Its a funny old world.

johntheexpat

Distinguished Member
A thread to deal with the oddities of this funny old world that we live in.

I'll start with this:

BBC News - Baby milk rationed in UK over China export fear

So, China just loves European powdered baby milk.
Funny how most European Dairy farmers are squealing with pain because the monopolistic market that buys their product is always pushing the price down and them out of business, yet their is an insatiable demand for a product made from their milk.

Its a funny old world.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Call me an old chauvinist but what are tits on a woman for.;)
 

gibbsy

Moderator

Yep, it's all in my mind. I need to get those thoughts about three foot further south. The only thing that's getting stiff with me lately is my bloody spine.:eek:

I have a feeling this is going to get locked. Sorry john.
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
A thread to deal with the oddities of this funny old world that we live in.

I'll start with this:

BBC News - Baby milk rationed in UK over China export fear

So, China just loves European powdered baby milk.
Funny how most European Dairy farmers are squealing with pain because the monopolistic market that buys their product is always pushing the price down and them out of business, yet their is an insatiable demand for a product made from their milk.

Its a funny old world.

The manufacturers make the money. Farmers are stuck with contracts where they have to give 12 months notice to terminate but the dairy can give 24 hours notice.
Give the number of farmers each dairy uses they can wait for any obstinate farmer to go out of business.
 

karkus30

Banned
Trollslayer said:
The manufacturers make the money. Farmers are stuck with contracts where they have to give 12 months notice to terminate but the dairy can give 24 hours notice.
Give the number of farmers each dairy uses they can wait for any obstinate farmer to go out of business.

You mean the cows ? :)
 

BomoLad

Well-known Member
Can imagine babies having to go onto the black market 1940s style for their hit.

Wot. No Rusks?
 

johntheexpat

Distinguished Member
:facepalm:

Its the only way to start, knowing what I'm about to post

:facepalm:

Oh well, here goes.

Revealed: why Gordon Brown sold Britain's gold at a knock-down price – Telegraph Blogs

Unbelievable! We are all aware that one of Gordon Browns "biggest sins" was to sell the gold at a knockdown price. (I am of the oft stated opinion that he wasn't psychic and couldn't possibly predict which way the price was going in the medium term, but that is apparently not acceptable as a reason).

But no. Lo and behold, after it was announced that the gold was going to be sold, those dear chaps at Goldman Sachs came along and informed him that for technical reasons the gold should go cheap otherwise a "large US bank" (or two! or three! etc) would be threatened if the gold was sold on the open market at the correct market price.

“He was facing a problem that was a world scale problem where a number of financial institutions had become voluntarily short of gold to the extent that it was threatening the stability of the financial system and it was obvious that something had to be done.”

So, GB was squeezed between a rock and a hard place by unscrupulous and dangerously over exposed banks and left with no alternative but to fall on his sword, sell the gold for less than it was worth so that the banks could wriggle out of their ludicrously bad (but very profitable) gambles.

Unbelievable, therefore, that someone who actually "did the right thing" for the finance industry is still vilified by those same "right" thinking people for selling the gold off cheap. Actually its just downright bloody hypocrisy that the financial industry forced his hand and then the fellow travellers of that industry use it as a stick to beat him with.

Ah well, I should be used to that kind of crap by now.
 

karkus30

Banned
johntheexpat said:
:facepalm:

Its the only way to start, knowing what I'm about to post

:facepalm:

Oh well, here goes.

Revealed: why Gordon Brown sold Britain's gold at a knock-down price – Telegraph Blogs

Unbelievable! We are all aware that one of Gordon Browns "biggest sins" was to sell the gold at a knockdown price. (I am of the oft stated opinion that he wasn't psychic and couldn't possibly predict which way the price was going in the medium term, but that is apparently not acceptable as a reason).

But no. Lo and behold, after it was announced that the gold was going to be sold, those dear chaps at Goldman Sachs came along and informed him that for technical reasons the gold should go cheap otherwise a "large US bank" (or two! or three! etc) would be threatened if the gold was sold on the open market at the correct market price.

So, GB was squeezed between a rock and a hard place by unscrupulous and dangerously over exposed banks and left with no alternative but to fall on his sword, sell the gold for less than it was worth so that the banks could wriggle out of their ludicrously bad (but very profitable) gambles.

Unbelievable, therefore, that someone who actually "did the right thing" for the finance industry is still vilified by those same "right" thinking people for selling the gold off cheap. Actually its just downright bloody hypocrisy that the financial industry forced his hand and then the fellow travellers of that industry use it as a stick to beat him with.

Ah well, I should be used to that kind of crap by now.

