Fraser Nelson apparently believes he has some standing to complain about other people’s accounting. He is very angry about a Tory party political broadcast in which he says David Cameron “tells porkies”. In fact I count 12 occasions in which he accuses the prime minister of lying. Further, he says:
Financiers are, quite literally, prosecuted for this kind of thing.
This sudden attack of rectitude is highly noticeable.
Here is Fraser Nelson trying to claim that the UK’s debt to GDP ratio in 2008 was 400%. I think what he did was including all the UK banking system’s short-term paper, ignoring all its assets, and not netting-out liabilities between UK businesses.
Here is Fraser Nelson deciding that hang the ONS and Eurostat, he’ll decide to count PFI payments as part of the national debt.
Apparently it was OK when the Tories did it, but not when Labour did it.
Here is Fraser Nelson promising that it’s even worserer, and the national accounts will actually turn out worse than the forecasts. This isn’t dishonest, just wrong; in the spring of 2010, the PSNCR repeatedly turned out better than forecast, which could have been and was predicted as the forecasts were based on Q4 2008 figures.
Here’s Fraser Nelson in December 2009 saying that the UK has joined Zimbabwe by printing money. He could have said that we’d joined the United States of America, too.
Here he is trying to count household debts in with the government deficit.
Here’s Fraser Nelson deciding to count in the debts (but not the assets) of the banks and a large sum of pension liabilities, fairly transparently in order to get to a figure of 100% of GDP, although why you’d bother if you’d already achieved 400% is beyond me.
And here’s the big finish: in the same piece he declares that the debt is more than Italy’s, is 400% of GDP, and then:
What will be more worrying is that, uniquely, most of Britain’s debt is short-term. This broke country must somehow repay most of this debt before next Christmas. And if it can’t? Then we really do get to apocalypse now: Britain losing its AAA credit rating and possibly seeking IMF bail-out because no one else will lend at anything below loan shark rates.
The average maturity of UK government debt was 14 years at the time, and he seems to be talking about government debt, although you’re never sure with Nelson what bullshit pseudonumber he’s pulled out of his arse this minute.
The worst of it is the yelling “Fire!” in the crowded theatre. No. It wasn’t yelling “Fire!”, it was yelling “Flood! Terrorists! Earthquake! Zombies! Anything but fire! Fire is impossible!” Most of these links are from the winter of 2008, when panic-mongering could really have had serious consequences.
Well, perhaps he’s changed his mind? Jeune pute, vieille sainte as the French say? I don’t think so. If he and his rag were in better odour with the Tory leadership, he’d be out there banging the drum for George Osborne. Instead, he’s seen the signs and is desperately sucking up to Boris Johnson, the king over the water. He is simply a political hack who would say anything to serve his career.
Oh yes, as a reward for patience, here’s another example of his judgment.
Barack Hussein Obama, president of America, died last night aged 96 at his family home in Jakarta. His one-term presidency coincided with the American debt crisis, which ended its status as the world’s pre-eminent superpower.
Yeah well, tell it to bin Laden…