A Really Good Sign for the Coalition 173

Yesterday saw a vital indictation of the viability of the coalition – and it was George Osborne who delivered an extremely good result.

Last week I blogged:

Next week, the EU Council of Ministers plans to adopt strict regulations enforcing transparency on hedge funds and private equity firms and limiting their leverage, ie how much they can gamble. NuLabour resisted these very sensible Franco-German proposals, because NuLabour was 100% bought by the City. The Tory right wants to oppose the plans because they are European regulations. Already we are hearing bleats that hedge fund managers will move abroad. Good. The attitude to these proposals will be an imprtant early indication of whether this government is more progressive than NuLabour.


This is from the lead story on the front page of today’s Financial Times:

The approval of the controversial rules by finance ministers follows a similar endorsement by a group of EU lawmakers on Monday and brings regulation of the “alternative investment” industry closer.

Mr Osborne decided not to use up political capital in Brussels fighting to dilute an EU directive that has been ferociously pushed by France and Germany


More to the point, these regulations had been ferociously resisted by New Labour, just as Brown and Mandelson had ferociously resisted Franco-German proposals to limit bank bonuses and apply other brakes on casino banking. New Labour’s total defence of even the most extreme practices of most unacceptable faces of capitalism – hedge funds and private equity funds – was sickening.

It was notable in the election campaign that the Tories stance on banking regulation – in their manifesto, their rhetoric and the leaders’ debates – was much stronger than New Labour’s, and closer to the Liberal Democrats. There was room to doubt if this was just election populism. Osborne’s decision yesterday is a welcome sign that he Tories really are willing to take on City interests to which New Labour were slaves.

But the significance does not stop there. This decision also shows Cameron and Osborne are prepared to take on their own Europhobes. There will be fury from the combined forces of private equity millionaires and anti-Europeans, being poured down the lines into Conservative Central Office today.

Osborne in fact cleverly played the pro-EU card in the ECOFIN meeting and used his agreement to fund regulation to push forward the single market in financial services – something which has been disgracefully obstructed on continental Europe.

A friend of mine in UKREP Brussels tells me this morning that the view there is that it is great to have Ministers who do not confuse the interest of the City and the national interest as automatically the same thing.

And the icing of the cake for the coalition is that these very proposals for transparency and limitation of risk of hedge funds and private equity funds were initiated in the European Parliament by Lib Dem MEPs – led by my old mate Graham Watson.

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173 thoughts on “A Really Good Sign for the Coalition

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  • Apostate

    If there’s one thing to be learned from the careers of men like Goldsmith it is that you can’t keep “a good man down”!

    And Steelback, you are one good man!

    It’s gone so quiet we can guess the disinfo. gang are somewhat traumatized by your re-appearance from the dead.

    As they clutch their garlic cloves and bless themselves they must be thinking-


    And not being very bright they will surely miss the irony that one of their leading players-someone who spends his entire day-when he’s not dissecting frogs for DNA that is-attacking “conspiracy theorists” is himself wont to support people like Rhodes and Goldsmith who have been engaged in conspiracies since,in the case of the latter at least, the days of Cromwell!


    Jimmy’s brother Edward was heavily involved in the environmental scam and started groups allied with the likes of Lord Lymington with eugenicist/depopulation agendas not dissimilar from those of elite projects like Prince Philip’s WWF.

    Philip and his old fascist ally Prince Bernhardt of the Netherlands set up WWF and Bilderberger.

    They’re both multicultural,PC-friendly imperialists though.

    No worries!


  • Alfred


    I agree that “holocaust” is overused. But it has come to be used as a synonym for genocide.

    And when I talk about the impact of mass immigration by people with a substantially above replacement birth rate into a society with substantially below replacement birthrate, I am talking about a form of genocide.

    The effects of this process are masked for now because of the long post-reproductive life of the indigenous population.

  • Alfred

    Since Steelback wants to smear Sir James Goldsmith, why not listen to Goldsmith speak for himself? This U-Tube page provides links to a three part Video of Goldsmith’s November 15, 1994 speech before the Senate of the United States.


    The Senators ignored his warning about the catastrophe that would follow the GATT treaty to enable global free trade, and since then US unemployment has almost doubled, real wages have declined and America has gone from a budget surplus to a $trillion plus annual budget deficit. The same sort of devastation is occurring, obviously, in Britain and across Europe.

