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Jack’s Place

Sometimes we wonder, what the long term effect would be if a baby is dropped on its head. At least, we should wonder about that! When we see that politicians are bending over backward to get their own way after elections, we have to wonder what we should do with politicians who have been dropped on their heads. In this case, when we see Tony Blair have a go in French (amazing quality French I tell you) on how ‘We have the right to change our minds on Brexit’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2016/sep/01/tony-blair-we-have-the-right-to-change-our-minds-on-brexit-eu-referendum-video). He is going on ‘on how people may change their minds’. How the people decided to move house whilst they had no idea on where they were going to. In my view, the house they are in now had rot, the house had termites and the landlord was an idiot skimming its tenants. How is whatever we move to not a better place? Labour is still at it, still trying to undo the change the people in Britain moved to as political parties were flaccid, the politicians of the EC in general were incapable and bending over for the desperate need of the USA and Wall street, the people at large have lost 60%-75% of their quality of living. All because nobody showed any backbone against the greed of Wall Street.

So as the former British politician of some renown is chatting up the French in French about the dangers of Frexit (in very good French I must admit), he seems to have forgotten historic events. It comes in the form of a little cumulative tale. As such I will go to the last verse of it all as not to iterate it all in this article. A song based on the principle of Chad Gadya, published in 1590, I move to a 17th century edition which came with the approval of Nurse Truelove.

This is the horse and the hound and the horn
That belonged to the farmer sowing his corn

This is about farmer who is sowing his fields, the farmer in the UK is being presented as the one now suffering ‘UK farmers wonder who’ll get the harvest in’ (at http://www.politico.eu/article/uk-farmers-wonder-wholl-get-the-harvest-in-agriculture-migration-brexit-labor/). The letter is not in question, there is no opposition that certain changes will have certain issues that need to be dealt with. “Richard Hirst, who farms 790 acres close to Norfolk’s blustery east coast. “They provide a fantastic service and potentially that’s all going to stop.”” the quote is fair enough, yet in that one player decided to remain quiet. I will get to that person later. What is also shown and raises questions is “Hirst relies on around 200 seasonal workers, most from Romania and Bulgaria, to plant and harvest the salad crop. Polish construction workers repair farm buildings. Polish truck drivers cart produce to market. That pattern is repeated across rural England“, how come that UK people aren’t coming to the sound of the horn of labour? Is it beneath them or is it not possible to get it done for normal UK wages? I am not stating that Richard Hirst is exploiting cheap labour, I am asking how come no one in the UK is willing to do it. We know that the farmers are hurting. When large corporations with governmental pressure options is milking the milk industry. Consider the average 2 litre milk bottle at £1.90. Whilst we see at http://dairy.ahdb.org.uk/market-information/milk-prices-contracts/farmgate-prices/uk,-gb-and-ni-farmgate-prices#.V8jC4vl96Uk that farmer gets 18.14 pence per litre, down from 20.77, which means that the dairy marketing engine gets 80%. There is something not right here! We know that there are costs, yet when the main ingredient is only 20% of the price, something is not right. I suggest that we increase milk minimum to £2.20 per 2 litre, meaning that a 1 litre bottle can only cost £1.10 and the increase is shipped 100% to the farmers. How long until the dairy industry tries to get their fingers on part of that increase? I am willing to bet that they make their first attempt before the ink dries on this agreement if it ever becomes a reality. Will it hurt some? A little, I cannot deny that some are in worst places than me, yet I am willing to pay that little extra to defend a milk legacy. Milk is essential, it is for some people essential to learn that the imbalance we see here is a massive imbalance that the EU brought. Here we see (at http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/milk/policy-instruments/index_en.htm), here we see that Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing a common organisation of the markets in agricultural products and repealing Council Regulations, is pretty much the initial death stroke to the farmers. Now, there is partially soundness and reasoning here. Consider that we see “establishing a common organisation of the markets in agricultural products) where the main market tools are set into 3 parts

  1. Market intervention
  2. Rules concerning marketing and production
  3. Trade with third countries

It is rules concerning marketing and production that is at hand. It was the introduction of quota’s that was some figment of someone’s imagination approach to fair trade. In actuality, it was truly an attempt to give an equal push for the small farmers and fishermen, but it ‘evolved’ into something quite differently. The larger supermarkets Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, The Co-Op, Aldi, Waitrose and Lidl had no limits on quotas as they did not produce the dairy. You see, even as the fishermen were ‘obeying’ fish quotas, Japan, China and Russia went on a fishing spree (read: are still) so that people get their cheap fish, yet in milk there is another iteration. We see this in the Guardian of July 2012 (at https://www.theguardian.com/money/2012/jul/27/dairy-farmers-milk) the following “Tesco, Sainsbury, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer are all paying 30p a litre or more to dairy farmers, says the RABDF, which it says is the minimum survival threshold for farmers: ‘They are not so much the good guys, but they are at least paying 30p’“, which now gives us the issue that this year the price went down to 18.14 pence per litre. So if that is the average, how come the average price is currently 38% below the minimum survival threshold? How is that possible? If we accept that pricing is done on fairness and survivability, how come that this Economic Union is allowing for a supermarket situation where they squeeze the farmers out of a livelihood, all set to the allowance for a market, which they set is claiming to be for the fairness of all. Yet when we saw the Tesco debacle, not the PwC side, but the Tesco Executive side requires scrutiny too. Consider The Tesco Remuneration report (at https://www.tescoplc.com/media/1926/tescoar15_gov_remunerationreport.pdf). Consider that the CEO and CFO get CEO – £1,250,000, and the CFO gets £750,000. Also consider that the bonuses are CEO – maximum opportunity of 250% of base salary and for the local bookkeeper we see CFO – maximum opportunity of 225% of base salary. Consider that only 50% is set to sales and 30% is set to profit, how much money does Tesco need to make for these two people to have a really merry Christmas with family (or booze and hookers)? Now, even as the Guardian is stating that Tesco is not evil, yet they are matching the survival rate “all paying 30p a litre or more to dairy farmers“, so who is kidding who here?

