January 2011

An important speech?

Back to the 1920s?

An important speech? An important speech?
Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, has made a speech, stating that living standards will fall at an alarming rate. He has mentioned the 1920s, suggesting a return to the great recession. Can this be so and what can the average person do about it? Prior to the great property price collapse that led to the financial troubles that are still with us, the general rule seemed to be 'spend, spend, spend'. It was if the very health of the nation, your relatives and friends depended upon prolonged and focused consumerism; is this still true? But then this avoids another question, was it the right policy in the first place? Before the property bubble burst a former Deputy Governor of the bank of England, Sir John Gieve, had said that personal debt was far too high. It would be remarkable if this situation has changed.

For many people not only is immediate personal debt a problem but they are concerned about their younger relatives' chances of paying off the National Debt. The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme is a typical disaster here, yet almost as soon as it was begun the drawbacks were clear. Unemployment is rising and people are fearful of the future so attitudes will change, they will scale back their plans.

A quick look at the Guardian

Blair and Coulson, stung by a wasp or a bee?

Policy wonk being hacked? Policy wonk being hacked?
As a child I was told that a wasp can sting as much as it likes whereas a bee can sting only once, then it dies. Is this true? No matter; it could be the situation the Guardian is in. Apart from the BBC no section of the MSM has worked harder on the Andy Coulson case. So his departure from the Cameron inner circle at No 10 must have brought the Guardian joy, given them a buzz if you like, so what happens now? Following the successful sting, the very health of the Guardian comes into focus as well as the life of the political spinner. It's said that the sales figures of the Guardian are going down at an alarming rate; how long can this go on? It's wise to remind ourselves that Coulson denies any wrongdoing and would appear to be innocent until proven guilty. You may regard this as either a tiresome tradition that means nothing or a corner-stone of good legal practice, feel free to choose.

Also feel free to wonder at the lives of the assorted celebs and smart people who are not smart enough to live without a mobile phone. The Coulson case goes back years and is not the first case of this sort. It would seem smart people have yet to learn that mobile phones are not totally secure and have been leaking data for years. We also have to wonder why Cameron wanted to employ a house trained version of Alistair Campbell.

Prejudice, if we all have it does that make it normal?

Are political skills in decline as activism and tokenism take over?

The Segway, a bright new future? The Segway, a bright new future?
Prejudice consists of things we like and things we don't such as: the Segway, gay B&B goings on and Baroness Warsi. What a nightmare! A minefield of madness with the overbearing stench of political correctness thrown in for good measure. We start with the Segway That's right the super-geek's mobility scooter. The transport of choice of that 'going nowhere man' Lembit Opik. It has been formally banned from roads and pavements in the UK by District Judge Michael Rosenber. Several people I know whooped for joy upon reading that!

It's not just the perennial attachment of Sparebit Opik that has done for the image of these things, it's more. What is it for? It appears to serve no useful purpose being a latter day, and upright, incarnation of the Sinclair C5. This, for those of you who cannot remember, was a horizontal attempt at the same thing; transport for fools. It had a battery, so was declared Green. Even in 1985 this was an ace, so was played to win by people who thought they had seen the future. But other than to warm the hearts of the "look at me" types it did nothing sales wise and was a commercial failure. Perhaps the Segway will follow?

Is the tide turning?

A little disenchantment with the EU but no real criticism

Sustainable fishing?Sustainable fishing?
Old habits die hard and a lifetime habit of some sections of the MSM is to talk up the EU. In an ideal world the average person would get the facts from a news' source and make up their own mind. However, it's not like that. Honest reporting and unbiased reporting don't always come together. The EU has been a cause to support by both the BBC and the Guardian as well as a number of other subjects now broadly referred to as 'environmental', where hitherto these were simply common sense. The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is now getting a second look due to its mad, bad and stupid discard policy. This is related to quotas for species, so fish from another species, although netted and on the deck of the trawler often have to be thrown back.

The bulk of journalists now working for the BBC and Guardian would be too young to remember the upset caused by Edward Heath giving up the UK's fishing grounds. So to them the EU has been nothing but good; I know of several graduates who while at university have been told that the EU has 'prevented wars'. I know of one who tried to suggest that NATO played a role here and was given a very hard time by the lecturer; but such distortion no longer seems shocking following the University of East Anglia's climate research malpractice.

