There is a very good reason why heads of very large organisations command such obscenely huge salaries. They tend to be highly qualified and extremely experienced individuals whose grasp of both finance and organisational dynamics is truly mind-blowing. In addition, there are comparatively few of them....and although we may or may not agree with their vast incomes, they do have responsibility not only to shareholders but for the futures of thousands of employees. Therefore, it is astounding as well is wrong on so many levels, that a 'here today gone tomorrow' politician who commands a salary of about £135,000 is given the responsibility of running an organisation as vast and complex as [...]
Terribly intrusive reportage by the Mail. They should show John "Shagger" Whittingdale a bit of respect. The fact that this unlikely knobmeister is managing to score at a rate which should at least put him on the England subs bench at Euro 2016 is obviously causing the po-faced ones at the Mail some discomfort. Power to his elbow....and all other parts of his soon-to-be ex-Cabinet anatomy.
All that Chancellor Gideon has achieved by stating that if the UK leaves the #EU, MORTGAGE RATES will increase, has been to highlight his stupidity and total lack of understanding of the mortgage market. Presumably he is implying that if we remain in the EU, mortgage rates will NOT go up? However, it was good to see that in preparation for any backlash, he made the point that his weasel words were, in fact, quoting what "The Americans" said.
THIS is a Tax Return: THIS is NOT a Tax Return: I will say this only once! Cameron, Osborne and Johnson have NOT produced what are being referred-to as "Tax Returns". They have produced what look like simplistic spreadsheets which do not even look as if they've seen an accountant, never mind HMRC. I wonder who is going to be the first to notice and ask for their audited accounts as well as PROPER Tax Returns. Boris Johnson is taxed as both an employed as well as a [...]
Has ANYONE noticed that David Cameron has NOT yet produced his Tax Return? In their excitement, the media appear to have accepted a very dodgy-looking and simplistic spreadsheet - the sort we could all knock-out on our PCs. The sort of spreadsheet which would be totally unacceptable to HMRC or even to an unqualified book-keeper. Wake up! We should see Cameron's and his wife's Tax Returns plus any non-PAYE accounts.
In order to see number which give a true reflection of Cameron's and Osborne's incomes, their spouses tax returns should also be made public. It's amazing how easy it is to forget having bestowed large amounts of cash on a loved one. I am not suggesting for one moment that there may have been deliberate movement of assets or cash designed to defraud HMRC but these things can happen for totally innocent reasons.....so while we're at it, perhaps it would be best to get it all over with in one go! In addition, I would suspect that at least one of them is part-Schedule E and part Schedule D. That means that apart from PAYE deductions, there may be accounts!
Remember that whatever your opinion, whether it's the #EU hokey-kokey debate or Mr Cameron and his deep and (so genuine!) offshore love for his father, it all depends on where you're standing ...your POV.................. For instance: Dog: " I love the way I've trained that nice Dr Pavlov to smile, make notes and give me a treat every time I drool"
Now that Cameron has released a note of his tax affairs back to 2009 (yet another mistake), it won't be long before his income prior to that date will be demanded for scrutiny by an increasingly ferocious press. His priority now should be to sack his 'advisers'. They have advised him very badly in the past but on this occasion, have excelled themselves. Their talent this week appears to have consisted of no more than pouring increasing volumes of petrol onto the fire. Yes, Dave, you were quite right, there are things which are a 'Private Matter'. For instance: “I love my dad. I miss him every day. He was a wonderful father and I’m very proud of everything he did.' is most [...]
Cameron spokesperson: "There are no offshore trusts or funds that the Prime Minister or his immediate family would benefit from in future." What about the £300K that your old man left you, Dave? Do and your family not plan to spend it in the future? Have you already spent it? Where did it come from? A Nationwide Super-Saver account? A Halifax Deposit Account? BVI? What about the residue of your old man's estate? When your mother's estate is finally assessed, are you agreeing that you will have no interest in that money either? Where exactly is the offshore stash which your father left? You know the one...the one that you and your immediate family have announced that you will not [...]
