Daily Mail 2009: Ratings agencies ‘critical’, 2012: ‘Doom-mongers’

Alex Hern looks at some classic Daily Mail hypocrisy


Following the news that the credit ratings agency (CRA) Moody’s has put the UK on negative outlook, those of us who are concerned about the level of power these agencies wield suddenly have a number of new allies.

Some of them are really quite surprising indeed, including the City editor (since 2010) of the Daily Mail, Alex Brummer:

In 2009:

Clearly, the verdict of the credit rating agencies is critical. For many investors it is the only guide they have when making investments in sovereign debt or fixed rate instruments.

So they are vital to government funding and yield levels. The worse the rating the more the government has to pay for its borrowing.

And in 2012:

Instead of being in thrall to these faceless, self-appointed doom-mongers who present themselves as guardians of countries’ creditworthiness, the Government should look elsewhere for a more accurate barometer of our economic health.

No matter how questionably timed their new love of democratic accountability may be, the support of commentators like Brummer – and the Telegraph’s Jeremy Warner, who is railing against the “self-appointed lords of finance” – is appreciated. But what comes next?

Will they support the calls of the Party of European Socialists for regulation of the ratings agencies? Will they advise the chancellor to ignore the agencies’ advice to cut further and faster, and instead take up the cause of economic stimulus?

Or will they conveniently forget their big words next time they can make an appeal to authority to support their utterly discredited ideological economic program? Time will tell.

See also:

Osborne’s austerity is failing at the one thing it’s supposed to doAlex Hern, February 14th 2012

Credit rating agencies weigh in on independent ScotlandAlex Hern, February 6th 2012

European socialists call for regulation of the ratings agenciesAlex Hern, January 18th 2012

No, Gideon, low gilt yields aren’t good news, and here’s whyCormac Hollingsworth, November 16th 2011

The current crisis: brought to you politician by inaction and unaccountable credit rating agenciesGeorge Irvin, August 8th 2011

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