On My Way to LibDem Conference 27

at the NEC Birmingham. The NEC is brash and utterly without soul – the architectural equivalent of Tony Blair.

I am happy we are going to get to vote on the coalition, but rather flummoxed that the debate is to be in closed session – I should have thought this historic decision needed a damn good airing. Liberal Democrats having secret policy debates? As I observed a few days ago, somebody needs to explain the meaning of the words in the party title to the party hierarchy.

It’s been a horrible couple of days, making up three years of formal accounts to take to the auditors. Being just me, I never felt the need to have myself audited before. But now family circumstances give me the urge to buy a house, So I have to take out a new mortgage.

I expected no problems – I have a 25% deposit and was looking for a mortgage from my own bank of thirty years, who tell me my credit rating with them is 1, the best category. But they also tell me that new government regulations for mortgages say that self-employed people must have audited accounts.

Why? I keep a record of income and expenditure, and keep receipts, to fill in my tax returns. But that is much less complex than formal accounts. Now every jobbing plumber and window cleaner needs an accountant if he wants a mortgage.

The daft thing is, my bank can see my income going into the account and the expenditure going out. They wish to lend to me. But they are not allowed to. Yet the banking crisis was not caused by self-employed writers, actors or artists. This is all a great boon to accountants. I am going to be paying several thousand quid to ne now.

And perversely it is going to cost the Inland Revenue more than that – the accountant tells me I have been failing to claim all sorts of stuff and paying far too much tax, and I should turn myself into a service company and be VAT registered.

You may recall that Goldman Sachs deliberately lent mortgages to people who couldn’t pay, then massively hedged so they made more money if the mortgages defaulted than if they paid. I recount in the Catholic Orangemen of Togo how Ashanti Gold hedged their production until their gold mines made more money if the price of gold fell than they did if it rose. That is a good symbol for the preference of casino gambling on future prices over concentrating on real world production. That was the actual cause of the banking collapse.

In basic retail banking transactions like mortgages, there is a perfectly good free market governing mechanism. Banks should make good credit risk assessments of individual customers. If they make too many bad judgements, the bank should go bust and the bankers with poor judgement lose their jobs. That will encourage other bankers to have good judgement.

The solution is not to throw taxpayer money at the useless bankers to keep them in their jobs, then centrally impose ridiculous bureaucratic regulation about who they can lend to.

Retail banking is susceptible to free market rigour. It needs to be split from casino banking, and casino banking needs to be controlled.

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.

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27 thoughts on “On My Way to LibDem Conference

  • Ishmael

    Enjoy the conference old chap. To much regulation kills enterprise. Small firms have much to offer. In China these small firms are at the forefront of innovation. And i hope they play a crucial part in the UK economy, why give them more regulated work

  • Seb

    Don’t be too hasty — you just want to borrow money against tthe security of a house and your income/assets. Worth trying to get out of supporting these parasitic accountants.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Oh God! I didn’t know that. Audited accounts…?

    Uhm, I bought a bathplug (but not a moat) which inspired me to write a poem. So maybe I could set it off… against the cost of the… water in the bath.

    Meanwhile the Dukes of Laundry steal from us all.

    Great post. Totally agree.

  • Anonymous

    Now is not the time to buy a house. If this is going where we all think, house prices are going to fall and fall.

    And fall.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Craig wrote “But they also tell me that new government regulations for mortgages say that self-employed people must have audited accounts.

    Why? I keep a record of income and expenditure, and keep receipts, to fill in my tax returns. But that is much less complex than formal accounts. Now every jobbing plumber and window cleaner needs an accountant if he wants a mortgage.”

    It might an over-reaction to the credit crisis – or it might be that the big accountancy firms have lobbied for it to get business?

  • Parky

    It was the usual way in about 2000 that if you were self employed then at least you needed a letter from your accountant to say you were solvent and a going concern. It was just that the lending organisations “relaxed” these rules so they could lend out wholesale money. Best to shop around for an accountant, most will charge what they think they can get away with a bit like lawyers do. And as you found out there are many things you can claim for and should do!

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Good Luck Craig – You deserve a grand house!

    My small plug – sorry!


    If the Iraq occupation lasts another 50 years, it’s doubtful a better account of it will be produced than this one. Davies puts the invasion and occupation of Iraq into a framework not only of history but also of law. ‘Blood on Our Hands’ is packed with critical information that never made into the so-called first draft of history, the U.S. media. This is a thoroughly documented account of the motivations, launching, and the conduct through several stages of the Iraq War, a war that any one of these periods shows to have been, above all else, a massive crime.

    kIndle Price £4.03


    Don’t have a Kindle? Kindle for PC FREE! here:


  • writerman

    I must admit, I simply don’t understand this tribal, almost sectarian, loyalty to the parties, or factions, as I prefer to call them, in UK politics. To me it seems remarkably like the loyalty guys have to there football team. A lot of noise, passion and time that signifies very little indeed.

