The Credit Crunch

OneWingedBird

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For all this talk of disaster, hardship and forthcoming financial apocalypse, i can't say i've noticed the price of anything i want used on ebay coming down much :(
 

stu neville

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Not sure if this story belongs in this thread or "Things That Make You Go WTF?"...

From the Indie:
‘We need a pay rise’ bankers demand

Senior City bankers are demanding pay rises of up to 10 per cent this year to make up for the clampdown on the bonus culture, a senior City head-hunter has told The Independent.

Shaun Springer, chief executive of Napier Scott, which specialises in recruiting senior bankers for posts in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, said bankers were attempting to rebalance their financial packages in favour of higher salaries. And he predicted that, over the next few years, city salaries could more than double to compensate investment bankers.

“Base salaries are being increased by somewhere between 5 and 10 per cent, by rule of thumb, to compensate for an overall fall in the remunerative package,” said Mr Springer.

“This is being done in recognition of perhaps a long-term change, in which one can envisage basic salaries in the long term doubling or tripling or quadrupling compared to where they are today and bonuses falling by as much as 80 per cent.”
It continues in the same vein for rather longer than that, but TBH I lost the will to carry on. Still, nice to see they've learnt from this whole shebang, and are steeling themselves to take the hits that they caused along with the rest of us, eh?
 

rynner2

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It gets worse:

Ex-RBS chief vows to keep pension


Ex-Royal Bank of Scotland boss Sir Fred Goodwin has rejected calls to give up his £650,000-a-year pension.

Chancellor Alistair Darling had asked him to hand back his £16m pension pot amid anger about rewards for failure.

But Sir Fred rejected that request in a letter to the Treasury in which he also says ministers agreed to the deal. :shock:

Mr Darling says that the government had thought the deal was legally binding when it was agreed in October, but now realised they could have blocked it.

The pension row intensified after RBS revealed it had made a £24bn loss last year - the single largest in British corporate history - and would receive a further £13bn financial lifeline from the government.

Mr Darling has asked Sir Fred, who helped drive the bank to the brink of ruin, to hand back some of the pension money.

But in a letter to Treasury minister Lord Myners, Sir Fred rejects the chancellor's plea, saying: "I hope that you understand my rationale for declining your request to voluntarily reduce my pension entitlement".

Sir Fred says he agreed to a series of "gestures" in October, when he was negotiating his departure from the bank, such as foregoing the equivalent of 15 months salary.

But when it came to the issue of his pension "you indicated that you were aware of my entitlement and that no further 'gestures' would be required", writes Sir Fred.

At the time he stood down Mr Darling had hailed the fact Sir Fred had waived his contractual entitlement and decided "to do the right thing".

There was no mention of the size of pension he was going to receive.

Mr Darling, who had asked Lord Myners to speak to Sir Fred about giving up his pension, said that the government had been under the impression in October that the pension deal was legally binding.

But in the past week it had realised that that was not the case.

"It was only very recently that we became aware that the decision of the previous board of RBS to allow Sir Fred to take early retirement had the effect of increasing his pension entitlement and that might have been a discretionary choice," Mr Darling told MPs.

He said the government was investigating the possibility of "clawing back" some of the money through legal action.

Earlier, Gordon Brown said "nobody could support" pension entitlements of such a size when the company concerned was losing so much money and cutting jobs.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne described the pension agreement as "obscene" and said it would be "wrong" for Sir Fred to take the money.

Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable said Sir Fred should be asked to "renounce" the entitlement and, if he refused, ministers should intervene to block it.


But the BBC's Business Editor Robert Peston said there was very little that ministers could do, beyond asking Sir Fred to give up the arrangement, to recover the money.

He said it would be extremely difficult to prove that Sir Fred had stepped over the line in terms of acceptable behaviour while he was running the bank.

Tory MP Michael Fallon, deputy chairman of the Treasury committee, said the chances of recovering the money through the courts were slim.

