It’s a funny old world (#2) QE2; £75 billion “boost” for the economy!


The casual hypocrisy of George Osborne:-

09/01/2009 – “QE is the last resort of desperate governments when all other policies have failed” – George Osborne in opposition

06/10/2011 – “QE is an appropriate tool” – George Osborne (reported on politics home)

Yes it is par for the course for politicians to lie and spout bollocks – this is a jolly good example.

Here is some sanity from my favourite BBC economics commentator, Stephanie Flanders,  who blogged  “Some say that QE is all a confidence trick – albeit, an important one. What, exactly, the Bank does is less important than the fact that it is seen to be doing something. The US comedian, Mitch Hedberg, had a line I reprised on the Today programme this morning: “My fake flowers died, because I forgot to pretend to water them.”

Which is slightly funnier but just as accurate as is my definition of Quantitative Easing espoused in meBook.

The sound of gentle weeping … etc.

Eurozone delusions continue


Even now, when it is obvious to everyone but politicians, journalists and most economists, that “bailouts” don’t work – cannot work – never in a million years would work, do we have emergency meetings between, France, Germany and Greece “to sort out the ‘crisis'”, again. These meetings, being held today, won’t work either because of the refusal to face reality.

The reality is that Greece is totally bust, Portugal, Italy and Spain are almost bust and therefore the Euro is doomed because the remaining members of the Euro-zone will never be financially viable unless they grow at their own pace with their own currencies.

The European Union was only ever a political construct based on the need to stop Germany invading us all again! 

The Euro-zone was a political construct to kill off the USSR for good by tempting in the former Soviet Union’s satellite countries.

The real solution?

Move from denial to acceptance by:-

  • Realising that the 30 years old debt mountain madness has crippled the West and its current version of capitalism
  • Realising that the “markets” are self serving and are a pointless construct for you and me
  • Reforming the EU back into the EEC thus saving billions in pointless activity that serves nobody but the Berlusconis and Kinnocks of this world 
  • Letting the Hedge funds and casino banks take their long overdue haircuts
  • Waiting for 25 years while we gradually sort ourselves out.

That is reality – tell me I’m wrong and why!


In defence of David Starkey – he was right – “white is the new black”

David Stakey on Newsnight August 14th 2011

I find David Starkey an interesting man in many ways and admire his perspective on today’s events when he does his “but of course, we have seen all this before …” routine.

I am not with him on his love affair with the monarchy, but in almost all other respects he is largely in agreement  with me. <ahem>. He is a bit of a dandy, sounds far too posh and is too small, all of which makes him an easy target – but the man is right!

He is particularly correct when he made his comments recently on Newsnight about “white is the new black” – a phrase which he started to explain in great detail – at which point he was shouted down by an ignorant oik (author of “Chavs”) and a black Guardian columnist who just could not give up being black and see that his analysis was indeed correct.

David Stakey on Newsnight August 14th 2011
David Stakey on Newsnight August 14th 2011

The studio discussion was about the riots and what caused them – Starkey agreed with “someone” who said they were simply “shopping with violence” – (I do admire that turn of phrase) which was absolutely spot on. But, oh dear me, the other two speakers went off on a PC liberal tabloid level rant about joblessness, social deprivation etc. Those arguments are completely valid of course, if we could usefully employ the nation’s young men (and ba dis I include da noo waaeet bloods ‘oo also want da bling and da threds innit*1) then the country would be a happier place.

 BUT, Starkey’s point was a simple one – the Jamaican black, rap, drug, gangsta culture has been absorbed by white disaffected youth, both male and female. This new, and very powerful, social grouping has replaced the family with the gang culture and has even provided a new language to learn – so they all sound da same wevver dey live in Liverpool, Nottingham, Birmingham or London – innit. 

I believe that what they are saying  is “we really want to belong, but we can’t”  🙁

All David Starkey was doing was putting forward an analysis which might provide the tools for an eventual solution – but thinking is apparently not allowed.

Dave Cameron is doing his normal PR thing – loads of fluff – very well presented of course – in true Blairite tradition – but no substance – very little long term thought and, of course, no money to actually resolve the problem.

If there is a criticism of Starkey to be made – it is that he was not clear enough / clever enough to put his point over in a very highly charged studio discussion with emotions running very high. The chair was not strong enough either and allowed the PC rant to overcome Starkey’s pertinent analysis. 

