Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sir Richard Branson in fine form

There are many reasons to admire Richard Branson. A self-made entrepreneur who took some massive risks to get started, correctly assessed market sentiment, and continues to build wealth and employ tens of thousands around the world, has done "the community" a greater service than any single politician or bureaucrat, whose resume points to the fact that government can only destroy, confiscate and redistribute wealth.

He is in fine form here as he lashes out against the socialist British government for their nationalisation of Northern Rock (my comments in red)

Virgin chief Richard Branson has accused British Prime Minister Gordon Brown of having "bottled out" of the Northern Rock crisis in a move that will "haunt" him.

The British entrepreneur wanted to take over the stricken bank but Brown's government nationalised it instead due to a "lack of courage", Branson has told the Daily Mail newspaper.

And he warned that the "tragic error" would cast a shadow over the government for years to come.

The collapse of the mortgage lender last September has been a key point in Brown's 15-month premiership and was a bellwether moment as the economic downturn kicked in.

Branson's Virgin Group was behind one of two private takeover bids which finance minister Alistair Darling rejected saying they would not give taxpayers value for money (?!?!?! - and forcing the taxpayer to buy-out a failed bank is somehow value ?!!?) as he confirmed the temporary nationalisation in February.

"Brown was more concerned with tomorrow's news than jobs," Branson said.

"He didn't care about saving a great British institution. Brown bottled out. He was scared of the prospect of me, a capitalist, turning the bank around.

"Darling didn't even have the courtesy to ring and tell me of their decision!

"I expected the courtesy of a call, especially as they promised me that if they decided to nationalise they would let me know first. Then I heard rumours that the BBC was about to break the news.

"So I rang Darling. It was tense. As we were talking, the news broke on the TV. Unbelievable! Then I got a call from Gordon Brown telling me to move on and not to make a nuisance of myself about the decision.

"It was a tragic error. I would have created thousands of new jobs, but instead it has been made to disappear. It will haunt this government and those who follow it." (You're only half right Richard - governments are never held accountable for their mistakes and it won't haunt them because they will be retired living off a comfortable pension in a few years )