That kept the rooster that crowed in the morn
That woke the priest all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn

We get to the upcoming Bill of Rights. The Human Rights Act (HRA) will be dumped (read: scrapped enthusiastically). The Week published the following quote: “Scrapping the act will break the formal link between British courts and the European Court of Human Rights and stop the act being “misinterpreted”, say the Conservatives. They argue foreign nationals who have committed serious crimes are able to use the freedoms guaranteed under the Human Rights Act to justify remaining in the UK“, the right to self-govern is here in jeopardy. We seem to be all over Strasbourg to guarantee the rights of criminals, yet there is too little for their victims. Whilst the quote from the Tories is “aim is to “restore common sense and tackle the misuse of the rights contained in the Convention”“, this actually makes sense. There have been one too many stories on how a Rapist was given leave to stay in the UK, now he is imprisoned for life Rapist Dahir Ibrahim decided to retry his penetrating event. His defending lawyer stated “No long term physical injury was sustained by the victims“, so why not send his daughters to Pakistan? There is every chance that the culprits will be acquitted. Even more so, the Lawyers daughter could become famous as in one case the transgressor filmed 280 events. So his daughter could become a Bollywood star. Wouldn’t that be great?

There is the danger that events get uplifted because of emotional factors. That is not a good thing, which is why I voiced it in this way, we need to try to keep as much emotion out of legal issues, yet this does not mean to be soft on hardened criminals. It is the right of the UK to allow people in, yet in equal measure, if these visitors resort to serious crimes, should the victims not be allowed to voice for them to be evicted (through a court of law of course)? Even more so, why should any government allow for those deciding to go for ‘serious criminal solutions’ to be allowed within their nation? It is my view that Strasbourg has been too academic, too focused on finding a ‘compromise’ that this path seems to highly favour the path of the criminal and less so on the victim. It is my personal believe that the Bill of Rights might be a solution, especially if the 15 freedoms are kept.

So before we go into the last part. We looked at the economy (well, sort of), we see that Laws in general have failed the people of the nation, we see that large corporations are given too much leeway and too much options, whilst the press reflects this as ‘but they pay more than average’, which holds no water when the fee paid is 38% below the survivability threshold. By trying to please a few hundred at the expense of millions of non-receiving victims of society. Consider the next part. If I, for the most a dedicated Conservative see this, when I noticed the victims that the EC has been creating, how come Tony Blair and Jeremy Corbyn cannot see this? They should be squarely on the side of the Dairy farmer and the milkman, a side they both neglected (read: ignored). There is a constitutional failing in play and the fact that the hardships of some are mere plays for politics is just sad.

That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

Well, we just dealt with the milk. Yet, what has been ignored is the play of Rat and Cat and Dog. The cat chases the rat, but who is rat and who is cat? It can be argued that the EC and the USA are either, the issue with an exploitative symbioses is that it becomes increasingly hard to differ between the parasite and the body he feeds of, the better the parasite, the harder it becomes to find the parasite in the body. The dog becomes the UK, on one side it howls against the moon waking us all up (read: for naught). At times it chases the wrong party (read: mailman), yet the dog has its shiny moments. It howls, barks and bites the burglar in your house, it alerts to the dangers coming to the door and it can scare off dangers. Any dog has good and bad moments. The fact that some laws have still not been updated is a concern and the Bill of Rights wasn’t the first one that needed to come. However, for the benefit of the European segregation it does make sense. My biggest issue is that the EU decided on too little and far too late that makes Brexit a fact not to ignore, the fact that people like Tony Blair are now making speeches in France, winking to the UK that people can change their minds is a larger issue. Especially as the events leading towards Brexit has never been dealt with.

Yet we are not done, you see, Mario Draghi is still having a go at it, his latest quote states: “The figures won’t come as a shock to ECB President Mario Draghi, who warned in July that inflation rates were likely to remain “very low” over coming months, before picking up toward the end of the year” (source: Wall Street Journal), you see, there is a truth there, especially as he is relying on the Christmas shopping spree to save him. Yet, in this, is that number corrected (for end of year uplift)? If not than the European economy is in an even less inspiring state than most are willing to admit to. This in light of conflicting numbers coming from America when we see positivity one day, negativity the next. We know on a global scale economies are in a slump and because there was a dire need to keep the Status Quo and move it from virtual to fictional. We can no longer afford that game, which is why Brexit made sense.

