Snapshots for 2 December, 2015
4:59 pm The fastest way to defeat ISIL (or as the BBC now refers to them - "So-called ISIL") is NOT to bomb it but to ask the United States to stop supplying it. We can then go and find someone else to bomb...
Snapshots for 14 November, 2015
8:51 am It was either an Al Qaeda attempt to reassert itself as No1 Banana in the Jihad, The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), BOTH, or one pretending to be the other.
Snapshots for 5 November, 2015
2:01 pm Chancellor #Gideon is considering scrapping tax relief on Pension Contributions but then allowing tax-free access to savings upon retirement. This should be resisted by everyone. Not only is it a bad idea, borne of Treasury short-termism and a Chancellor with a singular lack of imagination but it is also a con.....He obviously has not learned the Tax Credits lesson and is obviously in a hurry - before the UK economy 'tanks' again.
1:45 pm It's a great shame that even when Cameron makes an absolutely CORRECT decision in halting flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh, people still complain. As evidence accumulates, it looks increasingly likely that the Russian Airbus 321 was brought down by a catastrophic event which occurred inside the plane. DC is taking no chances - and quite right too!
Snapshots for 4 November, 2015
2:51 pm Continuing to enjoy the outrage and the irony of POLITICIANS criticising VW for being economical with the facts and misleading the public. http://reut.rs/1Wy2obH via @ReutersUK
The issues which the NHS is currently experiencing have a lot to do with a fundamental change in its ethos. When it was formed in 1948, its [...]
Snapshots for 3 November, 2015
4:44 pm An influential Commons committee has urged David Cameron not to press ahead with a vote on UK air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria. The Foreign Affairs Committee - which has a Conservative majority - said the Prime Minister should instead "focus on efforts to end Syria's civil war". The committee also raised concerns about the legal basis for any UK action. Downing Street has strongly denied reports Mr Cameron has abandoned plans for a vote altogether.......but Oh YES, he has! There's no way that he can risk another Commons defeat, Lords humiliation or be seen doing to Syria what Blair did to Iraq. He has taken the line of least resistance.
Snapshots for 31 October, 2015
12:01 pm Many years ago, I was in East Germany (don't ask!) and recall a Keep Britain Tidy demonstration being reported in a Russian newspaper. The strapline was "The average Englishman throws his rubbish onto the street." I knew what they meant but the impression given was horrific. This week, the following article made it to the Independent. Here's what is being reported about the United Kingdom and its 'hardworking people'....................‘Victorian’ diseases rise as Tories fail to tackle food poverty http://bit.ly/1S9nI6A
11:12 am Chancellor Osborne is off to Germany next week to outline how he wants to protect London's financial services industry in a reformed European Union. The fear is that ever-closer integration of the eurozone could leave London sidelined in financial policymaking, affecting its banking sector. In fact, London's status as a European financial centre has already been compromised by Cameron's dithering and inability to put down on paper the exact changes he is (apparently) negotiating. The continuing lack of detail on his demands for new EU membership terms, is causing both frustration, bemusement and a level of confusion among EU leaders. Cameron has now had to "do a Chilcot" by promising to send them his wish-list by next week.
Snapshots for 27 October, 2015
2:03 pm Growth in lending to eurozone corporations slowed almost to a halt in September while a broader measure of money circulating in the euro zone was unchanged, the European Central Bank said on Tuesday. Lending growth to non-financial corporations slowed to an annualised 0.1 percent in September from 0.4 percent a month before, while lending growth to households picked up to 1.1 percent in September from 1.0 percent in August. Sparse lending to companies has dogged the struggling euro zone economy although the picture improved slightly over the summer months before September's dip. The ECB last week raised the prospect of providing more monetary stimulus to the euro zone economy, possibly as soon as December, to boost inflation and growth. The M3 measure of money circulating in the euro zone, which is often an early indicator of future economic activity, grew by 4.9 percent in September, unchanged from August and missing forecasts for 5.0 percent. (Reuters)
Snapshots for 26 October, 2015
4:49 pm The overall cost of replacing and maintaining Britain's nuclear deterrent will reach 167 billion pounds, much more than expected, according to an MP's and Reuters' calculations based on official figures.
4:44 pm British banks approved the fewest mortgages last month since May, while net credit card lending fell to its lowest since September 2014. Now THAT'S what you call consumer confidence!
THE DEFICIT has been a constant in our ears ever since someone at Conservative HQ discovered that because the GDP was exceptionally low in 2010, THE [...]
Many years ago, I was asked to chair a Citibank meeting during which the CEO and directors would meet the staff and answer pre-submitted questions. [...]
