Nevermind short selling, ban Robert Peston...

Posted by Mark on 7th Oct 2008
As regular readers (both of you) will have picked up, I am no great fan of Robert Peston and it would appear that I am in good company.

My previous criticisms were more to do with style than substance and, for example, I understand that David Cameron does a mean Pesto.  This hardly requires the mimicry skills of Rory Bremner, all you have to do is adopt a condescending sneer, a whiny voice and then randomly over emphasise seemingly unconnected words.

But Dapper Dave's dislike also may stem from Robert's role as the unofficial press secretary to HM Treasury.

Indeed such is the regularity of his BBC scoops, direct from the Chancellors desk (it would allegedly seem), that FT Alphaville have taken to refering to his Blog as alternative newswire: Pestowire.

As they put it (with a large dollop of irony):

 "Pestowire: Top News from Top Sources. The BBC’s Business Editor, Robert Peston, has played in important role keeping the British public fully informed during these difficult times."

There is no doubt that he is well briefed, so when he says that Banks ask chancellor for capital, HBoS shares fall by 41.5% and RBS by 39.5%.  No amount of denial by a knight of the realm such as Fred Goodwin can counter the accepted gospel of Saint Robert, patron saint of truth and light in these dark times.

Not even hedge funds caused that sort of damage.

For what it's worth he is probably telling it as it is, but is it really in the public's interest to spook the markets further, just so he and the Beeb can have another scoop? 

The government for their part, in a admirable effort to cut costs, might have outsourced the role of the Chancellor's Press Secretary, but are now in danger of creating a story bigger than the news itself.

Bring back Alistair Campbell all is forgiven.

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