Skip to main content

Westminster City Council's little mistake (worth £17m)

Westminster City Council has, or had, £17m in Icelandic banks: £7m in Landsbanki and £10m in its UK subsidiary, Heritable. Nearly £10m of these deposits were placed in August. According to Councillor Colin Barrow CBE, Leader of the ruling Tory group on the Council, in August "both banks had excellent credit ratings of the highest standard". But on 30th January 2008 David Ibison, writing in the Financial Times about Landsbanki and two other major Icelandic banks, stated there was "increased uncertainty over the banks arising from their perceived reliance on wholesale funding, cross-ownership issues, an alleged lack of transparency, and macro-economic imbalances." How come this increased uncertainty had not come to the attention of Cllr Barrow? I am surprised, especially as according to his biography on the Westminster Conservatives' website (not yet updated to reflect his promotion to Leader), he "handles the Council's finances, as Deputy Leader of the Council. He has his own investment management business in Westminster".

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

My Remainer's Diary Day 299

For 298 days I have kept my #Remainer's Diary on Facebook. Two nights ago my FB account became inaccessible without explanation. So I'm back on Blogger.
Diary Day 299: the UK's Office of Budget Responsibility published its first Fiscal Risks Report, a 312-page tome, in accordance with a requirement introduced by Parliament in October 2015 that the OBR must produce a fiscal risks report at least once every two years. It is freely downloadable by anyone.  Fiscal is a fancy word for pertaining to government finances. Derivation: 16th century, from Latin fiscālis concerning the state treasury, from fiscus public money, the public purse. It is about government income and spending.  The Fiscal Risks Report refers to a wide range of "fiscal pressures", and says that the risks posed by Brexit "do not supplant the possible shocks and likely pressures that we have already discussed, but they could affect the likelihood and impact of many of them."  It states that imp…

ELDR news from Palermo

Here is my report back to Liberal Democrats who directly elected me (thank you!) to the party’s delegation to the European Liberal, Democratic and Reform Party (ELDR). The second Council meeting of 2011 (there are two annually) and the annual Congress took place in Palermo, Sicily on 23-25 November at the invitation of the Italia dei Valori (Italy of Principles) Party. There were resolutions and emergency resolutions proposed by member parties, too many to summarise here, of which the most significant was, I think, one from the UK Liberal Democrats on the prospect of war with Iran. The gist is that it expresses concern at military rhetoric, top-level consultations between military and political leaders and the stationing of military assets off the Iranian coast pointing to the possibility of pre-emptive attacks being launched by Israel and the USA against Iran., and it calls for steps to be taken in Europe to dissuade them. When the US military are still engaged in both Iraq and Afgha…

Mendel, the great modest man, and his magnificent idea

Today, or what's left of it, is Gregor Mendel's 189th birthday, and as he is one of my heroes, I feel the need to shout about it. Mendel was one of those people who led a modest life, saw and observed the same world as the rest of us, but did it so much better, more insightfully, more thoughtfully, and came up with an idea that is so simple, profound and right that the rest of us will spend the rest of time thinking: how come no one had thought of that before? In his case, it was a few rows of peas (round, wrinkled, etc) sown annually and the produce patiently counted and re-sown, plus maths, that revealed the solution to the bit Charles Darwin hadn't solved: how, from generation to generation, did heredity happen? The nuts and bolts of it? Nowadays we witter on about genes, DNA and all the rest of it, as though these ideas had always been there, but in Mendel's time hardly anyone had so much as a clue, and then Mendel wrote a clue. Some say he tweaked the maths, but e…