We can use the quote by CNBC we saw on September 2nd (at http://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/02/jobs-report-proves-janet-yellen-is-wrong-about-the-economy-commentary.html) where we see “The reported August job gains were also considerably below the gains in June and July. The unemployment rate was forecast to fall to 4.8 percent, but held steady at 4.9 percent. Both numbers are disappointing and make a September rate hike less likely“. We could agree that it means that the US is in a slow upwards momentum, which would be really good for the US government. Yet it is only half the picture. The other side we see quoted in the Business insider (at http://www.businessinsider.com.au/albert-edwards-consumer-crutch-holding-up-us-economy-kicked-away-2016-9). Here Edward claims what I have stated in other ways several times before. The quote “Albert Edwards doesn’t think that the consumer can keep the US economy afloat for very long” was only the start, but it boils down to the fact that the US consumer is stopping its spending’s on many levels. The US has a massive issue at that point, because it has relied on consumer spending for far too long (instead of corporate taxation). Even if spending goes up the smallest amount in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, the elections are on November 8th, 2016 which means that the successor might enjoy those results, but the Democratic Party will only be able to rely on half-baked speculations at that point. Even if they would dare to go that distance, there is enough ‘evidence’ to see that their predictions would end up being overly optimistic. What is the issue is that the US now desperately requires a solution, which those in power, who require the status quo to continue will not allow for. In that light we see the remarks by Tony Blair. Trying to sway the people that they can change their minds and more important on downgrading the new house at any cost. You see, when the UK sees that the move was harsh, but slowly people are starting to see their new living room, different, likely a little smaller, but soon it will feel comfortable and it will come with the feel of comfort the people in the UK have not known for decades. It will not come in the wake of laziness as many will need to work really hard, but that money will now benefit the UK, which is why we need to pull together as a Commonwealth, we need to pull together a lot more than most of our politicians are comfortable with. Soon thereafter it will no longer be Jack’s place, it will be your home. One that is interconnected in many ways, some good, some bad and someone is always chasing you, just as you are always chasing something or someone. A lesson in coexistence that does not require the parasite approach, something they still don’t get on Wall Street. You see as we see in the Australian Financial Review quotes like “Richard Fontaine, a leading US foreign policy expert” on how Australia is so vulnerable on Chinese demands, he seems to forget that his government did whatever they could to ram the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) down our throats. And now that the US is realising that with Brexit the game is truly ending, in addition we see that President Hollande feels the coffin nail that the TTIP carries as well as the vision on how it seems to only propel the need for big business, whilst Google’s option to drive commerce is not yet ready, it could be the true new innovation for small corporations, where the corporations keep the power on a global scale. Three elements that show that not only will the US face an economic slump (read: I find the statement ‘recession’ too speculative). Yet, the playing parties in the final moments on a lame duck president on the way to the morgue is not a moment to put political weight to final acts of despair whilst the new president is not set and that agenda could unwind everything, so the players have too much to lose as the dealer is about to change, possible with new decks of cards.

In that regard the economic players are currently realising that until January: ‘The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket‘.

Not good news for President Barack Obama, Tony Blair or Strasbourg for that matter. Perhaps Mario Draghi will get it at some point, but I am not holding my breath on that achievement to happen any day soon.

 

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Is the truth out there?

That is the question that sprung to mind, when the article ‘Brexit could cost £100bn and nearly 1m jobs, CBI warns‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/mar/21/brexit-could-cost-100bn-and-nearly-1m-jobs-cbi-warns) crossed my screen an hour ago. Of course it then continues with the subtitle ‘Report conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the CBI‘, perhaps you remember that firm named PwC? The people behind the books kept for Tesco. The firm the press avoids like the plague (especially when digging into Tesco issues). A report for the CBI no less. When we look at wiki we get ‘Confederation of British Industry is a UK business organisation, which in total speaks for 190,000 businesses’, so basically, because businesses are afraid to export their articles, we get this level of scaremongering. And let’s be honest, when Lehman Brothers is not available, PwC is all that remains. The Wiki reference will be explained shortly.

The first paragraph states “Leaving the European Union would cause a serious shock to the UK economy that could lead to 950,000 job losses and leave the average household £3,700 worse off by 2020, a report commissioned by the CBI business lobby group has warned“, I personally consider this to be a blatant lie!

There is NO WAY that there is any clear data on this event. The reason is simple. This situation has never happened before so there are questions, that is a given, yet what they predict is that 2 times 100% of exports that the UK ships to the USA becomes lost revenue. This is just ludicrous. Leave it to the place that embellished 110 million in revenue for Tesco will be able to lose 1000 times that amount in goods and services for the CBI. I am merely speculating here. I wish I could give you more, but the press is very engaged into not confronting PricewaterhouseCoopers on their actions.

The second paragraph “an analysis conducted by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers for the CBI said that Brexit could cost the UK economy £100bn – the equivalent of 5% of GDP – by 2020 and would cause long-lasting economic damage from which it would never recover“, let take a look at the parts PwC (as I see it) hides behind ‘could cost‘ meaning that it might, it is not a given. the second part ‘would cause‘, means that if they lose 100 billion then it would impact the economy, which we can all agree with, but that level of loss is NOT a given. Lastly there is ‘long-lasting economic damage from which it would never recover’, ‘would never’ is also not a given, consider that thanks to British Labour, who caused a massive part of the fourteen hundred billion in debt, on that part 100 billion will have an impact, the economy will recover, yet in all fairness, at what speed? We all agree that this massive extra level of debt is not a good thing, but it all began with ‘could cost‘ so it is not a given! The CBI, like frightened little sissies are trying to sway voters through fear. You see, if these businesses have an actual product to share, people will buy it.