The crash which began in 2007 and endures still was the result of an abdication of responsibility across the financial sector. This abdication ranged from the consumer whose thirst for goods pushed him beyond into grave debt to a government whose lust for popularity encouraged it to do the same.
Responsibility is evaded by all bar those on whose shoulders it ought to rest. The gold panic of 1999 was expensively paid for by the British public. The one thing politicians ought to have bought with that money was a lesson in the structural restraints which needed to be placed on banks now that the principle that they were ultimately public liabilities had been established.
It was a lesson which could have acted to restrain all players in the credit market boom of the 2000s. It was a lesson which nobody learnt.

You read that bit I presume. A Government whose lust for popularity encouraged them to do the same......!!!

I don't think you have quite understood what this means, or which financial institutions attacked him. There isn't just one you know ? There are many financial institutions doing very well.

The selling of the Gold was about protecting his own backside. Its made very clear. The Government, driven to obtain votes at any cost, borrowed and borrowed and borrowed on the back of a booming cheap money market which Brown was implicit in creating. So, the blame does fall squarely at his feet for Government excesses and egotistical flattery.
 

sidicks

Banned
johntheexpat said:
:facepalm:

Its the only way to start, knowing what I'm about to post

:facepalm:

Oh well, here goes.

Revealed: why Gordon Brown sold Britain's gold at a knock-down price – Telegraph Blogs

Unbelievable! We are all aware that one of Gordon Browns "biggest sins" was to sell the gold at a knockdown price. (I am of the oft stated opinion that he wasn't psychic and couldn't possibly predict which way the price was going in the medium term, but that is apparently not acceptable as a reason).

But no. Lo and behold, after it was announced that the gold was going to be sold, those dear chaps at Goldman Sachs came along and informed him that for technical reasons the gold should go cheap otherwise a "large US bank" (or two! or three! etc) would be threatened if the gold was sold on the open market at the correct market price.

So, GB was squeezed between a rock and a hard place by unscrupulous and dangerously over exposed banks and left with no alternative but to fall on his sword, sell the gold for less than it was worth so that the banks could wriggle out of their ludicrously bad (but very profitable) gambles.

Unbelievable, therefore, that someone who actually "did the right thing" for the finance industry is still vilified by those same "right" thinking people for selling the gold off cheap. Actually its just downright bloody hypocrisy that the financial industry forced his hand and then the fellow travellers of that industry use it as a stick to beat him with.

Ah well, I should be used to that kind of crap by now.

John

It's an interesting article (which has been posted before).

A few things don't stack up, however:

If the banks (Goldman Sachs) were short, who was long? And why would Gordon Brown choose to help GS at the cost of other banks / financial institutions? After all, it's a zero sum game!

So what you are saying is basically that Gordon Brown made a decision to help some (US) banks at the cost of some other (UK?) banks?!

If it was the US banks in trouble, why was the Fed not involved?

:confused:
 

McPhee

Well-known Member
Would the Fed help? Or would the Fed let them go bust, causing a ripple effect that would no doubt hit the UK hard (like it did in 2008)? There's different political pressure stateside. The government would likely get more flack for selling the gold cheap than for letting the bank go bust. Over here, the inverse is true. If a couple of UK banks fold after the collapse of some US banks, it would be a political nightmare over here (and potentially more financially costly than selling our gold reserves on the cheap).

I find the 'he was obviously amazingly stupid' explanation quite unlikely - there's no way someone that dumb could make it as far as the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer without someone asking questions. That leaves two possibilities - he either did it for his own personal gain, or because some other circumstances required the gold to be sold. This article from the Telegraph is merely a theory supporting the latter (possibly they have further evidence - the article manoeuvres around names).
 

johntheexpat

Distinguished Member
The selling of the Gold was about protecting his own backside. Its made very clear. The Government, driven to obtain votes at any cost, borrowed and borrowed and borrowed on the back of a booming cheap money market which Brown was implicit in creating. So, the blame does fall squarely at his feet for Government excesses and egotistical flattery.

Its stuff like this that gets me. The British Government at the time were just like every other government in the western world. We were having good times, everything looked rosy, the future was bright. Borrowing money wasn't a problem because it was readily available, created a higher standard of living and nobody, absolutely nobody, was saying don't do it. The Tories admitted that you could get a sheet of paper between the differences in 'left' and 'right' policies. The banks were demanding less regulation, weren't saying anything about too much borrowing but were making huge amounts of money.

If GB and TB had put the brakes on borrowing, then the Tories would have been on them like lions on a zebra in the veldt. "No problems borrowing money, why put the brakes on the economy? Why should the UK not benefit while the rest of the World does?" All that type of stuff.

But now, because we did what everyone thought was acceptable, because we did what everyone else was doing, because we did what all the experts told us was the right thing to do and all sides agree, now it is apparently a stick to beat GB with. No it isn't. You have to accept that if he hadn't have done it, the Tories would.

