Tuesday, 31 December 2013

So how did the readers predictions go for 2013?

 So here we are, the last day of the year and time to look back and see how good the collective crystal was this past year - arbitrary scoring, a little like  bank credit paper -
Malcolm Tucker - Royal baby saves government pushing worst ever economic figures off the front page. After that things begin green shooting.

Syria conflict rumbles on. No one cares. It doesn't escalate. Neither does Israel- Iran. Obama does barest minimum on gun control. What he does fails to pass the Supreme Court anyway and is forgotten

A great start, 17 points

Blue Eyes - The Euro survives
The lights stay on!
5 points
Electro-Kevin - First gay marriage June 5th (my birthday)
10 points so close! it was 28th march
Simon F -  4G auction doesn't raise anywhere near the Chancellors target of £3.5bn. I reckon not more than £2bn.
£2.35 billion - 11 points!
Demetrius - The West will go bust, the UK government will collapse, there will be a couple of nuclear wars and a small pandemic will begin. Also several volcanoes and nasty big earthquakes. Apart from that it will be a quiet year.
- 16 and a Wonga loan for you
Graeme -  Tiny earth tremor felt in Manchester, so frakking of the Bowland Shale is halted. Cameron pulls out of the coalition.
The Syrian revolt will run along for another 6 months and then Turkey will invade. 
hmmm 3 points for effort
Anonymous (I thought you were in jail?) - Millions of Croatians flood UK for benefits feather-bed
House prices drop 10% in real terms
Huhne gets away with it

0 points - anonymous has multiple entries
Timbo614  -  A market tumble > 1000 points. 
People start to abandon pension Ponzi schemes in larger numbers despite govt. rules as inflation is let rip in an attempt to pay down the bank and govt. debt.
The weather in the UK gets even worse(wetter still with interspersed heatwaves) affecting farming and therefore food prices. More will need to be imported.
A final taxation increase on the poorer of us could trigger civil unrest as the real cuts/inflation start to be felt(probably later in the year maybe 2014).On a brighter note, Timbo's C@W predictions are 70% wrong :) 
oh dear, -5 points  and another wonga loan
John in Cheshire - The Chinese buy up most of London and move all the social dependents out so the new-comers can inflate the property prices and hedge their US debt holdings.
India bans all gold exports.
The heads of major banks in most Western countries are brought to justice and start to serve long prison terms. They are housed in prisons with glass viewing windows so the public can come to watch them, taunt them and, for an extra fee, pain them with cattle prods.

5 points - banksters in gaol as if, the Xmas sherry must have been good last year
Jan Middle East continues to squabble with little spats which don't really escalate. Perhaps Assad may go to be replaced by internal squabbling and jostling for power.

The Euro will survive by the skin of its teeth as will the coalition.

Fiscal cliff will come and go with an almighty fudge. Debts in all indebted countries will rise so that taxes raised fail to pay even the interest on the borrowings.

Dithering on fracking/nuclear/subsidies for renewables.

17 points, super effort

DtP - Interest rates go up (only a smidge) hitting 1 whole percent by this time next year.

A good year for the FTSE with a fair bit of consolidation hitting a vulgar high of about 6400 (too much eggnog maybe!)
Anonymous 6 points, humbug on the FTSE

 Anonymous (another one, have you thought what the point of this is...?) said...
 The dreaded Triple Dip
 Big Green protests against fracking
The latest band to be selected to try and the Xmas number one instead of a Cowellista will be Napalm Death ( I can only hope so, I loved Napalam death when I was about 14)
0 points, anonymous
Andrew - It will be a year where at the end of the year, in retrospect, nothing extraordinary happened.
 3 points childish  humour is always good
Cityunslicker - 
The Coalition falls causing a September or November election
Kurdistan allies with Turkey thereby causing another major Middle East (civil) war, important this time as lots of oil involved...
Bahrain gives up its independence and merges with Saudi, so prventing the toops from looking like an invasion
Libya gives up on democracy before even trying and becomes a tirbal kingdom 
How did these not come true, my CIA contacts are filing some properly wonky reports -10 points.

