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In Praise of the Psychopath

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One of the most misused and least understood words in the English language is ‘psychopath’.

Thanks to the media, as well as the arts, the word is confused with ‘violent psychopath’.

Many years ago when I was still cavorting on the corporate stage, I asked one of my American ‘matrix’ bosses (who went on to head up one of the world’s biggest banks) what his ideal senior manager was. He studied me intently and replied, ‘An entrepreneurial psychopath with an MBA’…………..

‘Well,’ I thought, ‘at least I’m half qualified.’…..

If you’ve ever come across someone who exudes confidence, shows no fear, is quick to make decisions, is considered charming but has that edge of ruthlessness and is the best man or woman to have by your side in a crisis, the odds are that they have a psychopathic personality.

If someone ever calls you ‘psycho’ and you haven’t murdered your neighbour or drowned your young children’s kittens, take it as a compliment.

So what is suddenly making me think about the psychopathic personality? It is no more than the election to very high political office of a leader who is probably the most misunderstood individual to step onto the world stage in recent years.

I have already listed some psychopathic traits but if I add to them the fact that psychopaths don’t waste time, and only focus on the positive whilst being very assertive with a clear view of what they wish to achieve and remain totally controlled even when under pressure, you may already have guessed which brand-new leader I am referring to. Add to that the fact that psychopaths don’t become depressed or blame themselves if things go wrong because they never take things personally, but can be quite affable and lovable when they want to be – you know exactly to whom I am referring.

Company CEOs and many senior politicians are definitely psychopaths, which brings me to yet another trait which they all share and that is an ego with its own postcode! These people love themselves – they are narcissists of the first order. That means that you will not be surprised when I tell you that surgeons and lawyers, especially the ones who have climbed the greasy pole of stardom also tend to be psychopaths.

The Merrill-Reid Social Styles Model splits individuals into four main groups: Drivers, Expressives, Analyticals and Amiables. The psychopaths are the Drivers. They enjoy power – especially over their disciples or followers. Notice that I didn’t say ’employees’ or anything silly like that. These people enjoy being worshipped and looked up to. Those egos need sustenance! They demand worship!

So, don’t be surprised by Donald Trump signing executive orders like confetti. It is what he does. He needs to do it and to be seen to do it.

He does not want to be seen to procrastinate and is driven to get the job done as soon as possible without worrying too much about any collateral damage. Focus is not on the people, but on the end-result.

British Prime Minister Theresa May could not help but be charmed by Mr Trump on her recent visit to the United States. That is because many ‘Drivers’ such as Mr Trump can turn on the charm like a chocolate fountain – but that charm tends to be no more than a ‘learned behaviour’. Emotion-based traits do not come naturally or easily to the average psychopath but have to be studied gradually and learned to be used as no more than a ‘tool’ when needed.

Finally, a word of warning. When any individual who relies on learned behaviours in order to fit in with conventional society (or politics!) is ever put under extreme pressure, it is the learned behaviours which disappear and they revert to type – and the sparks begin to fly. In other words – no more Mr Nice Guy…….

I believe that we are in for a very interesting time.

p.s. If you are concerned about Theresa May being a psychopath – you will be pleased to know that she is most definitely an Analytical. That means procrastination – usually in the guise of  ‘I like all the information in front of me before I make a decision’. Just like that nice Gordon Brown.  As for Tony Blair? You decide.

Diane Abbott, Emily Thornberry…..Two reasons to vote for……..well…..ANYONE else!!!

Here are a few snippets which confirm what have always been my biggest fears about politicians – Incompetence, xenophobia, racial bigotry and the triumph of bullshit over substance. These two lovelies are among the finest exponents. This is a must watch video:

(Conservatives and Libdems to follow!!)

 

(With thanks to Politics UK – you NAUGHTY people!)

Beyond Fashion with Paclantic


Beijing Fashion Week reminds us that today’s Chinese designers are very much in demand, both at home as well as all over the world, notably the West, where they are being increasingly recognised by both American and European fashion houses as being totally ‘on-trend’ and pointing the way forward for the rest of the fashion industry.

The exhibitors at this month’s Beijing Fashion Week are going to be showing everything from the high-end of the market, right down to everyday streetwear, including the most highly accelerating sector, which is children’s clothing.

With China’s new prosperity there comes a great demand for designer children’s clothing, not only aimed at the domestic market, but of a quality high enough to attack the entire global market. One of the great market leaders within the industry is the Pine Crane Tai Company, better known as PacLantic Co Ltd which specialises in children’s and infant’s clothing, shoes and accessories.

Their products are specifically designed for children from ages 0 to 14…..and their designs are very much in demand. Consequently, they enjoy a world-wide market and distribute to Eastern Europe, North America as well as Central and South America.

The company is well-established, having been formed in 1994 and consistently present in the top three companies in its sector, ranked by market share. In fact, usually it is firmly embedded at number one.

The reason I’m highlighting Paclantic is because of its ethos, mission statement and simply the way it goes about its business. As you might expect, it is extremely information technology-intensive, but its very modern approach is linked to an exceptionally high level of creativity. Couple this to its unparalleled management and you will be not surprised to hear that it has obtained its ISO9001 quality certification as it moves from strength-to-strength.

The entire company’s ethos not only exemplifies the modern Chinese attitude to business, but there is also what we call a ‘soft edge’ which has become of paramount importance in recent years.

‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ is one of those management buzz phrases that you hear in high-level executive meetings with maybe a paragraph or two on the annual report and accounts. Paclantic is different in that it practices what it preaches.

Because the company designs and produces children’s clothing, it has decided to make a mark among a disenfranchised and often forgotten group of children through the medium of creative art. The children are encouraged to practice within company sponsored specialist rehabilitation centres, which Paclantic is using as a source of both inspiration and actual design for some of its products.

Let me give you an example :

Bon Cloud is a Bejing based international video content producer and distributor. It has worked with Beijing Fashion Week and exhibitor fashion brand Paclantic, to produce a CSR story featuring design inspiration from austistic children. This is a perfect combination of art and autism, art with CSR.

Their client Paclantic asked them to visit the Golden Wings Art Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled Children which they sponsor.

There they spoke to Jia Jing, who is the mother of one of the pupils. His name is Kang Rui and he is quite severely autistic, but like many autistic children, enjoys an art form of one sort or another. He enjoys painting and has been painting since the age of five.


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He is now 17 and a regular attendee at the Golden Wings Centre and his progress has been nothing short of remarkable and he can now not only create beautiful art, but through his painting he’s also learning to express himself to others.

His mother takes up the story by saying that at one time he had hardly any friends because he did not know how to communicate. Today, his communication medium is the humble paintbrush and the change in his character and demenour has been nothing short of miraculous.

His designs will be incorporated in the Paclantic exhibition at the Beijing Fashion Week.

THAT is real CSR in action!

Golden Wings founder Zhang Junru was interviewed at the Paclantic-sponsored, beautifully designed, open-planned and very well equipped rehabilitation centre. She confirmed that she is fully aware that children can learn through the creative arts about both language and socialising. She knows that for autistic children those can be major obstacles.

She continued by suggesting that what makes art such a useful and powerful vehicle is that it does not require language because a child’s energy and love are distilled and captured forever in the art that they create – and so the bridge between autistic children and the rest of the world through art is completed.

Zhang Junru then produced an environmentally-friendly bag which was printed with Kang Rui’s work. It was called ‘Warmth’ and the heart-warming emotion from Kang painted into the work was amazing.

Kang’s mother Jia Jing took up the story by saying that she would like to see many more platforms which create a link between an autistic child, his or her art and the outside world – something which Paclantic’s founder and CEO Michael Luo confirms that the company is only too pleased to showcase, adding that he feels very happy about the fact that he knows that this straight-from-the-heart work will touch many people.

Finally, it is evident in both Jia Jing’s face and words that she is so proud not only of her son, but of Paclantic and the platform they have created, which is helping so many children not only to fulfil themselves, but confirms that they are appreciated and recognised by society.

You will find the video of the Bon Cloud visit to the Golden Wings Centre HERE.

So there you have it, a top up-to-date fashion house designing top of the range children’s clothing, perhaps showing not only other companies but us too the importance of genuine integration into society by adding value not only to themselves, but to the children which it supports.

It is reassuring to know that Beijing Fashion Week has depths which we had no idea existed until we spoke to Paclantic and its revolutionary initiative.

 

No Hinkley Decision!

Gatwick, Heathrow, HS2, Brexit and the latest – a French built Nuclear Power Station at Hinkley Point.

What do they all have in common?

They are all examples of British politicians’ inability to take a decision without YEARS of meetings, inquiries, meetings, Royal Commissions, debates followed by more meetings.

Unfortunately, high-level decision-taking is a skill which few possess. Cameron’s fondness for inquiries and bad decisions was well-known. In fact, when he was presented with an unequivocal  Brexit decision by the British people, he panicked, squealed and ran away.

Theresa May has the manner and promise of someone who is not afraid to take a decision but as one suspects that a French-built , Chinese-financed nuclear power station with what looks like untested technology as well as an open-ended budget is a BAD idea – she should put EDF out of its misery and simply say “Non!”

Love her or hate her, Margaret Thatcher was the last Prime Minister who was not afraid to take very unpopular decisions  and treated her Cabinet as no more that lightweight ballast. She took a decision and their job was no more than to deliver a few seconds of synchronised nodding.

