3 Nov 2009

I must get some cash out from one of our socialist banks

So it’s official: RBS is a nationalised bank. We today own 84 per cent of it, and that in my book makes it a government-owned bank. If it went bust – and still could – we would be paid out BEFORE the unfortunates who own the remaining 16 per cent.

It is even behaving like a nationalised bank, at last. No bonuses to anyone beyond the branch staff. And we are treating it like a state bank. We are insuring it – completely – and we are giving it tens of billions of pounds more of our money.

The 21st century is achieving something that a century of socialist endeavour across the world never achieved. Is it a good thing? God only knows.

And what of Lloyds? We seem to be easing the apron strings. But are we getting any of our billions back? Well, we ARE getting £2.1bn for insuring the thing for the past six months.

But all the rest? God only knows. God is going to be busy in these coming days and years. It is still far from certain that, if the banks crash again, we shall be able to save either bank.

All this against a backdrop in which a government minister has admitted that the current financial market is back to the worst of its worst behaviour – “deal churning”, or holding shares for a nanosecond before trading them again and again and again.

Lord Myners, the City minister, tells us in a BBC interview on File on 4 that a staggering 70 per cent of all share dealing is currently undertaken by these massive computer dealing systems that enable a trader to hold a trade for a nanosecond before selling.

It is a wholly unproductive activity and it is a part of what sank the world’s financial system a year – yes, just a year – ago. We have learned nothing. It is one reason why we should be very wary indeed of the current stock market boom and the current theoretical world recovery.

I must go and get some cash out.

Tweets by @jonsnowC4

17 reader comments

  1. A Talhan says:

    Yes jon, how true this is. The shivers on the stock markets are back again. No one should think for a minute that we are out of the woods yet.

  2. Chris Jennings says:

    May be you could spend the money buying a poppy for once !

  3. Saltaire Sam says:

    If the Labour party won’t sort out the city, what chance will we have when their pal George Osborne takes over next year? Under the mattress seems the best bet for our money and us!

  4. Ray Turner says:

    Why do the words nationalised and socialist seem to go together like chalk and cheese…?

    We seem to have it in our mindset that nationalisation is a bad thing and privatisation is good.

    Nationalisation is all too often a stick that is used to beat Socialists…

    Frankly, in my experience, both approaches nationalisation/privatisation seem to have some pretty big failings.

    Do you remember reporting on, now let me see which one shall I choose….

    …. private sector companies providing services to the long-term unemployed forging signatures and fraudulently claiming taxpayers money…

  5. margaret brandreth- jones says:

    Are you going to put it under your mattress?

    Are you going to buy land and start digging? if so make sure that you have barbed wire and a defence system?

    You will need a good supply of seeds.
    Aspirin , salt, paracetamol , oh and herbal remedies are a good idea
    Basic penicillin can be manufactured, by the individual.

    Perhaps if you can shoot you need to buy a rifle for pigeon shooting and rabbit hunting.
    Hope you have a good fishing rod and unpolluted water.

    A water wheel is a good investment.; and a water tank.

    Chickens, hens and a rooster are a good investment .
    With all this hard work to survive you better get a new bike to keep fit.

    After all that see if you have enough strength to make the world go round.

  6. adz says:

    All banks should be run in a socialist manor.
    The banking system should benefit people from all walks of life and the profits used in the interest of society, but as you quite rightly say Jon, our hard earned pennies go into our personal accounts and become nano shares in a matter of nano seconds. Most of us have little or no idea of what is going on behind the scenes. It should be the other way round but that’s in an ideal world…i’ll just keep dreaming but my hope never dies.
    adzmundo CND

  7. Ian Quill says:

    A Nationalised Bank! What a good idea! We take the risk but also take the profit. hmm, as opposed to we take the risk and someone else takes the profit, it could catch on… Why stop with one bank, why not all of them. We know there’s plenty of money to be made, that’s why there’s so many of them at it. We could become as rich as the oil producing Arab states!!! And while we’re at it, Nationalised Drug dealing clinics. Again, we take the risks and someone else takes the profit??? Why don’t WE take the profit? All the government has to is a bit of drug re-classification and get a few Scientists to back up our argumen…. Doh, okay, okay, we can re work this…. And get rid of Alan Johnson to boot (its sounding better and better!) and then we start selling drugs to the masses (who after all are already using them) and use the MASSIVE profits to fund a state of the art Heath Service!!
    Oh my God, I have seen the light… It’s all so clear now, yes, yes, it might just work. I’m going for a lie down now..

