Sunday, 7 December 2008

Why I haven't been blogging... The Cheese Yard

I have been workign on a new business venture, which has now been launched -

We offer a wide range of wonderful cheese boxes. You can choose one of our fantastic selection boxes containing 4 different varieties of cheese. Maybe the Devon Selection is what takes your fancy, or perhaps the Cheddar or Blue Selection is for you. Whatever your preference, one of our 11 different selections should meet your needs.

If there's a particular cheese you like, you choose from our range of individual cheese boxes. We offer a wide range of wonderful Great British and European cheese all sourced from award winning dairies. Each individual cheese box will contain 1 kilo of your chosen cheese.

A perfect gift for the cheese fanatic you know (or maybe just for yourself) is a subscription to our Cheese Club. Join for a year and receive one of our specially chosen selection boxes at a frequency of your choosing. Available monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly or twice a year.

Please come and visit us at - we're sure you'll find something you like.

All orders come in our attractive Cheese Yard gift boxes and and contain a neat little refrigeration sheet to ensure the cheese reaches you in perfect condition. We can send your gift out as soon as it's ready or on a date of your choosing. If the box is for a gift, you can even add a personalised message to go onto a gift card for the lucky recipient.

Our first twenty customers will also receive a little extra gift as a thank-you. 

Thank you in advance for your custom and we hope you enjoy our cheese!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Northern Crock

Banks Standard Variable Rate as at 3.30pm:

Abbey 5.44%
Lloyds TSB 5.00%
RBS 5.19%

B&B 7.09%
Northern Rock 7.34%

No wonder Northern Rock is repaying it's debt to the government quicker than expected. This is in excusable. The two wholly owned Government banks are charging it's customer 2 to 2.5 percentage points higher interest now than the other institutions the Government now has an interest in.

Remember, the executives of any company have a statutory duty to act in the interests of their shareholders. If the Government, as 100% owner of these banks, wants action to be taken on interest rates it can demand it. So why has it not?

5pm Update:

According to the BBC, Northern Rock have reduced their SVR by 1.5% to 5.84%. Very welcome, but still at least 0.4% higher than any of the high street lenders.

Brown's New Weapon

It seems that Gordon Brown, fresh from the by-election win in Glenrothes, has a new found confidence. In previous weeks instead of action, he has been urging, asking and hoping that other people would bail the Government out of the economic problems the UK faces. He has been polite in his request to banks, petrol companies, Gulf States, the European Union, the IMF and just anybody else he can find that might have a few pounds to spare.

But not anymore. Now our beloved Prime Minister is taking decisive action. No more mister nice guy. He has a new weapon to use. It is staggering in it's potency. The new approach is this:

Do as we ask - or I'll arrange a meeting for you to see Alistair Darling.

The BBC reports here that, with only Lloyds TSB having announced it will pass on the 1.5% interest rate cut, the Government has held a meeting with bankers.

Jack Straw shook his head angrily on Question Time last night when Brian Eno said that the Government had effectively nationalised the risks in the banking sector, while the profits remain in the private sector. But Eno is correct. We all know that Libor is the key to lending, but with Government providing guarantees on lending, liquidity injections, swaps of risky assets to prop up banks, then it must also extract a price in return.

It is no good to simply ask, expect and arrange meetings. Individuals and small businesses are hurting now because of failures in strategy and decision making by banks and by failures in regulation by the Government.  Action must be taken...

More From The Daily Show...

I thought the Daily Show and the Colbert Report might struggle to adjust to Obama being President. But for now, Jon Stewart remains on great form. These clips are from last night:

Sarah Palin is so dumb...

Even Jon Stewart thinks that Gordon Brown is weird...

Black Liberal Guilt...

Fox News on The Daily Show

An amusing interview of Fox News' Chris Wallace from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Republican Recriminations

The recriminations in the Republican party have well and truly started. The news today being reported in Fox News about the in-fighting between the Palin and McCain camps and the lack of Sarah Palin's knowledge is worrying.

The first thing that has to be said, is thank heavens Obama won the election. The USA needed intelligence and gravitas in the White House, not a joke. For all the talk of a bandwagon developing for a Palin bid for the Presidency in 2012, it needs to be resisted and the Republicans must find serious and heavyweight leadership for the party.