    It is interesting to note the line that Steelback takes. He tells you that Jews like Jimmy goldsmith and Lord Rothschild are apostates and criminals who threaten the very existence of the Jews of Israel. This puts you in the unenviable position of being an anti-Semite if you hate Jimmy Goldsmith and an anti-Semite if you don’t.

    My own business experience, limited though it has been compared with that of a titan such as Goldsmith, confirms absolutely what he says.

    When I launched my publishing company in 1986, the publishing industry largely operated as in the quill-pen era. Manuscripts were received, blue-penciled by an editor and sent to a typesetter. The typesetting was done by skilled men who had completed a lengthy apprenticeship and who earned high wages.

    Because our material included math and other non-standard typographical elements, we had to go to the largest and most expensive type shop in Vancouver. We paid $80.00 an hour for labor, and we paid $1.25 a line for corrections, which more often than not amounted to something as slight as the insertion or deletion of a comma.

    As soon as it became possible, we took the typesetting and page layout in house, using desktop systems. We were one of the very first scholarly journal publishers to do so. This change allowed us to do the typesetting for $30.00 to 35.00 an hour, including overheads, a reduction in cost that gave us much greater scope for editing, since an article could then be put through multiple rounds of editing without bankrupting us.

    Having our material in digital form, allowed us to put it on the Internet, and we were among the first scholarly journal publishers to do this. However, digital distribution entailed various processed to transform the content into the necessary formats, including PDF, HTML, and XML. This required new skills and added substantial labor costs.

    In time the half dozen multinational publishers with whom we competed got up to speed. They then abandoned the most useful part of the publishing service, i.e., text and graphics editing, and fact checking, and outsourced what work remained to Chennai, India where they pay, perhaps, $2.00 an hour.

    At that point I had little in the way of long-term options but to wind the business down, notwithstanding that our main publication was the most prestigious in its field (out of around 100 titles) according to an independent analysis of literature citations, or accept one of several offers from multinational competitors.

    Naturally, I accepted the highest offer. As my former staff are all bright people, they were able to find other interesting work. Nevertheless, the Canadian economy has lost jobs.

    I look for other ways to employ my capital and this could generate new jobs. But the reality is that, because of globalization, the bulk of the world’s new jobs are, as James Goldsmith warned, in Asia at wages of less than a dollar an hour.

    In effect, big business, through its control of public policy, has created a plantation economy, where million in Asia, working under conditions little different from slavery, do the World’s work, and an increasing proportion of the European working class, blue and white collar, become white (more or less) trash, as in America’s Southern slave states.

  • Clark


    if the ‘indigenous’ UK population (quote marks, because their indigeneity depends upon how far back you choose to look) decline to breed, that is their own decision; genocide implies something inflicted.

    I guess from your choice of words that you feel strong emotions about the decline (or transformation) of the British. Just a suggestion – maybe, instead of getting upset about what is to be ‘lost’ (ie consigned to the past), you should celebrate that which you esteem so highly by describing it; maybe that would encourage people to preserve it.

    Don’t let the Apostate Puppet Theatre upset you – ‘they’ are a funny lot, but often quite interesting.

    Apostate et al,

    I have some problems with your style:

    1) You present a long list of statements as fact, weaving a world – view that would take ages to confirm or refute. Please remember that others have no more reason to accept that you know the truth any better than anyone else.

    2) You seem to be dividing the various players into ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’; most people are a mix of both. Right actions sometimes proceed from wrong motivations, etc.

    3) Instead of admitting to any uncertainty, you assign different viewpoints to your different sock – puppets, and have them argue about it. OK, it’s your choice, if you’d really rather do it that way…

  • Steelback


    You are worth your weight in entertainment value alone.

    When you told us Rhodes was a multicultural imperialist the clapometer went up.

    Now you’re telling us Jimmy Goldsmith was an anti-globalisation hero-the clapometer just hit the roof!

    Get real,pal!

  • Apostate

    Alfred’s political naivete must have something to do with being a scientist.

    To claim that “Green Billionaire” Goldsmith was striking a blow for the common man is risible indeed.Embarrassing as well.

    To say Goldsmith was a shady character is an understatement.His cronies in Le Cercle included Kermit Roosevelt and George Soros.

