Friday, July 11, 2008

The Credit Crunch and Glasgow East

Lighter blogging than usual this week, mainly due to the small matters of a house purchase and a by-election. I finished up at Westminster on Monday, came back to Scotland on Tuesday, signed paperwork with my solicitor on Wednesday, and have spent the rest of the week alternating between campaigning in Glasgow, and trying to get a lender to release funds.

After growling at them yesterday, I was delighted to learn that the funds were now ready to release. However, since I'm away from home, getting the cheque sent to my home address was not ideal. So, in an attempt to get round this, after explaining my predicament, I asked them to make a CHAPS payment to my bank account instead, which I would pay for. The conversation with the major high street lender then went something like this:

MHSL - “We can't do that”

RT - “Nonsense. You're a bank – you must do this sort of thing all the time!”

MHSL - “We only do it for people who have accounts with us”.

RT - “Come off it – do you mean can't or won't?”

MHSL - “But we don't normally do it”.

RT - “In that case, can you extraordinarily do it?”

MHSL - “...”

RT - “Well?”

MHSL - “You'll need to speak to another department...

20 minutes later....

RT - “So this is what I'd like to happen...”

MHSL - “We can't do that. It's not allowed”

RT - “Not allowed by whom?”

MHSL - “The FSA – our regulator”

RT - “??! In that case, can you post the cheque to another address?”

MHSL - “No. For security reasons”.

RT - “OK then. Can you send the cheque to my bank?”

MHSL - “No. For security reasons”.

RT - “In that case, could you maybe send it to one of your own branches, so I can pick it up from them?”

MHSL - “No. We're not allowed to - for security reasons.”

RT – [Banging head off table] “What do you suggest then?

MHSL - “One of our branches could print you a cheque.”

RT - “Fantastic! I'll go to the nearest one straight away”

Half an hour later, at the branch of said MHSL, my request was met with bafflement, before they realised that this particular section of said MHSL wasn't able to issue a cheque, because the monies were coming from the other part of said MHSL which operates only in England. We then spent another 30 minutes on hold before spending a further 15 minutes once more going through the rigmarole detailed above. Then came the piece de resistance – the suggestion that I find a branch of the English section of said MHSL instead of the Scottish one – something which would have required a 200 mile round trip on my part!

So, because said MHSL can't be arsed doing an electronic transfer; because it doesn't trust the security of my bank, the security of its own branches OR the security of an address I say is safe, my cheque will get entrusted to an unsecure postal system to go from Yorkshire to Edinburgh to be redirected to South London, where it will sit until such time as I can either head back down to London, or arrange for a housemate to forward it on. Way to go, guys. Way to go.

Anyway, at least there was some cheer in today's opinion polls. The Telegraph, as ever, were determined to try to paint it as bleakly as possible for the SNP, but how can you play down figures which show that you're up 15% in Westminster voting intentions to 33%, while Labour are down 11 on 29%, with the Lib Dems down 9 to 20%? And how could it not warm the cockles of a nationalist heart to see that 49% of those polled wanted the SNP to win in Glasgow East, compared to 33% for Labour?

So, a third of Scots intend to vote SNP for Westminster, but nearly half want to see us give Labour a right kicking on the 24th? No wonder John Robertson MP looked so edgy on the STV news this evening :-)

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