“What would you do to help the savers In the Presbyterian Mutual Society?”

The issue of the illegally operating Presbyterian Mutual Society, and those Presbyterian investors, continues to grumble on despite the acceptance of the administrator’s deal. Will Crawley, guesting on Talkback this month, notes on his blog, “Serious questions are being asked by PMS members about the way this crisis has been handled by Church House officials”. Other supernaturalists – in the Catholic, Anglican and Methodist churches – have expressed their “hope that the Northern Ireland Executive and the UK Government will take urgent action to resolve these difficulties”. And apparently, at the recent CameronDirect event in Ballymena, the question was put to Dave – “What would you do to help the savers In the Presbyterian Mutual Society?”

David Cameron: “I think this is a really, really difficult question because, on the one hand, there is a sort of technical reason why the savers in the Presbyterian Mutual Society haven’t been helped, because that Society wasn’t regulated by the Financial Services Authority. So it was outside the rules that were operating In the rest of the United Kingdom and that’s why they are not being helped.

But I do understand the real sense of unfairness that people feel because they look at, say the Dunfermline [Building] Society in Scotland, or they look at Northern Rock or they look at other organisations and they say; ‘hold on, we’re all part of the United Kingdom, we’re all part of this family. Why is this financial organisation not being helped?’ So I think the Government needs to look again.

Statement re Presbyterian Mutual Society

“We have become increasingly aware of the difficulties faced by people whose access to their savings has been blocked by the Presbyterian Mutual Society being placed in Administration. Since assistance has been offered to others, it is our hope that the Northern Ireland Executive and the UK Government will take urgent action to resolve these difficulties”.

Cardinal Sean Brady (Catholic Archbishop of Armagh)
Archbishop Alan Harper (Anglican Archbishop of Armagh)
Rev. Aian Ferguson (President of the Methodist Church)

29th May 2009

And the transcript of the Cameron Direct event in Ballymena

Questioner: “What would you do to help the savers In the Presbyterian Mutual Society?

David Cameron: “I think this is a really, really difficult question because, on the one
hand, there is a sort of technical reason why the savers in the Presbyterian Mutual Society haven’t been helped, because that Society wasn’t regulated by the Financial Services Authority. So it was outside the rules that were operating In the rest of the United Kingdom and that’s why they are not being helped.

But I do understand the real sense of unfairness that people feel because they look at, say the Ounfillnllne SOCiety in Scotland, or they look at Northern Rock or they look at other organisations and they say; ‘hold on, we’re all part of the United Kingdom, we’re all part of this family. Why is this financial organisation not being helped?’

So I think the Government needs to look again.

You will have noticed this country is completely strapped for cash. We are borrowing 12.6% of our national output. I cannot stand here and make spending promises, but what I can tell you is that if I were the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, I would have a really good look to whether we are treating these people fairly: because I think they do have a ease to say, hold on a second, this is a UK organisation, guarantees should be extended to it rather than to other organisations, and it was the very extension of the guarantee to the other financial organisations that actually caused it’s difficulties.

So I think there is a real case for the Prime Minister to look again and I would urge him to do so.”

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  • joeCanuck

    Are we expected to feel special sympathy for these investors simply because they are Christians? Some people seem to be saying that. They were simply investors who, like many of us, lost money through the short sightedness of the people we mistakenly trusted to manage our money.

  • Paul

    I thought the presby god botherers viewed themselves as especially pious and strict letter of the law types, so why would they be operating an illegal bank?

  • frustrated democrat

    To those that think the Conservatives don’t know what is going on here, I think this is a good example of the in depth knowledge that the party and its leader has of day to day problems in NI.

    I am not in the PMS or even a supporter of the church but I think the Government in NI has some responsibility for wrongly taking a ‘registration’ for the PMS and not insisting that the PMS should have been registered by the FSA. The fact that it was ‘registered’ by the government gave a false impression that the PMS was operating legally to the investors.

    A salutory lesson for all concerned.

  • Mark McGregor

    FD,

    Don’t you think the knowledge is a bit too in depth?

    Planted question?

