Ian, Martin and their big city love-in

Now is not the best time to go any exchange in New York and ask for money. The Credit Squeeze is tightening, and the market is switching from the bulls to the bears. The two characters featured on the front page of the Irish Times the other day with the Stock Exchange gavel put one in mind of that Mortimer and Randolph Duke in the 1983 film Trading Places. Given the filibustering of one, the procrastination of the other, this visit might have borne more fruit in 1998, when the boom was beginning and VC were scouring London and Dublin for new entreprenuers. Then again, despite the promised visit of one Donald Trump (and probably more usefully, Michael Bloomberg), this was never likely to be about attracting big US Capital (if the banks won’t lend each other money, they are not going to disburse it to us), so much as our nascent autocracy getting its head round how international market capitalism actually works in practice. If an improved understanding of what is attractive to big business is all that arises, that may not be a bad outcome. The question is, do they have the means at their disposal to get the conditions right? Gordon Brown thinks so.