Saturday, 15 October 2011

Shona Prophett in the Eurozone? Don't be Ridiculous!

The Chancellor's 3 Rs:
Ring-fencing. Recapitalisation. Resolution

Very funny! But I still think reading, writing and arithmetic are the foundation stones for a successful future and cannot really see how investing in a school curriculum that includes financial awareness of any description will produce any long term benefits. Let's face it, how many teachers do you know who love their jobs, have zero debts and absolutely no money worries? I despair!

So let's get back to the Chancellor's Rs!

On 10th October, Rt Hon. George Osborne stated,

Since July, stock markets are down by 11% in the UK, 12% in America, 23% in France, and 24% in Germany.”

(He thinks that's good because we have the least 'down' at that point.) He then went on to say that bank shares had lost a quarter of their value over the past three months and that his proposed solution to the overall financial problem was the implementation of his three Rs:

Ring-fencing, recapitalisation and resolution.

Correct me if I am wrong, but by 'ring-fencing', does he mean protecting the UK from being dragged further down by the collapsing Eurozone? His statement that we will not be part of the permanent bail-out must surely mean we are unprotected, because the word 'permanently' obviously leaves us open to extended temporary measures!

What about 'recapitalise'?

Is this a fancy word for printing money and another term that could be used for quantitative easing? On the one hand, the Chancellor is stating that all the major banks within the UK economy compare favourably with their European peers (hardly great!) then in the next breath he states that Moody's, the credit rating agency, has downgraded no fewer than 12 UK banks. I'm not even sure if I could name 12 UK banks, let alone all of those that have been included in the downgrading! Where his 'recapitalisation' is going to come from, I haven't a clue.

Resolution – not to be confused with 'resolving' the problem, yet he used the word in such a way as to suggest that resolving the problem with Greece would be the solution.

Well, that and the release of a further £75 billion for “asset purchases”, whatever the hell they might be.

Unlike Mr Osborne's belief that credit easing by way of making the banks lend more money to more small and medium sized business will help avoid a further 'credit crunch', I believe that all it will do is bring more and more companies into more and moredebt. But why worry? With interest rates at an all-time low, we can all afford the repayments! (We can? What if they start climbing before we've amalgamated the old debts and paid off the new ones? One word springs to mind - UNSUSTAINABLE!)

Despite his bravado about the UK having been, “leading the International effort to help the Eurozone find that solution”, our dear Chancellor still states that steps have been taken to ensure we can “ride out the storm”. (No mention of how ferocious this storm really is, nor was there mention of any timeframe for how long we're expected to ride the beast.)

All very confusing in a gloriously simplified way, basically saying that he hasn't a clue what the answer is, but he'll have a good old think about the problem and bring it up again at the G20 summit.

Oh, and by the way, it's looking like we'll come out of the G20 with the biggest structural deficit, but don't worry about it... Georgie boy will resolve to rescue and reform, ring-fence, recapitalise, reshuffle, redistribute and reorganise things so that we may all sleep easy, knowing that any savings we have are rotting in the banks, being eroded by interest rates of less than half the current rate of inflation and that we'd all be better off spending our own money then borrowing more.

With a freeze on council tax and TV licenses, what more could we possibly ask?

Shona Prophett / NYK Media

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