Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Marxism today; A French Example

As a Ros-Bif, it takes a heart of stone not to look across the channel and laugh at the state of France and its political economy. But overtime, the laugh fades.

After all France already has its version of Jeremy Corbyn, in the form of President Hollande. Even this left-wing President has realised that massive unemployment rates are not helped by companies never being allowed to fire anyone, nor that the huge state spending can be helped by large numbers of people on the payroll permanently.

In fact, it is a minor miracle of EU funding for the Common Agricultural Policy and export of nuclear energy that means that France's economy is actually not falling over worse than the UK. They have some manufacturing base, they have lots of space and not excessive property costs, the taxes are stupid but few pay and there are plenty of loopholes.

Increasingly though, this is not enough, the strikes that always afflict France are growing worse as the extreme-left senses victory and also rebels against the rise of Le Pen style nationalism. To an outside it is an obvious yin/yang dichotomy. The more the left grows, the more the extreme right too. Also when long-term Government makes so many bad mistakes that the economy suffers, extremist politics prosper.

France, whilst steadily deteriorating is a warning to the UK too. Centrist Government that cannot make painful decisions leads to a sclerotic economy that in turn gives rise to extremist politics. The UK with UKIP , SNP and militant takeover of Labour is itself someway down this path. Only the current Government has the actual power to change things in a way that will show people that a centrist path can be the right choice. Dodging discussions on immigration, Europe, Heathrow - any number of issues, only serves to destroy the Centre ground that wins elections for the Tories.

Friday, 27 May 2016

To Hollow Laughter, Hinkley Rumbles On

Some well-placed Americans of my acquaintance recently had an audience with DECC ministers for a tour d'horizon, and tell me the government is utterly convinced that the great radioactive white elephant of the Hinkley project is going ahead, because the French are utterly determined.  (Well, they convinced their visitors on that score anyhow: but as we know, Americans are sometimes quite ready to buy redundant Thames bridges from smooth-talking Brits ...)

As we've said before, when governments with decent credit ratings are involved, commercial reasoning and indeed any other kind of logic can fly out of the window as easily as a radioactive elephant with Dumbo-wings.  It would be bold to stake too much on reason prevailing in the case of Hinkley.  They have been saying the investment decision is a mere four months away since 2008, and one day it may turn out to be true.  (One day, it might turn out to be 'Non'.)  Each time they have to recant we get the most amazing sophistry, but it's a delight to see how they manage it with a straight face every time: Heaven knows, they've had enough practice, these Gallic snake-oil peddlers. 

This time, of course, they've decided it's essential to consult their workforce, a 'due process' that will naturally take 6 months, and couldn't possibly be rushed, still less skipped altogether, oh dear me no.  Well, they don't want to provoke a riot, do they?

What is harder to understand is why the UK and Chinese governments aren't just terminally pissed off with all this nonsense and moving on to something more productive.  Have they no pride?  Aren't the Chinese supposed to be pretty anxious about keeping face?  Why do they continue to pander to the radioactive turd that is EDF?


Thursday, 26 May 2016

More meaningless immigration stats for the UK released

A masochist asks a sadist, "Please hurt me."
"No," replies the sadist

(Arnon Mishkin)

It does not matter how much proof there is that the UK is heading for a social disaster due to excess immigration; all the politicians in charge deny it and decry it racism to even mention the issue.  Even with a Referendum the position taken by the Elite is to deny reality.

It is a strange world we have created in 2016.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Is Project Fear really going too far ?

Here is Vote Remain's daily warning about the dangers of a UK exit of the European Union.
The Treasury would like to stress that only some of these predictions 'may' happen. And only some of them 'could' occur. 

Though if any were to materialise they would take place within 24 hours of a Brexit vote.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Deficit not coming down when the sun is shining - no wonder Brexit is off the menu for Osborne

A long time ago, a phrase was used by the Leader of the Opposition, it went along the lines of

"You did not fix the roof when the sun was shining."

And it rang true, because at the time the Labour Government was busy increasing state spending. In 2000, having followed Tory budgets for the first term in office, total UK Government spending was £341 billion.

United Kingdom Government Spending to GDP

By 2005 and the second Labour General Election win, Spending had reached £492 billion. A massive 31% increase in state spending in just a five year period. No wonder the Government won the election easily even with the unpopular Iraq war as a key issue.