But not only do these stories highlight the concerns many had with the prospect of a Palin Vice-Presidency, they raise serious questions over McCain's judgement and how Palin passed any sort of vetting process to be chosen for the ticket. What is clear now is that the Palin choice was a stunt aimed at boosting McCain in the polls, and not a serious decision on someone who would be a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

What also is interesting, is that even Fox News is starting to debunk the theory that McCain was leading in the polls until the problems with the economy really came to the fore with the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. The idea that McCain would have won the election if it wasn't for the economic crisis is just wrong. Analysis of the polling now shows that the McCain lead started to wane after Palin's now infamously inept interview with Katie Couric on CBS.

The choice of Palin sealed McCain's fate in the election. He gambled by chosing Palin and it failed. It blunted the attack on Obama's inexperience and turned off many independents. To Obama's credit, he never faltered or panicked when the Palin pick was dominating the news and the polls gave a bounce to Palin. He and his team recognised that the election was not decided months before polling date and that Palin would become a liability.

Thankfully, it seems that being able to see Russia from Alaska is not enough these days to win a US election...


I believe there is a demand, now, for cards - and as I go round the country I regularly have people coming up to me and saying they don't want to wait that long
Those are the words of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith today as she announced a pre-registration scheme for ID cards for early next year and a trial of ID cards at Manchester and City for later next year.

She is clearly deluded.

What out the hoards of people who have been telling here they don't want ID cards? It is insulting to our intelligence that she thinks that by keep telling us that some people want ID cards we will all fall into line and support their introduction.

When will the Government learn that it can admit mistakes.  I thought that after heavy election defeats over the last year the Government were now meant to be listening to what it was being told. Exactly who are they listening to? Are they paying any attention to what they are hearing?

The Labour Government have been given an easy route out of the whole ID cards mess with the credit crisis. An announcement that they are to be shelved because, at this time of uncertainty, the costs can not be justified would be welcomed and appreciated. It would also blunt a huge source of expenditure savings that the Tories and Lib Dems have planned. But somewhere in the Labour Party the calculation has been made that they need to appear tough on terrorism and the policy will backfire on the opposition parties. I really do wonder whether the Government are banking on there being a terrorist incident before any general election so they can so 'I told you so'.

I just don't get it. A voluntary ID card system is not wanted and would not be successful. It will cost a fortune and right now the electorate is surely in no mood to have to pay for the 'privilege' of carrying these ID cards personally.

So Jacqui Smith, are you really listening? If so, drop the plans for ID cards...

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Time for a Novice

Well what a night it was.

A truly momentous win by Barack Obama. He won and won big. He won every state that Kerry did in 2004 and gained Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, New Mexico, Virginia, and it seems North Carolina will go his way. He won 52% of the popular vote. All night, he just won...

The victory speech in Chicago at 5am UK time was something I will never forget - a spine tingling moment. It was the same feeling I had back at University sitting watching the television in awe as the Berlin Wall was pulled down. I thought the speech was stunning, delivered with passion and supreme confidence. Excuse me for repeating some if it here:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

To those -- to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

That's the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we've already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

I had endorsed Obama some time ago. I have long had the view that his election was necessary to restore the reputation of the US in the world. His election has huge symbolism for the US too. Love him or hate him, I don't think anyone can not have been moved by the sight of Jesse Jackson in tears to see what Obama had achieved.  40 years ago he was at Martin Luther King's side as he was shot dead in Memphis. Today he was standing in Grant Park, Chicago listening to Obama as everything he and the civil rights movement had worked so hard for and sacrificed so much to finally achieved the dream.

Obama has managed to inspire many of those who needed to be inspired. What a night it was...

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

History Part III

It's Jeremy Paxman's turn now.
If the vote goes with the polls, the result of the election will go down in history
Surely which ever way the vote goes tonight, the result will become part of history...

Colbert's Campaign Winners and Losers

My Biggest Hope for Election Night

My biggest hope for election night tonight is that Jeremy Vine doesn't attempt any gun-slinging antics in his graphical analysis of the results on the BBC coverage.

Please Mr Vine, no gimmicks tonight. Just treat the audience as adults and present the facts with gravitas.

We shall see...

