Behind the political screen

We have seen events in the last few years that make me wonder if there is sanity in choice. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Catalonia, against their desire to become independent. It might make local sense, yet where is the wisdom? You see, the same was in play for Scotland, and now we are starting to see more ‘fire’ from Lombardy. A lot of these moves do not make sense. We might argue that an independent Scotland makes the most sense, yet in all this the direct issue is that they cannot afford it. If the oil was different, perhaps, yet even then there are larger questions not considered. The first being ‘How will we keep a budget?‘, this is the first issue and it sank any chance for Scotland. Even with the oil sales, they were already well over 10% short and as oil revenue dwindles down, the Scottish options melted like snowflakes in a Pizza oven. So until the Scottish political delegations attracts a larger more settled form of investors and long term players there is no independent Scotland, there never will be one as it currently sits and I agree that this is a sad thing for the Scots. Now as we consider Scotland and consider that both Catalonia and Lombardy will be in a place that is a lot worse than Scotland would be, the question now becomes, who is pushing behind the screen. You see these levels of ‘local pride’ is getting pushed, and it is always pushed by people with a greed driven agenda and that is a much larger problem than anyone is willing to admit to.

You see, as I personally see it, a few players didn’t get their way through Spain and the UK and are now vying for another path that opens up opportunity and credit cards. Yet behind all this, once they have what they got, they move away, out of sight, out of mind and leave where ever they have been a massive financial mess that is suddenly not theirs to solve, which they then ‘sell’ on to other players. And after that, who pays the bills? Will the ECB come with funds? Will they make the nations sign new debt agreements and exchange bills for large corporations? Perhaps we will suddenly see a wave of news with all the great things the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) can do for all the players involved. It opens up the doors they need and makes the government vassals towards the goals they have in play. One large Europe where no one gets to have a say, except for the large financier and multinational that swim in the pool that supports and supplies their needs. The fear after Brexit is growing almost exponentially within their halls of power. With ‘Since our establishment in 1991 we’ve invested over €115 billion in more than 4,500 projects‘ we all seem to think the best of the EBRD (which might not be wrong), so where do they get their profit from? Because a bank, EVERY BANK, requires return on investment to continue! With “The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is owned by 67 shareholders, 65 countries and two international organisations” that question becomes more and more important. You see, the fact that there are nations providing funds is fine. Yet when we see Canada subscribing with $1 billion a year, are they throwing money out the door, or window for that matter? In addition, what are the Governor and alternate, or more precisely The Hon Bill Morneau and Mr Ian Shugart getting out of this? Now, let me be clear. I am not stating that the EBRD is doing anything wrong, illegal or immoral! I am asking questions on where these independent seeking groups are getting their economic wisdom (or lack thereof from) the fact that these organisations ALL have boards of directors, getting an income I reckon, is food for thought, because all that money is set, stored or reserved to some extent and their local citizens should be allowed to know where that money is going to. In addition, when these groups are being invested in, the fact that they have no real viable plan to be economic independent is also a matter of concern, so whoever is setting up the funds in all this should be placed in the spotlight. The questions I ask regarding the EBRD, should give food for thought. Even as many might not remember 1993, the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/attali-runs-out-of-credit-the-ebrd-president-was-finally-forced-to-yield-to-calls-for-his-head-1494218.html) gave us: “Jacques Attali, the beleaguered president of the Bank for European Reconstruction and Development, picked up the telephone in his office in Broadgate and rang a number in Sweden. He spoke for several minutes to Anne Wibble, the Swedish finance minister and chairman of the bank’s governors, who was away from her office on Sweden’s summer solstice holiday. By the time he put down the phone, he had resigned from his post.” It sounds so summery and tranquil, yet the story is not so sweet. With “The Financial Times reported that Attali had been reimbursed twice for the same first-class air fare to Tokyo and had collected dollars 30,000 (pounds 20,000) for a speech there, even though bank staff were not supposed to be paid by anyone but the EBRD“, we see merely another section of the gravy train. First class lights, twice in his case apparently, or is that for what we