back to article Northern Rock FOI gag 'out of order' say Tories

The inclusion of a paragraph in the bill to nationalise the Northern Rock which exempts the bank from the Freedom of Information Act is completely unacceptable, according to the Tories. The legislation to bring the bank into public ownership includes a paragraph which states that the Northern Rock should not be covered by the …

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Flame

Lemme just check here....

Ron Sandler, the guy being paid £1,080,000 per year (£90k/month) of OUR money, not including any bonuses for being able to contain his laughter when he tells us how well our money is being spent, to "rescue" this bank, is also a Non-Dom and eligible for tax breaks???

There are no words. Really. None at all.

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Flame

FOI

Well, you can see it both ways:

On the one hand, as a private company NR will have had all sorts of stuff negotiated and contracted in private, and to retrospectively make that public will undermine the confidence any private business has that their private dealings will remain private.

OTOH, the financial affairs of NR are very complicated, and understanding the political implications of, for example, the arms length relationship with Granite needs a lot of embarrassing information to be made public. If Darling Alistair is trying to cover up the fact that the BoE advances aren't secured against the whole mortgage book, and that Granite has effectively asset stripped NR in advance (over simplification, I know) then shame on him.

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It should be exempt!

Banks fight it out with each other in a competitive market. Allowing others to request information using the FOIA would sabotage the profitability and ultimately cost the tax payer.

What would make more sense, that isn't mentioned in the story, would be stricter risk management, auditing and compliance regulations.

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Pirate

Dodgy Dossier v2.0

"The legislation to bring the bank into public ownership includes a paragraph which states that the Northern Rock should not be covered by the Freedom of Information Act."

And the reason for the secrecy? Pockets to line?

All very peculiar indeed.

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Why?

It'd be nice to know exactly what excuse the Govt has given for this strange decision without having to go searching through other news sites!

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Rob
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You've got to love..

..the government. They really think people are stupid and don't notice these things. The Rock will be a pain in there side for many many many many..need I go on....years!

They should have allowed one of the bidders to take over and pay back the load, with interest, and that would have been the end of it all for them.

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Flame

Bullshit.

Freedom of Information Act = my A$$.

Freedom of [some][unimportant][benign] Information Act = nearer the mark.

Flame..cos I can 8-D

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Anonymous Coward

Just another step in the wrong direction!

So Bordon Brown and the Alistair Darling have personal financial interests in Northern Rock.

Northern Rock Goes Under

Gets Nationalized

And your not allowed to ask who, what, where, when?

Good Free and Fair Democracy we hold Dear in this Country.

I suggest you take a look at:

http://zeitgeistmovie.com/dloads.htm

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Crown Corporations don't work

The government was stuck between a rock and a hard place due to thier inability to see the forest for the trees.

If they let Northern Rock go under then it would have had a chain reaction effect on other banks and the economy in this country and shed light on just how bad a shape the economy is in. The government has let it's friend make a fortune off the backs of the citizens by letting them rack up debt they cannot pay off.

So then the gov't does the only thing it can and bails out the bank, issue here it that the people are totally liable for the bank and all debt. The gov't cannot properly manage what they already have so how is adding responsibility to thier load going to make it easier. This is simple give it about 5-10 years and they will sell the bank off at a loss and the billions that was loaned to the bank to stop it sinking will be lost forever.

Long Live Guy Fawkes, a true British Hero.

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Dead Vulture

Pot-kettle?

Correct me if I'm wrong but weren't the tories the majority backers of a bill that would have allowed MPs expenses and family employees to be exempt from the FOI act?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2007/may/18/freedomofinformation.uk1

All the current parties are as bad as each other. Politicians no longer have any interest in what is good for the country, only what is good for them. The whole system needs to be brought down and rebuilt from scratch.

Anybody want to join the revolution?

The sick vulture as a good representaion of our political system

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Thumb Up

There is a great writeup here:

http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=68813

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exemption is correct

(much as it pains me to write this): second comment, first point holds.

Indeed, the gumment *should* have included clauses about absolute probity and correctness and completeness of conduct in the areas of risk management, information management and auditing; compliance to regs is a legislative mandate already in place.

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@Rob

They've been re-elected twice, doing these kind of things, so why should they stop now, especially when they've got some real problems to cover up?

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Coat

Worse than you think

"If Darling Alistair is trying to cover up the fact that the BoE advances aren't secured against the whole mortgage book, and that Granite has effectively asset stripped NR in advance (over simplification, I know) then shame on him."

Unfortunately your statement is far more accurate than UK tax payers could have expected, reports coming out today suggest all the gold plated assets were flogged off before nationalisation, and the stuff that remains (and is now owned by the UK tax payer as collateral for the billions ploughed in) is the worthless 125% mortgage crap.