My solution? I have many, but one little beginning might be this, we have to find real jobs – in the cities initially – for thousands of young people. I suggest food production colleges growing the stuff we currently import from Holland, Spain, Africa and Italy. We use Hydroponics – develop brown field sites using Dutch greenhouse technology etc. The cost is huge of course -and to pay for it I advocate leaving the EU to actually allow us to take control of our own food supply. Leaving the EU would easily pay for that investment and keep the police in place that we are currently going to lose.

discuss …

*1 :- “and by this I include the white young crack cocaine users, employed or not, who are obsessed with consumerism on a false mission to replace simple happiness by consuming ever more shiny new things”


Reality bites – at last …triple AAA? (ask Mr Micawber, he knows)


The AAA rating, by Mr Micawber’s definition (and that of reality and your grandmother) is earned when your income just exceeds your expenditure and that future prospects are stable. Neither of these simple criteria apply to any country in Europe, including Germany, and certainly not to the USA or to Great Britain. So why all the excitement when the USA which has not met these criteria for years (as indeed, we have not) loses the AAA rating?

Politicians have been lying their heads off for years, and money, an artificial contstruct at best, has been warped far away from its original purpose (a means of exchange) – that’s why. The incredible thing, to me at least, is that everyone (journalists, financial services and economists – but not the banks!) has been believing them and the warped money definition –  but it seems that some have at last woken up to the fact that having politicians in charge is just like a company being run by the marketing department. Reality will bite – once the customer has bought the product and found it not to be as advertised.

It has been a long time coming but Mr Micawber’s lesson is slowly beginning to be understood by economists.

Of course it will be a few weeks more before politicians and banks can bring themselves to understand, but reality will bite, sooner or later. It really is so easy to understand.

The Thatcher era started off the real stupidity of modern ‘fast’ stock market madness and the Blair / Brown followed on like unthinking lap dogs. Cameron is still lapping at the bowl of Blair’s stupidity – he (Cameron) will probably be  the last to get it.

But its all OK – really, if the banks are allowed to “take their haircut” – as they must in order to start correcting the massive overvaluation of the banks and the stock markets around the world. 

It will take just one brave politician somewhere to start the process – say with RBS, or Lloyds (banks that we the people now own). Return the banking model to that of the 1960s and a lot of very rich people will lose billions but reality will slowly return to the world.

Discuss …


Aha – someone agrees with me – but no celebration …


Terry Smith, chief executive of Tullett Prebon, one of those “financial sector” companies that scare me to death, because I don’t really understand what they do, Terry Smith runs a blog too, and his latest posting is well worth a read so are his other musings; so good in fact that I have added his blog to my list of wisdom eschewing sources – see ‘Blogroll’ on the right hand column. That he mentions the Avengers is evidence enough that he must be a jolly good egg to boot.

Most of our ills, it seems to me, come from incompetent, hubristic mismanagement of our resources by our politicians and the simple greed of corporates; if that is now obvious to you, then hurrah!

How to replace / improve / punish our “managers” is up to philosophers, journalists, comedians but finally, you and me.

Oh, and by the way, I do realise that nobody is reading this but it does reduce my blood pressure …

Anyhow, onwards and upwards, a summary of Terry’s current musings mixed with a few of mine follow:-

Nothing “real” has been done for Greece despite the latest “bailout being hailed as a success’;- her debt level appears to have gone from 140% to 130% of GDP – wow… Quite how this happens when Britain and the Euro-zone has increased Greece’s debt by offering loans of a further £21bn. Beats me – ah well…

The ‘global’ credit Credit crisis occurred 3 years ago – however British public & private debt has still not been dealt with by our disfunctional politicians – we are talking about inactivity since 2008; they have had 3 years and yet nothing of any significance has been done. Interest rates at 0.5% are simply postponing the day of reckoning for those British private individuals who over-borrowed £1.3 trillion quid and still and rising. An indication that nothing has been learned is the simple fact that 300,000 people have obtained interest free mortgages in the last 2 years – incredible; this means that when interest rates go up again … <left intentionally blank> …

The real culprits – i.e. borrowers; individuals, private companies and the government (Ed: but isn’t that everybody..?; Yes, that’s correct!; Ed: Oh, er, oh dear me …), have NOT paid the price yet. Interest rates are at historic lows yet no real understanding of past stupidity has been realised.

The biggest issue for our government is public sector pensions which are simply untenable; yet this has, at best, been dodged and kicked into the long grass that has not yet even grown. The grass will be have to be mown by our children’s children so it seems.

If I hear another politician say that we doom mongers are ‘talking down’ the economy – I say poppycock!  The economy is going down the toilet all on its own and the government is not helping one bit; It is going to happen anyway.