used to call a ‘travel secretary‘? In addition he seemingly gets more for one day than most are hoping to ever get for an entire quarter. As for the ‘not supposed to be paid by anyone but the EBRD‘, how much was he on? As the list goes on with most notably the refurbishment of 55.5 million, I think I have illuminated enough for more questions to be asked. The article has more and more vicious material, so do read it. This now gets us to the three optional nations to be, because they will need funds and loans and other things. So whilst it is not out of the question that they would knock on all those doors, the slam back from the EBRD part is: “The EBRD’s expenditure on itself was twice as much as the bank’s actual lending in 1991 and 1992, its first two years of operation“, so running the gravy train, or is that ‘hiring executive jets‘ to fly back an forth to these three nations to be, will we see more disgraceful spending? Reuters gives us more from last June with ‘Ex-EBRD banker jailed for six years for bribery by UK court‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ebrd-corruption-prison/ex-ebrd-banker-jailed-for-six-years-for-bribery-by-uk-court-idUSKBN19B37Y), with the quote “Andrey Ryjenko, 44, who has joint UK and Russian citizenship, had been found guilty of conspiring to make or accept corrupt payments between July 2008 and November 2009 while he worked at the London-based development bank“, so there are issues and I am decently convinced that in all this Andrey Ryjenko was not the only player, as it went on for well over a year, he was merely the less intelligent one as he was the only one who seemingly got caught. So as we see how Europe is not bursting at the seams for new players to create what we might see as a ‘virtual’ or ‘fictive’ growth of the economic terrain, we will see more economic players, opening new commissions, new ‘opportunities’ whilst in fact, it is merely to set up another part of the gravy train with three new optional stops. This is what is going on behind the political screen and it is happening right in front of our very eyes. So, now as the EIB s loaning Spain 600 million euro for a Basque high speed railway, we need to ask how this will be earning itself back. It might seem nice on the verge of creating jobs for a little while. The idea that something will bring 24 million in revenue a year merely to pay for the interest is just short of insane. It is a 180Km track, so the idea that people would pay 400% to gain 30-45 minutes is close to insane. Having a normal upgraded rail that would be at 30% of the cost giving us a 140-165Km per hour train versus a train that needs to slow down by the time it is a maximum speed is beyond belief (OK, that was a small exaggeration). I get that it might seem really cool for Spain to have their three Basque capitals (Vitoria, Bilbao and San Sebastian) connected, yet the way money is thrown away is just too weird for reality (at http://www.globalconstructionreview.com/news/eu-loans-spain-600m-basque-high-speed-railway/). The 600 million is merely the loan whilst the plan requires at least 400 million more and I feel certain that by 2019 the people get to learn that the calculations were off by no less than 17%. It is the final part that astounded me the most. With “More than 7 million people are expected to use these new high-speed lines in their first year of operation, said the EIB“, Yet when we look at Statista (at https://www.statista.com/statistics/457527/passenger-traffic-in-the-high-speed-train-between-madrid-and-barcelona/) we see that the biggest transport vein (Madrid-Barcelona) was getting between 2.5 million (2010) and 3.4 million (2014), so how that goes up to an astounding 300% for High Speed trains is quite beyond me, because let’s face it, not only is it the size of the place, where we see 3 million for Madrid versus 340,000 for Bilbao, we see Barcelona with 1.6 million versus San Sebastian with 186,000 and there is Vitoria with 244,000. So the population numbers do not add up, the stats compared to other high speed trains do not add up and the required economic importance of the locations do not add up, but someone sold the story that made Spain to be facilitated for a loan that is already surpassing 1.4 billion. That is the game behind the screen and in all this, there are a lot of questions and no one is asking them. The people are merely sitting down, casually seeing train carts full of loans pass by, loans that they in the end have to pay for. And I am willing to bet anyone a nice old beer that the people selling the story that sold got a nice pay check in the end too.

As I personally see it, greed will always be the main player behind nearly every political screen and the three optional nations to be, would potentially get into hot waters on year one of their existence. So how does that solve anything? It is not impossible that these steps are not the beginnings of independent places, it is merely the start of the sovereign right of a financial institution to have the terms of conditions of their needs be made into law by contractual agreement of whatever geographical indicator that they have acquired ownership of through hostile takeovers without an army and no elections required.