The question is very straightforward: Do we want to belong to a totally unaudited association of failing and near bankrupt economies, overrun by unwanted (yes!) migrants and presided over by an inward-focused, self-amplifying bureaucracy - or should we be looking outwards to the rest of the world whilst maintaining relations only with the European states we can do business with - without worrying about regulations governing what we eat or the amperage of our hairdryers and toasters! Here is a link to Euro MP Daniel Hannan's excellent revelations which we should all read: http://dailym.ai/1S2A0P6
David Cameroon, George Osborne and John Pullinger of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are out hunting. Osborne shoots at a deer and misses 5ft to the left, Cameron takes a shot and misses 5ft to the right. Pullinger of the ONS can hardly suppress his excitement and yells: ‘We got ‘im!’
Ah.......that heady aroma of a media-generated mélange of schadenfreude and disinformation! Ian Cameron's FUND, Blairmore Holdings was never a "Trust". It was a Hedge Fund which invested in no more than the sort of equities etc that one finds in any other fund. Cameron Junior and his unfortunate wife, Sam may well have invested in the old man's business - probably because the fund was generating very high returns. One of the factors to be taken into consideration when investing is the tax regime. Here in the UK, for instance, the Exchequer helps itself to Stamp Duty when you invest ............and then, if you are domiciled in the UK, it helps itself to some more by way of Capital [...]
Let's not beat around the bush......London is the money-laundering capital of the world. In addition to that, it is Britain which has all those ex-colonial islands and protectorates scattered all over the world. They have become the tax-free-no-questions-asked home to all the world's drug and crime proceeds as well as the repository for a sizeable chunk of the aid money the West continues to dish out to the Third World .....in the full knowledge that much of it will eventually land in a Swiss numbered account while it waits to be properly buried in some obscure Caribbean offshore trust. London is the crossroads of such a high percentage of the ill-gotten gains of corrupt politicians and [...]
Blairmore Holdings Inc, the offshore fund which the Prime Minister's father, Ian Cameron helped to set up has never paid any UK tax on its profits.....and that's over a period of 30 years. Many of the fund's clients are Brits. ("Blairmore" is the name of the Cameron ancestral home in Aberdeenshire. It is now a Christian Healing Centre which Cameron Jnr may well need very soon......)
Jezza's dealings with the NHS and its Junior Doctors is clearly showing that he is so far out of his depth that he should ditch those Savile Row suits and invest in some SCUBA gear.....
It would appear that we have another 'first' from the Cameron family! Could it be that Cameron Snr is the only individual in history who was involved in offshore investment WITH absolutely NO advantage either to himself or his family......and is it hereditary?
Apparently, David Cameron was probably the only rich kid for whom a Trust Fund was never set up. A startling omission by his father because it would have been the most efficient way to put cash or any other type of asset away with junior as the beneficiary. A Trust has 'trustees' who usually exercise their discretion in how much is paid to the beneficiary and when it is paid. Trusts are not only useful for passing down assets to the next generation but also keep assets out of a settlor's estate, thus reducing any Inheritance Tax liability. It is therefore VERY surprising that Cameron Snr did not think of that! However, it is nevertheless always a good idea to listen very carefully to [...]
The Panama Papers reminded me of something that I have been thinking about for many years. What makes senior, specifically LEADER politicians so rich? Very often, all they have had is a career in politics, which as we all know, does not pay very well and yet they suddenly appear at the top of the pile with both the A-list film-star lifestyle as well as the mega-bloated bank account plus the services of sleazy bankers and agents for offshore tax havens. As far as I can see, the only advantage they have over normal mortals is not ability, diligence, a business sense or even an entrepreneurial spirit. The only thing they do have is proximity to tax payer cash. For instance, the salary of a [...]
In keeping with this government's appalling standard of juvenile speech-writing and verbal gimmickry, Business Secretary Sajid Javid has delivered another priceless acronym. He said that any buyer of Port Talbot steelworks ".....would want to refer to "The Three Ps". Did he mean the government's Piss Poor Preparation or was he possibly referring to the three qualities that this government has become so well-known for: Procrastination, Procrastination, Procrastination.
This is what is happening while #Cameron dispenses platitudes: German newspaper Rheinische Post has reported that Tata Steel is in advanced talks to buy a stake in Thyssenkrupp's Steel Europe, sending shares in Thyssenkrupp 5.2 percent higher to the top of Germany's DAX index ............Thyssenkrupp declined to comment, as did a European spokesman for Tata Steel. Tata Steel wants to dump Port Talbot and get into bed with our German friends. So much for DC's negotiating skills. http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-tata-steel-thyssenkrupp-idUKKCN0WY4E5
The government is "doing everything it can" to save thousands of steel jobs - but there are "no guarantees of success" The situation at Port Talbot is of "deep concern" and "steel jobs are vital" to workers' families and the communities. A "more nuanced" solution is needed in recognition of the global oversupply of steel "Just continuing to produce steel for which there is not adequate demand isn't the answer." The European Union is "a vital market for British steel." Britain is "having conversations with other Governments" I'm sure that there is a word for the above type of rhetoric but I just can't think what it might be! :) p.s. Because the government appears to [...]
