Coffee House

Coming soon – the Bank of Miliband. Be very afraid.

17 January 2014

17 January 2014

If you think bankers do a bad job of banking, just wait until government tries its hand. This seems to be what Ed Miliband is proposing today: a Labour government would set up two new banks, to challenge the existing five big ones. And so his 1970s revival continues. There’s no evidence that new banks would help much, as the Bank of England Governor has already indicated. But as I say in my Telegraph column today, Ed Miliband isn’t too worried about lack of evidence. He’s proposing to be a different kind of political leader.

His list of ‘predators’ – ie, nasty businesses to whom he promises to give six of the best – grows longer all the time. Energy companies, short-term lenders, people who make fixed-odds betting machines, homebuilders – and, now, high street banks. Spank, spank, spank, spank, spank.

He was speaking without notes, so I’d like to think the following quote was a mistake. But I fear not:-

‘On day one of the next Labour government, we will ask the Competition & Markets Authority to report within six months on how to create at least two new sizeable and competitive banks to challenge the existing high street banks… This is not about whether we have new banks, but how.’

The last Labour government worried about cartels — but, crucially, it relied upon the Competition Commission (soon to become the CMA) to investigate whether an industry was acting like a cartel. This was an arm’s-length body and would devote up to 24 months on proper investigations whose outcomes were usually seen as fair. Tony Blair’s point was that government would not (and should not) have the power to beat up on an unpopular industry.

Subscribe from £1 per week

Now, Miliband is quite keen on beating up industries. It’s becoming his USP. As he says, he doesn’t care if the CMA thinks we need a new bank. Or two. He wants them anyway and just wants advice on how they’d be set up. At times like these, even Conservatives have occasion to be glad of our EU membership: surely there are rules against government breaking up banks, without any evidence that they are abusing their power?

But you can’t fault Miliband for lacking ambition. Or, for that matter, intellectual honesty. He is taking aim at ‘predators’ and engaging in ‘pre-distribution’ with the hope of reliving the ‘cost of living crisis’: it all fits perfectly with what he has told us he is about. He’s the quiet radical, forging a new form of left-wing populism. This can work with voters, as Francois Hollande demonstrated. (But it doesn’t work as a governing strategy, as Francois Hollande has also demonstrated.)

I was interviewed by BBC News Channel about this earlier and asked: what about the 1989 Beer Orders? Didn’t Maggie Thatcher decide that the brewers were ripping off punters by wholly-owning too many pubs and not allowing  general competition? That’s true, and she did order pub selloffs and guest beers.But she didn’t have government set up its own brewery. (Probably because she knew that government would struggle to organise a piss-up inside it).

Simon Walker from the Institute of Directors put it well today:-

‘The state has a very poor history of creating competition in banking. The last time the Government told a bank what to do, Lloyds was ordered to sell branches to Reverend Flowers, and we all know how that ended.’

Miliband is far more, em, optimistic about the power of government to reorganize the economy. You can bet he won’t stop at banks. He really does believe that Britain’s main problem is not enough power wielded by the government.

Given that he’s still the bookies’ favourite to be Prime Minister after the next election, it’s time to be very afraid.

More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us.

Show comments
  • Mario_Ferretti

    Telemachus being apparently a plagiarist seems somewhat irrelevant, as his “casino banking” (reported) argument might be right all the same. What’s really
    telling however is that it is not, for the very simple reason that it has nothing to do with Mr Milliband’s actual proposal. The latter is in fact not the ridiculous idea of abolishing credit risk (as innocent telemachus seems to believe), but the rather different one of using break-ups to promote bank competition. The need for more bank competition can hardly be denied, after the pervasive collusion cases thrown up by the LIBOR affair (and the even worse ones brewing up right now in currency and commodity markets). So a rational argument should probably boil down to whether bank break-ups are a right tool to that end. Yet, neither the article nor most comments seem to have noticed that point.

  • Katie7777777

    Only because eu trolls place bets using our money, most of them from Brussels.

  • Katie7777777

    Some labour council union banks, no thanks

  • Tom Tom

    Germany has lots of State-owned Banks and they are the backbone of financing SMEs in Germany.

  • Fergus Pickering

    The government has, or used to have, their own brewery in Carlisle. What became of it?

  • fruity beauty

    People such as Milibandit think that Britain really IS the government (or the other way around). Hence there is no end to the lunacy.

    • pedestrianblogger

      To the likes of the Minibrain, the phrase “we, the people” is fit for nothing but derision. What he longs for is the chance to say “l’etat, c’est moi”.

      • fruity beauty

        Yes indeed, Paul.

  • paulthorgan

    The temptation to describe these ‘challenger banks’ as ‘Milibanks’ is irresistable.

    There is, however, a Milibank House in Surrey. It has offices to let here:

  • Joel Benjamin

    Germany. 2000 banks share 70% market share = capitalism. UK. Big 5 banks control 90% market share = corporatism.

    • Chris lancashire

      Germany 2000 banks, global earnings – not much. UK big 6 banks (you missed the excellent Standard Chartered) dominant share and massive earnings for the UK.

      • Daniel Maris

        Net result, London becomes a magnet for ne’er do wells from all over the globe, we need ever more airport capacity and the City is a huge magnet for mass immigration – all those office cleaning jobs, sandwich bar jobs and jobs in airports – all low paid and anti-social hours.

        • Chris lancashire

          I can tell you’re a glass is half empty sort of chap.

        • paulthorgan

          Your ‘net result’ is bogus.

