The Money Shot – August 3, 2012

Merv's gonna get Medieval
  • | by Kristian Dando


Somewhere, deep beneath the City of London, the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England convene in their secret underground lair.

A crack brotherhood of white, male, middle-aged financial minds, their names - Paul Fisher, Spencer Dale, Martin Weale, amongst others – are spoken in hushed reverence in the monetary kingdom. Their leader, Mervyn King, sits exalted at the head of the table, chewing a roast swan’s leg, clutching a chalice of mead. They are the chosen keepers of the base rate of interest. Their decision – to raise or lower the 0.5% rate which has hung over the kingdom of Britannia for many moons – can have a profound impact on the savings and mortgages of millions. King stands, and a hushed silence descends on the room.

“Forsooth!” quoth Mervyn. “Are we to change the base rate of interest this month? What say ye, men?”

“Aye!” cries a voice. “For too long have savers been putting up with meager interest rates. Now is the time to finally raise the base rate! Are we men? Or great big nancies? The time of waiting is surely over. Now is the time for action!”

An almighty hullaballoo breaks out. There is much joshing and shouting. Fingers are pointed. Spittle is flecked. The Money Shot is sure it can hear Brian Blessed somewhere in the clamour.

“But men!” bellows Mervyn. “What of the homeowners, and those with loans? Raising the rate of interest will surely deprive these men and women of much-needed capital in testing times? Changing the base rate now would surely be madness. We must stick by our decision and hold firm.”

The committee falls silent again, as the full weight of Mervyn’s words begin to sink in. One by one, the men begin to nod in approval.

“So lads!” cries Mervyn. “I’ll ask ye again. To raise, or not to raise? That is the question.”

“NAY!” comes the cry of the committee, in unison, as their gauntleted fists punch the air.

“So be it,” says Mervyn, sagely, with a nod. “Wench!” he calls, to a comely serving maid. “More mead!”

To read more about medieval Britain, you have to check out 'The Last King of Wales: Gruffudd ap Llywelyn, c.1013-63' by Michael & Sean Davies. "Arguably the greatest book of all time"- Sean Davies. Available from all good bookshops and online outlets.


“We are in a chastening period for the banking industry. The consequences of the sector's past over-expansion are still being accounted for, probably with some way still to go."

Stephen Hester, RBS chief executive, reflects on the company’s £1.5bn loss.


There’s something uniquely British about rooting for the underdog - maybe it’s our past as our small island nation which has punched above its weight on the world stage. Sometimes there are triumphs – Sir Francis Drake’s modest navy beating the mighty Spanish Armada. But even if our underdogs are more-often-than not in the mould of Frank Bruno, Tim Henman and Eddie the Eagle, we get behind them nonetheless.

But when it comes to energy suppliers, most of us tend to choose to back huge monolithic corporations over smaller outfits. This week offered a tantalising reason not to.

Good Energy, a renewables specialist and relative minnow in the great gas and electricity bun fight, slashed its prices by 5%, citing wholesale energy prices - the justification usually trotted out to explain massive hikes. Fellow underdog Ovo Energy recently announced a 4.5% price drop for its customers, too.

The ‘big six’ – so often criticised for being quick to pass on the costs when they rise, but not being so forthcoming when the big energy cash & carry cuts its prices - were conspicuous by their silence on the matter, amid calls to give hard-pressed consumers a break. British Gas owner Centrica, which announced a positively bumper £1.5bn profit last week, reckoned that “the trend for tariffs remains upwards”.

Translated from woolly corporate speak to plain English, this means that bills are going to carry on getting more and more expensive for their customers. Time to make a switch?


NatWest has only gone and started a mortgage war. Fortunately, no Austrian dukes were shot – they’ve just introduced a lowest-ever, five-year fixed mortgage.

A night out at the pictures can vary in price by as much as £32 depending on where you live, according to ITV’s Tonight programme.

Shares in social networking site Facebook plummeted to their lowest point after it was revealed there were 83 million fake accounts. DISLIKE.

Simple financial products are to carry a treasury ‘kitemark’, much in the way trusted brands of prophylactics do.


Never had a credit card before? Fear not. Rachel England has all you need to know.

The laptop has become the most precious item in most Brits’ homes, according to a bit of research we carried out.

The PPI mis-selling debacle has hit £10bn.


The story of foreign nationals trying to get into Britain via the back door by stowing away in lorries is a well-worn one and the source of much tabloid ire. But a recent case had a twist – the stowaway in this case has four legs, whiskers and goes by the name of Yonda.

The small cat boarded a lorry the Turkish capital of Ankara several weeks ago…. and ended up in Kent after a nine-day trip via Instanbul. The plucky puss was discovered by staff at haulage firm Davies Turner when the vehicle was unloaded. She is currently in quarantine, but will then be moved to her local Cats Protection centre, where it’s hoped somebody will take her in permanently.

Cats Protection's Heather McCann said: “We can only imagine she jumped into the trailer to find somewhere warm to sleep, I'm sure she never expected to wake up in England. We're now appealing to the public for funds to help pay the remainder of Yonda's quarantine fees, and the costs involved in looking after her at Cats Protection while we seek to find her a loving new home.”

Join us for another thrilling installment of THE MONEY SHOT. In the meantime, why not email the editor with your letters. If we print them, you could receive a prized stationery set and an autographed picture of Gio Compario, star of our ad campaign. Three are up for grabs every week. (Promoter: Ltd)
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