It’s an odd day when Soapy Joe is correct

Government minister Jacob Rees-Mogg’s investment firm has been criticised for exploiting the coronavirus crisis after telling clients it provided a chance to make “super normal returns”.

Somerset Capital Management (SCM), which manages investments in emerging markets, told clients that the dive in stock market valuations around the world since the pandemic took hold had made “excellent entry points for investors”.

Cue outrage, blah, blah.

Keir Starmer, the new leader of the Labour party, said: “Nobody should be seeking to take advantage of this crisis. We should all be asking ourselves what we can do for our country and each other.”

The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, said: “This attitude is about as sick as it comes. Profit seeking from people’s suffering is nearly as low as you can get. When we come through this we need a windfall tax on the profiteers.”

Investors buying cheap stocks is a bad idea apparently. And what has the world come to?

However, Jolyon Maugham, the campaigning lawyer who backed legal action against Brexit, described the criticism as “a bit silly”.

“No fan of Rees-Mogg, and of course super-profits must be properly taxed, but this is a bit silly. SCM wants to invest in bombed out share prices. This is actually a good thing as higher share prices will make it easier for those businesses to attract fresh capital and survive,” Maugham said on Twitter.

When Soapy Joe’s the rational one in the room you know society has a significant problem.

30 thoughts on “It’s an odd day when Soapy Joe is correct”

  1. Tomorrow’s story:

    Major high street retailer collapses costing 50,000 jobs and taking the pension funds with it.

    Keir Starmer, the new leader of the Labour party, said: “The government should have seen this coming and done more to help people in these difficult times.”

    The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, said: “I lay the blame for this at the door of JRM and his band of capitalist scum, who should have injected much needed capital into the company.”

  2. Shite like Starmer and McNasty will soon be having a field day midst economic ruin.

    At present they are whinging Blojo hasn’t done enough to ruin the economy with lockdown hysteria.

    But once it dawns on all that coro is a two bit nothing the scummy left and their MSM agents will turn on a sixpence and their own even more stupid hyst will be forgotten as the tell everyone how they knew Johnson was ruining us all with ludicrous over-reaction to winter flu+.

    And we have always been at war with EastAsia. Orwell knew them of old. In the real world they won’t denounce anyone who points out their own former statements –as they did in 1984.

    In the real world the MSM will ensure the blanket of silence descends. Frightened jobless mugs won’t care much and will easily swap fawning over Johnson for calling for his head.

  3. Utterly shameless. They both know perfectly well what they’re saying is bullshit, but they also know that many thickies amongst the electorate and indeed in the shadow cabinet will lap this up.

  4. People can be very good in one field and absolutely terrible in another. The legions of armchair epidemiologists and virologists that have sprung up recently are testament to this. I’d even wager that Murphy is a competent accountant, even while he fails at absolutely everything else in life.

  5. Maybe we need some amateur epiddys–the supposed real ones have a track record of bullshit and failure a mile long.

    With their crowning achievement being the likely ruining of the world’s economy.

  6. @Andrew M “I’d even wager that Murphy is a competent accountant”

    I think you’d lose.

    He trained as one but from what I know, his practice never had any complex clients and that ended in around 2000. Since then he’s not done much accounting and virtually none in the last 15 years.

    Like everything, he approaches accounting as if it is how he thinks it ought to be. Rules he doesn’t agree with he simply won’t bother to learn. I suspect he’d be completely lost if working on anything bigger than a corner shop.

  7. MC – I don’t think it’s shamelessness. All my lefty friends are joining in the chorus. They simply can’t grasp that investing in viable and promising companies when their share price is depressed is hugely beneficial – to the company, its employees, the consumer and finances of governments.

    Now is a great time to invest.

  8. @Andrew C,

    Yes, I wouldn’t let him loose on anything over £632k turnover (micro-entities rules), and yes I’m referring to his skills 20 years ago, while he was still practicing.

    The overall point is that one can be good in one field – an expert even – but this leads to overconfidence (and Dunning-Kruger effect) in other fields.

    Jolyon is probably a decent lawyer too; he’s just blinded by his activist zeal.

  9. After 9/11 one of the partners at the Firm I worked for sent an email around to the rest of us encouraging us to “invest in America”, i.e. get back in or add to our investments in U.S. companies, especially the ones that were hardest hit, such as the airlines. Meant it purely as a patriotic move & I agreed, called my broker & told him to do so with a bit of my available funds. A few days later I called him to ask why he hadn’t done it yet, & he said he was waiting because he thought the market was going to fall a little more & he was waiting for the bottom. Sigh. I wasn’t sure whether I should have fired him or been impressed.

  10. “People can be very good in one field and absolutely terrible in another.”

    Exactly. Super Doctor Fauci wants the entire U.S. on lockdown until there are no more cases of WuFlu. None. From his tunnel vision of medicine, I get it. But it’s a useless prescription.

    Frankly, his failure to note it is a character flaw.

  11. My explanation for Soapy Joe is to gain a title. Unkind of me I know but a peerage would go a long way to assuaging those feelings over his entire cword of a father.

  12. Doctors are generally textbook examples of Dunning–Kruger. Even before they took to being Chief Priests and Pharisees of Coronavirus, they were lecturing us on how we should live with no apparent recognition that their dietary advice has been wrong for over half a century.