          It does not make London a ‘magnet for ne’er do wells’ any more than any other city.

          And all offices require office cleaning jobs and sandwich bars.

          So accusing the financial sector as specifically guily is dishonest.

          The worst part is you probably know how dishonest you are being.

          • Daniel Maris

            Of course it does. Ne’er do wells are always attracted to where money changes hands – in a way they are NOT attracted to centres of industry.

            • paulthorgan

              Simply not true. It’s just that the ne’er do wells in industry are trades unionists. In the City they are regulated and always get caught out. In industry they just destroy jobs and businesses and leave their members on the employment scrapheap. Unite’s antics in Grangemouth is a prime example.

              I also refer you to the recent series of scandals concerning Arthur Scargill and his pludering of NUM money to fund a luxury flat in London.

              • Daniel Maris

                Silly, silly, silly. Trade unionists have hardly any power under the new dispensation.

                • paulthorgan

                  Maybe they lack power in the private sector because businesses will merely relocate overseas if they get any trouble. However they dominate in the state sector.

                  The reason why rubbish teachers are never sacked and killer nurses never jailed is entire due to the power of their unions. And this power is hurting innocent people in this country.

    • Sir Harry Plunket-Greene

      The 1,100 mutual banks in Germany are all members of 5 or 6 organisations and each only operates in a small geographic area. Likewise the Landesbanks operate mostly in their own home state. The average German doesn’t have much more choice than we do here in the UK by the time you take into account all the building societies, internet banks, banks linked to retailers and the foreign owned banks (Indian, Irish, Scandinavian, Cypriot) offering personal banking in big towns. I’ve never heard any body complain that there are too few banks in the UK.

  • RavenRandom

    Old fashioned socialism failed in Eastern Europe, failed in China, failed in the 70s, failing now in France… but I guess that’s because they weren’t doing it properly. We must not allow Labour to be re-elected.

    • Geronimo von Huxley

      You see – when you are a Thatcherite, why set up Farage on one and Cameron on the other end of the right wing spectrum? Someone did not pay attention there putting those two into the positions they now hold.

  • RavenRandom

    The British Leyland of banking. Miliband is keen to wreck the economy in a retro way. Back to the 70s because that worked so well. Still keeps the IMF in work.

    • HookesLaw

      We should remember that Blair and Brown (and that bozo Byers I think) finally finished off Leyland when they and their Union paymasters forced BMW to sell to Phoenix instead of Alchemy. Phoenix reverted to ashes having gone through 500 million of BMW’s legacy.

  • Daniel Maris

    Banking is a form of monopoly because you have to be licensed by the state before you can enter the market. The Saatchi brothers for instance were prevented some years ago from entering the market.

    Banking takes very little skill but is very lucrative because it is a skimming exercise, akin from that point of view in what goes on in casinos.

    There’s no reason why the state shouldn’t enter this sector to create some real competition.

    • Baron

      Oh, Daniel, please.

      The last, the absolutely last thing we need is banks run by the politicians.

      When the fate of the RBS was debated after the meltdown, Baron suggested the taxpayer owned institution should lure the top investment teams from the likes of Goldmans promising to treble their bonuses or more if they deliver. If we did this, Daniel, Baron’s as certain as is the certainty that the sun will rise tomorrow that the bank would be today ready to be sold at a hefty profit to the taxpayer. As it happened those in charge didn’t follow the barbarian’s suggestion, and it was the likes of Goldmans who made the money.

      and this:

      Your view that ‘banking takes very little skill’ comes from experience of your cashing a cheque, or what?

      • Daniel Maris

        There is little evidence of investment teams actually outperforming markets. It’s normally a question of how much risk an individual is prepared to bear as to the return they get. Obviously richer people can bear more risk.

        These are the same investment teams who didn’t realise the “Triple A” debt they were buying was actually stinkingly toxic. Perpetuating this myth of them all being far seeing masters of the universe helps no one.

        State banks perform well around the world and are now actually forming the backbone of investment in this country.

        Investment decisions have been subjected to academic enquiry. I don’t see a lot of skill involved in analysing markets and so on – it’s just people reading newspapers, listening to those in the know and undertaking some very simple calculations on published accounts etc. The point is investment analysts get it wrong all the time. Just because some get it right occasionally doesn’t make it a skilled activity.

        Imagine if you have a situation where when you went to see a classical piano concert, you were never sure whether you are going to hear a series of bum notes for 90 minutes. That’s how “skilled” investors are.

        It’s much more a social phenomenon with entry controlled not by merit but connections, especially through internship.

        Compared with running a retail chain like Tesco, or an automobile manufacturer or a mobile phone company, banking is simples. I’m obviously not saying a trained monkey could do it, although – as with flying a plane – much of it is now computerised in any case.

        • Baron

          Daniel, we’ve got our disagreement on coal, whether to leave it underground and freeze, or convert/dig it and get the economy going again, but this reply of yours just beggars belief.

          You’re confusing what’s in the industry known as ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ side, you have no idea what it was that made ‘the stinking toxic’ paper toxic, your piano concert analogy makes little sense ….

          A suggestion you shouldn’t take on lightly. Get yourself a simple book on the financial sector, its branches, how it ticks, find someone who is in it, learn few things, my blogging friend, before you judge. Please.

          • Daniel Maris

            I don’t claim detailed knowledge of the financial sector but I claim enough to understand that a lot of this is just smoke and mirrors.

