Thursday 26 September 2013

The Enron Domino Lesson: Brown Delusion (3)

Quite slowly, actually
The C@W trio doesn't normally sing in unison, but on the Brown Delusion we are for once very much ad idem.   To wrap up CU's and BQ's points that plenty more could have been done by Brown in the full year or more of precious time at his disposal before Lehmans et al went under in Sept 2008, and in case anyone thinks this is being wise long after the event, here is a 'told-you-so' extract from a C@W piece from 14 Feb of that year, entitled Lesson from Enron: How the Dominos Fall 
"Writing as someone who witnessed the Enron saga from *ahem* very close proximity, I learned an important lesson. Well several actually, but this one is to do with how the dominos fall, and the answer is – surprisingly slowly. 
Enron, the pre-eminent market-maker in the global energy sector, went under in October 2001. This brought down the vast and burgeoning ‘merchant energy’ sector, and after that the project finance sector; and at the time I assumed this would happen in weeks, if not days. Not a bit of it: the big energy merchants crashed at the rather leisurely rate of one per month, until the final bankruptcy (TXU Europe) a full year after Enron. Project finance hit its nadir the year after that. 

There isn’t space here to discuss why this happens in such slow motion. The point is that what we are currently seeing on the vastly greater theatre of world finance, indeed the global economy, needn’t be anything other than protracted agony. We can expect wave upon wave of Bad News, each time emanating from some new and unexpected quarter. IMHO, we’ve only just begun - Happy Valentines ! "
Yes, there's usually time to do something - presuming you know what to do.  But then, Brown was a genius - wasn't he ?



Blue Eyes said...

I hate to say this, but Blair was a pretty bright kinda guy. He must have been totally outplayed behind the scenes because there is no way he didn't see Brown coming.

One of my favourite Brown moments was when asked by Cameron about something at PMQs he said "well I've only been in the job a short time so I don't know the full answer to that". Extraordinarily poor.

All it took was a clever bit of fluff from Osborne to knock him off his perch. Why didn't someone do that years earlier?

Imagine if we'd had a chancellor from 2000-2007 who didn't go totally mad with power?

Jim said...

"Blair was a pretty bright kinda guy. He must have been totally outplayed behind the scenes because there is no way he didn't see Brown coming. "

Well he got out of the hot seat at just the right time didn't he? Not only that but managed to escape the worst of the blame for the 2000-2007 mismanagement of the UK economy because everyone knew that Brown was I/C of that. So Blair walks off as a three times election winner, to multimillionaire global jetset acclaim, and Brown gets the hospital pass to end all hospital passes.

Yes, Blair saw Brown coming all right, sidestepped neatly, and dropped him right in the deep end.

CityUnslicker said...

applause and +1 for Jim's comment.

Blue Eyes said...

So you are saying that Blair could never have prevented Brown from cocking up the economy in the first place? Or just chose not to? If Blair had been better at keeping Brown under control he might still be PM, some kind of Merkel figure whose country keeps on booming despite what is happening elsewhere.

Electro-Kevin said...

Blue - I'd say that - and it's the only conclusion I can come to going by the things that he did - Blair has a visceral hatred of his country. He'd have taken us into the Euro too given the chance.

measured said...

Blair wasn't for the country. He was for himself and his weird ideological beliefs. I believe Brown was for this country weirdly, but he wasn't very bright and his belief system was indoctrinated by the Blair years. He was a worse PM. His mantra was to spend as much as they could in the last twelve months. Brown was less manipulative, less conniving and less two-faced than Blair. He was just 'no more boom or bust' 9 carat gold-plated stupid.

Blue Eyes said...

EK good point. Measured I like the first bit. The second bit doesn't work: Brown manipulated and connived his way to Number 10. Have you forgotten the years of squabbling and briefing etc.?

Actually I am still amazed that Blair didn't get us into the Euro.

I still think that Blair, had he handled the economy correctly [and stayed out of Iraq], could still have been remembered as a good PM.

measured said...

BE, Brown extracted a promise from Blair. Blair only acted on it when he wanted out, way after the time he promised, hence the dislike that existed between them.

Brown was lucky and very determined to be PM. Even he must have realised he was not the best man for the job.

Jim said...

"So you are saying that Blair could never have prevented Brown from cocking up the economy in the first place? Or just chose not to?"

Of course he could have, if a) he had any interest in economic matters, and b) been prepared to start a civil war inside his party by sacking Brown. As it was he could pass all that numbers stuff onto someone who loved it, and keep the party together (10+ years without any internal revolts in itself is an amazing achievement for the Labour party in power). And I reckon he saw the crash coming. Too late to do much about it, so he extracted himself to maximum personal advantage, dumping the lot in Browns lap.

A very selfish attitude I know, but one almost has to admire the Machiavellian evil of giving your enemy the thing they want the most, knowing it will destroy them.

Nick Drew said...

Hmmm, Jim, my recollection was that towards the end Blair felt he knew what he was doing at last, got the bit between his teeth, wanted more time actually to achieve something by way of robust reform etc

AND that he is still wistful about getting another crack at it (God preserve us)

he'd be President of any of the main EU bodies in a nano-second if anyone would ask him

dearieme said...

It's my impression that one of the reasons that Brown was so resentful of Blair becoming Leader of the Party was that he knew that he was much more intelligent than Blair. The subsequent deterioration of Brown's psyche is a subject worthy of Shakespeare. I don't think even Will could have found much interesting to say about Blair's insouciant psychopathy.

rwendland said...

> Brown said at PMQ "well I've only been in the job a short time so I don't know the full answer to that"

I rather wish more PMs would say that when they don't know the answer, rather than come out with some fluff. PMQs is kinda crazy, expecting the PM to know everything at some depth, to respond to any question without advance warning. Keeps them on their toes and aware across the field, which is good, but impossible for them to answer anything unless they use bullshit as the source.