Monthly Archives: September 2008

Jim Pickard

Lord Oakeshott, Lib Dem Treasury spokesman, was horrified by the idea that Tory donors might have short-sold stocks, HBOS in particular (see my previous blog).

But what of Paul Marshall, co-founder of hedge fund Marshall Wace, who has given the Lib Dems about  £162,000 in recent years? Guido alludes today to the fact that Marshall Wace likes to short stocks. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

Some readers may be excited by the fact that Tory donors have sold some equities short during the recent financial crisis. That may seem like a gift to Labour during these perilous times.

But this is a time for cool heads. Bear in mind that the last high-minded group to attack short-sellers – the Church of England – was revealed as hypocritical last week when it emerged that its own investment arm uses similar practices. Read more >>

If any of you are interested in seeing the football prowess of George Parker, the FT political editor, in the Tories vs Hacks football game this morning, take a look at this video. Note the late, slightly pedestrian break into the box, and the stunning free kick that misses the bar by just 20 ft. Final score: Press 4 – Tories

Jim Pickard

Gordon Brown has just told the UN that the “age of irresponsibility” is now close to its end.

Raising the obvious question: if everyone was so irresponsible, why did the Chancellor of the Exchequer (G.Brown, 1997-2007) do so little about it? The silliness in the banking world was not confined to the US, whatever the prime minister might claim. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

Three hundred and fifty powerful women from around the world gathered in New York on Wednesday night on behalf of the White Ribbon Alliance, a charity which campaigns to prevent death in childbirth. They included the PM’s wife.

The surprise guest was Sarah Palin, Republican vice-presidential candidate in the US presidential elections. I’m told by more than one source that she was rather unfriendly and resembled a “rabbit in the headlights”. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

We were given a list of 19 attendees at Gordon Brown’s Wall Street breakfast this morning. At least one didn’t make it…being rather busy. I wonder how many were actually there?

Jim Pickard

The PM gave his backing to Bush’s $700bn bailout plan this morning and has now announced plans to fly to Washington tomorrow to meet the US president.

This follows reports (FT and elsewhere) that Gordon Brown was snubbed by Hank Paulson, Treasury secretary, who has no time to see him during this week’s visit. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

Some excitement in Westminster (apparently…I’m in New York with the hack pack following the PM) about Labour’s new plan for an online rebuttal unit.

This idea was floated at a fringe seminar in Manchester in Sunday at which Derek Draper – along with myself and two people from LabourHome and Liberal Conspiracy - discussed how the party can use blogs to improve its communications. Draper (pictured) is now advising the general secretary and his ideas are at an early stage. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

The FT was among many newspapers this morning to point out that Hank Paulson, US Treasury Secretary, had not found the time to meet Gordon Brown on his visit to New York. The PM had suggested – at Labour conference - that he would be meeting US financial regulators.

This doesn’t mean he has been snubbed by everyone. Mr Brown has just emerged from a power breakfast with some of the top names on Wall Street. They include Steve Schwarzman, chairman of Blackstone, Anne Marie Petach, CFO of BlackRock, and George Soros – who needs no introduction. Read more >>

Someone near Rugby is running around taking pot shots at trains. We’ve no idea whether anyone has been hurt, but the sniper is doing no favours for those of us travelling back to London from the Labour conference.

The entire West Coast mainline appears to have ground to a halt while a police helicopter hunts for the gunman. Our train has been stationary for at least an hour. Apparently Andrew Adonis, the schools minister, is in the train behind, singing along to his Ipod. If the queue at the canteen is any sign, a run on the coffee and wine has already started. The staff are doing a valiant job of keeping up spirits.  Read more >>

Jim Pickard

The transport secretary is resigning to spend more time with her family. It is an old and familiar formula.

In fact Mrs Kelly, a devout Christian, has been troubled over the upcoming embryology bill. I predicted this move in a blog last week. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

I only ask because on the Today programme the prime minister explained “naked short-selling” as the practice of institutions lending stocks to hedge funds who then sell them in order to buy them back later.

Er, that’s normal short-selling. Read more >>