This Brexit era needs a PM with an aversion to meetings and inquiries and who is able to give us all a definite ‘steer’.

On this occasion, that may well involve upsetting the French…..but let’s face it…every decision, no matter how difficult, can have its UP-side!

Can I say ‘Mother Theresa’ yet ?

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It’s becoming a bit of a craze….. The highest office in the land being passed on like an old pair of trainers.

Gordon Brown tried to rule without a proper democratic mandate and now , not to be outdone, the Conservatives are about to crown Mrs May as our next Prime Minister.

The five-year fixed parliament rule means that Theresa May cannot go to the country with a General Election without the approval of two thirds of MPs. Unfortunately, it is extremely unlikely that many MPs would vote for an election – especially those on the opposition benches.

Her Majesty’s Opposition has not yet established how many leaders it needs. It will probably end up with TWO. One for the parliamentary party and  one properly elected according to Labour’s own rules…… Chaos reigns.

Meanwhile, the leading Brexiteers have lost all notion of unity. Farage has gone, Boris has been sidelined, Gove has moved from supporting Boris, to hailing Andrea Leadsom as our next P.M. …and as of an hour ago, he has shifted his steadfastly fickle allegiance to Mrs May.

(I do hope that we are approaching a time when the duplicitous Gove is permanently and finally consigned to the poubelle of history. He deserves it.)

Here’s the good news: One suspects that Mrs May’s leadership style will be very similar to Gordon Brown’s. She’s an ex-Bank of England girl and as such is most likely to be an Analytical …..rather than an Expressive who might have found leadership easy. She will be more at home in front of a file, screen or raking through her Red Box [sic].

Brown too was an Analytical…..and trust me, they make the VERY WORST leaders. Good pen-pushers and fond of detail but lousy delegators and leaders. Her stress levels must already be rising because that is what happens to analyticals when they are asked to make or even when they anticipate major decisions.

It looks as if the Tories have done it again!

The next four years are going to be SO interesting……but only if the newly-anointed Mother Theresa can hang on.

Blair’s Dodgy Decision Making

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Judging by all the searingly emotional and often savage reactions to Tony Blair as a result of the invasion of Iraq, the continuing death toll and the Chilcot Report, purely for balance, I think it would be interesting if there was more understanding of Blair’s decision-making process. Such an understanding  may help many to begin to comprehend what prompted Tony Blair to invade and destroy a sovereign state.

I am certainly not a fan of Blair’s (and neither am I an apologist for Blair or his actions)…. but I do think it only fair that everyone should at least attempt to understand what he may have gone through in the weeks before he gave the green light for the British military to invade Iraq.

He is often portrayed as some sort of monster-warmonger and yet he was so loved by the majority of the British electorate until the moment that he latched onto George W. Bush’s shirt tails. Plus, he is a barrister and I therefore, I believe him to be a moral and honourable man.

Many decisions delivered by senior people are made on historical data rather than measurement. In other words, whenever a problem arises analogies are drawn between today’s problem and past difficulties with a decision being made on what may have provided reasonable solutions in the past. I hate labels but this is known as ‘decision-making by analogy’. In Saddam’s case it was “Remove the bad bloke and then it will  be much easier for us to put everything right.”

The question as to whether it was Blair’s job to ‘put everything right’ is not relevant  and debatable but throughout history, removing the bad guy at the top has proved to be the correct fix….and I believe that removal of Saddam was Bair’s core assumption and the premis upon which he based everything that followed.

Nowadays it is widely recognised that the best decision-making method is a systematic logical approach which actually looks at all the alternatives available, together with all possible consequences. This method removes what is known as the ‘gut’ decision and also takes all the emotion out of the decision-making process. This is not an infallible system any more than decision-making by analogy.  It is simply the best available to us at this time.

Here’s the simple straight-line thought process:

  1. Set objectives. In this case it would have been to remove Saddam Hussein and by doing so, to introduce democracy to Iraq.
  2. Evaluate objectives. For instance, would killing Saddam conflict with other goals and is democracy the right answer for a society with such a complex social system of religion, class, sect, politics and ethnicity?
  3. Collect information. The intelligence services were so obsessed with a specific type of information that everything else appeared to be ignored.  Was the correct information collected?
  4. Analyse all the information. Then re-analyse it.
  5. Develop alternatives. In this case, were different methods available? For instance, killing Saddam Hussein or possibly taking him out of Iraq. Did the Iraqi people actually understand what was meant by democracy? In which case, might it have simply been a case of replacing the man at the top rather than relying on people who had neither sense nor experience of government?
  6. Evaluation of all of the alternatives and then choosing the ‘best’ all-round alternative. For instance, the assassination of Saddam may have done the trick. Remember Gen Colin Powell pointing to possible WMD sites on satellite maps? Would destruction of those have emasculated Saddam?
  7. Communicating the final decision to all stakeholders – including Saddam and his people.
  8. Setting up control systems by deciding what was to be measured, how it was to be measured and when. Whatever solution was chosen, its effectiveness  and consequences needed to be measured or estimated.
  9. Implementing the decision after proper preparation and a detailed plan, including several ‘consequence’ scenarios.
  10. Finally, it’s the evaluation of the decision/solution. If the original objective was to introduce  Iraq to democracy – has it been successful?

In retrospect, it appears to be quite obvious that a modern approach to decision-making was not used, and that Tony Blair had made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein as an end and not as a means to an end.

However, when Tony Blair says that he feels that he took the ‘right’ decision, I believe him.

I also think that the root cause of everything that has happened since Blair made the decision to invade Iraq was a total lack of knowledge of a proper decision-making process compounded by an unnecessarily emotional attachment to George W Bush plus a strange and  yet-to-be-explained craving for a place in the history books.

Blair has certainly earned his place in history…so it really was a personal ‘Mission Accomplished’….but not as an evil person, merely as an incompetent.

Anarchy in the UK?

What with both Cameron and Osborne exposed as no more than bad second-hand car salesmen, the Labour Party Leadership Revolt, those doctors telling Jeremy Hunt where to get off , the Southern Train people not having enough trains to tell people to where, when or even how to get off, the country split in two over a Referendum result, Carney taking charge of the economy and yet another division over the Tory leadership…..is it ANARCHY IN THE UK????

I DO hope so!!!   🙂

May? Leader? I don’t think so! Leadsom to win!

 

 

Theresa

I have trained and coached some very senior people all over the world and at one stage (many years ago) I was hired by Angela Rumbold to train a few individuals at Conservative Central Office in Smith Square.

Unfortunately, I found that they all knew far more that I did, probably because of the mysterious process of knowledge-osmosis which Conservative MPs (and others) are subject to…..It is a mysterious phenomenon whereby once an MP is elected, he or she acquires all the world’s management knowledge and with little or no training or coaching can go on to manage the complexities of one or more of our great Departments of State…..even though they may have only been a lawyer, local Councillor or Trades Union person.

It is a mysterious phenomenon, on par with the migration of the Barnacle Goose.

However, I digress…..and as a leadership coach to several well-known people, my experience tells me that although Theresa May may well be an excellent administrator, she is no leader. For Instance, her ‘leadership’ of our Border Agency hasn’t been anything to write home about and in keeping with her ‘administrator rather than leader’ credentials, all of her solutions to Border Agency issues have been procedural rather than inspirational.

In other words, she’s an an ideal Conservative leadership candidate. Just look at the others: Major, Hague, IDS, Howard, Cameron…..all great leaders of their day!

On the other hand, Andrea Leadsom does appear to have a whole array of leadership qualities, including one which is considered poison by Tory High Command – CHARISMA…….but let us hope that they wake up before it’s too late!

 

 

 

SOMME – “The Old lie”

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Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori:
mors et fugacem persequitur virum
nec parcit inbellis iuventae
poplitibus timidove tergo.

 

Dulce et Decorum Est, by Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime …
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under I green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, —
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.

Brexit process

Do not be surprised if those European Union negotiators ‘stonewall’ the United Kingdom delegation for the next two years in order to force them to walk away without any trade deals in place…..as an example to other EU members with exit ambitions.

Roy of the ‘They know it’s all over’

royIt would seem that former England Manager Roy Hodson was most likely delivering his half-time motivational team talk to England’s pointless prancing prima donnas with a pre-written resignation letter in his pocket.

He didn’t, by any chance,  also write those suicide notes that Cameron and Osborne kept reading out before the referendum vote, did he?

 

Leadership Pass the Parcel

We have no idea why the Labour Party is becoming so vexed about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. As usual, they have the leader they deserve.  🙂

Meanwhile, the Tories are shaping up for their SIXTH leader in twenty years because the current leader can only administer projects he agrees with.

Meanwhile the Libdems are staying with their leader, probably because any barrel bottom can only take SO much scraping.

Carney…..Taxi!

Government lackey and ex-Goldman Sachs director, Mark Carney, who was hired as Governor of the Bank of England by Chancellor Osborne has little choice but to resign.

He has badly compromised the Bank of England’s impartial status by clearly attempting to influence the outcome of the referendum through blatant pro-Remain and pro-Osborne rhetoric throughout the campaign.

The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street needs a Governor untainted by the referendum shenanigans of the last few months.

President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, who appears to see himself as the King of Europe has begun his bullying campaign because HE wants Great Britain to begin the EU-exit process ASAP.

There is absolutely no provision in Article 50 for any sort of time limit or exit standard.

Someone at the F.O should politely tell M.Juncker to F.O.

