No credit for ratings agency accountability

From: Tim Hale, Chairman, Champion Hire Ltd, Roman Ridge Road, Sheffield.

WHAT is it about the credit rating agencies that makes them so all-knowing? Who runs them? Who controls them? Who manages them? Who regulates them ?

It’s not so long ago that the main role that these agencies had was to tell us whether a company was a good risk or a bad risk.

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I do believe that they occasionally still do that, but they have moved on to better things. Now, we wait with bated breath to see which country is going to be derated by a notch or a notch and a bit. We’ve had Greece, Italy, France and more. What about Germany? Or us? Or why not do a whole continent next time?

Who gives these people the right to stand in such untouchable judgment, for goodness sake? Have we all accepted that they are “independent and proud of it” or is there some vested interest to be served somewhere?

We have investment companies – companies – actually pronouncing on, and seriously affecting the entire economy of countries. Where is the transparency and fairness here? Where is the responsibility? How can this be an objective analysis? And who is actually making money out of it? It seems that no one regulates these agencies and yet the media and the markets hang on their every word. How long is this going to last before we all wise-up to their real objectives and get some effective regulation in place?

Sorry, this piece ends here, it’s not a rhetorical question – I have no idea of the answer. I just felt that someone should keep asking the questions.

Europhile menace

From: Nick Martinek, Briarlyn Road, Huddersfield.

THE euro is an average currency. As such, it has become too expensive for some of the participating countries, notably Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain (PIIGS), making their exports uncompetitive. And it is now too cheap for others, enabling Germany in particular to engage in “mercantilism”, which is the policy of gaining a competitive edge in export markets in this case with an undervalued currency. This is the eurozone productivity crisis, and it is seldom mentioned in the media.

It is on top of the ongoing eurozone banking and sovereign debt crises currently dominating the news. These multiple euro crises are severely detrimental to the well-being of the UK. Our exports to the PIIGS countries are hit by their debt crises, whilst our global exports are undermined by German mercantilism.

Such are the consequences of the euro, unintended or otherwise. Into this maelstrom steps our intrepid PM, David Cameron. Not satisfied with declaring that the Conservatives will never take the UK out of the EU, he insists against all the evidence that a strong euro is good for the UK. Moreover he backs up these europhile views with our tax money: £10bn in loans and guarantees direct to Eire, and £30bn to the IMF to prop up the euro, with probably more largesse at our, and our children’s, expense to come.

Like other europhiles, Mr Cameron is thus a menace to the well-being of the UK.

Extradition consultation

From: Peter Howard Smith, Poplar Terrace, Bentley, Doncaster.

after the recent extradition court case of Richard O’Dwyer (Yorkshire Post, January 14), his mother stated: “I’m disappointed with this Government for signing us up to this treaty.”

However, Mrs O’Dwyer is mistaken in thinking it was this Government that signed the treaty. The treaty to which she refers, is the Extradition Act 2003. As Tony Blair was Prime Minister at that time, it isn’t really fair to blame the coalition.

In opposition, Conservatives and Liberals opposed the act, but as yet, they have not repealed it. Theresa May announced in September 2010 that there was to be a 12-month review of all extradition laws. I am not aware that there has been any further publicised news on the subject.

Culpability excused

From: Wendy Cook, Prince of Wales Terrace, Scarborough.

HERE we go again. Yet another blunder by the “suits” in the NHS (Yorkshire Post, January 14).

I can see the merits of telemonitoring vulnerable patients in their own homes, to enable GPs to intervene at the earliest stage, but where was the communication between GPs and the PCT?

Clinicians are pivotal in new regimes within the NHS. They are at the sharp end whereas managers (in various guises) spend more time moving paper around and protecting their backs, than showing true concern for vulnerable patients.

Perhaps those who have messed-up could be re- deployed or, better still, fired with no fat pay-off, saving us much needed revenue and further gross wastage?

Is there no such thing as genuine culpability any more?