Johnson's England

Martin Johnson has announced his first England team for the test against the Pacific Islanders this weekend:

D Armitage (London Irish); P Sackey (Wasps), J Noon (Newcastle), R Flutey (Wasps), U Monye (Harlequins); D Cipriani (Wasps), D Care (Harlequins); A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), L Mears (Bath), M Stevens (Bath), S Borthwick (Saracens, captain), N Kennedy (London Irish), T Croft (Leicester), T Rees (Wasps), N Easter (Harlequins).

Replacements: D Hartley (Northampton), P Vickery (Wasps), T Palmer (Wasps), J Haskell (Wasps), M Lipman (Bath), H Ellis (Leicester), T Flood (Leicester).

I like the look of this team, and on paper it is one of the most exciting back lines England have ever selected. Johnson has picked some of the real in-form players from the Guinness Premiership (Armitage, Monye, Care, Kennedy, Croft) and dropped some of the 'old-guard' (Lewsey, Kay, Worsely).

The combination at 10-12 of Wasps team mates Cipriani and Flutey should add plenty of much needed creativity to the back line and will hopefully fire the speedy trio of Armitage, Sackey and Monye. I'm sure Brian Smith (the new England attack coach) had a huge influence over this selection.

Jamie Noon is perhaps the beneficiary of some injuries to other available centres, but should add some grunt and defensive stability at 13.

In the forwards, it is great to see London Irish's Nick Kennedy finally get his chance at this level. In recent years, Engand's line out hasn't functioned as smoothly as it should so the addition of the best line out winner in the country over the last 3 years should guarantee more far more possession from both their own and their opponents line out. Under the new ELVs, securing possession from set pieces has become even more important.

Lee Mears is the selection at hooker, although doubts must remain as to whether he is big enough at test level. For sure it will be interesting to see how Dylan Hartley performs in that role if he gets a run out as substitute. But with Mears, Stevens, Croft, Rees and Easter all selected in the pack is not short of pace and ball handling abilities. We have seen in the Tri-Nations and Heineken Cup this year the importance under the ELVs of the forwards being able to add continuity and pace in attack. The question mark will be whether this pack have the ability to compete strongly enough in the rucks and mauls to secure quick ball when in possession and to slow down and turnover the opposition's possession.

Without doubt, Martin Johnson has stamped his own vision on to this first selection under his new reign. This is the start of a new era for English rugby. Previous attempts under Andy Robinson and Brian Ashton since the World Cup victory in 2003 have proved to be false dawns. I suspect that this time, with Johnson at the helm, things it will be very different...

Tactical Brilliance

Harry Redknapp's advice to his star striker Roman Pavlyuchenko - "just f***king run around".

The Dangerous Consequence of the Brand/Ross Situation

The dangerous consequence for the BBC of the Brand/Ross saga is that every joke that is slightly offensive or in someway risque is going to attract complaints and media interest. The 'complaining' lobby have got their teeth into the BBC, found they have an impact, and will now be out for further scalps.

For instance, today it is being reported that the BBC received nearly 200 comments about a joke made by Jeremy Clarkson on Sunday's Top Gear. As a result, Ofcom are looking into the programme.

Jeremy Clarkson has long found difficulty in people not understanding that his on screen persona is just that - a persona. It is meant to be a caricature. As a result, some of the things he says may appear to be insensitive or offensive to some people. But surely, that is the expectation you must have if you switch on a Jeremy Clarkson programme? Just the same as if you switch on a Marcus Brigstocke programme you expect him at some point to insult Jeremy Clarkson.

The comments made by Clarkson are in no way analogous to the awful stunt pulled by Brand and Ross. The BBC and Ofcom must be very careful that in all this media hyperbole, normal witty and comedic comments are not stifled. Talent such as Clarkson and programmes such as the wonderful Top Gear must not be reigned in... 

History Part II

Gordon Brown is at it now. According to the Telegraph, Gordon Brown has said today: 

I think whatever the result of the American election... history has been made in this campaign

Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us Prime Minister.  I really had no idea, until you provided enlightenment, that events happen and then they become history...

Iran's Very Own Jeffrey Archer

It seems that the Iranian Government has it's very own version of Jeffrey Archer. The BBC reports that Interior Minister Ali Kordan has been sacked after admitting that a degree he claimed was from Oxford University was actually a forgery (and a poor one at that).

The Minister's Walter Mitty claim was discovered after the degree certificate was found to be from 'London Oxford University' and littered with spelling mistakes.

