Thursday, 18 December 2008

Meddlin' & Muddlin' - Mandelson Pepares to Pick the Winners

Of all people in the universe, whom would you most trust to pick industrial winners ? Whose incorruptible neutrality and proven judgement would most be suited to deciding which companies live, and which die ?

Yes, Peter Mandelson is on the case.

"In a series of lectures and interviews, Mandelson is trying to shape a new set of criteria for government intervention – including a firm's general viability, the strategic importance of its sector, its technological and research standing and the impact its failure would have on jobs in the supply chain, regionally and nationally.

He also suggested in a speech last night that there was
a case for looking to see if government should invent a new bank or resource from which business could access risk capital"

And as the queue of supplicants winds around Whitehall, there are many months of these life-and-death judgements in prospect.
Won't he be enjoying himself ?



Anonymous said...

He is Lord Voldermort brought to life

Letters From A Tory said...

"the strategic importance of its sector"

He means how many votes Labour reckon that can squeeze out of the workers.

Nick Drew said...

Letters - you old cynic !

Simon Fawthrop said...

As I've said before, what makes our central planners any better than those of the old Soviet Union or Mao's China?

hatfield girl said...

"In a series of lectures and interviews, Mandelson is trying to shape a new set of criteria for government intervention..."

Not in Parliament of course, oh no. To people who matter. It used to be always to the people who matter - most of the economic decision-taking in the government sector took place between King's and Adams Road - but it then took place in Parliament as well.

All this post-democratic governance is still tied on to the Labour Party and a parliamentary majority. Both offer a very tenuous grip on any hope of reasserting our democracy.

Andreas Paterson said...

The Great Simpleton - Central planning was never strictly limited to communist countries, many economies owe their growth to a degree of central planning. Japan's car industry, Korea's electronics and steel industries, more recently Ireland's government opened itself up to foriegn investment very selectively based on the governments strategic plans for the economy.

In fact central planning when done correctly has often been very effective.

Nick Drew said...

HG - post-democratic governance

all of NuLab's depradations seem to have been to clear the way for the Rule of Mandelson ...

Old BE said...

I think there is a case for a state-backed investment bank now that the privately-owned ones have run themselves into quicksand.

We could called it something mundane like Investment In Industry, or to give it a snappier name 3I. When the economic winter turns to spring the state could sell it off and let it run on a commercial footing.

Anonymous said...

Just offer mandyson a cheap loan to buy a grand mansion, when the market bottoms, and the UK is yours to exploit.

That'll do nicely!

Anonymous said...

Do you think he may tip-off his, umm, loyal friends, before the company is announced, to allow them to benefit from the share price movement?

How about his mate in the Med, Rothschild.

Another favour to call in, in the future!

Gee, am I a cynic?

No, it's just an observation of habit patterns.

Anonymous said...

So we'll bail out the duffers by putting a millstone round the necks of the successful. Not heard of moral hazard, obviously. Haven't we been here before when we bailed out shipbuilding, steel, coal.... and car making?

No wonder Johnny Rottens on the Telly again. It's like a bizarre re-run of "Ground Hog Day". We're the Ground hog generation, doomed to re-live the 70s in glorious technicolour, but this time we will know exactly what is going to happen before it does.

Mitch said...

The bribes will be enormous.
expect to see mandy in a new jag soon and a for sale sign on his house as he trades way up.

Bill Quango MP said...

We're the Ground hog generation, doomed to re-live the 70s in glorious technicolour

Slade in the charts.. Wombles on the telly..postal strike for christmas..wonder of woolies in the news..porridge and dads army currently on the BBC..pound devalued..Rhodesia.. If we can get the oil price up to June levels we are there.
Looking forward to the two Ronnies Christmas special and Brucie doing the generation game then sitting in the dark when the lights suddenly go out.

Anonymous said...

If he goes down into the depths of the ex DTI archives he will find the files marked NEB, National Enterprise Board. That was crap too

Anonymous said...

I reckon he would settle for a mansion in scotland, somewhere near dunblane, at the side of a loch, with a houseboat nearby.

From there a factory manufacturing armaments for Nato could be heavily funded and the manager could persuade the local bill to push for a firearms license for a friend, (against their better judgment of course).

Then superman could wrap it all up under a 50year cloak of official secrecy, after everyone had been chipped, and database guru-ess professed innocence in ignoring CHR judgment.

Can politicians get much lower?

Anonymous said...

Hooray for the seventies!! Im having tinned salmon for Xmas!!

Electro-Kevin said...

I'd like to comment on your housing post earlier.

Factor into any price drop a lowering of wages, either real or relative.

As for Mandy being in charge of such things ...

Is this the best we can do ?

Were feckin' doooomed, I tell yer !

Nick Drew said...

Hurrah, Mutt, EK - Christmas cheer has come early to this blog !

Simon Fawthrop said...


You raise a fair point about Korea, Japan and Ireland bennefiting from central planning. In the case of Korea and Japan this was mainly by creating monopoly's or duopoly's in each industry sector (cars, shipbuilding, white goods etc), creating import barriers (mainly by technical changes to specifications at short notice)and accepting that a few politically connected famalies got stinking rich and very powerful, with few controls on them.

Ireland's case was one of country which was starting from a very low economic base, was recieving huge amounts of EU infrastructure investment and had a large technically and financially literate diaspora to return to fill the the jobs. They may have picked technology as a "winner", a no brainer really.

In all three cases the international community (USA) accepted that these countries were had special needs and accepted they were being given a distinct advantage through allowing them to operate in this way:
To allow Japan to develop financially and as a democracy following WW2. Korea to move from a peasant economy to technology leader as a bulwark against the expansion of communism in the region. Ireland because of the "troubles" and the Irish have such a disproportionate political influence in the USA.

Anonymous said...

The career of Lord Mortgagefraud of Hardlypull is worth considering. He proved his instincts under Toni Blair but also revealed his incompetence - caught twice for twistiness. So he was sent to the Brussels Finishing School and has returned with a deeper mastery of the black arts. But he'll be caught again because he'll find it irresistible to go Too Far.

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