At the 2010 election, £693 billion was being spent by the Government. More than double what has been spent 10 years earlier in a time of relatively low inflation. However, with GDP growth quite high as a result of the bubble Government spend had only gone up by 4% of GDP so not great but not terrible...except....

United Kingdom GDP

The real issue had come in 2007, with all new fangled benefits galore to hand out, social spending in the Financial Crisis combined with a horrific loss of tax income saw Government spending saw to 50% of GDP. An the deficit and national debt soared with no money to pay for the 'automatic stabilisers.'

So to 2016, the Tory Government has seen a return to GDP growth and cut Government spending back down to 43% of GDP. The real damage though is in the tax base. There has been no recovery of the fake boom Banking tax take. Nor are there any signs it is coming back.

In April 2016 corporate tax receipts are lower than a year ago despite a growing economy. The tax won't come back. And because of that the deficit remains very high by historical standards at 4.4% of GDP.

With little appetite for tax cuts the roof is not fixed, the next recession is pretty close being at most 3 years away and possibly sooner with Brexit, there is no chance of the deficit being fixed in time. The sun has been shining but he damage was too great is what Osborne will argue.

But this alone makes me wonder about a Corbyn Government. By 2019 plenty of people will have forgotten the 2007 mess and who was at fault or not. When the Tories look vulnerable on the economy they generally lose the election. I wonder if it will come to pass. 

Monday, 23 May 2016

Leadership Bid, or What?

I think we know what to make of this ...

I know you guys don't agree with me that Corbo is a resigner: but Mr M seems to be hedging his position on that, wouldn't you say?


Saturday, 21 May 2016

Referendum? F*** 'Em All !

"I wrote Bless ’Em All while serving in France in 1916. And, furthermore, it wasn’t *Bless*."        Fred Godfrey

They say there’s a government-funded campaign 
Bound for each home in the land 
Laden with scare-stories, bullshit and lies 
And arguments none understand 
There’s many a voter who buys Project Fear 
There’s voters with backs to the wall 
There’s none to defend’em in this referendum 
So cheer up my lads, f*** ‘em all ! 

F*** ‘em all, f*** ‘em all, 
This is our last chance for withdrawal 
F*** all the Mandys and Christine Lagardes 
F*** Francois Hollande - the whole house of cards 
'Cos we’re saying *goodbye* to them all ! 
Dave’s package gives Brits bugger-all 
There’s none to defend’em in this referendum 
So cheer up my lads, f*** ‘em all !

They say “if we stay we can influence best” 
We’ve heard all that bollocks before 
“Just admit Turkey and all of the rest 
And take a few immigrants more” 
There’s many a sucker has taken it in 
Hook, line and sinker an’ all 
There’s none to defend’em in this referendum 
So cheer up my lads, f*** ‘em all !

Now they say Jean-Claude Juncker’s a very nice chap 
Oh! What a tale to tell ! 
Ask him to curb the Commissioners’ powers 
He’ll give you a rebate as well ! 
There’s many a Briton who’s blighted his life 
Trusting to General de Gaulle 
There’s none to defend’em in this referendum 
So cheer up my lads, f*** ‘em all !

Everyone knows what a twat Dave has been
So cheer up my lads, f*** ‘em all !


Friday, 20 May 2016

Help !

David Cameron is having a 'luvvies luv EU' day, today. And is joining in with that impossible to resist crossing of the Abbey Road zebra crossing.

So, Weekend compo. An also impossible to resist list of Beatles albums and song-titles, on a European Theme.

Entries in the comments.
Prize is to have the casting vote on any 50-50 split.

BQ Suggests:

The Ballard of Dave and Osbo.
A Day in the Lie
Get Back {in line}
Norwegian's Good
Treaty Directives Writer
Please, Please Merkel
P.S. I love EU
Strawberry Regulations Forever
We Can't Work it Out
You never give me EU money

Let's not forget Grexit

Not so long ago, a mere 5 years which seems like yesterday, it was the Euro that was breaking up.

Only the use of a crazed scheme of money printing has kept it together at the expense of Japanification of the European Economy.

Currently, the Remain side is cruising in the UK in the polls, and as predicted here, it is only events that can lead to the shift necessary for Brexit to win the Euro Referendum.