Norway is a shining example of how we should have been governed since the 1970s (“managed” is perhaps better) because it treated its oil revenues as a welcome one-off surprise and banked most of the dosh for the future benefit of the Norwegian people, whereas we, Thatcher that is,  just frittered it all away whilst at the same time selling our water supply and electricity grid to the highest bidder – criminal behaviour, unbelievable! Norway is perhaps the strongest, most stable, most morally mature country in the world despite being overwhelmingly secular <just had to get that one in … hehe>. It’s far from perfect perfect but we have many things to learn from Scandinavia.

It’s a funny old world (#1) So our Vince was right then ..?


This is the first of a new series of posts pointing out the obvious hypocrisy of politicians that most people don’t have time to spot – I do, so here is a classic example.

The following article appeared in the Guardian on 21st December 2010.

A humbled and diminished Vince Cable was tonight allowed to cling on to his cabinet post as business secretary, but was stripped of all responsibility for media policy after it emerged he had told undercover reporters that he had “declared war” on Rupert Murdoch over the media magnate’s plans to take over all of BSkyB.

Cable’s reckless claims, in a secretly recorded conversation, were considered a flagrant breach of his duty to take a quasi-judicial approach to the proposed takeover, and were declared “totally unacceptable and inappropriate” by Downing Street. Many had expected an angry David Cameron to sack Cable or transfer him to a lesser cabinet role.

But instead the business secretary was hauled in front of his party leader, Nick Clegg, and then Cameron. After a series of emergency meetings, which included George Osborne, the chancellor, Clegg felt he could not afford to lose the second most senior Liberal Democrat from the government.

Nearly 70 civil servants responsible for all aspects of media and telecoms policy will now be transferred from Cable’s business empire to the Department of Culture Media and Sport headed by Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary and a Conservative likely to be sympathetic to Murdoch

Now that Murdoch has been accurately exposed as a gutter dwelling, lying stinkpot (which we all knew anyway), Vince Cable is seen to have been justified and correct in his observations.

So much for a rational and principled response from politicians then eh? Cameron, Clegg and Miliband owe Vince a huge apology – but I haven’t spotted one yet – have you? Cable has obviously been gagged by Clegg and Cameron – can’t have truth being aired in Westminster village, can we – bah, poo & piffle says I.

The pathetic displays of self righteousness, in the last few days, from people like Prescott, Brown and Cameron is truly nauseating …

Are we being run by idiots? (Euro bailout #2)


Did you know that when Italy joined the Euro, it failed several of the main criteria set up for countries joining the Euro?

Did you know that “bail outs” of failed economies in the Eurozone are prohibited by EU law?

You may have heard that we (residents of Great Britain – the UK …) are in a bit of financial bother and that for every £4 we spend we have to borrow £1, at around 3.0% from China. This is couched in a wonderful term “the PSBR or Public Sector Borrowing Requirement”  which makes it sound quite normal to have to borrow cash to meet our ordinary annually recurring spending needs. 

Most of us learned from Mr Micawber in Charles Dickens book David Copperfield, the following simple lesson, “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen shillings and six pence, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds and six pence, result misery.”  This statement is simple common sense, obvious to anyone other than a politician or financial journalist.

That does not include the future PFI commitments and public sector and funding conventional old age pension commitments.  (Ed: ‘Why not? ‘Answer: “It would make our finances look worse than those of Greece”. Ed: ‘Ah – of course, silly me – thanks.’)

Public sector borrowing is only ever sensible if it is for capital projects like roads, hospitals, railways etc., and then, only if future tax receipts take it into account – even this basic accounts stuff passed by Gordon Brown who criminally borrowed ever more and more without providing control systems to manage what was being spent and why.

The loan interest payments we paid in 2010 were £46 billion and will be worse in 2011.  (Same as the 2012 defence budget) … and, NO I’m not making it up!) See  here.

So then, let’s give another £9.2 billion to the IMF to help out the Euro-zone, i.e. Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland & now Italy shall we?

Yes great idea!

This of course is on top of the £12 billion already committed by our leaders last January.

Sounds like a good plan to me!

We can afford it!

Let’s put Gordon & Tony’s pensions up shall we? (Ed:- er, we already have – so would you like us to put them up again? <embarrassed laugh – Ed was not quite sure if I was joking or not …>) The current lot, Cameron and Osborne, are not even attempting to balance the books this year or next!