They then continue to push more fear that people would lose between £175 and £300 a month. I would be shocked, we all would be shocked. Yet again there is ‘could be lower‘, meaning it is not a given. When I read “Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI’s director general, said: “This analysis shows very clearly why leaving the European Union would be a real blow for living standards, jobs and growth“, my response would be ‘Carolyn Fairbairn, we know you are high and mighty with previous position at the  Competition and Markets Authority, Lloyds Banking Group and the UK Statistics Authority, so if you truly stand behind these analyses you will give us all (in open data) the raw data, the analyses and the conclusions with data connections‘.

I feel certain that we will see all kinds of weighting, forecasting and predictive modelling. As I see them, they will be utterly useless, for the mere reason I gave at the start of my blog “This situation has never happened before“, there will be turmoil, there will be a time of flux, but this forecast of utter blackness on non-given facts and shady forecasts is just completely out of bounds.

You see, I went to Wiki for a reason, when we go to their website we get a few issues (and initially their website was unreachable for about 15 minutes). The first one is from 15th of March (at http://news.cbi.org.uk/news/cbi-to-make-economic-case-to-remain-in-eu-after-reaffirming-strong-member-mandate/), here we get the quote “80% of CBI members think being in EU is best for their business – ComRes survey“, now, consider the following two elements, first is the ‘given’ fact on their site “CBI’s relationship with 190,000 businesses of all sizes across the UK“, now consider that survey where 80% wants to stay within had the following quote: “The survey had 773 responses among small, medium and large firms across the whole of the UK. It reveals 80% of CBI members, when weighted to reflect its membership – including 71% of small and mid-sized business members – believe that the UK remaining a member of the EU would be best for their business. Overall, 5% say it is in their firms’ best interests for the UK to leave the EU, with 15% unsure“, So out of 773 responses, 116 were not sure, so only 658 were certain one way or another, so the 80% comes from that group?

In addition, the fact that I, in 24 years have never seen ANY survey been answered for 100%, so how many answered it, how were the numbers given and how can any of the numbers have ANY level of reliability? That is even before we start looking into the questionnaires some people tend to make, which is often enough not that neutral to begin with.

All these thoughts took 45 seconds to form, after which I needed 30 minutes to look into some of the known givens whilst Graham Norton was playing in the background. The biggest fun I had was considering the part where the CBI is basically stating between the lines that “UK products are so shaite, that it can only be sold under EU membership“, is that not so Mrs Fairbairn? I believe that UK produce is high, high enough that there will always be a demand and high enough that people will go out of their way to get it. The gaming column last week that had a go at Brexit earlier was eager to ignore the fact that some of the better games developers are British, there is British Beef, British Lamb, the UK foundation in vegetables and fruits. The United Kingdom has always had a good stock and a proud tradition. I think that these traditional times can return the UK to better times.

That is also a speculation on my side. You see, this is the one time that the Telegraph has a fair point (yes, this rare occurrence happened on February 23rd 2016), There is the quote “The only appalling part is that we import so much poor quality foreign food at the expense of our own farmers“, I believe that there is a deeper truth. Obesity comes from junk food and from bad quality food. Yes, produce might rise a little in price, yet when you get the same quality ingredients from eating only 50% of the amount of junk goods you used to eat because it was cheaper, I believe that the overall health of the British population would also go up (read: lowering obesity). Mrs Fairbairn could have given that information too, you see the CBI site claimed to be connected to 190,000 businesses, so how many of them are farms?

This is no longer the age of Tesco (thanks to PwC to some extent), in addition, it stops being the place for Aldi and Lidl, it will slowly return to being the place of the neighbourhood grocery and butcher. I have nothing against Aldi and Lidl, yet their models do not run on the small local farms, their margins (low margins mind you) comes from bulk retail from big portion purchasers to deliver to all stores. It is a fair model, yet after Brexit there will be a change, their margins will fall, that is a reality, but if this opts for small business owners to rise from the ashes, the Brits in general will all win, we would see a need for jobs, not a loss of jobs. Again, this is speculative on my side, yet I do not go about scaring you readers like the CBI is doing through PricewaterhouseCoopers.

So, how about my own statement: “I personally consider this to be a blatant lie“?

As I see it, this report has issues, possibly a whole lot of them and if that is not the case, Carolyn Fairbairn would (read: should) have all the data ready for us all. When we see this level of incomplete information, giving rise to the possibility of misinformation the reference to ‘blatant lie’ is a fair given one, as I see it of course.

Now, mind you, the CBI page has the full report ready (at http://news.cbi.org.uk/news/leaving-eu-would-cause-a-serious-shock-to-uk-economy-new-pwc-analysis/leaving-the-eu-implications-for-the-uk-economy/), a 79 page document, so what does that give us and why was that not in the Guardian (as far as I could tell)?

We see the following under the key findings:

  • We have assessed the potential economic impacts of a UK exit from the EU under two possible scenarios
  • We estimate that total UK GDP in 2020 could be between around 3% and 5.5% lower under the FTA and WTO scenarios respectively than if the UK remains in the EU (interesting is how ‘we estimate that’ was not in bold)
  • The negative impact represents a reduction of around £55-100 billion in UK GDP, at 2015 values

And the final bullet point was “As with any economic modelling exercise, our estimates are subject to many uncertainties“, which is actually the core of it all, too many uncertainties, which gives additional weight to my statement.

Yet how were these numbers derived?