Mr Fallon said the episode demonstrated the government's "sheer incompetence".

"I think it will be very hard to put this right unless Sir Fred does the decent thing," he told BBC News.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7912651.stm

Capitalist greed and government incompetence - no wonder we're in the shit! :evil:

Just £650,000 (not p.a.) is far more than I expect to have to live the rest of my life on, unless I live a very long time.. and even that assumes the state honours its duty to pay my pension.

I've made a few cock-ups in my life (who hasn't?), but I've never lost 24 billion pounds of other people's money! :shock:
 

Quake42

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TBH I'm getting rather tired of the Fred Goodwin pension story.

Certainly it is an enormous amount of money, and the deal allowing him to start drawing it at 50 was misjudged.

However, it seems clear that the government is harping on and on about a very generous pension deal which it sanctioned a few months ago because it is convenient to heap opprobrium on one individual rather than accept any responsibility for the current situation.

I dislike the Two Minutes Hate approach of the current administration, of which Goodwin is the latest target.

Additionally, attempts by Darling and Brown to break a contractual agreement should strike fear into the hearts of anyone who has received an enhanced severance or pension package after losing their jobs.

The bottom line is that the government should stop thrashing around trying to find people to blame for the economic crisis and focus on sorting out the problems and getting people back to work.
 

Mythopoeika

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You're right, finding an individual scapegoat to blame doesn't do any of us a service, nor does it solve the problem at hand.
The fact is, Sir Fred probably has a legal contract that clearly states what his pension deal is, so he probably has every right to keep it. That particular deal should never have been made in the first place - perhaps the government should sack the minister who agreed to it?
 

Quake42

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That particular deal should never have been made in the first place - perhaps the government should sack the minister who agreed to it?
Lord Myners, the City minister, apparently. What doesn't seem in dispute is that Myners was aware of and sanctioned the pensions deal and the rest of Goodwin's package, and that Myners assured Goodwin that, provided he did not take a year's salary in lieu of leaving, "no further gestures will be required".

On that basis it seems like a bit of a no-brainer really. Given that the deal was done back in October it's a bit cheeky for the government to try to claw money back now just because it's hit the papers.
 

river_styx

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The real hypocrisy is that MPs are grossly overpaid and have an obscene number of bonuses and allowances available to them.

To think we've built our entire civilisation around the first caveman to own an object that was bright and shiney is laughable. It's time we considered moving beyond the barter system and tried to establish something else.
 

Quake42

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The real hypocrisy is that MPs are grossly overpaid and have an obscene number of bonuses and allowances available to them.
MPs don't, in fact, receive especially large salaries and do not, as far as I am aware, receive bonuses. I agree that the system of expenses and allowances for MPs is open to abuse and needs reforming.
 

rynner2

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Call to strip title from Sir Fred

A Scottish MP is calling for the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Sir Fred Goodwin, to be stripped of his knighthood.

Jim Sheridan, Labour MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has also asked the Metropolitan Police to investigate the activities of senior bankers.

His call comes as the row continues over Sir Fred's £16m pension fund.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has launched a stinging attack on the role of the banks in sparking a recession.

Mr Sheridan told BBC Scotland: "I think Sir Fred should hand over his pension and if he had a grain of morality he would do that.

"We should be looking to take the knighthood off him because I think people would have some difficulty referring to him as Sir Fred given what he's done."

Mr Sheridan also called for a review looking at remuneration for bankers and chief executives.

"There is something morally wrong with people taking excessive bonuses, dividends or pensions at the same time that people in the industry are losing their jobs as a direct consequence of the activities of these people," he said.

Mr Sheridan explained why he had contacted the police.

"I think there is no other profession in this country that causes as much disruption as the banking system without the police holding an investigation," he said.

"I think it's only right and proper that the police has access to all the transactions to make sure what has happened is either down to bad judgement or incompetence.

