Category Archives: Politics

Don’t call me Paki, Mac.

Now that we are seeing EU migrants leaving the UK at an ever accelerating rate, the bleating has started – which is a surprise because when the government announced that  it wanted foreigners to arrive in ‘tens of thousands’ rather than hundreds of thousands, there was hardly a whimper.  Now we have moaning about labour shortages and how vital cheap foreign workers are to our spluttering economy…..but it’s no more that we deserve.

Our government’s style has rarely been proactive. For instance, once the referendum farce had been settled, the government should have affirmed the importance as well as the ‘safety’ of all foreigners already living and working in the UK….but instead, it played its usual ‘wait and see’ game because anything else would have needed a decision!

However, it is not just political incompetence and intransigence which is to blame for the coming exodus. There is a much more sinister undercurrent at play and it is to do with the Brits’ very strong herding instinct whose tendency is to reject rather than to assimilate.

The most racist people on the planet are the Brits – so why the hypocrisy?  Here in the UK, the Blacks get it, as do the Welsh and the Jocks – as well as the Micks. The English don’t like the Germans or the French – and as for anyone from the Indian sub-continent……….and  don’t even mention the Chinks. The Italians are a joke and of course, Hitler was Austrian. Don’t even get me started on fat Americans or those boorish Aussies.

The English acquire racism like a family heirloom which travels through the generations. Consequently, the stem-cells of racism begin to develop very early. How many English people reading this (and I include all politicians) have ever seen the inside of an immigrant’s house here in the UK? How many have had a Bangladeshi, West Indian or Chinese family over for dinner.

My own mother lived in the UK for 60 years and never saw the inside of any of her her English neighbours’ houses. Mind you – she did have an accent! I am not surprised because first generation immigrants rarely integrate into the wider society – usually for cultural and language reasons – a phenomenon which politicians appear to be totally unaware of as they bang on about our ‘multi-cultural society’.

In the 1960s, I was one of the trailblazers for Johny Foreigner. My parents were from Eastern Europe and at school, I was one of the few children with a foreign name. In spite of the fact that I was born in Huntingdon and was indistinguishable from my school friends, i.e no accent or colour, I was a nevertheless a target for racist abuse.

Over fifty years later, I still remember the first time that I was called a f****** Pole. My accuser was a pikey (oops!) short-trousered seven year-old and I am not ashamed to say that I hit him – and guess what?  I was caned. Thinking back, I truly believe that the seven-year old’s parents should have been flogged instead of me because the eloquent slogans of British racism tend to be passed down the generations. No child was ever born spouting racist bile.

As recently as a year ago I was told “Go back to where you came from!” by a seventy-something Englishman who knows nothing about me except that I have a foreign name. On that occasion I reported the matter to the Police  – who did nothing except file a couple of statements.

History repeats itself. My own children went to school in France and their strange English accents really interested their French counterparts and within weeks they had fully integrated .  Within a couple of months, they were accepted as  honorary little Frenchmen. In fact it is no exaggeration to say that their French friends  and teaching staff were quite  proud of the fact that they had two English boys at their school.

Several years later, we returned to live in the UK. Guess what?  Within one day, my sons came back from school crying, telling me that they did not want to go back because their new school friends were calling them “Frogs”.

I had to have a quiet chat with the headteacher . He found the whole thing very amusing and treated me to the usual “boys will be boys” routine.

So let’s PLEASE stop the hypocrisy because collectively and democratically, we wished for a huge decrease in migration for all sorts of spurious reasons……and as you know, you should always beware what you wish for.

A.Foreigner.

 

In Praise of the Psychopath

donaldtrump

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!)

Today’s #EU Summit – IMPORTANT!

jean-claude-juncker

 

Apparently, the #EU Summit is opened by President of the European Council , Donald Tusk who always begins the meeting with a prayer, then asks for the lights to be dimmed as he invites the spirits to join the circle. He then asks everyone present to join hands and close their eyes and recite selections from the Maastricht Treaty.

The group then attempts to contact those on the ‘Other Side’ – for instance the United Kingdom and others who have ‘crossed over’. This is followed by pre-prepared questions about all sorts of important-sounding stuff.

Then it’s lunch.

After lunch the meeting continues (This is known as the ‘Graveyard Session’). Those still sober enough to vote for something which was agreed at the previous meeting, raise their hands – or have their hands lifted for them by a flunkey.

Meanwhile, The European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker staggers around the table, kissing every delegate, telling them that he REALLY loves them and that they are his best friend.

Then a group photo is taken and Mr Tusk presides over the Ceremony of the Communique (written last month) as he reads out the traditional Holy Positive Words about the future of the European Union.

Then they all fly home.

 

#Boris on Africa in 2002 (Telegraph)

“What a relief it must be for Blair to get out of England. It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies…. They say he is shortly off to the Congo. No doubt the AK47s will fall silent, and the pangas will stop their hacking of human flesh, and the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles to see the big white chief touch down in his big white British taxpayer-funded bird.”

The Cameron-Osborne Mantra

If there was ever a Prime Minister fully entitled to bang-on incessantly about “the mess left behind by the previous government”, it is Mrs May.

The Cameron-Osborne ‘mess’ has not been immediately apparent because of the veneer of spurious statistics applied to it like icing over a dodgy cake.

Hopefully with Spreadsheet Phil now in charge of the Treasury, we will be allowed to see some pure numbers, rather than those endless ‘percentages’ which Chancellor Gideon and Dave were so very fond of.

Did you notice that even towards the end of his valedictory address to the assembled hacks in Downing Street, David Cameron could not resist a  quick “…and we reduced the deficit by two-thirds!” ?

No you didn’t, Dave and you certainly should not have bolted at the first sign of having to take some real “tough decisions”.

Boris Johnson and the Dark Lord.

Michael-Heseltine

 

One of the great constants in recent Tory leadership elections has been the sudden emergence of Michael Hestletine from his earth-filled coffin.

The man who shafted Margaret Thatcher and who by doing so, not-only failed in his own ambitions to become Prime Minister but single-handedly established the modern dynasty of ineffectual Conservative Party leaders: Major, Hague, Duncan-Smith, Howard and of course, latterly, the toff’s toff, David Cameron.

As a result of Hestletine’s treachery and blind ambition, he consigned the Tories to almost perpetual Opposition and it took until 2015 for them to achieve a parliamentary majority, the last one having been under John Major in 1992. That is TWENTY THREE YEARS – and it was all thanks to Hestletine.

There’s little point in The Bitter Lord accusing Boris Johnson of  creating “the greatest constitutional crisis in modern times”.….and that BoJo  has  “ripped the (Conservative) party apart.”

He then went on to describe Boris as “like a general, that led his army to the sound of guns, and at the sight of the battlefield abandoned the field.”

The electorate knows that all notions of Conservative solidarity, accord and harmony are as real as a weekend trip to Narnia and that disloyalty and betrayal are food and drink to the party. Factional in-fighting and the election of bad leaders is what they do!

In spite of his comparatively posh upbringing and background, Boris has proved himself to be a likable politician as well as an efficient and creative administrator during his stint as Mayor of London.

Hestletine (other dinosaurs ARE available) should be put on notice that in spite of the fact that Boris may have been royally screwed on this occasion, his day will come.

 

 

 

Corbyn and Cameron – Taxi!

corbyncameron

 

Yes, all you Corbyn supporters – he is a decent man.

Unfortunately, decency is no substitute for competence and unfortunately, Corbyn is to leadership what Osborne is to fiscal credibility.

Let us hope that Jezza does not suffer a protracted political death but a surgery that is swift and clean.

And let us not forget that Cameron’s Westminster equivalent of a Dignitas booking was already in the diary well before his sniveling performance at the No 10 microphone last Friday. It’s just been brought forward.

Remember that in two attempts, he was not able to secure a decent parliamentary majority: Once against the lame duck Brown and then opposite the gawkily wackadoodle Miliband.

Cameron’s management shortcomings have never been better exemplified than by the fact that with at least six years’ warning, he went into a referendum WITHOUT having prepared a Brexit plan!

It’s all very well for the country’s thickos to keep repeating… ‘Those Brexit Winners don’t have a plan. They never had a plan….’.

It is NOT their job to produce a plan.

Government Plans are produced by a government. It is a government’s responsibility ….and the Brexit plan should have been in place for years. It’s not as if the referendum was a surprise!

We are now being treated to the very unedifying spectacle of Cameron gathering his Cabinet today (27th June 2016)….for what appears to be the very first meeting(!!) to decide on a Brexit strategy.

UNBELIEVABLE!

Referendum After-Shock

crycam

 

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.

soros

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.

Darwinism and EU Economic Theory

The European Union is languishing in a perpetual economic autumn whilst bankers, with the connivance of politicians, apply rudimentary quack remedies such as Quantitative Easing in the vain hope that somehow they’ll skip a couple of seasons and as if by miracle, an economic  summer will materialise out of the murk.

Last year I wrote that modern global economics owes as much to Chaos Theory as it does to Keynes and has mutated beyond the competence of mere politicians. Economic evolution has overtaken the ability of those who traditionally administer the remedies when economic sickness hits.

The mechanisms which are needed to be put in place to even begin to have any effect on economies are so diverse and complex as to make present economic theory, especially that tainted by political dogma, almost redundant. The best that a politician and his advisers can do is to prod a small corner of the economic matrix in the hope that eventually a positive effect is somehow brought-about.

It is fair to say that politicians are no longer shapers of an economy but have now been diminished to mere observers.

The post-war years have seen such an incredible acceleration in all the factors which affect us – from technology to global financing, that it is only now becoming apparent that old solutions will NOT cure new problems. Sometime in the not-too-distant past, the “butterfly effect” became the wing-flap of the American Eagle – until the eagle itself became subject to bouts of economic coma .

Now it is probably the hot-breath of the Chinese dragon which will burn economies.

It has been universally established (even by China and Russia) that Capitalism is the way forward. However, it is no longer the gung-ho, asset-and-natural-resource-stripping capitalism of the past. A democratic and more ethically accountable flavour of capitalism is now needed.

For instance,  “business” ought to be an activity which strives to maximise market share and commercial efficiency, i.e  it should be inwardly-focused with profits as the essential by-product which is then used to  disseminate wealth.

What we currently have is a business model where the rationale  is primarily concerned with the maximisation of shareholder profits which concentrates wealth into  comparatively few hands. Hence the 21st century craze for moving money in order to generate money without the added old-fashioned complication of production. A virtual world generates virtual money with a virtual value.

“Ah!” you’re thinking. Socialist!! Nothing could be further from the truth.

Let’s keep it simple and look at the two extremes.

The Left (Socialism, Labour, U.S. Democrats, EU) dreams of public or community ownership and what you might call “forced distribution” which unfortunately needs to be underpinned by bureaucratic control and masses of public expenditure.