“Taxpayers have been left with Northern Rock's "rubbish" assets because its safest mortgages were hived off before nationalisation, MPs claimed today.

A major part of the bank holding its gold-plated debt assets is not being taken into public ownership, the Commons was told.

The riskiest debts — including homeowners with "supersize" mortgages of 125 per cent — are in the main part of the bank that is now being underwritten by the public purse.”

Source: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23438897-details/Taxpayers+to+be+saddled+with+%27rubbish%27+assets+as+banks+protest+over+Northern+Rock%27s+%27blank+cheque%27/article.do

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Black Helicopters

@MarmiteToast

"Banks fight it out with each other in a competitive market. "

It used to, until it became a national asset. That means that it belongs to us. And since we are now the only shareholder, I rather think that we ought to be able to to take a peek, don't you ?

Besides which, it would be easy for individual FOI requests to be turned down on the grounds that they violate an existing confidentiality covenant or reveal commercially sensitive information. Happens all the time already.

A blanket ban means that Brown et al now have their own private bank, paid for by us, which they can play with in secret. Hopefully the way NR is about to butcher up its headcount will bring forth a few whistleblowers.

Black helicopter, because champagne socialist oppressive regime+private bank+supEr seKret == conspiracy theories. Oh BTW did I mention that NR quietly offer a number of offshore banking facilities ? Like NR Guernsey ? Primarily for UK non domiciled residents ? Make of that what you will.

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Zeitgeist my arse

Zeitgeist is a load of conspiracy theory claptrap dressed up us a shitty pop video foisted by paranoid hippy layabouts who've smoked too much dope. Planes crashed into the Twin Towers, I know, I saw it on TV. Rothschild Banking conspiracies are so 1890s. There's a reason this didn't make it to the cinema, indicating it's less palatable than Al Gore's A Convenient Falsehood.

8-D? A cock and balls?

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Okay...

As a major competitor to Northern Rock, I am totally outraged that they can now have the right to keep all their workings secret from me. I demand that it is my right to know exactly what is going on withing this bank, so that I can use this information to my advantage.

<seriously, though>

If we are ever to see our money back on this (which I think we will, probably a few times over, if competently managed) we need to prevent the competitors viewing the inner workings of the company, as they will gain competitive advantage. It's obvious. Once the sell off, back to the private sector has completed, take the gag off, where applicable.

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How the hell is UK

a democracy? There's nothing democratic about it. WE the people didn't want the bank to be nationalised. WE the people didn't want to be burdened with it's problems. We the people didn't want to pay for it's mistakes. BUT WE the people are doing exactly that. As impractical as it may be, I call for the abolishment of representatives and for the introduction a referendum on all decisions which are made in our name.In addition to that Guy Fawkes night should be changed from the celebration of the "foiling of the bomb plot" to celebration of "divine inspiration".

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Black Helicopters

Confidentiality in business.

Er, "commercial confidentiality" is already a perfectly valid excuse for non-disclosure under FOI.

What's been aired around here as a justification for this cop-out could be (and would be if you submitted an FOI request) deemed "commercially confidential". If you did manage to come up with something that were not, it would likely be of no interest by the time the Information Commissioner got off his fat arse and ruled that, in your particular request's case, the information requested wasn't actually covered by this exemption.

One wonders what they're trying to hide that couldn't legitimately be described as sensitive commercially and that would *still* be dynamite once you'd managed to wheedle it out of them in a couple of years' time. I can only think there must be something documented in this whole sorry pig's ear that would cost Sweaty Gordon his job on the spot if it became public (e.g. incontrovertible evidence of him and his sheep telling porkies to parliament over the matter).

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@Fraser

"If we are ever to see our money back on this (which I think we will, probably a few times over, if competently managed) we need to prevent the competitors viewing the inner workings of the company, as they will gain competitive advantage. It's obvious. Once the sell off, back to the private sector has completed, take the gag off, where applicable."

Unfortunately, you set a condition in there unlikely to be met.

"if competently managed".

Bye-bye £millions...

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Too much information...

Allowing access to all the details clearly isn't going to work.

It's difficult enough for government with people thinking it's some kind of 'old labour' style nationalization. It's emerging that, more in line with the 'new' way of doing things, it's going to be more of an asset stripping operation with the prime loans hived off to a private securities firm and the taxpayer left under-writing the sub-prime stuff.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7254451.stm

Nothing untoward there then, eh?

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Anonymous Coward

Who Cares about FOI when you have wikileaks...

...You can usually find most things they dont want you to know here >

88.80.13.160 or (from UK) wikileaks.org.uk or alternative http://cryptome.org/

For some inexplicable reason links and DNS records die at a pace for wikileaks...cannot access it at all in the US anymore, or China.

There are many many mirrors and DNS pointers being set up each day.