"Any bonuses and payments should be suspended until the police have carried out that investigation."

Sir Fred was given his knighthood for services to banking in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in June 2004.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/gla ... 916521.stm
 

rynner2

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Yesterday I got a letter saying my rent is going up, and today I read this:

Thousands of RBS workers could get full pension at 50 like Fred the Shred
By Simon Watkins
Last updated at 10:02 PM on 28th February 2009

Thousands of staff facing redundancy at the Royal Bank of Scotland are entitled to a full pension at 50 – like their disgraced former boss Sir Fred ‘The Shred’ Goodwin.
And it could leave the bank facing a bill running into hundreds of millions of pounds.
Goodwin’s contract is allowing him to resist Ministers’ efforts to claw back his £693,000-a-year pension pot despite his role in the bank’s huge losses. And with mass redundancies now looming at RBS, thousands of workers could opt for early retirement.

New chief executive Stephen Hester refused to put a figure on how many of the bank’s 170,000 staff will lose their jobs in a planned overhaul – but the final toll could be 20,000.
One analyst says the pension guarantees could cost RBS – which is 70 per cent Government-owned – ‘a few hundred million pounds’.
The bank’s Annual Report and Accounts states: ‘The RBS Fund rules allow all members who retire early at the request of their employer to receive a pension based on accrued services with no discount applied for early retirement.’

The rules allow anyone who joined the pension scheme before 2006 to take their full pension if they lose their job after the age of 50. Goodwin joined RBS in 1999 and turned 50 last August.

Legal & General, a leading shareholder in RBS, called for him to quit last May when the bank’s problems first emerged. If he had quit then, he would not have qualified to take his pension for another ten years.
...
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... Shred.html :evil:
 

river_styx

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Quake42 said:
The real hypocrisy is that MPs are grossly overpaid and have an obscene number of bonuses and allowances available to them.
MPs don't, in fact, receive especially large salaries and do not, as far as I am aware, receive bonuses. I agree that the system of expenses and allowances for MPs is open to abuse and needs reforming.
Expenses and allowances are in my opinion a bonus. Especially, as you say, they are open to abuse as readily as they currently seem to be.
 

Quake42

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Expenses and allowances are in my opinion a bonus.
Not wishing to be pedantic, but expenses clearly are not at all the same as bonuses. The latter are discretionary payments aimed at rewarding good work; the former simply reimbursement for costs incurred by the employee has part of his or her job (such as travel, overnight accommodation etc). I don't think anyone is seriously suggesting that MPs or indeed anyone else should not be recompensed for legitimate expenses. Where it goes wrong is the way that the expenses system seems to work for MPs, which is wildly different from anything offered by most employers.

On the wider issue of bonuses, I don't see anything wrong with small amounts of money to reward staff after a profitable year or to recognise that someone has worked especially hard on something. The problem with many City bonuses is that they were so large and unbalanced (sometimes several times the individual's nominal annual salary) and that they rewarded short-term gains rather than longer-term profitability. However, City short-termism and greed is hardly news. What is shocking is that a Labour government encouraged such behaviour for years and, now that the house of cards has collapsed, is seeking to pin the blame on individual company directors rather than take any responsibility for thw wider picture.
 

river_styx

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Quake42 said:
Expenses and allowances are in my opinion a bonus.
What is shocking is that a Labour government encouraged such behaviour for years and, now that the house of cards has collapsed, is seeking to pin the blame on individual company directors rather than take any responsibility for thw wider picture.
Considering that has been the party policy for the last decade it's not really that shocking. It's only recently that they've stopped blaming everything on the Tory governments of the nineties and eighties.
 

Twin_Star

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Harriet Harman is the perfect poster girl for our current administration. Reactionary, misconceived and utterly myopic to the real needs of the country. Much as i find Fred's pension unsavoury, her rallying cry to "try him in the court of public opinion" is the most tawdry and ludicrous statement i have heard during this farrago of financial woe. Long live the clear-sightedness, germane natural justice and profound insight of the mob.