You see, when we see ‘Table 2.1: Exit scenario results – percentage difference in real UK GDP from levels in counterfactual scenario‘, we think we have something here, but on what core business is this founded? Is this on raw data sets? On aggregated data? You see, PwC have done all kinds of reports where they were overly optimistic, is the idea that they are intensely overly conservative on any of these numbers (by request of the CBI) and that the negative numbers are actually quite too negative? The fact that they are making predictions until 2030, whilst so far many firms resorting to analyses have been unable to make any decent prediction 3 years into the future, they ended to be overly optimistic again and again by more than one percent (try remembering Greece and Cyprus). Then there is: “A vote to leave the EU would create economic and political uncertainty that could last for several years while the UK Government negotiates the terms of its exit from the EU as well as new trade arrangements with non-EU countries“. Here is the kicker: the report did not once, I say again not once properly discuss the option of growing economies by promoting a growth interaction between Commonwealth nations. The UK stands not alone! Her siblings Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India et al, still need goods too. Whilst we see the ‘BS’ (Belonius Substance) from America regarding how the UK must stay within the EU, the UK can decide to collaborate with India on Generic medication. Now suddenly we get some individual in a white condo going on how friends should remain friends (that individual tends to be addressed as President of the United States), so here is one side of commerce that would ‘suddenly’ open doors for all kinds of trade.

The bibliography has a fair amount of theory references, and even though their existence, or their academic value is not in question, what is in question is the PDF we are looking at, especially when we see ‘Figure D.5: Working age population projections under the WTO and FTA scenarios and counterfactual‘, we see these numbers and graphs, but from what dataset? Where do we see any reference to the data population used, especially when we see a collection of graphs from various sources but with no clear reference to the numbers that these predictions are based on? In one example starting on page 47, we see ‘C.1 Economic context and key issues‘, with a reference to three graphs from two different suppliers. This gives me a few additional question marks (and it should leave you with even more questions). You see, if 80% wants to stay in Europe as stated by the CBI, whilst they had less than 800 responses, how does that hold any weight to the fact that they, on their own site state “the CBI’s relationship with 190,000 businesses of all sizes across the UK gives us a unique insight into what the result will mean for UK prosperity“, which means that 80% of the 0.4% of the businesses that decided to answer the call of the survey. I think I have raised enough questions for you the reader to be a lot less worried in this case!

Now, I am not stating that there will not be any issues, because the UK will face issues, but in equal measure the UK will stop making massive donations to a system that does not hold some of its members properly to account. It is like carrying buckets of water to the sea, an empty gesture that is a clear waste of time and money.

By the way, that report has a very interesting by-line which is shown at the very end (page 79): “This publication has been prepared for general guidance on matters of interest only, and does not constitute professional advice“, so if that is the moment of non-accountability than my final words are towards the writer of the article Julia Kollewe and especially her boss (or the boss of her boss, Katharine Viner): ‘How could you have been so stupid to go with this article. From my point of view, as a blogger tends to be a subjective one, it is a hack job, nothing more than mere anti Brexit material‘. As a newspaper you should have known a lot better! The fact that Julia writes “By taking a clear stance on Brexit, the CBI differs from the smaller business lobby group the British Chambers of Commerce, which is trying to be impartial. It recently suspended its director general, John Longworth, from his post after he suggested that Britain would be better off outside the EU“, yes, they might have done this, and they did it in what I regard a shady and shoddy way!

The article in the Guardian and the report leaves us with a few questions regarding Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI as well as a few questions regarding the editorial of the Guardian. I hope that at the very least that part has been brought to the surface by me writing this article.

To all a lovely evening and whether you believe in Brexit or Bremain, make sure that you go towards the referendum properly informed!

 

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The old way?

I was about to finish my assignment last night, when this article hit me square in the face ‘Farmers feel the squeeze from supermarket deals‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/10/farmers-feel-squeeze-supermarket-deals), first part. I am not anti-Aldi, anti-Tesco or anything like that. I know things ‘need’ to be cheap. I am feeling the brunt just like anyone else, yet in this day and age when we need jobs and when we need commerce, why settle? When I see “At some point we’re going to be forced to retire because of the prices”, I worry. I worry because I want a decent income to live and feed the family (the family being just me in this case). So why is the supermarket requiring cheaper food? So that it can waste most of it on infrastructure?

In my view, let the supermarkets go elsewhere!

In my view, Steve from Worcestershire’s Vale needs to talk to a driver and a few people. Start the old grocery stores again. When we can get decent groceries, whilst under those conditions, places like Woolworths can brag about making a net profit of 2.45 billion, then they obviously do not need to sell groceries. Let them fall back to second rate products. Let them waste away, whilst the people return to the grocery store. It will be a challenge, but in my days we went to the markets, we went to the grocery stores. You only need one central point where these people can get their wares and the people like Steve might have a better deal here. When I read “It showed that the number of small and medium-sized businesses supplying supermarkets and in “significant” distress has doubled in a year from 728 to 1,414“, I honestly wonder why people continue on this route?

When suppliers state, 5% more or get it somewhere else, yes, the supermarkets will change supplier, but it will take one bad one to make a supermarket lose their customers. Once the groceries go somewhere else, we will see that the shop next door might be the butcher or the milk and cheese shop. I say support your local shop in all manners, and getting the smaller places to reinvent decentralisation could go a long way in raising the UK economy in a much better way. In the end, a place like Woolworths only tickles its own board of directors with 2.45 billion, over 5000 shops this amounts to half a million each. So, yes, that was only profit and the story of cost will change, but it seems to me that 5000 shops implies 15000-25000 people working, that will also do the economy a lot of good. We have been enabling larger players too much and for too long.

