Credit crisis diary: Your chance to bring Darling to book
Wednesday 15 October 2008
Here's your chance to hold Alistair Darling to account. The Treasury Select Committee is planning an inquiry into the banking crisis and MPs want to know what you want to know. Such is the fury out there, our elected members reckon, that the public should have the opportunity to submit questions to the Chancellor. Try not to be too rude.
Charity for our North Atlantic neighbour
Spare a krona for an ex-financial powerhouse? If so, see www.adoptanicelander.com, currently running this heart-warming appeal: "When Iceland's economy crumbled in 2008, so went the leisurely party lives of thousands of young Icelanders. They are called 'The Cuddly Generation' (Krutt-kynslotin in Icelandic), and they need your help. Please donate whatever you can – money, plane tickets, alcohol or kind words (they all speak English). Anything to help these beautiful, fun-loving viking progeny reclaim the free-spirited times of no work and all play to which they grew so accustomed..."
Give that man a break
We know bankers are the new estate agents, but just how disliked are they? TNS Media are the people who know, tracking, as they do, public perceptions of well-known figures. Take Sir Fred Goodwin, the soon-to-depart Royal Bank of Scotland boss. In 2000, Sir Fred, newly appointed to run RBS, had a positive rating of somewhere near 800 on the TNS perceptions scale. The latest figure is a little over -2,000. That makes him public enemy No 1 right now.
Worth more than the money it's written on
Not everything RBS turns its hand to is going wrong, however. RBS issues bank notes, remember, and in 2005, it issued 2 million five-pound notes featuring a picture of Jack Nicklaus, in commemoration of the 134th British Open at St Andrew's, the legendary golfer's last appearance at the event. That RBS paper is now more valuable than the bank's shares – it's changing hands at upwards of £15 a note.
All that glisters...
Just moved into gold? Maybe it's time to move out again. Analysts at HSBC reckon it's heading for a fall. The metal has no more intrinsic value than anything else, they point out – it's price is determined by supply and demand. The bad news is that supply is booming and demand will fall back as the credit crisis abates. "Gold is a risky investment," the bank concludes. But then it would say that.
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