But dont stop there, Harriet: head teachers that dont get their school to the top of the league tables? Dismiss them with no pension. Chief Constable's that dont eradicate crime in their community? off you go with nothing to show for it. Leaders of town Councils that fail to collect your bins on time? Consigned to the outer darkness in disgrace. Where do you stop?

She's an absolute fucking idiot.
 

jeff544

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_TMS_ said:
But dont stop there, Harriet: head teachers that dont get their school to the top of the league tables? Dismiss them with no pension. Chief Constable's that dont eradicate crime in their community? off you go with nothing to show for it. Leaders of town Councils that fail to collect your bins on time? Consigned to the outer darkness in disgrace. Where do you stop?
Absolutely. As much as I think that the thick end of £700000 PA is more pension than is morally right for ANYONE, moves to create a law to stop it in these circumstances could have very dark, sinister implications for us millions of working people.

I love your parting comment TMS. You are SO right.
 

river_styx

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Don't forget politicians who have been sacked. No longer will they receive a golden handshake and then be rehired in 6 months to 2 years time.
 

Quake42

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Much as i find Fred's pension unsavoury, her rallying cry to "try him in the court of public opinion" is the most tawdry and ludicrous statement i have heard during this farrago of financial woe. Long live the clear-sightedness, germane natural justice and profound insight of the mob.
Quite. To hear a democratic politician say that:

"The prime minister has said that it is not acceptable and therefore it will not be accepted," she added.

"And it might be enforceable in a court of law, this contract, but it is not enforceable in the court of public opinion and that is where the government steps in."
is truly shocking. I'm a life-long Labour supporter, but this government is becoming a dictatorship and needs to go.
 

river_styx

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It wouldn't be so bad if Brown remembered that he wasn't elected. His job should have been to see out Labour's second term of office and then call a general election.

His general attitude and latent disregard of the public opinion regarding this government bear all the hallmarks of a despot frantically clinging on to his last remaining scraps of power.

I for one would call a rebellion on his arse but I'm a disillusioned anarchist and an apathetic communist. These days I'm just content waiting for WWIII
 

river_styx

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It can't cost that much to sharpen a few sticks and start jabbing them at eachother surely?!
 

Analogue Boy

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Since when did the Labour government start acting according to public opinion?
This in more or less the same week we DON'T get to see the minutes on the cabinet decision to go to war in Iraq.

Granted, it may be morally outrageous that this geezer can kill the economy, his bank, receive an outrageous pension decades earlier than I will see one but if it's legal the government have to abide by the laws, not the opinion of however many people are outraged.
This is precisely why we have Laws. As a protocol to follow and be referred to when making decisions on difficult issues.
It's getting a bit like the life and times of Judge Roy Bean -ripping out the pages of the lawbook as they like saying 'That's a BAD law'.
 

rynner2

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Gordon Brown increasingly isolated over refusal to apologise for recession
By Andrew Porter, Political Editor in Washington
Last Updated: 7:09AM GMT 04 Mar 2009

The Prime Minister has insisted that he will not admit he was in any way responsible for the country’s economic troubles, despite being urged to by Alistair Darling.

Mr Brown also rejected pleas from other Cabinet colleagues to issue any sort of apology for the role he played while Chancellor in allowing banks and the City to operate unfettered. He has told aides that he “has nothing to apologise for”.

Instead, he will use a speech to the US Congress in Washington today to claim that the crisis was a global one and not the fault of individual governments.

Mr Brown was privately irritated by the Chancellor’s plea in The Daily Telegraph yesterday for ministers to show “humility” and admit that mistakes were made in the lead-up to the recession.

The Chancellor said that the Government and regulators had “lots of lessons” to learn from the events that led to the economic crash.

