A Depressed Market

It may be a legitimate business practice but, like  rate-fixing at the banks, back-to-back house selling looks pernicious. It may have been an owner’s only hope of selling in a depressed market, they may have been grateful for the money, but the act of offering low in the knowledge of a high sale later looks exploitative. Legitimate companies do this, buying your house for cash in seven days knowing they can make a quick profit from buyers the vendor was unable to locate. It is, to be brutal, a function of a market – you buy at one price and sell on for another.

Setting aside the glee of the partisan, it only becomes a problem because of three factors. First is the obvious point that you can’t play the progressive humanitarian card in public life while behind the scenes, albeit years ago, your actions appear to contradict that. Were Michelle Thomson a Tory MP, nobody would be surprised and there would be no controversy – it’s what we expect. There is for example a member of the Cabinet who ran an online scam which appears to have been fraudulent but, despite a little flurry of media ooh ering…nothing. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/shortcuts/2015/mar/16/grant-shapps-business-mp-conservative-chairman-michael-green

The Labour Party was never free from the taint of real corruption from the moment Bernie Ecclestone walked out the door of Number 10 with a smile. A rogue’s gallery through Michael Meacher and cash-for honours to Alistair Darling’s £10,000 talks to NHS privatisers and Gordon Brown’s million pound office in North Queensferry framed the Labour years.

But the SNP has set a gold standard for moral rectitude and used it to assault the other parties…all part of the ritual dance, no doubt, but mother to a revenge tendency born of humiliation.

Second, this isn’t a used car or a three-piece suite, it’s someone’s home. This makes it a particularly sensitive and deeply human affair whatever the prevarications and retrospective outrage on show. Your home is a fundamental to your existence and wellbeing so, however much we play mind Monopoly with house prices, it isn’t something to be casually abused for someone else’s profit. (Lawyers apart, obviously). The unattractive side is that Thomson or her agent looked the vendor in the eye and offered a bid price in the knowledge that there was a much higher sum available, a sum that would soon be theirs.

Lastly, this case is feeding the media beast. It is dead easy to portray it as crooked and corrupt. Here is one of the media’s favourites – ‘vulnerable people’ – albeit the same ones the journalists pester after murders, hoodwink or pay for photos of the bereaved, or hack their families’ phones when they go missing. The hand-wringing over the type of folk they are otherwise happy to picture in The Scheme is the hypocrisy of the shameless. On STV, the otherwise professional and respected Dave Cowan asked Mrs Wright: ‘Do you feel you’ve been led up the garden path?’ That is what our friends in wigs and gowns like to call a leading question. It showed the zeal for pursuing the narrative – everybody else is doing it, so we have to do it too. Poor, vulnerable wifey (who knowingly signed a contract and seems to have pocketed in the region of £30,000) and dirty, guilty SNP MP.

Heaven knows if there are other issues about conveyancing, valuing, registry, Stamp Duty (at the time) or whatever. The lawyer has sure paid a high price for it all.

But you can tell by the blood lust that this won’t stop until there is a second body. Even the normally sane are losing it in the frenzy. Professor Gerry Hassan, now a tabloid hack for the Labourite Sunday Mail, expands it into a metaphor for the Scottish state and the SNP monopoly of it. Apparently the business dealings of a woman that predate her move into politics – and the obligatory TinthePark confection – are proof of the Fall of the Roman Empire. https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/gerry-hassan/nationalism-alone-is-not-enough-snp-finally-shows-it-is-mortal

I expect Nicola to drop Michelle Thomson, based on previous cases. She is focussed on what matters as a real leader must be and part of the job is accepting casualties and setbacks before moving on. Everybody else is expendable. There has been a notable lack of public support for Jennifer Dempsie despite a notable lack of evidence against her either.

A last thought…isn’t it a pity that the same brave journalists pursuing a woman politician over an old business routine had shown the same guts to take on Vitol when its boss, the Tory-donating Ian Taylor, gave £500,000 to Better Together? Now there was a tainted financial deal if ever there was – accepted by Darling and, Henry McLeish apart, not a single Labour voice raised against.


There was barely a ripple outside the Herald from the indignant Thomson-chasers, preferring when the heat came on, to hide under the duvet. Who cared among the journalistic tribe that our democratic process was infected by Vitol which hired the Interpol target Arkan, responsible for multiple murders and bank robberies before being classed a war criminal, in order to settle an account in the Balkans? Who was outraged that Taylor’s company was fined millions for grand larcency in New York? It isn’t of course moral equivalence to Thomson – the BT donation was much, much worse than that. It just didn’t suit the obsequious Scottish Press to do their job.

As the BBC motto (nearly) says: Nation Shall Speak Pish Unto Nation.