(Nick Drew had his own predictions, oh dear that man, buy precious metals, blackouts across Europe, the less said the better.) -17 points

So the winners and Jan and Malcolm Tucker - double helpings of Turkey (Lib Dem) curry for you both. 
This years prediction competition will be a little more organised and will arrive tomorrow ish.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Ed Milliband's New Year howling

"We are going to show to people in 2014 how by standing up for the right people, by being willing to take on the powerful interests and make big changes in our economy, we can deal with the cost of living crisis both now and in the future so that we can earn and grow our way to a higher standard of living for people."
 "People do not want the earth. They would much prefer some very specific promises, specific things about what a government will do - whether it's freezing energy bills, taking action on payday lenders, or tackling issues around childcare which lots of working parents face. All of this is adding up to a programme for how we can change things. It's clearly costed, it's credible and it's real."
 So three core issues for us to consider for 2013. Quite patently, the energy bill idea is beyond insane as we have discussed to death already many times. No only was its Milliband's barmy idea in the first place to set such a ludicrous carbon policy which has pushed up prices, but now he just wants to will it out of existence.

Payday lenders is an issue that puzzles me. If we don't like usury so much, then surely our ban happy politicians can just get rid of them altogether? As on energy where is brave Ed to set a maximum interest rate limit on lending? The ideological contradiction would be puzzling  were it not so obvious that Milliband just latches on to whatever he thinks will hurt the Government ( in this way, how like Cameron he is, who will choose any policy as long as its popular?).

Finally, childcare and working parents. This is the most insidious of all. The whole idea of building a society where whole families have to go to work, whilst paying other people to look after their children - where mothers effectively get paid to look after each others children in a massive make-work scheme which achieves little except making sure kids are brought up by non-parent adults for big chunks of their young lives - is a pure Socialist nightmare. It ticks all the boxes, attacking traditional family units, creating make-work that relies on state subsidy, taking kids away from their parents to allow for state indoctrination, demeaning the role of fathers as carers and providers. It's perfect, no wonder it is a priority for Milliband.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Britain of the year

George Osborne Named 'Briton Of The Year' By The Times Newspaper

  Huffington Post almost faints in astonishment as it reports that 'Boy' George is Britain of 2013 for finally getting around to doing his job. That the Guardian chose their Edward Snowden was no surprise. I expect him to have Sponsored by the Guardian advertised on all his clothing.

But George? Man of 2013? 

If I'd been asked I'd have said Denis McShane would have been more likely. 

 George Osborne has been named "Briton of the Year" for setting "the terms of political debate" with his austerity agenda and being "partly vindicated" by the onset of economic growth, says the Huffpuff, using all their own air quotes of disbelief.

And the Huffpo is right to point that out. When the Times has to use justifications such as 'partly' and 'setting the terms of the debate' its clear a bit of shoehorning was needed to make the man fit the award. After all you could conceivably say the same about Miliband.

He certainly set the terms of the political debate for 3 months. And he can claim to have been partly vindicated on pretty much anything. Let's say 'foodbank poverty'.

And against, say, Andy Murray who ended the 77 years of Wimbledon hurt or One Direction's Harry Styles, who has probably done as much for the economy as the Chancellor, was Osborne a good choice?

Anyway- Something to think on. Does George Osborne deserve his award?

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Holiday Story (True)

So there we were at Fleet Services on the M3 at the start of the holidays, when in drove a Chelsea mum plus two daughters in the Chelsea tractor, looking for a parking slot.

She made several hair-raising attempts at a space that was way too narrow, before spotting a better prospect and scooting round to bag it.  She assessed it as being wide enough; lined it up nicely for a straight approach run - and in she went, hand in glove.

Her triumphant manoeuvre was neatly capped off by daughter 1 opening her door, crash ! into the car on the left, followed a half-second later by daughter 2, bang ! into the car on the right.

So - check out her number-plate ... 

There are no coincidences !


(some details redacted to protect the, errr, innocent)   

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Reindeer at Christmas

A reindeer walked into a pub, strolled up to the bar and ordered a pint of lager.

Completely unphased, the barman poured out the lager and passed it to the reindeer, who handed over a ten pound note.