            Most of the big investment decisions have nothing to do with banking skills. The banker is just a gatekeeper. A huge amount of money goes into lawyers reviewing and agreeing supposedly watertight contract conditions which everyone is arguing about 5 years later. Believe me, I’ve seen it.

            Try this comprehensive review of the literature:

            “Based on the literature review, we conclude that the academic research, despite the limitations of the empirical studies and the varying research findings, shows that it is extremely difficult for an actively managed fund to achieve persistent outperformance in the medium to long term. In practice moreover, it is difficult to distinguish between luck and skill on the part of the fund manager.”


            I read up on the toxic debt crisis and it was clear all down the line that people earning million dollar bonuses were not doing their basic job.

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              That much is obvious. You ventures into the energy generation debate are ludicrous but your attempt to bring light to the banking debate is beyond parody. Learn a bit about the industry and then make a rational contribution.

              • Daniel Maris

                As usual neither you nor anyone else address the evidence I bring – indicating it is very difficult to distinguish between luck and skill on the part of fund managers.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Daniel, what you “bring” is not “evidence” but the misleading nonsense of ignorant, unfounded and valueless conjecture stimulated by your lazy mind and silly prejudices. Consequently, there is no incentive to debunk such nonsense and treat it with the composed dignity demanded of real evidence.

                • Daniel Maris

                  I brought a serious study of the issue which you choose to completely ignore.

                  Leave aside the study, it is obvious that the people involved in banking cannot be gifted with the foresight claimed. A good 99.9% never saw the recession coming before the signs became obvious enough for even a child to see.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  I refer you to my previous comments.

        • Alex

          If a trained monkey can’t do it then Miliband certainly couldn’t.
          Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  • HookesLaw

    Optimistic? Miliband *believes* in ‘the power of government to reorganize the economy’. The entire labour Party does. Miliband’s mate McCluskey does.
    they are $odding socialists.

    But there is no need to be afraid Mr Nelson. Just start campaigning for a Conservative victory in 2015. Stop pandering to the kipper maniacs who want to hand over power to Miliband. I see Matthew Parris has an article in the Times decrying a small group of nihilist 5th column tory backbench nutjobs. Not before time the thicko tendency was exposed.

  • HJ777

    I look forward to Miliband proposing a greater number of competing taxpayer-funded medical service suppliers and education suppliers in order to get more choice and hence a better deal for the public.

  • Geronimo von Huxley

    Isn’t it odd? Capitalism is eating itself (yes, monopolies are everywhere as Fraser points out) – yet it takes the chap and his chums who made that happen point it out to us. Extraordinary! What does that tell us about the state of the Conservative Party, a party which is supposedly the legitimate representative of competitive culture. It tell us that they are no such thing at all.

  • Curnonsky

    There is nobody more dangerous than an ambitious second-rater.

  • Baron

    On a related, but not exactly the same subject, Fraser.

    The battle for the minds and hearts is likely to accelerate before the count next year. You will need all support you can muster not to be beaten by the progressive fruitcakes. Please, give a chance to Russell Taylor, commission a piece from him, you won’t regret it, he can be Spectator’s another powerful counterweight to the telemachuses amongst us.

  • Denis_Cooper

    Your article in the Telegraph is disgraceful.

    As I commented there:

    “I went to a public meeting in which Lord Tebbit mentioned that Heath had privately given his colleagues a similar reason for joining the EEC – that it would tie the hands of any incoming Labour government.

    Tebbit then went on to express his own view, that of course he was not a socialist but if the British people voted for socialism they had a right to get socialism.

    In other words, it’s that old thing called “democracy”, the will of the people and all that, and Heath didn’t much like it and nor apparently does Fraser Nelson.”


    “It’s a disgraceful article, and I’m not just going by the headline; it shows that the author is only interested in democracy if it gives the outcomes that he wants, and if it gives outcomes that he doesn’t want then he would prefer to see our democracy neutralised by the EU. People made sacrifices to get universal suffrage, but he wants them to be effectively disenfranchised by international treaty if they vote in a way that he personally doesn’t like. The only good point is that if his views are spread widely among working class voters then they may react by deciding that we’d be better off out of the EU rather than have the bloody Tories getting their will imposed through the EU even when they’ve been voted out of office in this country.”

    • HookesLaw

      Pompous rubbish.
      Your kipper antics will steal votes in tory marginals and give us socialist europhile labour – thus denying you of a chance of a democratic referendum.
      You are as thick as they come. I despise you.

      • Denis_Cooper

        So UKIP will “steal” votes, will it? You think that votes are yours by some kind of right? That’s your mistake. And this is from somebody who supports a party which extolls the virtues of competition in every market place, except apparently the political market place where it doesn’t like it, and which is in reality just a corrupt anti-democratic unpatriotic political gang. Do you know what? With every comment that you write, the less it seems to matter whether your gang wins the next election or it fails to win the next election as it has failed to win the last four elections.

        • southerner

          I have been growing increasingly concerned for Hooke lately. His outbursts are becoming almost unintelligible.

          As you rightly say, a party does not “steal” votes unless you are so purblind in your loyalty to a party that anyone freely expressing their democratic right to vote for someone else (how dare they?) is regarded as theft.

          Hooke is in love with Cameron and his left wing socialists. He pretends to be a conservative but he campaigns for a short term solution – namely electoral success at all costs – without appreciating (or, worse, deliberately ignoring) that that will simply lead to another 5 years of left wing Europhile socialism.

