First there was the Northern Rock nationalisation, then the government-assisted Lloyds/HBOS merger. This evening the FSA said it would ban short-selling of financial stocks until January. The move arguably goes further than the SEC move in the US – which only bans “naked” short-selling.
Everyone from Alex Salmond (City boys are “spivs”) to Vince Cable via John Prescott is now demanding more regulation of financial services. Compass, the left-wing think tank – which gathered more than 100 MPs’ signatures calling for a windfall tax – believes we have reached the end of 30 years of light-touch regulation. Read more
In any other circumstances today’s bank merger would not be passed by the competition authorities.
Rightly, Gordon Brown has decided that financial stability – in this case – trumps competition. Read more
The time has come to expose the secret life of Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat health spokesman, North Norfolk MP, and Grime music* impresario. Read more
Is Gordon Brown telling Lloyds to weaken its lending standards? Speaking on Sky, the prime minister just said: “We’ve also insisted on assurances from the new company [Lloyds/HBOS] about their mortgage lending in the market place so they will not reduce it. They say they will expand it and it will remain a very high share of lending in the market place and I think that was the right thing to do as well.”
Lloyds of course was in a position to take over HBOS because it had been more prudent and conservative through the boom, while HBOS by comparison let its hair down. Read more
John Prescott claimed this morning on Today that the chancellor had been “vindicated” for warning last month that the UK was facing – arguably - the toughest economic headwinds for 60 years.
This blog said at the time that Alistair Darling’s honest should be welcomed. If anything he took too long to admit the severity of the situation. Read more
There are rumblings from within Labour that Ruth Kelly will lose her job in the coming weeks, specifically because of her opposition to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.