Tuesday, November 20

A very funny sketch of the parliamentary debate on Northern Rock

I am copying the whole article here, this is just way too funny. Northern Rock is an example of the monumental screwup that the government has done, and they have their short and curlies in a vice (if you dont mind me mangling my metaphors). And to think that our collective financial health is in the hands of this Chancellor!. sighs. Move to Gold, i say!

So this Northern Rock issue was debated in the House of Commons and this was a report in today's times.

The Chancellor is caught between a crock and hard place
Ann Treneman:
Parliamentary Sketch

The Chancellor’s statement on Northern Rock seemed, at first, to be pointless. He said that he wanted to “update” us on the bank’s current position. But then he couldn’t tell us anything about the current position because it’s all top secret. His only update was to tell us that he would be updating us in future.

He reminded me of one of those commuters who calls home every night to say: “I’m on the train.” This surprises no one, because the only surprise would be if the caller wasn’t on the train. It’s a holding call, an attempt to reach out and touch someone, a way to let people know you are alive. This, too, seemed to be what Mr Darling was trying to do. This statement was Alistair Darling ringing up all the taxpayers to say: “I’m on the train.”

So now you know: he’s on the train. All of us have a stake in this journey because Mr Darling has taken the liberty of “investing” £900 for each of us in Northern Rock. There are some who now believe that we may not get all our money back. Is Mr Darling among them? It was almost impossible to tell. The only thing for sure is that, in the interest of accuracy, Northern Rock now should be renamed Northern Hard Place.

Commuters everywhere will recognise the flat, non-emotional tone in Mr Darling’s voice. The journey is not going to plan. The Northern Hard Place express has been diverted to God knows where. There are the wrong sort of loans on the line. Mr Darling is sitting somewhere unknown (possibly near Crewe – it so often is). He’s weary and they’ve run out of even remotely edible sandwiches. He may be Chancellor but he has no control.

It is not a “quiet carriage”. Indeed, from what I heard yesterday, it was a “shouting carriage”. Right across from him was a man with jet-black hair who was being extremely rude. It was the Shadow Chancellor and Mr Darling sorely wished he would move. “This is a tale of incompetence and weak leadership!” cried George Osborne. “We have a Chancellor whose job is now on the line!”

Mr Darling sighed. He wanted to say “shush” but, because he is Chancellor, he cannot say something so easily understood. So instead he said: “I’m sorry that you aren’t able to put forward any constructive proposals.” He then settled back and tried to close his eyes but, because his eyebrows have a life of their own, this is always quite hard to do.

His reverie was interrupted by the nasal whine that is the voice of Vince Cable, the acting leader of the Lib Dems. “Tony Blair was criticised for providing £800 million for the Millennium Dome. In the last few weeks this Government has provided the equivalent of 30 Millennium Domes to this bank without even the prospect of a decent pop concert at the end of it,” Vince noted. Mr Darling’s face was set in stone now. How dare the Lib Dems accuse him of failing to organise a pop concert. He was dealing with Northern Rock, not Northern Rock Band. He couldn’t believe that everyone else on the train didn’t already know that.

The carriage was in chaos now, with everyone demanding he do something. Labour passengers (sorry, customers) wanted him to safeguard all Northern Rock jobs. Others wanted him to give details about that tiny £24 billion loan. It was all very tedious. In true commuter tradition, he said as little as possible. He wished that he had brought his iPod.

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

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