Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Readers' Letters

"Andrew" writes ...
Dear CU, I find myself in a dark place. As one of the few sort of remainers left I saw much that was good in the EU project. Though it had many faults, as a whole it could be thought of as a good thing in the round - a bit like a friendly, but faintly smelly dog. Now Mr Blair has spoilt it for me. As a general rule, from about the year 2000 just about everything he says can be taken as a not quite true, and any cause he supports can be taken as working against the interest of the 'man on the bus' in some small way. One good example of this is his sterling middle east peace envoy efforts that have run in close parallel to the rise of ISIL. Now it seems that he is in favour or the EU and thinks the UK is in trouble - especially the city. This means the EU is in a bad situation and the UK is not in trouble. Now it seems TB is buying UK property, which means means London is in trouble - especially if he intends to live there. It is difficult to keep a track of the many layers of his deceit, this is what John Le Carre is useful for and indeed it may soon come out that he is actually hunting the maltese falcon. Anyway, I am experiencing a lot of cognitive dissonance as the EU cannot be both good and bad at the same time (or can it). What do I do? 6:59 pm
Dear Andrew, 
Unfortunately, lots of things in life start out seeming good, but eventually reveal an unpalatable side, or take a turn for the worse. Regrettably this means we have to review our allegiances, and sometimes change them. It's a question of balance. A Blairometer is generally quite a reliable device (I nearly wrote "trustworthy", but that isn't the right word!) and is probably giving an accurate reading. 

Cognitive dissonance is always unsettling. Some people swear by the tried and trusted technique of closing their eyes, placing an index-finger in either ear, and singing LahLahLah! very loudly. Others migrate to websites populated only by those who agree with what they'd like to believe.  (For students in many universities there are "Safe Spaces" which perform a similar role.)  In these places they will find a cozy world of mutual delusion, and people who devise really creative fallacious arguments in support of illogical positions. 

In this case you could try a course of "Owen Jones", a remedy that has soothed many people who, for example, become anxious when someone tells them that nice Mr Corbyn is a life-long Brexiteer who unrepentantly supports vile causes across the globe, and that '2+2' is not the same as '5'. Do write again and tell us how you are getting on.




dearieme said...

Matthew Paris claims that he knew from the first that Blair was delusional.

dearieme said...

"from about the year 2000 just about everything he says can be taken as a not quite true": far too late a date. Don't you remember the Ecclestone affair and his claim to be a 'pretty straight sort of a guy'? 1997, wasn't it?

andrew said...

Dear ND

I have gone to my GP and asked to be prescribed a course of Owen Jones.
He refused as the cost of a course of treatment is just over £500,000 per annum.
This is way over the 30K NICE guideline.

My employer provides BUPA membership. I approached them. BUPA also turned me down on the grounds that Owen Jones is really a homeopathic remedy and does not actually have any detectable active ingredients.

Yours in despair.

Anonymous said...

Andrew........don't despair! It's not worth getting into a state about as I doubt whether being in or out will make much difference day to day for us plebs for years yet. Also I wouldn't hold much store in OJ as he's still a bit wet "behind the ears" as far as I can see.

As for TB let's hope for a big HPC (House Price Crash)in London. That might keep him quiet for a bit.

Peter S said...

"from about the year 2000 just about everything he says can be taken as a not quite true": far too late a date. Indeed, about the time the bastard learned to talk would be more like it.

barnacle bill said...

@ Peter S
You hit the nail on the head regarding T B-Lairs' truthfulness.

Something I would very much like to do to the slippery eel with a 2lb stone mason's hammer.

Dick the Prick said...

Highly chuckleable!

miker22 said...

Let's go back to before the 1997 election when Blair came to power (with a nicely choreographed demonstration of "spontaneous" support), back to his days as leader of the opposition, after the death of John Smith. A Labour government would be "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime". This was in the days when Labour councillors refused to allow policemen into schools because they were the instruments of oppression and there was no such thing as criminality - it all had a psychological explanation. At last, the gullible thought, a politician gets it. Someone with common sense who can spot a toerag when they see one. Need I go on....

Elby the Beserk said...

"dearieme said...
Matthew Paris claims that he knew from the first that Blair was delusional.
11:23 am"

Takes one to know one, eh?

Electro-Kevin said...

"@ Peter S
You hit the nail on the head regarding T B-Lairs' truthfulness.

Something I would very much like to do to the slippery eel with a 2lb stone mason's hammer."

That sounds like it would be very hard work.

Dick the Prick said...

Is there a unification of the Catholic Church and the EU with Junker announcing himself Charlemagne?

Junker saying the EU are gonna do deals with Australia and New Zealand was fake bravado - should expect so ffs.

I think it's perfectly acceptable to ask Remaniancs to apologize. Unless they're proper Federalists and people mean units then they should say sorry. It's all very well saying £350 million on a bus and another to take your Veto. Nick Clegg laughed in Farage's face.

I have smoked significant amounts of cannabis and drank rather a lot of beer in my time but inviting the Balkans in spells trouble. T.R.O.U.B.L.E - that spells trouble.

Electro-Kevin said...

Message to CU.

IB is a friend of mine and he says you're a cnut for not buying bitcoins at £30. (Not my words)

Wot say you ?

He's a leftie Remainer and has been criticising my reading material. Says I have some bad influences not worthy of respect and should open my mind.

Get a bit shirty, these Remainers.