As he handed over the change of a few coins, the barman said "I have to say, you're first reindeer I've seen in here."

The reindeer studied the change very carefully and said. "Tell you what sunshine, as these prices I'm also the last reindeer you're going to see in here."

Happy Christmas everyone, back blogging in a couple of days

Saturday, 21 December 2013

China/Japan - of more import than US-Iran?

This is quite a hard one to ponder. The dispute between China and Japan has been building all year long. In truth, it is for decades. China has never forgiven Japan for its occupation in the 1930's and 1940's; and it was a barbaric occupation by any standards.

Chinese schools teach their students of the horrors, whilst Japanese schools tend to ignore the nasty buts because after all, it was 2 generations ago.

So does this explain the rather weird stand off over some fairly tiny islands in the East China Sea. It seems to in part. There are oil fields and gas fields of some significance, but nothing compared to say the North Sea which several countries were bounded too and happily drew up an agreement to share.

In the South China Sea, things are a bit more obvious. The Spratly's and Colonia Islands are chock full of oil and gas reserves, in the main untapped. Here one can see much more clearly the realpolitik of the Countries and states with competing claims.

The worrying part is the escalation of claims against one another. It could well be that China decides in the near future to use hard power. Its use of soft power in North Africa and the Middle East has produced underwhelming results. And in reality, who is going to challenge China's military a few miles of its coast?

Whereas in Iran, the Country itself is a tinderbox with a move to becoming slightly more moderate and the West is impotent enough to sign a deal that gives them little except a fig leaf to pretend that Iran will comply with reducing its Nuclear ambitions. But its seems neither side are keen for a war, whereas the tension in the East China Sea goes the other way.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Guess who got a revell kit as early xmas present ?

No politics 
No Buisness
No Question Time
 So one for the boys.

1. which aircraft prototype was the first off the drawing board
A- Me109
B - Spitfire
C - Hurricane

Prototype May 1935 is the ME109. The Hurricane was in November. Both very,very advanced designs for the age, even though the Hurricane clearly demonstrates its bi-plane age construction

2. Which was the largest fighter?

A- Me109
B - Spitfire
C - Hurricane

The Hurricane. And by a big margin. Its a whopper. In the model kit the Hurricane actually looks the wrong scale. Amazing how large WW2 aircraft were. I went to Yeovilton the other day. The Piston engine F4u Corsair is almost the same length and width as the 1960's F4 Phantom jet.

3. Which had the best rate of turn
A- Me109
B - Spitfire
C - Hurricane

Surprisingly, and overlooked in many documentaries, its the Hurricane. The much thicker wing allowed a fast turn. But the overall speed still left it at a disadvantage over the ME109.
Rate of turn – hurricane 800m – spitfire 880m

4. Which took the longest to build?{ Man hours/airframe }
A- Me109
B - Spitfire
C - Hurricane

The Spitfire was almost cancelled because it took so long to build. It was supposed to be in service in 1938 yet there were none available by the time of the phoney war in 1939. A revolutionary design, its construction was far in excess of the skills the average airframe workshop possessed. The thin, elliptical wing, which had a kind of watch spring construction, was very difficult to manufacture. The Spitfire took two-and-a-half times as long to make as a Hurricane. The Hurricane using the more available bi-plane design technology.

5. And which was the fastest to assemble {in man hours}
A- Me109
B - Spitfire
C - Hurricane

Willy Messerschmidt  designed the 109 with production in mind. It was cheap and easy to build. partly as it lacked many refinements. There was a shortage of instruments that should have been standard on the dashboard. And the cockpit was so small that each design modification increased the headroom a little. Not a plane for tall fliers. And the hinged canopy. hood could not be opened in flight like the hurricane or spitfire.

13,000 man-hours needed to make a Spitfire Mk V airframe against the industrious 4,000 for an Me 109G

6. Which fighter was initially ordered as an interim until something better came along?
 A- Me109
B - Spitfire
C - Hurricane
  The Spitfire was actually seen as an interim fighter until the Hawker Typhoon, Westland Whirlwind, and the Bristol Beaufighter and other aircraft could be introduced into service. The Air ministry was not wholly convinced by the spitfire, mostly on cost. It was expensive.

