Thursday, 19 January 2017

Mischief in The Gambia: The Remainer of Banjul

                                                                                                Map:  Wiki
Politics in the UK and the USA, it has to be said, are pretty interesting just now: but meanwhile, in the rest of the world ...  As Gambian president Yahya Jammeh plays his post-election game of Will He, Won't He (go without a fight), his neighbours steaming across the border to offer menaces against him and tourists reluctantly coming home on FCO advice, the Army declares itself a non-participant.  “I am not going to involve my soldiers in a stupid fight. I love my men” said Ousman Badjie, chief of the defence staff
... stopping to pose for selfies with admirers. “If they [Senegalese] come in, we are here like this,” Badjie said, making a hands up to surrender gesture.  
Sounds about right, from my modest experience of this strange little country on business 18 months ago.   (This boosted my stock of crazy third-world anecdotes, which I may relate in some future Saturday post if it's quiet one week.)   His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh Babili Mansa - el presidente for a few more hours perhaps - was always a bit flaky, e.g. his recent declaration that The Gambia was going to become an economic superpower a few years from now.   His electorate were evidently sceptical about this; and to be fair, there were no outward and visible signs of superpower-type things happening.  Or anything, really. 

I couldn't help noticing that the locals in this longtime British Commonwealth country spoke English and French equally, and the explanation I was given (plus a glance at the map) makes it obvious enough.  The lengthy border with francophone Senegal is totally porous and bears no relationship to the tribal boundaries: people drift in and out between the two countries all the time.  Not a propitious basis for armed resistance against the local heavyweights of the country that surrounds them on three sides, plus Nigeria. 

The majority of the population are Muslim in an easygoing sort of way (hey, for years before ebola it was a major-league holiday destination for scantily clad, boozy westerners); but there is no shortage of Christians either.  The entertaining local newspapers devote the front page to obsequious coverage of the president's latest witterings, but inside the crime reports are colourful, and a page each is given to an Imam and a Catholic priest, from which columns I learned several worthwhile doctrinal points.

The beaches are stunning (my pix, not a brochure).  But my "4-star hotel"  - a household name global franchise - had an extremely dodgy electricity supply (no fun in a hot conference room when the OHP and the aircon die on you)  and no telephones ... 

Jammeh has been offered exile in Nigeria, but at the time of writing he hasn't taken it up.  The whole of the dark continent is watching this one closely as it might still represent an exceptionally rare event - an African dictator giving up power without bloodshed.  And with a strategic position as weak as the one conveyed by the map, I think we must assume that'll be the eventual result.  Hopefully so - for all concerned.


EU show their teeth

Been very busy here at Capitalists Towers, what with the need to earn salaries and income etc.

So apologies for the lighter posting this week.

The EU seem to be really goading themselves for a fight though. Anything said by Mar or Johnson at the moment is being taken as a horrific insult worthy of instant response and denigration.

There are a couple of obvious themes:

- Left-Wing Euroers are much worse and are very akin to remainers.
- The Brussels crowd are this doubleplus
- There is the strange outlier here of Donald Tusk who seems to be acting like a grown-up.
- Key player Merkel is remaining very quiet, lots of the national political whining is by politicians trying to shore up their positions ahead of elections this year they are likely to lose.

These 'negotiations' are unlikely to last very long in this environment.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Monday, 16 January 2017

Brexit battle ready to begin...

More downside for the Pound. This is of course great news for the UK as a whole:

- Our debt is in Sterling, so we become less indebted in real terms as the Pound falls.
- Inflation is needed to regularise our economy after the QE inspired mess.
- Our exports will flourish as they become more competitive.
- Foreign Direct Investment will increase as it buys more for less.
- Tourism will increase as the UK becomes cheaper to visit.
- As our relative wages fall, immigration may drop slightly as we become more competitive in this respect.

The only negative is travelling abroad is more expensive for us Brits, but staycations are also a net benefit to the economy in any event.

So none then.

Anyhow, the cause of this is the Prime Minister and Chancellor making noises about negotiating from a Hard Brexit stance and then adding in that we can make threats also. Turning the UK into a massive offshore tax haven (which of course we are already....) for one.

This added to ND's post of Friday where Michel Barnier has woken up to the threat of a UK exit causing the cost of capital to rise for European firms and we are in a much better place.

Remoaners are going to go full steam now, as final defeat for them hoves into view. For the majority though, at last the phony war is ending and the meat of the discussions can happen.

Putting it about like this is refreshing for the Brexiteers; Europe holds lots of the cards and so we will need to be strong in trying to negotiate any deal at all with them.

And that is before we get to Trump and his over-friendliness.....

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Jeremy Corbyn relaunch press conference

{video - Guido Fawkes H/T}

Jeremy Tramp, leader twice elect so far, is at his relaunch press conference with his all new 'can-do' combative, audacious, outrageous style.

 " My friends..I just want to say great it is to be here..its truly a great thing be at the center of local-world socialism ..the Fabian Society...a great and ..wondrous thing and its an honour for the members of the press to speak to me...I will be taking questions in just a second. But not from anyone from a fake news channel. 
But firstly, I want to talk about this our medical-healthcare sickness system. I am concerned, personally and deeply, deeply and personally concerned about long term care for the vulnerable, elderly, confused people in society who are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous union bosses or shadow chancellors wait? ..It says don't say that ..just a ..momentum here...Ok .. Vulnerable old and frail, sickly looking, ancient, willowy, reedy armed old men..who are being failed by Camerocare. a total failure..A total costly failure. The privatisation of social care instead of being solely something for the government to mess with..He..Mr Cameron..he messed around with social care and ruined it for everyone. Everyone..and I'm going to put a stop to it. So very frail and weak old men...or ladies..but especially grey-bearded men..can have the care they need in their looming, imminent,old age. And i'll tell you how I am going to do it. The same way that made this country great..Like it was in the 1970s. By Nationalisation. 