    There’s some fishy empathy with speculators and asset-strippers going on here which won’t win Alfred any friends among the common people! (LOL)

    Time for Alfred to come clean,methinks.

  • Freeborn

    As far as I can ascertain Goldsmith’s race was never mentioned in Lobster’s pretty laudatory assessment of his life and achievements.

    Typically the research-averse/PC/Disinformation dingbats tried to make it an issue and fell flat on their faces.

    Respect Apostate!

    Bet they’re praying Cathouse Larry’s about to come to their rescue!

    If there’s someone who could make anti-semitism/”conspiracy theory”/”Holocaust Denial” issues it’s Cathouse!

    They’d ALL be illegal if Sunstein, Alfred, Cathouse et al had their way!

    Mind you when he’s not running Silverstein’s whorehouse that’s Larry’s job!

  • Alfred

    Here’s an interview that Jimmy Goldsmith did in 1994 in which he accurately predicted the economic devastation that we are now seeing as a result of globalization:


    The sound track is better that that in the link I provided yesterday to Goldsmith’s US Senate presentation.

    As Steelback asserts, Goldsmith was an asset stripper. Asset stripping is what any competent capitalist does: maximize the return on the assets employed.

    Goldsmith was one of the last capitalists. A highly intelligent individual able to out think the hired managers of the corporate monopolists.

    Globalization, which Goldsmith opposed, is all about cartels and monopolies. That is what so many of the French and British upper class liked about Nazism. The Chamberlain group in Britain were talking cartels with the Germans at least as late as the declaration of war, and possibly later. The French, under occupation happily divided markets for coal, steel, chemicals, communications, etc. among German and French monopolists.

    And like many successful capitalists, Goldsmith turned in later life to using some of his wealth to promote causes he believed would benefit society.

    But evidently, the cause that James Goldsmith championed in his last days, the interests of ordinary working people in Britain, is not one that engages the sympathy of Liberals. I have raised the issue of 8 million unemployed and on the dole, partially employed, or totally discouraged British workers a number of times on this blog, but never with any response: one scrap of evidence, surely, of the truth of Malcolm Muggeridge’s assertion that “Liberalism is the disease of our civilization.”

  • Alfred

    It is disconcerting to be classed by Freeborn (why is it that most of the people posting here have no real name?) with Cas Sunshine — normally referred to on my Web page as Crass Sunshine, Dr. Goebbels, etc., etc, and Looney Larry, who as I recall, addressed me on the last occasion we communicated as “fucking nuts”.

    I think I will resume watching mud, which is quite soothing, even though a good part of my pension fund resides with the seemingly clueless clutzes running the show in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Here’s another link to the spill kill, if that’s not a misnomer:


  • Clark


    ignore Freeborn’s insults. He’s an Apostate etc. sock puppet. I’ve come in for the same thing, and expect to do so again.

    Your post at 6:15 PM is interesting. You distinguish between capitalism and global corporatism. I agree that the latter is worse. Possibly simply because it is much greater in power, has manipulated governments and now exceeds their power.

    Capitalism had to be kept in check; I believe that to be one of government’s primary functions. This is why I see international democracy as an urgent need; with corporate power now global in magnitude a suitable counterforce is required This probably makes me a ‘New World Order shill’ in some people’s opinions. Also, a global currency would help to expose the vast imbalances in income, though other methods would be possible.

    Your paragraph about the Second World War reminds me of Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon.

    Yes, capitalists sometimes go all gooey in later life (guilt? About to meet their Maker?); Bill Gates may have just suffered that fate. Corporations never do, because they are structures rather than individuals.

    However, the last paragraph is poor argument. That Goldsmith’s interests coincided (to some extent) with those of ordinary working people was a by-product of the rise of corporatism rather than a genuine alliance. Your criticism of ‘Liberals’ is a sweeping generalisation; Craig has certainly spoken up for working people and those excluded from work. And that no one has supported you on this issue is, I suspect, due to your former ambiguity that led to you being regarded as racist; they didn’t want to support an argument that could have been “they come over here and take our jobs”.

    And yes, the anonymity of various commenters is disappointing.

  • Apostate

    What a pair of dingbats-feeling sorry for yourselves.

    The sort of stuff you guys write we get quite enough of in the corporate media.

    It’s utter bullshit!

    If you want to sing paeons for the likes of Rhodes and Goldsmith you should expect to receive a bit of abuse.

