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Saturday, May 2, 2009


His aides would have been reassuring after the Marr show. "You picked him up on points of fact. You looked resilient. You sounded relaxed. You got your key messages across. You were still there at the end!"

For viewers it was different. As a line in that American sitcom had it: "You must be saying something because I can see your mouth moving. But all I hear is 'blah-blah-blah'."

The Prime Minister tells us we're affected by global problems, interest rates were higher 15 years ago, he understands the pain caused by the cost of gas, petrol and eggs ... and all the electorate hears is "blah, blah, blah".

His slogans and soundbites sound like a tumble-dryer in the background.

Here is an entire system flirting with collapse and his plan is to bore his way through it, while trying to blame the Tories. The whole paradigm-busting crisis occurred, he tells us, because "people didn't price risk properly". To 99 per cent of the population that is impenetrable. It tells us we have no standing in the discussion, it's beyond our comprehension, nothing can be done, no one's to blame.

His big idea to "stop this ever happening again" is a global regulatory framework with a global regulator able to take a view on whether a trader is taking excessive risks". Apart from being clinical evidence of insanity, this would take a decade to put in place.

A more modest proposal: those West Coast mortgage sellers who suckered working people into mortgages they couldn't afford on property about to crash - why doesn't Gordon proffer a practical solution? Such as sellers' commissions dependent on the mortgage holders keeping up payments?

And why no attack on the ratings agencies who gave triple-A grades to sub-prime packages owned by companies who were hiring them as consultants? A conflict of interest?

He says "transparency must be at the heart of any reform" and no one has any idea what he means. If he wants to be obscure he could at least frighten us with it: "There are $1trn of live Credit Default Swaps and no one knows how vulnerable the system is to that. Derivatives traders have created a parallel financial system in secret out there - I alone understand it, and I'm going to bring it into the open."

It would interest people, at least.

COPYRIGHT 2008 Independent News & Media PLC


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Len Wilson

BBB Reliability Program Member

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