Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
Give me my share
It is probably true to say, I would grudgingly admit, that when the world's leading economists, financiers and bankers gather to discuss economic policy, mine is not usually the first name at the top of the list of people they wish to advise them.
However, I have, through the studious reading of the Daily Telegraph's business pages, become something of an expert on the subject, even if I do have to say so myself on the grounds that no one else would. At least, I have managed to vaguely grasp the idea of the "shorting" of shares, although, ironically, as soon as I had and decided to have a dabble in the market myself, then the government stepped in to make it illegal. Typical.
However, shorting, as far as I understand it, goes thus: Person A thinks that shares in Company Z are going to go down; he therefore borrows some shares from Person B, who just happens to have some Company Z shares lying about (probably fell down the back of the sofa, or something). Person A then sells the shares, possibly to Person C, whoever he might be, and pockets the cash. He then waits for Company Z's shares to go down, buys some and gives them back to, who was it again? Oh yes, Person B, I think, and pockets the cash. It's risky, mind, for if the shares go up instead of down then Person A, who has to buy them at the higher price to give to back to Person B, is, if you'll excuse the use of technical terminology, stuffed.
As I say, one has to be very careful in the stock one buys. For someone with as little capital as myself (it is, you might say, an Oakham of a capital) you have to be pretty damn sure the price is going to go down. Which is why, before they outlawed the practice (a sign of desperation and panic, if nothing else) I was going to buy shares in Boastin 'Gordon 'No More Boom or Bust' Brown. He is, after all, the political equivalent of Northern Rock, if not quite so financially astute. Who, after all, is going to invest in a man who engineered a ten-year credit boom fuelled by cheap money and house price inflation and then bragged he'd abolished the economic cycle. His share price is going down, if there is much lower it can fall.