I am afraid to say that Great Britain (and many other “developed” (ho ho) countries) are in more or less the same “over- leveraged*” position; the USA, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany (yes, Germany – but they have a good chance of paying off their debt – or rather did have until Italy went bust last week…).

Don’t check up on public debt positions of countries other than China, Brazil and Arab oil producers if you want to sleep tonight.

Are we being run by idiots?

Yes we are!

The sound of gentle weeping can be heard from my study …

* “Over leveraged” = ‘bust as arseholes’ as a former insolvency accountant acquaintance used to say.

Our Dave gives a master class in arse covering

David Cameron wriggling but failing to cover his arse

The main theme of meBook  is that “party” politics corrupts the decision making process in government thus ensuring that unforgivable errors are made in managing Britain’s resources.
The last few days have made me glad to be grumpy – my cup runneth over with material for a grump-fest not seen since Blair made the BBC apologise for telling the truth about his mad, bad, god inspired decision to invade Iraq.
Politics” (original meaning = ‘of the people’) has come to mean (‘of the politicians’) and this subtle and ego driven corruption has spawned the current media frenzy.

Meanwhile, in the real world we, with the time and inclination to see, can see the soap opera for what it is – a mad panicky attempt to maintain the power base of our political masters and their support base of journalists who earn their salaries by talking about power mad egocentric marketing executives (that’s the current and last government if you were wondering…

Dave’s speech yesterday was straight out of chapter 1 of “Arse Covering for Idiots” and fooled no-one, well, not me … 😉 Please watch Dave  “taking full responsibility” … by staying in his job to save his arse, pension, credibility and salary. (55 seconds of skin crawling fake humility …yuk)!

Clueless government + petty minded Unions


The news is full of mass strikes “the like of which we have not seen since the 1926 General Strike”.

For the want of some honesty & simple common sense we are all going to be in the doodoo again. I refer you to my last post on the 6th June 2011.

I simply despair of the petty mindedness of both the Unions and the hubris* displayed by all our party politicians.

The solution is painful but obvious! You, the government, must let the bad banks fail, the hedge funds must “take a haircut” and the rest of the solution is sharing out the financial pain fairly (see my post 6th June 2011)!

* ‘hubris’  : insolent, contemptuous disregard (‘we know best, trust us we’re politicians’; ‘calm down dear’ etc.)

We’re all in this together – but don’t dare strike says our Vince!


Remember this from our mate Dave? (Tory Conference – October 2009 – full text here)

It means showing that we’re all in this together, which is why we’ll freeze public sector pay for all but the one million lowest paid public sector workers for one year to help protect jobs. And it means showing that the rich will pay their share which is why for now the 50p tax rate will have to stay and child trust funds for those on middle and higher incomes will have to go.” + “But if we pull together, come together, work together — we will get through this together.”

Vince Cable upset the GMB union this morning by hinting that the government won’t tolerate joined up strikes protesting against “the cuts”. However, both “sides” of the argument are wrong; Because of the farcically weak position we are in thanks to the “financial markets”; bank bailouts; 2 world wars; and a series of inept and incompetent governments, we simply have to make cuts.

Had our “Dave” shown some leadership by:-

  • cutting, say, all current & future public sector pensions over, say, £40k by, say, 50% until the “deficit is cleared”
  • cutting public sector salaries over, say, £100k by 50% until the “deficit is cleared”
  • freezing public sector salaries for “at least” 12 months or until the “deficit is cleared”
  • dealing with errant MPs in the same way “we” are, i.e. gaol + 100% penalties (instead of letting most get away scot free
    •  even those 4/5 who are jailed don’t pay penalties)
  • reclaiming £6bn  tax avoided by Vodafone
  • reclaiming £285m tax avoided by Philip Green (Top Shop, Arcadia Group etc: “its my wife you have to talk to, she owns the company – oh, by the way, she resides in Monaco .., so you can’t get the tax, tee hee”)
  • not actually then hiring Green to help make efficiency savings! Difficult to make this up but its bloody true! 
  • renegotiating the PFI fiasco started by Thatcher & then embraced by Blair and Brown (£50bn of your cash criminally wasted)
  • reclaiming Fred the Shred’s pension & suing him for incompetence
  • dealing with the casino bankers properly & decisively
  • etc. etc. etc

… then he might have got away with saying we are all in this together and the unions might be supporting him in his attempt to cut public sector pensions for less well off workers.

Strikes won’t help the country either – what we need is some serious, loud debate from journalists, politicians & unionists – do we get it? Do we hell! (*)

* Actually we do – but only in “Private Eye”, as far as I can see…