Anyway, whatever spin some people try and put on it, selling the gold was not a good thing, nor a bad thing. It was sold, the price was reasonable, it could have been a little better but for the bloody banks and the money was useful. It wasn't GBs nemesis, it was just (with hindsight) unfortunate timing.
 

sidicks

Banned
Its stuff like this that gets me. The British Government at the time were just like every other government in the western world. We were having good times, everything looked rosy, the future was bright. Borrowing money wasn't a problem because it was readily available, created a higher standard of living and nobody, absolutely nobody, was saying don't do it.

That's not true.

And of course there's quite a difference between borrowing money to invest for the future and borrowing money to pay day-to-day bills.

Not only did the Labour government borrow money to pay those day-to-day bills they also had to hide borrowing off balance sheet to avoid breaking their own borrowing rules (and they had to write those rules twice!).

It's blatantly obvious that, if you have to borrow money during a period of record growth and record income i.e. a huge structural deficit, then it is inevitable that there will be huge problems when the economy slows down.

There was plenty of discussion about the Labour approach when the Chancellor was forced to repeatedly increase borrowing forecasts.

The Tories admitted that you could get a sheet of paper between the differences in 'left' and 'right' policies. The banks were demanding less regulation, weren't saying anything about too much borrowing but were making huge amounts of money.

As discussed in other threads, when in opposition you don't get very far by suggesting that you will spend less.

Were the banks asking for their regulator to be removed and replaced with a different regulator without sufficient experience to monitor the sector and understand the build up of risk???

If GB and TB had put the brakes on borrowing, then the Tories would have been on them like lions on a zebra in the veldt. "No problems borrowing money, why put the brakes on the economy? Why should the UK not benefit while the rest of the World does?" All that type of stuff.

You are just surmising.

Regardless, those in charge should do the best for the long-term health of the economy, not what makes them popular in the short term.

Suggesting that a different government would not have done things differently, is hardly a strong defence for the government in power at the time.

But now, because we did what everyone thought was acceptable, because we did what everyone else was doing, because we did what all the experts told us was the right thing to do and all sides agree, now it is apparently a stick to beat GB with. No it isn't. You have to accept that if he hadn't have done it, the Tories would.

You are stating a consensus that wasn't there - other countries weren't running structural deficits to the same extent we were.

Further they weren't also hiding tens / hundred of billions of pounds of debt off balance sheet.

Anyway, whatever spin some people try and put on it, selling the gold was not a good thing, nor a bad thing. It was sold, the price was reasonable, it could have been a little better but for the bloody banks and the money was useful. It wasn't GBs nemesis, it was just (with hindsight) unfortunate timing.


By telling the market what was going to happen that made sure the price wasn't reasonable.

And the reserves are there for good reason - it is not the Chancellor's job to try and make strategic investment decisions on commodity prices!

In your desire to blame everything on the banks, you fail to acknowledge the points I raised previously that the claims doesn't really stack up (or at least there are significant questions still to be asked):
- What about the counterparties on the other side of the trades (which would have included other banks)?
- Why was the Fed not doing this to help a US bank?
:nono:
 

karkus30

Banned
johntheexpat said:
Its stuff like this that gets me. The British Government at the time were just like every other government in the western world. We were having good times, everything looked rosy, the future was bright. Borrowing money wasn't a problem because it was readily available, created a higher standard of living and nobody, absolutely nobody, was saying don't do it. The Tories admitted that you could get a sheet of paper between the differences in 'left' and 'right' policies. The banks were demanding less regulation, weren't saying anything about too much borrowing but were making huge amounts of money.

If GB and TB had put the brakes on borrowing, then the Tories would have been on them like lions on a zebra in the veldt. "No problems borrowing money, why put the brakes on the economy? Why should the UK not benefit while the rest of the World does?" All that type of stuff.

But now, because we did what everyone thought was acceptable, because we did what everyone else was doing, because we did what all the experts told us was the right thing to do and all sides agree, now it is apparently a stick to beat GB with. No it isn't. You have to accept that if he hadn't have done it, the Tories would.

Anyway, whatever spin some people try and put on it, selling the gold was not a good thing, nor a bad thing. It was sold, the price was reasonable, it could have been a little better but for the bloody banks and the money was useful. It wasn't GBs nemesis, it was just (with hindsight) unfortunate timing.

I have no doubt that the Tories would.

However, not everyone was saying it was a good thing. There were many saying the exact opposite. What's more the results of too much debt are well known. For some reason people think that the wider economy is somehow different to a personal economy. It isn't. The difference is only in entrepreneurial lending. Speculate to accumulate moving from the low risk type-buy a car to get a job/ take a course to improve prospects- to the more risky stuff of high finance investing. The risk is that it will go wrong, you will spend less wisely and then you have to accept the inevitable hardships that arise from losing your shirt.

