My history of British Manufacturing

My history of British Manufacturing
My history of British Manufacturing

Sunday 26 April 2009

Budget Deficit

The budget speech and articles in the Guardian which followed spoke of a mammoth deficit. This is not small beer by any stretch of the imagination.

If it came about because banks lent at high interest rates to people with no realistic means of repaying, we stand back and wonder. If these mortgages, sub-prime mortgages, were cleverly packaged with better fare and traded on, we sit back and wonder. If banks around the world invested in these bonds because they believed what it said on the tin, we sit back and wonder. If politicians now come along and blame the bankers, we should not sit back but ask how come the banks could lend as they did, sell the bonds they did and invest in the junk they did. Sure, they could have said no. But when everyone else was on the bank(d)wagon, it is brave man who stands on the side.

Surely the fault lies with those who allowed the creation of a banking world where all this could happen. Who deregulated? Brown was not alone.

Monday 13 April 2009

The Handmaid's Tale

I doubt that there is a book which draws so much sympathy from its readers. The story is devastating, but that is only part of what Margaret Atwood does. The heart of the genius of the book is not a real fear that what she describes could happen, rather an uncomfortable acknowledgement that it is a metaphor for the oppression that does happen in so many different guises.
At a slightly different level it is one of those books which reminds a would be writer just why they sweat blood. The enterprise is worth every drop if there is a possibility of getting anywhere near this quality of writing.

Thursday 2 April 2009

G 20

The more you look at this whole business, the more obscene, but also the more complex it becomes. The headlines about bank bonuses talk to the protesters, but also to the thousands who have lost their jobs simply because borrowing, ordinary business borrowing, became so difficult; they talk also to the thousands more who lost their homes. Massive bonuses were wrong; but who was wrong?

As my character Ed puts it, in a University town which is the most popular pub? The one which doesn't chuck you out at closing time, of course; the one which has the loosest rule book. These tend to be the places where trouble is to be found. So too with banking, loosen the rule book and the bastards will push beyond even their wildest imaginings. The recent book City Boy would seem to confirm this in spades. It is Lord of the Flies, isn't it?

All this would be bad, but not horrific, were it not for two things. The impact is global and massive. It came about as a result of the policy of western governments to let markets govern themselves.

Surely in a civilised society we all need boundaries?