Thursday, 22 January 2009

Northern Rock Bonuses give lie to shareholder compensation rules

So there we have it on the week after the main Northern Rock shareholders were in court arguing the lie of the governments compensation order that Northern Rock should have been valued as if it were in administration we learn that the repayment targets have been met and workers will get a 10% bonus.

Now I am pleased for them they stuck it out when all was bleak and clearly have done a good job since. If that was the deal then they deserve every penny they get.

However there are two glaring issues in this. Firstly the amount of debt repayment that has been made at a time when there is a dire shortage of credit, if Northern Rock had been allowed to function this could well have enables a small but significant easing of pressures on a number of other organisations. The government may let them do that now but too little too late springs to mind.

But as significant is the fact they have been able to repay this in the first place. This is not a small nibble this is a considerable chunk of the debt to the government. In fact it offers plenty of evidence that far from being a basket case all the business needed was a resolution to its cashflow and a new board of management.

But hang on a minute isn't that the mantra of the government now "we must stop sound businesses going into administration and jobs being lost due to short term problems with credit supply" . Shame they didn't apply that right at the start they might have nipped it in the bud.

But I do have one final question. Why has this emerged now after the court hearings surely this is clear evidence which supports the shareholder case and needs to be placed before the judge undertaking the review or is that too inconvenient for the government to bare?

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Obama vs Labour on public accountability

My oh my what a contrast, while Barack Obama tells the American people

"And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government."

Our clear and transparent government have introduced "Freedom of Information (Parliament) Order 2009" a rather ironic name given its main aim is to exempt MP from having their expenses declared in full.

No iPODgate for them. I bet Nick Bourne wished he had won in Worcestershire all those years ago :-)

Still at least there is some opposition to this.

Jo Swinton has an early day motion down while TheyWorkForYou will lead on this from now to the election and are offering practical lobbying suggestions.

Then finally there is a facebook group which is now approaching its 6000th member in about 48 hours

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Missed opportunity in the Economic Recovery Group

Overall the reshuffle leaves me feeling we have a stronger team. The promotion of Jenny Willott in particular is a big plus, and moving Steve Webb back to pensions can only strengthen our policy in this key area.

Unlike some of my fellow bloggers I am also happy to see Lembit outside the front bench team. Parliament needs politicians who are prepared to reach out to all of society and leaving him to do just that may yet yield greater rewards for us.

Where I am slightly disappointed is the composition of the Economic Recovery Group. For a party that prides itself in its Federal structures it is a real missed opportunity for us that while the prefix Lord and suffix MP appear on the list the letters AM or MSP do not. Given the key role these two bodies will have in Wales and Scotland one is left asking oneself the question why do we think all the answers must come from Westminster based politicians?

Friday, 9 January 2009

What is the point of Plaid in government?

On the day when Labour drove a coach and horses though the devolution settlement in Wales what is the response from the supposed Party of Wales?

Well according to their web site at 1 minute to midnight the only thing they have to say today is a press release from one of thier AMs in a cross party role challenging Wales to produce role models that challenge size zero and hence reduce the prevalence of eating disorders.

Now don't get me wrong I work hard to give my 6 year old daughter positive role models and applaud this initiative put wasn't something more important going on today?

Something about the secretary of state having a right under legislation to block the will of the Assembly in Cardiff over housing policy

Isn't this the very thing that Plaid told us wouldn't happen. Sure they may have kept their powder dry for the Welsh Language LCO but now they not only have to fight Labour on that one they have to fight the precedent they themselves as part of government have set by accepting this draconian oversight on this order.

So I ask myself again what is the point of Plaid in government? The more I see of it the answer seems to be none