Ed Balls, the Schools Minister and close ally of the Prime Minister, admitted on Tuesday that regulation of the banks had failed. And President Barack Obama, speaking alongside Mr Brown at a press briefing yesterday, declared that “we together have dug a very deep hole for ourselves”.

By contrast the Prime Minister is convinced that he is in no way to blame. His refusal to admit mistakes has exposed a potentially damaging rift between him and senior members of the Government. It is known that some Cabinet colleagues have been privately urging Mr Brown to make an apology of sorts. Senior ministers believe that unless he accepts at least some responsibility he will find it hard to persuade voters that he is able to help solve the economic crisis.

But the Prime Minister maintains that the problems were unique and not the fault of the system he put in place and presided over while at the Treasury for a decade.

Mr Brown has argued that the current recession is not typical of previous downturns caused by high inflation and rising interest rates. Instead, he has claimed it is a banking crisis that has been caused by poor decisions by bankers who took on board a slew of poor subprime debt.

The Prime Minister also believes that if he admits he made mistakes he will hand a massive propaganda coup to the Conservatives.

Despite Labour hopes that Mr Brown might gain a much-needed boost from his meeting with the US president, the growing row over his unwillingness to show contrition has threatened to overshadow his two-day trip to Washington.

John Kingman, the head of UK Financial Investments and a former close ally of Mr Brown at the Treasury, added to the pressure on him by admitting that the tripartite system of City regulation which he set up as Chancellor, made up of the Treasury, the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority, had not worked.

Mr Kingman told the Treasury select committee: “There are issues around how the Treasury and the regulator identified problems.”


etc...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... ssion.html
 

plusk

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Hi Guys,

I think we have to be a bit creative here. I only know about this case what I have read in the papers, but I understand the terms of his pension do allow for the pension to be stopped if it can be proved that he was negligent in carrying out his duties. But his lawyers said it would be difficult to prove negligence. Ok. So what his employer should do is not pay his pension, on the grounds of his negligence, and then let him sue and prove he was not. Should he win his case he would get damages as well, but I think this would be the right approach.

Of course the law must be upheld, but justice must also be sen to be done.

I am reminded of the actions of La Guardia when he became Mayor of New York. As part of his "clean up the City" campaign in 1934, La Guardia ordered police to destroy mob boss Frank Costello's slot machines. Costello had some of the New York judiciary in his pocket and got a judge to issue an injunction preventing this action. La Guardia told his cops to go for it anyway. They did so and the mob knew when they were beaten and they withdrew. Technically, the law was broken, but justice was done.
 
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Its biting deeper.

Japan cost cuts hit 100 year olds
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7922761.stm
By Roland Buerk
BBC News, Tokyo

Special events, exercises and gifts mark Respect for the Aged Day
So many Japanese people are living longer that the government is reducing the size of silver cups presented to those who turn 100 years old.

More than 20,000 people are expected to reach their 100th birthday this year.

The Japanese have one of the longest life expectancies of any nation, but there are concerns about the burden on society of paying for care of the aged.

UN projections suggest there will be about one million Japanese over the age of 100 by 2050.

Healthy diets

In a vivid demonstration of the strain on budgets, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has decided to reduce the size of the congratulatory sake, or rice wine, cup given to centenarians.

Made of silver and inscribed with the Chinese kanji character for happiness they are distributed on 15 September - Respect for the Aged Day - to all those who turned 100 in the previous year.

But from now on they will be 9cm (3.5in) in diameter rather than 10.5cm (just over 4in).

In 1963, the first year the silver cups were given out, just 153 Japanese celebrated their 100th birthdays.

Last year there were 19,768 new centenarians and the numbers are rising.