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27 thoughts on “A Depressed Market

  1. Hmmm…. Derek,

    I agree with your assessment of the lack of journalistic integrity in pursuing previous and contemporary misdeeds with regard to others, but, you appear to have fallen into the same trap as MSM by judging before hearing the evidence.

    I’ve read several accounts. Nothing is clear, including which party in the sale made the approach nor why the seller should be annoyed at having made a huge profit on a house for which she received a discount (at taxpayers’ expense), nor why a profit made by the seller should be less moral than the later profit made by the buyer. The UK property market works on increasing prices and it seems that simply being in the property business is enough for some people to hang MT out to dry. It Michelle Thomson is guilty of a crime, then she will have to face consequences, but, so far, she isn’t being investigated.

    What is clear, however, is that Michelle Thomson, in any case, is a victim of a political smear campaign with the obvious intent of damaging the party she represents. The media has been lining her up for weeks. That is the real story and it also has the added bonus of diverting attention from the UK government’s latest threats to the well-being of the population.

    If the fear doesn’t work, let’s try smear.

  2. Derek, rate-fixing is anything but legitimate. Trading property? So a politician has a business history – so what? Just because the press can manufacture a controversy – put it more accurately, plutocrats like the Barclays can buy them – doesn’t make it legitimate.

  3. Oops…

    In earlier comment meant “…why a profit made by the seller should be MORE moral than the later profit made by the buyer.”

  4. Derek, I think you should read the latest Wings piece on this. All is far from what it is being portrayed. You criticise Michelle Thomson, yet the reality is that the Wrights did not have to sell to her company. If unable to sell on the open market they could have waited until their house was repossessed, and probably have emerged from that much worse than they did from the deal they went with. Business is business. People are in business to make profits, and what one business can’t supply another does.

    I feel extremely sorry for everyone in the situation the Wrights appear to have been in, but think it’s a bit rich for you to lay all the blame on Michelle. Lay it on the system instead, lay it on the mortgage lending companies, the banks, but Michelle ‘s company was only offering a service that prevented the Wright’s property from being repossessed – surely an even worse fate than coming out of their deal with a profit.

    The SNP should sit tight until the necessary processes have been gone through. If Michelle has no case to answer then the SNP should welcome her back into the fold. If the braying broadcast media and slavering press think they can topple an SNP MP, then one success will lead to another, and another because the SNP have shown weakness and caved in to bullying. Let the SNP face out the media and shown who actually runs the Scottish Government – the SNP, not the lying and bullying media.

  5. Steve Asaneilean

    If someone has does something illegal that’s usually easy – the law is written down and there are clear processes to go through to judge guilt or innocence together with formal rights of appeal.

    If MT has done something illegal then we must let due process deal with her.

    But we are nowhere near that in this case. Instead we have a lynch mob mentally, armed with lots of hearsay and innuendo but precious few facts, deciding someone is guilty until proved innocent. All this driven by the fascistic partisan political agenda of the MSM.

    All we have at present is a question of morals. But who gets to decide? The whole housing market in this country is immoral in my view and all who participate in it to inflate property values to make a profit for themselves are equally culpable.

    I have done it myself so I am in no position to judge someone else using property to make a profit.

    If MT has done anything illegal then she should pay the price – a price that will almost certainly cost her her role as an MP. It may even cost the SNP a seat at Westminster once the Edinburgh chattering classes decide that they are “holier than thou”.

    But until it becomes clear she has done that it does not seem to me that cutting her loose amounts to strong leadership.

    When it comes to life’s moral maze who can really hold their hand on their heart and claim the rights to throw the first stone?

  6. “Would you say you were led up the garden path”
    Yes I reckon we are all being led up the garden path by media.

  7. There are differing accounts within this media mess of venom. If there is a case to answer, then it should be answered, but I am not taking one iota of notice of the shrill media meltdown until we have definitive answers. Currently there are three or four versions of what went down, all geared towards putting MT in a bad light because she is SNP, and that is the only reason she is being targeted. For her politics and the threat the SNP represents.

  8. The problem for Nicola & the SNP hierarchy is how it looks.

    It’s not the facts, it’s not the truth, it’s not the actuality.

    Michelle Thomson’s misfortune is that she will be metaphorically thrown under the political bus.

    Politics is an unforgiving & ruthless business.

    This example merely reinforces this view.

  9. If nothing else,this should be a warning to all our SNP MPs.
    The London media do not like politicians they cannot control and will go to any lengths to attack Scottish politicians (those not part of the London establishment).
    Be careful,very careful.

  10. The sad fact is that once you set a “Gold Standard” for political behaviour here in the UK, you become a No.1 target for the MSM to try and destroy.

    Its also very much apparent that the MSM in the UK “never lets the facts get in the way of a good story”.

