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A sub-primer to the crunch/ crisis/recession/ depression*

A is for Applegarth, Adam. The boss of Northern Rock when it experienced the first run on a British bank in 100 years.

B is also for Bradford and Bingley. See above.

B is also for bailout. See above.C is for credit crunch. If only this were simply the rubbish name of an expensive breakfast cereal.

D is also for deflation. Wasn’t inflation meant to be the big problem? Oops. E is for emigration. There are some countries that have been unaffected by the credit crunch. Unfortunately they are Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea and Zimbabwe.

F is for fiscal policy. Only a cynic would say there is no fiscal policy. Just because this week’s policy is different to last month’s does not mean it is not there. Also see U-turn.G is for golden rule. Prudence and fiscal responsibility were Gordon Brown’s overriding aims as Chancellor but, on closer inspection, the golden rule turns out to be merely gilded tin – cheap, flexible and ultimately not worth very much.

H is also for H Lloyds TSBOS. Britain’s superbank could have a 30 per cent share of the UK mortgage market.

J is for junk. From junk bonds (of which there are plenty around now) to junk food, as people turn to comfort eating. L is for Lehman Brothers. Chief executive Richard Fuld told a US Senate oversight committee that the Lehman bonus structure worked well to reward long-term success. His $310m of salary, bonuses and share options don’t seem such great value to everyone else.

M is also for mortgage-backed securities. Despite being the cause of the credit crunch, large swathes of the population still have no real idea what MBSs, CDSs and CDOs are or how they work. But at least they are in good company as many bankers and regulators don’t seem to know either.M is also for Mandelson. Things must be bad for Gordon Brown to recall Mandy from his European exile. Any guesses for how long he’ll last this time around?N is for ninja. No income, no job or assets was originally a derogatory term for loans made to poor sub-prime borrowers in the US. Can now be used to describe anyone in investment banking.

N is for nationalisation. It could make a meeting with your bank manager more interesting. Do you still have to wear a suit if you own the bank? P is for property. Not worth as much as we thought, apparently. P does not stand for prosperity. That was an error in the 2007 dictionary and has since been corrected.

Q is for quilt. A nice thick one works very well when you can’t afford the heating.R is for run on the bank. Like buses, you wait for ages for one to arrive and then three all come at once.

R is also for recession and repossessionT is for tripartite regulation. The decision to split oversight of the economy three ways, with no one body having final responsibility does not seem to have been the glorious success we were led to believe. A traffic warden in a tricorn hat may have been more effective.

U is for U-turn. You may have been under the impression that the Government was against tax cuts and excessive Government spending. You clearly have not been paying attention and this should in no way be seen as a change in this Government’s approach to financial management.

W is for Woolworths. The high street’s most high-profile casualty to date. Life will never be the same for teenage shoplifters.

Y is for yield. See below


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