Millennium’s Credit Crunch Diary: October and November… Worst! Recession! Ever!

This week sees the Government reveal its Pre-Budget Report, usually a review of spending in advance of the budget where the Chancellor says how he’ll be paying for it all though, traditionally, the run-up to a general election is the time for the Chancellor to play Santa, showering presents on favoured voters in key marginals, and with all the indications now pointing to a March General election, chances are we’ll never quite get to Hard Labour facing the BILL.

This year, of course, there is considerably less room for LARGESS. So let’s start with a look at where we’re at.

A recession is defined as four successive quarters of negative growth. A BAD recession is FIVE successive quarters. No one has a term for SIX quarters of negative growth one after the other, because it has never happened.

In October, the UK announced that it had had six successive quarters of negative growth.


Even when the revised figures showed that the economy shrank by 0.3% instead of the first announced 0.4% this was still history-makingly BAD.

Other records broken in October included the Government’s borrowing reaching a highest ever figure of 59.2% of GDP, while the Unemployment figures reached their highest since the Conservatories’ LAST recession back in 1995. Small comfort then but that the rise was very, very small. But the bad news is that young people were the worst hit, and that we risk another “lost generation” like that of the Tories’ FIRST recession in the early Eighties.

My fluffy chum from the Apprentice telly-show, Mr Sir Alan – now ennobled as Lord Sugar Plum Fairy – got into a bit of a GROUCH about all this recession business, and even Mr Frown’s Glove Puppet/Chancellor Sooty admitted that things were worse than expected.

And yet Mr Frown is looking more chipper at the end of all this disastrous news than he was at the start. How come?

It’s all perfectly simple: Mr Balloon’s Conservatories have seen their average polling numbers fall to below 40%. The wheels haven’t QUITE come off yet, but there’s a definite WOBBLE to the Conservatory bandwagon. And Hard Labour thinks that now they will be able to pull out of their crash dive and win a fourth General Election. As long as by “win” they mean “deprive the Conservatories of an overall majority”.

And how did this come about? One word: Europe. And another one: Betrayal!

Mr Balloon is actually a very WEAK leader. Unlike Lord Blairimort who was able to run rings around the dinosaurs of Hard Labour, and could – and this is ACTUALLY true – pull down their trousers and paint funny faces on their fluffy bottoms – too much information! – Unlike Lord Blairimort, Mr Balloon needs to keep offering up promises to his resident nutters or risk the Conservatory Party going all Noel’s House Party on him again. And HE’s the one in the GUNK TANK.

So he promised them he would leave the “sensible” right-wing grouping in the European Parliament and join up with the wingnuts, climate change deniers and former Latvian SS. So he promised to cut tax for dead millionaires and to “defend” marriage with a tenner a month. And so he promised, a CAST IRON GUARANTEE in fact, that he would hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Bad luck for Mr Balloon then that the Irish only went and agreed to the Treaty (at second time of asking) and the Czechs agreed to sign (after much arm-twisting) leaving him up policy creek without a soundbite.

In fairness, they HAD always promised that they would tell us what their “Plan B” would be once they got to the position of having to say what they would do if the Treaty was actually ratified. Unfortunately, Plan B turned out to be: PANIC!

Basically, Mr Balloon was reduced to claiming that the Treaty was no longer a Treaty because it had been signed. Which was interesting. And that his promise no longer counted as a promise because um… er… um…

After three years of REPEATEDLY banging on about how the other parties promised a referendum and then didn’t give one, really just how THICK did Mr Balloon have to be to think that he could get away with promising a referendum and then not giving one?

He was, as the Star Trek fans say, HOIST with his own PICARD.

And as if that wasn’t enough, this was the moment that a tiny minority of the Norwich Conservatory Party decided to stage a WITCH HUNT with their own Parliamentary Candidate in the title role. When put to the test, Ms Elizabeth Truss had the – er – support she needed but all the publicity had made the Conservatories look, well, rather deeply conservative. Not to mention a bit SAD.

So with the Conservatories FLOUNDERING AROUND trying very hard to ignore the sound of harrumphing from deeply annoyed Europhobes and the hysterical braying of neo-Victorian backwoodsmen, Mr Frown took the opportunity to have Her Britannic Majesty read out a Mrs the Queen’s Speech so nakedly political that needed the words “advertising feature” appended over the top.

For the Liberal Democrats Captain Clegg condemned the whole business as “fantasy politics“, pointing out that there just wasn’t time to get though half the things the Government want to legislate for, and that that time would have been FAR better spent having Parliament try to clean up British politics and put right the MESS that MPs have made over expenses.