    The very idea that this new government is going to be any better than the last one because the Liberal Democrats are involved, strikes me as being close to delusional.

    This government is going to introduce the most draconian and patently unfair cuts, no, cuts is too mild a word; it should be axing. They are going to axe of huge chunks of the welfare state and ordinary people’s living standards, to finance the bailout of the financial sector, the financial aristocracy that has real power in the economy, and runs and controls it. After all, that’s why they were chosen to rule this time around. New Labour had passed its sell-by date, and a new politics was needed, to rob ordinary people more efficiently and transfer wealth more successfully upwards.

    Nothing will change, not really. The trajectory of inverted class-warfare that’s been the core of the neo-liberal agenda for over thirty years under successive parties, will continue and intensivefy as the economic crisis intensifies in the coming years. One thing is certain. It won’t be me, or people like me, who will pay for the crisis; it’ll be the pooor and ordinary people, who don’t have any power and therefore don’t have a choice.

    Ordinary people can “choose” to be cheated and screwed by the Liberal/Conservative axis, or they can choose to be screwed by the New Labour crooks. That’t the real “choice”.

    This election is remarkably like the Obama cult in the United States. Superficial, cosmetic changes, a tempering of the style, tweeking here and there; but the underlying structure and substance remains the same.

    What is it about people that makes them believe, that makes them want to believe so desparately, that they willingly choose to walk up the scaffold to their own execution, happily delivering themselves up to the slaughter, despite the evidence of their own eyes?

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq


    What is the alternative? We are fully aware from the images on our screens that the alternative is anarchy, civil disturbances and death at one end of the social spectrum. Such extremes or ‘sex pistol’ philosophy is not effective so even if a tipping point is reached, change will only move in small increments especially as no strong leader, no revolutionist and no cohesive group exists to oppose this neo-liberalism by intelligent non-violent, counter-economics and anti-state cryptography.

    We are stuck with loving each other and letting God do the rest – for now we are stuck with the superficial.

  • Courtenay Barnett


    ” What is it about people that makes 2them believe, that makes them want to believe so desparately, that they willingly choose to walk up the scaffold to their own execution, happily delivering themselves up to the slaughter, despite the evidence of their own eyes?”

    Answer: The same kind of fixation that makes them believe that the Death of a Princess, and life of the Monarchy, are not good reasons to try and abandon it and develop a real democracy – or – something better than what exists.

  • tony_opmoc

    She Did it in Her Body Language

    She Did in Her Facial Expressions

    She said it All without Saying a Word

    She said I want To Hear What YOU have got to say…

    And she did it with her actions too

    She asked some of our Friends to come back to our Home

    She is a Complete Angel

    She is interested in YOU and what YOU have to say and Think

    She is My Wife

    And Her Beauty Keeps Blowing Me Away

    I think She is The Nicest Person I Have Ever Met

    And I Love Her So

    Yet Another Party Round Our House…

    Us Humans Are Actually Rather Nice


  • tony_opmoc

    Maybe, I was trying to do the Indian Rope Trick and I apologise for taking a bit of Craig Murray’s Bandwidth

    You do not have to read what I write

    I know Craig’s Website is a bit Primative

    But just read his Book Murder in Samarkand

    He ain’t making this stuff up and neither am I

    And so I was talking to My Friend and We were Sat on The Swinging Hammock….

    And we were going through all the problems that were affecting our World….

    And we were Mentally Rewriting How Our World Should Be…

    And we have had this swinging Hammock for about 10 years

    And the rope is incredibly thick

    But it broke

    We were both completely Amazed

    And so we both had to go back inside the house and try and Explain

    We couldn’t hide the Evidence

    But there were no Semen Stains

    Cos we were just Talking


  • Tony_opmoc

    The entire philosophy is built on Innocence….

    I know some people might find this a bit hard to do

    It involves using your Memory and Going back in time to when you were a CHILD

    You see nothing much has changed

    But if you could find a moment of innicence and love when you were a Child…

    And you can Remember How Brilliant It Was

    Then there is no Reason Why Tou Can’t Do It When You Are 20 Years Old

    We are all just the same people now as when we were Children

    We just got older

    My Wife is Over 50 Years Old

    And Yet She is Almost Exactly Like My First Girlfriend

    Blonde Nice and Beautiful

    And We Play Together


  • Larry from the Lebanon

    I bought a nice house in Israel, gardens olive groves and everything.

    One day the government came and just bulldozed the whole thing.

    I had to move.

  • Louis from St Larry

    A while back. Paul Staines aka Guido Fawkes was encouraging his readers to send slices of pizza to the Israeli army.