7. Which was built in the most numbers/ all variants?
A- Me109
B - Spitfire
C - Hurricane

As seen from the time to build it was the Messerschmidt by a considerable margin. It soldiered on from the Spain battles to Berlin end game. Even though it was outclassed by 1944 allied and even soviet fighters.
Me109 -35,000
Spitfire – 20,334 up to 1947

8. Which set the world speed record in 1937 
A- Me`109
B - Spitfire
C - Hurricane
The Me109 was the speedy blighter. Though the Luftwaffe used a heavily modified racing engine that could never be used in actual service. But always a good speed fighter the 109. The Spitfire eventually overtook it in speed with the Super Merlin engines.

9. Which had the longest range in miles
 A- Me`109
B - Spitfire
C - Hurricane

The big bodied Hurricane was the best for range.The 109 had a dismal range. The main reason why there was never much hope of achieving air superiority over England
Me109 -440m
Hurricane -600 mi
10. Which had the best serviceability record ?
 A- Me`109
B - Spitfire
C - Hurricane

The Hurricane. it was easy to field repair. Damaged Spitfires mostly had to go back to the special Supermarine workshops.
The 109 had a terrible service record, not all the fault of the plane. poor logisitics in foreign theatres and a lack of naval superiority, meant spares were hard to find. The 109 was designed so that the fuselage stood on its undercarriage when the wings were off. But gave it its narrow landing gear and  much greater number of accidents on take off and landing.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Blog Xmas Drinks 2013

Mr Drew and myself will be going for a drink at the Cask Pub and Kitchen - 6 Charlwood Street London SW1V 2EE - tomorrow from about 630.pm onwards.

In our usual ramshackle way we have only really planned this in the past few hours, time between jobs allowing. Anyhow, even at short notice, we would welcome anyone to come and join us for a few drinks and some hopefully interesting banter...look forward to seeing some of you there.

The chosen venue has a oice 70's feel to reflect our current political and economic situation - however, it does also have an award winning selection of beers and wines to help us commiserate!

Fill The Trolley - Update

Hot on the heels of yesterday's post comes this from the DTel, confirming one of the suggested hypotheses and some of the very illuminating comments: 

More than 1bn wiped off the value of leading retailers over Christmas fears

Unsustainable, then.


ANYHOW:  Blog Xmas drinks tomorrow -  details to follow !

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

'Tis The Season To Fill Trolley

Pix: every supermarket!
 Here We Come A-Discounting... 

Ed Miliband has made mileage this autumn with his "cost of living for ordinary families" refrain, which has clearly stung the government, not to say panicked them.  As a campaign theme for late-2013 it may have saved his bacon, given the dreadful summer he endured.  As regards the next election I suspect he may have gone too early with it, because the coalition probably has the power to bear down on quite a range of prices and costs, and has been handily tipped off on the political need to do so.

In the very short term, though, I'd say its the retailers themselves that are doing most to reduce inflation.  This isn't the result of a scientific survey, but I have the very distinct impression that Christmas this year is costing less than 12 months ago, with a couple of very striking data-points to bolster the general observation.  Never mind stunts like 'Black Friday': there is clearly a deadly serious supermarket  price-war in progress.  The blizzard of vouchers and coupons can hardly be missed - and when even Poundland is doing £1-off-when-you-next-spend-£10, we know things have reached quite a pass.

Do others share this observation ?

Quite what it means for the longer-term is a bit conjectural.  Supermarkets going under ?  Inflationary surge in the spring ?  Who knows.  Meantime - stock up & drink up !


Monday, 16 December 2013

It all comes together on UK Energy planning

It had to really, Jim Ratcliffe, the rather focused capitalist entrepreneur who owns Grangemouth has a few bits to say today in a BBC interview.

 Ratcliffe had to suffer as the Unions smeared him repeatedly during the negotiations at Grangemouth which nearly led to it be ind shutdown. They have been a lot quieter since, focusing in stead their efforts more successfully in getting Ed Miliband to back track from any unhealthy idea about Union reform.

