Changing the rules in mid game….or, if you prefer, violating the law of contract.Bondholders, who have £12bn in Northern Rock, have been spooked because the Government tore up the rule book on traded debt on Friday by unilaterally rewriting creditor contracts with Bradford & Bingley to delay payment of both interest and capital. Following the B&B intervention, spreads in the sub-debt market jumped 100 basis points to 3.3pc.
One senior credit market analyst said: "Changing the documentation on a whim is not a good sign … It has thrown the whole sub-debt market into disarray."
The analyst added that Northern Rock’s bondholders are now worried that the Government will "amend the terms of the bonds so it can miss coupon payments or link payments to bad assets".
If it does: "The Government could kill confidence in the bond market as well as the equity market, which would be disastrous for fundraisings."
Now yes, we all know that those bondholders would be losing money if Northern Rock or B&B had been allowed to go bust rather than being nationalised. But that is already part of the rules of the game.
If you decide to unilaterally change the contracts, well, OK, so you’ve changed it just for one certain group of people. But you’ve shown that you’re willing to do it to anyone, anytime.
Seriously, what the fuck are this bunch of clowns playing at? What. The. Fuck?
These silly cunts are simply making the whole crisis worse. After all, what is the result of this particular unilateral fucking of the law?
Which means that all transactions now become more expensive as everyone has to price that risk in.
So, as in this case, all borrowing by all banks has just become more expensive. Pretty good for a day’s work, eh?
Are they completely insane?
Let us hope not, but it may be a forlorn hope. Rumours are circulating of plans to deploy the army onto the streets...
In a stunning conversation with a friend, who is a serving member of the Armed Forces, over the weekend, it was revealed that transfers to regiments and other units in the UK on home duties are being undertaken by the MOD based upon whether an individual was prepared to 'open fire' on UK citizens during civil disturbances.
I found this long and extracted conversation to be both bizarre and frightening. I will state at this point that he is someone that I have known for years, and trust implicitly. The fact that service personnel are actually being asked in special briefing sessions whether they would fire on their own nationals indicates that the rumours about the Army being put on standby are indeed very true.
As if to add weight to this, it was reported yesterday as a tag on a posting about UKIP by Richard North on EUReferendum that plans for Army involvement were well advanced...
Of course, now that it is illegal to take a picture of a policeman or military personnel if those involved happen to decide that it is (punishable by a fine and up to ten years in jug), don't expect to see too many pictures of said thugs kicking the shit out of protestors.
But, whilst the government gears up for the riots, they will also be gearing up to use the Civil Contingencies Act [PDF]—which will plunge us into an official dictatorship. Samizdata published the details back in 2004.
Envisaged, ostensibly, as a means of giving the government sufficient emergency powers to deal with terrorist threats (as if they do not already have enough powers), the actuality is a lot darker and goes a great deal further than that.
The effect of the Bill, once passed into law, will enable any senior government minister to delcare that an 'emergency' has happened or is about to happen and, entirely at his own discretion, enact any regulations he wishes for the purpose of:
- protecting human life, health or safety
- treating human illness or injury
- protecting or restoring property
- protecting or restoring a supply of money, food, water, energy or fuel
- protecting or restoring an electronic or other system of communication
- protecting or restoring facilities for transport
- protecting or restoring the provision of services relating to health
- protecting or restoring the activities of banks or other financial institutions
- preventing, containing or reducing the contamination of land, water or air
- preventing, or mitigating the effects of, flooding
- preventing, reducing or mitigating the effects of disruption or destruction of plant life or animal life
- protecting or restoring activities of Her Majesty’s Government
- protecting or restoring activities of Parliament, of the Scottish Parliament, of the Northern Ireland Assembly or of the National Assembly for Wales, or
- protecting or restoring the performance of public functions.
In other words, regulations for any purpose whatsoever.
And that is just the beginning. The Bill goes on to set out just what those ministerial fiats can do:
- provide for or enable the requisition or confiscation of property (with or without compensation);
- provide for or enable the destruction of property, animal life or plant life (with or without compensation);
- prohibit, or enable the prohibition of, movement to or from a specified place;
- require, or enable the requirement of, movement to or from a specified place;
- prohibit, or enable the prohibition of, assemblies of specified kinds, at specified places or at specified times;
- prohibit, or enable the prohibition of, travel at specified times;
- prohibit, or enable the prohibition of, other specified activities;
The Bill will also enable said minister to abolish any law or statute at the stroke of a pen.
These are Bolshevik-style powers, so sweeping and totalitarian that they sound as if they have been lifted out of some 1930's banana-republic manifesto.
The effect (and almost certainly the intention) of these laws will be to give the Executive complete political control over the country. Bloggers or media owners who oppose the government can have their businesses requistioned and shut down. Political opponents can be put under indefinite house arrest or dragged before kangaroo courts. Meetings or organised protests can be disbanded and, theoretically at least, the Executive could even order Parliament (which is an assembly) to be evacuated and closed.
Under the rubric of 'terrorist threats' the Executive is about to equip itself with awesome and unlimited powers and let no-one delude themselves that these powers will not be used against, say, pro-hunt campaigners, petrol protestors and maybe even Samizdatistas. The Nulabour fantasy of complete control is shortly to be made flesh.
This is probably the last year of Britain as a liberal democracy yet the mainstream media is (as usual) asleep at the wheel. They will remain that way. It is up to bloggers to raise the awareness and ring the alarm bells in the hope that some opposition can be stirred into life.
Leg-Iron sums up the potential situation very well...
No sense at all, apart from that Civil Contingencies bill, Labour's Enabling Act. It's gathering dust and the Gorgon is itching to play with it. Once he has that under way, no more elections, no more tedious discussion in Parliament and no more irritating democracy. The Gorgon will no longer need even the Labour party. He can just do what the hell he likes and there is then nothing more we can do about it.
He can't just set it in motion. He needs our help to do that.
He needs a riot. Preferably more than one, preferably in different cities. Down comes the already-suggested curfew laws, food rationing because we've already been told we're all obese, huge taxes on booze and cigarettes (for health reasons) huge taxes on gas, electricity and petrol (to save the sparrows) monitoring of all travel and communication (because there might still be 'activists' out there plotting to kill us all) monitoring of all spending (in case someone's stocking up on explosives) rewards for shopping thought criminals, compulsory identity papers and cameras, cameras everywhere. For our protection. Nothing to hide, nothing to fear, will be the new Slogan for Britain.
This used to be the sole preserve of the tinfoil hat brigade. I wish I'd listened to them sooner because now, most of that list is in place already. All that's needed is activation of the Civil Contingencies act and it's complete. He has a little over a year to provoke those riots. It's going to get pretty surreal in the coming months. But we have to grit our teeth and face him down.
If we don't riot, Labour are likely to be obliterated in a general election.
If we riot, there won't be one.
I really, really hope that I am being paranoid. But should the Civil Contingencies Bill be invoked, I shall be less than surprised. And maybe even your humble Devil will stir from behind his keyboard, put aside his fine words and prepared speeches, and join the fighters at the barricades.
Because, should that come to pass and with the prison-camps beckoning, there will be nothing left to lose...