Saturday, 23 May 2015

If you don't like the rules of the game, change them.

The EU is going to be the big story in the first half of this parliament.
Grexit & Brexit will be on the front pages of the papers until its all resolved. One way or the other.
So we shall be thinking about that for a long while yet.

One main stumbling block for the Better Off in Campaign .. and it is a pretty large pothole on the pathway to renegotiation .. is that the In campaign are proven liars.

We will put it — the EU Constitution — to the British people in a referendum and campaign whole-heartedly for a 'Yes' vote." — Labour Party manifesto, May 2005
"We will have a referendum on the constitution in any event — and that is a Government promise." — Tony Blair, The Sun, May 13, 2005
"Well, if it were necessary to hold a referendum, of course [we wouldn't hesitate]. I suspect that the best deal for Britain will be won, where we will get what we want, at this summit." — Gordon Brown, GMTV, June 19, 2007
"We would not agree to a deal that crossed the red lines, therefore, we did not believe a referendum would be necessary." — Later that day, Downing Street website
"The manifesto is what we put to the public. We've got to honour that manifesto." — Gordon Brown, BBC 1 Politics Show, June 24, 2007

 Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations.  No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum.
David Cameron September 2007 

 “What is the point in David Cameron upending one pledge on Europe , but promising he’ll offer us yet more European promises in his general election manifesto? Why will they be any more credible than the ‘cast-iron guarantee’ he has just broken?

The out campaign can make an awful lot of this issue.

They can point to the fact that even if the Prime Minister was sincere in his desire for changes to our relationship with the EU .. even if he was committed to Eu reform as his number one priority for the government..there is nothing to prevent the EU agreeing something , and then changing it back later on. 
Or changing the name and the colour of the cover of a treaty and pretending its a whole different, unrelated treaty. 
And then the UK's PM would only have to sneak through the French windows to append his signature to the toxic docs once the press have gone home. As happened before with Lisbon.

Despite all the promises of Red Lines and Cast Iron guarantees , these have been proved to be about as binding as that famous, hard fought,  European  Agreement that was agreed by another Conservative Prime Minister at Munich.

If I was leading the OUT campaigners, then this would be my 'Miliband in Sturgeon's pocket' attack line.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Wales: Where underperfomance pays


Here is a graphical indication of where Welsh educational performance is going:

Here is what the Welsh NHS is doing:

Embedded image permalink

Here is their pay rise voted to the members of the Welsh Assembly. There is nothing so rewarding as abject failure - why try when doing badly pays so well; just like they teach in Welsh schools...

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Gaol the Bankers [Again]

A good few years ago I sat my SFA, and then FSA exams.  For those who've not had the pleasure they are multiple-choice questions, and by way of prep my ever-helpful kids used to delight in testing me on long car journeys.  Not much of the regulatory stuff remains in the memory, it is pretty dry, but one thing I do recall:  under the regimes of those days there was a slew of misdemeanours for which the maximum penalty was  

2 years' imprisonment and an unlimited fine

And two years is for the 'technical' offences: you can get more than that for theft etc.

So here we are in 2015, eight years after the banking crisis started and financial wrongdoing / failure of governance ceased to be a joke.  Somehow, the bastards escaped gaol then, just conceivably because the place was in meltdown and all hands were needed on deck.  But any excuse for leniency is long since over.  And white-collar people really don't want to serve time.

So as FX rigging follows LIBOR rigging, where are the mass criminal prosecutions ?  The FCA has replaced the FSA and, I wondered, maybe the penalties have inexplicably been reduced since my day?  A quick search under 'imprisonment' in the FCA handbook reveals that this is not the case, it's still

2 years' imprisonment and an unlimited fine

For the nth time: I'm a capitalist, these people have their hands on my money, it's important, I want them banged up!