Oh and bootnote for the paranoid: HMRC TAX inspectors got their new snooping powers under RIPA allowing them to tap taxpayers’ telephones and plant bugs inside their homes and offices, as of the 15th of Feb 2008. Of course, you will have seen all the coverage of this topic on the BBC...

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) says its inspectors need such covert surveillance to tackle the growing threat from organised and white-collar crime.

Surprised they didn't work `terrorists` into that sentence, just to toe the line...

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Pirate

Could it be..

....people are waking up?

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Silver badge

Push overs?

"If we are ever to see our money back on this (which I think we will, probably a few times over, if competently managed) we need to prevent the competitors viewing the inner workings of the company, as they will gain competitive advantage. It's obvious. Once the sell off, back to the private sector has completed, take the gag off, where applicable." ...By Fraser Posted Wednesday 20th February 2008 13:58 GMT

Okay, Fraser, but that will need the pussies in the City to put Wall Street and their own House in Order and in their place. Do you think they've got the bottle for IT?

If they've got the balls, then IT will give them the brains, too. And that equally well applies to the Broon Toons too.

Anything less and it's a carve up and free for all, which no one will win and everyone involved will suffer, with some suffering catastrophically...... for there's more than just dirty money at stake...... the whole System is riddled with Cancer.

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It is going to end badly.

Could someone please show me one single Crown Corporation that did not cost us money and instead made it.

They will never make money as they are run by the government which I know are mostly Lawyers and Business People who would have stayed in the real world and made a fortune if not for the fact that they are completely imcompitent.

The only difference with an elected gov't we have now and what was in place 400 years ago, is they have more people believing the lies they tell.

Long Live Guy Fawkes, a true British Hero.

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Alert

Chris, Chris...

You seem angry, but more than that, a little ignorant too.

Did you bother to look into any of the sources or facts upon which Zeitgeist is based? No? You surprise me. I take it you are a god fearing christian then! heh, ah well, you can lead a horse to water...

Particularly revealing is your idiotic comment "Planes crashed into the Twin Towers, I know, I saw it on TV" Erm.... OK. What are you saying? Do you know?

Have you read David Rockefellers Memoirs from 1992? Do you read? Or do you just watch the pictures on the telly?

Presumably you are one of those people who knows a lot about a little and incredibly little about an awful lot?

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Alert

Anyone seen V.......

Who would care to join me outside Parliament next Nov 5th?

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Coat

You're all missing something here

This thread contains the first totally and utterly coherent post by amanfromMars. Is this the trigger for the ROTM?

Mine's the 3/4 length coat with the sawn-off Police-issue inside it, hung over the velcro sneakers.

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@Greg

That may be my fault Greg. I asked him to post less stuff making no sense because it became too samey random words (maybe he's a bayesian spam creation program, trying to work out what will get past the bayesian spam filters....).

I'm a bad man...

:-(

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Roll of the Nu Insect Overlards

I commented a few weeks ago that there was a NR story which was untold, and this FoI exclusion confirms it.

@ Jamie: "If they let Northern Rock go under then it would have had a chain reaction effect on other banks"

Now t'is the season of banks reporting, we see this excuse no longer washes (by night or any other time). Nor ever did. Barclays have just announced a stiff little profit, but they made their big bad debt provision last year. Either we have to believe the Treasury haven't been watching their flocks the past year, or that they are being truly "expertly" advised on how to "manage" the "assets" with the desired redistributive effect, i.e. from poor to rich.

It seems clear the Nu Insect Overlards have had it to their eyeballs with nu labour, who cannot even manage a press announcement properly any more. Already I see quango-filling acquaintances starting to cosy up to Stuntman Dave's boys and girls.

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PMQs

That was some quick typing during PMQs

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As gags go...

....it's not very funny.

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Silver badge
Flame

Normal Service will be resumed as soon as Possible

"I asked him to post less stuff making no sense ..." ... By Mark Posted Wednesday 20th February 2008 16:07 GMT

Mark,

It is as well to realise that it made no sense to you.

"(maybe he's a bayesian spam creation program, trying to work out what will get past the bayesian spam filters....)." Crikey, what a palaver whenever you can just post to the Web for everyman and his dog to see/read/understand.

And the flame for Mr Fawkes for the Westminster Village People could certainly do with AI Rock IT.

Get with the Program, Boys and Girls ...... while you're feathering your nests and strutting about as if you are important and indispensable, others are planning to return to Mars and the Great Beyond

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Dead Vulture

Nationalisation is good...

But this isn't nationalisation...

It's possibly the biggest scam in my lifetime in this country. It's happening right under our noses, and if The Lords don't hit the brakes on this thing, (which they ought to - and are actually quite good at doing), then it's going to affect us badly.

At a time when the cost of Iraq, Afghanistan and Fuel, food, and chavs are all squeezing the pockets of the "average Brit', I say, round up the Chavs and the bankers and turn them into fuel :)

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Joke

@amanfromMars

"Crikey, what a palaver whenever you can just post to the Web for everyman and his dog to see/read/understand."