  • joeCanuck

    Possibly Mark. I was really surprised myself at the depth of his knowledge. But he is a smart guy. You don’t get to be head of a large political party without being that.

  • The Big Man

    I was at the Ballymena venue

    It looked like a planted question by the UUP

    The directors should be in court for breaking the
    law At least 1 DUP MP thinks that

  • seceder

    Planted question or not, he was prepared and he answered – even more relevant he may in the near future be able to do something rather than just whinge from the sidelines.

    As for the diectors etc if the organisation acted illegally then the directors are responsible – go gett’em!

  • The Big Man

    At Ballymena the UUP Chairman said the UDA did

    NOT put posters for Jim Nick in North Down

    The Sunday World never said it was North Down

  • The Big Man

    Is Dave winging from the sidelines?

    Look FSA website 09/04/09

    “WE HAVE CONCLUDED OUR INVESTIGATION and have decided that it(PMS) was conducting regulated activites without the necessary authorisation or exemption.”

  • DC

    Money changers shouldn’t be in temples.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “What would you do to help the savers In the Presbyterian Mutual Society?”

    Pray for them?

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Of course it was a planted question. So what? The dismal thing – as enough readers of Slugger can confirm – is that as and when a question is planted for Jimmy Nick, he *still* manages to fluff it.

    And hard cheese to the PMS btw.

  • politico

    It actually wasn’t a planted question but is an issue of great concern to those affected. The fact that the UUP have engaged the next Prime Minister of the UK on a range of issues affecting our communities shouldn’t really come as a surprise. The fact that he has so strongly asked Brown to look at it now rather than simply waiting until after the election is due to the recognition of the stress this is causing many vulnerable people.

    BTW don’t forget the politics show on Sunday all you Diane fans

  • The Big Man

    “POLITICO”

    How do you know it was not a planted question for
    old nick

    They would not tell you

  • Pigeon Toes

    “illegally operating” And wouldn’t you have thought that someone would have noticed this “procedural lapse” before it went belly up?

  • oracle

    “What would you do to help the savers In the Presbyterian Mutual Society?”

    Get them to convert to Islam because it’s obvious Jesus didn’t save them maybe Mohammed can help.

    Oh and jail the bible bashing pillars of society that acted in this illegal debacle.

    *** If Jesus Saves it ain’t with the Mutual ***

  • Pigeon Toes

    WE HAVE CONCLUDED OUR INVESTIGATION and have decided that it(PMS) was conducting regulated activites without the necessary authorisation or exemption.”

    PMS is like that..According to Mr Pigeon Toes

  • Rory Carr

    “Pray for them”, says Greagoir reading my thoughts and beating me to the punch. I think I too shall light a candle and say three Ave’s to St Jude, the Patron Saint of Hopeless Cases. I always find him very helpful in matters of complete desperation and I am sure he would not discriminate against Presbyterians ( Southern Baptists are a different kettle of fish and they can go hang).

  • Pigeon Toes

    think I too shall light a candle and say three Ave’s to St Jude, the Patron Saint of Hopeless Cases.

    While you’re at it Rory, what about one to St Anthony for the Rathlin Ferry and DRD.

    They seem to have lost any credibility.

    Apparently the PAC Committee weren’t too happy this week
    http://nalil.blogspot.com/

  • frustrated democrat

    There are some strange posters here, anyone going to a political meeting Ballymena one of the heartlands of Presbyterians would expect such a question on the PMA.

    There were no planted questions, I suppose the TUV questions were obviously planted, as well as was the question about UDA putting up posters, and the one from Willie Frazer.

    The meeting was open to everyone and that means everyone, no one who prebooked a place was turned away as some of the posters here prove.

  • Pigeon Toes

    “** If Jesus Saves it ain’t with the Mutual ***”

  • The Big Man

    I think some of the posters are posers

  • Rory Carr

    Well, Pigeon Toes, anytime I have lost (or mislaid really) any object I have found that St Anthony is yer man. Three Hail Mary’s, a quick, “Come on, St Anthony, get the finger out!” and – Bob’s yer uncle! (Actually I’m not joking. It really does work for me which leads me to believe that there might be a special place in heaven for Marxists). But I am afraid that St Anthony does not deal with lost credibility. Not even St Jude can help here, the case is much too hopeless, once credibility is lost it is lost forever. Ask Julie Kirkbride.