According to the BBC, the scandal has made the former minister a national laughing stock, with a fake resignation letter being passed round purporting to be from him, but full of misprints and crossings-out.

One can hope, but I just wonder whether anyone has checked Peter Madelson's degree certificate out...


The BBC news website is leading with this headline today:

Just a thought, but doesn't every US poll become historic once it happens?

Monday, 3 November 2008

Ye Gods (and little fishes)

Ye Gods (and little fishes) is the title of the new album from Martin Carr.

Those of you who know me will have heard me gone on and on for about 15 years now about how good this man's music is. Martin was the writer and guitarist for The Boo Radleys before embarking on a solo project under than name Bravecaptain. He has now decided to launch the next phases of his music career under his own name.

Now, the new album isn't actually out yet.  To fund the release of the album Martin is using Bandstocks. This is a new concept whereby for an investment equivalent to the cost of an album (£10 per stock), not only do you receive a copy of the album upon release but a share of the net receipts from album sales in addition to various other benefits including an album credit.

I would encourage you to listen to some tracks at Martin's MySpace site which can be found here.

This is what Martin has to say about the project:

Hello and welcome to something different.

When I recorded this album at the beginning of the year I had no ideas as to how, or in what form, it would appear. I haven't released any music on a label for over four years and enjoy being able to work in a place where I can have full reign over the varying facets of record production, from songwriting to sleeve design. I have no desire to sign to another record label. Creation Records was the only label I ever wanted to be on and I'm proud to have been associated with that name but that was then, this is now and the future is ours to grasp with eager hands.

Now one of the few things that a label was useful for was M.O.N.E.Y. Studios don't pay for themselves, there are press officers, pluggers, accountants, lawyers, managers, agents and musicians, all of them essential, none of them free. I'm not very good at asking for money, Homer Simpson once said 'I lost creative control of the project and I forgot to ask for any money' and that just about sums up my business acumen.

I see this as different, this is something new and I'm not asking for handouts, subs, aid, relief, alms, gifts or charity. I'm asking for you to get involved. I'm not going to pretend that you can call me up and demand that I use more sitar on the future recordings or suggest that I should get my bloody hair cut but you will make it possible for me to make music and if that music does well then so will you. At the very least your tenner will buy you a great album working out at one english pound per song.

The people involved in this project believe that the artist and the audience are the key and the contract I have signed is a dream. Nobody is getting ripped off and there are no hidden clauses, small print or invisible ink provisos. This is it, the future is ours to create.

If you like the music and like the idea, please go over to the Martin Carr page at Bandstocks and perhaps make an investment.

Brown's Communication Problem

The contrast in the reaction to Lewis Hamilton's victory between Gordon Brown and David Cameron perfectly illustrates one of the Prime Minister's biggest problems - a total inability to communicate to the public on a 'human' level.

In interviews, with a forced smile he managed to reel off a pre-prepared statement which seemed to take every piece of excitement out the sporting drama that proceeded it. It even needed to be listened to a few times to see if made sense, which I'm not sure if it does:

I, like so many, want to congratulate him on becoming world champion. I think the whole country is thrilled by his exceptional talent. The whole of Britain is now congratulating him, and is proud of the inspirational achievement of Lewis and the McLaren team.

The country may have been thrilled by an exciting, nail-biting race that finished with Lewis Hamilton's victory, but not by his 'exceptional talent' - 'exceptional talent' is not thrilling. The country may be proud of Lewis Hamilton, but not 'of the inspirational achievement of Lewis Hamilton'. My guess would also be that the whole of Britain hasn't yet got Lewis' phone number and so we can not all be 'congratulating him' tonight.

Compare that with David Cameron's quote:

Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton who has made everyone in Britain so very proud. One of the most dramatic races in Formula One history ended with the right man winning the world championship. Lewis is not just the youngest ever winner of the championship he is now officially a British sporting legend and a role model for what you can achieve if you follow your dream.

If the Prime Minister has problems communicating such an easy message following a wonderful sporting success, what hope has he of communicating any sort of coherent vision for the future of this country?

Why Obama Will Win

Barack Obama will win the Presidential election tomorrow. I concede, that's not the boldest of predictions but with the polling consistently showing a lead it is the likely outcome. What makes me more certain is a look at the electoral college map of the USA for the previous two elections - elections won by the Republicans.

Here (courtesy of CNN) are the results of the last two elections.