But June is nearly upon us and Greece is needs another change to its terms, given Merkel will not allow the desperately needed re-structure. So it may yet come to pass that the EU boot on the throat to Greece provides the #BREXITEVENT.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

A weird place for a war to start

The South China Sea is becoming ever more a flashpoint in the world. A bunch of islets formerly inhabited by escaping boat people and low utility pirates, is now one of the few places in the World where military superpowers face-off against one another.

Yesterday, yet another incident, with Chinese planes intercepting US ones. Nominally this is all in international airspace but China has decided these islands belong to them and are about to dispute this - when their defences are ready.

There must be a trove of oil and gas in the region to make this such a worthwhile fight - all of which continues to go unmentioned in the press.

Still though, it is strange how often in the world the most remote places and incidences lead to later catastrophe. Let's just hope this can be avoided this time by China learning to compromise.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

House prices up 9% in year to March

One thing I really have against the Conservative Government is the crazy approach to housing in the UK.

- We allow in 300,000 immigrants a year and build at best 100,000 new units

- We have easy laws on renting and make that profitable (recently changed I accept) whilst making mortgages hard to get for new buyers

- There is plenty of land, but planning permission is granted in a very restrictive way

- when the Government did act, in the Budget, it has caused a huge spike in Buy to Let purchases that have led to this 9% price rise.

This 9% is a big number, £15,000 + - a huge amount for anyone wanting to buy a house.

Also, every time house prices rise it further locks in the unequal society of the rich over-60's vs the poor under 30's; evermore split as the latter have no savings or assets and the former see theirs rise tax free month in and month out.

It is a very sad state of affairs and I despair that no Government has the guts to make the changes. This current Government has made buying property more expensive and raised taxes, but this seems to have done little (unsurprisingly) to have fixed the underlying issues.

I would expect come 2020 Housing will be right up their with the NHS in terms of peoples' concerns about the state of the nation.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Migration; the shape of things to come

Some of the world's many migration routes

The BBC is today have a nice little right-on orgasm as it interviews a UN commissioner on refugees and their beloved heroine Angeline Jolie-Pitt (she's attractive! she had cancer! she is a luvvie!).

There will, as ever, be little to see here. The refugee crisis is building across the world. Statistically, there has been a drop in war fatalities over the past two years across the world. 

There are less hot wars now than in the historic past - although of course more trouble in the Middle East which is closer to Europe and more accessible. 

There are also ongoing issues across Africa and Asia, whilst Europe, South America, North America, North Asia and Australia remain almost entirely at peace. 

Yet war and escaping from it are blamed as the cause of migration. The simpler fact is the huge population growth and limited economic progress (I mean this on a good way) means there are literally far more people able to try to move for a better life. 

The major world population growth areas left are Africa and South Asia. In Africa Nigeria takes a big lead and in Asia it is Pakistan and Bangladesh. Benighted countries these, unsurprisingly people will want to leave for something better as they mature. 

This is the true driver of migration. To me, our futureselves will look back in sneeringly at the lefty approach of today; allowing mas migration to destabilise strong societies with the unwanted from failing societies. You can argue this too happened in the opening up of the US, but the scale is different - plus there was little to destabilise in the US and no one technically there at all beyond the Indians. 

Instead in the future we will see a much more Australian approach to life, with borders controlled more effectively to stop ever increasing numbers of migrants from over-running society; again, this is what happened in the Dark Ages too so it is not without precedent in history, far from it. 

It is not about blaming migrants themselves, who would not want a better future. However, society in Europe will be able to cope with a few millions of migrants a year at most; the current 10's of millions will not be sustainable, no matter how much UN and fellow-travellers would like it to be.

Friday, 13 May 2016

BBC will continue forever, no capitalism thanks very much

I have written this article before when there has been a charter renewal. Everytime the Government flunks it, everytime it thinks about the acres of press articles from the luvvies and decides that the battle just ain't worth it.

No Government can stem a populist hoard led by Damian Lewis and Joanna Lumley.

Instead, cravenly, the Government signs on on another 10 years of enforced taxes to pay for product that would be freely made available on the market to the same leve.

Everytime I hear how we don't want AMERICAN TV, with its adverts, tons of new programming, funny comedies and lack of right-on bias. Who would want that for free eh?