      • Baron

        HookesLaw, get real, the boy couldn’t defeat a man who, whichever way one cuts it, must be the worst PM in living memory if not ever. He then entered voluntarily into a coalition with a bunch of the utterly confused, hence did next to BA putting forward, implementing any genuinely conservative policies, his crowning achievements being the Gay Marriage Act, and a vague promise of a referendum on the EU, in which he will argue we should stay in.

        And you still batting for him and his team? Baron worries about you, you know.

  • telemachus

    Spoken like a true bankers friend
    What on earth can be wrong in US style limiting the market share of behemoths like RBS that almost bankrupted the country.
    Mattereth not how it is done
    Give them to Virgin and Metro if you do not want the State to set them up
    The Banks can scaremonger
    We expect more from economic journalists
    At least Robert Peston was objective

    • Baron

      Get real, telemachus, the pink Ed, his boss the dour Scott, the BoE, the FSA were all around when the ‘bankrupting’ went on. Why haven’t they stopped it? If they did Baron would take his hat off to them, backed you. But, my sparring partner, they didn’t, they failed in their duty of care, and now they are telling us they can fix it? Arghhh.

      Mark Carney at the BoE has a fight on his hands, one can only hope he’s made of sterner stuff than Diamond.

      • telemachus

        Is it wrong to learn from history?
        The environment is very different now from then
        The public and financial establishment will tolerate what you and I know is right

  • Baron

    Fraser, excellent take on what’s installed for us if the pinky Millipede gets in except for your seeing the man himself as ‘a quiet radical….. This is someone who stabbed his own brother, a deviously ambitious man, who will do everything to gain power. And, of course, he’s optimistic about the power of the Government, the Red thugs in the East were, too, and we all know how it ended.

    He has a point in that the banking sector is a small club, but a couple of more Banks of Essex will do BA to improve competition. The banks we have haven’t made the billions in retail banking, it ain’t where the riches are, it’s investment banking that made the money in the past, will make it again. It won’t be the HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds, RBS though, but the Americans, the Japanese, the Swiss investment banking houses, possibly even the Chinese, if the man gets his way.

    • telemachus

      And the moral probity of the city will rise in parallel with this shift

      • Baron

        And the moral probity of the city will rise in parallel with the shift the pink Ed and you are proposing? Hmmm.

        If you were an industrialist going for a $400bn takeover would you entrust the business to a recently created Bank of Essex, or an outfit run by Flowers? You might, of course, on the basis that your progressive principles must be followed come what may.

        • telemachus

          I was referring to sending casino investment banking to US Japan etc

          • Baron

            You have a direct experience of the ‘casino banking’, do you? Then explain to Baron where is the casino element in underwriting, take you time, Baron can wait.

            • telemachus

              It is not underwriting that is the problem
              It is the fly by night twenty something’s that gamble billions on futures etc

              • Baron

                OK, explain to Baron what is the casino element in futures, please.

                • telemachus

                  Come on
                  A teen twenty throws a billion at his gamble on the futures market

                • telemachus

                  Trading and gambling are similar in that they both attempt to create a capital gain, over a relatively short period of time, without creating new wealth. If I am a shoemaker, then my efforts create a pair of shoes that someone else can wear (new wealth), while I earn an income from cobbling. When I am a trader or gambler, I may earn an income, but there is no additional wealth created. Some markets experts would claim traders create market liquidity to the benefit of long-term investors, and that this in itself has value, similar to “new wealth” creation. But because trading and gambling involve capital transfer without capital creation they are viewed skeptically, especially when their outcomes are unpredictable. Society generally prefers the shoemaker-type endeavor because it creates something others find valuable.

                • Alexsandr

                  so an antique dealer who buys something for £50 then sells it for £100 doesnt create wealth?
                  or the green grocer who buys apples for 50p a pound and sells em for £1 a pound doesn’t create wealth.

                  how is trading in futures different?

                • telemachus

                  They are dealing with commodities involving peoples labour and with an end product that someone wants
                  Not abstract figures
                  Futures are no different from poker or roulette

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  You ignorant socialist scumbag. How do you think the price of petrol is secured in advance of your buying it at the pumps? By agreeing to and contracting at a price in the futures market you idiot.

                • anncalba

                  I make that 17 replies to telemachus. Come on, people don’t let yourselves be manipulated in this way, he’s really not worth your time.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  You are absolutely right and so have an uptick on me. That said, when you read the dissembling leftist rubbish he writes one feels compelled to give a truthful account of the matter in question. Second, when somebody talks of a loathsome blight on public life like Ed Balls as charismatic, it is difficult to avoid offering a counter opinion.

                • glurk

                  hmmmmmm? Shush dear, we’re talking…

                • rick hamilton

                  At the start of your example the seller A has an antique, the dealer has £50 and the buyer B has £100. At the end A has £50, the dealer has £100 and B has an antique. Total throughout is £150 plus one antique. Where’s the wealth creation?

                • Colonel Mustard

                  The dealer has made £50 which is wealth creation for him, the very essence of trade. He goes on trading, grows his business and employs people. He also brings money into the country from abroad that has a ripple effect through banking and transaction charges.

                  I believe Chairman Mao had views like yours, once. Now look at China.

                • Baron

                  Clever, but misleading, rick, because if done on the basis on an individual transaction the throughout will always be the same. Consider the following which even you might accept as genuine wealth creation:

                  A pile of planks, a carpenter with £50, and a buyer of chairs with £500.

                  The carpenter buys the wood for £50, turns into a chair, flogs it for £500 to the buyer. Before: a pile of wood and £550, after: £550 and a chair.