However, a classic from Ratcliffe. He alleges that in France of all place he has recently been involved in a deal of Nuclear power that involved a state subsidy of the price at €37, versus the £92 granted by the UK government. That difference is eye-watering in the extreme; its tens of billions of pounds handed over to Chinese and French companies.

Together with out recent insights into the insanity of offshore wind, the changing of Drax and now Eggborough to burn unsustainable wood pellets - there can only be one conclusion.

The Lib Dems really are in charge of energy policy. At the current rate of mistake making I doubt there will be enough power left for us to write this blog in the UK by 2016.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Huffing, puffing and bluffing

Whelk Stall, Irish-style  (pic: Wiki)
Oh, what a game energy policy is - government picking winners, inventing schemes & subsidies & limits & caps & tax-breaks: industry lobbying, grovelling, blustering, threatening, dissembling, blackmailing, exaggerating ...

Just two examples from the DTel today:
  • Exhibit A. Eggborough (a very big coal-fired plant) wants the same ludicrous subsidy promised to Drax (even bigger) for converting to wood-burning.  But the minister has awarded himself discretion and says 'no' - so they are going stamp, scream and hold their breath until they go blue.  Oh, and since price rises are the bogey of the hour, they claim that electricity prices will "spike" 10% upwards  (10% ain't no spike, sunshine). Oh, and since Chinese investment is the order of the day, they claim the Chinese really wanted to buy into Eggborough and will be upset
  • Exhibit B.  Centrica, having threatened to withdraw from the UK in response to Milibong's "price freeze", are exiting a UK windfarm project and buying up Irish gas asssets - see, we weren't bluffing !  (Fair play to the Irish for holding out on the price.  But where's Centrica's Chinese angle ? - come on guys, tell your lobbyists to try harder !)
There's decades more of this nonsense still to come.  What a way to run a nuclear-powered whelk-stall.  


Thursday, 12 December 2013

Question Time : Live from the graveside edition.

Nelson Mandela
1918 - 2013 

Three times F1 world champion.

David Dimbleby presents a special Question Time from Johannesburg, looking at South Africa after Mandela.
On the panel are foreign minister in the last apartheid government Pik Botha, former host of the South African version of The Apprentice and ANC leader imprisoned on Robben Island with Mandela, Tokyo Sexwale, leading anti-apartheid campaigner Peter Hain MP, the parliamentary leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance party, Lindiwe Mazibuko, radical black consciousness activist Andile Mngxitama, and the journalist Eusebius McKeiser.

Now, I am firmly in the 'Mandela was a great man' camp. Yet I cannot see the relevance of this to any of us at all. I don't even recognise their names. 
If BBC Africa want to do a QT special, go ahead. But on our UK taxpayer money? Let's hope Bill Clinton doesn't pop off anytime soon. Or, God forbid, Obama. Bad enough that Fidel is only just hanging on. Cuba is such a great destination for a jolly!

This special edition guest guesser is last year's winner, Dick the Prick.
Anonymous DtP said...
Dimbletie - Black, Green & Yellow

1) How can we now cope without Mandiba - will anything ever be the same again?

2) How can we, as mere humans, hope to live up to his parousiac munificence?

3) How long should we mourn?

4) Why Lord, why did they take him and not me?

5) Pirelli or Michelin gives the best necklace performance?

Off on yet another Chrimbo do so probably duck out of this one - but chuck in a few legacies, inspirationals, unifieds and couragouses and I reckon i'm good to go.

The BBC Director of News said 'he was probably the greatest statesman in the last 100 years!' Sometimes, sometimes it's really just not worth the effort to even laugh.

BBC De-camps to Johannesburg

As predicted, the Beeb has moved every staff member with a pulse to South Africa.  And yes, even the aged Dimblebimble qualifies - QT will be coming from Jo'burg tonight.

I expect Mr Quango will be setting up his quiz when he also arrives there himself.


PS: can't wait for the Mandela Memorial episode of Eastenders ... (no, I'm not making it up)

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

South Africa post Mandela -

Hardly the disaster people in the media are desperate to point out.