The Right (Conservatives, Republicans) dreams of privatisation. That has absolutely nothing to do with the individual. It is to do with corporate power.

So, at one extreme, we have unsustainable and forever expanding bureaucracy and on the other we have unacceptable (to the individual) accelerating corporate power.

Western political systems have now become nothing more than a tension between those two extremes. For instance, witness the “Punch and Judy” politics of America and the United Kingdom, as currently exemplified by the quality of the United Kingdom’s EU referendum debate and the  antagonistically offensive quality of the USA’s 2016 Presidential campaign.

Currently, there isn’t a better example of extreme corporate power than that exhibited by the banking system. A debt-fuelled crisis, which was accidentally engineered by the banking system ………aided and abetted by politicians  who continue to have absolutely NO idea how to deal with it, except by assuming that the problem has gone away.  They have adopted the “rabbit-staring -into-headlights” technique and have even been reduced to appealing to the bankers better nature, by inviting central banks into the economic driving seat!!

Paradoxically, the only people who will be able to clean-up the financial mess are financiers. Unfortunately, the type of financier that is needed is not the traditional self-serving, avaricious, unprincipled type which we have all come to love.

It is an as yet undiscovered species. The socially responsible financier who, with the assistance of the politician can generate new ideas which will, in turn, evolve into a NEW Capitalism which places the individual and not the corporation at its nucleus.

The financial crisis happened in spite of politics  and will eventually cure itself  in spite of politics. Chaos has its own mysterious mechanisms.

It is obvious though that the Darwinian aspects of world economics have outstripped the development of both our politicians and our economic theories.

…..and as China is demonstrating….it is the Survival of the Fittest…..and as the #EU is clearly demonstrating, the answers do not lie in organisational chaos, bureaucracy and huddling for political and economic warmth with people you wouldn’t normally invite into your home.

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?

Another BREXIT myth?

cash

Always beware of any sentence uttered by a politician which contains the word “percentage” – especially if that politician is Chancellor Gideon.

The latest bit of statistical fantasy saw Osborne suggesting that if we leave the #EU, “house prices COULD fall by Up TO 18 %.” (!)

Obviously, he has a plan!

Does he intend to stop dodgy Russian oligarchs, newly-minted Chinese billionaires, corrupt African despots and tyrannical Middle Eastern potentates and politicians from driving-up UK house prices by buying up London properties and paying silly money for the United Kingdom’s historic country houses and estates?

Mind you, it’s all a great distraction from the NHS, the tanking economy and our unmeasured, out-of-control immigration.

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 !  🙂

 

The Queen’s Speech

carriage

Sometimes, one cannot help but feel sorry for our Queen. She has to put on a heavy metal hat covered in bling, get togged up in fancy dress and then walk up some steps (what’s wrong with a Stannah Lift), sit on a very uncomfortable looking chair and then read a load of drivel written for her by a Downing Street focus group, handed to her by the Lord Chancellor, wearing a rather fetching off the shoulder black and gold number……(Michael Gove has never looked lovelier).

Prisons, driverless cars and a spaceport were read out in the manner of an undertaker reciting from the the Book of the Dead.

it was not QE2’s fault – after all she is constitutionally obliged to read whatever nonsense the government of the day puts in front of her.

A spaceport is probably very appropriate for this government as it is mostly populated by space cadets and robots….but as the economy appears to be sliding towards the U-bend, it would have been reassuring to hear at least something about the economy. Unfortunately, it appears that Chancellor Gideon has finally admitted that he is a mere observer rather than a shaper of events – just like the Bank of England.

There is very little doubt that QE2 would have been much happier with her feet up, watching Loose Women or Bargain Hunt, rather than have been embarrassed by the unmitigated bollocks masquerading as some sort of government ‘plan’ that she had to recite.

 

Brexit – Summary , so far……

Cameron’s ‘in crowd’ has expanded offshore to include the foreign senior banking community. Here in the UK, the ‘IN’ conspiracy has now recruited some senior corporate ‘suits’.

Meanwhile, Boris is looking increasingly shambolic and isolated plus, he does not appear to be appealing to the great unwashed.

The two main messages are either “Watch out for hordes of migrants and we could do it alone if we wanted to” or, more worryingly:  “The UK is effectively imprisoned within the #EU with no way out without damaging EVERYTHING!”

Both messages are negative – especially now that it would appear that the Cameron camp has admitted that even if we wanted to leave – we can’t. We’re trapped!

Today it was the turn of Spain’s 800,000 permatanned British residents to have the fear of God put into them…..as if the Spanish economy would even think about risking the loss of such a vast slice of revenue!

The one aspect of the debate I cannot agree with and that is the perceived danger from millions of low-level migrants. Once the UK economy collapses, no-one will want to come here.

Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the ECB’s Mario Draghi to pontificate.

 

Brexit Fun with Statistics

gidders

Good to see the Cameron #EU ‘In-Crowd’ adopting the official government policy of spouting meaningless and spurious statistics in order to try and prove that being a member of the European Union is compulsory if one is to maintain economic success , which, incidentally, is something which continues to elude the United Kingdom – in spite of Chancellor Gideon’s creative use of percentages.

Here are some more numbers:

  1. Six out of ten of the world’s biggest economies are not members of the EU. If the UK Brexited, SEVEN out of ten of the world’s most powerful economies would not be members of the EU.
  2. According to Bloomberg , of the world’s top ten fastest-growing economies, not one is a member of the EU.
  3. If we look at real GDP growth rate, the highest performer within the EU is Ireland and is placed only 44th(!) in the world.

What Cameron is REALLY saying is very simple: He does NOT believe that he, Chancellor Gideon and the rest of the current crop of Westminster PPE and History Grads have the collective ability to run an economy without the bureaucratic and legal crutch of the Brussels Commissars.

Lagarde, Brexit & Panic

gideonLagarde
Je T’aime …..moi non plus!

It was the IMF’s Christine Lagarde’s turn today.

She says that Brexit would have “assez mauvais to très , très mauvais” consequences but was not particularly specific.

“Pretty bad to very, very bad” is once again a judgement and not a prediction….and if she wants to see “very, very bad”, she should keep a closer eye on Greece’s problems!

Make no mistake, just like Mark Carney before her, prior to issuing her predictable statement, she would have been on the phone to Chancellor Gideon or David Cameron for approval of this latest piece of the well-choreographed scaremongering pro-EU referendum jigsaw. So WHO is next to have been recruited by the ‘IN’ camp?

One suspects that either this weekend or possibly on Monday, it will be the turn of the ECB’s Mario (il Papa) Draghi to instil a bit of ‘panico’ among us gullible Brits!

It started with Obama and they’re travelling East……..

 

Carney in the Cameron Corner?

Mark-Carney

The (hired by Chancellor Gideon) totally impartial Governor Mark Carney of the oh-so independent Bank of England said today that if the United Kingdom left the Bruderschaft of the oh-so economically-stable #EU, the risk of leaving “could possibly include a technical recession”……….which by implication suggests that if we stay firmly wedged in Bundeskanzlerin Merkel’s ample #EU cleavage, the risk of recession will be gone! Good news !!

David Cameron then said the warning amounted to “a very clear message” of the dangers of Brexit.

Some have declared that the Governor was spouting unwarranted and unmitigated bollocks with several calling for him to be sacked.

In reply, the Governor’s spokesperson said  the Bank had “a duty to make its judgments known.”

As the Bank of England has been so incisive and accurate in all of its previous economic judgments and predictions – the 2008 economic collapse, the subsequent recession and the collapse of RBS, to name but a few – I cannot think of any reason why we should not take Governor Carney’s latest prophecy (it’s NOT a prediction!) VERY seriously.   🙂

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.

 

 

Jeremy Hunt’s #NHS. The end of the beginning?

hunt

There is a very good reason why heads of very large organisations command such obscenely huge salaries. They tend to be highly qualified and extremely experienced individuals whose grasp of both finance and organisational dynamics is truly mind-blowing. In addition, there are comparatively few of them….and although we may or may not agree with their vast incomes, they do have responsibility not only to shareholders but for the futures of thousands of employees.

Therefore, it is astounding as well is wrong on so many levels, that a ‘here today gone tomorrow’ politician who commands a salary of about £135,000 is given the responsibility of running an organisation as vast and complex as the National Health Service. If that individual’s qualifications and experience are no more than having been a teacher of English as a foreign language, with a couple of years in public relations, preceded by a Cambridge degree in politics, then the appointment is not only troubling but potentially destructive.

The fact that Jeremy Hunt was a contemporary of David Cameron’s at Cambridge compounds the problem because it is extremely difficult to rid oneself of family or friends that one has hired to do a job which is incontrovertibly so utterly above their competence level.

Being briefed by advisers and devouring the contents of ministerial red boxes is no substitute for the hard slog of a ‘big company’ career.

Secretary of State Hunt is clearly demonstrating his boundless ineptitude by his total inability to deal with the NHS junior doctors. If he does not manage some sort of settlement with them very soon, permanent damage will be done to the NHS.

It is now being suggested that the junior doctors’ strike is a manifestation of them trying to bring down the government! Whether that is true or not, doesn’t matter because the doctors have a great deal of support , whatever their motivation. However, I would tend to believe that they are looking for no more than fairness and understanding from an increasingly confused Secretary of State and unbending dogma-fired Tory High Command.

There is a solution to the problem….. and it is a solution with only one opening move.

The hapless Hunt, who has now completed the journey from promising politician to Cockney rhyming slang, should be asked to participate in an exit interview as soon as possible.

Whittingdale! Taxi!

Terribly intrusive reportage by the Mail. They should show John “Shagger” Whittingdale a bit of respect. The fact that this unlikely knobmeister is managing to score at a rate which should at least put him on the England subs bench at Euro 2016 is obviously causing the po-faced ones at the Mail some discomfort. Power to his elbow….and all other parts of his soon-to-be ex-Cabinet anatomy.

Osborne’s Crassness and Stupidity

All that Chancellor Gideon has achieved by stating that if the UK leaves the #EU, MORTGAGE RATES will increase, has been to highlight his stupidity and total lack of understanding of the mortgage market. Presumably he is implying that if we remain in the EU, mortgage rates will NOT go up?

However, it was good to see that in preparation for any backlash, he made the point that his weasel words were, in fact, quoting what “The Americans” said.

Tax Return? Don’t Make me laugh!

THIS is a Tax Return:

corbyntax    

 

 

 

 

 

 

THIS is NOT a Tax Return:

cameron-tax-returnPNG

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will say this only once!

Cameron, Osborne and Johnson have NOT produced what are being referred-to as “Tax Returns”.

They have produced what look like simplistic spreadsheets which do not even look as if they’ve seen an accountant, never mind HMRC.

I wonder who is going to be the first to notice and ask for their audited accounts as well as PROPER Tax Returns.