                  Does Baron hear you saying ‘but the carpenter turned the wood into a chair’. Well, the antique dealer may have polished the piece of antique, or just dusted it, or was doing abit of arbitraging, but it’s he (and the carpenter) who created wealth that would show in the aggregate of all such transactions.

                  If you puzzle by it still, consider this:

                  The contribution of the State sector in the compilation of the GDP data is at cost. This is a rather tricky concept that this simple sentence can hardly convey well. Think about it (no trick here, or irony).

                  Take the example of the NHS and imagine it costs us to run £150bn (all the figures from here on are very approximate, but differ not that much from the actual levels). The GDP runs at £1.5tr, i.e. the NHS is a tenth of it. If the Government were to borrow £150bn, plough it all into the NHS, the GDP growth in that year would be 10%.

                  What do you make of this, then?

                  To be fair to those who compile the data there isn’t any other way to do it, but does it truly reflect the wealth created by the country?

                • rick hamilton

                  You have made the next point for me.

                  The antiques trader moved the goods around but merely redistributed the money. However your carpenter is a manufacturer: he starts with a pile of raw materials and ends up with something useful, thereby creating new wealth.

                  As for the NHS example, it creates a flow of funds but on a balance sheet basis how is the country better off?

                • Baron

                  You are still missing the point, rick, the act of dusting a piece of antique is on par with crafting a chair. It sound weird, but it’s true. The arbitraging is even weirder, but true too, on an aggregate, the difference creates the additional wealth. The still more puzzling point is this. What happens if the carpenter cannot sell the chair at a price higher than what he apid for the wood. It’s wealth reduction even though common sense tells one a chair must have a higher utility value than a pile of planks. That’s economics for you.

                  On the NHS: that was exactly Baron’s point, it however should make the country better off because the NHS has double the money, could do more ops, buy more expensive drugs and stuff like that.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  The carpenter might be a good manufacturer but not a good trader. The two have always worked in harmony. Silly to try and square them off as to who provides the most benefit but it shows the way the lefty mind works. Everything and everyone a label and a pigeon hole, all to be manipulated and set against each other.

                • telemachus

                  If we accept that you have a serious point then trading can only apply to comodities not to the abstract figures gambled by the investment banks

                  Even amateur investors who use the instant availability of stock information via the Internet to buy and sell the same stocks within a trice recognise it as gambling

                  Many of my friends recently gambled on Royal Mail and won but none would have recognised what they had done as anything other that a punt

                  Like the Grand National(that is in the North)

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Firstly it is commodities you imbecile. Second, the suggestion that financial trading has to be supported by a tangible commodity is typical of ignorant socialist scum like yourself. Rolls Royce May need to import a particular part or material vital to the production of their superb fan engines. Delivery and payment for those parts/materials may take place in 9 months time. Sensibly, RR may want to fix the price of that part today in order to preserve its target profit margin. RR might therefore elect to book a forward foreign exchange contract to fix that price or a more sophisticated option based contract to achieve that end. Of course, institutions may trade those instruments for their own account but that creates a deep and liquid market that can be readily accessed by RR etc. when ignorant socialist scum like you and Miliband try and control access to these markets you will end up harming RR not the financial institutions who will simply leave London and trade from a jurisdiction not open to interference from filth like Miliband.

                • telemachus


                  Not even my Socialist Elite friends has a problem with

                  “RR may want to fix the price of that part today in order to preserve its target profit margin. RR might therefore elect to book a forward foreign exchange contract to fix that price or a more sophisticated option based contract to achieve that end.”
                  What the reasonable view I was proferring is is that abstract paper traders with RBS chips are simply gamblers with no valuable contribution to the economy
                  With respect

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Firstly, nothing you say is reasonable. It is all dissembling, dishonest rubbish. You are nothing but a pollutant to this site. Second, you have absolutely no understanding of banking and your opinions are therefore utterly worthless and misleading. There is no such thing as “abstract paper” trading – it simply does not exist and thus your opinion is worthless. Now FO.

                • telemachus

                  Our Game Market Stock is an Excellent Way to Practice Trading.

                  The web’s best free game for stock.
                  Practice trading stocks with $100,000 in our virtual stock exchange.
                  Our Fantasy Stock Market contests pay out over $100,000 in prizes per year.
                  Real-time quotes provide the most realistic paper trading experience.
                  Learn how to do online paper trading of stocks, ETFs, and options in our paper trading game.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Oh do shut up. Trade is trade and only a half-wit or communist believes it can be incrementally dealt with as “good” or “bad” according to notions of political approval. Within trade there has always been the sanction of law for illegality which is a completely different element. Lefties constantly conflate the two which is why we now have so much bad law built on concepts of disapproval rather than illegality. Miliband’s latest braying is more of the same and no good will come of it.

                  Humans will always gamble, just as they will always pay for “six” (can’t believe that word is moderated here – just goes to show how infantile this planet has become), one way or another, and to attempt to apply selective morals to that is ludicrous.

                  When you propose to ban the National Lottery and Premium Bonds in your crusade against gambling, telemachus, I might be prepared to listen to your whinging about commodity trading. Until then wind your silly neck in and give it a bloody rest. Lord knows we could do with a bit of respite from your repetitions here.

                • rick hamilton

                  Anybody you don’t agree with must be a lefty? You are the labeller and pigeon-holer, Mustard. I loathe and detest socialism in all its forms but that doesn’t stop me questioning received wisdom.