Referendum After-Shock

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I am still in shock! Not because Great Britain is leaving the European Union, which, in spite of all the post-referendum whinging, was definitely the correct result …..but by Cameron’s reaction.

Instead of coming to the Downing Street microphone, conceding graciously and then outlining his government’s plan to take our country out of the toxic, over-administered and failing EU, he sniveled like a 1st former telling his housemaster that a senior boy had nicked his bag of sherbet lemons in the tuck shop queue……and did anyone notice that there was no EU exit sequence offered  to the nation? No plan. He is just walking away!

It is NOT Boris Johnson’s or Michael Gove’s job to have a plan. It was up to Cameron to have a contingency plan ready – but then , it is easy to forget that he works on expediency and not organisation. Plus his own vanity would have prevented him from even considering having some sort of ‘exit road-map’ ready – just in case.

Nevertheless, it is still hard to believe that the United Kingdom does not have an off-the-shelf  exit timetable ready. Even that incompetent, overpopulated, self-serving Brussels bureaucracy which underpins the EU certainly has a plan…….. and by having a plan, it, yet again, has placed itself in the driving seat.

Both Cameron and Osborne are ‘fair-weather’ managers who, as I have suspected for several years, would be utterly useless in a crisis – even one of their own making….and I have finally been proved right.

Make no mistake, all you Remainers…..it is NOT the electorate’s fault that we are leaving the EU. The fault lies with Cameron, Osborne and their advisers.

No more “I love my country” bollocks please, Mr Cameron. If you really loved your country above yourself and your career, you would  NOT have resigned.

You would be eyeballing those Brussels Commissars across a table and explaining the new facts of life to them…….and NOT sneaking off like a thief into the night and leaving others to clean up YOUR mess.

 

George ‘Greed is Good’ Soros is at it again.

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Writing in the Guardian, currency speculator George Soros has said sterling would “decline precipitously” if the Leave camp won Thursday’s referendum vote. Once again, he is talking as if sterling will be throwing itself over a cliff. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In effect what he is doing is putting the United Kingdom  on notice.

Currencies such as sterling  do not fluctuate by themselves. They fluctuate because people such as Soros and their armies of Forex screen monkeys bet against the currency in the pursuit of profit.

Nothing in the UK will have changed by midnight on Thursday – except Soros and his ilk kicking off a worldwide currency trading orgy : “Let the sell-off begin!”

We voters should understand that everything bad that Cameron and the Remain camp have been prophesying in the event of Brexit will have its roots in the future behaviour of the banking community. It is they and heads of companies who owe them money who are calling the shots – not the politicians. Just think back at the ‘suits’ who have been squealing the loudest for a Remain outcome!

Soros has warned of “serious consequences” for British jobs and finances if the country leaves the EU.

It is time we all called the bankers’ and the financiers’ bluff. They could quite easily have said that in the event of either a Remain vote OR Brexit, they would offer full support to our economy.

Even the Governor of the Bank of England has failed to confirm that he and his bank will do everything that they can to support the British economy irrespective of the referendum outcome.

They have failed us yet again.

The  EU Remain campaign has received a boost from the tragic death of the Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen.

Since the Jo Cox murder, there has been a swing of up to 5% (depending on the poll) in favour of David Cameron’s Remain fantasists.

http://bit.ly/24VkGaW

Jo Cox – her last speech.

We are all fed up with political hypocrisy – so after listening to parliament’s well-meant but in some instances self-serving words of condolence, appreciation and tribute, here is Jo Cox delivering her very last House of Commons speech on May 3rd 2016…… to surprisingly depleted government benches:

What is it with Chancellor George Osborne and bankers?

This morning, when he issued his ultimatum to the British public with threats of tax increases if they voted in favour of Brexit , he was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Morgan Stanley director Alistair Darling.

Yes, they’re all at it….. For instance Darling’s former boss Gordon Brown has also ‘transitioned’ and is now ‘adviser’ (ahem!) at global investment management firm Pimco.

Is it coincidence that they all want to remain within the EU?

Another fine mess…Gideon!

The Conservative government looks as if it will soon implode as a result of Chancellor George Osborne’s latest EU referendum-related threat.

In spite of winning the last general election on a “no income tax increases” ticket, he has said that he will have to slash public spending and increase taxes in an emergency Budget to tackle a £30bn “black hole” if the UK votes to leave the European Union.

He added that this could have the effect of raising income and inheritance taxes and cutting the NHS budget.

Unfortunately for him, so far 57 Tory MPs have said his position would be “untenable” if he tries to cut NHS, police and school spending.

That would mean that his post-Brexit Budget would be voted down and hopefully he would finally be free to pursue a career away from Westminster.

He and Cameron have created an economic as well as a political mess.

They are truly the Laurel and Hardy of UK politics.

 

p.s. Today, Chancellor Gideon has probably added another 100,000 to the Brexit vote!!

What Cameron et al have been indicating by their prophesies of doom and gloom, if we should democratically opt for Brexit, can be summarised as follows:

The EU and its 90,000-strong Brussels bureaucracy have us by the balls and we can NEVER leave…. even if we wanted to.

There are salaries and ‘expenses’ to be paid, pensions to be distributed plus dodgy grants and loans dished out to relatives and friends!

WE ARE PRISONERS.

Cameron has failed to notice those Europäische Union signs.

OK – we accept that Cameron does not feel capable of managing the UK if we vote to exit Die Europäische Union (EU).

What with a post-brexit economic collapse, rising interest rates, falling house prices, a collapsed currency, no export market and being overrun with unwanted migrants – it would take someone with abilities far above those enjoyed by Cameron to steady our country with its already flaky economy and drive it forward.

The latest is his pensions forecast  which unsurprisingly is also laced with doom-laden suppositions which really do suggest that the United Kingdom is UTTERLY TRAPPED within the EU for ever. That is to say that we are  permanent members of an organisation which is really nothing more than a ready-made export market for Germany…….. with NO WAY OUT.

We are a PRISONER ECONOMY.

The only question is WHY have successive Prime Ministers (including Cameron) and their governments failed control a situation whereby one day we would be so inextricably tied to the EU, that if we ever even THOUGHT about leaving, EVERYTHING would collapse…….

Or, perhaps Cameron and his cronies really are scaremongering?

Surely not!  🙂

EU Pseudo Facts

It’s a  bit rich when Dave ‘The Voters’ Friend’ Cameron accuses Gove and Bojo of pseudo-factual inexactitudes! That’s only because it would be unseemly for him to refer to them as ‘f*****g  lying  b******s!!’

Cameron is achieving the double-whammy of not only losing the argument but he is beginning to act as if some of his marbles have gone astray. He is stressed out and, as any decent shrink will tell you, stress is all about the future. Yes, DC does look as if he should be taken to a place of safety – but that place is NOT the European Union.

Whatever happens on June 23rd – whether we Brits decide to stay within the cosy confines of  the Europäische Union (oops…sorry….typo!) or whether we leave and expose ourselves to the risk of mega-economic success and a new social sparkle through REAL independence , Cameron will be made an offer he cannot refuse.

No matter WHAT the great British public decides, he cannot call two senior colleagues , (one of which happens to be the Lord Chancellor), ‘liars’ and then expect them to serve in his Cabinet.

By referring to the ‘NO’ politicians as fibsters, he has managed to remind the voter of his and Chancellor Gideon’s own numerous fantasy claims about the ‘consequences’ of opting to leave the EU…………… Pot-Kettle and all that!

We cannot wait for the next two weeks – when the referendum debate is set to become really offensive and hopefully, the language somewhat less moderated!

W%&*$£s !!!

 

Caprice is the WORD

The ICM survey of 2,000 people conducted over the weekend, showed 48% of Britons would vote to leave the EU. That’s up one percentage point on last week, compared with 43% who said they would vote to remain – although there other statistics which show the number in favour of Brexit to be much higher.

One cannot help but assume that the recent surge for the OUT vote has to be credited to David Cameron , Chancellor Osborne and their comedy predictions. Rather ironically Dave and Gideon are now accusing the Brexiteers of also dispensing fiction. What fun!

And on that subject,  why was John Major wheeled out yesterday on the Andrew Marr show?

John Major ruled over the most divided Conservative Party ever – apart that is, from today’s two-class Tories and their bringing back of the class system into very sharp focus, through their callously indifferent ‘Toffocracy’.

Major on Marr was certainly Euromatic and wilfully Schismatic but unfortunately he continues to be very Tediomatic!

(apologies to Grease and the T-birds)

 

 

Cameron’s ‘no ifs..no buts’ returns to bite him on the (referendum) farce.

We referendum voters (us) prefer to debate and discuss topics which affect us directly.

Unfortunately, just like the average clueless Chief Executive who talks to his junior staff about RoI, RoE, company profits, expenses overruns, fiscal drag , dividends etc., Cameron bangs on about “the economy” which even Osborne admits is affected largely by the Global economic environment – whether we are IN or OUT of Europe.

What affects the population  directly is rampant immigration, living costs as well as this government’s inability to provide adequate housing , schooling and healthcare…..whether we are IN or OUT of Europe.

Cameron does not want to debate immigration because of his pre-election net immigration pledge.

You may recall that he won power in May 2015 on a “no ifs, no buts” election pledge to bring net migration down to 100,000…..and by the way, have you noticed how quiet Home Secretary Theresa May is these days – which is surprising, especially as migration is the NUMBER ONE issue on voters’ minds?

