THE DEFICIT has been a constant in our ears ever since someone at Conservative HQ discovered that [...]
Many years ago, I was asked to chair a Citibank meeting during which the CEO and directors would [...]
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.
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 :)
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
GLASTONBURY and its Winnebagos, air-conditioned yurts, Chardonnay and designer hippies........ [...]
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.
8:24 am The #flooding has amplified a major misjudgement by politicians of every political party. They continue to imagine that the spouting of platitudes and looking sympathetic in front of cameras is somehow "reassuring" to the public. Here's a "heads-up": Voters certainly used to be reassured by politicians' Royal visits.......but unfortunately that was when politicians were respected. That started to dip after 1945 and was finally buried when MPs were caught thieving from the taxpayer in 2009. They should do something useful: STAY AWAY.
8:07 am What Governor Mark Carney was saying yesterday (in the nicest possible way) was than a few quarters of insipid above-zero growth does not immediately and definitely signify an economic recovery. Unlike politicians, who will extrapolate from a single quarter......but ONLY if if it is positive. Mr Carney is rapidly showing that he is his own man who tells it how it is. A very refreshing change.
Snapshots for 12 February, 2014
6:29 pm BBC News Editors need to up their game as far as reportage of the #flooding is concerned. They write of "Records", they give us meaningless Statistics, with their newsreaders almost delighting in the scale of the tragedy. This sensationalist and voyeuristic style of delivery with reporters standing by blown-over trees, collapsed walls and wind-blown beaches serve absolutely no useful purpose. Asking victims with ruined lives the "How do you FEEL?" question is lazy and adds absolutely nothing to the debate.......and incidentally, just because the Thames Valley is now flooding, is NO excuse to totally ignore the hell that West Country victims continue to experience.
5:12 pm First Eric and now Patrick! DC really IS getting the BIG BOYS in! Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick Mc Loughlin says that when David Cameron said "Whatever it takes" to help UK flood victims, he did NOT mean "blank cheque". That is because what DC said was untrue.....and we ALL knew it! ...."Whatever it takes" does NOT necessarily mean "Whatever it takes." That's because there ARE occasions when badly-prepared political statements are no more than macho nonsense designed ONLY for newspaper headlines. #COBRA451
9:55 am Bank of England: Presumably, interest rates will be going up AND down, either side of the 7% unemployment rate? :)
9:49 am There was a classic "No shit, Sherlock?!" moment from "an expert" on the radio this morning: "With all the rain, wind and flooding, certain people will become depressed." It good to see that a Psychology degree is not always a waste of time.
9:42 am I have a funny feeling that the Draghi-like "Whatever it takes" promise by David Cameron to United Kingdom flood victims will come back to haunt him. It was a VERY ill-advised thing he said, merely in order to placate the press. Once quotas, amounts, conditions and timescales start being published by his government, he will end up looking as if he'd broken another promise and performed yet another U-turn. For the moment though, let's sit back and count the COBRA meetings.
Snapshots for 29 January, 2014
3:14 pm Chancellor Gideon has said the rest of Britain might be unwilling to let an independent Scotland keep the pound! The SNP has responded by suggesting that Scotland might in return refuse to take on its share of Britain's 1.2 TRILLION pounds of government debt. Can Alex Salmond actually see beyond the over-romanticised notions of "FREEDOM!"..... driven by blind idealism and Sean Connery?
3:05 pm EUROZONE: The ECB has cut interest rates to a record low, pumped extra liquidity into the banking system and announced a fresh government bond purchase programme.... but the measures have so far not managed to unclog lending to the real economy. Watch for another slowdown....in spite of everyone attempting to talk it all UP!
Snapshots for 21 January, 2014
1:35 pm There was an unseemly exhibition of grandstanding by Tim Yeo MP at this morning's Energy and Climate Change Select Committee meeting as he told #energy bosses "you are exploiting your privileged monopoly position" and neglecting customers! The Electricity Supplier CEOs were lined up like fairground ducks in front of the committee and all came across as reasonable guys who knew that in spite of the fact that they had done their level best, it had been impossible to reconnect every customer over the Christmas period. Yet more evidence that Members of Parliament are NOT fit to even be involved in such an inquiry and as for the Committee's Chairman, Tim Yeo....anyone would think that he either had other things on his mind or that he was trying too hard to impress!
Snapshots for 13 January, 2014
9:21 am Remember John Gummer in 1990 when he tried to feed his daughter a beefburger to try to convince the public re the safety of British beef? How about David Cameron doing something similar by being present (with the cameras) at the first FRACKING test drilling in Witney? We'd ALL love to be convinced!!
Snapshots for 20 December, 2013
10:37 am Remember, Chancellor Gideon: There are NO reasons - only excuses! By the way the United Kingdom's trade deficit widened to £10.0 BILLION in Q3 from £5.0 billion in Q3, representing 5.1% of GDP. Spin that! http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_347294.pdf
Snapshots for 18 December, 2013
5:13 pm Is the Home Office ABSOLUTELY sure that the United Kingdom can attract Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants to this land of Elitism, Noncery, Government Racism, Xenophobia, crooked Lords and SHOCKING Educational standards?
2:04 pm Chancellor Gideon has claimed that "the taxpayer" has made a profit on the sale of Lloyds Bank shares. That is NOT true. It is yet another example of the half-truths and selective statistics which have come to characterize this government. The money to buy Lloyds shares in the first place, was BORROWED. That had an attendant cost. Therefore, if fees and costs are deducted from the share sale, "the taxpayer" made a LOSS. Gideon is becoming Brownesque in his ability to dispose of national assets.