Well as Meatlof said: two out of three ain't bad.

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FoI exemption and other public companies

Anyone know if that other New Labour fiasco, National Rail, is exempt from Freedom of Information requests? That too has a huge balance sheet and engages in commercial deals.

And agree with captain kangaroo - this isn't nationalisation; NR's juiciest assets have been packaged offshore in the Granite portfolio which has not been included in the bail-out. The public is now underwriting NR's less attractive assets including all their high loan/value accounts. We're about to be shafted.

The only saving grace is that we're not being shafted by Beardie.

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Black Helicopters

Non-doms

This means that income earned from non-UK assets are not subject to UK tax. Any income earned in the UK (e.g. their salary) would be subject to UK tax.

It's a tax break that makes sense retards.

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@ Jamie

Thanks!

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Unhappy

FOI Act

Of course Northern Rock should make all their secrets public - just as soon as all the other banks that survive on OUR money do the same thing.

Banks borrow money from some punters to lend to other punters. Profits go to the shareholders, so none of the money in the bank is actually theirs - it's ours; on loan.

At least with NR some of the profits will get back to us as the Government is now the major shareholder.

For those saying we should know everything as we are the shareholders now - no, the Government is the shareholders on our behalf, just as pension and insurance companies are shareholders in other banks, on our behalf. Why don't the banks give us all their commercial secrets as we own them through our pension funds? Both arguments are as fatuous as each other.

I directly own a few shares directly in a bank, and I don't remember them giving me any secrets. (that's why they are secret!)

NR is now classed as a Gilt Edged company. Everyone seems to forget that the government already runs National Savings, and used to own the Post Office Bank. both considered safe but boring investments, and Gilt Edged (i.e. Government) shares are considered the safest investment possible.

The Money Programme on Sunday was saying that people will now start putting their money in NR as it is the only bank in Britain that is now guaranteed NOT to go bankrupt.

Trying to apply the FOI act is a deliberate attempt at sabotaging the rescue, at the cost of the bank's savers and mortgagees, for political point scoring.

Shame on the Tories, shame on you.

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Pirate

@ Non-doms

Not if he arranges to be paid by the offshore are of NR.

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Anonymous Coward

Non-Dom

This was all over the Beeb yesterday, followed by the expected outrage from Joe Factoryworker on tuppence ha'penny a week who pays 'is taxes.

The only advantage non-dom has is earnings originating offshore aren't taxed until they're brought onshore, and that just doesn't apply here.

I assume the government wants to do this legally, in which case he's going to pay tax. Even if he set up an offshore company, subcontracted through that to the offshore branch of NR, the companys 'command and control' is still based in the UK, because that's where he (very publicly) is. There's no right of substitution for another CEO, there are no other clients, so even if he did subcontract he'd fall under IR35.

It is no longer as simple as just opening a bank account in the Isle of Mann (ah, those halcyon days).

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Silver badge

Plonkers 'r' us

"And agree with captain kangaroo - this isn't nationalisation; NR's juiciest assets have been packaged offshore in the Granite portfolio which has not been included in the bail-out. The public is now underwriting NR's less attractive assets including all their high loan/value accounts. We're about to be shafted." .... By Mike Richards Posted Wednesday 20th February 2008 19:35 GMT

Sounds like a clumsy Payola/Fraud aka Gross Petty Larceny/Thieving Laundry, Mike.

A bank [Granite]set up within a bank [NR} although outside of the bank and offshore, to cream off the assets and leave all the dross. If that is not criminal, then everyone will be doing it.

And maybe Bankers have been doing it for years. Certainly there's a lot of dirty laundry trying to be hidden from view by Bank Julius Baer .... http://cryptome.org/wikileaks-bjb.htm

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Anonymous Coward

@amanfromMars

"If they've got the balls, then IT will give them the brains, too. And that equally well applies to the Broon Toons too."

hahahahaha, when was the last time a govt. IT project worked well?

that sentence reads like if you give an amoeba a baseball bat it can play baseball.

Have you ever worked a govt. project or do you "manage" one?

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@@amanfromMars

AC,

The first project that they Release to be Virtualised will be the first IT project that they will have undertaken. Until then, it is just snouts in the trough of Public money pretending to know what IT is all about.

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Go

Hee Hee

If anyone read last Sunday's copy of the Sunday Post they'll have seen a headline (linked here)

http://www.dcthomson.co.uk/MAGS/POST/news3.htm

It seems that efficacy of governance is swaying borders territories from dependence upon Westminster to dependence upon Scotland's parliament and who can blame them?

Maybe over time (note to IBM readers: not overtime :) ) it may jump from 20 miles to 80, 150 or even 200 miles? Now that would be democracy in action :)

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