  8. John Lee says:

    Eighteen months ago a property company my company was working for went into liquidation. Owed £65k, I had no choice but to wind up my company, but ended up owing £40k personally to RBS, my company’s bank. Since then they have been chasing it on and off, and I have explained repeatedly that I am unable to pay, as I am working in the construction sector still in deep recession. Now I learn that RBS is going to be propped up with another £39bn on the day I get a threatening letter.

    How does that make me feel? The whole thing stinks.

  9. bdbcks says:

    why do we have to pay to live on this planet?

  10. kenherts says:

    Yet again we see more public money being put at risk by this now bankrupt government but still no real sign of the real culprits being brought to book.
    You could do a lot more to stick the tail on the donkey Jon but for some reason you seem to be afraid of going there.
    On the news tonight You kept on about David Cameron but failed to highlight just who signed the Lisbon treaty. I think you will find it was none other than Where has all the money gone Brown.
    Millions of pensions destroyed and our gold reserves sold costing us billions and you hardly mention it or are you thinking of blaming that on the Tories instead of the real culprit.
    You are not stupid you know it was a done deal and in reality it would be done and dusted well before any election.

  11. Alex T says:

    I for one would be more than happy to argue against nationalised banks as a matter of both principle and of practice. It would sink competition; it would make international deals much harder because they would look like the intervention of a sovereign fund; and it would give politicians the final say on everybody’s savings, pushing managers to make decisions based on political issues more than financial sense.
    Don’t get me wrong, I am entirely in favour of effective regulation (if we can ever manage to figure out how to get some), but I would caution those who call for the nationalisation of the entire system to think to themselves: how would you like all your money to be directly controlled by a [Tory/Labour/LibDem/other party of choice] government? Every last penny of it, with no option of taking it elsewhere? Would they really be less likely to risk it dangerously to further their political or personal gains? Based on the bad financial decisions made by local authorities in the UK, I would most emphatically say no.

  12. adrian clarke says:

    i wonder if the bank uner public ownership will be like steel,trains electricity water when owned by the state . a dead loss

  13. margaret brandreth- jones says:

    Guess what , my screen says that the BBC does not exist any more. Radio’s OK.

    Quite a few employers will be sad

    Then the NHS won’t exist and all us Brits that were thrown out of our own Countries’ jobs will be employed again through our efforts of the past lifetime.. so that’s the theory.
    Actually re nationalisation should have taken place years ago , before it was too late., before our lives were sold off to any Tom , Dick or Harry, who could abuse GB’s creation .

  14. Traver says:

    John – 2 things.I only read enough of your link to confirm a previously held view,which is Myners is an idiot.I don’t like any business that increases technology over human resource,simply as I’d like my kids to get jobs one day,but the algorithms being used in the city are not some machavellian sinister development,and the terms for the strategy for execution whilst perhaps sounding mind-bogglingly clever,really are’nt (trust me on that !) My other observation is why do people waste sooo much hot air over city antics ? There is an inarguable human principle at work.Clever people are often,not always,jaundiced by getting rich,and they know how to do it (for better or worse consequences).Govts need the help of clever people who they think can help them look good.Basically it’s always a merinque waiting to happen,just not so funny !

  15. Ian Edmunds-Tutty says:

    There was a time when we had banks that were mutual organisations. The old TSB for example.
    I suggest that we should turn these tax-payer supported banks into mutuals like the old TSB.
    Those who own shares in them now, I’m one of them, could have their share turned into permanent income barring share, just as you have with building societies.

  16. margaret brandreth- jones says:

    I used to put a shilling a week in the TSB.

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