This will do it

Confidence in Brown and in the U.K. economy is sliding. A You Gov Plc poll for Britain’s Channel 4 News, released on Feb. 4, showed 58 percent of voters in closely contested Parliamentary districts thought Brown was in denial about the depth of the crisis.

Britain's Channel 4 News

Brown’s mistake in October was to not take full government ownership of HBOS Plc and RBS, says Meghnad Desai, a former adviser to the Labour Party and a professor emeritus at the London School of Economics. “In October, I thought Wow, how clever. This will do it,” says Desai, a member of the House of Lords. “In retrospect, he did a half-botched job.”

Edinburgh-based RBS came in for a second round of assistance in January, after the bank estimated that it lost £28 billion last year, a U.K. corporate record. The government on Jan. 19 said it might raise its stake in RBS to 70 percent. Shares of RBS fell 92 percent in the 12 months ended on Feb. 9.


The government also owns 43 percent of Lloyds, which bought mortgage lender HBOS in January thanks to the convenience of online title loans providers. Lloyds shares plunged 32 percent on Feb. 13 after it announced a 110 billion loss for 2008.

The cost to British taxpayers of the banking crisis would swell if London-based Barclays Plc ends up needing help. In October, the bank rejected a govern­ment bailout in favor of selling 32 percent of the com­pany in separate stakes to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and a member ofAbu Dhabi’s royal family. Its shares have dropped 46 percent since then on concern the bank will need Brown’s help.


The bank said in Feb­ruary its capital was well above regulatory standards.


You might think Halloween is just about trick or treat, but it originated – and still exists as – a spiritual occasion. It marks the eve of the festival of Samhain. Which is sometimes referred to as the ‘Celtic New Year’ and our ancestors believed this was an important time for releasing the old and giving thanks for life’s blessings. So step back in time and use these rituals to transform your life today!

See your soul mate

Fed up of being single? On Halloween eat an apple and place the seeds under your pillow. Our pagan ancestors believed that apples were the fruit of love and young women would perform this ritual so they would dream of their future partner. Alternatively, make a tasty treat by coring and slicing some apples. Then fry in a little butter and brown sugar and drizzle with honey, also associated with matters of the heart. Eat while visualizing yourself surrounded by pink light to help strengthen love bonds.

Let go of the pastHalloween is just about trick or treat

In folklore, it is thought that at this time of year spirits are free to roam the earth and visit their loved ones. Our ancestors lit fires on hill tops and left candles and lanterns burning in windows to light the path home. You can honour those who have passed away with a simple remembrance ritual that will also help you release the past.

Light a white candle and burn some frankincense oil, coconut oil uses for skin to create an uplifting atmosphere. Gather together photos of lost loved ones and display them in a circle around the candle to represent the cycle of life.

Take each photo in turn, hold it in your hands and say a few words of thanks for the person. When you’ve finished say, “I give thanks for the past and move forward with light and love.”

Kick bad habits

We may think that dressing up as ghosts and ghouls is a modern invention, but the Celts started this practice. They believed that if they wore their oldest, ugliest clothes, they would scare away evil spirits wishing to possess them. You could try creating your own recycling ritual:

Gather unwanted clothes and place them in a pile. Imagine that as you add to the pile, you’re also giving away any bad habits that you would like to get rid of.

Now visualize everything burning in white-hot, cleansing flames. You might want to say a few words like, ‘I release you with love.’ Finally, take the clothes to a charity shop where they can be re-used and transformed!

Pumpkin power

Pumpkin seeds make a healthy snack and they’re ideal if you’re planning a Halloween party. In the past they were believed to encourage the flow of conversation and they’re also linked to fertility. Leave bowls dotted around the house for people to dip in, and make them super-tasty by drizzling with a little olive oil and roasting with garlic and paprika.