Chancellor George Osborne said today that he was TALKING to other governments about taking action to prevent the dumping of cheap steel after Britain's biggest producer Tata Steel put its operations up for sale. TALKING and MEETINGS - the GOVERNMENT'S ALTERNATIVE to DECISION-MAKING!
The UK economy grew 0.6% in the fourth quarter of 2015, higher than the previous estimate of 0.5%. As a result, the economy grew by 2.3% for the whole of 2015, rather than 2.2% as previously thought, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Unsurprisingly, the figure came as a surprise to experts, who had forecast that it would remain unchanged. One wonders whether Chancellor Gideon will blame the Global Economy for this morsel of good fortune.
The outcome is already a certainty. Cameron, his Ministers will be engaging in Cameron's favourite pastime - a MEETING. This one is to "discuss" the fate of the moribund British Steel Industry. In fact, the industry's fate had already been decided even as far back as 1988 when the British public was encouraged to throw its cash away by investing in an industry which has been dying since the end of World War II. British Steel eventually morphed into Indian Steel, with its epicentre on the Sub-continent. Now there is hysterical talk of us being stitched-up by China with its "inferior steel" (commentators are confusing "inferior" with "competitively priced" - and there is absolutely no proof [...]
Snapshots for 30 March, 2016
3:41 pm Lionel Messi has offered to auction his boots in aid of an Egyptian charity. Unfortunately, no-one has briefed the Barcelona star on Arab antipathy towards shoes and boots. Remember that Libyan mob hitting Gaddafi with the soles of their shoes? Remember that Iraqi mob hitting that pulled-down statue of Saddam with their shoes.....and what about that shoe thrown at George W Bush? Now the Egyptian people feel insulted that Messi has offered his 'shoes' instead of his shirt. Funny old world.
Cameron deploying his "We'll do everything we can to help" mantra. This time it is aimed at the British steel industry. Certain commentators have suggested that Dave is probably thinking about re-nationalising steel! He'd rather be rogered by a pig wearing a red rosette....It won't be long before we're importing steel from China. Remember, this government does NOT have a long-term plan - only fine words. Time to say 'tata' to our steel industry.
Someone please tell Presidential candidate #Trump that Steve Jobs was the son of a #Syrian Muslim migrant to the USA named Abdulfattah "John" Jandalind and was most likely conceived in Homs, Syria. Had Trump been President when Jobs' father came to study in the USA, he may have been refused entry and then......No Jobs and no Apple!
Every government is remembered by its Prime Minister and just a couple of headline achievements and policies. So far, David Cameron has built quite an arsenal of happy memories to be remembered by. Here are 20........and they're beginning to look very worrying. Austerity Very dodgy Statistics with the Ministry of Statistics (ONS) admitting its over-reliance on surveys. A Prime Minister incapable of completing a negotiation. (EU).....Don't believe me? Wait and see.... All issues requiring an executive decision being farmed out to Planet Inquiry. Food Banks. Giving a totally believable impression of being comprehensively out of touch with the ordinary man. Nepotism and [...]
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.
Very soon, the UK's National Health Service will collapse under the burden of an impossible workload coupled to chronic government underfunding. Unfortunately the Conservative mantra of "We have invested far more in the NHS than the last Labour government.....blah...blah...blah..." has become not only an absolutely meaningless slogan but a very bad joke. Here are TWO straightforward numbers: As at 30th September 2014, there were 1,387,692 NHS employees. That figure included 701,872 clinically-trained staff. In one year, the growth of the first figure was nearly TWICE that of the lower figure. Many years ago, I began my career in the Scientific Civil Service. There were barely [...]