There is a serious point behind Janek Zlinski's challenge to Nigel Farage............and I know whose side I'm on!! #GE2015
Snapshots for 14 April, 2015
3:21 pm #GE2015 The Help to Buy scheme continues to place many young homeowners in “indentured servitude”? Why not do the same to those with a home enjoying the protection of a Housing Association by extending their Right to Buy? Although the Right to Buy Scheme seemed very trailblazing and successful in the 1980s, the sad fact is that Local Authorities continue to buy-back Council houses at greatly inflated prices. Placing more people in more debt and selling the concept as a great pre-election "positive" is arrant nonsense.....If you are tempted, remember.....mortgaging a property is no more than RENTING it from a bank, except that YOU pick up the tab for insurance and maintenance.....and knowing the Conservative Party's fondness for post-announcement small print....make sure that you understand what a pre-emption clause is, should you decide to sell-on your house after having exercised your Right to Buy. By the way, The Conservatives say that every house purchased by a Housing Association tenant will be replaced “on a one-for-one basis”. The Social Housing stock can be increased WITHOUT any more hare-brained schemes. Currently 3.4 MILLION people are awaiting Social Housing.
Snapshots for 11 April, 2015
8:53 am Ever since Ed Miliband was captured devouring a bacon sandwich with the expression of a psycho eating his own brother's liver, snappers have been trying to catch David Cameron in a similar predicament. This week, because the canny Dave was photographed tucking into a hotdog with a knife and fork, we have headlines such as "Cameron doesn't know how to eat a hotdog!" or "Prime Minister ate my dog...with a knife and fork!". If lazy journos take the trouble to Google "Cameron eats hotdog", they will find quite a few examples of DC biting into a Dog the traditional way. Anyone would think that there was an imminent election!
8:34 am The signs so far indicate that the Hatton Garden safety deposit heist was loosely based on the 2008 Jason Statham movie "The Bank Job", which was itself based on the 1971 Baker Street Lloyds Bank job. The main differences appear to be that in the Hatton Garden caper, the police alarm was set-off and ignored and the thieves were Health and Safety conscious - wearing both high-viz jackets and hard-hats! Just to strike a slightly political note: It is very likely that if it is shown that a burglar alarm WAS ignored, insurance companies will ensure that the Plod is soon standing in the dock , being sued for MILLIONS. However, as the taxpayer funds the Plod, it will be the taxpayer who ultimately pays the bill (as usual)!
Snapshots for 10 April, 2015
1:40 pm There's a bit of a contradiction in all this pre-election media nonsense. The pro-Conservative PRESS, The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Sun, Times and the Evening Standard (TOTAL CIRCULATION 5.25 million) in the BLUE Corner AND only The Mirror with the non-Libdem bit of the Guardian holding the sponge, (TOTAL CIRCULATION about 1.1 million) in the RED Corner. That 5-1 in favour of the Blue corner! In spite of this apparent handicap, Labour and Miliband are edging ahead.... Can it be true that the electorate is finally making-up its own mind? Or is Tory dead-tree journalism a dead parrot?
11:15 am Jeremy Hunt Canvassing the doctors for support? Come, come, Jezza.....you're just NOT playing the game!!
10:59 am Conservative #GE2015 promises are now taking on a surreal air. The latest was from Eric Pickles who proposes to give people three paid days off per year in order to carry-out "altruistic works" such as watching the Test Match and mowing the lawn ... It does look as if Cameron is hoping to revive THE BIG SOCIETY, which is fast becoming a bit of a pre-election tradition which somehow manages to disappear by the summer! Here's Eric Pickles being put to the sword by Radio 4: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/eric-pickles-radio-4-interview-5490633
10:36 am "Help to Buy" and now, courtesy of the Libdems, the largely theoretical ( it AIN'T going to happen!) "HELP TO RENT". In order to complete the set, can we please also have "Help to Eat" for all those hungry people queueing at food banks and maybe, we can have "Help to find a Decent Job" for all those who wouldn't need HELP, if the government had not allowed house and rent prices to run out of control.
Snapshots for 24 February, 2015
4:51 pm With Malcolm Rifkind (quite unnecessarily) having made the grand gesture of Political Sepukku, the Conservatives will be looking to Labour's Jack Straw MP for a similarly honourable and pointless act. Jack is already standing down as MP in a month's time but surely, there must still be something by which he could demonstrate that there is honour in politics. Turning down a peerage would earn a few Brownie points. Mind you, he does appear to be under the misapprehension that members of the House Lords can carry on with impunity and acquire any number of nice little earners.....so THAT'S probably out of the question. Mind you, SHOULD a sudden explosion of avarice and self-ennoblement disqualify him from his hard-earned Baronetcy?