In 2016, of course it is even worse. People will now be charged to use the iplayer because the actual model of TV subscription is dead anyway due to technology progress. In 5 years smart TV's will be the only thing around, content will be king and delivery channels the utility service - think Mobile phone providers.

The BBC can produce good content, so what? If it is so good let people choose to pay for it. They will, I would pay for some of it, why not. I pay for Netflix, Sky and other bits here and there.

But by force, to appease the luvvies, the Government decides taxing is always the answer. Another sad day for capitalism.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Dave v Nigel

This is the big one, sod the Euro's, the big one is Dave versus Nigel going to head to head to be champion of Breamain or Brexit in ITV's big debate.

The thing is, Nigel is a great underdog. The media have written him off long ago, but I recall seeing him debate Nick Clegg a few years ago, poor old Clegg - smashed beyond all hope of recovery.

Mr Cameron has a bit more experience than Clegg and has the nasty side on which to lean. But I don't see him wiping the floor with Nigel - in fact, given expectations will be low, it could be just the tonic the Leave side need as the tedious campaign enters its home stretch.

No surprise this is not being spun as such in the media at the moment, but the Brits love an underdog.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

The trouble with the truth

This week has been a bonanza week for VIP's getting unexpectedly caught out by a live mike. I always enjoy it when this happens as it mirrors life of us more ordinary folk.

The Queen has been caught saying the Chinese are rude, Mr Cameron has been caught out saying Afghanistan and Nigeria are corrupt. What makes this better are that these statements are true, but normal diplomatic tact and courtesy would mean these remain known and unsaid.

Of course, the phenomena of The Donald and to some extent Farage, Corybn et al is that they are making a play for saying stuff that a lot of people won't normally voice and are finding there are votes in it.

In my more humdrum world, the best bits normally come when various people from around the world think they have pressed the mute button during a conference call and discover they have not when tutting at the Russkies/Septics/Englanders or comically mimicking their respective voices. Or indeed forget they are on a video conference and not just on a phone call...

I am in two minds as to how things are developing. In the Victorian age of course much more was left unsaid than said; rules of etiquette were everything. Now, an age later, we have a call for safe spaces and worries about triggering - which has many echoes of etiquette really even if it all feels a b it feeble to us now.

I wonder where we will be in the future, will people slowly become more direct and honest or will we regress to saying as little as possible?

Monday, 9 May 2016

It's WAR!

Not even the traditional September dates either. The Prime Minister today has said that if we leave the EU, PEACE itself will be threatened and that is a VERY BAD THING.

I find it amazing that after the totally ineffectual Remain Campaign so far (i.e. the polls have hardly moved, if at all it is to Leave), to double down on Project Fear is a big bet.

Who really believes this tosh? Firstly, it is not true. Secondly, it is the EU stirring the pot with Turkey and Greece and letting in hundreds of ISIS cells that is actually causing instability and chaos.

It is just so implausible a statement and it also fails the law of diminishing returns in a big way. The closer we get to the Referendum the more this type of attack will have to be increased.

So dear readers what do they have left in their list for later use?

-  Our nuclear power stations will collapse without French maintenance?
-  We will have no electricity as they close the inter-connector?
-   Food will be rationed?

It is very hard to see where they go from here. The only amazing thing really is that Leave campaign does not have its act together to exploit the obvious weaknesses in the Remain campaign.

What Do You Call An Entity With Tax-Raising Powers And No Army?

Highly susceptible to blackmail.


Friday, 6 May 2016

2016 Local elections - everybody won

And for once, everyone did win. there was good news for all. The usual safe government kicking from annoyed voters didn't materialise for the Tories. They lose no councils in England. They finally have a breakthrough in Scotland. Or, more accurately, Labour have fallen below even Tory unpopularity.

In Wales, nothing much happened. Just one constituency changed hands. Labour losing one to Plaid.
So that must be a relief for labour. And good, limited, news for Plaid. On the assembley, Labour have lost majority, but are easily dominant still. 
UKIP picked up a comforting 7 seats. The Tories lost 3, down to 11.

The SNP continued to dominate almost the whole of Scotland. Labour's tactic of trying to out lefty them was a complete failure. No one was fooled.

The Liberals had a resurgence of sorts in Scotland. Encouraging signs, anyway. Very good hold in Shetlands that moved them from no influence to almost no influence in Scotland. And cheekily put them 1 constituency above labour on 4. Lib Dems lost their deposits in many many places. On councilors, UKIP and the Liberal Democrats picked up plenty.