    Please take a hike and subscribe to some Boys Own imperialist rag where you might be appreciated.

    Only those who can’t be arsed to some proper dilligent research could come to such facile conclusions re-a pair of robber barons like those two.

    Grow up the pair of you!

  • Alfred

    Hey, Apostate,

    Are your suffering from compulsive vituperation disorder, or what.

    Why don’t you give us a break and tell us more about Rabbi Marvin, the most-intelligent-man-in-the-World, Antelman?

  • Clark


    see? What did I tell you?


    I once built a computer controlled lighting rig for a puppet theatre. As they were only a company of two, generally all four of their hands were ‘on stage’, so they needed a system that could advance to the next cue by pressing a foot switch. Commercial computerised lighting rigs were beyond their means, so I stitched one together out of a MIDI-to-light controller (for bands) and a Sinclair ZX Spectrum microcomputer that could send MIDI signals. It was one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever been involved in. My favourite scene was a shadow play; a character with extreme thirst struggling to reach a tap, set to ‘The Talking Drum’ from ‘Larks Tongues in Aspic’ by King Crimson.

    I hope you cheer up one day. We might even have a conversation.

  • Alfred


    What did you tell me?

    I’m confused.

    However, interesting story about the light show. You must be quite ancient, though still my junior, to have had a Sincliar 2X Spectrum.

    I really only came back to say that the chance of anything useful arising from further discussion of Marvin Antelman must be slight to negative, assuming a probability can be negative, which perhaps it can’t.

    I was going to suggest we all talk about mud. Very soothing. I expect Suhayl could provide some literary input here.

    From what I understand of BP’s spill kill op., the idea is to pump high density mud down the well so the weight of it holds the oil down.

    To get the mud down the well, they have to inject it under pressure to counteract the pressure of the upwelling oil. However, the blowout preventer (BOP) is defective or damaged and so some mud spews out through holes in the riser rather than going down the well. The fact that the mud comes out in fits and starts may reflect the pulsating pressure generated by the 30,000 horse power hydraulic pump at the surface, which is driving the mud down the well.

    Pressure at the bottom of the well is around 14,000 pounds per square inch, or an astounding 28,000 tons per square metre — a pair of metre-diameter hydraulic jacks operating at that pressure could lift the Titanic from the ocean floor to the surface, and quite probably into low earth orbit.

    But in anycase, the pressure in the reservoir is largely counteracted by the weight of oil in the five-mile deep bore hole. At the ocean floor the pressure is only a couple of thousand pounds per square inch. This is the pressure against which the mud has to be pumped.

    To stop the reflux of mud through the BOP, they have been shooting bits of old tyre, golf balls and knotted string in with the mud. Some of this can be seen shooting out the holes in the riser where the mud is spewing.

    But perhaps the old tyres, etc. are supposed to block leaks elsewhere too. Anyway, they have to get the mud far enough down the well to stop the flow of oil, because until the oil stops flowing they cannot cap the well with concrete, because flowing concrete will not set.

    Sof far, things do not seem to be going very well. There is a new Oil Drum thread covering developments as they occur:


  • Clark


    I’m 47. My “what did I tell you” was regarding my prediction of further abuse from Apostate / whoever.

    The lighting rig project was early ’90s. There were more advanced computers available, but we were keeping prices down. The second-hand ZX Spectrum (Plus 2 version) was chosen because it was the cheapest machine with both a MIDI port and a floppy drive. It turned out that I had to write assembly language to drive the MIDI port, so any port would have done just as well.

    “Bits of old tyre, golf balls and knotted string” – I’m reminded of Monty Python:

    Everything goes in,

    Everything goes out,

    Fish, bananas,

    Old pyjamas,

    Mutton, beef and trout!

    Deep sea chaos. I just hope they get it sealed off soon. The team at The Oil Drum seem to know their stuff. They say that there’s about 100 million barrels in the well. That would keep the US going for five whole days. Why the hell is oil measured in these arbitrary ‘barrels’, anyway?

    Mud. Mud that got clever. Mud that sat up. The Book of Bokonon, from Cat’s Cradle by Vonnegut. Ice Nine and global catastrophe. I Googled “Ice 9” once and found that there really are lots of numbered crystalline forms of ice, including Ice IX, though it isn’t dangerous:


    Yawn, it’s late here; I’m off to bed.