Growth under Aparthied, consolidation, then lots more growth again - I'd be a buyer of shares on this chart were it a stock:

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Obama's speech writers sure like comedy


And the favourite

Lobbying: the Blunt, and the Comically Subliminal

Leave. Us. Alone.
Pity the capitalist who simply wishes to be allowed to exploit his cosy monopoly niche in peace - when along comes a government and upsets the applecart.  Well, governments get everywhere, don't they, with pesky populist interventions and various other agendas of their own.  Nothing for it - you gotta use whatever means are at hand to defend your interests.

Sometimes the approach is in-your-face: in everyone's face, no less.  This week sees the big American mass-tech players (Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Twitter and AOL) setting up a campaign website, and taking out full-page newspaper ads to persuade Obama to quit using them as vehicles for intelligence gathering.  "Reform Government Surveillance" - pretty bold stuff from these eight latter-day corporate Cnuts, and good luck with that.

Of course, there are those who would recoil from such bare-faced bluntness.  The French, for instance, would go about their business with far more finesse - so much, indeed, that you'd hardly notice the message as it was subtly inserted into your subconscious.  Suppose our good friends EDF also wished to issue a gentle rebuke to those pesky governments, forever interfering in their affairs.  How to get home the message that governments shouldn't go around trying to legislate on everything ? 

Full-page ads ?  Mais non, mon ami !   Tant mieux pour raconter une petite fable: everyone will surely get the message.  And so we have the story of "The day when pi became 3.2 (instead of 3.14159 ...)" which charmingly delivers its payload.  Listen carefully, boys and girls.  Once upon a time in America, a wicked shyster tried to hoodwink politicians into believing that pi was 3.2 !  But after all sorts of mad goings-on, a hero arose ...
"... a mathematician by the name of Clarence Waldo, who happened to be present that day in the legislature, realized the danger that this could cause. With the local Senate still having to approve the bill for it to pass into law, the mathematician spent several weeks explaining the truth to the senators and getting press coverage of the case. The Senate then overwhelmingly rejected the bill. This comical story does at least illustrate the point that we can’t always legislate on everything. If things had turned out differently, the world might now be turning in a slightly less perfect circle."
Yes, we get the message !  We'll leave you alone.  And let's face it, how EDF do suffer from government interference - what with all those subsidies - and with all those nasty strings attached ...


By the way, just in case you think I am imagining things and that this is just a whimsy of EDF's for providing morally uplifting stories for school children, look carefully at the link.


OutbrainInter ? campaign ? Yes folks, Outbrain is a service for pushing corporate messages in the www.  It's a campaign, all right.  

Monday, 9 December 2013

Contrarian Indicator: Albermale and Bond?

Here we go nearly Xmas, everyone is short of money for all those extra presents and to try and keep the kids happy. It's a the classic time to borrow money and get further into debt. Well, certainly in my household it is an annual tradition.

And yet today we can see that pawn broker Albermale and Bond is having a very rough time of it indeed. Their business needs restructuring, the profits have collapsed and they are having to sell shops. Of course, hubris as always has a nice role to play, just when Gold went into a price bubble they double down by opening more stores.

Now that gold has fallen back, to still historically high prices, they have been hit. It's hard to say what effect Wonga and other payday lenders are having too, after all, if you can borrow without offering goods as physial security then from a personal perspective that is a much better thing to do. Still, surely there is a supply of gold and unwanted watches for them to suck up?

Perhaps then it is a good indicator that the economic recovery is having some small impact - if only that the desperate are at least one notch less desperate than they have been for the past 5 years or so.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Living Wage

"The country-wide threshold, which is calculated annually by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University against the basic cost of living in the UK, rose by 20p to £7.65 ($12.20, €9.03) an hour and the London Living Wage, which is calculated by the Greater London Authority's Living Wage Unit, increased from £8.50 to £8.80 an hour.
The rate is higher than the legal minimum wage , which stands at £6.31 an hour for over-21s.
 "The Living Wage has become a must have badge of honour for employers," said Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson. "Paying the London Living Wage ensures hard working Londoners are helped to make ends meet, providing a boost not only for their personal quality of life but delivering indisputable economic dividends to employers too. This in turn is good for London's productivity and growth."