Boris Johnson is taxed as both an employed as well as a self-employed person. He should be showing TWO sets of figures – but even he has been allowed to produce a schoolboy Excel spreadsheet.

Only the unfortunate Jeremy Corbyn has produced a Tax Return!

As usual, the British public had its opportunity and blew it!

Cameron’s crap Spreadsheet

Has ANYONE noticed that David Cameron has NOT yet produced his Tax Return?

In their excitement, the media appear to have accepted a very dodgy-looking and simplistic spreadsheet – the sort we could all knock-out on our PCs. The sort of spreadsheet which would be totally unacceptable to HMRC or even to an unqualified book-keeper.

Wake up!

We should see Cameron’s and his wife’s Tax Returns plus any non-PAYE accounts.

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!

Point of View

Remember that whatever your opinion, whether it’s the #EU hokey-kokey debate or Mr Cameron and his deep and  (so genuine!) offshore love for his father, it all depends on where you’re standing …your POV……………… For instance:

Dog: ” I love the way I’ve trained that nice Dr Pavlov to smile, make notes and give me a treat every time I drool”

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!

Excellent #EU insight

eu-flag-burning

The question is very straightforward: Do we want to belong to a totally unaudited association of failing and near bankrupt economies, overrun by unwanted (yes!) migrants and presided over by an inward-focused, self-amplifying bureaucracy – or should we be looking outwards to the rest of the world whilst maintaining relations only with the European states we can do business with – without worrying about regulations governing what we eat or the amperage of our hairdryers and toasters!

Here is a link to Euro MP Daniel Hannan’s excellent revelations which we should all read: http://dailym.ai/1S2A0P6

Cameron ignorance.

Ah…….that heady aroma of a media-generated mélange of schadenfreude and disinformation!

Ian Cameron’s FUND, Blairmore Holdings was never a “Trust”. It was a Hedge Fund which invested in no more than the sort of equities etc that one finds in any other fund.

Cameron Junior and his unfortunate wife, Sam may well have invested in the old man’s business – probably because the fund was generating very high returns.

One of the factors to be taken into consideration when investing is the tax regime. Here in the UK, for instance, the Exchequer helps itself to Stamp Duty when you invest …………and then, if you are domiciled in the UK, it helps itself to some more by way of Capital Gains Tax .

THAT is why is is often preferable to invest where you do not get screwed at both ends of a transaction.

Very often, an investment choice is driven by prudence rather than naughtiness.

I DO wish that some journos would do their f******  homework! Especially the No 10 Press Office.

On the other hand, one can forgive the ignorance of MPs – because that is what they do!

For instance, did you hear Minister of State for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise, Anna Soubry on PMQs last night? Talk about being promoted to above your level of incompetence!

Cameron must be so proud!

Ill Gotten Gains, Dave?

Let’s not beat around the bush……London is the money-laundering capital of the world. In addition to that, it is Britain which has all those ex-colonial islands and protectorates scattered all over the world. They have become the tax-free-no-questions-asked home to all the world’s drug and crime proceeds as well as the repository for a sizeable chunk of the aid money the West continues to dish out to the Third World …..in the full knowledge that much of it will eventually land in a Swiss numbered account while it waits to be properly buried in some obscure Caribbean offshore trust.

London is the crossroads of such a high percentage of the ill-gotten gains of corrupt politicians and criminals, that if our government genuinely had the stomach to legislate in order to clean-up all this cash-trafficking, it would put such a large hole in our Gross Domestic Product that our economy would collapse.

Our manufacturing represents only 15% of our GDP. The rest relies far too heavily on virtual as well as  illegal money….but unfortunately, after so many years, the economy has become totally addicted to it. All that our senior politicians can offer is the traditional mixture of fine words, promises and inaction.

Cameron’s family is the personification of the moral-free, double-standard, innocence-feigning disgrace that Britain has become.

….and the consequences? The odds are that once again, nothing will change. The media will have lots of fun, the Panama Papers will be milked until we all become bored, the politicians will find something else to distract us with.

Anyone for blini?

Tax? That’s only for poor people!

Blairmore Holdings Inc, the offshore fund which the Prime Minister’s father, Ian Cameron helped to set up  has never paid any UK tax on its profits…..and that’s over a period of 30 years. Many of the fund’s clients are Brits.

(“Blairmore” is the name of the Cameron ancestral home in Aberdeenshire. It is now a Christian Healing Centre which Cameron Jnr may well need very soon……)

Cameron’s offshore shenanigans

Apparently, David Cameron was probably the only rich kid for whom a Trust Fund was never set up. A startling omission by his father because it would have been the most efficient way to put cash or any other type of asset away with junior as the beneficiary. A Trust has ‘trustees’ who usually exercise their discretion in how much is paid to the beneficiary and when it is paid. Trusts are not only useful for passing down assets to the next generation but also keep assets out of a settlor’s estate, thus reducing any Inheritance Tax liabilityIt is therefore VERY surprising that Cameron Snr did not think of that!

However, it is nevertheless always a good idea to listen very carefully to the words written for any Cameron statement. For instance, the latest denial issued by Downing Street contains the following sentence:

“There are no offshore trusts or funds that the Prime Minister or his immediate family would benefit from in future

One can only assume that the trustees have exercised their discretion very recently as well as very suddenly…….unless of course Cameron Snr indeed did not follow his own advice!

Panama Papers

PutinCameron

The Panama Papers reminded me of something that I have been thinking about for many years. What makes senior, specifically LEADER politicians so rich? Very often, all they have had is a career in politics, which as we all know, does not pay very well and yet they suddenly appear at the top of the pile with both the A-list film-star lifestyle as well as the mega-bloated bank account plus the services of sleazy bankers and agents for offshore tax havens.

As far as I can see, the only advantage they have over normal mortals is not ability, diligence, a business sense or even an entrepreneurial spirit. The only thing they do have is proximity to tax payer cash. For instance, the salary of a KGB colonel is not all that great and neither is the salary of a President-Prime Minister-President measured in millions. How then is that individual managing to measure his wealth in BILLIONS? It’s a conundrum.

There has been some criticism of UK Prime Minister David Cameron because his father was in the offshore tax-optimisation game. Of course, it is manifestly unfair to blame DC because, even though his school fees may have been paid out of an offshore Trust Fund ‘run’ by Nominee Directors of a Brass Plaque ‘Company’ located somewhere in a Central American Banana Republic , he cannot be held responsible for his father’s actions – anymore than the son of a bank robber can be held responsible for being clothed and fed on the proceeds of a bank heist………although bank robbers are often stripped of assets and their offspring allowed to go hungry. But hey….!

Javid and the Three Ps

In keeping with this government’s appalling standard of juvenile speech-writing and verbal gimmickry, Business Secretary Sajid Javid has delivered another priceless acronym. He said that any buyer of Port Talbot steelworks “…..would want to refer to “The Three Ps”. Did he mean the government’s Piss Poor Preparation or was he possibly referring to the three qualities that this government has become so well-known for: Procrastination, Procrastination, Procrastination.

BURIED Steel News.

cameron

This is what is happening while #Cameron dispenses platitudes:

German newspaper Rheinische Post has reported that Tata Steel is in advanced talks to buy a stake in Thyssenkrupp’s Steel Europe, sending shares in Thyssenkrupp 5.2 percent higher to the top of Germany’s DAX index …………Thyssenkrupp declined to comment, as did a European spokesman for Tata Steel.

Tata Steel wants to dump Port Talbot and get into bed with our German friends.

So much for DC’s negotiating skills.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-tata-steel-thyssenkrupp-idUKKCN0WY4E5

 

Cameron talking Steel.

The government is “doing everything it can” to save thousands of steel jobs – but there are “no guarantees of success”

The situation at Port Talbot is of “deep concern” and “steel jobs are vital” to workers’ families and the communities.

A “more nuanced” solution is needed in recognition of the global oversupply of steel

“Just continuing to produce steel for which there is not adequate demand isn’t the answer.”

The European Union is  “a vital market for British steel.”

Britain is “having conversations with other Governments”

I’m sure that there is a word for the above type of rhetoric but I just can’t think what it might be!  🙂

p.s. Because the government appears to be treating the Port Talbot situation as some sort of surprise, here’s something I wrote FOUR MONTHS ago. See no.9……..http://www.spygun.uk/richard-ruzyllo/cameron-a-first-assessment

 

 

A Nice Surprise for Chancellor Gideon.

The UK economy grew 0.6% in the fourth quarter of 2015, higher than the previous estimate of 0.5%.

As a result, the economy grew by 2.3% for the whole of 2015, rather than 2.2% as previously thought, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Unsurprisingly, the figure came as a surprise to experts, who had forecast that it would remain unchanged.

One wonders whether Chancellor Gideon will blame the Global Economy for this morsel of good fortune.

David “Mr Meeting” Cameron and his Balls of Steel.

The outcome is already a certainty. Cameron, his Ministers will be engaging in Cameron’s favourite pastime – a MEETING. This one is to “discuss” the fate of the moribund British Steel Industry. In fact, the industry’s fate had already been decided even as far back as 1988 when the British public was encouraged to throw its cash away by investing in an industry which has been dying since the end of World War II. British Steel eventually morphed into Indian Steel, with its epicentre on the Sub-continent. Now there is hysterical talk of us being stitched-up by China with its “inferior steel” (commentators are confusing “inferior” with “competitively priced” – and there is absolutely no proof that Chinese steel is, in fact, of poor quality)…..and forget all romantic notions of the “proud steel worker” being “thrown on the scrap heap”. It’s all about market forces, dear boy. Tata!

cams

Cameron deploying his “We’ll do everything we can to help” mantra. This time  it is aimed at the British steel industry. Certain commentators have suggested that Dave is probably thinking about re-nationalising steel! He’d rather be rogered by a pig wearing a red rosette….It won’t be long before we’re importing steel from China. Remember, this government does NOT have a long-term plan – only fine words. Time to say ‘tata’ to our steel industry.

footy

Lionel Messi has offered to auction his boots in aid of an Egyptian charity. Unfortunately, no-one has briefed the Barcelona star on Arab antipathy towards shoes and boots. Remember that Libyan mob hitting Gaddafi with the soles of their shoes? Remember that Iraqi mob hitting that pulled-down statue of Saddam with their shoes…..and what about that shoe thrown at George W Bush? Now the Egyptian people feel insulted that Messi has offered his ‘shoes’ instead of his shirt. Funny old world.

#Cameron – a first assessment.

Every government is remembered by its Prime Minister and just a couple of headline achievements and policies. So far, David Cameron has built quite an arsenal of happy memories to be remembered by. Here are 20……..and they’re beginning to look very worrying.