                  The dreaded telemachus has a point – people not involved in financial services probably do value the shoemaker above the financial trader. They perceive these traders as playing with other peoples’ money and being massively over rewarded for it.

                • Baron

                  risk, it’s you who isn’t on speaking terms with common sense, Colonel gets it right.

                  If one has £100 one may buy a pair of shoes relying on the cobbler, an expert in shoe making, to get it right. If one wants to save money (delay one’s consumption of it) one entrusts the money to an expert in investing money. One may be unhappy both with the cobbler, or the investment man, but the principle is the same.

                  the deluded telemachus implies throughout his postings the latter is a gambler, which is bollocks.

                • rick hamilton

                  ‘Experts in investing money’? Like who for example – Lehmans? RBS? Northern Rock? I don’t recall any shoe manufacturers going bust as a result of reckless investing and then being bailed out with billions of taxpayers’ money. Sure, we bailed out nationalised industries decades ago but I thought we had learned from that.

                  The popular perception of financial traders is that they risk other peoples’ money in the hope of turning a profit. When it works, they collect massive bonuses. When it doesn’t the client is told to read the small print which absolves them from all responsibility. That view might be wrong, but a lot of people believe it and look after their own money themselves, because they can. They can’t make their own shoes.

                • David Kay

                  you’ve copied and pasted that from an article written by Michael Gutmann at futuresmag dot com. If youre going to plagerise someones work, please have the decency to make reference to the author

                • telemachus

                  That is what the inverted commas were for

                • David Kay

                  dont lie youve edited your post

                • telemachus

                  What is the evidence of your eyes
                  You remind me of a Specsavers advert

                • David Kay

                  your quotation marks were added after i caught you out.

                  Liar Liar your hands are on fire, your nose is as big as Ed Milibands when he said his dad loved Britain

                • telemachus

                  Ralph did love Britain
                  He did not love folks such as you keeping the levers on power and resources to keep them to yourselves and your kind

                • David Kay


                  im sure, if i was like you, a plagerist, and plagerised Adophe Milibands work, he would have sued me for lots of that evil capitalist money for plagerism in that evil English legal system

                • Andy

                  Adolph Miliband was scum. He hated Britain. He should have stayed in Belgium or gone back to Poland.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Typical Labour response. Caught in an act of dishonesty you resort to pointing the finger at Mr Kay to deflect from your own guilt.

                  An evil creature you.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Unsurprising, he advocates here for the party of lies, lying and liars. A good demonstration of what he and they are about.

                  Essentially dishonesty.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Labour the party of lies, lying and liars.

                • telemachus

                  And what are your eyes for?

                • David Kay

                  Telemachus, my eyes are for catching out bluffers like you. Baron was asking you to explain what the casino element in futures was which you attempted to do by copying and pasting someone elses work.

                  When i caught you out, you then inserted the quotation marks and said your explanation was no longer yours, it was someone elses.

                • Andy

                  A gross breach of copyright law.
                  The chunk of text you have stolen goes far beyond ‘Fair Dealing’.

                • Katie7777777

                  Labour liars do not know the meaning of fair.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Yes but the failure to acknowledge the author by name and failing to provide proper source references puts you in breach of copyright and makes you guilty of plagiarising you socialist scumbag. Sorry, I meant son.

                • mrsjosephinehydehartley

                  These shoes ( really new shoes) .. normally they are valuable because somebody else can actually wear them or even sell them on -without further recourse to the taxpayer –

                  -but the gamblers and traders and their investors in futures do what they normally do by relying on the future need for shoes generally, knowing full well in this context they may actually carry on their business by resorting to treating the taxpayer as some cobbler of last resort, perhaps?

                • telemachus

                  The key
                  Except that the cobbler almost fell in the last round

                • Colonel Mustard

                  According to you your friends in Tower Hamlets don’t have shoes so why are you spouting cobblers about cobblers?

                • Baron

                  Listen up, the one with the unpronounceable name, just one example what futures are for, and how they work to help you understand what we are talking about, because it ain’t about the future needs for shoes, cobblers or whatever….. All futures markets are based on this principle.

                  A man here makes shoes, sells them to the French. He figures he must sell a pair for 200 Euros because at the exchange rate at the time he makes the calculation he gets £100, which covers his cost, makes a profit. He also knows the exchange rate could go either way during the year. If sterling strengthens (or the Euro weakens, which is the same) he must either sell them for more Euros to get his £100 he needs, or accept lower margin, perhaps low enough to make his selling a pair of shoes to the French unprofitable, hence lose sales, sack some cobblers …

                  What the futures market allows him to do is sell Euros in advance at the rate he used to make his initial cost calculation, i.e. he sells 200 Euros with delivery in 1 month time, 2 months time ….. The banks are the institution that facilitate this trade.

                  Now, try to face in the right direction when you read this, perhaps move your lips, too, if it helps, then tell us what is the ‘casino’ element in it. Please.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Trade and stock dealing. Humans have been at that a very long time. A few people have attempted to impose alternatives – Mao, Pol Pot, etc., – whilst others have embraced the Marxist creed on behalf of others but excluded themselves from its strictures – most Soviet leaders, the Korean Kims, Cousesceau, etc.

                  Not a very edifying record to set against trade where each man might lift himself by his own endeavours, eh?