In 2004, Kerry lost by 34 electoral college votes with just 3 states changing hands from the 2000 election - New Hampshire moving to the Democrats while New Mexico and Iowa moving to the Republicans.

With the polling as it is, it seems very likely that Obama will win all the states that Kerry won for the Democrats in 2000. If he does this, then it's going to take very little to move the number of electoral college votes in Obama's favour. For instance, if Florida moves Democrat then one state alone will mean a swing of 54 votes to Obama and the election will be won.

But it's just not Florida that happens with. If Obama wins Ohio for the Democrats, that would be a swing of 40 votes and a victory.  If Obama manages to take back New Mexico's 5 votes, then he would just need North Carolina's 15 votes for a swing of 40 votes and a victory. If Obama manages to take back both New Mexico and Iowa that would be 12 more votes and mean winning just about any other red state will, once again, give him victory.

Given the results from the previous two very tight elections together with the current national and battleground state polling, it is very difficult to see the electoral maths being anything other than very favourable to Obama. It is hard to see McCain being on the offensive in any Democratic state right now, leaving him having to struggle to defend every Republican state to get a victory.  I just can't see him doing that.

Obama will win tomorrow night, the only question for me that remains is just how large will his margin of victory be?

Sunday, 2 November 2008

October Blog Stats

188 Absolute Unique Visitors

356 Site Visits

864 Page Views

These are the stats for the first month of this blog. The spike in visitors at the end of the month was due to this post from Iain Dale with a link to the site.

Congratulations Lewis!

Congratulation Lewis Hamilton.  2008 World Champion after an extraordinary race!

Forget the Bradley Effect...

Time has a good article today from Joel Stein, suggesting that is it not the Bradley effect that Barack Obama should be concerned with as voters enter the poll booths, but his lack of cool - the same thing that hurt Al Gore and John Kerry. It is tongue in cheek, but do read it.  In it he says that:

I am, however, deeply worried about the Urkel effect, which holds that voters leaning toward Obama will walk into the voting booth and suddenly think, I cannot take four years of listening to that giant-eared nerd. Because people are starting to realize that Obama is not all that cool. He's earnest like C-3PO, emotionless like Spock, overly practical like Encyclopedia Brown and incredibly skinny like C-3PO, Spock and Encyclopedia Brown.

Obama seemed cool at first because he uses slang, dresses well and bumps fists. But a lifetime of dangerous undercover work makes it easy for me to spot a fellow nerd. Obama has done a good job passing, with his nice suits, easy smile and attractive wife. But those are just the over-30 nerd trappings of success. Have you seen him try to dance? It's like watching a white guy make fun of other white guys. Sure, he played high school basketball, but how many cool kids play indoor sports in Hawaii? The man is all superego. He never gets angry or flirts with hot chicks by asking them to be his Vice President. Obama has written about using pot and cocaine, but a New York Times article found only school buddies who said he merely dabbled with marijuana. That's because the only people who bring up their drug use didn't really do drugs. Try asking George W. Bush about alleged cocaine use. You'll see how the nonnerds play it.

Mind you, if he thinks that Barack Obama might have a cool problem, spare a thought for John McCain...

Gordon Brown's New Policy - Hope

The Guardian has the story that Gordon Brown is hopeful of success in his attempts to persuade dollar-rich Gulf states to prop up ailing national economies through a massive injection of capital into the International Monetary Fund.

It seems that our beloved decisive Prime Minister, not satisfied with his attempts to 'urge' everyone into action (see my previous post), is now resorting to 'hope' to get us all through the current economic crisis.

Now is the time for firm action from you Mr Brown, not hope...

Barclays Bank Funding.

Fraser Nelson has written an interesting piece in the Coffee House today on Barclays opting to take Middle East cash rather than Government cash for it's recapitalisation. In it he says that:

The angry reaction to Barclays' decision to recapitalise using Middle Eastern money rather than a taxpayer bailout mystifies me. In my News of the World column today, I argue that Barclays may well become 30% Arab but its 100% correct. It has no duty to accept a UK taxpayer bailout over more expensive Arab money, as is widely suggested. Its duty, in fact, lies is in the reverse. A taxpayer bailout is supposed to be the last resort, preventing the banking system from collapse.