David Cameron is about to send his Christmas EU wish-list letter to Brussels. As he licks the stamp, he should perhaps reflect on the fact that this is the third renegotiation since Britain joined in 1973 and our second referendum on membership. It's not even as if the United Kingdom is negotiating from a position of strength. The rather flaky economic recovery which Osborne thinks he's sold not only to a gullible British public but also to the EU, is looking shakier by the day. The much-promulgated "We've managed to get the deficit down to 5% of GDP!" may sound good in isolation but the much-maligned Eurozone has a Deficit-to-GDP ratio of only 2.1% ! (The UK figure is actually [...]
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 organisational foresight was totally focused on improving the health of a patient. The needs were the needs of the sick. Fast forward to 2015 and we see an amplifying obsession with expenditure and management. The organisation no longer asks the question "How do we improve the health of a patient?" or "What are the patient's needs?" The fundamental 2015 question is: "What patient needs does the capital allow?" Patient needs are no longer an absolute. They are a function of cash available. Too many NEEDS and you're dead! It may sound [...]
Snapshots for 3 November, 2015
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.
In the United Kingdom, total Credit Card debt now stands at about £61,000,000,000. Approximately 2,000,000 people are in arrears or have defaulted and another 2,000,000 are struggling to repay their debt.....The Financial Services Authority says: "Our study suggests that the market is working reasonably well for most consumers, with a range of cards on offer. However, for a significant minority who are in persistent levels of debt, the market could potentially work better." (Not sure what that means.)
David Cameron and George Osborne both appear to think that meeting other politicians somehow creates international trade. The fact is that politicians have very little influence on commerce and none at all on corporate trade-related decision-making. The three months to September 2015 saw British exporters experience the weakest growth in orders since the second quarter of 2009 when the country was in the grip of recession. Admittedly, manufacturing represents only about 10% of GDP but nevertheless it is worrying to see the UK's export drive going into reverse at exactly the time when the government is dispensing such positive economic mood-music. Yes, we understand that the UK [...]
BURIED NEWS: The (our) government has given a cheap £45 MILLION loan to international Steel Mills Group EVRAZ (owned by Roman Abramovich). The cash will be used to upgrade a steel mill in Saskatchewan Canada which Abramovich owns jointly with Mitsubishi. #Redcar
George Orwell may have been 30 years out, but he was right. Theresa May's Investigatory Powers Bill must not be allowed to pass into Law. I certainly do not want to traumatize some innocent Plod as he or she scours my web-browsing history...(It was for research purposes!). Rewind 20 years and we have the equivalent of the government saying: "We want to steam-open your letters before you read them but we'll only have sneaky little peek. Nothing to worry about. It's all that terrorism y'know! It's for your own good!" Hopefully, once again...the House of Lords will protect us from a government which is becoming far too prescriptive and self-important. Another case of Big [...]
If you ask the average British person why they are dissatisfied with the nature of the UK's membership of the European Union, the items which are always near the top of the agenda are: 1. The scale of our national contribution. 2. Migration fears. 3. The wastage on the bloated Brussels bureaucracy. That is why it is strange to see that David Cameron's tediously anaemic 'negotiation' shopping list does not mention TWO of the above. Here's the list: Securing an opt-out from the principle of ever-closer union Protecting the rights of countries outside the eurozone Regaining more powers for national parliaments Overhauling the existing welfare rules in relation to [...]
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 DEFICIT was a high percentage of it. In fact, it was about 10%. Gradually, because the GDP has increased, THE DEFICIT has gradually become a lower percentage of the GDP. It is now of the order of 5%........or as Messrs Cameron and Osborne prefer: "We have HALVED the deficit!". Yes...from 10% to 5%. The graph above shows that as far as THE DEFICIT is concerned, the United Kingdom continues to UNDERPERFORM the European Union. (If you click on the "EXPLORE DATA" link on the above graph, you will land on the official Eurostat page [...]
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. The whole event was started off by the Chief Executive delivering a "Where We Are Now/Where We Would Like To Be" presentation. In the manner of all Chief Executives with an accountancy background, there were upward-sloping graphs, slides entitled "Return on Equity", "Return on Income", a lot about Profit, Expense Overruns, Assets, Take-over Plans etc. After about 15 slides of numbers, there was a final slide which, for some reason, senior management invariably feels obliged to roll out....It is the one about "Our MOST valuable asset.....OUR [...]
