Financial markets wobble as government delays Syria vote

David Hellier
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As MPs here and politicians around the world discuss the increasing probability of military intervention in Syria, there was a timely reminder yesterday that deciding whether or not to take action is the easy part.

Ten years ago Parliament voted in favour of intervention in Iraq and the years since then have seen a tremendous effort to bring stability to the country.

But yesterday a concerted wave of bombings through Shiite Muslim areas in Baghdad killed at least 65 people and wounded many more. Sadly this is by no means an unusual occurrence in that city or country.

Financial markets were wobblier than they had been in the previous 24 hours, perhaps mindful of the increasing uncertainty and potential havoc that could be wreaked by military strikes on Syria and fearful of whatever retaliation might follow.

There were several who cautioned against immediate action, including Labour’s Diane Abbott who said she wouldn’t support any action that wasn’t legal.

Former defence minister Liam Fox, writing in today’s City A.M., cautions against the merits of military intervention in Syria but argues that the west can not sit back and do nothing in the face of recent atrocities.

These are difficult times indeed but the caution being shown by some is an indicator that they have been scarred by the Iraq experience, when the decision to get involved was taken all too hastily. They have forced the government to wait until there is conclusive independent evidence the Syrian regime was responsible for last week’s chemical attack. That has to be a good thing.

I remember being taken by surprise a couple of years ago by bumping into Standard Chartered chief executive Peter Sands and his family at Latitude, a music and arts festival in Suffolk. That kind of thing would not have happened 20 or 30 years ago, I thought.

Then yesterday, Bank governor Mark Carney alluded to 19 year-old pop star Jake Bugg in a speech on Britain’s economy. In one way this is of no consequence; but there’s a bit of me that thinks such touches, if genuine, will help the public connect more with bankers.

Some would say there are few more exciting days in the football season than September transfer deadline day.

Clubs have played their first matches and assessed their squads. By Monday they will have one final opportunity to strengthen their capabilities before the window opens again in January.

The intrigue this year has been fascinating, with club owners’ desire for glory oiled by the enhanced broadcast revenues they have at their disposal.

But there is also the spectre of new Financial Fair Play rules coming into play that might force some of them to hold back.

Tottenham’s Gareth Bale might have clinched his world record-breaking transfer to Real Madrid ahead of Monday but there are bound to be dozens of other deals to be done.

City A.M. will be keeping abreast of all the stories and all the gossip on the day, bringing you a live blog from early afternoon onwards until all the major deals have been signed. Just log on to and follow the news.

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