                • Holly

                  Makes his company a ton of money and gets a bonus for doing so.
                  Why doesn’t idiot boy like the Labour financial set up any more?
                  The three stooges loved it when they were ‘all in it together’ at the Treasury.
                  Boasting about some imaginary ‘boom’ they created in their la la land. All built on imaginary money.
                  All three of them crowing about how brilliant they were, and while they were crowing, the bods in the city were taking all the real money from the bank vaults….For which they got big fat pay-off’s and a Knighthood….
                  From the three LABOUR STOOGES AT THE TREASURY.

                  And today, the rest of the Labour lot scream blue murder that the tax payer will no longer subsidise council house tenants…
                  While the new/’fresh’ Labour gobshites rush out and admit how the Labour government got a LOT of stuff WRONG!
                  and their gobshite leader tells us just how CONTROLLING he is going to be.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            What do you mean by Casino banking?

      • anncalba

        Oh, telemarchus is back, please don’t encourage him by responding to his posts, that’s just the attention seeking he wants.

        • Colonel Mustard

          If he confined himself to genuine comments of his own volition I should agree but his constant ‘tagging’ of others comments persuades a response, however irrational that might be. It is the difference between ignoring a persistent heckler and telling him to shut up.

          I am surprised at the Spectator permitting his tactics – in almost every thread – but presume they know who he is and he is within their bubble. Like many on the right they have no clue about fighting their enemies.

  • Tron

    All the UKIP supporters who say that splitting the Tory vote and allowing Labour back into power doesn’t matter because LibLabCon are all the same, obviously don’t listen to Miliband’s speeches.
    When Miliband walks into Number 10, with the help of UKIP, they will find out what a Socialist can do.
    Oh yes, and no vote on the EU.

    • Baron

      Perhaps, Tron, it’s our fate, we have to collapse before we can re-build.

      • robertsonjames

        Unfortunately that kind of messianic vision, which almost welcomes defeat, was common on the hard Left around 1979-81, though of course in mirror image.

        Many of them considered that the mainstream (Labour) party had been captured by traitors and trimmers and that the victory of the enemy (the Tories) in 1979 was actually both necessary and useful to the eventual victory of Socialism. For it would usher in an unpleasant but mercifully brief phase of right-wing reaction which would in turn guarantee the inevitable triumph of a radicalised Labour Party red in tooth and claw in 1983/4 as the British people naturally repudiated Thatcher and finally embraced their left-wing destiny with appropriate zeal.

        Those who believed this apocalyptic narrative therefore devoted the period immediately after 1979 to the urgent task of turning the Labour Party into a suitable vehicle for overseeing the coming Socialist millenium that was confidently expected to commence the day after the next general election. (That’s the only difference with the Kippers, of course. Because they understand the Westminster electoral system much less well than experienced MPs like Benn and Heffer did, they actually think they can create a revolutionary vehicle of their own from scratch and really do expect to form the next-but-one government with an entirely new party even though it has never yet come close to winning a seat in the Commons.)

        As we know, the analysis of the hard Left that said Thatcher’s victory would be but a short deviation on the road to revolution and moral regeneration had many interesting features but predictive accuracy didn’t turn out to be one of them: it took 18 years and the abandonment of Socialism before Labour got back in. And nor did Thatcher’s Tories, unlike Miliband’s Labour, have the advantage of an electoral system that would keep them in power with just 35% of the vote.

        My fear is therefore a genuinely radical Labour government in office pursuing a peculiarly 1970s version of Socialism (nationalizations and punitive taxes as well as signing the next EU treaty without referendum) until such time as the Kippers tear themselves apart (for effectively enabling Miliband’s successful re-election without achieving a significant parliamentary presence themselves) and the Tories, under a new leader, finally get some of their lost voters back. If Miliband also cooks up changes to the voting system, however, even that may not be sufficient to get Labour out.

        • Baron

          Good points, robertsonjames, but Baron’s quip was meant in jest.

          Still, the great Mencken once defined democracy as ‘a pathetic belief in collective wisdom of individual ignorance’. It’s witty and feels right except that the count has more often than not delivered, and will deliver again provided we let it, don’t mess things up with postal votes, boundary changes and other shenanigans.

        • Colonel Mustard

          ” . . . it took 18 years and the abandonment of Socialism before Labour got back in.”

          They never ‘abandoned’ it. They just embraced the bits of capitalism they thought they could exploit – like China – and concealed the rest behind a lot of guff. The result was Blair’s soft cultural revolution and what we see now, a politicised public and third sector stuffed with Labourites and “ex”-communists with a public narrative overwhelmingly dancing to the left’s tune.

          It’ll take more than a change of government to clear out that next of vipers. And if Miliband gains power the cultural revolution will go from soft to hard.

          • Andy

            And they swamped the electorate with mass immigration. The white working class had dared to vote for Lady Thatcher, so you obviously needed to shore up the Fascist vote. It also had the added advantage of driving down the wages of the working class who had betrayed the cause. Result all round really.

    • Chris lancashire

      Very true but you’re wasting your time with the oldsters who believe we can rewind to 1965.

    • HookesLaw

      Totally correct.

    • Mike Barnes

      In 2009, George Osborne said he would be breaking up the banks and forcing competition on them.

      Ed is in favour of messing in banking but it’s an Osborne idea. And Osborne is busy talking up a Miliband issue on the minimum wage.

      I’ll continue belieiving there is no difference between Labour and Conservative. Thanks anyway!

      • Baron

        Good point, Mike, there isn’t much difference between them, either one moves the way he feels the public wind blows.