  • Alfred


    Ha, right. Apostate. Maybe if we treat him/her/whatever kindly, it will become tame and friendly. We could try.

    Good Monty Python lyrics. Very appropriate.

    Having no tel, I missed out on that important part of what my daughter calls “the culture”: at first I thought she was talking about western civilization, but I have it straight now.

    Good Vonnegut quote too. Unfortunately, BP don’t seem to have clever mud.

    I guess the US, as the world’s chief consumer of oil, dictates to the world how oil is measured, and if you’re top dog, why abandon what you’re used to for some new-fangled French idea.

    Born in 63. You missed a few things. Sir Edmund Hilary, the first European to climb Everest — probably carried the last bit by his sherpa; ban the bomb marches; Roger Bannister’s 4-minute mile in 1954; the 1958 Berlin crisis; the first Austin Mini, and JFK’s assassination.

    In 63, I was a first-year undergraduate devoted in about equal measure to the pursuit girls (British secondary schools in those days were virtually all segregated) and the consumption of booze. I crawled a good few pubs with classmate Postman Patel.

    Yes, the ZX. Margaret Thatcher presented one to the Prime Minister of Japan. I wonder what the Japs(anese) made of it! After that, Sir Clive rather bombed with his adult pedal car – built at a vacuum cleaner factory in Wales, I seem to recall.

    Tired here too. Have to take the weekend off.


  • Suhayl Saadi

    Clark, that sounds like a cosmic light-show! King Crimson… a heavy band.

    Alfred, we did that a couple of months ago with Apostate and he did converse with some of us us for a while; it was actually very interesting – I hope he won’t mind me saying that he indicated he was a disillusioned ex-Leftist and Led Zeppelin fan.

    This may be what happens to people whose dreams of a better society don’t work out, they become cynical. Oh, this’ll probably elicit a tirade from Steelback. Anyway, in anticipation and musical solidarity, here’s to Apostate. Keep the love, man:


  • Clark

    Hello Suhayl!

    Could you give me a link to that Apostate thread you mention; I’d like to read it. Thanks for the ‘Dazed and Confused’ link, which is buffering; I’ve exceeded my download limit so my ISP has throttled my bandwidth until next week. I love ‘Presence’, though I’ve heard that ‘true’ Led Zep fans disapprove of that album.

    Crimson; I like everything from Earthbound onwards; ‘Cat Food’ is a laugh. John Wetton on bass, with an overdriven valve amp. Electric piano, electric guitar, electric violin, all overdriven, causing their sounds to converge, leaving the style as the major indicator of which instrument you’re hearing. ‘The Mincer’, where the tape seems to run out…

    I just played ‘Dazed and Confused’; superb performance, excellent dynamics. Respect to Bonham and Jones, keeping such a solid foundation amid that frontline chaos.


    Human affairs change slowly compared with our meagre lifetimes and it’s very frustrating. It really looked like we were getting somewhere in the ’80s; The Wall came down, Apartheid fell, but no, here we are twenty years later staring disaster in the face. Keep the faith, despite your username. Better times will come. The elite may gather the money to themselves, only to find that it has become worthless.


    I was at a state Boys Grammar. It started converting to a mixed comprehensive as I entered my third year there. You shared a class with Edward Teague?

    The ZX had poor built-in software. The Cambridge / BBC machines were much better, in my opinion. The different approaches were exemplified in the choice of processors; the Spectrum used the 8080 derived Z80 with its overly complicated instruction set and high power requirements – this line developed into the modern x86 PCs. The BBC used the 6800 derived 6502 with a reduced instruction set that could be memorised by a mortal programmer – this line developed into the PowerPC Macs etc. It’s now extinct in the PC market, killed by the combined commercial power of Microsoft (who don’t want you to understand your computer’s works) and their former ally Intel. But it lives on in mobile ‘phones and set-top boxes.

  • Clark

    Thanks, Suhayl.

    Yes, I think I have a clearer idea of Apostate etc’s motivations now.


    ‘”When the land tilts, run south. You are the important one, the dreamer, seeing, where others face an empty, blank wall”.

    The land tilted and I ran north, for not only did the land tilt the other way, but no one tells me what to do!’

  • technicolour

    Yes, thanks Suhayl, had completely fogotten that thread. Too much going on.

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