    Its interesting to note that WoS has been checking out some of the claims made in the MSM version of events and found some inexplicable and substantial inconsistencies – see http://wingsoverscotland.com/what-were-told-and-what-we-know/

  11. What a hullabaloo. The only people buying into this fake concern for the down trodden are the uber unionists anyway. Every article or comment on TV usually throws in the obligatory ” she is not under investigation ” but that comes way down, we have all been battered by the bullshit by the time that comes. Just as well us yessers/ SNP supporters can see through this guff. I am not all that keen on the way the system works believe me but its not illegal. The way the press/media operate is widely acknowledged. I remember seeing Antony Stokes on the front page of the sun linked to the attempt at mad dog Adair’s life. As a Rangers fan I’m not in the habit of sticking up for Celtic players but the article had pictures of Stokes coming out of court with the suit on as if he was giving evidence at the trial but as you read further down the journalist mentioned all that connected Stokes to the case was that the numpty who was gony carry this out tried to talk to Stokes in a well known Celtic pub in Glasgow and was chased. That was it but somehow Stokes was linked with gun running and assassination attempts, an absolute disgrace. I’m not sure if Stokes took them to court but I think he would have had every right. I hope Nicola gives MT a chance and if its bullshit then stands by her. All this is made all the more obscene against the back drop of the media,s defense of Carmicheal

  12. There are a number of companies which buy things like houses and cars when the seller has difficulty finding a buyer or just wants a quick sale to avoid the hassle or because they need the money quickly. Anyone going down this route should realise that they are a distressed seller and that the buyer in not going to offer “market” price, whatever that may be, but is going to buy at a substantial discount.

    I recently sold a vehicle on a brokerage basis, not quite the same, but the dealer took a decent cut and I was handed a reasonable cheque which didn’t bounce. I was satisfied with the deal as it took all the hassle and problems out of having to find a private buyer myself. And they valeted the vehicle, Mot’d it, insured it and could offer finance to a buyer. No complaints. A friend sold his car to a car buyer and was very satisfied.

    I spent 3 years trying to sell a house. I was tempted to go to firm which bought houses for cash, knowing full well I would be offered rock-bottom. Eventually a private buyer arrived, a young local person, who offered rock-bottom, but I was happy to accept as it took a weight off my mind and ended a lot of stress. I was satisfied, even though I made a large loss. I fully expect he will make a huge gain when he decides to sell if the market picks up. But that’s the way it works – I’ve made gains too.

    I suppose I was fortunate in that I didn’t need to sell to clear debts, but if you deal with a commercial buyer you must know that you’re not dealing with a charity, and that you’ll have to bargain hard to get a better price. In the end you aren’t compelled to sell to anyone if the price isn’t right. There’s always another option, even if that option is equally unattractive. Of course some people will feel aggrieved, but that is their problem and says as much about them and their naivety as it does of anyone else.

    I wonder if the roles were reversed would the complainant in this case have offered full valuation to buy?

  13. How deep does the media wormhole go. Gerry Hassan, Iain Mcwhirter, Mckenna.

    They are falling in line with the anti SNP agenda. Hassan because he is really a unionist Labour man and sees Corbyn as their saviour. Mcwhirter I just can’t pin down as he flits from thought to thought like a passive aggressive wasp.

    Mckenna is old Labour and not really that passionate about independence.

  14. ” Everybody else is expendable. ”
    How many friends do we abandon to the wolf pack before there are no friends left Derek?

    • dennis mclaughlin

      Derek you are NOT helping..can you not just haud yer wheest ’till the official investigation is over?….
      Feeding Frenzies die out,you really don’t have to dive in too!.

      • Correct Dennis. As the Lord Advocate warned in the Scottish Parliament yesterday that this was a live Police Scotland investigation, and all persons should be guarded in their comments. Personally, out canvassing, this, along with other attempted smears of the S N.P, are falling on deaf ears.

  15. Sorry Derek, but I do not agree.

    I have known from decades ago that the media twists facts. So far I am pretty sure we have had half a story.

    There a few hints that call everything the press into question.

    Apparently the sellers, the Wrights, had a mortgage of £30,000 paid off as part of the deal. How did that happen? We don’t have the details. If they got a loan larger than the purchase price without the mortgagor knowing about it, that is fraud. If they took out more loans or did not make the payments, they have only themselves to blame for the situation they found themselves in.

    Is this is one of the cases the police are investigating? If it is, they are taking a great risk of getting into trouble with the police, so I doubt it. So why is it relevant?

    What the police have said is plain. Michelle Thompson is not being investigated. This is a witch hunt, pure and simple. I am sorry to see you joining in.