    This was during Cast Lead, the slaughter of innocent Palestinians.

    The idea was to further embolden the Israeli Army in their slaughter.

    Staines appears on BBC, ITV, CH4 and Sky.


    Normally psychopathological tendencies such as these are treated in hospital.

    Why are we now celebrating psychopaths in media?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    55% to stay in power for 5 years minimum! Get in, then change the constitution so you can rule forever and ever. Sounds more like some tinpot banana monarchy than an advanced ‘democracy’. This is what military dictators do! ‘President-for-Life’. In fact, why not dismiss parliament altogether?

    We’d better wake up, people. This is it! Why 55%? Why not – like detention without charge, it just goes up and up – why not 90%? Or 110%? We could keep pushing the numbers up – who’s to stop us? After all, it’s in the ‘national interest’. Their first act after assuming power. A very bad predictive factor.

    Oh yes, they thought they’d leashed a corgi, but it is becoming clear that the Lib Dems have roped themselves to a tiger.

  • eddie

    I don’t know how Craig Murray can support this nonsense. I give it three months. Why is there nothing in the coalition statement about foreign policy? Too sensitive or not important?

    With regard to fixed terms. At present the PM can ask the monarch to dissolve Parliament at any time – is Cameron seriously going to give up this power? My guess is that the Tories have a secret agenda to call a new election later this year, having destroyed the unprincipled liberals in the meantime.

  • ingo

    I’m sure that Vince Cable will make it all better, indeed he will make it all go away for ever….

  • Ruth

    ‘What is it about people that makes them believe, that makes them want to believe so desparately, that they willingly choose to walk up the scaffold to their own execution, happily delivering themselves up to the slaughter, despite the evidence of their own eyes?’

    I think the first reason particularly in the UK is that people believe that governments ultimately act in their interests although it does not always appear so. When I say that the government was involved in setting up 7/7 or that Megrahi’s release was contrived by the intelligence services, some people are quite shocked and exclaim that their government would not kill anybody.

    Secondly, people have a good standard of living and fear its loss. So questions that should be asked are not.

    From what I’ve seen compared to other European countries there isn’t generally much or any deep discussion about politics. Topics of conversation tend to revolve round restaurants, holidays etc. When they no longer have the money for such things maybe there’ll be a change for the better.

    People in the UK tend to be conformists. They like to stay within their own circles and hence don’t gain an indepth knowledge of society. I think state education plays a large part in this.

    But what will they do when the executioner starts to put the noose round their necks?

    Well the government is more than ready to deal with them.

  • BlairSupporter

    Mr Murray is fixated over T Blair. Like me, some might say, only in the opposite direction.

    Thus, a propos nothing at all except his own fixation he starts like this:

    “On My Way to LibDem Conference

    at the NEC Birmingham. The NEC is brash and utterly without soul – the architectural equivalent of Tony Blair.”

    What the hell has this gathering got to do with Tony Blair?

    Keep taking the ConDem tablets, Mr Murray.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    You have a good handle on the situation Ruth, money is the eternal silencer – put up or shut-up and gloat at Page 3 of the Sun. Money (or lack of it) puts people on the streets, hence Cameron’s lack of detail on tax increases, stealth or otherwise.

    Two million can march against war, but treble that or more will march against a severe reduction in average standards of living amongst the majority.

    The cost of war in Afghanistan is about £200 for every man woman and child in Britain. We are there to prove our weapons, to establish a base for operations in Asia and prepare for war with Iran. That is the payback and this government, despite Lib Dem dilution, is compelled to move ‘the plan’ forward.

    OK – Cameron cannot ‘rock the monetary boat’ too much or risk a back-lash from a British electorate already sensitised by political corruption and inflated expenses.

    Cameron must foster a policy of ‘we are in this together’ and he will do this by creating the illusion of ‘Big Society’ that devolves power locally and creates ‘green’ prosperity and stability together with money from a ‘Big Society Bank’ funded by ‘UNCLAIMED MONEY?’ stuck in Camerlot banks and profits expected from the 2012 Olympics.

    The £10,000 tax break is appeasement and more NHS funding is another carrot aimed at deflecting eyes from the enormous pot of cash required for Trident, new submarines to carry it and new aircraft carriers to back the American/Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran currently in the planning stage.

  • Parky

    It really depends where the axe will fall! There has been a lot of fat created in the public sector over the past 13 years to produce a client state of public sector workers and benefit claimants who rely on NuLabour to keep them in their lifestyles. Now NuLab is no more they are expendable. If you are in this group then the good times are over, time to get a proper job! From observation of non-jobs advertised, there are plenty of co-ordinators, out-reach workers, street scene organisers and the rest who will be looking for pastures new in 12 months time.

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