Category Archives: Treasury Select Committee

Recession- Extraordinary Times- We Need To Seize The Opportunity

First published at http://www.pluto-online.com/?m=200903&paged=4


These extraordinary times. Her voice echoes out from the TV screen. A news reporter is gravely explaining the next victim in an ever-lengthening line of businesses- banks- queuing for Government hand outs.


AIG has reported the biggest loss in American corporate history. So, the biggest financial loss in world history.


Capitalism, the world, as we know it, will never be the same again. We have been flung, bleary-eyed and naked into the future. We have been crawling, and now we need to run.


Will Gordon Brown come into his own? He met Barack Obama this week, “the world’s biggest celebrity” the BBC reports.


You can’t help but worry that the U.S will work unilaterally. But I have every faith in Obama. And the right tone of Britishness cannot be underestimated as a tool for negotiation; style and grace.


Of Brown then, I am not so sure. He was the champion, one of the main protagonists, in creating a system that has ultimately failed.


The Sun and the Daily Mirror lead with the Jade Goody story. Not that it isn’t happening. But minute by minute coverage is sick in many ways.


There is so much other news. Important, meaningful, even scary news.


Barack Obama’s stimulus package is the biggest thing that is going to be attempted to fix all of this. Who else is offering answers? This is what needs to be happening, but we need more, we need it here.


HSBC have actually made a profit and yet they have still ‘lost’ 70 per cent on last year. Just how much money were these people gambling with?


The fate of the car industry is gloomy. People are being priced out of their cars, although this could be the making of our public transport system.


The 16-25 rail-card is a steal. But low prices need to be seen on all public transport. People need to be able to get to the places that are important to them cheaply, safely and comfortably. People will walk, our workforce will become active.


And jobs need to be created, ones that we haven’t even thought of yet. If the culture of motoring is going to survive, arguably whether it even should, we need to make cars environmentally friendly, cheap, and these improved car companies need to be employing people.


We need innovation in industry, construction and education. We need to create jobs to make the things that we need, we need people doing what they need to be doing. A report stated that many children’s medicines are now ineffective. Why wait for someone else to change this when we have the bodies, the people willing and able to work?


Communities are shattered. People are empty.


But hark, all is not lost, there are little gems of brilliance glinting on the horizon.


The Vicar of Preston is one of those treasures.


Progressive and engaging, he stood confident and glowing. He explained the basics, or rather, the packed schedule that comes with his job.


He is on 43 committees, meets with the council and leaders of other faiths, and ultimately engages people in the community. He is fighting against the tide, and still getting things done.

He works a 101 hour week.


Vince Cable, of Liberal Democrat fame is talking economic sense. Well, he’s on the news sometimes. The Liberal Democrats certainly aren’t speaking loud enough. And the opposition lies silent.


The Treasury Select Committee is debating failure, whilst backbenchers speak out on everything from education to alcohol tax in Scotland.


These people are making things happen, and others should follow suit. Or crow what they are already doing.


We have the world on our shoulders, and we all need to share some of the weight.

Recession P.O.A, applicants need apply!

First published at http://www.pluto-online.com/?p=1369

The economy is in meltdown.

Investment bankers the world over have been gambling on the future. And have lost. But nobody realized it was going to happen. Apparently.

The media, the bankers and even the PM have been in the spotlight of the Treasury Select Committee over the past weeks. All ultimately maintaining defiance as to blame lying at their respective doors for their participation, or lack of it, in the national crisis we’re now facing.

Savers have been cheated, consumerism has collapsed, and internationally currencies are retracting accordingly. The bubble has burst.

Globally, a lot has been staked on a system that has so royally faltered. So it’s clear to see why some politicians are having trouble comprehending the situation, and what we should actually be doing about it.

The British Government is planning to pump more money, £2.5bn, into the banks. The failing businesses whose employees have, arguably, committed financial atrocities, not incomparable with crimes on tax payers, often knowingly, around the world.

They intend upon “getting the banks lending again” to give people more credit to get them spending, so people can get mortgages to buy properties.

All sound a bit too familiar?

They are trying to re-prop up this failing system, because it is the only system they know. It is like proving to them that God doesn’t exist.

And their interests are wholly tied up in its survival. Andy Hornby’s obvious distress in front of the Treasury Select Committee was harrowing, he had invested all of his money in his bank, HBOS, believed in the dream to the bitter end.Proven a fool. But what should the government really be doing with the money?

Ideally, they would honour savers their money where possible. And the banks that survive survive.

But what money we have needs to be used to fund education and research. Yes, fund it. It will depend upon investment, but we haven’t left ourselves many options. We will fund research into climate change, new technologies and develop medicines: invest in the future.

We have intelligent, educated graduates who will be clambering against joining looming dole queues and young people with uncertain futures and confusing teaching.

Right now, we have no product, nothing to offer in the global economy, and no jobs for the people.

Those people that are being left jobless in the manual professions could begin Pan-European public works projects to improve infrastructure. We could become a cosmopolitan masterpiece.

Should Gordon Brown be publicly flogged? Or is he being punished enough in that it seems like he actually had no grasp of the possibility that this would happen, “end to boom and burst” talk comes to mind here?

Should the bankers have to pay their bonuses back? Are people being rewarded for failure? Probably and probably.

But is divvying up what’s left somehow going to earn us the key to our future? At the end of it all, no. Decide, be fair, but ultimately move on.

Do I think Gordon Brown is up to task? Absolutely not. And Prime Minister’s Question Time still watches like an insight into the Chequers Club… whenever posh men go to clubs.

We are in a very complicated mess. We need someone to fix this, but not with the centre-right, tit-for-tat politics that has got us where we are today. We need new ideas.

So candidates need apply!

Tony Blair must be laughing it up having been the most popular bloke in the country, earning more than his keep in the process and is probably sunning himself on a desert island somewhere right now… If his part in all this isn’t playing much on his conscience.