Monday, March 19, 2007

Blair's last grasp

Every time I speak to anyone working in Whitehall I hear the same thing: if a policy proposal or No. 10 diktat comes through then the civil servants receiving it ask themselves if Gordon Brown would like it, or want it to happen. If yes, it happens. If not, well there's always the slow tray...

We're in a pre-dawn world where Blair clings on to the last shadows of his rein, desperate to safeguard his destiny, still personally persuasive to the last (and Labour will soon realise how much they'll miss him). But he's frantically pulling on levers of power that no longer really connect to the front line of the civil service. All around him the No. 10 team are polishing their CVs and working out the colour of their parachutes.

Menawhile, Gordon Brown practices his smile in the mirror, as all the polls suggest mounting leads for David Cameron. And Government waits for the new dawn.

Rather than bemoan this lack of movement perhaps we should be grateful. The busier Blair's lot have been the more half-baked and incompetent legislation they have pushed through. A spell of quiet would do everyone a dose of good. Its only political hacks (and bloggers) who crave constant movement.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Market leadership

When Mirror journalists ramped shares they'd recently bought, and then sold them after they rose in response they ended up in jail. The 'City Slickers' affair nearly destroyed Piers Morgan's career many years before his Iraq pictures.

How handy then that the rise of new markets offer less risky ways for commentators to make money from their words. Guido Fawkes - widely read and closely followed by the political elite - recommended a bet on the Labour leadership market, then piled out shortly thereafter which you can do with spread betting. As he put it: "Even easier than investing in private equity..."

And an even better tax regime than private equity.