  1. Austerity
  2. Very dodgy Statistics with the Ministry of Statistics (ONS) admitting its over-reliance on surveys.
  3. A Prime Minister incapable of completing a negotiation. (EU)…..Don’t believe me? Wait and see….
  4. All issues requiring an executive decision being farmed out to Planet Inquiry.
  5. Food Banks.
  6. Giving a totally believable impression of being comprehensively out of touch with the ordinary man.
  7. Nepotism and Cronyism…..referred to as “patronage”.
  8. The most appalling political speeches.
  9. Watching the Steel Industry’s final death throes.
  10. A flat economy with 95% of everything expressed in percentages.
  11. Too many incomplete undelivered promises and confusion between decree and action.
  12. The Gatwick v Heathrow saga.
  13. The inability to motivate Chilcot to complete his Iraq Inquiry.
  14. A pointless involvement in Syria.
  15. 2-Nation Politics and the return of toffery.
  16. Meetings – especially the pointless COBRA ritual.
  17. Fictional Economic claims.
  18. Fictional National Security claims – reminiscent of #Blair.
  19. 2015 Election win by default…Because the alternative (Miliband) was TOO ghastly to contemplate.
  20. Watching the entire NHS fail.

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.

Cameron’s letter to Santa.

gdp

David Cameron is about to send his Christmas EU wish-list letter to Brussels.

As he licks the stamp, he should perhaps reflect on the fact that this is the third renegotiation since Britain joined in 1973 and our second referendum on membership.

It’s not even as if the United Kingdom is negotiating from a position of strength. The rather flaky economic recovery which Osborne thinks he’s sold not only to a gullible British public but also to the EU, is looking shakier by the day.

The much-promulgated “We’ve managed to get the deficit down to 5% of GDP!” may sound good in isolation but the much-maligned Eurozone has a Deficit-to-GDP ratio of only 2.1% ! (The UK figure is actually well over 5.0%). The only three coutries with a higher Deficit-GDP ratio are Croatia, Spain and Cyprus.

If you listen very carefully to Cameron’s referendum rhetoric, you may notice that he has moved from being pro-EU to very neutral. You will also notice that he’s chosen four very flabby areas on which to “negotiate”:

  • Integration: Allowing the UK to opt-out of any EU Superstate nonsense
  • Benefits: Restricting access to in-work and out-of-work benefits to EU migrants.
  • Sovereignty: Giving greater powers to national parliaments to block EU legislation.
  • Eurozone vs the rest: Securing an explicit recognition that the euro is not the only currency of the European Union.

He has totally ignored our two biggest gripes: The £6-20 BILLION (depending on who you talk to ) net annual contribution to the EU and that obscenely inflated money-pit that is the Brussels bureaucracy. THAT is where the changes ought to be!

However, we can take comfort from the certain knowledge that WHATEVER our Prime Minister “negotiates” will be proven statistically to be a great (statistical) victory for the UK taxpayer.

 

 

WEALTH WARNING!

Chancellor #Gideon is considering scrapping tax relief on Pension Contributions but then allowing tax-free access to savings upon retirement. This should be resisted by everyone. Not only is it a bad idea, borne of Treasury short-termism and a Chancellor with a singular lack of imagination but it is also a con…..He obviously has not learned the Tax Credits lesson and is obviously in a hurry – before the UK economy ‘tanks’ again.

Sharm el-Sheikh Sabotage

It’s a great shame that even when Cameron makes an absolutely CORRECT decision in halting flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh, people still complain. As evidence accumulates, it looks increasingly likely that the Russian Airbus 321 was brought down by a catastrophic event which occurred inside the plane. DC is taking no chances – and quite right too!

NHS – the beginning of the end? It doesn’t have to be.

spratt

The issues which the NHS is currently experiencing have a  lot to do with a fundamental change in its ethos. When it was formed in 1948, its organisational foresight was totally focused on improving the health of a patient. The needs were the needs of the sick. Fast forward to 2015 and we see an amplifying obsession with expenditure and management.

The organisation no longer asks the question “How do we improve the health of a patient?” or “What are the patient’s needs?”  The fundamental 2015 question is: “What patient needs does the capital allow?”

Patient needs are no longer an absolute. They are a function of cash available. Too many NEEDS and you’re dead!

It may sound counter-intuitive but the government can only solve the current NHS issues of underpaid Junior Doctors, the shortgage of beds, overpriced drugs, GPs becoming an endangered species etc. through a massive investment programme coupled to a gradual dismantling of the management structure which is weighing down what could once again become a great British institution.

NHS problems are mirrored in what has happened to the UK’s Education system. They have both been ‘broken’ by a lack of continuity, caused by interference by successive governments, ‘management’ by incompetent dogma-fuelled Ministers with their little ‘pet’ schemes –  as well as the installation of massive administrative systems.

The reason why Private Schools and Private Healthcare are both cost-effective and thriving is NOT because they are private but because they are FREE of government interference and the sort of management and admin structures which would frighten the Indian Railway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Export worries.

cameron and osborne

David Cameron and George Osborne both appear to think that meeting other politicians somehow creates international trade. The fact is that politicians have very little influence on commerce and none at all on corporate trade-related decision-making.

The three months to September 2015 saw British exporters experience the weakest growth in orders since the second quarter of 2009 when the country was in the grip of recession.

Admittedly, manufacturing represents only about 10% of GDP but nevertheless it is worrying to see the UK’s export drive going into reverse at exactly the time when the government is dispensing such positive economic mood-music.

Yes, we understand that the UK economy is in better shape than most other European countries but then again, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man IS king!

Our overall economic growth has slowed to 0.5% per quarter but it is most likely that almost all of that growth is as a result of domestic demand – which is certainly not particularly encouraging within the global economy.

A Markit survey published yesterday shows that  in spite of the rhetoric, the construction sector also slowed in October.

Big Brother.

big brother

 

George Orwell may have been 30 years out, but he was right. Theresa May’s Investigatory Powers Bill must not be allowed to pass into Law. I certainly do not want to traumatize some innocent Plod as he or she scours my web-browsing history…(It was for research purposes!). Rewind 20 years and we have the equivalent of the government saying: “We want to steam-open your letters before you read them but we’ll only have  sneaky little peek. Nothing to worry about. It’s all that terrorism y’know! It’s for your own good!”

Hopefully, once again…the House of Lords will protect us from a government which is becoming far too prescriptive and self-important.

Another case of Big Brother is Botching?

Renegotiation of the UK’s EU Membership.

cameu

If you ask the average British person why they are dissatisfied with the nature of the UK’s  membership of the European Union, the items which are always near the top of the agenda are: 1. The scale of our national contribution.  2. Migration fears.   3. The wastage on the bloated Brussels bureaucracy.

That is why it is strange to see that David Cameron’s tediously anaemic ‘negotiation’ shopping list does not mention TWO of the above. Here’s the list:

  • Securing an opt-out from the principle of ever-closer union
  • Protecting the rights of countries outside the eurozone
  • Regaining more powers for national parliaments
  • Overhauling the existing welfare rules in relation to migration

If Cameron does not deal which what is really bothering the UK voter, the 2016 EU referendum already has a foregone conclusion.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

The #DPP Lady shows the LAW is not “a ass”

alison-saunders1

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, is quite right in having decided NOT to prosecute Lord Janner for alleged child abuse. Her reasons and rationale are to be found here: http://blog.cps.gov.uk/2015/04/the-decision-not-to-prosecute-lord-janner-statement-from-the-dpp.html

Although her reasons not to prosecute are (quite rightly)  based in law, there is also the question of compassion…..something definitely not afforded the hundreds of  children who have been abused over the years. However, compassion must never be confused with forgiveness and we must also remember that Greville Janner has never been convicted of child abuse.

Needless to say, this will be a great disappointment to his accusers as well as their families. His family must also be disappointed that he will go to his grave with accusations hanging over him without having had the opportunity to prove his innocence.

However, an old man who possibly may no longer understand either his alleged crimes or even a long legal process and whose medical condition definitely means that he is not a danger to society is certainly not an ideal subject for prosecution.

Janner has not “got away with it” as have many able-bodied and fully compos mentis individuals, who are doubtless still stalking Establishment corridors. His life is over – guilty or not.

Meanwhile a big “up” to Ms Saunders for taking the difficult decision, although she would do society as well as disappointed victims an immeasurable favour if her department and the police fast-tracked some of the many other files on their desks.

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.

Have Newspapers lost their political influence?

newspaper

There’s a bit of a contradiction in  all this pre-election media nonsense. The pro-Conservative PRESS,  The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Sun, Times and the Evening Standard (TOTAL CIRCULATION 5.25 million) in the BLUE Corner AND  only The Mirror with the non-Libdem bit of the Guardian holding the sponge, (TOTAL CIRCULATION about 1.1 million) in the RED Corner.  That 5-1 in favour of the Blue corner! In spite of this apparent handicap, Labour and Miliband are edging ahead…. Can it be true that the electorate is finally making-up its own mind? Or is Tory dead-tree journalism a dead parrot?

Help to Vote

“Help to Buy” and now, courtesy of the Libdems, the largely theoretical ( it AIN’T going to happen!) “HELP TO RENT”.  In order to complete the set, can we please also have “Help to Eat” for all those hungry people queueing at food banks and maybe, we can have “Help to find a Decent Job” for all those who wouldn’t need HELP, if the government had not allowed house and rent prices to run out of control.

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.

EU urges Greece to ‘stop wasting time’ on reform

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis (L) talks to Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt and Eurogroup Chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem at an Euro zone Finance Ministers meeting (Eurogroup) in Brussels March 9, 2015. REUTERS-Yves Herman

(Reuters) – The head of euro zone finance ministers has urged Greece to “stop wasting time” and buckle down to serious talks and implementation of a reform programme to secure urgently needed fresh funds from its international creditors.

“Little has been done since the last Eurogroup (meeting two weeks ago) in terms of talks, in terms of implementation,” Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on arrival for a meeting of ministers of the 19-nation currency bloc.

“We have to stop wasting time and really start talks seriously,” he said, adding that euro zone partners stood ready to support Greece if it continued on the economic reform path.

Euro zone officials were not persuaded by a letter sent by outspoken Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on Friday outlining seven planned measures. They said it was only a starting point and no basis for releasing frozen bailout money.

Varoufakis irritated EU partners in a weekend newspaper interview by dangling the prospect of a referendum.

Dijsselbloem said earlier the steps outlined were “far from complete”, adding that it would be very difficult to complete the reform programme during the four-month extension of Greece’s European Union/International Monetary Fund bailout that runs until end June.

Shut out of capital markets and with international loans frozen against a background of falling tax revenues, Greece could run out of cash later this month.

Hardline German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told reporters Athens must start implementing its obligations and refrain from unilateral changes to its commitments.

Varoufakis, who wants a negotiated restructuring of Greece’s debt to official lenders, was quoted by Italy‘s Corriere della Sera on Sunday as saying the leftist-led government could call a referendum or early elections if European partners rejected its debt and growth plans.

