Here's an hilarious piece in the FT from Alex Barker:
Two people have already asked me why on earth I’m at the Liberal Democrat conference while the markets are in crisis. But it’s becoming more and more clear that I’m in exactly the right place. Bring more than 100 Liberal Democrat delegates together on a seaside resort and — with frightening regularity — capitalism seems to shudder.
Yesterday Vince Cable joked about the “Lib Dem curse” that has seen their autumn conference coincide with the collapse of Northern Rock, Lehman Brothers and Black Wednesday.
But there is more. In September 1998, while Paddy Ashdown was telling delegates to “grow up” and prepare for a possible Labour coalition, over on Wall St the Fed was negotiating the biggest bailout of a hedge fund in history. Most observers say Long Term Capital Management collapsed after taking massive, one-way bets on Russian interest rates. But was the “Lib Dem factor” decisive? Should traders now factor in a “Lib Dem discount”?
Delegates have long understood the powerful effect careless talk in conference debates can have on global capitalism. In 1951, when the Liberal party was at 1 per cent in the polls and could fit all its MPs in a hackney carriage, one delegate strode to the podium and said he would “carefully” choose his words for fear of “doing anything to unsettle the markets”. A good thing too.