The Japanese are so long-lived because of healthy diets, strong communities and relatively easy access to medical care.
 

rynner2

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Failed banks toxic debt 'generated by massive mortgage frauds'
Hundreds of millions of pounds' worth of the "toxic debt" that caused the Government to bail out British banks is suspected to have been generated by massive mortgage frauds, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

By Richard Edwards, Crime Correspondent and Myra Butterworth, Personal Finance Correspondent
Last Updated: 7:35AM GMT 11 Mar 2009

Taxpayers have effectively taken on the losses of financial institutions which police believe were targeted by organised criminal gangs of professionals - including some corrupt bank employees, solicitors and property developers - during the boom years of the property market.

They are only now being uncovered and the City of London Police yesterday launched the first raids on a syndicate suspected of targeting Bradford & Bingley in an alleged £40million buy-to-let fraud, affecting more than 500 properties in Suffolk and Sussex.

An industry source said it was just one of "half a dozen" such alleged frauds targeting Bradford & Bingley which helped to bring the bank down. The bank's mortgage arm was nationalised in September last year.

Buy-to-let fraud can typically involve a syndicate of property market professionals collaborating to over-inflate the value of properties to pocket quick profits. If the borrower defaults on the loan the banks find themselves with a "toxic" loan having repossessed a property which is of far lower value than they were led to believe.

A source said: "This is the tip of the iceberg that is melting very rapidly. It is an iceberg of titanic proportions.

"There are half a dozen cases of this that Bradford & Bingley has been dealing with. As to the figure of £40 million, I'd double it and add some".

The source added: "This type of fraud is not unique to Bradford & Bingley, it will affect all buy-to-let lenders. It will involve all the government owned lenders. And it just shows how easy it is to commit this type of fraud."

The Daily Telegraph last week revealed a 63 per cent increase in reported financial crime compared to this time last year. The City of London Police, which takes the lead nationally on fraud investigations, have 615 live investigations into 689 suspects.

Detectives have been unravelling a series of multi-million pound property frauds which were hidden during the boom years when house prices were at record highs.

Steve Head, head of economic crime at City of London Police, said: "This has been going on for a long time under the surface but as the tide goes out it has left for us to see everything that it has left behind."

etc...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/fina ... rauds.html

So not just plain and simple greed, but criminal greed...
 

rynner2

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'Credit-crunched' fund manager Bryan Myerson tries to claw back £9.5m from ex-wife
Court of Appeal told that 90 per cent fall in share values would leave woman with 105 per cent of couple's assets
undefined
Frances Gibb, Legal Editor

A City fund manager hit by the credit crunch went to the Court of Appeal yesterday in an attempt to renegotiate £9.5 million of his divorce settlement.

Bryan Myerson claimed that his former wife, Ingrid, was awarded 43 per cent of the couple's £25.8 million fortune when the settlement was agreed in February last year.

She was awarded £9.5 million cash, but he took most of his shares in the couple's stocks in Principle Capital Holdings (PCH), where Mr Myerson worked as a fund manager.

Since then the share price has plummeted by 90 per cent and the divorce, as it stands, leaves Mrs Myerson with 105 per cent of the couple's assets. Her former husband, who still owes her £2.5 million in cash, would have to borrow money to pay her. :shock:

One of the judges, Lord Justice Thorpe, observed, “That's a rum do,” when told that if Mr Myerson, 50, complied with the order he would be half-a-million pounds out of pocket instead of receiving £14.6 million from the total assets.

etc...

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/b ... 890978.ece
 

sisiphus

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Yes, the whole thing is down to bankers who care more about profits than people (why that should surprise anyone I dont know) but all of the governments have let us slide into this mess, if instead of propping up that unweildy mess that is the new Lloyds banking group with billions of pounds, the government had lent it to businesses and people for mortgages then we could have all carried on reasonably well whilst the banks collapsed... Let's be honest they even have their own banks (Northern Rock in th UK) HBoS could have been left to go bust along with Lloyds et al... but no... prop up the corporations, and leave the little people to suffer...


possibly some funny handshakes going on under the table... or has Eric Daniels promised Mr Brown a seat on the board when he retires...
 
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