Let me nail my colours to the mast. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Robert Peston's analysis of the ever-more-confusing disaster in the financial world is absolutely stellar stuff, simple enough for a numpty like me to understand yet not as patronisingly Janet & John as the "Well some big clever men in London have lost some money" bullshit you get on the ITN news, where they have to provide ludicrously jazzy graphics to describe financial stuff because quite clearly everyone in the world has the attention span of a fucking mayfly and we're incapable of actually watching any news story without some monotoothed twat pointing at a big picture.
Sure, he may not have the most delightful speaking voice in the world, but he puts things across in a straightforward way, often particularly troublesome concepts, without oversimplification or attempting to skew the data in a particular direction. And it's this, rather than his presentation or ubiquity, that people don't like. Because it tends to blow useless shit out of the water.
Take Peston's piece today about the continuing falls. What's the reason why sterling is being battered in the markets?
...we're seeing the end of the carry trade, the investment of cheap, low-interest loans raised in yen and dollars for investment in higher yielding financial markets, such as those of the emerging economies, Iceland and - to an extent - the UK.
Investors are liquidating assets everywhere from South Korea, to Argentina, to Hungary, and holding the proceeds in the Japanese and US currencies.
And since so much of the carry trade came out of Japan, the yen has surged to an astonishing extent.
Sterling has been punished, in part because when the carry trade was booming, the UK received a disproportionate amount of this hot money, because our interest rates were always a bit higher than the developed economy norm.
Hence the relative strength of the yen and dollar compared to the pound at the moment. See? I can understand that quite clearly, and I'm quite willing to admit that I don't understand a lot of things about economics.
Of course there's an alternative view: that sterling is taking a battering because Gordon Brown. I say 'because Gordon Brown' because you don't really need to say anything else, do you? It must be Bottler's fault because...er...well he's not a member of the Conservative Party! And therefore everything is... somehow... er. Isn't it?
The proximate cause is news that the UK economy is shrinking far faster than expected, and there's talk about a 0.75-point interest rate cut - sooner rather than later. But on a wider prospective, this is the markets commenting more articulately than the Tories on Gordon Brown’s “scorched earth” economic policy. It is becoming clearer that Britain is perhaps in the worst position of any developed economy in this crisis.
says someone over at the Spectator Coffee House. (What the fuck's in that coffee? That's what I always want to know.) Oh dear. Yes, it must be McBroon because then it means Labour = bad and Tories = good, doesn't it? Jesus wept. It's miserably inept to try and peg the current crisis to Labour and claim the Tories have the right ideas, when the Tories would have done pretty much exactly the same thing, except maybe possibly in a slightly different order with a bit less public spending.
As Chris Dillow says over at Stumbling & Mumbling:
The fact is, sterling is largely a sideshow now. Although its trade-weighted index has fallen 5% in the last month, the majority of its decline happened over the winter. Sterling weakness is an old story.
Instead, the story is about the dollar and yen. It’s these that are soaring, not sterling that’s crashing. This is probably because a scramble for cash is forcing investors - perhaps especially hedge funds - to close positions. And as many were short of dollars and yen, so these have risen.
Nah, fuck it. It's Bottler McJock's fault. Somehow. Because of something. And if Peston says otherwise, then...er... he's got a funny voice!