And all this comes at a slightly larger price than most would expect (even beyond my descriptions given), as Spain is lowering its forecast, we see the dangers that the deficit will grow way beyond the proportions expected a quarter ago, so that will dampen further positive news. In all this, whilst unemployment is still way over the top, the EU will have a dampened outlook on a few levels, as Spain is now becoming the more outspoken negative element in all this. In this too many players have been looking towards the short term gains that were seemingly in place, yet in the end, so far they still need to prove to be a positive return on investment, something the new High Speed Train is unlikely to ever become. In that setting we see player’s vying for some level of independent growth, whilst they have futuristically been set on a debt level that will merely strangle them. How is that independence or an act to create forward momentum?

We see the elements, yet the media at large steers clear of several parts in all this. At times we hear some overpaid high official in that government state: “It is a really complex matter to address, so we have sought the expertise of the leading members in that field”, we only need to look at ABC (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-01-27/milk-company-problems-as-dairy-industry-sours/8184544) to see the events that involve the Tasmanian-based Linear Capital, we see in addition “Queensland coal miner Bill McDonald told the ABC he planned to build a 40,000-strong dairy herd and was on the hunt for 250 million litres of milk to complement his own production”, it is followed by “Within 18 months, the company announced that Mr McDonald had sold all his shares in the company and he instead planned to invest his money back in the coal industry. His departure came after the company announced its $500 million plan to produce and process its own milk had been put on hold”. So as I see it there is a structural failure, because in all this, where are the contracts? Was there any investigation? What were the findings? All this in an established nation like Australia, so when Scotland, Catalonia and Lombardy get their own version of these ‘investors’, how will it end for them? Perhaps a nice high aimed loan from places like the EIB, the EBRD, or perhaps even both? Yet when the plan starts failing and people start jumping the shark, what then? What will the damage be and how is it that these matters are not set in stronger bonds holding these investors long term accountable for the consequences of their actions.

The real question remains if such events could be prevented; you see the issue was partially addressed by me in August 2013, with ‘Political ego and their costs’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/08/16/political-ego-and-their-costs/) we see the issue raised and not before 2015. In 2 articles the first (at http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/05/the-fyra-high-speed-train-debacle-cost-the-dutch-state-e11bn/) shows that the Dutch state losses were stated to be just over €10.8bn so far, the NOS stated that week. Also we see stated: “travellers did not get what they were promised, MP Madeleine van Toorenburg, who is heading the inquiry, told a news conference”. In the second article (at http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/10/the-fyra-high-speed-train-debacle-what-the-dutch-papers-say/), So when we see ‘a job half-done which has cost every household in the Netherlands €1,500’, as well as ‘The crux of the matter is the un-transparent and unclear relationship between what was a public sector company and the government’, so the people get to read parts that I had already seen coming two years earlier. Of course the largest delay was the commission, and those dragging their heels to make sure that some names were either delayed in mentioning, or merely blocked from being mentioned at all. The Netherlands and Australia have protection from multi billion Euro stupidities, the new regions will not have that benefit and as such someone gets to pay the price. In all this, the less said on the NHS blunders the better, yet it clearly shows that the entire situation cannot be maintained and still some people end up with a large bag of coins, they move on whilst the households get to pay for their overvalued income.

It is a game that I have seen starting, misreported, placed on notice of communication and written off the red ledgers as bad debt for decades, larger more draconian changes are need to hold ‘PowerPoint users’, who in the end quickly move to another challenge with bags of coins, these people need to sign waivers and be held accountable for damages and losses, yet at that point the politicians will back down, their symbiotic connection being vital to their own futures, no matter how massive a project fails.

The fact that this has been going on for too long and still is happening all over Europe is why I fear that in the end nothing gets solved, nothing is clearly improved and every cent of the overinflated budgets is still spend, often with well over 10% spent beyond of what was available. Feel free to consider your losses as you pay for a project that never worked, was never implemented and is sitting on a shelf; you merely have to release your savings, is that not fair?

So welcome to the show of what you cannot see as it happens behind the stage of the politician and it is demanding all the camera time it can get, leaving you in the dark.

 

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