Sunday, October 12, 2008

Embarrassment of riches


David Cameron hasn't had a great week, really. Gordon Brown has provided a lead for the world in how to give banks a fighting chance - there's even talk of the US government copying the emergency aid package. Gordon's demonstrated real crisis leadership this week, with poor old George Osborne only able to twitter from the sidelines that Gordon and Alistair had copied a policy proposed by the Tories a few hours before the announcement (not that the Tories had any prior knowledge, you understand).
Oliver Letwin, on Any Questions this week, called for the fat cat bankers to be guided by morality, not government regulation, when it comes to their benefits packages - something that has proved an ineffective moderator so far.
And we end the week with a YouGov poll showing the Tory lead halved and Gordon and Alistair trusted more to lead the economy than Dave and George.

But surely, as Dave has tried to distance himself from his old mates in the City, he can't have forecast the help given by William Hague - a high earner himself - who has shown great judgement in joining his wife (who has her own nose in the Barclays' trough as an advisor) on a £500,000 corporate junket on the shores of Lake Como with Barclays Wealth. The Birmingham Tory conference was noted for the 'restrained' air of expectation and self-congratulation - the victory champagne was on ice. The same could not be said of this little shindig and I'm sure William got a glass or three of bubbly in Italy to make up for those missed last week.
Amazing, isn't it? A bank that has seen the share price plummet 44% in a week still thinks this sort of display is a good idea. I'm sure the seminars offered on 'Yacht Ownership' and the tactfully titled 'End of the world or opportunity of a lifetime?' will have been worthwhile.
Still, good to see that the Tories know who their friends are in time of need - the people with the money to look at this downturn as a chance to buy a new yacht.

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