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, is quite right in having decided NOT to prosecute Lord Janner for alleged child abuse. Her reasons and rationale are to be found here: http://blog.cps.gov.uk/2015/04/the-decision-not-to-prosecute-lord-janner-statement-from-the-dpp.html Although her reasons not to prosecute are (quite rightly) based in law, there is also the question of compassion.....something definitely not afforded the hundreds of children who have been abused over the years. However, compassion must never be confused with forgiveness and we must also remember that Greville Janner has never been convicted of child abuse. Needless to say, this will be a great [...]
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.
A couple of years ago, I was in Oman, running a Management Audit course for a dozen employees of a well-known petro-chemical conglomerate. The group they had sent me was the usual mix of nationalities, religions and language abilities. Years of practice meant that I could judge how difficult or easy the week was going to be within a couple of hours of our first meeting. In keeping with my own tradition, I asked the course participants to interview each other and then introduce the person they'd interviewed. That gave me an idea of what they were all about but more importantly, their English Language skills. We were is a very posh hotel for a week which gave me the opportunity not [...]
First published 17th March 2015, The News Hub.... www.the-newshub.com The relationship between the European Union, the Eurozone and Greece is no different to the relationships between many governments and their own citizens. The EU-Greece relationship is no more than a macro model of what is currently occurring, for instance, in the United Kingdom. Let's face it since the Greek crisis started a few years ago, in the main, the Greeks have been caricatured as lazy, workshy and the architects of their own misfortune. That naturally led to the assumption that they didn't 'deserve' support from their richer European cousins unless they changed their ways. Here in the United Kingdom, [...]
(Reuters) - The head of euro zone finance ministers has urged Greece to "stop wasting time" and buckle down to serious talks and implementation of a reform programme to secure urgently needed fresh funds from its international creditors. "Little has been done since the last Eurogroup (meeting two weeks ago) in terms of talks, in terms of implementation," Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on arrival for a meeting of ministers of the 19-nation currency bloc. "We have to stop wasting time and really start talks seriously," he said, adding that euro zone partners stood ready to support Greece if it continued on the economic reform path. Euro zone officials were not [...]
(A government FAILS to persuade bankers to lend to the common people.) The Gates to Economic Recovery and New Prosperity were being guarded by the Bankers. A tired and bedraggled band of travellers stood before them. They were led by Camron, the legendary economic illusionist and Prime Minister of the Ukshire. The Chancellor Gideon, the Cabinet and other Uks were busying themselves with trying to appear invisible – an ancient trick modeled after the mythical Bank Elders. Camron raised his pink chin so as to appear less terrified than he really was. He tried one of his famed rictus-like smiles. “Please let us in! We have cleared The Mess!” . After he had [...]
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.
We are constantly being reminded that that the May General Election, rather than being an ideological battle between the two usual suspects, it is much more open.....but is it? The main two protagonists have been standing toe-to-toe in the middle of the ring for some months now...but it is is the Blue Corner's "second" who is twitching on the slab, hoping for a last-minute crumb of absolution from the electorate. The mauve circus continues to be led towards that mythical New (EU-free) Dawn by their gurning ringmaster...hardly spilling a drop as he marches through town...always steering towards the Main Event but aware of the fate which befell the man on the slab. There are the [...]
After the mess left behind in Iraq, Libya and Syria, Western leaders appear to have realised that the days of a “good shooting war” being good for political image have gone forever. For most political leaders, heroic speechwriter-polished phrases and Churchillian posturing are a remnant of a past when the words ” honour” and “bravery” still had currency. Today, war is recognised as a filthy misery-spawning industry which, like an appalling Grand Prix Circuit, moves from country to country, leaving no more than a legacy of destruction and death. There is no honour in war – there is only pointlessness, rubble and refugees. The most bizarre aspect of the whole Middle East [...]
The Summer of Love, Woodstock and now Je Suis Charlie........ Love-ins are doubtless very motivational, inspirational and emotionally regenerative but unfortunately, they carry with them a large dose of exponential decay. Other demonstrations such as Solidarność worked because they were not-only inclusive but they also hinted at revolution and violence........undercurrents which are (by definition) always missing from love-ins. Make no mistake, the events in Paris yesterday were wonderful and uplifting but regrettably, not transformational. They were no more than a herd coming together after a few of its members had been attacked and killed by predators. We were all looking for [...]
Social Unrest has little to do with Democracy or Government. It has everything to do with uneven & unfair Wealth Distribution and hungry people. See Italy and Greece...... It WILL happen elsewhere, especially in the "We're in this Together" "United" Kingdom.