It has become increasingly obvious that Cameron has absolutely NO respect for the intelligence of the average British voter because he now says that controlling immigration will be easier if we remain IN the EU (!).

Such arrant nonsense suggests that he is desperate because he knows he is losing the immigration argument and we  have all obviously failed to understand the logic of his economical claims…..and when I say ‘economical’, I mean economical with the truth.

The EU Remaniacs are handing it to the Brexiteers!

Most of us have become used to the rather unedifying sight of Cameron and Osborne (often looking silver-spoon-awkward in hard hats and high-viz jackets) talking-down the United Kingdom by expressing their belief that without continental support, we are useless, worthless scum who would surely perish outside the EU.

They have both called on various organisations and individuals to reinforce their doom-laden scare-mongering….but whatever possessed Chancellor Gideon to seek approbation from the Chief Executive of a company which was at the epicentre of the 2008 financial crisis and so far, has managed to rack-up nearly £30 billion in fines for financial naughtiness?

Producing JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon like a rabbit out of a hat and then sitting and simpering while the American spouted  threats of redundancy, general economic malaise and national catastrophe was arguably Osborne’s greatest-ever blunder and a sure-fire vote-winner for the Brexit camp.

It’s all very well inviting one’s likely future employer to the party but Osborne’s judgement has now been exposed to be nearly as suspect as his arithmetic and may have finally bought him a well-earned one-way ticket to political oblivion.

He and his sidekick Cameron have not-only mismanaged the whole “Stay in” campaign but in doing so, have trashed their own already flaky reputations and currently appear to be handing votes to the Brexiteers by the shed load.

Both Cameron and Osborne seem to be working under the misapprehension that they are liked and respected not only by Brussels but by those uber-nationalistic, self-serving, Brit-hating European leaders.

They should both wake up and smell Der Kaffee because they are being USED.

Cameron & The EU – more Chamberlain than Thatcher?

Have you noticed that in the post-WW1, post-Empire era, the British Establishment’s default position in respect of any perceived trouble from a foreign “authority”  has been appeasement?

Remember Edward VIII cosying up to Hitler? Chamberlain’s piece of paper? Churchill handing Eastern Europe to Stalin?

More recently, the policy of appeasement in North Africa and its despotic dictators has resulted in the out-of-control tsunami of mass migration.

Thirty-five years ago, the United States put enormous pressure on Margaret Thatcher to pursue a policy of appeasement towards Argentina after it had invaded the Falklands. She had the courage to ignore them. Yes, there were sacrifices but we prevailed and can do so again.

‘Appeasement’ used to be a conscious policy designed to avoid confrontation and war…. and with very few exceptions, that is the policy which is still prevalent. For instance, consider Putin, Crimea and our collective inaction.

Today, the Establishment believes that if the United Kingdom exits the European Union, there will be an economic and social war….and that is the single premis upon which we are being asked to vote to remain within the #EU.

Before the Brexit campaign began, I, along with many others felt very neutral, assuming that whether we were IN or OUT would make little difference to our lives – and that is probably far nearer the truth  than EITHER side would have us believe.

However, having listened to Cameron and Osborne  and their Establishment friends describe a  Brexit-fired apocalypse and the dystopian neo-Dickensian gloom  into which we would be plunged if we had the temerity to vote against the wishes of Frau Merkel, the Brussels Commissars and the Banking establishment, many of us have changed our minds.

Our vote on June 23rd is not merely an IN-OUT vote or even an expression of the majority’s anti-Cameron sentiments……It is a LEGACY vote.  The vote is not just for us and should certainly not be decided on the basis of the Establishment’s dire forecasts.

Our vote will be for the generations to come and THEIR place in a world.

A world which is rapidly degenerating into chaos – with The Middle East, North Africa and mainland Europe at the forefront of these seismic and probably irreversible changes.

A sharpish Brexit seems to be  the only option.

It’s all Dutch to me…..

Today, David Cameron, emboldened by yet another pointless meeting with Dutch PM Mark Rutte  said that leaving the European Union would “crash the economy and increase migration.” If you say so, Dave….

Rutte, by profession an HR man with a History Degree added helpfully that Brexit would trigger “an inevitable, unavoidable race to the bottom”.  He should know – he had a decent career with Unilever before entering politics 🙂

When these two giants of the world political stage met in Chequers two years ago their discussions focused on EU affairs,  specifically how to reform Europe to make it drive economic growth.

That went well.

Drowning values

 

GRAPHIC CONTENT Rescue workers pull the bodies of illegal immigrants onto shore of al-Qarbole, some 60 kilometres east of Tripoli on August 25, 2014 after a boat carrying 200 illegal immigrants from sub-Sahara Africa sunk off the Libyan capital two days earlier. Libya, which is mired in unrest and political chaos, has been a launchpad for illegal migrants seeking a better life in Europe but who turn to people smugglers to get them across the Mediterranean. AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD TURKIA

It’s a shame that there isn’t the same outcry about the 1000 people who drowned in the Med this week or the 1000 who are going to drown next week, as there is about a gorilla being shot in an American zoo.

The United Kingdom’s wake-up call will come when bodies start to be washed-up along the Kent and Sussex coasts. Of course very little will happen now but, you never know – when the body count becomes embarrassing, perhaps David Cameron might convene a meeting and make a statement.

 

That sinking feeling.

It was May 31st 1916 when the Royal Navy clashed with German warships off the coast of Denmark’s Jutland peninsula.

Today David Cameron led the Battle of Jutland commemoration. He hosted the ceremony in Orkney because one hundred years ago, the Royal Navy sailed from the Orkney Scapa Flow base.

Among the visiting dignitaries were German President Joachim Gauck and our own Princess Royal who appeared to be sporting more medals than Idi Amin.

It would seem that DC is continuing to develop his ‘sinking’ theme in tandem with his EU Referendum campaign.

Poll shows Brexiters in the lead!

A Guardian ICM telephone poll of a few days ago clearly shows the Brexit enthusiasts in the lead.

Credit for this turnaround has to go to two people: David Cameron, George Osborne and their Comedy Statistics.

Surely, all that the Brexit campaign has to do now is keep Farage out of the limelight and rely on DC and Chancellor Gideon to produce yet more dodgy arithmetic to generate a 55.8345%**  chance of the UK voting to leave the EU to its rubber rafts, bureaucrats and failing economies.

 

( ** They started it!) 

EU and those pesky Economists!

Apparently 90% of economists say that the United Kingdom should remain within the European Union.

Is that the same 90% which wanted us to abandon the pound sterling in favour of the euro?

Or perhaps it’s the 90% + which didn’t see the 2008 financial crisis until 2009?

Maybe it’s the same crowd which can never predict GDP growth, interest rates or inflation?

Remember, economics is not an exact science……It is a cross between arithmetic, guesswork, politics, history and bullshit.

 

 

Bus for Cameron!

It continues to defy belief that Cameron decided to lead the pro-Europe, ‘IN’ referendum debate.

Had he taken the correct option and organised the campaign only slightly differently by remaining neutral, we would not now be hearing dark mutterings of resignation and a vote of no confidence….but as usual, he did not pause to think.

Immigration is now being highlighted as his major ‘FAIL’ …..and quite right too! Plus, he and Osborne should certainly NOT be leading the migration debate as they both inhabit the ‘double bubble’. Double Bubble? Yes…..the Westminster Bubble wrapped within their personal Uber-Prosperity Social Bubble which means that neither of them need ever live alongside or among anyone who is not white, upper class or (at worst) upper middle class.

No amount of toning down of the ‘prep school boarder’  accent or even those rather affected glottal stops which Chancellor Gideon is so fond of bunging out when he remembers to do so, will change the fact that they are both out of touch with the vast majority of the UK population.

Make no mistake, if Cameron is thrown under a bus by his own party, Osborne will not be far behind….much to the delight of at least two very well-known Conservative harpies-with-a-grudge…(Nadine?….honey is that you?)

Bojo’s Brexit Bus was far more significant and symbolic that any of us suspected!

 

It’s Toff at the Top – The Brexit Debate errors.

madmax

Apocalyptic predictions of a dystopian destiny, fuelled by supposition and opinion-derived numbers masquerading as unvarnished statistics, has been our diet for several weeks. Political reputations have been damaged as has the blimpish and flaky right-wing coalition that is the Tory Party……………Meanwhile, the Labour Party continues to flip-flop aimlessly from principle to principle, whilst trying to decide who it despises more – Corbyn, Cameron or Kim Jong-un.

Prime Minister Cameron has only just realised the dangers of following Osborne’s lead and regurgitating farcical “facts” and predicting a Mad Max future for the British people, should they choose to exercise their democratic right and abandon the moribund #EU.

Hopefully our Prime Minister will now have a crack at looking and sounding like the heavyweight statesman he imagines himself to be, rather than a 1950s second hand car salesman.

Let’s face it, the Brexit debate HAS to rely on opinion and conjecture because by definition, there are no facts about the future.

Nevertheless, it is a shame that the debate has taken on all the characteristics of a religious argument, with only faith, dogma and prophecy to fall back on.

The next four weeks will not-only be interesting from the debate point of view but after the ridiculous initial Brexit skirmishes, one wonders whether certain politicians will take the opportunity to look beyond the vote and attempt some reputation-mending and maybe extinguish some of those burning bridges.

EU – Marx was right!

The questions  and comedy statistics have all been about the United Kingdom.