And, unlike bandwagon-jumping Mr Balloon, the Liberal Democrats have said this repeatedly and consistently. Remember Captain Clegg’s call to cancel MPs summer holidays. Liberal Democrats want this SORTED OUT, not just to tweak the Prime Monster’s nose about it and then drop it like an abandoned duck house.

CURIOUSLY, though, reform of Parliament was NOT on the agenda. Mr Frown later claimed that he thought it had all been taken care of already. Which shows HIS commitment to cleaning up his own mess.

It would be CHILDISHLY EASY to list out the bills that WERE in the Speech and take the Mickey out of them. So let’s do that.

The Flood Defenses Billtoo late

The Energy Bill – will be HUGE…

The Care for the Elderly Bill – nicked from the Liberal Democrats…

The Child Poverty Bill – Government legislates to keep (or rather, force the Conservatories to keep) their 1997 promise 12 years late…

The Equality Bill – does not apply to Gay Daddies; all minorities are equal – some minorities are less equal than others…

The Policing, Crime and Private Security Bill – I’m sure that’s not SUPPOSED to sound like the Home Office is privatizing the police force, but…

The Children, Schools and Families Bill – Mr Balls guarantees every child an Ejucashun, Ejucashun, Ejucashun. His exact words: “That’ll teach ’em!”…

The Digital Economy Bill – giving the economy the digit… no, done that already…


The Bribery Bill – oh, go on: make your own jokes up!

Anyway, this IS relevant to the economy because the two big PASTE JEWELS in this underwhelming CROWN were, of course, the Fiscal Responsibility Bill – allegedly a promise to halve the deficit in four years; in reality a STUPIDLY OBVIOUS booby-trap for the Conservatories (do they vote for it and then have to meet the promise if they get elected or vote against it and get accused of not being serious about tackling the Government’s debt crisis? Ooh, what a poser – they vote against it and say that it’s because it’s the Government’s measures that aren’t serious. Obviously.) – and the Financial Services Bill – supposedly giving them the power to tackle excessive bankers’ bonuses, but all the evidence so far is that they haven’t the HORLICKS to take on the banks.

The bankers themselves, or at least Mr Sachs of Goldman, now claim that they are “doing Mr God’s work“. That would be the SMITING then, would it? Presumably BANKING is in fact the ELEVENTH plague after snakes, locusts, flies, rivers turned to blood and Jedward…

Anyway, it wasn’t like the banks needed MORE good news, after Great Britain’s shiny new Supreme Court decided that it was just fine for them to charge exorbitant fees to anyone who goes overdrawn whether it’s by a thousand pounds for a month or a penny for an afternoon. Clearly that’s short for DALEK Supreme Court, there.

Oh, comes the cry from the banks, but SOMEONE’S got to pay the running costs if everyone else is to get FREE banking. Why should the people who stay in the black have to foot the bill for the naughty ones who go overdrawn?

Well, why should ANYONE foot the bill? Call me an old fashioned fluffy elephant, but isn’t that just the cost of “running a bank”? Couldn’t the BANKS pay their own costs, what with the VAST profits that they seem to make in every year other than the one where they obliterate the entire planet’s economy?

After all, their “business” is to borrow money from depositors and make a profit from loaning it out to people who need some credit.

If you sell SAUSAGES you don’t charge the farmer for the space on your shelves that his sausages occupy – and then tell him he’s getting a “good deal” and “free sausaging” when you don’t charge him so long as he keeps you in stock with sausages but if you run out then, oooh, he’ll get a stern letter and you’ll charge him twenty quid. So why do BANKS think that they can operate that way?

It all seems a bit RICH (irony intended) that they want to CHARGE us for the privilege of them making profit out of OUR MONEY!

Anyway, it turns out that all of us really ought to be sending a stern letter to the Royal Bank-that-we-own of Scotland and the other Bank-that-we-own of Scotland to say: “you have exceeded your arranged overdraft limit by sixty-two billion pounds; please arrange a meeting at our office to explain yourselves. You have been charged twenty quid for this letter.”

There is, of course, something deeply dubious about keeping HUGE loans a secret for all this time and covering up just how CLOSE we came to having a major British Bank actually run out of cash and there ought to be a proper inquiry!

FORTUNATELY, though, we hear that the Banks have all learned their lessons and are no longer speculating on wild investments and securitisation schemes, and instead have put all their money into a nice safe property deal in DUBAI. At least THAT won’t be built on SAND.

Sorry, it’s WHERE?

Oh fluff.