Dick the Prick said...

If we can't understand the EU - why the chuff do we expect anyone else?

CityUnslicker said...

He is right EK

Electro-Kevin said...

I'm sorry to have reminded you.

Why would JP Morgan (if they indeed hold lots of Bitcoins) talk them down ?

To buy them up in large numbers once they have dropped ? I thought the whole point of crypto currency was counter-culturalism - to bypass the banksters... so would JP Morgan have a privileged fast pass to buying then up ? A special programme to do this like concert ticket touts ?

If not then a bit of a risk, surely.

As I see it - if Bitcoin is the real deal - the shysters will be in charge of this new currency soon enough.

Or perhaps it's true what the head of JPM is saying. Tulips. (A very few people did make a lot of money out of Tulips btw. Not much consolation to you.)

My greatest concern is this:

Bitcoin represents a dismantling of financial borders to add to the dismantling of physical borders, a further step towards supra-national equality. Your average westerner (doing very well, despite his gripes) should not rejoice at the demise of his country's banks nor loss of his government's control over issuance of money - global equalisation actually means a long way to fall for him, and 21 million coins is not a lot.

Also - the value of Bitcoin has to be related to something beyond itself. At the moment it only has its own intrinsic value, "I want Bitcoin 'cause they're limited edition and everyone else wants one.

Fine. Let's set up another electronic currency... and another... and another...


Steven_L said...

Is bitcoin any more a dismantling of financial borders than Western Union? They might charge a higher fee but there is a heck of a lot less risk both in terms of exchange rate and counterparty.

It's a mania. And the crypto-currency waters are now well and truly infested with sharks. Who cares what this chap from JPM said? Maybe it's just banter that tripped off his tongue without him even thinking about it. Maybe JPM and other banking institutions are embarked on some sort of harebrained scheme. It wouldn't be the first time would it?

One of the two people I know who are into crypto currencies claims to have changed all his bitcoins into gold. Only he didn't actually sell his bitcoins for cash. He went to a bitcoin for gold exchange - a small limited company registered in a £250k East London house, run by German directors (if Companies House havwe the real names that is) - and now believes he is the beneficial owner of bars of gold ion Switzerland.

I've asked him why he didn't just sell his bitcoins for cash and then buy gold via an ETF or a more established bullion dealer. He basically just called me an idiot and said I needed to do more research. It took all of 5 minutes to establish the company he's dealing with has no track record. But this is cryptomania, the whole idea is to avoid ever putting your money into 'fiat' ever again.

Because the sharks have the fiat and as soon as the inflow of fiat into cryptospace turns negative the various ponzi schemes will all collapse like dominoes and nobody will ever see their 'fiat' (aka money) again. Or their bars of gold in Switzerland I suspect.

Steven_L said...

In fact, thinking more about this chaps 'bitcoin for gold' trade, it looks to me like the 'smart money' has started shorting bitcoin.

You can't buy and sell gold for 'fiat' here. You deposit bitcoins and receive an allocation of gold. At the moment 1 gram of gold is about 0.01BTC or $40. So let's use 0.01 and $40 as nice round numbers.

Say some schmuck has 0.5BTC so they trade for 50g of gold worth $2000. Now lets say their trade goes well and BTC falls to $1000 and gold stays at $40/g. They decide to sell their gold for BTC, they execute the trade and they are paid 2BTC. All well and good.

But what if BTC really crashes. What if the dominoes start falling, the exchanges vanish and there is a stampede for the exit. Mr Schmuck probably feels quite smart that his long gold/short BTC trade is keeping his profits locked in. So let's say BTC is now has a 'price' of $10. And Mr Schmuck is owed 200BTC.

And let's say this is repeated across the board. The problem is (firstly) there is no liquidity anymore. Various website quote a price of $10 for BTC, and they will sell you a BTC for $10. But they will only let you 'cash out' using USD tether or ether or litecoin or crapcoin etc.

Problem #2 is there are only ever 21 million BTC (they reckon about 16m as we speak). Because of all these what were effectively derivatives contracts shorting BTC, the schmuks are now owed more BTC than even exists. In settlement they have a piece of paper that says IOU 200BTC. the estimated number of the IOU BTC's is many times the number of actual BTC.

Problem #3 is enforcing the contracts. The vast majority of people, over 99% in fact, never got into BTC, they thought it was a fad or a scam or simply nonsensical. So getting a sympathetic judge to award you any 'fiat' whatsoever based on the notional / hope value of your BTC when you clearly entered into a long BTC / short gold contract when you tried to close your trade might be hard work.

Now the other thing is this - that man I know who has entered into one of these long gold/short BTC contracts is not a schmuck. He is a 61 year old educated man who spent his working life in Silicon Valley and more lately managing his own successful restaurant. He is a clever, articulate and astute guy, so consumed by crytomania that he can't why this contract presented a bigger risk than changing back into 'fiat' and buying gold the old fashion way through an established, trusted, regulated counterparty.

andrew said...

Just heard about a new ICO called Blaircoin

Unlike most other ICOs, it is backed by physical assets.

In this case silver.

The strapline of the ICO offer says there is a very large amount of silver and it is available at 45mins notice.

On closer investigation, it turns out in the small print that the asset backing is only actually 29 small pieces (one has been lost), and is not actually silver.

Nick Drew said...

not accepted as payment for the prescribed course of Owen Jones, however

hard cash only for that smooth, sticky stuff