  • Kitty MLB

    Indeed we should all be afraid of the predator that clandestine figure of
    Milipede, lurking around the shadowy corners of Westminster with his ‘ little obsessions’
    From his beloved green energy, to Murdoch bashing, and his favourite
    one of all, as the peoples champion more banker bashing, and new ways
    to control.
    Yet I do believe he would become quite bored with the everyday running of a country,
    he is like a vulture waiting for his next victim ( Hello, David Miliband)

  • James Allen

    No more afraid of Miliband than Cameron.

    News today – HS2 chief to be paid £750k:

    And it’s not just HS2 on which the Tories are wasting our money; the Green Investment Bank (£3bn wasted on industrial carbon-reduction projects that industry doesn’t want – and the salaries of all the failed bankers administering the money), Big Society Capital (same); billions frittered away on failed IT projects,
    consultants fees, quangos etc etc. All the while you sack thousands of
    our brave troops and force others to go part-time even though they risk
    their lives for our country. You traitors!

    We are SICK TO DEATH of money being transferred from the working and
    middle classes to the Westminster elite and their cronies in the public,
    private and “third” sectors. We CANNOT support a Government that is
    this IRRESPONSIBLE with the public finances, which sees an economy
    gorging on 0.5% interest rates, high inflation (nobody believes the
    Government’s figures, they know what’s happening to their wallets) and
    excessive borrowing to produce anaemic levels of growth in the
    consumptive sector, and calls it a f*cking recovery!!!

    IT IS AN OUTRAGE!!!!!! I am in favour of a REVOLUTION in this country…

    UKIP all the way………..!!!

    • Chris lancashire

      Yes and assuming Ukip is the largest party in the next Parliament everything will be put to right. La, la, la la, la

      • James Allen

        No, but we can exert influence. And that is what matters.

        • Andy

          And by voting UKIP in 2015 General Election we will get a Labour Government, or possibly a coalition with Labour and the LibDums. And that is the last thing we need.

          • James Allen

            Makes no difference. Tories and Labour have same economic plan, same social plan, same everything. Lib Dems same. All the same, same, same…..

        • Chris lancashire

          Explain to me what influence you will wield with a Labour Government sitting on a 50 seat plus majority.

    • realfish

      The Marxist Miliband, together with his union paymaster is taking us back to the left wing’s wrecking of the 70s. It is clear (like George Bush Jr) – Miliband has unfinished work of his Daddies that he want’s to complete.

      A billion £s has been wiped off the value of banking shares and the pensions of hard working people today, and Milband shows what peril he is prepared to place Britain in for the sake of his opportunistic lust for power. But as Umunna said, also today, ‘It’s a price worth paying’

      And in the face of this impending disaster what do we get? Once again,this pathetic, self indulgent UKIP drivel. Is this what 2015 is going to be like?

      FFS, wake up or grow up.

      • James Allen

        Nice. But the bank’s shares will recover. UK plc will not.

  • Jock

    Ed M can’t tell the difference a jumping on bandwagon and formulating a strategy. Reality will intervene. Hopefully for him at the election. Worryingly, it might be for the country after he is elected. You don’t need a crystal ball. Just read the history books on Labour’s economic record in Government.

    • Andy

      How quickly people forget. Miliband was up to his neck in the mess created 1997-2010. God help us.

      • HookesLaw

        There is no need to God help us. Just vote conservative and subsequently vote in the referendum in 2017.

        • HookesLaw

          And the Times points out that the people ‘helping’ our Ed with his banking policy have no banking experience.
          They include a Sonia Sodha, who it seems worked at Demos and at the charity Dartington (which desires to bring about ‘positive social change.’).
          She now works at the supposedly (supposedly) apolitical ‘Which?’ Apparently the banks were preparecd to talk to ‘Which?’ but once thy knew who they would be talking to they decided not to bother.

          its worth remembering that Lloyds is intent of floating off TSB and RBS are creating afresh the old William’s & Glyn out of a number of their branches. Miliband is rehashing what is already happening.

          • Tom Tom

            Lovely. Time to wipe out another set of suckers as Shareholders.

          • Katie7777777

            All orders of his EU masters, vote Miliband/Clegg/Cameron for “positive (for the chosen few) social change” or give it a miss, and vote UKIP for your country

        • Katie7777777

          No way! you need to vote UKIP, we all know Cameron is a LIAR and EU muppet, just like Ed&Clegg

      • Ourhy4104

        мʏ ʀօօмαтɛ’ѕ мօм мαĸɛѕ $69 нօυʀʟʏ օɴ тнɛ ιɴтɛʀɴɛт. ѕнɛ нαѕ вɛɛɴ աιтнօυт α ʝօв ғօʀ 10 мօɴтнѕ вυт ʟαѕт мօɴтн нɛʀ ƈнɛƈĸ աαѕ $20992 ʝυѕт աօʀĸιɴɢ օɴ тнɛ ιɴтɛʀɴɛт ғօʀ α ғɛա нօυʀѕ. աнʏ ɴօт ƈнɛƈĸ нɛʀɛ fox800&#46­com

      • emale

        It must be very helpful to Mr Milliband that the BBC has taken so little interest in his role in Gordon Brown’s government.

        • Andy

          Indeed so. He was hardly an impressive Secretary of State for Energy.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        It is not that intelligent people forget Andy, many of us will never forgive or forget what those traitorous swine did to Britain between 1997 and 2010. The problem is that ignorant people do not realise who is responsible for the economic and foreign policy disasters that befell us and yet they still get to vote.

Can't find your Web ID? Click here