3:16 pm It looks as if the Eurogroup is giving Greece little chance of breaking free from its crippling austerity. Surely they understand that Greece has little chance of Economic Growth with the jackboot of austerity still on its neck. Hopefully, the #EU is not hoping for a U-turn to 100% compliance by attempting to "engineer" the return of Samaras and his Euro-poodles.
Once watched a Conservative corporate video: "The primary objective of the Conservative Party is............" ..Bet you can't [...]
Snapshots for 13 September, 2014
12:23 pm In the last fortnight, there has been an appreciable increase in articles and analysis of the Eurozone economy. Couple that to the ECB becoming involved in a semantic argument as to what does and what doesn't constitute Quantitative Easing, one can almost sense nascent rumblings of the economic Richter Scale. Hopefully, it's a false alarm and the seismograph stops twitching soon.....(Eurozone UNEMPLOYMENT steady at 11.5%)
Snapshots for 12 September, 2014
9:45 am Nigel MacFarage has what can only be described as a bit of a Dalai Lama. Today, he's off to Scotland to create a bit of Euro mischief with the very valid argument that Scotland may be giving up one form of political slavery for another. A YES vote will mean that they will be able to throw off the chafing shackles of Westminster Imperialist rule....but if Benito Salmond then pushes for Scotland's EU membership, the new masters will be those Brussels bureaucrats, which Nigel fears more than a dose of Ebola. On the other hand, has he forgotten that once a YES vote has been delivered, the Woad applied and Salmond has shouted himself hoarse (or preferably SILENT!) with rabid cries of "Freeeeedommmmm!!!", Scotland will be OUT of the EU....which surely, is a GOOD thing? We sense yet another referendum or two.
9:33 am Officially there have been NO Russian soldiers in Ukraine. However, the bodies of dead Russian soldiers have been repatriated and injured Russian soldiers are being treated both in Rostov and in Moscow. There must be a secret conflict in which Russia is participating as the paperwork accompanying the dead soldiers does not indicate their place of death.
Snapshots for 18 August, 2014
11:49 am A concept which Western negotiators would do well to get to grips with is "MASKIROVKA"...something Russia is very good at! http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/maskirovka ........... Humanitarian Aid ? OK...if you say so! That scamp Putin is still running circles around everyone. Sanctions? I still remember years ago, the USA quietly asking Russia to please stop printing dollars. For the moment, the contest between Russia and the West appears very uneven. A good starting point would be for the West to LIFT all sanctions and force Putin to make his move :)
During the last four years or so, there has been a lot of political talk about "the mess THEY left behind". Here it is:
Snapshots for 15 August, 2014
11:44 am Ebola, Famine and fighting in Africa.......... Rape, murder, racism, religious oppression and high explosives in the Middle East..... On the brink of war in Ukraine........HE certainly DOES move in mysterious ways!
Snapshots for 30 June, 2014
12:50 pm Cameron's ex-media chief Coulson to face payments re-trial http://reut.rs/1nXFLNv via @reuters
Snapshots for 27 June, 2014
9:53 am We have learned (again) that David Cameron is not a tactician but a merely a talker and purveyor of quioxotic promises, who has been unable to come anywhere near blocking the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as EU Commission President. We have a quote which crystallises the futility of Cameron's stance. It is from Belgium's former Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt - himself blackballed by Britain for the EU job a decade ago: "Arguing that the commission president should not be a federalist is like saying that the next pope should not be a Catholic."
9:39 am #EU If David Cameron cannot even block an "old guard" federalist as commission chief, what chance does he stand of clawing back significant powers from Brussels? After the P.M's massive "FAIL", look out for face-saving EU consolation prizes, such as EU leaders allowing the UK a few business-friendly policies and a maybe a key commission post to oversee reforms such as the internal market portfolio. No doubt, DC's spinmeisters are already hovering over their keyboards, ready to rewrite this latest EU cock-up as a great tactical victory.
8:06 am Prime Minister David Cameron should have negotiated quietly with other European leaders and built an anti-Juncker alliance by arguing his case through reason and gentle persuasion. Unfortunately, as usual, he could not resist the temptation to gob-off and get everyone's back up by giving his customary impression of a petulant schoolboy. The argument is now lost and Jean-Claude Juncker WILL become head of the EU executive.
Snapshots for 26 June, 2014
4:06 pm Tweeting blind from spygun.com. Hope Tweets are coming through!! :)
11:32 am Errol Damelin who resigned from WONGA this month, just before the solids hit the air conditioning, owns 16.8 MILLION Wonga shares through Castle Bridge Ventures which is based in the British Virgin Islands......PROPER British Capitalism!
