Wednesday, 17 September 2008


Did I just hear George Osborne correctly on Newsnight?

Paxman: When you see institutions short-selling stocks, and thereby aggravating the crisis, what do you feel?

Osborne: Well look, no one takes pleasure from people making money out of the misery of others, but that is a function of capitalist markets.

UPDATE - After consulting BBC iPlayer, I can confirm that the above is verbatim.

UPDATE - Someone has linked to this page, saying the following:

The only problem is that they asked George Osborne to comment, and he said:

"Well look, no one takes pleasure from people making money out of the misery of others, but that is a function of capitalist markets."

Bloody marvelous. Let’s pour bullshit on the mushrooms and encourage them to grow.

The above quote is a gem for anyone wanting to find something to confirm their existing beliefs. I’m not sure what could have possibly been worse. How about “It’s good that babies will starve, because there is no such thing as society”?

Now, it's obvious that Osborne 'mis-spoke', which is why I did him the honour of transcribing his words exactly. But later in this chap's post he describes an exchange between Paxman and Naomi Klein:

Although to cheer us all up, they then got Naomi Klein on. She’s always good for a laugh, is Naomi. After vaguely beating about the bush for a few questions, Paxman lost his patience and asked her, “You sit there, all dolled up in your fancy suit that you bought in a shop, which is capitalist. So what do you want to see put in place of Capitalism?”

Paxman's actual words were:

"Naomi Klein, sure, you speak with all the authority and privilege of a child of a capit.. successful capitalist society. What do you want as an alternative?"

So where did that bit about the fancy suit come from???


Oren said...

Sounds like someone has been reading a bit too much Marx...

bat020 said...

The eejit who linked to your post also doesn't seem to understand the definition of short selling:

"If someone buys shares in a company, shouldn’t they be allowed to sell them again, for whatever reason they like?"

Daniel Earwicker said...

Regarding the hissy fit over the sacred wording of Paxman's question... No, I can't be bothered.

Regarding short selling, I didn't mention it at all, so not sure why you have. Not that there's any good reason to ban it either - selling before buying exposes you to potential loss if the price rises. It's not actually materially or morally different from any other transaction.

Murphy said...

"no, I can't be bothered"

Not bothered enough to mention it...

bat020 said...

You were burbling on about people "banning the sale of shares when things go wrong". Since the only kind of share selling that has been "banned" in recent weeks is the shorting of financial stocks, I assumed you were talking about that. If you weren't, your post was even more irrelevant and content-free than I'd previously imagined.