Saturday, January 19, 2008

What are Brown and Branson doing in China ?

Flogging Northern Rock apparently - whilst loading it up with sweeteners for the Chinese.

See this quote from the Press Association (my comments highlighted):

    Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson said he believed he had a "winnable package" to see his bid for the ailing Northern Rock bank succeed.

    Sir Richard, speaking in Shanghai where he is accompanying Prime Minister Gordon Brown as part of Britain's delegation, said some Chinese money could be involved in his package right there's a surprise- but stressed it was essentially "British-backed" like British Jobs for British workers perhaps ? and under his deal the bank would be "very much a British bank". You can just feel the New Labourness oozing out of that statement

    Asked if he had had any talks with Mr Brown about a possible deal, Sir Richard said: "We haven't had any detailed discussions with the Prime Minister.detailed the old Blair trick of redefining the question before you answer it - aka to everyone else as not answering the question but spinning.
Last time Gordon Brown went to China begging for money for Rover before the election the Chinese screwed the Brits into the ground, then stripped our assets. They can see the weakness of his negotiating position. We should perhaps also be concerned that given the political difficulties Brown is in over Northern Rock the involvement of Chinese money could be more political than just business.

How do we know that the next time Gordon Brown has to represent British interests in the world, when they run up against China, that he isn't compromised by all this ? Whether its true or not - there will always be doubt.

Frankly it is astonishing to see this international begging going on - shades of Dennis Healey begging the IMF. But that's what you get - in the end - when you leave Labour in power.

It may seem I'm doing down Richard Branson - I'm not. He's a near genius for his business, its my money* that Gordon Brown is hosing around trying to save his job that worries me.

* NB Lets not forget government money is tax payers money is our money.


IanPJ said...

When the Berlin Wall came down and the USSR colapsed in the early 90's, everyone said that the West had won.

But where are we today, the Russians have got the squeeze on all of Europe's energy supplies, and China owns most of the West's debt, so logically...the communists have won..using capitalism as their weapon.

Man in a Shed said...

Hi Ian, we were always warned about the possibility of the collapse of the Berlin wall being part of a grand deception.

President ex-KGB Putin certainly would fit, given the way he behaves.

However there is an underlying fault in the western democracies also. That of electorates regarding governments or candidates who promise jam today as preferable to those who were austere. there is little effective feedback - made much worse in the days of now universal spin and media manipulation.

From my view point, though perhaps not yours, it was easier to be firm when the ideological divides were bigger. There was only one party offering Thatcherism for example. There was no Blairism or Nick Cleggism (no he's finally discovered his Thatcherite roots) similar versions to chose between. You either trusted Neil Kinnock and Michael Foots or Mrs T.

Now anybody who tries to deliver the bad news about debt loses elections.

Anybody who spends lots of money and hides where it comes from (stealth taxes, pension raids PFI, billions in bonds to back up banks in politically sensitive parts of the country ) wins them.

In the end this is storing up a lot of trouble for us, and it is a clear sign of pathological behaviour in our democracies.

Vindico said...

Northern Rock will be the final undoing of this government. A total balls-up. Unfortunately it will result in new bad legislation and regulation, not a right solution!!