Victory!

But for whom?

Debbie AbrahamsDebbie Abrahams
And all shall have prizes; well no as there's only one winner in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election. But according to what you want to read into this result the MSM will help. It's a sort of something-for-every-one moment. To the political left it's not the start of the fight back it's proof of success, a warm-up act for ultimate victory; "come the revolution", or for the less vibrant, "come the next election", we shall prevail. For the other parties the true meaning is a bit more hazy, but first the facts:

THE NUMBER OF VOTES CAST

Labour: 14,718
Lib Dems: 11,160
Conservatives: 4,481
Ukip: 2,029
BNP: 1,560
Green Party: 530
Other parties (4) 452

THE PERCENTAGE OF THESE VOTES

Labour: 42.1%
Lib Dems: 31.9%
Conservatives: 12.8%
Ukip: 5.8%
BNP: 4.5%
Green Party: 1.5%
Other parties: (4) 1.1%

So starting with the Green Party, at just 1.5% of the votes it does seem the green revolution is on the back burner. Perhaps the good folk of Oldham East and Saddleworth have, after a very cold winter and rising fuel bills, concluded that global warming is not such a bad thing. Also the Yorkshire moors do have their beauty compromised by windfarms.

Portugal and the bond market

Trouble postponed but the problem remains and still may spread

Help for Portugal?Help for Portugal?
So is this a victory or just a breathing space? There's much in the news beyond the financial woes of Portugal in particular and the euro in general. The bond sale has gone ahead and some might assume that marks the end of the story. Well perhaps these were the people who were caught out by the financial collapse of Greece and Ireland. To the average person economic and financial news is always dull, except for banker-bashing which is in full spate, again.

A tale of two experts

Congdon versus Halligan, Quantitative Easing, who's right?

Tim Congdon Tim Congdon
The problem here is that the position we have taken in the past with 'experts'is to condemn them. The experts who predict our imminent demise due to climate change are cheats and, it would appear, do this for some very strange reasons. But the subject under the spotlight here is economics. So this is not so much a condemnation as an analysis.

First of all Tim Congdon is a eurosceptic, he's no lightweight either. Unlike many politicians who have no life/work experience outside of the Westminster bubble, Congdon has worked in the City of London as an economist. He formed his own company, Lombard Street Research, to offer in-depth economic data to interested parties. He has also been an academic and part of the HM Treasury's panel of independent economic forecasters. He is perhaps more of an economist than a journalist.

Liam Halligan is also a eurosceptic who has worked and strayed beyond the Westminster boundary. He has worked in Moscow as the co-founder of an economics data organisation. After some time he returned to the UK to work as an economics correspondent for TV and numerous newspapers. However, there's more to life than opinions and Halligan co-founded Prosperity Capital Management, eventually to become its Chief Economist.

Resilience, Russian style

Russia fights the cold war of winter

50 Years of Victory (what's in a name huh!)50 Years of Victory (what's in a name huh!)
For most of the now snow-free UK, it's back to work; so was the thaw evidence of global warming? However, over on EU Referendum Richard North keeps up the pressure, as well he should. For the climate scientists (as pure as the driven snow?) have a lot to answer for. Here we are in the age of cut backs so why did our airports and other transport systems come to a stop in the recent bad weather? Was it because the authorities sought to save money and so did not bother with all the snow clearing equipment? Or did they heed the predictions of the scientists about snow becoming unknown and feel the money would be better spent on other things, like diversity and equality projects?

The news, all that's fit to print; if we can be bothered

The MSM - it's both what they write and what they leave out

All about it?All about it?
As far as real news is concerned we are at this time of year in the doldrums. So it's lucky for the MSM that Elton John and David Furnish have become both mothers and fathers, simultaneously, for the trifling sum of $19000. It's news like this that gets us all going eh? Obviously news-space has been limited so some stories have been truncated. Thus the London Evening Standard has a story with the title -

December was coldest in 120 years

We get the facts, and if you will pardon a pun, just the cold facts. At no point in the story is there a sermon on climate change or global warming. So what's going on then, is the MSM dropping the mantra? Perhaps they think we can work it out for ourselves, namely the whole thing was a con and we will no longer take the lecture? So this leaves the question why did they go on and on about it for so long?