Labour have won London. No big surprise. But by a bigger margin than predicted. And they have held onto almost all their councils, losing only 1 to NOC.  
The Greens remain the 3rd largest party in London, and even managed to achieve almost 6% of the weirdo voting system. good result for them.

So,everyone has some good news. Some real good news, not spin good news.

But some is just some. All have bad news too, except the SNP and Mr Khan. And Labour have the most.

The opposition party should be making gains. Standing still is no use. And this Labour opposition should have been making some  substantial gains with the advantages they have.

This is the sixth year of a ruling party. The government is currently fighting a civil war with a substantial number of its own, and the countries,  Brexit tendency. The government has been consumed by the referendum and has not focused on running the country. U-turn after U-turn followed the mini-omnishambles of the last budget. 
The junior doctors are out on strike. Just today the government has had to sneak a good day/bad news story that it was dropping its recently announced compulsory school academy program after much anger from teachers and parents. The new 'living wage', as predicted, is causing cut backs in other areas as  business struggles to find a way to pay for the largest ever increase in the minimum wage. The Prime Minister has had usually supportive newspapers against him over Europe. The worthless concessions the PM managed to achieve on Europe have had to buried and attempts to rig the referendum using government power and taxpayer's cash, have angered many Tory grassroots members, gifting UKIP supporters, when UKIP were largely out and finished after their own mis-steps post 2015.

The economic news is bad. The European news is bad. The migrant news is bad. The Syrian news is bad. The terrorist news is bad. The government forecasts are wrong and the government is totally unable to pursue any policy that runs into even the mildest of difficulties, due to its wafer thin majority and it lack of dominance in the House of Lords.

Any half decent labour leader would have made gains. A credible leader would have made large gains. Where is the Corbyn army that's supposed to be sweeping the new politics into power by virtue of them signing up millions of first-time and lapsed voters. If they didn't vote now, when will they?

The Corbyn party can take some comfort in London. But London has been a Labour city for a very long time.. Boris was the exception, not the rule. He won on the strength of his personality. No Boris, no win. Before Boris the most lefty of left wingers to ever take membership the Labour party was London Mayor. Ken Livingstone even had to defeat the Labour party to become mayor the first time. Which demonstrates both the argument for just how socialist London is and just how important having a 'personality ' is. It would have been a very big shock indeed if Mr Khan had not won. 

So. 2016 local elections.

Good news for everyone.
And equally, bad news for everyone.

{Even Nicola Sturgeon who might have wanted to make even more of a dent into the 20% of constituencies she has yet to overrun}

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

It's Trump V Hillary

So this must be a week of impossible things. Firstly, Leicester City win the Premier League at 5000-1 and now Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for President of the USA.

So much for my £10 on Paul Ryan coming through at a contested convention; oh how the party grandees of the Republicans must be weeping into their beer today. Apols for the bad tip.

Trump comes from the same school at Corbyn and Farage; deeply populist, able to sometimes say the things people want to hear and not what the elites think should be said.

However, all three suffer from the same issue of this meaning because they are right on one thing (say poverty, the power of wall street, immigration) they imagine every other hair-brained idea they have is also right.

What this does mean though is that politics is slowly morphing, more to single issues and away from banal consensus (which has proved so wrong over the course of this century much as it did at the beginning of the 20th Century before World War One).

For a short-attention spanned media and populace, changed by the emergence of social media, the single issues cut through whilst the sins seem more easily forgiven.

Trump would certainly make an interesting President, it is hard to see him doing worse than Obama who has done very little with his 8 years in power and has seen the USA regress across many economic and social indicators.

Hillary Clinton, wife of a former President, is surely the worst sort of first women President you could imagine - there by nepotism, no real desire beyond power, having hid the Clinton misdemeanours for decades. Frankly, Hillary is as bizarre a choice for the Democrats as Trump is for the Republicans.

Will make for an interesting year though. I wonder what impossible thing I should try myself given this week of strangeness...

Monday, 2 May 2016

Corbyn is a Resigner

Here's an open thread to get you going.

I reckon Corbyn is a Resigner ...  some people are, some people aren't.  He is.

Whatd'ya think?