The finance ministry later clarified that the Marxist former academic had been replying to a hypothetical question and that any referendum would “obviously regard the content of reforms and fiscal policy” and not whether to stay in the euro.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said on leaving Paris for the meeting that while he was not worried about a risk of Greece defaulting, “things are serious”.

A source at the European Central Bank said the cash position of Greek banks, on a drip-feed of emergency funding, appeared to be stabilising after heavy deposit outflows from December to late February. The ECB would not allow Greece to increase its issuance of short-term treasury bills because it could not allow monetary financing of the government, the source said.

A senior politician in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc said Greece would be better off outside the 19-nation euro zone, suggesting that Schaeuble privately agreed.

“By leaving the euro zone, as Finance Minister Schaeuble has suggested, the country could make itself competitive again from a currency perspective with a new drachma,” former transport minister Peter Ramsauer, a member of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), wrote in Bild.

Merkel and Schaeuble have both said publicly they want to keep Greece in the currency area. But in a sign that German sentiment may be shifting, Ramsauer said a temporary “Grexit” would be a “great opportunity” for the country to boost its economy and administration “making it fit to return to the euro area from a position of strength”.

GREEKS WANT TO STAY

Seeking European support for his government’s efforts to alleviate deep hardship caused by austerity, leftist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday.

A Greek official said they would discuss how Greece can use EU funds to tackle what he called the humanitarian crisis.

Juncker has been trying to mediate between the new Athens government and its EU creditors, notably Germany, but his efforts have irritated Berlin, the euro zone’s main paymaster, which is keen to avoid sending mixed messages to Greece.

German Deputy Finance Minister Steffen Kampeter said in a radio interview he did not expect substantial decisions on Greece at Monday’s Eurogroup meeting because ministers were waiting for more financial details on the reform plans.

He criticised Varoufakis’ talk of a referendum or returning to elections, saying it would only delay what needed to be done.

An opinion poll on Monday showed a large majority of Greeks want Athens to reach a compromise deal with lenders to avoid having to leave the euro.

Some 69.6 percent of Greeks say the new leftist-led government should look for an “honourable compromise” to resolve the crisis, according to a Marc survey for the newspaper Efimerida Ton Syntakton. Only 27.4 percent of those questioned wanted Greece to refuse any compromise, even if that meant having to leave the euro zone.

Tsipras won power in January promising to renegotiate the bailout package and end austerity, but was forced to accept a four-month conditional extension to avert bankruptcy.

(JAN STRUPCZEWSKI AND INGRID MELANDER with Additional reporting by Robin Emmott, Tom Koerkemeier, Renee Maltezou and Robert-Jan Bartunek in Brussels, Toby Sterling in Amsterdam, Stephen Brown and Noah Barkin in Berlin, Steven Scherer in Rome and Angeliki Koutantou in Athens; Writing by Paul Taylor Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)

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.

Rifkind Seppuku!

With Malcolm Rifkind (quite unnecessarily) having made the grand gesture of Political Sepukku, the Conservatives will be looking to Labour’s Jack Straw MP for a similarly honourable and pointless act. Jack is already standing down as MP in a month’s time but surely, there must still be something by which he could demonstrate that there is honour in politics. Turning down a peerage would earn a few Brownie points. Mind you, he does appear to be under the misapprehension that members of the House Lords can carry on with impunity and acquire any number of nice little earners…..so THAT’S probably out of the question. Mind you, SHOULD a sudden explosion of avarice and self-ennoblement disqualify him from his hard-earned Baronetcy?

The Paris Love-in.

The Summer of Love, Woodstock and now Je Suis Charlie…….. Love-ins are doubtless very motivational, inspirational and emotionally regenerative but unfortunately, they carry with them a large dose of exponential decay.

Other demonstrations such as Solidarność worked because they were not-only inclusive but they also hinted at revolution and violence……..undercurrents which are (by definition) always missing from love-ins.

Make no mistake, the events in Paris yesterday were wonderful and uplifting but regrettably, not transformational. They were no more than a herd coming together after a few of its members had been attacked and killed by predators. We were all looking for emotional warmth, safety, reassurance, a feeling of belonging and motivation of the sort which only a herd can provide.

It was all terribly emotional but in time, emotions grow dim.

Words of love and respect were spoken by members of all denominations and class. Politicians delivered their obligatory words of defiance. Social and Political commentators provided analysis and words of caution as well as optimism. Mothers brought their children for that “I was there” moment….but feelings will pass and memories fade.

We are currently watching the emergence of  a rogue herd which is not yet ready for the pragmatism of rubbing along peacefully with all the other herds. The Islamic State will be “l’étranger” for some time to come. Showing it love and respect is impossible for the rest of us because for the moment, in spite of our numbers, it is they who are the predators and we are the hunted.

However, looking at the magnificent sight of two million individuals sweeping slowly through the streets of Paris reminds us that  it is not only time which is on our side but that it will always be a numbers game.

Yesterday, the human herd grew….both in numbers and stature.

A concept which Western negotiators would do well to get to grips with is “MASKIROVKA”…something Russia is very good at! http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/maskirovka ……….. Humanitarian Aid ? OK…if you say so! That scamp Putin is still running circles around everyone. Sanctions? I still remember years ago,  the USA quietly asking Russia to please stop printing dollars. For the moment, the contest between Russia and the West appears very uneven. A good starting point would be for the West to LIFT all sanctions and force Putin to make his move 🙂

Prime Minister David Cameron used to work in Public Relations? Not much evidence of that this week…#Coulson #Juncker  However, he is very lucky that it is only Miliband who faces him across the Dispatch Box.

Cameron in the “you know what”…..Again!

The judge in the British phone-hacking trial criticised Prime Minister David Cameron  for not waiting until all verdicts were in before commenting on Andy Coulson, his former media chief who is facing jail.

Less than two hours after yesterday’s verdict, Cameron issued what he called a “full and frank” apology, saying he had taken Coulson’s assurances of innocence at the time at face value, something he now realised was a mistake.

The jury was however still deliberating on two further charges on Coulson.

“I asked for an explanation from the Prime Minister as to why he had issued his statement while the jury were still considering verdicts” the judge, John Saunders, said in court.

“My sole concern is to ensure that justice is done. Politicians have other imperatives and I understand that. Whether the political imperative was such that statements could not await all the verdicts, I leave to others to judge.”

In addition, the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, referred to Coulson as “a Criminal” !

The jury was discharged today after failing to reach agreement on whether Coulson was guilty of authorising illegal payments and it would now seem that Coulson will NOT be tried on the two remaining charges against him because of the premature outbursts by clueless politicians.

In spite of Cameron’s very dramatic waving-about of the Leveson report during PMQs, like some executive Teddy Bear or talisman designed to protect him from any suggestion of wrongdoing in hiring Coulson….he still doesn’t get it!

The Root Cause of this mess is not “I am innocent of negligence because I was given ASSURANCES ” but in the amateurish recruitment procedures on Planet Politics.

“I hear that he’s a good bloke”……….” I knew his father”………… We were at the same school”…….”I shagged his sister”….etc…. STILL take precedence over ability.

Coulson was “recommended”…..and of course, the Conservatives needed to please their benefactor Rupert Murdoch.

( It was Chancellor Osborne who did the recommending…….. What’s his game?)

Government to shoot-up Pfizer?

Select Committee members can do a bit of grandstanding, Prime Ministers deliver a bit of macho jive talk – but the fact is that politicians can do jack-s*** about the Pfizer/Astra Zeneca  deal . They CANNOT influence board or even management decisions.

Read carefully what DC said this week: “

Our entire approach is based on TRYING to secure the best possible deal in terms of jobs, investment and science. And that is why I believe it was absolutely right to ask the cabinet secretary to ENGAGE with Pfizer, just as we’re engaging with AstraZeneca, and I do find it extraordinary that we’ve been criticised for this.”

Meaningless twaddle.

The Enterprise Act only allows government to intervene in the case of mergers affecting NATIONAL SECURITY or MEDIA OWNERSHIP.

After the Kraft takeover of Cadbury’s and subsequent events, the Takeover Code was amended in 2011 so that nowadays, the bidding company has to publish INFORMATION as to the anticipated effects of the takeover and employees are able to give their VIEWS.  All irrrelevant window-dressing which does NOT affect future management decisions.

Let’s PLEASE stop all the pretence.

The IMF’s austerity conditions for #Ukraine, in return for cash handouts will prepare the country for membership of the EU’sIndentured Servitude Club”.….alongside near-neighbours such as Greece……. The short to mid-term future looks very bleak for members of the ISC……..Nowadays, the population-at-large paying for the crimes of its politicians and bankers appears to be the generally accepted norm!

Nationalism – the Root Cause of Everything!

“Nationalism carries with it contradictionswas the view of Ernest Gellner, the British-Czech philosopher and social anthropologist. It is these contradictions which fuel the pockets of political and social instability which the world constantly experiences.

In the good old days of huge empires, from  Rome to the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian, there existed a sort of (imposed) stability but when these empires collapsed, the concept of Nationalism took hold.

Nationalism, in its most primitive form, is based on common language, nationality and territory. It is politics in its most primitive form and something which disaffected minorities always turn to in times of real or imagined political strife.

Nowadays, nationalism is still what society attempts to overlay on its territory, imagining that it continues to be the glue which binds those of a common language….and indeed that is just still the case but we are approaching a time when possibly, a new concept of nationalism needs to be assembled.

The Americans have certainly been the most successful so far at instilling the idea of nationalism to its people (“First and foremost, I’m an AMERICAN!”) but then again, they started late and have had the opportunities offered by a blank sheet of paper. They do not have the deeply-rooted ethnic issues which the rest of the world has to deal with. Any American ethnic issues have been of their own making and mostly badly dealt with.

Yes, it is ethnicity and tribalism which is firing discontent….from Israel to Ukraine……from Spain to Scotland..as well as anywhere in Africa!

A state cannot be divided like a cake in order to accommodate every ethnic group sitting on its own little slice.

Integration does not work because ethnic groups aren’t particularly bothered by it. They want to be left alone with their ethnicity. The only group bothered is the ruling class – the politicians……and THAT is the great tragedy of the modern nation state. Politicians bang-on about “Integration”, possibly not understanding that “the ethnics” don’t want it and never did.

There is no solution to the issue of ethnicity – there can only be a strategy. Politicians need to stop treating ethnicity as a problem which needs solutions.

The strategies for dealing with ethnicity can be anything from recognising differences and encouraging them (good) to actively ensuring equal opportunities for all (very good). Yet another strategy may be doing what Russia has recently done in a part of Ukraine: Invade and Take (bad).

Separatist movements such as the Scottish Nationalists should be actively discouraged – as early as possible, otherwise and in spite of referendums, a disaffected minority will become even more disaffected. They are the dissidents and terrorists of the future.

Political and social strategies are comparatively easy to implement but should certainly NOT include  placatory measures such as allowing separatist groups their own “parliament”. That, as is currently being demonstrated in the United Kingdom (and Crimea) is a recipe for disaster.