Consider I mentioned 5000 stores, consider that Aldi has 560 stores and Tesco has 2,614 stores. That is a little more than 3150 stores. If they all lose the butcher baker and grocer, which means that we need close to 10,000 locations. (not even including the other supermarkets), in addition transport is needed, so it seems to me that even though my calculation is extremely skewed, we must consider that the day of mega markets are over. We need to start thinking differently if we are to face the challenges ahead in a survivable and in a more humane way. I am willing to forego supermarkets as long as there is a decent alternative (not too expensive). I feel that here in Australia that has been proven with Bakers delight and Lüneburger. If the baker can do that and move me away from supermarket bread then I feel certain that a butcher, grocer and cheese and dairy shop (or just a plain milkman) can do that too.

So as I see this quote “According to Jack Ward, chief executive of the British Growers’ Association, producers will have to get used to the new supermarket landscape“, I say Nay! Especially when he adds the quote “this has racked up the pressure on the supermarkets. They are fighting for their lives and have to go somewhere to get better prices“. When I see a supermarket chain making proud of 2.45 billion, your statement Mr Ward, is widely incorrect.

In addition there is the quote “Christine Tacon, whose job is to rein in some of the methods used by retailers to apply pressure on suppliers, such as charging for display space and delaying payment. In February the adjudicator announced an investigation into Tesco over its relationship with suppliers“, really. it seems to me (and to Deloitte) that certain paths had been going on for a while, so if that is true, then Miss Tacon had been asleep at the wheel and we should seriously look at new ways of moving forward on the way consumers get their stuff. There is also the other end. Bal Padda grows strawberries in the Vale of Evesham and she has a good relationship with Asda. This I do not oppose, there are clearly issues and over 1400 under such pressure is a clear indication that things are not well. The question is how to fix it. Perhaps in the end, a shift will happen and the supermarkets will have to change their way, perhaps fresh foods is no longer a guarantee, perhaps that must go outside those places (as likely must beef). By the way, when you buy fresh at the butcher it is also extremely conceivable that Equine Burgers are a thing of the past, just saying!

Consider the following: “I was making more money per kilo of lettuce 20 years ago. A box of courgettes went for £4 to £5.20 years ago; now it’s £1.80 to £2” Yet, Tesco online shows baby Courgettes to be £7 per Kg and other courgettes around £2 per Kg and lettuce at 50p each. Even when I was young prices were higher. I am all for affordability, but is this the way we should go? At the expense of our farmers? How unjust is that? It goes beyond that, the baker, the butcher the prices at Tesco (not the cheapest one) are indecently insane.

So, what is the solution?

That is the question I fail to answer this, perhaps some of the numbers needed to see the chessboard more completely are missing. You see, I stick by what I wrote earlier, I will go to non-supermarkets in a heartbeat, but in this economy I wonder if I can afford it, the only question remains. If some places get to place this quote “The UK’s biggest supermarket chain said group trading profit fell 6% to £3.3bn, with like-for-like sales down 1.4%“, we must wonder how we can make a fairer option for the farmers. They are not alone here (so is dairy and meat) yet they all should have a decent affordable solution that gives them a slightly better deal than they get now.

I wonder if anyone else has a better solution. It is my fear that if the UK is in the old proverbial stage of ‘bread and games’, what is being kept off the radar and what can we do to better the plight of some? Once a nation can no longer grow its own food, it becomes slave to whomever feeds them, which is something we never ever want to face.

 

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What’s the matter?

That is the question I asked myself. Greece is in worsening shape, we see certain news as it happens and I noticed how certain ‘facts’ are now missing in the news articles I have been reading. In other news we have the UK election as it is going towards the final day before the people in the UK will decide on who they trust to give them a better life and now we get news that Isis decided to mess with Texas. So here on the day when the Dutch celebrate that the Germans were defeated and the Netherlands became a free nations once again, we see these issues come to blow more and more.

Miss Representation

Yes, she has image, she is the vision we desire and we all stare at her cleavage, complete with two boobies, one named ‘slush fund milk’, the other one we name ‘the party’s choice’, both giving ‘as implied’ the consumer the honey of equality. Now we get the real deal, if we bring the breast to our mouth, will we taste honey? Or will we perhaps the taste be more of the same, more of what is bland, non-nourishing and will never satisfy.

The first issue is Greece and the representation it is receiving. The first part we see in the article ‘Greece vows to pay debts as it awaits handout from international creditors‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/04/eurozone-enjoys-production-boost-but-greece-and-france-dip). In here we see the following quote: “Greece has vowed to honour heavy debt repayments over the coming weeks but says it is counting on international creditors to release billions of euros in rescue funds before the end of the month“. Now, let’s be frank, no lie is told here, but the direct fact is not that payment is due, but that the first payment was due May 1st and is due to the fact that it was a public day, payment was rescheduled to be due May 6th, the first payment of 200 million will be due in 24 hours. So why is that not clearly voiced? Before the end of the month another 760 million will be due, making the total slightly south of 1 billion. The second article ‘Greek debts: what does it owe? When will the money run out?‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/24/greek-debts-what-does-it-owe-when-will-the-money-run-out), states almost the same. Yet this one shows a little more, even more than I bargained for.