Anyway, getting back to Pre-Budget Report and the DEFICIT between what the Government spends and what it raises in taxes, one thing you CAN see is that Hard Labour’s tough talk on curbing bonuses is ACTUALLY laying the groundwork for hitting the banks with a WINDFALL TAX, which will be both popular in sticking it to the new national hate figures and practical in clawing back a chunk of their profits in order to help close a little bit of that HUGE GAP in the budget.

Unsurprisingly, the banks have criticised any windfall tax plan on the grounds that they don’t LIKE paying tax… no, sorry, on the grounds that taxing them MORE takes money out of the banks and make their lending more risky again. In just the way that paying vast bonuses does. Er.

In fact, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, Mr Dr Vince “the Power” Cable has already suggested that the taxpayer ought to be charging the banks a LEVY, like an INSURANCE PREMIUM or FEE, in return for the de facto GUARANTEE that the Bank of England will bail out anyone who looks like going Lehman Brothers on us. The advantage of the Liberal Democrat scheme is that, like everyone’s insurance, you could relate the fee to the level of RISK, so the Treasury could take back some control over the level of gambling that the City Banks indulge in.

However, the BBC’s Mr Robert “Hey” Presto is reporting that rather than tax the banks DIRECTLY, Chancellor Sooty will put a SUPER-TAX on the BONUSES. Which sounds like it will be popular (not to mention a little bit vengeful). In the long run, this will just invite the lawyers and tax accountants to start work on redefining senior bankers’ earnings to say what is salary and what is bonus until they can avoid Mr Sooty’s super-tax. But in the short term it plays well to the new CLASS WAR agenda that Hard Labour are developing as their General Election strategy.

It is clear that Hard Labour’s top strategists Lord Mandeltine (Darth Sideous) and Mr Alistair Henchman (freshly returned to Downing Street) have hatched a plot to try and show the Government as protecting front-line services and hardworking families while the snooty upper-class Conservatories’ policies are to benefit themselves.

Now, in fairness, this is because the Conservatories’ policies ARE to benefit themselves: Mr Balloon and his incompetent purse-carrier Master Gideon Oboe are both among the just 2% of families to benefit from their CENTREPIECE tax policy of cutting Inheritance Tax; and candidate Zac Goldfinger hasn’t helped his Party any by claiming “non-dom” status for “a few tax benefits“.

But linking their obvious SELF-INTERESTED policies to where they went to SCHOOL, while it plays well with the Prescot wing of the Labour Party, allows Mr Balloon to side-step the REAL point and shed more-in-sorrow-than-anger crocodile tears about “petty” attacks.

Nevertheless, expect more of this sort of thing as the election battle becomes more DESPERATE.

In the meantime, we have the PBR getting heavily trailed, with the Chancellor giving off-the-record briefings to selected newspapers and then coyly telling Mr Andy Marrmite that it’s all “speculation”. And we hear about Mr Frown pre-announcing “twelve” billion pounds of efficiency savings (by which he means THREE billion pounds of efficiency savings plus the savings he’s made already… so they don’t ACTUALLY count because they’re ALREADY in the Budget which STILL has a huge gap in it!).

Expect the line to be about the Conservatories cutting your services and Hard Labour defending them.

One last thing: hanging over all of this is the Climate Change Crisis and, with the Copenhagen Summit starting this week, just what – if anything – the Parties are willing to PAY in order to save the World. Mr Balloon’s Vote Blue Go Green seems to have been so much HOT AIR, as his policies have withered on the vine in the economic storm. Hard Labour, on the other fluffy foot, only seem interested in building atomic power stations, rather than investing in the future with a green economy. In contrast, the Liberal Democrats GREEN TAX SWITCH is still a key part of our policies, to give people money back and let them make the right choices for saving energy and cutting CO2.

Finally, my recommendations for the month: have a MERRY CHRISTMAS… and tell everyone how much MERRIER a Christmas they could have if they voted Liberal Democrat to raise everyone’s tax allowance, cutting income tax bills for all low and medium earners and giving millions of people up to £700 back!

Luv from Millennium.

And I shall see if I can talk the awfully nice people at Liberal Democrat Voice into letting me return in the New Year with my ALL NEW General Election Diary!

Meanwhile, read my diary!

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Herbert Brown 8th Dec '09 - 12:16am

    “If you’re a supermarket that sells sausages, then charging the farmer for shelf space is exactly what you do.”

    I don’t think there are that many supermarkets these days that rent out shelf space to farmers, rather than just buying their goods and selling them on.

    At least, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a sign in my local Morrisons saying “This shelf belongs to Farmer Starkadder of Cold Comfort Farm”.

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