A Zak Mir Easter TA departure special – Calling International Rescue..!

3 mins. to read

What a “sad” week it has been for British politics, with the departure of David Miliband – the more talented of the Miliband brothers who is leaving Ol Blighty to join a charity called International Rescue. People (boys of 40 plus) of a certain age will know this from the show Thunderbirds – quite appropriate given the man’s public persona!

The Mili-vanilla-band brothers

Of course, in politics, things are never quite what they seem. The loss of the older Milliband to me is the  revelation that brother Ed and present Labour Leader, has worked out that he is going to win the next General Election; handed on a plate to him by UKIP dividing the Tory / right wing vote. This is clearly something that should win Nigel Farage a Peerage a few years down the line, but also reminds us yet again what a Tory graveyard the EU issue is. It is one that David Cameron promised us a vote on, usefully when he will no longer likely be Prime Minister in 2017 and so in the process skillfully putting his own political survival ahead of that of UK business / economic interests.

Of course, over the Easter Weekend one tries to focus on less heavy issues, but I blame reading Jeremy Warner’s article in the Telegraph which spouted the usual and lazy EU bashing. It related to the banking meltdown in Cyprus and how, even after this debacle, with some of the larger depositors set to lose 60% of their savings, countries are remarkably sanguine about the risks of remaining within the Euro. Well of course they are. Apparently, everyone apart from those who write for the Telegraph, and presumably those who read the stuff, actually understand what one of the key purposes of the EU was and still is: an insurance policy. All the member countries pay into a central pot so that in the event of a financial crisis such as the one the U.S. gave the world in 2007 via its Sub Prime debacle, you have someone (the ECB) to bail you out!

Unfortunately, in the UK, we are still having to bail ourselves out, and the losses just keep on coming… This week the Bank of England warned that the UK banking sector needs another £25bn in funding. What is not so clear is that even after all the handouts, bailouts, zero interest rates etc etc why this sector is still leaking so much cash? The latest buzzword is we are suffering “legacy” losses – presumably losses that should have been admitted to before. We led our EU friends into a banking crisis in 2007 – yes, well before Cyprus, Ireland and Spain, and the crisis continues.

On a selfish basis, I think it would have been much better if we had been part of the Euro at the time of the Northern Rock crisis so that the Bank of England’s problem would have been the ECB’s problem. By the way, these comments are not those of a Europhile – I personally wish the whole concept had never seen the light of day. However, on a purely pragmatic basis, the EU could be far better exploited by the UK. We also continued to be ruined by the way that Europe is a left wing pro, right wing anti issue.

By the way, my view on depositors savings in Cyprus: it is unfortunate, but if it were up to me, apart from say the first €50,000, you should be prepared to lose the lot. Caveat Emptor is the finest piece of Latin there is and applies just as much to savings in a bank, a dodgy mining stock, buying a second hand car, or a holiday home in the sun. You should not expect a bailout when you lose money anywhere unless a crime has been committed. As is paying a bonus to a banker even when the bank as a whole loses money. Oh sorry, that is not yet a crime – bad luck.

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