During the days of borrowing, it was very clear that the experts didn't think it was a good thing. Clever investors realised this and made money from predicting the market collapse. Its this that annoys the state. They cannot stand the thought that the markets are actually free to end their spending. They do everything to discredit the savvy investor that created the ripples of ruin and made a nice earner out of it. They see them as being complicit. 'If only they hadn't started the market slide everything would have carried on'.

So, despite all the current Keynesian bull **** about increasing the need to stimulate the economy, right now, on this forum are people warning of the inherent dangers, just as there were before this current collapse. Yet we hear about funding for lending, QE, Home loan guarantees, HS2. All the same things that got us into this mess. People believe its just a confidence game, but it isn't. The markets punish the optimistic fool who borrows money and fails to capitalise on it.

Selling the Gold was a bad thing. It was just another bail out. Using tax payers money to get Gordon out of the mess he had created. Just like the bank bailouts, the stealing of money in Cyprus, wealth taxes etc........all to prop up bad Government and the bad banking sector they created.
 

la gran siete

Distinguished Member
Its stuff like this that gets me. The British Government at the time were just like every other government in the western world. We were having good times, everything looked rosy, the future was bright. Borrowing money wasn't a problem because it was readily available, created a higher standard of living and nobody, absolutely nobody, was saying don't do it. The Tories admitted that you could get a sheet of paper between the differences in 'left' and 'right' policies. The banks were demanding less regulation, weren't saying anything about too much borrowing but were making huge amounts of money.

If GB and TB had put the brakes on borrowing, then the Tories would have been on them like lions on a zebra in the veldt. "No problems borrowing money, why put the brakes on the economy? Why should the UK not benefit while the rest of the World does?" All that type of stuff.

But now, because we did what everyone thought was acceptable, because we did what everyone else was doing, because we did what all the experts told us was the right thing to do and all sides agree, now it is apparently a stick to beat GB with. No it isn't. You have to accept that if he hadn't have done it, the Tories would.

Anyway, whatever spin some people try and put on it, selling the gold was not a good thing, nor a bad thing. It was sold, the price was reasonable, it could have been a little better but for the bloody banks and the money was useful. It wasn't GBs nemesis, it was just (with hindsight) unfortunate timing.

exactly, which makes all the criticism levelled at Brown all the more ridiculous
 

sidicks

Banned
exactly, which makes all the criticism levelled at Brown all the more ridiculous

So let's get this straight:

You frequently claim that the Tories can't be trusted with the public sector and then you claim that they would have spent exactly the same as Labour??
:confused:

You've previously claimed that the Labour government didn't borrow all this money but now you are claiming they did but that the Tories would have done the same?

:suicide:
 

NewMan

Well-known Member
So let's get this straight:

You frequently claim that the Tories can't be trusted with the public sector and then you claim that they would have spent exactly the same as Labour??
:confused:

You've previously claimed that the Labour government didn't borrow all this money but now you are claiming they did but that the Tories would have done the same?

:suicide:

More DoubleThink from the forum's leading self-serving, hypocritical, socialist property baron...
 

karkus30

Banned
NewMan said:
More DoubleThink from the forum's leading self-serving, hypocritical, socialist property baron...

Its like shooting fish in a barrel, except the fish doesn't seem to know when its dead.
 

kav

Distinguished Member
damo_in_sale repeatedly warned of the crash to come right here on these very forums, and most people rolled their eyes and told him he was daft. There were plenty of naysayers around, just nobody listened to them because everyone was too busy enjoying the good times.
 

sidicks

Banned
It was sold, the price was reasonable, it could have been a little better but for the bloody banks and the money was useful. It wasn't GBs nemesis, it was just (with hindsight) unfortunate timing.

A more fundamental question should surely be:

If this claim were true, and banks were taking such big risks back in 1999 - 2002, having then been made aware of this why did the Chancellor not take a closer interest in the banks to avoid a similar situation happening in the future...??
:confused:
 

johntheexpat

Distinguished Member
A more fundamental question should surely be:

If this claim were true, and banks were taking such big risks back in 1999 - 2002, having then been made aware of this why did the Chancellor not take a closer interest in the banks to avoid a similar situation happening in the future...??
:confused:

Because they were so powerful. Because they described themselves as "the jewel in the economic crown". And because the full extent of their risk taking wasn't appreciated because they kept winning their bets. And when a deeper interest was taken, they had a hissy fit and threatened to all decamp to somewhere else.

And because so many politicians expect nice cushy jobs in the City when they leave (retire, pushed jump) politics.
 

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