Now that my bank is partly owned by us

…can I expect any changes?

The truly unprecedented scale of the banking crisis has been breathtaking. At the centre of it all, I look at my bank (and others) and wonder who is to blame for it all. I gather the Tories are planning, in good time, to heap all of this at Gordon Brown’s door.

But it ain’t that simple…

Deregulation and liberalisation of banking has been going on since the Thatcher years. Dismantling a raft of restrictions on banks and building societies seemed like a great idea. But how many demutualised building societies are still going strong today? There are some in our party that like to believe that economies and markets can almost always be left to their own devices. What has transpired has proved otherwise.

The big problem with fractional reserve banking is that the more risk you take – the more you stand to make. Unless governments set boundaries, there is always a danger that the bubble will burst again. We are all going to need to take a long hard look at how banking can be regulated in the future. Liberals will have to strike the right balance between competitive freedom and the recognition that banks aren’t always as prudent as is necessary for a healthy, stable economy.

Next time I go overdrawn, and get charged by my bank for not being ‘sufficiently careful’ with my finances – can I expect a more sympathetic hearing?

All that glitters

When the economic climate faces uncertainty, the conservative investor looks to precious metals like gold and silver as a safe haven. This is an entirely justified strategy. The Romans said that an ounce of gold would buy a man a fine suit of clothes. Considering that an ounce of gold right now will set you back over £500 – it’s easy to see that it has easily kept its intrinsic value. It is unsurprising that gold and silver dealers are currently seeing unprecedented demand from private investors. After all, a share in a company can literally become worthless overnight – but if you have an ounce of gold (as long as it’s in a safe place) you’ll always have something of worth.

This does beg a question though:

What was the rationale behind Gordon Brown’s decision to sell off our gold reserves eight years ago, when the price of gold was at a twenty year low? Hardly prudent!

Cue retractions/apologies?

Now that the man himself has confirmed that the Scum story is absolute rubbish, I am hoping that retractions and apologies will swiftly follow.

While we all love a good debate, please. let’s keep this one respectful. All of the candidates will continue to be an asset to the party once this contest is over. There’s been a tendency for some Lib Dems to play into the hands of the press during internal contests!

That said, I’m bound to say that comments such as ‘Ros has a clear lead’ (you know who you are) are just ramping. We really have absolutely no indications of voting intention at this point. The Ros camp would do well to remember that while their candidate is well known and well liked by many activists, there are many armchair members who will be saying ‘Ros who?’

It’s not the blogosphere you have to win over – it’s the wider membership. Claims of a ‘clear lead’ may be somewhat premature.

Having said that, I am enormously relieved that the Big Brother story was untrue!