”

10.You have to twist my arm to go on a business trip.

“It’s so nice to get away from the wife and screaming kid(s).”

11. We don’t tolerate failure.

“We do.”

12. In my day, we made six sales a day.

“I screwed up as a salesman and went into management. Now I’m screwing up management.”

13. I drive a BMW but I’d be just as happy with a Fiat 500.


14. I’m not doing this because you’e my boss.

“I’m a slapper.”

15. We treat every customer as if they were our only customer.

“We treat all of our customers like jerks.”

16. I’ll tell you when I’m coming.

“Hee hee!  Oops…. too late! Sorry!”

17. I’m doing this for the company.

” I’m doing this only  for myself.”  “Moi.”

18. I’ve heard good things about you.

” Who are you?”

19. I’ve recommended you for a pay-rise.

” I have not recommended you for anything – except an exit interview”

20. I’ve never felt like this about anyone.

( Since last week).