Mandy preps list of UK businesses to save
Sorry mate, you're not on the list
Lord Mandelson of Foy is preparing criteria to decide which British businesses the government should save if they go bankrupt.
Factors such as the number of employees and the amount of R&D a company carries out would help firms get on Mandelson's list.
The minister for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform showed his plans to the national economic council last week.
Talking to the Guardian Mandy admitted he was surprised to be asked back into the Cabinet and was nervous about people's likely reaction.
He said he doubted that the impact of the economic crisis on the real economy had been fully understood.
Mandelson said: "No one can foretell how short or long - how painful or painless - the recession is going to be. The recession will determine our borrowing our taxing and spending. All I know is that the deeper we get into the recession, the higher the costs of climbing out will be."
He said he believed British industry wanted a more active role for his department: "They don't want us to pick winners, but they do want a route map."
The minister is also believed to be opposing Department of Health plans to ban the display of tobacco and cigarettes by shopkeepers because many small retailers are already struggling to survive. ®
Atlas Shrugged has arrived?
Steve - because he's driving the techies to create a world that Atlas Shrugged is set in, where the "Common Purpose" lot:
instigate a world whereby these the seize assets of the Neo Cons - how ironic!
"When did you last see a dedocated sweetshop?"
I'm pretty sure I've never seen a dedocated sweetshop, but there are two shops in the laughably nomenclatured* 'city' centre not far from where I'm sitting that only sell sweets.
*I would expect to have made at least one spelling FUBAR in this post, perhaps that was it.
And *poof* in a cloud of smoke, they disappear. I would say, largely, those that live by the swords, die by the sword.
If we are talking about special pleadings for certain companies, would be really interested to see the criteria - probably something like "strategic national interest". I don't see any point in bailing out retail. Most of the service sector is pointless. It's really about manufacturing and hi-tech stuff. Infrastructure too.
We can live without Woolworths. But what can't we live without? What can the UK not afford to not have the capability to do for itself?
Are we talking handouts? Partial public ownership or the whole hog of nationalisation? Or perhaps subsidies for export industries?
Protectionism is a concern. You could argue that in order to help the UK economy, public sector procurement should be biased towards UK owned companies. This will go down like a cup of cold sick with some folks, yet, there are some strong arguments for doing so in terms of firewalling the UK economy against the worst of the global recession. International cooperation is a wonderful concept but... do you really believe that the, say, G8 are going to come up with a cohesive, unified plan of action when their national interests can be so disparate?
Much as I welcome the election of Obama as representing a sea-change in US attitudes towards race, I do fear that the US may go into one of it's periodic isolationist phases. Parts of the US economy are in such a parlous state that market protectionism might look like a quick fix. I'm thinking of the Big Three auto-manufacturers.
One of the interesting fings about WWII was that US car plants were turned over to military production in very short order. This shows the strategic national interest in retaining manufacturing capacity. But that would not happen now. Fings ain't wot they used to be. There is too much secret technology and specialist fabrication involved.
And maybe this provides a ruler that Mandy can use...
Flame on, because I think I need to put the oven on for pizza.