The markets are grim this morning – Alistair Darling perhaps predictably has failed to calm the storm. I have a lot of sympathy for his approach – he’s been panned for taking too long to make up his mind but he needed time to assess the situation properly. Almost all of the journalistic comment I’ve read so far has been negative – too little too late – but most of this opinion is heavily inflenced by the comments of bankers who may feel that the chancellor has hung them out to dry.
I’ve never been a fan of Darling’s – it might be the way he looks, the way he talks or even just his name – but for some reason he gives me the creeps. I respect him more today for refusing to be rushed into a quick decision. Darling is like an African hunter standing in front of a charging rhino knowing he only has one shot – he’s waited as long as he dared and now he’s fired. I wish he had more gravitas though – getting the package right is one thing, but in addition to providing financial support it has to change people’s behaviour. We really need a chancellor who can instil confidence – a man who can deliver the package and then come out and defend it, convincing the investment world that he understands what is going on and is on top of it. Darling, cagey and defensive as he is, is not big enough for the job.
Step forward then the PM, a financial man who did have the right sort of gravitas in the days when he was doing the job. He must have played a major part in all of this – it’s surprising that he isn’t pushing himself forward more prominently. This could be the miracle that saves his career if he plays his cards right, just as the Falklands war delivered Thatcher home all those years ago. Today then is a huge day for the Labour party – if the markets stall in the sell off and the FTSE bounces then the package looks like a success. If it gets swept aside then they look like failures.
I used to be a trader and I would spend loads of time each day looking at charts. In the back of my mind I have a big concern – the FTSE peaked at around 7,000 in 2000 and then nose dived spectacularly to hit 3,500 in 2003. It then staged an amazing recovery, nearly hitting 7,000 again in 2007. This is a very real crash underpinned by major financial concerns – the natural behaviour looks to be to test the low of 2003 again, which unfortunately is over 800 points down from where we are now. I sincerely hope we don’t go down there.
Enough tittle-tattle. I see that Weather Front, a horse I tried to buy a while back runs today. He has a tough task on conceding weight all round in his first run for a new stable, but he was a nice type who looked progressive. I may back him small if I can drag myself away from watching the markets. Skid Solo runs tomorrow, and must have a great chance. Major Eazy should make his long awaited comeback on Saturday in a group 3.