It’s time the debate broadened – for instance: Do we see the European Union developing into the economic Utopia that the ‘IN’ camp appears to be predicting?

Germany has always been the efficiently fruitful epicentre of the EU – but Angela Merkel’s well-meaning but misguided aberration in respect of migrants will knock-back the country’s well-earned prosperity by at least a decade.

France, with its reactionary working classes and rapidly evolving migrant-based issues and politics will never achieve proper stability – although admittedly, their international posturing is impressive.

Italy is an economic powerhouse of the future – and always will be.

Economically, Spain and Portugal are both on their knees for the duration.

The former Communist states are all ‘takers’, both directly and indirectly.

Barring a miracle, Greece will remain a basket-case for the forseeable future – and the rest don’t matter…….and the countries lined-up to join are most likely to contribute nothing more than an additional economic ‘drag’ and more itinerant cheap labour.

For the moment  – and working ONLY on the evidence, it would seem that the European Union is VERY UNLIKELY to ever achieve proper economic stability and will always continue to kid itself that proper loan-free prosperity will arrive “within 18 months”.

Remember  Groucho Marx’s letter of resignation to the Friars’ Club: “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.”

 

EU CONSPIRACY?

Having observed Cameron’s and Osborne’s double act, I cannot help but wonder whether they’ll soon be signed for their own BBC Christmas Show or perhaps take over from Ant and Dec!

On a serious note……The “Stay in the #EU because we are totally trapped” campaign has been SO clumsily scripted and organised that one suspects that many wavering voters are beginning to suspect a CONSPIRACY.

The latest offering was from the (totally independent and well-respected and apolitical – I cannot stress that enough!) bunch of statisticians masquerading under the letters IFS – the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Here’s a sample: ‘Ministers could react to a post-Brexit GDP fall with either deeper cuts, or by extending them.’

Notice the ubiquitous “COULD”  creeping into yet another dodgy prophecy.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said ‘IFS is biased because it was part-funded by the EU.’ – which is something they have in common with Nige.

p.s.Did you see Chancellor Gideon with the low voice and newly-minted ersatz statesmanlike manner at PMQs? Tragic! Although  – am LOVING the Caligula haircut  🙂

Cameron crosses the line.

Hello stupid!
Hello stupid!

Today, our Prime Minister’s Brexit nonsense about family holidays “increasing by £230” if we left the #EU confirms his total lack of respect and utter contempt for the average British voter.

Not only does he continue to destroy his own credibility and persuade more and more people to vote for Brexit but confirms what many of us have suspected for a very long time: If he was ever to be given an enema, he would fit into a shoebox!

Plus, his prediction that this will be his last term in office will probably be confirmed within the next six months…..or weeks.

A dead man talking.

EU lies? Like S***to a Blanket……..

 

Listening to many of the Brexit-related vox pop on the news, especially from the older generation makes you realise that not only are many of the interviewees a bit thick , but that many do not appear to read past the headlines…… and that is exactly what Cameron and Osborne are tapping into.

They fully realise that all they have to do is trot out a few memorable short sentences containing lots of “Could” and “Probably”, in the knowledge that all the audience will hear is “job losses”, “recession”, “lower house prices”, “self-destruct” etc with the latest suggestion being  that leaving the EU would be “immoral”.

Heavy shit! Of course, that is exactly what it is….Shit.

We are listening to two guys whose prediction record matches that of Dr. Dionysius Lardner who said in 1830: “Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.” 

Or as recently as 1977, when Ken Olson, chairman of The Digital Equipment Corporation predicted: “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”

Neither Cameron nor Osborne has any idea what is going to happen next month. Never mind in twelve months’ or five years’ time.

Because of their tactical rather than strategic mentality, they are predicting what they think will happen to the British economy in the year or so following Brexit.

Proper leaders would be thinking very long-term but of course Dave and Gideon only have to frighten this generation of voters and will not have to apologise to future generations who may find themselves unable to escape from the economic and sociological straitjacket of EU membership.

The fact is that neither Cameron nor Osborne is capable running the United Kingdom without the reassuring comfort of Brussels and its rapidly mushrooming and already considerable population of commissars.

We should also notice that no one who is in favour of remaining within the EU club is even attempting to describe the socialist utopia which is being created right under our noses.

Where is the talk of increased incomes, a recession-free United Kingdom, more employment, a prospering NHS – all the things which are the corollary of the doom-infused nonsense which we are being fed?

Is it because negativity, doom and ruination are not-only more memorable but stick in the mind like s*** to a blanket?

The Ugly Spectre of EU Self-interest……

burning euro

A recent survey has indicated that most companies based in the eurozone believe a British decision to leave the European Union would hurt the region as it struggles with a sluggish economy and a migration crisis.

79%  of firms based in the eurozone said a Brexit would be bad for the area, with less than 4% saying it would have a positive impact, according to the report from accountants Grant Thornton.

“What’s abundantly clear from our research is that European business leaders overwhelmingly view a Brexit as a negative development for the EU,” Francesca Lagerberg, a senior tax partner at Grant Thornton, said.

She said business confidence was strong considering the various potential threats the region faced from low growth, high unemployment, migration and a potential Brexit.

“Any one of these flaring up over the next few months could see that optimism wobble if the economic shocks undermine business leaders’ ability to plan and invest,” she added.

The survey was based on interviews with more than 2,500 senior executives conducted in January and February.

The result is in keeping with the view of senior business leaders in Britain who are largely in favour of Britain staying in the EU. Most economists expect an exit would deal a blow to Britain’s economy in both the short- and longer-term.

The Grant Thornton report showed 68 percent of British-based firms believe Brexit would have a negative impact on Europe.

Parts of the eurozone have struggled with a debt crisis in recent years which, on the heels of the global financial crisis, has stifled growth and left many unemployed. Unfortunately, quite a high percentage of Europe’s unemployed appear to be headed for the UK.

In addition, many recent migrants to the EU stated their first choice of refuge as the UK. Many of those will be arriving here in a few years….when Germany and other states hand them EU citizenship.

The region as a whole remains at odds over how to contain the continuing flow of migrants to the region.

It is regrettable that neither the UK political leadership, nor the Brussels Commissars have any idea about Managing Change on a macro scale because the sociological change within the #EU is probably they biggest issue that will need to be addressed within the next five to ten years.

Both sides are doing their best to frighten the electorate into voting for their point of view. There has also been an attempt at what can only be described as The Blackmail of a Nation – especially by the IN camp and the leadership’s foreign banking and political friends..

The fact is that BOTH sides have valid arguments but instead of helping the average UK citizen to make a reasonable choice whilst at the same time preparing for change, BOTH sides prefer to persuade through the medium of fantasy rhetoric, insinuation and slur.

Meanwhile, mainland Europe, surrounded by the Ring of Chaos, which encompasses Ukraine, then east to Turkey and south to North Africa,  sits and waits for more handouts and UK opportunities for its unemployed.

 

Superbugs and #Brexit

bugs

After two years of detailed statistical analysis, the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance has been published and  concludes that superbugs will kill someone every three seconds by 2050 unless the world acts now.

The rather alarmist review sets out a plan for preventing medicine “being cast back into the Dark Ages.”

The report calls for a revolution in the way antibiotics are used and a campaign to educate people.

The battle against  bugs which are resistant to antibiotics has been described as “as big a risk as terrorism”. because we are simply not developing enough new antibiotics and we are wasting the ones we have.

We now await a statement from the Prime Minister to confirm that if we retain our #EU membership, the risk will be greatly minimalised “because together, we are stronger!” and a counter argument from the #Brexit camp that increased EU migration will doubtless contribute to even more infection !  🙂

 

What have the Europeans ever done for us?

eurozone2

Uncontrolled immigration drives down the average wage. That in turn brings down the wealth of the individual, plus it puts incredible pressure on our social security and health systems.

The United Kingdom has become a dumping ground for the European Union’s unemployed and low paid……..with lots more to come. In addition, the Home Office has consistently proved itself to be utterly incompetent in its quest to exercise ANY sort of workable border control.

A measurable percentage of income earned in the UK by non-British workers is not spent here in the UK – it is disbursed somewhere in the #EU – because that is to where the money is being exported.

YES, the United Kingdom IS necessary to the #EU – but only to re-balance the overall #EU economy …..as what used to be our wealth is gradually being dissipated throughout Europe…….and our government has no control over Paypal and Western Union!!

The legendary EU red tape and despotic restrictions on tax and trade reforms mean that we are no longer the masters of our own destiny. No amount of macho rhetoric from David Cameron will convince the average sane voter that we are anything more than a collection of small islands in the North Sea, completely subservient to Brussels.

Now imagine that we left the #EU and reformed our ties with our English-speaking allies: USA, Canada, Australia, India and New Zealand who all have much stronger economies with far more mid to long-term economic potential than ANY #EU state ……without the restrictive practices and bureaucracy.

Of course the EU Commissars want us to stay within the #EU! We, as an English-speaking nation are the ones who are indispensable allies who can penetrate the markets of the other English-speaking states…………but for whose benefit?

The sooner after June 23rd that the Prime Minister invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the sooner we can begin divorce proceedings and the sooner the signing of the Decree Nisi…..but like any bitter old divorcee, the #EU will drag it out as long as possible but the temporary discomfort will be very well worth it.

Here is the first sentence of Article 50: “Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements………..”

Billions

Great quote from yesterday’s excellent first episode of #BILLIONS: “You don’t have to outswim the shark – just your SCUBA partner.”