    • It goes deeper than that bjsalba. This is only the first salvo being fired in what will be a concentrated attack on the S.N.P. Last year the establishment came close to losing their control over Scotland’s wealth, and they didn’t like it one bit. It doesn’t matter if there is any truth in the allegations, because the M.S.M will promote them for all they are worth. The rich and powerful don’t like losing, so any and every dirty trick will be tried, so they can defeat the independence movement. The question is, will the Scottish people fall for it, or will they see through their lies. Time will tell.

  16. Socrates MacSporran

    The most-sensible comments I have read regarding the Michelle Thomson case have been from the excellent “Lallands Peat Worrier” and, strangely, Ian Smart.

    The ongoing police investigation, which, as far as what is in the public domain, concerns the solicitor and is focussing on possible mortgage fraud. The “victim” if there is a victim, which has still to be established, is the lender – I think Birmingham Midshires BS, which, I understand, is owned by the Bank of Scotland.

    Well, if the solicitor is ever charged, or if Michelle Thomson is ever charged, I hope the public sees the irony, of people being prosecuted for trying to do a financial institution, after what the bankers have been doing to the rest of us for years.

  17. Sorry Derek but you should read Wings today!! You have not helped here and I for one am not happy as you usually are much more fair than this! MT is not under any investigation and has not ever been!! SNP bad and lying MSM (or as someone online today renamed CM.. Corporate Media) must be stopped!

  18. What I can say about what I know about the affair – is that I don’t know. I am pretty certain that for the rest of us, including yourself Derek that you also don’t know. I am at least prepared to await the investigation to see if any wrongdoing has been committed.

    As for selling property at a mark-up. It is the very nature of the beast that property developers and ordinary house owners will always seek to gain more from their property than what they sold it for. Some do and I tip my hat to them. some though, do have to accept a lower offer. There are many property developers who will buy at a roup sale – then sell it on almost immediately – practically the next day. The seller may feel remorse but at the end of the day, but it’s just the way it works. To accuse this woman for operating a business as a business is monstrous hypocrisy. But it is now descending to farcical levels were the MSM are now attacking all SNP mps and msps for owning property, having a mortgage, a car or even spend their wages on home decor. What is monstrous is that the media is filling this couples head with the notions that some sort of heinous crime was committed against them. That some moral outrage was done to them. You may as well declare the entire property market illegal at this point and ban the right to buy any form of property unless you agree to sell it later for considerably less than you paid.

    They are so desperate to tear down the SNP they are tearing at what underpins the very foundations of capitalism to do so. I mean what are they going to suggest? That laws be introduced to prevent anyone selling anything higher than they bought it for? Does that apply to everything? Auctions, ebay, retail markets? Of course they are not, because that is the politics of the yahoo. Also someone will have to remind me at what stage the SNP declared itself to be a champion of whiter than white politics. A party that lived on Sunshine and fresh air and did not need money?

    To paraphrase chewing the fat: “I smell shite”

    What’s different this time is the tempo of the faux outrage. But is nothing more than noise and to paraphrase macbeth this time. these are tales told by idiots, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.

  19. Good piece Derek. Put in perspective well and exposed the hypocrisy of the Lynch mob that’s out for Thomson’s blood. Didn’t know Gerry hassan had gone to Mail – explains a lot about his recent tweets etc.

  20. If you want a property scam, other than Lord Flipper, then look at the sell-off of social housing, sold at a huge discount paid for by taxpayers. And there’s more on the way, transferring public assets to private ownership at knock-down prices. We’ve been taken for mugs. James Meek’s “Private Island..” spells it all out.

  21. Homes under the hammer, Location Location, I’ll stop there because everybody can name one of those shows all over our Television screens encouraging us all to make “Loadsadosh” just like the estate agents and property speculators by buying low and selling high

    It’s a positively laudable thing to do “rounds of applause all round” when you make a big killing, England Toryland is Chokka with folk running around with a paintbrush giving up regular employment to follow their dream of doing exactly what the Government tells them is “Goood”

    Except if you happen to be a SNP MP, and why is that, well it’s not because of Ms Thomson’s house buying skills now is it

    There are a group of people who have decided it’s their mission in life to bring her down, and this is personal, what’s sad about it is at least one of them is a SNP member not a MP or MSP I hasten to add, along with friends in the press ( and we know who you are) and a sillier thing to do I cannot imagine

    The current crop of SNP MPs being attacked is the classic deflection away from the objective and that is the destruction of Ms Thomson which may or may not work long term, but these conspirators will not profit now either ,although the whole affair has seen an increase in support for the SNP due to indignance

    So thanks for that

  22. Thanks Derek, but help me here…which law has Michelle Thomson broken? What has she been charged with? What are the facts? Who is rushing to judgement here?

  23. The unionist media in Scotland continue to shoot itself in both unionist feet. Most people in Scotland, after years of unionist crap, switch off whenever they see a hysterical unionist headline.

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