 {crowd cheers enthusiastically}

We are going to nationalise..EVERYTHING. Roads..Buildings..Hospitals..Shoe Shops.. Children..clouds..cats.. Everything, folks. Ok ..thank you for that rapturous applause. I will now take some questions..yes..You sir..Graham Ilyanovich..Islington Gazette ..yes go ahead..

 "Thank you Mr Tramp. Can you answer those who say you are getting too old to be Prime Minister?" 

" good friend..Fidel Castro..he was 90 years old and still running the best healthcare systems in the world. If you don't count any of the other, much better ones. Look..I am a very healthy guy..I eat only vegan food and drink only turnip wine..I cycle all the time and get lots of exercise running away from difficult situations..So I am in great shape..great shape..better than 'Diabetes' May, eh? madam.. who is that. Romilly Weeks.. ITV..the "I Luv Theresa Vision?..You are fake news..I'm not question..No question.I won't talk to ITV fake News...Stop talking  - I'm moving on ..Daily mail..Quentin Letts - the funnies guy..

 "Daily Mail - How on earth will you stop high net wealth individuals from fleeing this natonalised, regressive, communist, Cuba like nation?" 

"I am glad you asked ..And , by the way, its not a Cuba model. I want to go full Venezuela.. The answer is very simple. Our Russian friends had the answer years ago .The corporates are going to get the bill for this one..  

"We .. are ..Going to build a Berlin style Wall. And Texaco is going to pay for it!"
{crowd applauds loudly - they like this slogan}

 "You don't seem to have any ability to lead the Labour Party, Mr Tramp!" 

 "Who that..the Biassed BBC.... That's another beauty..Listen..I have lots of ability..I have great ability friends are always talking about my Huge ability..So you don't have any worry on that score..I have fantastic ability..I am very able. I was ably when I was in my twenties and I am abling now. I have great, lasting, ability. Youge Ability..Bigly so..
Next question please..You ..Mrs Sky lady..with the nice rack.."

"Mr Tramp. Do you want to respond to these damning allegations about the Russians?" 
{mutterings and discontent from the audience. They don't like the question}

 "You see..this is more fake news..from the rigged media..the rigged..Let me tell you ..I don't  know Vladimir Putin.. I work for Vladimir Putin on his Russia Today channel..But I have never met him personally. When I used to go to Russia during the cold war, he wasn't there. I have great respect for Mr Putin. Great respect. But he doesn't pay me..Except for the TV work I just mentioned. I think he and I could do business. If he wanted to resurrect the USSR, I would be very happy with that.  ..This report about certain activities I'm supposed to indulge in. At night a hotel room just lies. Its..Fake News.

Let me tell you .. ..The outrageous report that I was filmed being a typical lefty bedwetter is totally..undeniably ..untrue.
I wear TENA Maxi plus nighttime pants...nothing leaks out! I never leak. And you know ..I am a bit of a germaphobe. I don't like to connect with anybody. That's why my policies are deliberately so bizarre. And this bed I was supposed to have had an accident in? Because it was once slept in by Cherie and Tony Blair? Well..You know my thoughts on them..

Folks .. You know why they want to rig the system to keep people like me from setting up a commission of my own? I said, as my first act as Prime Minister, I would investigate Tony Blair's illegal Iraq war." And Alistair Campbell said that was why I was unfit to be leader..
And I said  "Because you'd be in jail!" 

{crowd cheers and loudly chants - lock him up! lock him up! lock him up!} 

My friends ..That's it more questions..Let us just work together or apart, to end this corrupt, capitalist system.. and 

{wild cheering and applause. Jeremy throws his Lenin cap into the crowd! Placards wave and band strikes up "Back in the USSR"}

Friday, 13 January 2017

Brexit Negotiations: Now We're Talking!

The Grauniad, bless their little red socks, has an Absolute Cracker of an exclusive. 
EU negotiator wants 'special' deal over access to City post-Brexit:   - minutes of Michel Barnier’s meeting with senior MEPs reveal he wants 27 member states to have easy access to London’s financial institutions ... Barnier wants a “special” relationship with the City of London after Britain has left the bloc, according to unpublished minutes seen by the Guardian that hint at unease about the costs of Brexit on continental Europe ... The fear is that European governments and companies would find it harder and more expensive to raise capital if they were denied access to the City, which acts as Europe’s investment bank.
And so it goes on - you'll want to read the whole lot.  Good on yer, Guardian!

Now there's a Frenchman who might actually understand the way of the world - as opposed to the lumpen euro-mass of morons who truly do not understand (particularly German morons - as we've written here many a time and oft).  Frankfurt?  Pff.

It's interesting, because a priori you'd imagine the superior and irredeemably statist products of les Grandes Écoles would be not at all well placed intellectually to grasp the facts about finance and free markets and the like.  But my experience has been that there are actually plenty of froggies who do, even if it is often admitted through clenched teeth.

By truly delightful coincidence, today was the day I was asked by the (French) friend-of-a-friend if Mrs D & I would act as honorary godparents to his daughter as she sets out on her career in ... London.  It's the only place, she says.

An honour and a pleasure, Monsieur.