11:24 am Presumably after its deception of impersonating a Solicitor, Wonga will be calculating the compensation to its victims at a rate of five YEARS at 5852% ....and what excuses will the OFT and FCA be offering for not throwing the book at the company?
7:36 am #UKIP What does Nigel Farage do between elections? Have you noticed that he only appears when there are seats to be fought? I like to think that he's in an earth-filled coffin in a castle somewhere near Salzburg.....
7:27 am Good to hear that, rather than those sugar-laden fruit juices, schools are going back to providing pupils with WATER........which I believe is some sort of mixer... :)
7:19 am Prime Minister David Cameron used to work in Public Relations? Not much evidence of that this week...#Coulson #Juncker However, he is very lucky that it is only Miliband who faces him across the Dispatch Box.
Snapshots for 1 May, 2014
2:27 pm #Ukraine. The Blitzkreig-like advance of ethnic-Russian militia in the eastern provinces is working so efficiently and meeting with so little resistance that one could be forgiven for suspecting that there is a plan and that there always has been a plan! In fact the capitulation by local authorities and officials suggests either complicity or possibly French military advisers! :)
10:41 am The IMF's austerity conditions for #Ukraine, in return for cash handouts will prepare the country for membership of the EU's "Indentured Servitude Club".....alongside near-neighbours such as Greece....... The short to mid-term future looks very bleak for members of the ISC........Nowadays, the population-at-large paying for the crimes of its politicians and bankers appears to be the generally accepted norm!
Snapshots for 4 March, 2014
10:02 am My father's family is from Lubaczow, which is as near to the Polish-Ukranian border as you can get...so I recognise and understand the collective Ukranian psyche. They are a bloody-minded people who will NOT take any shit from Russia. There is TOO much history. Imagine the relationship between a cat and a dog and you may begin to understand. AT BEST, they only tolerate each other..........
9:48 am #UKRAINE: Usually, before a country moves from Despotism to becoming a fully-fledged Republic, there is ALWAYS a brief brush with Anarchy. In Ukranie's case, it has temporarily moved from home-grown Despotism to the threat of an alternative flavour of Despotism, but on this occasion, delivered by a foreign power. This will soon pass and the country will be able to get on with the Anarchy before finally settling down to being a mature republic. However, as Egypt is currently showing, the cycle may have to be repeated several times before the appearance of those mythical sunny uplands of political stability.
Snapshots for 18 February, 2014
9:13 am After insurance industry leaders have had today's meeting with the Prime Minister, they're having a meeting with Miliband Minor. It's going to be a LONG day.
9:10 am When a CEO or Prime Minister has to handle a crisis personally, that suggests just one thing: He has a poor management structure under him or he doesn't trust the people HE hired to complete the job effectively........ Either way, HE appointed them and is now doing THEIR job.
9:02 am Another day, another meeting for David Cameron! This time it's with insurance industry leaders! Just to help DC with the nuances of insurance: INSURANCE is betting on something which MIGHT happen. ASSURANCE is betting on something which definitely WILL happen. Hence Life Assurance (you will DEFINITELY die) & nowadays, thanks to years of mismanagement and under- investment, we EFFECTIVELY have Flood ASSURANCE. Local Authorities and Central Government have placed the insurance industry in an impossible position. Insurance industry leaders will be "asked" not to increase premiums by too much by a government which is partly responsible for insurance claims which are already estimated to be well in excess of £1 BILLION.
Snapshots for 14 February, 2014
9:25 am Roger Lloys Pack's funeral took place yesterday. He , of course was best-known as "Trigger" from Only Fools and Horses. According to his daughter Emily, Roger's final words to his family were "I'm fine"....... R.I.P
9:10 am The odds are that a chunk of YOUR pension fund is invested by a Fund Manager (on your behalf) in Bank Shares. Over the years, lower dividends, as a result of those comedy bank bonuses will have an appreciable effect on your retirement fund. Who cares? You should. http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/feb/13/lloyds-bank-ceo-antonio-horta-osorio-bonus-profit
Snapshots for 13 February, 2014
5:04 pm The debate about the Scots using the Pound Sterling after "Independence Day" is all very interesting but pointless because they are quite at liberty to use whichever currency they like. However, there would be a problem for instance, if interest rates moved and the variation didn't suit their spluttering (yes!) economy, King Sean and his jester Sal Mond would have to rethink their Ruritanian/Wallace dreams and go back to the Withdrawing Board! BTW, there will be no independence because in the final analysis, the Scots are a VERY pragmatic race and WILL "do the right thing" (sorry!) and remain where they belong - a much-cherished and loved part of the UNITED Kingdom. THAT is why today's macho posturing by an "irrelevant" such as Chancellor Gideon is....er......irrelevant.