We have had many scandals in the UK. By far the greatest is that a country which (on paper) is one of the Top 10 richest in the world has a need for food banks.
The Conservative solution to British hunger and poverty is best exemplified by Leader of the House & former pin-up boy of the teaching professions, Michael Gove: "Those who find themselves without money for food are not best able to manage their finances" Just like the Government! When there's not enough money in the kitty, you either borrow or do without. The trouble with the hungry is that they are unable to conjure-up food money by clever accounting tricks which make them look better off than they are.
Political and Establishment figures keep "calling" for stuff! "Calling" appears to be used as an action substitute. They "call" for ceasefires, they "call" for international responses and so on. They even "called" on Russia to get out of Crimea! Today, it's the turn of the Archbishop of Canterbury! Today, he will CALL for more help to prevent British families from going hungry. I call on them all to shut up and DO something positive.
Whether you provide a service or whether you make something and no matter how GOOD you are, you need to tell the world about what you produce. THAT means that a large part of your job is Selling! Whenever I train people to sell, I tend to major on how to get your product or service in front of people and how to turn value into hard cash. A good Sales Presentation IS useful but as MOST entrepreneurs who fail, do so because they don't distribute or sell their product effectively, I thought that on this occasion, I would cut to the last bit......the very end of a pitch, presentation or meeting - so that you recognise the signals which tell you that you have hit a brick wall and have made [...]
In September 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that there SHOULD be a "clawback" system for bankers' pay. In February 2013, the EU was POISED to cap banker bonuses. In January 2014, Prime Minister David Cameron said that a bonus COULD be clawed back but not basic pay. In November 2014, Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England said that bankers' pay MAY need to be clawed back. It would seem that life on the two planets which exclusively orbit only each other....Planet Bank and Planet Westminster....life moves slowly and is mostly populated by Modal Verbs....a sort of Mañana in suits! Meanwhile, Investment Bankers continue to gorge themselves.....and all we [...]
Worried or embarrassed about your GP examining you ? About two months ago, my brother-in-law went to see his G.P about a back pain. The doctor examined him, told him that he'd strained his back and prescribed mild painkillers. He told George that his back would get better but that at his age, it might take some time. A couple of weeks after that, George went to the doctor again. The pain was not improving and he was beginning to walk with quite a pronounced stoop. As a surveyor, there were occasions when he needed to climb ladders and he was naturally worried that his back might "give way" when he was up a ladder. Needless to say, the G.P made the customary reassuring noises, [...]
An unpleasant consequence of a Scottish 'YES' vote will be David Cameron's current stabbing pains between the shoulder blades becoming fatal. He, as Prime Minister has a DUTY to maintain the Union, so if Smuggins Salmond finally gets his way, DC will have to go. His footnote in history will be as the PM who saw the Union collapse. Traditionally, the Conservative Party doesn't leap on its leader until he or she looks fatally wounded. Once that happens, the surgery will be very swift! Currently, the Conservative Party does not have the advantage of being spoilt for choice of potential leader......DC is by far the best they have - by MILES. That means that there is a very real danger [...]
Iraq's neighbours are Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE. Together, they have over 300,000 active military personnel with another MILLION available for combat. The fighting and disputes in the Middle East tend to be factional and centre around disagreeing flavours of Islam. The present ISIL expansion is no exception. Instead of giving a very good impression of sitting back and allowing the West to worry about the genocide and destruction in Iraq and elsewhere, perhaps the Arab States would consider taking the initiative. After all, they buy arms from the West. Perhaps they should consider getting some of them dirty. They have the firepower....but do they have the will?
Anyone else hearing the rumours that Sean Connery is preparing to stand for President of Scotland? And can anyone think of a better reason for voting 'NO' ?
It began with Saddam: "Killing his own people, "Outrage", "We condemn", "We will take action", COBRA meeting, Statement: "Blah Blah...unacceptable", "we will do out utmost......." with the same dreary and predictable consequences. Then we had EXACTLY the same rhetoric for Gaddafi, then Assad and now ISIL. There is just ONE practical step which David Cameron should think about : SHUT UP! Threatening Islamic fanatics whilst hiding behind America's skirts achieves absolutely nothing and only serves to aggravate the ISIL nutters and embolden them even more. They KNOW that the odds of them being caught are very slim. Prime Ministers ALWAYS say that "there will be justice..." or "they [...]
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!! :)