Which is all well and good except..
 The average salary in Romania is €479 per month before tax, or €347 after tax. (£287 per month)
 The minimum wage is €155 per month or around £36 per week.
If the living Wage was introduced everywhere, as its advocates desire, then the {new minimum}living wage  of £352 a week would be roughly ten times the average Romanian minimum wage.

Employers of low skilled workers already favour Eastern Europeans for their very hard work ethic, low sickness rates, good attitude, good skills and their just general happiness to be at work. 
 When they would be being paid £.90p and hour in their own currency for a waitress job no wonder they can be so.
And every £1 returned home is worth an hours wage, which in this country  only takes 10 minutes to earn. 

If we have open borders what do we think the effect of insisting employers pay more for unskilled workers would be?

Living wage. Has anyone thought it through?

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Question Time: Merry Christmas the recession is sort of over edition.

David Dimbleby presents the topical debate from east London. 
On the panel are chief secretary to the treasury Danny 'Beaker' Alexander
Labour's shadow secretary for work and pensions Rachel 'snoring' Reeves
former shadow home secretary David  'diehard' Davis
professor of classics at Cambridge University Dr Mary 'Domum Regite Romani' Beard and 
Nick 'voice of the Daily Mail' Ferrari, LBC radio presenter.

BQ thinks - Autumn statement special
- Pension age raised - has Osborne decided to alienate anyone under 50?
- Roma and Britain and how we should be grateful
- Some cost of living nonesense - its the new NHS question - lets say the £50 off bills
- Briatin growing faster than the rest of the galaxy. Were Ed Balls and Labour wrong all along?
- I don't know -- is it ok to admit to a drug dependency if you keep your stash in a wedding ring box?

MW will add your last win in the update.

Should be back home to watch this one.
 Can you believe some idiot has called a conference for 17th December? There is NO BUSIER day. That is the key date coz after that day its too late to do anything about anything except firefighting. If this fool worked for BQ Industries they would be in for a carpeting.. but they are our clients. Morons, obviously. But still clients.



Number of wins 

Nick Drew -4

CityUnslicker -2
Measured - 2

Mark Wadsworth - 2

 Malcolm Tucker -1 
  Hopper -1
Dick the Prick -1 

Kilgore Trout - 1
DJK - 1
Timbo614 - 1

Autumn Statement - not much to see - so...

Well the Chancellor made an Autumn statement and the gist of it is the economy is turning, but a bit late and not enough to really make up all the lost ground. A littel something was given on business rates which will no doubt ne welcomed by Quango Industries.

Of more insight for me is that Michael Sherwood, ACO (Arrogance Chief Office) of Vampie Squid International (Goldman Sachs) has delared that if the UK left the EU then Goldman's would re-locate its London Head Office to Paris or Frankfurt.

There is only one thing to know, Goldmans are ALWAYS talking their own book. If they are threatening to leave the UK if we do this, then clearly they have bet on the opposite outcome. Any one even vaguely familiar with the recent Goldmans' history - screwing Greece's public finances in cahoots with corrupt politicians, creating and shorting sub-prime mortgages, screwing Lehmans - can see that they are both ruthless and bold in their execution.

When the people in charge of the Squid have an idea to flog then they do so with calculated efficiency. So it is no accident that they say they 'fear' a UK referendum and potential exit. Also, as we all know, few people are going to leave London for Frankfurt or 75% tax rate Paris - its every unthinking Brusselphiles wet dream, but it did not happen with the creation of the Euro and won't happen again.

Not A Good Look

Fans of the troubled star were distressed at the haggard appearance of Michaella Lawson when she appeared briefly for the cameras yesterday.

"She's looking unnaturally pale" said one.  "And I'm afraid she's been messing with her nose again."

Fans waiting to catch a glimpse of the superstar sang songs from her much-loved TV cooking series:  Don't Stop Till You Get Enough, Beat It, Who's Cookin' For A Lover, and Saatchi's Out Of My Life.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

UK Infrastructure - Admission of failure by Omission

So with the Autumn statement now being heavily trailed in the media by the Government, we can see the shape of the current Government thinking. Little in the way of tax incentives to people and instead some more promises of tax cuts to business; and today a huge fanfare about increasing infrastructure spend.