  • 0b101010

    What would you do to help the savers In the Presbyterian Mutual Society?

    Nothing.

  • Seymour Major

    The most disturbing aspect of the commenting on this thread is the suspicion that a question was planted. I fail to see the link between that suspicion and evidence. Considering that there are 300,000 presbyterians it was statistically likely that a question about the PMS would surface. The cynics need to be a little bit more open-minded.

    David Cameron is very well briefed on the minutae of Northern Ireland affairs. The reason why he is so well briefed is that there is a team, headed by Owen Paterson, dedicated to researching issues and projecting potential policy for Northern Ireland.

    I dont think Cameron would have wanted that question at all. It is an exceptionally difficult “hot potatoe” for the Conservatives. I dont see Labour handing over £300 million so when they are elected to office, the Conservative Government will be under great pressure from Northern Ireland politicians (particularly the UUP) to resolve the PMS issue (i.e. pump taxpayers money into the solution). That is all very well in Northern Ireland but this is a lot of money and it has to be justified the rest of the British Electorate.

    I wrote a piece on my own blog on this subject 4 months ago and concluded that there was a case for the Government compensating the PMS investors.

    http://torystoryni.wordpress.com/2009/01/20/why-the-savers-with-the-presbyterian-mutual-society-should-be-compensated-2/

    Since I wrote that piece, I have learnt of the illegality of the setting up of the institution and I have also read Turgon’s view of the Church’s culpability.

    My view now is still that the investors should still be compensated but the solution should one in which the Government and the Presbeterian Church itself take joint responsibility for it.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Rory,

    St Jude is a very good friend to me (thus the husband).

    But its saddening for the many potential converts in Clarence court…

  • The Third Policeman

    I don’t know why you lot are bothering with saints at all when we here on Slugger have a direct link to the Big Man himself, our Lord and Savior, John O’Connell. Sure ask him to magic the money from on high, it’ll probably come floating over the rainbow or something.

  • 0b101010

    Worrying that the Conservative leader is the one pushing nationalistic collectivism. It’s particularly disgusting that any politician, let alone the heir-presumptive himself, dismisses operating illegally as “a sort of technical reason” for not doling out a taxpayer offering to the money changers.

  • frustrated democrat

    0b101010

    You of course chose to miscontrue what he said.

    Which was that since they weren’t registered with FSA they were not covered by the guarantee, the fact that the government should have ensured they were properly registered and therefore covered is the grey area for the Government to look at.

    It was the PMS that was operating illegally not the investors and they are suffering because of a failure in the PMS management and the regulatory system.

    Cameron was correct in that it needs to be looked at as the investors in the PMS should have been in no different position to investors in any of the other banks.

  • 0b101010

    You of course chose to miscontrue what he said.

    hold on, we’re all part of the United Kingdom, we’re all part of this family. Why is this financial organisation not being helped?

    So Cameron isn’t saying that taxpayers should bail out investors in an illegally-operated bank? He doesn’t view operating illegally as “a sort of technical reason” for why the government hasn’t dished out our cash to those involved? Have I really misconstrued that?

    Does the leader of the so-called Conservative Party believe that investors should reap profits in good times but wider society should cover their risk in the bad times? The legality of the PMS aside, does the modern Conservative Party believe in Capitalism on the way up and Socialism on the way down?

    The government, especially a conservative one, should not have the expectation that it is “fair” to steal money from the savings of one taxpayer to cover the loss from investment of another.

    The Presbyterian Church is wealthy enough as an organisation, and a congregation, to follow its own teachings and care for the very flock they fleeced. I don’t see them — or the Catholic, Anglican or Methodist churches — tripping over themselves to stump up the cash. A lot of time has passed since November. It’s very easy to call for urgent action when you actually mean you want to urgently take other people’s money.

    Perhaps they’re all just damned afraid that their god’s avatar will flip his lid again:

    And Jesus entered into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold the doves; and he saith unto them, It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer: but ye make it a den of robbers.