Terrorism is another manifestation of the Nationalist-Separatist mindset. Unfortunately, there is only one way to deal with terrorism – through the medium of violence! However, a strategy (and policy) may be NOT to become involved in others’ ethnic or governmental issues and by doing so, kicking over a terrorist hornet’s nest. (Blair/Bush/Iraq)

The real solution is NOT in integration but in coexistence. THAT means, recognising the minority groups, nurturing them and providing fair opportunities to all as well as ensuring that social, legal, cultural and economic aspects of their lives are all accounted for and dealt with fairly.

FAIRNESS is the key word.

However, historical reality has shown that the achievement of such a balance is very difficult. But until the question of ethnicity is dealt with properly, nationalism will remain a zero-sum game.

Let’s have a quick look at Ukraine because it is the most recent example of the dark side of  nationalism bubbling to the political surface and creating rifts at both local and global level.

Russia has made a huge mistake through the vanity of one man – Vladimir Putin. There is little doubt that he is sincere but misguided in his actions of sending Russian troops to humiliate their Crimean/Ukranian counterparts. Putin and Russia have failed because they are now on a collision course with the West and we are most likely to be plunged into another Cold War.

There will be those in the West as well as in Ukraine who will be thinking about re-conquering Crimea. It is only their over-reliance on Russian energy which is stopping them.

In reality, what Ukraine ought to be doing now is working hard to become a successful European State by strengthening its ties with the EU and showing ethnic Crimeans that they may NOT QUITE have made the right decision by voting to get back into bed with Uncle Vlad.

Ukraine should join the EU and NATO and concentrate on nothing else but strengthening its economy, security and politics.

Nationalism borne of ethnicity, if properly managed can not only be the cause of conflict but a great catalyst for peace.

Cinderella Law? Bend Over!

It has been confirmed that the government is considering whether to introduce a new offence of Emotional Cruelty to Children. It is aimed at parents “who deny their children affection”  and is the result of a campaign for a “Cinderella Law” from ACTION FOR CHILDREN.

The British Empire became what it was through the actions of the emotionally damaged, as have successive British governments. It is the emotionally damaged who make the world go round!

We live in a country where it is not unusual for a child to be packed off to Boarding School at the age of SIX. Surely, THAT is the ultimate example of parent-child emotional deprivation…with the added frisson of the possibility of sexual and physical abuse!

There aren’t enough Social Workers to deal with THAT !

The average foreigner’s caricature of an English gent is that of an emotionally-crippled, uncaring and unfeeling toff….. and bearing in mind that worldwide, we’re mainly represented by members of the Government, who can blame them?

A Cinderella Law, properly implemented is in danger of not-only putting hundreds of well-to-do parents in the Dock but ripping apart the fabric of British Society.

The Little Englander v The Europhile

Whilst cocky Nigel Farage is looking increasingly like a pink Kermit the Frog, EU-enthusiast Nick Clegg retains the boyish charm and earnestness which won him so many plaudits after the 2010 “I agree with Nick” pre-election debates with Cameron and Brown.

Nowadays, Farage’s studied arrogance and increasing belief in his own publicity is beginning to water-down both his image and the argument. I say THE argument because he is also coming across as a one-trick pony and thus in danger of being perceived as the head of a right-wing pressure group rather than the Leader of a bona fide Political Party. I am not saying that he’s not a good bloke  but had he debated Britain’s Defence system or the changes in Education, he would have gained more credibility. Instead, we had yet more déjà vu!

He is probably regretting the fact than post-January 1st 2014 we are NOT being overrun by screaming hairy hordes of Romanians and Bulgarians heading over the hill from Newhaven to the nearest Benefits Office. David Cameron has been very quick to respond to Nigel’s xenophobic hysterics and has an ongoing charm-offensive in place, aimed at the “at-risk” Nutty Right Wing of the Conservative Party. DC and Nigel both know that come the General Election, the many who have dallied with UKIP will retake their rightful place and step back into the Conservative thin blue line.

Nigel’s task of criticising the EU gravy train whilst simultaneously immersing himself in the gravy makes some of his arguments appear both hypocritical and increasingly valueless. He was obviously VERY uncomfortable when being asked about paying his wife a salary and lapsed into his usual defence of turning an attractive shade of fuschia accompanied by bluster and large numbers.

Nick Clegg, on the other hand, was a tad patronising and appeared to lack conviction – although he is doubtless a committed Son of Brussels. He too made the usual points and counterpoints and one could argue that he cheapened himself by even appearing on the same platform as the UKIP Commandant.

The upcoming MEP elections will demonstrate quite clearly that as far as Europe is concerned, the British public fits neatly into the “don’t care” camp….

As to who “won” the debate…If you measured it on well-known points and statistics repeated yet again…it was a draw.

#MH370 : What if…..

The red mark on the map is the location of the American Military Base on Diego Garcia, which is is a coral atoll and part of the British Indian Ocean Territory.

The disappearance of the flight has been the subject of many conspiracy theories……ranging from alien abduction to an on-board bomb.

A couple of days ago, INMARSAT, a British company completed some very subtle calculations and announced the most likely resting place of flight MH370….somewhere near the bottom of the above map, to the west of Australia.

We have all taken Inmarsat’s calculations at face value but the discovery that a recent addition to this company’s Board was General C. Robert Kehler, United States Air Force (Retired), puts a slight “spin” on the facts.

Until November, General Kehler was  Commander, US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM).

So, we have a heavily-protected US base which has nuclear rockets pointed a several targets on the Asian mainland.

We have a (possibly) deranged pilot who is rumoured to have Diego Garcia programmed into his home-built aircraft simulator.

What if the pilot had decided to crash Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370 into the Diego Garcia Base? Remember that he didn’t disappear from radar by accident. He disappeared at the point  where he knew that the plane would be “invisible” to radar.

There was absolutely NO reason to fly South and crash into the ocean.

Last question: WHAT would the USA Military do if they became conscious of what looked like a rogue plane with communications switched off heading towards them at a height of a few thousand feet?

They would blow it out of the sky.

The only issue remaining would be to lay a false trail in order to put the “crash site” as far away as possible from where it was “killed”.

One cannot blame the passengers’ families for being sceptical.

Gideon’s Pensioner, Bingo & Beer Budget 2014

Above is the official “Budget Diagram” just issued by H.M.  Treasury. Presumably we have to provide the crayons.

The most remarkable thing about this Budget was how small the numbers were – and I remember when ONE BILLION was a lot of money!

The ubiquitous “Scheme” was in there. This one was £3 billion to boost exports. As UK exports only represent a tiny percentage of GDP and because it is only “a scheme”…no harm done there!

UK potholes cost motorists about £730 million per year and cover  a surface area of about 300 square miles. Therefore £200 million “made available for Local Authorities to bid for” seems a bit parsimonious…but nowhere near as mean as only £140 million for repairs and maintenance to flood defences. We not only need to patch up the damage but we need NEW flood defences. Presumably, the government’s resolve dissipated soon after the last COBRA meeting and when the last retina was reattached…..

The first “headline grabber” was scrapping VAT on air ambulance services and inshore rescue boats as well as scrapping Inheritance Tax for members of emergency services. As the current IHT threshold is £325,000 , THAT won’t bother too many firemen and ambulance drivers’ descendants and neither will the reform of air passenger duty!

We already knew about Ebbsfleet Garden City  and PLANS for 200,000 new homes. Handy for the Ebbsfleet International Railway Station so that presumably, once HS2 has been completed,those pesky immigrants can be shunted-off to the North without even having to stop-off for a Starbucks.

Company-bought homes, valued in excess of £500,000 will now enjoy Stamp Duty of 15%. No doubt that can be recouped at the “sell” end of the process, which makes this a purely cosmetic gesture by Chancellor Gideon and a transparent attempt to create some egalitarian credentials ready for May 2015.

The Libdem-inspired tax threshold increase to £10,500 is a nice touch  as is the freezing of Petrol Duty.

We have become used to the “let’s patronise the poor” section in which we have the cut in Bingo Tax, the freezing of whisky and cider duty and yet another PENNY cut in the price of a pint of beer!! ..which was negated (and worse) by the increase in cigarette prices. However, as all toffs know, the working classes smoke roll-ups so they will be unaffected!

By far the most important set of measures has all the electoral subtlety of a house brick through a crystal chandelier. It was for THE PENSIONERS (Gawd love ’em!).

When they retire, they will be able to get their liver-spotted hands on all of their Pension Pot and will NOT have to purchase an annuity. That sounds fantastic!! However, if a pensioner takes his pot of pension and blows it all on a Porsche 911….who is going to pick up the tab when there is no pension at the end of the money? Annuities are there for a reason.

In addition, when a pensioner cashes-in his or her pension, where can they keep the money? Why….a BANK, of course! Ideal! So it looks as if the banking system is due yet another windfall…but this one will be from the over 65s!

THAT is why there will be a PENSIONER BOND! The banks will be able to lock-in the money and pay 2.8% for a year’s use of the cash and only 4% for three years’. Win-Win!

The Premium Bond ceiling will be raised from £30,000 to £40,000! So, if you like your investment to REALLY be in the shape of  interest-free eroding capital, then cash in your pension and give it to National Savings which, incidentally, is State-owned. Another Win-Win!

We won’t bother with the announced increase in tax threshold of a few hundred pounds for “middle income” earners because it is worth PENNIES.

The superficial generosity to the pensioners WITHOUT actually giving them anything is there for a reason!

Guess which section of the population has the highest percentage of voters?

Cynical?

He started it!

FALLING INFLATION with Rising Prices?

When you are told that inflation is falling, you would naturally expect  prices to be falling . That ain’t necessarily so!

Many years ago, when I worked for a very large bank, I sent a team of people into town in order to find out whether the average British adult understood percentages. The answer was a resounding “No!”

MOST of the people we interviewed had NO IDEA about percentages!

Banks, supermarkets and even the government know very well that most people are either thick or at best borderline thick as far as simple arithmetic is concerned and they take full advantage.

Supermarkets “mix and match” their prices, so that you need to have the brain of a Stephen Hawking to decide whether it would be cheaper to buy three bags of crisps for the price of two or perhaps two at a different price with  one free  or maybe six bags with 10% extra. By the time you’ve made several purchases like this, you can leave a supermarket mentally exhausted.

Banks will be paying you interest at anything from 0 .01% p.a to  3.00% with maybe an introductory offer of three months with an additional 1.5%. Interest on credits is calculated from the day AFETR your deposit but debit interest on withdrawals is applied on the day of the debit. When a bank returns a wrongly applied charge, will it also re-credit the debit interest? If it does – then at what rate? You don’t know? You’re not alone.

The Government will throw statistics at you through the medium of television, delivered by double-first Oxbridge Economics  graduates who have absolutely NO idea how to explain economics concepts – except to other economists. Percentage increases in GDP, percentages out of work, percentage decreases in the annual inflation rate. Percentage, percentages and even more percentages!