EU Brexit

 

chipsDC
Poisson Tempura al fresco

Believe it or not, I have no particular view as to whether or not we should remain within the European Union but if we are minded to believe the sharp suited Westminster Europhiles (and Jeremy Corbyn), we should not take what is looking increasingly like the foolhardy and dangerous option of Brexit………. Of course, the other team is busy painting a picture of an economic Utopia, unencumbered by the tyrannical drag-chute of EU integration.

The only unsurprising phenomenon about the whole debate is that because we know of no other way, two teams were hastily put together and, as is the case with every other debate, confrontation has been the order of the day.

I would have considered David Cameron far more statesmanlike had he addressed the nation in a far more neutral way, outlining the pros and cons for both possible outcomes. Unfortunately, we only know one way and that is through the medium of opinion-fuelled conflict. Hence the Boris and Cameron camps both treating the debate more like a prizefight rather than what could have been a comradely discussion.

The most outrageous claims have come from the ‘stay in’ camp.

‘Each family will be £4300 per year worse off’, ‘mortgage rates will increase’, ‘house prices will fall’, ‘we are safer within the European Union.’ etc. are all no more than conjecture.

The fact is that whether we are in or out will make little difference to the average man in the street and given the politicians’, pollsters’ and economists’ track records on any sort of prediction, we should all be wary of all the nonsense which has been produced as implied ‘fact’.

Sadly, most of the United Kingdom’s voting population is not very ‘politically-bright’  – hence the outrageous claims made by both sides. It is the only way that they are able to communicate with the slack-jawed Mr and Mrs Average because proper economic and sovereignty arguments are far too complicated without being reduced to single sentence soundbites.

If only the government had had the foresight to produce a single ‘for and against’ document, clearly showing that the argument is largely opinion rather than fact-based, Mr and Mrs Average would not have to be subjected to the  increasingly hysterical rhetoric of the Westminster wide-boys.

However, tell someone that their property value is going to fall and contrary to world trends, interest rates are mysteriously going to increase, you begin to understand that scaremongering by both sides is the only way forward.

What is it that we are being asked to keep or abandon?

What is in place at the moment is a self-amplifying bureaucracy which has arrived at the stage where it exists to perpetuate itself rather than be there for the good of the European Community. We have a European legal system whose main function appears to be to impose itself on EU member states plus a European economy which continues to be in terminal decline. There is a massive migration problem-without-end, with the prospect of an increased internal EU migration issue as a result of the proposed future membership of Turkey and Albania. That is the organisation of which we are currently a member.

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 inwardly-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 and WANT to do business with – without worrying about regulations governing what we eat or the amperage of our hairdryers and toasters!

The MOST frightening aspect of leaving the European Union is no more than a quite natural fear of CHANGE.

With very few exceptions, politicians have clearly demonstrated that they are incapable of preventing crises and they are certainly very frightened of being accused of creating a crisis such as they imagine might occur if we left the EU.

They surmise, quite correctly, that they would not be able to deal with it, and it is no accident that both David Cameron and George Osborne are at the desperate forefront of trying to keep us in the European Union because they would be the ones expected to deal with any Brexit fallout for which they are not professionally equipped.

Their motivation is fear, whereas the leaders of the Brexit campaign are driven by no more than a misplaced ambition to rule.

The stakes within the EU debate have very little to do with pragmatism or principle. They are to do with power and we as voters would do well to remember that.

The subtext of the Brexit debate is a battle for the leadership of BOTH of our main political parties.

 

 

Cameron & Gideon….don’t forget the wives!

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!

The Shady in Waiting.

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 certainly private in an awkwardly ‘icky’ sort of way! The tax affairs of a Prime Minister who, for several years, has been engaged in a ‘faux’ quixotic battle against tax avoiders with his sidekick Sancho Osborne are not.

Wrong again!

Of course, technically, Cameron and his family have done nothing wrong. What has been done for them with their tax (always blame the accountants!) is no more than ‘naughtiness with intent’, rather than downright badness – the sort of thing we would all do if we had an estate in excess of £325,000.

The next ‘We’re in this together’ clown who should be audited (although I prefer ‘dissected’) is the Shady-in-Waiting, George Osborne. Mind you, with that pedigree, his family is probably much better equipped for papering over the offshore cracks than Dave’s lot.

 

 

 

Painting Cameron into a corner!

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 benefit from in the future.

(We have noticed that Cameron Snr’s Will is ONLY about UK assets.)

 

Note to self: We really should go easy on DC. The next thing we’ll see is him resigning and Osborne ordering a Pickford’s van to move his gear into No 10…… Too horrible to contemplate!

Daesh and the bombing

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…

The #NHS Job Creation Scheme.

scalpel

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 200 of us researching, with nearly 500 admin staff looking after us…..so nothing has really changed in at least 30 years.

The NHS has undergone far too many changes – many of them based on the amateurish whims of a procession of unqualified Ministers. Luckily, the current Secretary of State seems to be more competent than many of his predecessors, but nevertheless, he is BOUND to be allowing his judgement to be clouded by politics, dogma, ambition and the Treasury. That automatically disqualifies him from making major strategic decisions.

Those pompous medical fatcats – the Consultants…. who use the NHS as a ‘feeder’ for their private practices in order to line their own pockets, also need to be audited and controlled.

An all-embracing  Management Audit needs to be undertaken as soon as possible – with only one aim…..To take a very wide “horizontal slice” out of the organisation so that the NHS administrative burden is brought DOWN to a sustainable level.

Yes, it IS very easy to justify layers of bureaucracy within a large organisation but NOT when they are killing the patient.

THE DEFICIT MYTH – We’re STILL underperforming the #EU ……..#GE2015

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 where you can add other countries to the graph for comparison and have as much fun with statistics as our Coalition Government did!)

Which political party is IN TOUCH with the people?

prez2

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 PEOPLE!”

I believe that it is meant to reassure staff how important they are to the business but having attended many meetings where the CEO only referred to staff as “FTEs” (Full Time Equivalents), that final slide seemed like a bit of an afterthought. ” HR needs an incremental FTE next year.”  (In fact, his slides had been prepared by a team of Actuaries and Accountants, so inevitably there had been a slide showing how our FTEs needed to grow in order to deliver some very bullish business plans.)

Then we came to the Q&As. The ones which had been chosen were primarily about the business and its future. As the answers had been rehearsed by various  members of the Board, the session went very smoothly and appeared to end on a high.

The CEO turned to me and whisphered ” Before we wrap this up, Richard……let’s take some more questions from the floor…” 

I replied “No Paul….Just say a few words of thanks and let them loose on the sausage rolls…..”

The CEO nodded and stood up and addressed to 200-strong audience ” Does anyone have any more questions….Anything you like…….!”

I assume that no-one heard my “Oh, fuck!” as the benignly-smiling Chief Executive waited….

A gnarled hand at the back of the hall went up. It was Harry. He was past retirement age but we’d kept him on as office Postie. He was an old-school Union man who hated all management and their “queer” ways.

Paul the CEO knew Harry because everyone knew Harry, so he was extremely proud to be able to use a first name and demonstrate to everyone what a lovable caring boss he really was. “Yes, Harry….What’s your question?”

“Thank you, Paul,” said Harry “Are you aware that there are no plasters in the fourth floor First Aid Box. I’ve been telling Personnel for ages but they just don’t seem to care…..Not only that…but it’s contrary to Section C of the..blah, blah, blah…..”

“Oh , fuck,” I repeated into my notes.

The smile never left Paul’s face as he turned to me and said in a very loud voice “Richard….Why wasn’t I briefed about this? “

Needless to say, the meeting deteriorated as the staff, emboldened by troublemaker Harry started to ask the REAL questions. The meeting ended with an exhausted Board, an newly-liberated staff and a CEO who wanted me to meet him in his office the following morning.

The Coalition government has made the same mistake as Paul the CEO.

It has spent the last five years telling the voter about its achievements. It has bombarded the voter with statistics. It has told us that there is a “plan”. It has told us that there is a Deficit and that it has to be paid off…….and apart from a very short period last week, when there appeared to be a sudden realisation that it was not making contact with the people, it continues to spout figures and intentions.

As Harry showed the Citibank management, ordinary people are not interested in the Big Picture. What they are interested in though, is enough money in their pockets to deliver self-respect , good health, food and shelter for themselves and their family, freedom from worry and where appropriate, a job which can deliver a future as well as provide their present.

There is only ONE additional concept which every voter supports and which does not affect themselves directly. It is the thought that all vulnerable members of society are respected and catered-for.

The Deficit, “Since Records Began”, taking MILLIONS(!) out of tax etc are the Accountants’ slides which Paul the CEO bored his audience with.

The United Kingdom desperately needs a government and leadership which resonates with its people and not just with a calculator.

 

 

 

 

Indentured Servitude

slum

#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.

The Bank Job and Hatton Garden.

bank job

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)!

Pickles in a Pickle.

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

Brighton Gin – Raoul-style!

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 only to teach them some “hard-skills” but as usual, I planned to spend some time with each delegate informally – especially those who I felt might be “shy” and not ask questions or fully participate.


Having spent many years in hotels all over the world, I have two very simple rules: When I’m working I don’t drink alcohol or eat abnormally. However, this particular course turned out to be an epic which caused me to break one of my rules, for a very unexpected reason.