Now call me a cynic, but Government are elected for 5 years so any claims about billions in spending 17 years from now are to be taken with a large pinch of salt. However, a real failure of the UK political system is the inability of Labour and Tories to agree on long-term infrastructure policies on the basis that they should also oppose one another.

Even today the marks can be seen in these announcements. What is missing is more telling than what is discussed. For example there is a small upgrade to Gatwick Airport railway station, but no runway for Gatwick; in fact no extra airport capacity at all.

Even on the railways there is limited support in the sens that HS2 will suck investment to it. Then there are a myriad of promises surrounding the single new nuclear plant - where are the other 6 we need?

Where are the gas fired plants we need to balance the base load against unreliable offshore wind and the closing of old coal stations?

Where are the new motorways we need to connect the fast growing population of the Country?

The Government has managed to persuade Insurance companies to put up £25 billion and this is to be welcomed. But the really big decisions, HS2 apart, are still being ducked, as they have political impacts which are unfavourable and will be exploited by the opposition. It's a great shame they can't ever seem to work together for the good of the Country.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Irish Eyes Smiling Again

OUR 3,000 th POST

Back in Dublin after a 6-month gap - and there are striking and visible signs of turn-around to accompany the departure of the Troika.

Yes, after 3 years of their stern bail-out regime, the hated Troika have almost packed their bags.  "The Troika has done more damage to Ireland than Britain ever did in 800 years," said David Begg, head of the Irish Confederation of Trade Unions.  Well there you go, mate: but in a show of bravado the Irish have decided not to have a stand-by credit facility when the bail-out comes to an end a few days before Christmas.

And just hours after all this was announced, the Irish government felt able to call a halt to the big asset sale that was one of the planks of the recovery programme.  The supply business of state gas company Bord Gais had been on the block: but they only received low-ball bids - notably from Centrica, always in the market for fire-sale opportunities - and have decided not to bother

The feeling is very much of a people less crushed than they have been for quite a while.  And there are plenty of visible indications of a turn-around.  More traffic on the Dublin streets (though not yet back to the permanent gridlock of the manic Celtic Tiger years); Boris-type bike-racks being installed everywhere, and digital indicator-boards at bus stops.  In a short walk through a scruffy area just south of the river I encountered two brand-new, well-patronised gyms, and a very up-market new kitchen showroom.

And yes, of course, the property market has turned.  Ireland famously saw one of the more dramatic European bubbles expand and burst: for several years property price small-talk replaced the horses as the main topic of conversation - both on the way up and, bitterly, on the precipitous way down.  The number of high-profile bankruptcies and criminal prosecutions that followed in its wake was impressive, day after day in all the papers.

Now, glancing at the property pages over breakfast I see an unremarkable modern 5-bedroom house (southside) at EUR 2.75 million.  And EUR 835 k asked for a 3-bed terrace,  - "even if it is on the northside" as the blurb endearingly admits.

It's not all over yet.  The non-sale of Bord Gais, ditto Aer Lingus and state-owned forestry properties leaves them with a funding gap of several billion.  And in a feisty festive move, employees of the state-owned electricity company ESB are threatening to have the Christmas lights off across the country in a strike over the funding of their pension plan.

And then there was the narrow failure to beat the All Blacks ten days ago, which has everyone down in the mouth.  But hey, that was a glorious and spirited effort.  Probably a metaphor, too.  Fair play to the lads - hope they remember who their friends were.


Monday, 2 December 2013

Amazon Drones coming for you

It must be nearly Christmas if Amazon are able to come up with a gimmick like this. Apparently they are testing the idea of using drones to deliver goods straight to your house.

Now, as a marketing concept I am loving this and it is rigth up there with Richard Branson 'Galactic' concepts of keeping people thinking about your brand as innovative, even when nothing will come to pass.

I mean really, I'd love to see drone deliveries to tower blocks in Tottenham etc. Not to mention my dog tearing big chunks out of it before being mangled in the propeller blades. this is before we add in the costs of flying the thing.

Perhaps in mid-West America where population is sparse this may one day be a feasible idea. Anyway, its a fund concept nd shows soon we will all be able to buy our own drones - what would you use yours for?