I'm glad that John Varley, Barclays' chief executive, realises that even if some politicians do not. As Guido notes, Vince Cable has disgraced himself in claiming Barclays should have gone with the taxpayer. The patriotism argument, that British taxpayer financing is preferable to Arab money, is also nonsense: who do you think the British government borrows from? Barclays has just cut out the middleman.

Another popular argument is that the only possible explanation for Varley's actions is that he wants to keep paying himself and his directors bonuses. In fact, they have bought something far more precious: freedom from government. As Varley knows, the road to disaster starts when you start inviting government to help manage your company. The last thing any company wants is Gordon Brown or his proxies popping up saying "Only me!" and then launching on "You dont want to do it like that" Harry Enfield-style diktats, which the Scottish banks now have to swallow. If Barclays' rivals are operating under state directions (including demands to keep mortgage lending at 2007 levels) then they will soon be in real trouble. Barclays shareholders will realise this, I suspect, and for all their moans vote the new deal through.

On the whole, I do agree with him. The history of banks is that there is cyclical ownership by one country of a large number of banks then take overs from other countries as strength of economies change. All the man traditional British banks have long since been taken over by European and American banks. There is no more Barings, SG Warburgs or Cazenove Banks anymore - they are now part of ING, UBS and JP Morgan.  In the US, there is no more Salomon Brothers, Dillon Read, First Boston - thy are now part of Citibank, UBS and Credit Suisse. We have to accept that finanical power moves on and will always do so.  Arab, Chinese and Indian Banks will be the new powers instead of US and European Banks.

However, when seeking funds Chairman must make sure that they are seen to be acting in the Shareholders' interests (which is their statutory duty) and not their own interests in protecting their own executives' large shareholdings and bonuses. For too long in the banking sector, mergers and takeovers have been instigated because of the benefit that accrues to the executives rather than the Shareholders. In the Barclays Banks deal, the terms that the new money coming in has not been made public, but one of the reasons to go for more expensive funding is that the terms are less onerous on the executives. The same question has to be asked with the Mitsubishi financing for Morgan Stanley (the main benefactor being John Mack himself). While Fraser Nelson is right in suggesting that there are good reasons to be free of Government interference, Government ownership can also bring benefits as well, such as a better credit rating and cheaper day to day funding. For banks, the credit rating can be king when it comes to longer term survival and business opportunities. Don't forget that Barclays benefits by Government bail outs of other banks. If RBS, HBOS and other US banks did go under, they would have faced huge losses on their exposures.

But let's give Barclays Banks the benefit of the doubt and assume they have gone for the option that is more beneficial to the longer term interests of the Shareholders of the Bank. Where Fraser Nelson is incorrect in his article is in the following paragraph:

...the big picture is that a British bank has been saved and without recourse to semi-nationalisation. If the Barclays deal goes wrong, the UK taxpayer will have no liability (one shudders to think how we'll be stung by what horrors the semi-nationalised banks have to unveil). In the last analysis, we should all be glad that Barclays has (as the Guardian put it) avoided taking cash from the British taxpayer because the British taxpayer has no more cash to offer. Varley should be knighted, not pilloried. He has fended off immense pressure from the Treasury to swallow the bailout, and preserved for the nation a strong, independent bank. I only wish that the Scottish banks had been in a position to do the same.

Does he really think that if the Barclays deal goes wrong the British taxpayer will have no liability? Of course it will - there is no way that the Government will let such a large an important institution as Barclays go under. If the deal goes wrong, it will absolutely be the British taxpayer who will have to pick up the bill in a further bail out.

This is the myth we have no discovered with the British banking sector (the same myth that exists with large public/private partnership PFI deals). The myth is that in reality there is no private sector risk. If everything goes well, the private sector (in this case banks) takes all the upside in profits. If things go very badly, there is a public sector bail out. It is therefore the public sector, the British taxpayers, who bare the risk.

The unfortunate outcome of the Credit Crisis is that while hundreds and thousands of 'ordinary' workers are losing their jobs, the personal fortunes in shareholdings and favourable pensions for executives are being protected. Let's not kid ourselves about risk and reward and the motives behind the sudden rush to accept large injections of non-Government cash into the Banks. While we on the right of centre may be in favour of as little Government interference into the private sector as possible, we must also press for regulation to be in place to ensure that those responsible for poor decision making and bad managing of the banks do not benefit and instead have to bare the results of bad risk taking themselves...