The Brazilian delegate spoke Linguaphone American (what I call the “tennis-player” accent) and although his English was passable, he was the most withdrawn of  the whole group. He was the lone accountant …the others ranged from a couple of crazy drillers from the USA to a petrol station manager from Poland…all wildly extrovert.


On the second night, I asked the Brazilian to sit with me over a drink to see how he felt. We chatted about this and that, he noticed that I was nursing a lime juice. “Don’t you drink alcohol?” he asked.


” I MOST certainly do,” I replied…”but never when I’m running a course.”

” I see you are drinking LIME. Have you ever tasted a proper Vodka and Lime?”


I had only ever had a British Vodka and Lime…you know, the one with a shot of vodka plus a shot of cordial, topped-off with ice. He smiled…..
“Let me make you a REAL Vodka and Lime!”


JUST to be sociable, you understand…I nodded…and that simple nod was to lead to one of the most memorable drinks I have ever tasted.


We both walked up to the bar and  he asked whether he could go behind the bar.


The barman said “Yes, of course” and my new Brazilian friend, Raoul was away!


He asked for sugar and fresh limes. A vast quantity of each was brought from the hotel kitchen and he began…and as he worked, I saw his demeanour change from standoffish accountant to Vodka super-hero!


Needless to say, the other course delegates gradually gathered around the bar to witness Raoul’s alchemy.


He cut limes in half and squeezed juice into a jug. Then he sliced limes and ground them with sugar to release oils from the rind (a Mortar and Pestle had been delivered from the kitchen). The green sugary Lime-sludge was deposited in the jug with the Lime juice. Then he crushed ice and threw it into the jug with a Brazilian flourish. Finally, a fresh bottle of vodka was brought from the freezer and glugged over the jug’s ingredients.


By then we were all slavering. Raoul lined up many glasses, placed ice cubes into each and began to pour his elizir. He then popped a swizzle stick in each and casually said “Enjoy!”


And we did!  For most of the night……..and Raoul became the most popular (and extroverted) course delegate – although my 9 a.m. training session the following morning felt a bit flat!


You may be forgiven for wondering what precipitated such self-indulgent nostalgia….


Last week I invested in a bottle of Brighton Gin and as soon as I opened it, I knew that this was not just gin…this was GIN….Gin which deserved some  care and special attention….and while I am sure that tipping Tonic into it and floating a slice of lemon is perfectly fine, I felt that it deserved more….SO…..


I gave it the FULL Raoul!


Only FOUR ingredients: Lime , sugar, ice and Brighton Gin…..but WHAT a mix!


It was sublime (geddit?), delicious and I have a new hobby….although, for the moment, my wife continues to have me on vision only!

The Greeks – they’re just like us!

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, the scrounging working classes, just like the Greek nation, have really been clobbered over the last few years. They have been characterised as lazy, workshy and sitting back, as hard-working richer people fed them undeserved benefits. Government slogans such as “The workshy”, ” Abuse of the system” and “Benefits Culture” became common.


The government not only blamed them for a poorly designed welfare system by cutting benefits but humiliated the sick and disabled by forcing them to undergo questions and tests to ascertain whether they were deserving of government support.
Welfare benefits were even reduced if the State decided that they had more bedrooms than they really needed!
This was forced austerity without purpose.

The Greeks are taking the rap not just for their own economic shortcomings but for a very badly conceived and designed Eurozone. Their punishment too was humiliation through austerity.


Poor Brits had the state machinery and official interrogation to contend with whilst the Greeks were humiliated by the fiscal police known as ‘the troika’. Same principle, different scale.


The EU continues its slogan of “We want Greece to remain within the EU”, when all the evidence so far, is to the contrary.
The equivalent UK slogans are all about those ubiquitous ‘hard-working people’ and being ‘In it together’, which just like the EU – is supposed to be a club that everyone needs to belong to.

The oppressed eventually find a hate figure. The Greeks have found themselves the Nazis and poor Brits have found themselves ‘the toffs’ and the bankers. The Greeks want reparations for the damage done during WW2 and the Brits are enjoying bankers forgoing their comedy bonuses. The oppressors (real or imaginary) also need to be punished – an economic quid pro quo!


The Eurozone’s motives in not being too overt in helping the Greeks are very straightforward.


They say that they want to avoid a possible Greek exit from the Eurozone but in fact, it’s much more than that. There are other states within the European Union which are just below the radar and could potentially be in just as much trouble as the Greek economy. Spain and Portugal immediately spring to mind.


If Eurozone officials were not seen to dispense a certain amount of punishment to the Greeks before helping them, or if Greece decided to leave the Eurozone as a result of not being able to stand any more EU humiliation, others would doubtless follow . That means that Greece can only be helped by being thrown the occasional EU morsel, preceded by a public serving of abuse or austerity.

In the United Kingdom, the poor are being kept in line by also being thrown the occasional morsel such as an increase in minimum wage, a meaningless shift in tax bands or mini handouts which no doubt will be expressed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in this week’s Budget.
It’s all about keeping the poor in check without giving others any ideas.

Camron and Karney the Head Banker – A Fable

(A government FAILS to persuade bankers to lend to the common people.)


A Mordor Scene by steinliland

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 spoken, he looked round to his band of followers for their approval – for that was their job. They made the customary grunting and “Hear! hear! The Mess! The Mess!” noises of approval.


The Bankers were confused and even a little frightened but nevertheless, were obliged to follow their elders’ orders.


“You have to pay to come in,” oozed the Banker as he counted heads an
d flicked at his abacus. His fingers were a blur as he remembered: “…then there’s the insurance…..and other charges”. The abacus was smoking.


“But we have already collected and given you all the gold that we could find. And you did promise than when our coffers were empty, we could come in. It is getting so cold out here. We are tired and hungry and we can see that behind the gates there is sunshine and the New Prosperity. If you will not let us in, would you please lend us a little of our own gold back, so that we can eat . Many are dying – even the hard-working people”


” That is not our problem. WE hear that there are Food Banks for the poor! You enjoyed the Old Prosperity when we gave you more than we had and now, we have no more to lend. Anyway, you look as if you would not be able to repay it.”


” But who are all those smiling happy people who I can see through the gates?”


” They are the Bankers. It is the time of the Feast of Bonus and they are celebrating and making merry. Are you a Banker?”


” No I am not but there are occasions when I am speaking to an audience – I imagine that I can hear a whisper in the audience.”


” And what is this ‘whisper’
?”sneered the Banker.


” It seems that there are some who think that I am a Banker – because that is the sacred word that imagine I hear. On some occasions, I can hear it several times. There must be many who think that I am a banker. Can I at least come in? Just to see?”


” Why should anyone think that you are a Banker? Do you receive a bonus? Do you have large expense account? How big are your share options?”


” I have none of the Sacred Trappings – I am merely the Prime Minister of the Uks but there are those who see me nearly as important as a Banker. In fact, sometimes I hear whispers which make me think that the people wish me to be in charge not only of the Cabinet, the country but of even …………………the Bankers.”


Camron immediately looked down at his feet because he sensed that he may have gone too far. His entourage cowered.


The Chancellor Gideon tried to make himself even more invisible and only just stopped himself from laughing by biting so hard into the back of his own forefinger that blood flowed from the wound. As you would expect, it was a clear liquid.


Shocked, the two Gatekeeper Bankers took a step back. They had never heard such a preposterously outrageous claim. In charge of the Bankers???? Who? You?!!”


They knew in that instant that they were dealing with a “Dangerous” but decided to continue the dialogue and try to learn more.They didn’t usually have contact with people.
They had heard the legend that one day, a simple creature would come to the Gates and become “In Charge”. No-one quite knew what this strange phrase meant but they wanted to be sure.


Was this “The One?”. They doubted it because the legend of the god Euro suggested that the one who would one day be in charge, was to be a red-headed female called Merkil from the Land of the Goths.


But the pink-faced stranger had just used the sacred “In Charge” words!


It was a joke among Bankers because they knew that no-one but a Banker could be “in charge”…… They were the chosen ones. They used to serve the people but now the people served them.


” Are you ill? What are the people saying?” The Banker took out his Magic Blackberry and punched at some buttons. His eyes did not leave Camron’s pink face, who continued:


” Sometimes when I am speaking in riddles to the people of The Deficit and suchlike – I seem to hear not just “Banker” but also “King” Banker. That is the phrase! They call me a “Right King Banker”. That is the phrase I hear.”


” But can you talk in riddles? Can you make money disappear? Are you so self-serving, selfish and thick-skinned that you can ignore the criticisms of all those around you? How good are you at offering help to those who do not need it? Were you unpopular at school? Have you ever given money and then changed your mind and taken it back? Well…… have you. Do you have the Gift of Sneer ?”


It was like a bolt of lightning. Camron knew! He was The One !!


He tried his smile once again. Some recoiled in disgust but there were those within earshot who were also beginning to believe that perhaps Camron was “The One”.
Camron certainly believed it. He would ask for an Inquiry – just to be sure. He liked an Inquiry – that most holy of Ministerial Sacraments. Meanwhile, he decided to take the bull by the horns – he would assert himself.


” Bring the Head Banker to see me here at the Gates. Tell him that David of Camenor (for that was his real name) wishes to see him!”


There were gasps. Humans, Uks and Bankers looked at each other. For what seemed like an eternity, there was a cold, dark silence – just like the one which would follow a joke made by the Prophet Milibrand the Younger!


