Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Victory and defeat rolled into one

A newspaper hoarding I have just passed on Victoria Street screamed at me "Victory for rebel shareholders" - a reference presumably to the Northern Rock meeting today. Yet as I walk into Victoria Station, I see on the Sky headlines on the huge screen "Defeat for rebel shareholders". Again, I presume it is a reference to the NR meeting.

Interesting how the same story can be so differently reported. I am not sure of the details of what was decided today at the meeting but I do know that only one of the demands of the hedge funds was agreed and the rest rejected.

Whatever the result at the meeting, it is unlikely to have much effect on the future ownership of the company. Nationalisation now looks very likely without a miracle on the financial markets.

So there will be a certain amount of humble pie consumption by the deadwood Labour backbenchers of the North East who laid into the Lib Dems last month for proposing Northern Rock nationalisation. Whether any of them will choke on that same humble pie is yet to be seen.

Meanwhile, did you see Vince on Newsnight last night where Jeremy Paxman was praising our shadow chancellor to his face? And what a waste of space that useless Philip Hammond was for the Tories. Quite what the Tory position is on Northern Rock is as clear as smog.

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