CORRUPTION, CORRUPTION EVERYWHERE, PARTICULARLY IN CORFU
In other words, unelected Mandelson wants his mates the Rothschilds and their ilk to be able to do it all again.
This has to be corruption.
How can an unelected man become Prime Minister then spend his holiday with the owners of the largest investment in the UK, RIT Capital?
Perhaps hedge funds are not that important to Lord Jacob. He ditched Atticus, run by his son Nat, from RIT's investment portfolio. How embarrassing.
So I wonder what Nat and Mandy were discussing that has driven unelected Mandelson to be so pro-City hedge funds?
I really, really wonder...
Mandelson takes charge and resolves to reject Darling 'defeatism'
Suzy Jagger, Francis Elliott
Lord Mandelson will defend the City from tough European Union legislation during his week at the helm of government, The Times has learnt.
The First Secretary is dismayed at what he regards as Alistair Darling’s “defeatist” approach and has promised to redouble efforts to fight off proposals from Brussels, according to industry sources.
Lord Mandelson assumes control of the day-to-day running of the country today, three days after finding himself the Prime Minister’s stand-in while on holiday in Corfu, where he was a guest of the Rothschild banking family.
Close allies confirm that he wants to persuade the European Commission to change a directive that critics claim could all but destroy the multibillion-pound private equity and hedge fund industry. Specifically he is seeking to reduce the amount of capital that finance companies would have to set aside and to limit the information they would have to make public. Aides say that he will be lobbying to secure the changes he believes are necessary.
The issue threatens to dominate preparations for next month’s G20 summit in the US, undermining efforts to co-ordinate an economic recovery.
At the summit held in London this April, President Sarkozy of France and Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, said that hedge funds should be “regulated and controlled”. Many other European ministers believe that hedge funds were largely to blame for the severity of the credit crisis, exacerbating wild stock market swings at the height of the financial turmoil. They have also been suspicious of the secrecy with which private equity firms have operated. The European Commission subsequently drafted a directive that would force funds to maintain higher levels of capital, cap debts and disclose more information.
The draft regulation has alarmed the City. The pensions industry became the latest to sound the alarm last week, warning that the measures could take more than £21 billion out of European funds each year.
Until now the Treasury has led the Government’s response. Lord Myners, the City Minister, promised to “fight tooth and nail to make the necessary improvements” to the directive earlier this summer. But Lord Mandelson has privately indicated that he is to take a more hands-on approach, instructing industry figures to rally resources before a major lobbying operation this autumn. An ally said: “Peter is very concerned about the draft legislation coming out of Brussels. He is keen to make the Government’s voice heard.”
An industry source said: “Mandelson’s concern is that the Treasury has been defeatist and defensive. He wants to go on the offensive and fight for private equity and hedge funds, even though both are hardly popular businesses. He feels that the Treasury’s game plan is like trying to reduce the charge from murder to manslaughter. Mandelson wants to get rid of the charge.”
Lord Mandelson will spend much of his time at the helm in his new base in the Cabinet Office. His room is described by an insider as “moderately smaller than a tennis court”. Gordon Brown’s fixer — Baroness Vadera — has a neighbouring office.
Aides inist that the Business Secretary plans to limit his public interventions to “departmental issues” such as the future of Vauxhall plants and the operation of the car scrappage scheme.
The approach is in contrast to that of Harriet Harman, whose departure on holiday last Thursday night caught Lord Mandelson by surprise and who marked her own days at the helm with interventions outside her brief.
Behind the scenes, Lord Mandelson’s telephone diplomacy with senior European figures will take up much of his time. Although allies insist that there is no tension with Mr Darling over the issue, the Chancellor — whose own period of holiday cover follows directly — will be watching the Business Secretary’s interventions with interest.
Aides played down a report yesterday that Lord Mandelson was drawing up plans to discriminate against better-off students seeking university places. The Business Secretary had asked universities to come forward with their own plans to increase social mobility and did not favour a plan to lower the grade requirements for poorer students, they insisted.
Labour, meanwhile, seized on a report that the Tories were actively considering a plan to raise VAT to 20 per cent if they won the election.
William Hague, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, said that his party had no plans “in existence” for such a rate but added that it was impossible to predict what would have to be done in future Budgets. “You can’t ask George Osborne to write the 2010 Budget now, given the shocking state of the nation’s finances but also the rapidly changing state of those finances.”
The Tories strongly opposed last year Mr Darling’s temporary cut in the rate of VAT from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent.
Who runs Britain?
The deputy Labour leader, Harriet Harman, took the first shift when the Prime Minister left for his holiday in Scotland. She took the reins from July 27 until last Thursday evening, when she departed on her own holiday.
Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, then took over — despite being in Corfu, apparently travelling without staff. He had dinner on Friday with the financier Lord Rothschild and the Hollywood producer David Geffen before working the phones until the early morning. He is due back today.
Next Monday Lord Mandelson will hand over to the Chancellor.
Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, will do the stint for the last week, until Gordon Brown returns to his post on August 31. On his blog Mr Straw has described himself as a “tad sensitive” to claims that MPs’ holidays are excessive.