You see, there we see May 1st an IMF interest loan payment (now due May 6th) and May 12th we see the part that 760 million is due. The part that was unknown to me is also the part that is not loudly voiced to EEC nations, because this knowledge will influence the voters (as I personally see it). You see, the missing part that is not voiced in many sources is the small fact that two T-bill batches mature, the first one on May 8th and the second one on May 15th, each worth 1.4 billion.

Now we get the part I voiced over and over in the past, that the consequences of bonds are high and the Greek people are about to learn this the hard way. You see, when a T-bill matures, it becomes a nice piece of paper, one that has value. You see, at the beginning, you are offered a paper that offers a percentage, so you buy it for $918.10 and when the bond matures a year later (if you got one for 1 year), you get $1000. A nice 10%. So, before the end of May, Greece will have to make two payments, one for 960 million, and one for 2.8 billion. Greece is out of options, out of money and the quick 5 billion they sold in 2014 to get a quick cash option is now starting to come back. Billions are needed and the Greek treasuries are about to learn that not only could it never afford to play the Syriza game via Alexis Tsipras, the assurances we see in the papers left right and centre is now showing to be hollow and not realistic. Greece is about to seek another deal and one more and then likely some more. Greece is awaiting 7.6 billion in aid, yet where will it go? Before the end of May Greece needs 4.7 billion and in addition before the end of June, Greece needs to come up with an additional 6.8 billion, the 7.6 billion will not even cover the bills. Greece is about to make a call that will hit the financial district and small investors alike, the Greeks are facing a hel we do not wish on anyone and for the most, as I see it, the only people who are allowed any consideration are the wealthy power players that depend on continuation of the status quo. How can this ever go to a better place?

Here you see why I whacked Syriza again and again. The rock star game we saw by Yanis Varoufakis is the killer here. Alexis Tsipras did not act when he should have done this and the non-austerity approach was a non-solution from day one. Why do I feel that I am the only one seeing this, or at least the only one clearly voicing this, because the UK elections, when the voters learn that Greece is about to desire up to 30 billion before the end of the year, so that it can pay the outstanding bills. It is status quo, but in the end, there is the direct risk that almost none of these funds will help, aid or support the Greek people, who I genuinely feel for, does Syriza? My issue still remains what it was from day one, the Greek had the freedom to choose, but I believe that they chose poorly. Now you have no reason to take my word on this, but Antonis Samaras has a degree in economics and an additional MBA from Harvard, which gives him a financial view that I lack, even though my numbers gave a clear view as an analyst regarding the dangers Greece had, I saw this in 2013, it was already clear that the dangerous waters for Greece were icy cold and deadly deep.

My article ‘Are we getting played?‘ from May 18th 2014 shows my view that allowing the Greek bonds back on the market was a really bad idea, now we see that this view was a decent reality. Here we are, looking at a game that is being played with Greece and the Greek people in the middle, austerity is not the great idea, but it is the only solution. It should be clear that there is no short term solution, austerity will remain around for close to two generations, the debt will take no less than 4 generations to become manageable, but only with a restructured Greece, it is not a nice picture to watch, it will be an entirely different Greece, there should be no doubt here.

This now links to the UK and its elections too. You see, the news as is, is that the voters need to realise that it needs to support an EEC nation that will need another 30 billion, with no guarantee that this is the end of that. The economy is in a slump and too many nations are feeling the slowness of the economy that is unlikely to return to the ‘old’ days.

The news is given in the article ‘Ignore the Tories: the figures show the recovery is veering off course‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/03/ignore-the-tories-figures-show-recovery-veering-off-course) but in a way that gives me pause. The quote “Economists are divided about the causes of this so-called “productivity puzzle”. It’s unclear whether it’s caused by a lack of investment, poor education and training, or the fact that our labour market is so flexible that it’s cheaper for firms to ramp up output by hiring short-term, low-skilled staff than to buy in new technologies and equipment” is at the heart of all of this. You see, these economists are not just setting a bad example, they seem to leave out several elements, they know to also be at the heart of all of this and the picture that follows is incomplete.

You the reader will know some of the elements, you live these elements and some economists getting the fat checks have not been at the heart of it all. Consider the following, when did you buy anything else than food lately? Anything else than the weekly needs? When did you buy a TV, when did you buy a car or any luxury items that are produced in the UK? The UK is better off than most other European nations, I see where the people in the Netherlands and Belgium have a little cash, but most people are lowering their debt, all over Europe people do the same thing, they are not buying to the extent they were, they replace only the essentials and they buy cheap. This is why Aldi and Lidl are so successful. The evidence is all over the place, yet we see “Confidence is certainly higher than it was five years ago, but aside from notable successes such as the car industry, there is little sign of a radical shift in the shape of the economy. Manufacturing output has been growing, but remains below its pre-crisis peak“, which makes perfect sense. The view of these economists is: “But deficit reduction is not the only purpose of economic policy: they also set themselves the aim of building a more sustainable model for growth. Here too, they have largely failed“, is that so?

You see, to grow an economy, people must buy, they are not buying and they carefully consider each purchase. This is the ignored part, in addition other nations ‘might’ seem to push forward, but consider one final part, when you buy your equine burgers, is that what it states on the packaging? Perhaps you were hoping for cow?