    The sciences in general are pretty bad for this (possibly because so many of them are [a] smart enough to know they’re smart but not smart enough to internalise the Socratic paradox; and [b] on the spectrum).

    Remember that computer guy who thought being good at statistical modelling and editing Wikipedia made him an authority on how the entire global economy should be restructured to deal with Gorbal Worming?

    “Physician, heal thyself”, said a man who at least had the qualification of also being God. Doctors are pettier and more tyrannical minor deities by far.

  13. “Keir Starmer … said: “Nobody should be seeking to take advantage of this crisis”

    Said a lawyer.

  14. The Meissen Bison

    Unkind of me I know but a peerage would go a long way to assuaging those feelings over his entire cword of a father.

    What title would he take? (‘Lord Renard’ not available)

  15. AndrewM: “People can be very good in one field and absolutely terrible in another. “

    There’s even a name for it: The Shoe Button Complex.

    “Munger’s grandfather had managed to corner the market on shoe buttons back around 1900. The grandfather exercised a virtual monopoly over their production and sale. Emboldened by his business acumen, the old man grew to believe that he not only knew more than anyone about shoe buttons but that he knew more than anyone about anything — and he preached and proclaimed at length on such.”

  16. Philip Scott Thomas

    Unkind of me I know but a peerage would go a long way to assuaging those feelings over his entire cword of a father.

    I had no idea who Maugham’s pa is, so I looked him up. Wikipedia says his name is David Benedictus, whose greatest crime seems to have been writing a sequel to the Winnie the Pooh book.

    Obviously I’m missing something.

  17. Nerd, it’s been replaced by the Hollywood Complex. They don’t even have to be good at anything, yet still tell us how to live.

  18. Didn’t Rothschild save the British economy by contining to buy shares as they plummeted during the Napoleonic War? The side effect was that he ended up immensely weathly, but without him the entire economy would have gone bust.

  19. Given the size of the US and differences between the states in terms of population density and other factors I do wonder at the one size fits all approach, I saw the governor of Iowa (I think) was criticised for not going to full on shelter at home lockdown status saying what they were doing was appropriate for them. The media was full of how dare they argue with Fauci as he’s the expert and knows better etc.

  20. The truth, BniC, is that nobody is an expert on this virus, its being “novel”. So the best we can hope for is people who know a lot about other respiratory viruses that prey on humans, swine, chooks, ducks, and so forth. And most of them will understand nothing about economies: maybe the best bet would be vets.

    As for Fauci he now says things that directly contradict his advice of a few weeks back. He’d probably say that the evidence changed. I’d say that he’s just a daft old chump (lets hope he’s not a crook) who didn’t see the danger of this thing when even a virus-ignoramus like me could see that it was going to be trouble. And because all sorts of people poo-poo’d the problem, the reaction when it came was all rather panic-stricken, hurried, ill-prepared, and lacking in analytical thinking. The hysteria from the media, at least in the UK, has also been “unhelpful” as Sir Humphrey would presumably have said.

    So now we have social constraints imposed some of which make little sense, and a tumult of problems on the horizon.

  21. SC not on lockdown. Infection rate: 0.04%.

    NYC on lockdown. Infection rate: 0.77%.

    Lockdown area has nearly 20 times the infection rate. Maybe cooping up Yankees is like trying to herd cats.

  22. Population density would play a large part in infection rate? And likely very different levels of testing.
    Seem to recall an idea about having low/mid/high risk areas then lift restrictions accordingly, my guess would be as the big cities are the high bit there will be a mass outcry by the media (who tend to be concentrated there) about how unfair this would be

  23. A prominent businessman round here will never let lawyers settle a case. He says they always think of the legal aspects, whereas business folk need a business solution. He hires expensive lawyers, of course, he just doesn’t let them run any negotiations.

    You never let a specialist outside their own field run things. Their focus is wrong.

  24. It’s always reassuring to know that referring to Soapy Joe as a bastard isn’t likely to lead to a slander/libel accusation.

  25. jgh. “shares as they plummeted during the Napoleonic War” Joint stock companies came rather later than that, so shares in what? Government bonds maybe.

  26. Yes, bonds. Rothschild had a pigeon post arrangement. So, he knew that Nosey had won, Boney lost, a day before the market, while the market was thinking the reverse. Bought and made a lot.

    A more cynical explanation is that he knew that all knew he had the pigeon post arrangement. So, when he was seen selling the rush started, at which point he reversed to buying.

    Joint stock companies had been very out of favour – if memory serves, other than those approved by a specific Act of P – since South Sea Bubble a century before. So, by and large, there weren’t any. Govt bonds were the only action.

  27. Joint Stock Companies Act 1844.
    Before that a private Act of Parliament was required to create each company.

  28. Lockdown. SC gubernator did so well for so long, but as the CV scare comes to an end, he caved.

    A golfing buddy said he read all twelve pages of the regulation. (We played golf at an alt course today – it was glorious.) He said it has no impact on me at all. I can still ride the moto, go catfishing, walk da ‘hood, ride the Schwinn, and play golf. Only deal is that the marina office is closed, and I can no longer buy gasoline there. But slip renters are now bringing in their own gas. Against the rules, but no one cares. Since bringing in a couple of gallons will cost me half of what marina charges, it actually a PLUS.

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