Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What's in a name?

Newcastle’s new manager - football’s answer to Gordon Ramsay - used 46 expletives in his first press conference. So said The Telegraph: the more sensitive Times made it 50. His complaint is that the press doesn’t understand him. Now that surprises me.

The other Gordon is chucking our money at the financial sector in the hope that it defibrillate the economy – as the FTSE drops another 314 points today. One wonders, since the beneficiaries of his largesse are those same people who mismanaged their shareholders’ money, why they are being given another try using the taxpayers’?
But there’s a more important question. Is it fair to reimburse British savers who put their money into foreign financial institutions that failed because they were badly managed – and not to reimburse British savers who put their money into a British financial institution that was subject to government regulation and went belly-up because the government regulated it badly?
We are of course talking about Equitable Life - to which a million British savers entrusted their pensions. They did so because it was government regulated, and because most MPs – including our prudent Prime Minister – also entrusted their pensions to Equitable. It went bust eight years ago and the Parliamentary Ombudsman gave maladministration by the government as a critical cause. But Equitable pensioners still get less than 2/3 of the pensions they paid for and the Treasury won’t say anything, let alone do anything. How Equitable is that?
The reason for the Treasury delay seems to be either that the government is deliberately taking its time, knowing that demographics will eventually solve its problem. (More than 30,000 Equitable pensioners have died since the crash and obviously the death rate - currently 15 per day – is increasing.) Or, do MPs not want to explain why they did not lose their pensions?
There’s only one solution. Equitable Life – a name that opens up whole new vistas of irony - could change its name to include the word “Scotland”.
Talking of ironic names, the Schools Minister, Ed Balls, who once endorsed SATs as a better way of comparing schooling quality, then, when the SATs system collapsed, said it wasn’t his area of responsibility, now says that SATs have been dropped in favour of school report cards, to present a more accurate measurement. Hey! School report cards! Great idea, Ed.

1 comment:

Cliff said...

Funny, isn't? The Russians are oil-rich capitalists and we are nationalising our banks and nuclear industry.