Which is better? a 10% discount and then VAT added or would you prefer the VAT to be added first and THEN take the 10% discount? If your energy bill tells you that the discount on your Gas is 5% and the discount on the Electricity is 5%,  how many percent savings will you me making in total?  What is 12% of £60?

Today, we have been told that annual inflation is on the decrease BUT we all know that prices are on the increase. How is this possible?

I am going to try and explain but in very simple terms.

Assume you bought a radio in January 2013 and you paid £95.70.  If you then went to the same shop in January 2014  (a year later) and the price of the same radio had increased to £100, the price would have increased or INFLATED by £4.30. which is an increase of 4.5%.  

Let’s now go back to February 2013 when the price of the same radio was £100  and assume one year later, in February 2014, the price  increased yet again, this time to £104. That means that the radio would have increased in price or INFLATED by £4, which is  4.o%.

So, coming back to this year, between January and February 2014 (in one month), the radio’s price has INCREASED by £4 but at the same time, inflation has DECREASED from 4.5% to 4.0%!

Therefore, we have a rising price but simultaneously, we see falling inflation.

The media are already mumbling something about “falling food prices etc” having caused the present fall in inflation.

It is nothing of the sort : Yes, falling prices do contribute but the way that the calculations are made can be the major contributor to the figure because it is calculated  in discontinuous annual slices. Today’s inflation figure depends on what the inflation figure was a year ago.

Having said all that, on this occasion, the CPI has actually decreased in one month

Mind you, as usual,  whatever the basis of the inflation calculation, it will still not stop the politicians from claiming all the credit.

(Unless, of course, the inflation rate goes up too drastically, which is when those pesky “external factors out of our control” come into play!

The FLOODS: An inept response?

As a manager and director I have always attempted to create a “No Surprises” regime. In the last few years, I have been showing businesses how to achieve that for themselves through a combination of Business Control and honest Management Audit.

“No Surprises Management” is not a magic formula for corporate bliss but it does demonstrate how many of the factors which CAN affect an organisation can be controlled or mitigated.

Most of us have heard of Crisis Management, which, to put it simply, is responding to a crisis after it has occurred. For many years, the skill or otherwise of Management has been measured on its ability to deal with a crisis.

Our Coalition government is currently coming under a lot of criticism because it is not able to demonstrate that it has any idea of how to deal with the current flooding crisis. That is because it appears to be formulating policy on the hoof. The sheer volume of meetings (COBRA #23) also points to a lack of policy and organisation.

However, we have to understand that a collection of political academics, ex-local councillors, union men, administrators and sons of self-made parents have never been told how to deal with a crisis – so we should not really expect too much. It is becoming increasingly apparent that their response is that of a bunch of amateurs.

Modern Management thinking is NOT just about managing a crisis but about Crisis Leadership – which is VERY different. Crisis Management is reactive, whereas Crisis Leadership is proactive, in the sense that plans are in place BEFORE the crisis occurs.

Our government should know and have identified the (only) SEVEN types of crisis which will affect it and it should have procedures in place which are ready to deal with each. In fact, ideally, it should have an “umbrella” plan which can deal with ALL of the following:

1. An Economic Crisis. The 2008 banking crisis has been the best example so far, but one should include issues such as Labour unrest, unemployment, a sudden decrease in the “tax-take” or even a Stockmarket crash. If you cast your mind back to 2008, you may realise that there was no clear Crisis Leadership, merely a panicky stab at Crisis Management (by the banks as well as by the government) and because there was no contingency planning, it cost BILLIONS more than it need have – and I bet that there STILL isn’t a plan in place.

2. An Informational Crisis. A loss of confidential information is a good example. Remember the panic over the Telegraph’s disclosure of MP expenses claims? The NHS has wasted MILLIONS on an abortive migration to a new computer system. Ministry of Defence details have been leaked to the media. ALL of these issues have been dealt with as a Crisis rather than by Crisis Leadership.

3. A Physical Loss. Loss of key equipment. Government and MI5 laptops getting into the wrong hands. Selling an aircraft carrier to Turkey and then having to go cap in hand in order to buy-back components for spares. It was clear in each of those cases that there is no Risk Assessment with procedures in place to deal with loss.

4. Human Resources. The loss of a Minister because of expenses fiddling or Police lies. Those are always a real risk which once again were dealt with as a crisis. Simple Crisis Leadership in the shape of some very simple succession planning would have made it look as if someone WAS in charge!

5. Reputational. Rumours, Politicians being caught with their pants around their ankles, damage to a government’s reputation or even slander are all very real risks. They are inevitably dealt with as a crisis and on an individual basis.

6. Psychopathic acts. Assange is one case which springs to mind. Kidnapping and terrorism or even one MP smacking another one in the House of Commons Bar. All require a procedure! However, I bet that the ONLY psychopathic act which the government and its departments are half-ready for, is a terrorist attack!

7. Natural Disasters. In the UK, we are limited to flooding, the odd explosion or fire. Of these, flooding is the topical one and because of a lack of foresight and political will, a major crisis is unfolding.

Pre-planning for crisis (Crisis Leadership) starts with thinking about the unthinkable. It is also about acknowledging that every crisis can go on to create another apparently unrelated crisis. In addition, every crisis is capable of being the Cause and the Effect of any other crisis.

For instance, the floods could be either the  cause or the effect of an economic crisis.

Imagine that in the first instance, there is a flooding crisis. Someone can then cause an Informational crisis by leaking minutes of a meeting during which it was decided to severely limit the expenditure on flood defences. There may have been a Physical loss of dredging equipment as a result of bad policies with another physical loss being an unusable railway line such as the one in Dawlish. A Human Resources crisis has been demonstrated by Ministerial bickering, the loss or Owen Patterson and the installation of a totally unprepared Eric Pickles as the government spokesman who is now flip-flopping from studio to studio, defending the undefensible.

A Reputational crisis has clobbered not only the Environment Agency and Lord Smith but is likely to engulf the entire Coalition Government because the perception is that they are ALL incompetent.

The above are only a sketch which demonstrates how a single crisis , if not managed properly, creates several others in its wake.

So what should happen in the future?

A cross-functional crisis team should be assembled, with an expert from each of the seven types of crisis. Each member of that team should be polled, in order to give the other members of the team a detailed understanding of all the crises which they believe could occur on their ‘patch’…………..A COBRA meeting, consisting of the usual suspects listening to a DC soliloquy plus a couple of soldiers in Camo gear (for the cameras) is NOT the way forward!

The next step is to produce a high-level ‘map’ of ALL crises and how they may interact and produce hitherto unexpected effects or as we are currently seeing…a chain reaction.

Until a non-political team such as this is put together, the United Kingdom is doomed to experience crisis after crisis with politicians who create the crisis charging themselves with making the effort to deal with the crisis and unwittingly delivering further crises ……………ad infinitum.

Remember John Gummer in 1990 when he tried to feed his daughter a beefburger to try to convince the public re the safety of British beef? How about David Cameron doing something similar by being present (with the cameras) at the first FRACKING test drilling in Witney? We’d ALL love to be convinced!!

2014 Predictions – PART DEUX!

The first episode of my 2014 predictions has already been published and can be found HERE.

Below are my final predictions for the year and contain some extrapolations based on the government’s current air-brained and totally unrealistic attitude which is largely based on surveys and statistical “facts” – usually NOT based on a statistically significant time-span.

However, one has to admit that there are other predictions which are based in hope rather than fact!! See if you can spot the ones which are totally ridiculous!

And PLEASE don’t accuse me of being silly! They started it!

1. Chancellor Gideon Osborne will be awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics.

2. President Bashar al-Assad will win the Nobel peace Prize, in tandem with Tony Blair….for services to Syria and Iraq respectively.

3. The British Economy will recover and outgrow China.

4. British banks will lend money to SMEs WITHOUT blackmailing (for themselves) large chunks of equity participation.

5. There will be NO tax give-aways in the lead-up to the next General Election.

6. The French economy will recover and outstrip that of Germany.

7. Angela Merkel will become engaged to Sylvio Berlusconi.

8. Compulsory Bulgarian and Romanian will be taught in English schools.

9. Education Secretary, Michael Gove will stop interfering in the United Kingdom’s education system.

10. David Cameron will fire a Cabinet Minister for being a useless prat.

11. Banks will have completed the “Rebuilding of Balance Sheets”.

12. A thick person from the lower orders will win the X-factor.

13. Pope Benedict will ask for his old job back.

14. Economics journalists will start to write articles in easily-understood English so that EVERYONE understands what they are talking about – even those without an Oxbridge PPE degree!

15. More 65-plus Media and Arts perverts will be brought to book.

16. Manchester United will win the Premier League.

17. Heather Mills wins 2014 Sports personality of the Year.

18. The FTSE 100 will cross 7500. Or 4500! (It all depends on money-printing policy)

19. Yvette Copper will become Labour Leader and Theresa May will lead the Conservative Party into the next General Election.

20. David Attenborough will locate and identify The Big Society (and its bank).

21. Coalition Politicians will stop saying “The Mess THEY left behind” and “Difficult Decisions”.

22. David Cameron will keep talking about renegotiating the UK’s membership of the EU.

23. Richard Dawkins will prove conclusively, the existence of Godociety – with the former being the most likely!.

24. The Coalition Government will stop using the word “percentage” or “percent” in every other sentence.

25. Chancellor Gideon will get rid of his Caligula haircut.

26. Ed Miliband will say something intelligent and produce some economic policies

27. Dennis Rodman will be appointed Chief of Staff of  the North Korean Army.

28. A well-known former PR man and art collector will have an arse transplant – but it will reject him.

29. President Obama will DO something and Boris Johnson will stop talking bollocks.

30. The HS2 toy train project will become a very long runway.

31. There will be no further bank mis-selling scandals – and I certainly won’t tell that interest on your bank CREDITS is calculated from the day AFTER the deposit, whereas the interest on Withdrawals is debited immediately.

32. UK property prices will continue to increase For Ever! Capital Gain without end!

33. There will be no further Westminster expenses scandals.

34. UKIP leader, Nigel Farage will be quiet, dignified, restrained and statesmanlike after the UKIP gains in European Elections.

35. Iain Duncan-Smith will say “Sorry!”to all the innocent people he has wronged. Hopefully, just before he collects his P45.

(I am NOT a Global Warming mullah but the image above shows all the world’s water and air to scale.)

Chancellor Gideon – Fact or Fiction?

One of the greatest pleasures in life used to be for someone to read a great work of fiction to you out loud. You would sink back, close your eyes and let it wash over you ……and all that you had to do is to compose the pictures! Unfortunately, reading out-loud is a dying art and now a pleasure only enjoyed by young children and the infirm.