Just as suddenly, the beyond-dead atmosphere was broken by a commotion inside the Gates. Word had been sent to the Head Banker. There was no going back!


Eventually, a short man in a black silk pinstriped suit appeared at the gates. His gold tooth and diamond in his chunky gold pinkie ring flashed as he removed his Fedora. The black overcoat remained draped over his shoulders as he approached Camron.


Camron noticed that the Head Banker’s white silk tie matched the handkerchief tumbling out of his breast-pocket. He briefly imagined his own finger in the Head Bankers chunky ring!
They stood toe-to-toe. It was the Banker who spoke.


“Yes?”


Camron felt more resolute than he had ever done in his life. This was his destiny! He would be the saviour of the people. This was his time. He cleared his throat.


” On behalf of the people, I command you to lend them the money so that they may enter the Gates of Prosperity.”


It was the briefest and most “to the point” statement that Camron had ever made – and he’d managed it without an Inquiry! He felt quite exhilarated and just in case someone was sketching this historic moment, he struck a heroic pose and focused his bloodshot piggy eyes on the horizon.


Karney the Head Banker moved even closer. They exchanged knowing smiles, although the Head Banker’s eyes retained all the charm of two bullet holes .


Almost imperceptibly, as Camron leaned to wards him, the Banker’s expression changed.


Swiftly, he brought his knee up.

Blue or Red corner?

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 tree-huggers flitting in and out like Noddy’s goblins…but there will always be tree huggers. The REAL Green Controller is staying well out of this Rumble in the Westminster Jungle.

The UK 2015 General Election IS a Beauty Contest but with only two contestants. No matter HOW many votes go to the Mauve Circus, the Man on the Slab or the Green Goblins, it is (and always has been) either the man in the Blue Corner or the Man in the Red Corner who will become Champion.

So which one should our money be on?

Blue Corner

Very light on his feet (No! NOT in that way!), trains hard by performing endless U-turns and making vague promises about the future. Puts on a brave face but beginning to suffer mild stabbing pains between the shoulder blades. He likes to start fights but rarely finishes them (see European Union) but likes to say that everything will improve, if he wins his next fight. His “previous”  as a former speechwriter to John Major (really?) and special adviser to Norman Lamont (in 1993!) does NOT look too good on paper but his shouting skills at the Despatch Box have become legendary…plus he has perfected the art of giving the same answer to every question! For example: “Good afternoon, Dave”  “It would have been a much better afternoon if we didn’t have to clear up the mess..left behind….etc” Invented but unfortunately mislaid The Big Society.

Red Corner

Although youthful, his face looks as if he’s been in many fights but apparently, it’s his natural look. He suffers from the same stabbing pains as the other guy but always gives the impression that he is very thick skinned….as you’d expect from someone who once shafted and humiliated his own brother in public. His general  “look” has been described by some as “weirdo chic”, as has his voice, face and hair. His “previous” is as impressive as his opponent’s…his main claim to fame being a very long-standing association with the Old Charmer himself, Gordon Brown…as an adviser and then as author of his party’s last election manifesto. A 2011 Ipsos Mori poll found him to be less popular that Iain Duncan-Smith when he was Leader of the Opposition.

THIS is going to be very close but my money will be on the Blue Corner……Purely on political guile, leadership qualities, contacts and presentation skills. However, they ARE reasonably well-matched with the main issue for both of them being the quality of the people they have surrounded themselves with.

(Who would YOU rather see across the table from Putin?)

#Islamic State – Cause or Effect?

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 circus is that the leader of a small cluster of damp islands in the North Sea is always the one who makes the most noise, always hiding behind his younger but much bigger American cousin’s skirts…..and unsurprisingly, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minster is at it again. This time, from the safety of the White House.

Historically, the West feels that its job is to dispense the universally therapeutic remedy of “democracy” – even to those who don’t really want it.

Democracy is not an emollient to be force-fed in the same way that 18th and 19th century missionaries (from exactly the same damp islands) delivered Christianity to the world’s natives.

The Arabs are not even remotely interested in our special brand of democracy. Democracy used to be THE excuse because they knew that as soon as they shouted “Freedom!” or “Democracy!“, the usual suspects would come riding in, dispensing guns with notions of rescue, egalitarianism and ballot boxes.

THAT didn’t work so now it’s Muslim Fundamentalism and not democracy which needs to be spread! However, the Root Cause remains the same. Only the excuse is different.

Can you imagine revolutions in the Middle East if the family businesses masquerading as governments, distributed their oil billions as they should? Would the average Muslim be interested in getting shot in the name of “regime change” ,  “democracy” or even “Islam” – if he had a job, enough food, decent housing, a car, TV set, free hospital care for his family and a bit left over? Of course not.

Exactly the same economic argument applies here in the West . Would as many young Muslims fly to Syria or Iraq to join the Islamic State if they had a career, a home and a future? Would they blow-up magazine offices and fly planes into buildings?

With horrific levels of  Muslim youth unemployment and social exclusion, their “Islamic revolution” is primarily based in economics….. not religious idealism.

Once Western leaders accept that, instead of constantly citing “Radicalisation”, we may be a step nearer to finding a solution.

Conservative Hunger Games

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.

The Call of the Mild.

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.

Beware – especially #SMEs

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 an error during your pitch.

I have many years experience of pitching my company to senior management – usually the Chief Executive and even though I’ve completed hundreds of pitches, presentations etc, I still find myself making the occasional mistake – usually by simply misreading my prospect’s signals.

Here are some phrases which you may have already come across….ALL of them indicate that somewhere along the line, you have made a mistake. It’s by no means irredeemable but you DO have a bit more work to do:

” Leave me your card, I’ll get back to you.”

” I need to discuss this with my partner/directors/ wife/ HR Director/ Purchasing Manager/ Accountant/ Solicitor etc etc.”

” Call me in a week’s/Month’s time.”

“Let’s get Christmas/ Easter/ Summer Holidays etc  out of the way…then we’ll talk again.”

“Write to me.”

“We’re reorganising/moving premises/installing a new system.”

“At the moment, everything is a bit ‘Up in the air’….I’ll call you when  we’re ready.’

“We’ll definitely go ahead in the New Year/ next month/next financial year  etc.”

If you look carefully, ALL of the above are stalling statements from someone who has not been persuaded that he or she has a NEED or that YOU are the one to satisfy their need.

So, if after the first one or two follow-up phone calls, letters or emails, you are still being stonewalled…..move on and maybe come back in a few months.

Remember: There are NO reasons…only excuses and bad sales presentations!

The Bank Bonus Saga……..

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 can do is ….well…..nothing.

The primary reason for the outrageously high payments to the designer-labelled barrow-boy City slickers is the over-simple reward system. The City rewards the “ups” but does not penalise the “downs”. That encourages short-term risk-taking. A trader can make a large bonus from the profit on a deal but when that deal collapses or the share price falls, there are no sanctions.

In the good old days when life was simple, every day was sunny and back doors were left unlocked, a Life-Assurance salesman (remember those?!) would be paid what was known as “indemnity commission” on any contracts that he sold…… (Incidentally, all the large Pensions and Life salesforces were trashed because of mis-selling! The job was then handed to the banks)

If the salesman sold a £100-per-month policy to a client , he earned say £1,000 in “up-front” commission. Over the next twelve months, the client paid his £100 per month and at the end of the year, the salesman’s commission had been paid for. However, if the policy lapsed in the meantime, the commission was “clawed back” pro rata. That simple system discouraged selling policies to high-risk clients who were likely to lapse their policies.

That method of advance payment was called Indemnity Commission…..a sort of loan against future earnings.

With the sophisticated systems that all financial services companies now operate, it would be simple to create a payment system which took into account the often negative consequences of trading. Bonuses could be paid but with a “clawback” period during which the deals which had been made would be monitored.

It is now time for those nice people at the Bank of England, the Financial Conduct Authority’s latest incarnation to bare their teeth and take control.

The argument of having to pay obscene bonuses in order to hire “the best” has been used before. “The best” used to mean the most aggressive and most ambitious and the most likely to take shortcuts.

We now have the opportunity to enter an era where “the best” means the best-qualified, the most knowledgeable and the most professional. NOT the most crooked.

Mind you, the opportunity has already been around for a few years…… Perhaps tomorrow……

House of Cards

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 of yet another lame-duck Tory leader having greatness thrust upon him (or Theresa). (Forget Boris for the moment…he is still praising DC….presumably, the burying will come later).

Let us hope that the Tories don’t screw the Union further by not-only losing Scotland but losing a leader, leaving us with the spectre of Prime Minister Miliband Minor, aided and abetted by Nick Clegg, with no EU referendum in 2017.

There’s more at stake that we realise!

Certain ARAB states sitting back?

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?

Sean 1?

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’ ?

King Sean and Little Helper

Threats and Meetings just DO NOT do it!

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 will be hunted down” but these are all empty threats because since Ken Bigley was beheaded , the promises made by Blair, Brown and now Cameron have not been delivered. The anger is there, the intent is there but not a single terrorist has been brought to justice for murdering hostages. We don’t have the “reach” or the resources.

Today, foreign ministers are meeting in order to decide a joint plan…..again. There will be another communique, more outrage and more threats…..and life (and death) will move on.

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%)

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.

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.

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.”

#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.

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.

There are two groups of the odious Savile’s victims who will never hear politicians’ apologies for his vile assaults: Those who have died and those who were dead at the time of the assault.

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!

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?

#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…..

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… 🙂