So imagine the frisson of  anticipation ahead of listening to Chancellor Gideon reading The Autumn Statement – (I have always been a great fan of realistic fiction!)  I closed my eyes, kicked back…but…the pictures just wouldn’t come. All I could visualise was a smug fat boy with a Caligula haircut and eyes with all the charm of two bullet holes,  reading with all the conviction of a posh grocer reading a Fortnum’s shopping list.

GDP..blah blah….Growth…blah blah….Deficit…blah….and so on.

Then, after the “de rigeur” and customary:  “Hard-working people” , “Mess they left behind” and “Tough decisions” plus the recently conceived “It will be less that it WOULD have been”….all from the Coalition Book of Platitudes, came something about the Normal Retirement Age (NRA) moving ever closer to life expectancy!

I felt myself slowly emerging from the Treasury-induced coma.

Whether the NRA is 69, 70 or 102, it will never affect those on a private pension or those with enough money to be able to make choices.

The ability to make choices is what individual freedom is all about. One of the overriding features of this government is that too many people perceive that their choices have been compromised. Control has been wrested away from those who are relying on the State to feed and provide their shelter in old age.

Meanwhile, the “well-off” will continue to be able to stop working whenever they want to.

It is only those clapped out individuals who see retirement age as The Finishing Line who will be affected. They are the ones who used to retire at 65 and die at 67.

Soon, they will retire at 70… not quite dead but maybe wishing they were, knowing that some of their better-off acquaintances will have already been retired for 20 years.

(BTW, unemployment at the time of the 2010 General Election was 2.47 million. It is STILL 2.47 million. ……NO statistical sleight-of-hand will ever change that fact!)

THIS is from China’s state news agency Xinhua: “As US politicians of both political parties (fail to find a) viable deal to bring normality to the body politic they brag about, it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanised world. Such alarming days when the destinies of others are in the hands of a hypocritical nation have to be terminated. A new world order should be put in place, according to which all nations, big or small, poor or rich, can have their key interests respected and protected on an equal footing. Instead of honouring its duties as a responsible leading power, a self-serving Washington has abused its superpower status and introduced even more chaos into the world by shifting financial risks overseas.” ………….Xinhua added: “Regional tensions amid territorial disputes, fighting unwarranted wars under the cover of outright lies…..”

Foreign Secretary William Hague this morning: “I condemn the abduction of the Libyan Prime Minister….”……. It’s NO WONDER the bad guys have released Prime Minister Ali Zeidan so soon! You don’t mess with the Haguemeister! When he condemns you – you stay condemned!! Al-Qaeda terrorists are quaking in their sandals!

Heads I win, Tails I….er…win?

The American Dollar is on its way up because everyone has woken up and is rushing towards it as fast as they can. Why this sudden (but expected) reaction? Because no matter what happens in the USA as a result of the battle between the Republicans and Obama, the dollar is the one world currency which will always trade and will always bounce back.

Never mind that hundreds of thousands of poorly-paid American employees aren’t being paid, never mind that America is quite likely to default on its debts as a result of Congress possibly blocking the raising of the $17 trillion debt ceiling. Those things just DO NOT matter. Why? Because of the numbers.

To every other country on Earth a debt ceiling of $17 trillion seems beyond huge! It appears to be beyond management…but you have to remember that the USA’s  annual economy is worth approximately the same amount! In addition,  the worldwide trade in the American dollar is about $4 trillion PER DAY  and even though much of the trade is by algo-trading, such vast volumes mean that there is little chance of business suddenly drying up!

The dollar trading volume  every FOUR DAYS is roughly equivalent to America’s entire debt! So, even if the USA defaults on its debt, the worldwide dollar trade will continue.

A very high percentage of these trades will be in derivatives and high-speed meta trading. Whatever the views are on this modern equivalent of the three-card trick (blink and you’ll miss it), as the owner of the world’s reserve currency, America can get away with economic choices and techniques open only to it.

Whatever happens in the States, the global economy, especially within the Eurozone, will remain fragile.

The American economy has given a very good impression of having been in recovery for several quarters but the maximum collateral damage that the current Washington crisis can cause, will be to make the ersatz recovery look even more unconvincing. That’s unlikely to give the Fed, Obama or even the Republicans too much of a headache.

The whole affair will not be dealt with by means of finesse or any subtle change in policy. It will be the equivalent of a fiscal sledgehammer! Uncle Sam’s customary solution to any issue!

We live in a  “meta-money” driven financial system which sits above (and below) the “real” economy. It manages to both influence and to be driven-by the real economy which gave birth to it (that’s the old-school economy which is based on profits derived from either manufacturing or providing a service).

Stockmarkets, whose original purpose was to raise capital to fund business are now no more than piles of gambling chips to be plundered (mainly) through the medium of high-frequency trading – a mutation of “simple” capitalism.

The goings-on in America will generate billions – no matter what the outcome, because bets are currently being placed on all scenarios and outcomes. In the main, it will be Republicans or, strictly-speaking Republican-supporting business placing the bets.

That’s because Washington’s political agenda is being driven by right-wing business because it is they who are funding the Republican right-wing and ultimately, their agenda is very straightforward. They want Obama out. The Republican left-wing has to go along for the ride.

The outcome will be similar to that which has developed in the United Kingdom over the last few years – big business (specifically Banking) and not the electorate will drive the political agenda.

They have the chips AND the cash.

(The IMF’s Christine Lagarde has just made the customary panic announcement that the Americans should sort themselves out. “Vite! Allez!!” ….Calm down, love…let them finish the game.)

United Kingdom economic growth is weak and will remain weak. That means that unemployment will stay high.(It is the same today as it was before the 2010 General Election). No amount of statistical engineering, designed to tart up the government’s performance will alter that basic fact. The latest announcement by the Prime Minister of NOT maintaining the right of the 16-25 group to claim benefits means that young graduates will now be starting their adult lives in debt with little or no help from the State which put them in debt. Reminder to the Coalition government: AMBITION is driven by SELF-ESTEEM. What the government is doing is showing that all the talk of encouraging entrepreneurship in young people is nonsense because they are destroying the very mind-set  which they need to nurture.

Currrently, American politicians do NOT appear to be fulfilling their electoral mandate and  instead, are concentrating on a Washington power struggle. Perhaps they too should have their salaries suspended. It might help them to concentrate.

Post-war German leaders have long argued German interests coincided with the greater European interests. Angela Merkel’s singular achievement, vindicated by her latest election victory, is to have kept Germany in the heart of Europe even as terrifying sovereign debt crises exposed the fissures and conflicting interests between states within the euro zone.

There is no doubt that the German economy benefited enormously from the euro-driven economic union. But when the crisis broke out, German taxpayers, understandably, did not want to bail out foreign governments and financial institutions caught in the upheaval. Merkel’s strategy was to protect the interests of her taxpayers while convincing them that the euro must be kept alive; otherwise the whole European project, the basis of the continent’s peace and prosperity, could collapse. To this end, she imposed much-criticised austerity on the hard-hit peripheral states in southern Europe while pledging support to them by committing the equivalent of Germany’s annual federal budget to various rescue funds.

Merkel preferred the step-by-step approach rather than any grand reform schemes. Euro-zone bonds to lower sovereign borrowing costs? No way. An even tighter banking union than currently planned? Forget it. She perceived that in all these big and ambitious schemes, Germany would be the one that ended up paying the most to support them, thereby putting German taxpayers on the hook.

Because of the delicate balancing act she had to pursue, she has been criticised, with reason, for dragging out the crisis rather than resolving it once and for all with a bold plan. But it’s highly doubtful that without her cautious approach, German citizens would have gone along in helping the crisis-hit states. And without German backing, no rescue plan could work. Now, finally, the euro-zone economies are showing signs of life. Most likely, they still have a long way to muddle through.

Merkel may not have saved Europe. But she deserves credit for preventing a euro-zone break-up. (SCMP)

IPCC Report on GLOBAL WARMING: We should always question and be suspicious of ANY belief system which is over-reliant on consensus rather than evidence. Consensus-building is a socio-political and not a scientific process. The alarmist global-warning “faith” is a fine example of the phenomenon. Having said that, the so-called “scientific evidence” can also be flawed. You may not realise it but even the  “peer review” process of scientific papers is subject to consensus. It too is subjective and on many occasions…selective. In the same way that consensus is built on selectivity, there are still occasions when scientific results which do not follow the “mainstream” can be ignored and buried.   (DISCLAIMER: Other consensus-driven belief systems and faiths are available!)

HOUSING BENEFIT: So far ONE-THIRD of households affected by the Coalition Government’s reduced Housing Benefit are said to be in arrears with their rent. Eventually, Local Authorities will HAVE to step in – in spite of the fact that many have a non-eviction policy. Then, the Local Authority will have to ask the Government for more cash to balance its books and to provide alternative housing. The circle will have been squared. This government is ONLY looking at its own balance sheet when making what are life-changing decisions on behalf of the people affected. Luckily for them, the Socio-Economic groups which are suffering are unlikely to be Conservative voters so in effect, they don’t matter because they won’t affect the Tory vote. Meanwhile, the Tories’ self-styled social conscience, the Libdem Party, can do nothing but stand on the sidelines and wring its hands whilst dispensing warm words. Fiscal decisions are all well and good but what about the social aspects of say a small family which has had the same neighbours for years, gone t0 the same pub, the same playgroup and a which has a support structure within an area it knows, being booted out to be rehoused elsewhere?  Just so that an arrogant Works and Pensions Secretary can score a few Brownie Points and a desperate Chancellor can squirrel away a few more quid into empty Treasury coffers. The so-called Bedroom Tax will do for David Cameron what the Poll Tax did for Margaret Thatcher. A scrapping of this nonsense-attempt at Social Engineering would be one U-turn which would be very, very welcome.

LIBDEM conference: Yesterday, our professional (and perpetual) political bridesmaid, the Liberal Democratic Party rejected calls from party members to relax fiscal discipline and spend more. Instead, the Party pledged broad support for the government’s austerity-focussed economic strategy. The Party is assuming that by May 2015, those elusive green shoots will have finally emerged and that they will once again ride into Westminster hanging onto Chancellor Gideon’s (straw) coat tails……………(AUSTERITY? It’s a well-known fact that if you want to make a horse to run faster, you don’t encourage it through a combination of hay and ass-kicking….you pull back on the reins as hard as possible….don’t you?)

The last time we heard a UK  inflation figure, it was 2.8% per year. Today it has been announced that August inflation “fell” to 2.7%. However, the Consumer Price Index has INCREASED from 125.8 (July) to 126.4 (August). That is an increase of 0.6 in ONE MONTH, which when annualised, gives a price inflation figure of 5.7% per year!  This is a situation which we’ve been amused by for quite a long time now: Inflation falling while prices increase. The magic of numbers! Here is the latest ONS bulletin. The numbers are on page 4:       http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_323760.pdf