This is at the heart of those making sales in places. Quality is at the heart and the quality of life has been under attack for some time now, an issue many economists ignore too. Should you wonder about that then take a gander towards Texas! The only hilarious part there is that ISIS attacked the one state where the population is better armed then the police, the defence department and the military reserves. How does this reflect on the other elements? Believe it or not but there are real economic consequences to terrorism, especially when it is done on US grounds. As the US economy is already slumping, this could add negatively to it all. Yet it must be stated here the one line that has direct bearing “No evidence Islamic State had actual hand in attack in which two men opened fired outside centre exhibiting Muhammad cartoons“. So, I am not doubting the statement. It is not that far-fetched that those acting out for personal reasons are very willing to get linked to a larger group, for both defence and to propagate their own ego. This all matters, if you do not believe it to be true, you should decide to watch Kung Fu Hustle. A movie well worth watching (it is hilarious). So is it a good idea to relate ISIS to a comedy? Well, when you start acting out in Texas, that call is not the wildest one to make. You see, there is a dark side here. When we consider the words from Tim Clemente, who stated “Former FBI agent Tim Clemente said the gunmen may have plotted the attack without direction from ISIS“, the danger becomes, if that is true, who else has gone the loopy tunes? Is it not weird that a place, dedicated to freedom of speech, is giving a way to the freedom of speech to people who are dedicated to remove freedom of speech? This is not at the heart of it all, what is the heart of the matter is that if this is happening in the United States, is the danger of lone wolf (sympathiser) actions in the United Kingdom so far out of realm of possibilities? Now consider the statement by British Labour “A Labour government will control immigration with fair rules“, now consider that Italy received over 200,000 refugees with no way to get it all processed. How many will arrive into the UK?

Be cautious here, I am NOT stating that these people are terrorists, yet the danger that a terrorist would try to enter Europe this way is not that far a stretch. Statistically speaking, if only 0.1% came in, than we will see that Italy, after that, the EEC and the UK will have to deal with 200 extremists, 200 people inflating actions. Now the truth is that there is no evidence that 0.1% is extremist, but today’s life of dangers and consequence is a numbers game and the numbers are against us all. Even though I could advise Andrew Parke (the man that the people at MI-5 call ‘Big Boss’) on how to clean his ship, I must also add that Andrew is very up to date on how to do that, he does not need me. Yet the political elements ignoring the intelligence issues are all positioned to blow it all on spending’s towards an economy, they ignored the elements that could drive an economy even further down.

Three elements all linked towards a change that impacts the UK economy and the British way of life, yet none of them were linked to the UK on their own. Here is what’s at play! Too many events are too intertwined and too misrepresented to ignore, yet those who trivialise the elements are not the ones paying the bills when their ‘prognoses’ goes pear shaped, it is a game we can no longer afford to be played.

 

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The Sound of silence

Hello accountant, my dark fate
your books are bloated as of late
the need for bonus loudly creeping
to be deposited so fleeting
and the greedy that are filling
their domain, they always gain
it is the need for money

The P W C accounting firm
will gain support, another turn
you see the press is staying quiet
we wonder now who got them hired
see the news is remaining just the same, it’s such a shame
and they should all be fired

You might think why this rewritten song of Simon and Garfunkel? You see, it has been almost 50 years exactly that Simon and Garfunkel took this to paper, 50 years later we would see quite the different ballad, one that would see repercussions in ways never seen before, yet both instances unique. That part was made clear today when we see ‘Tesco posts record loss: what the experts say‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/22/tesco-posts-record-loss-what-the-experts-say). So when we see “Tesco reports record £6.4bn loss” and when we see ‘these experts’, you and me alike should ask a series of questions the press is not asking. It has not been asking them for 2 quarters now (well an absolute minimum).

Consider the following quote: “Soon after his arrival, Lewis unveiled a £263m accounting scandal caused by overoptimistic recording of payments made to Tesco by suppliers. Tesco is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office and the supermarket regulator over the affair“, this is what got it all started, what the publishing pussies refer to as ‘overoptimistic recording of payments‘ turned out to be nothing less than a systematic issue as we saw some of the news from DeLoitte. It is shown in my ‘adjusted lyrics’:

Will gain support, another turn
you see the press is staying quiet
we wonder now who got them hired

You see, there is the Sound of Silence, an actual silence. Try finding anything regarding Tesco in 2015 regarding PricewaterhouseCoopers. You will find very very little, pretty much the absolute minimum. Perhaps you remember the wild allegations on the ‘MH370 suicide flight‘, in addition, all those claims regarding the World Cup soccer in Qatar 2022. Yet, in regards to PwC the Murdoch machine stays very quiet. I regard that this makes Rupert Murdoch the biggest pussy in newspaper publication since the newspaper concept started in the 17th century.

It took just less than two hours to realise that PwC needed investigation, the papers made close to zero mention on it, there were some casual mentions regarding ‘asking questions’, but it was as low key as technologically possible. In December 2014 it pretty much stops, feel free to try and Google it for yourself. You will find articles on how Sainsbury switches from PwC to Ernst and Young (January 16th 2015), but for the rest there is too much nothing. Not just the Murdoch groups, but in equal measure, you will find little to nothing regarding PricewaterhouseCoopers. Is that not strange? Especially as we now see how £263m inflation, caused a £6.4bn deflation. A result 24:1, it became such an interesting long term bet to make, especially by those involved. Yet many of those players are shrouded in silence.

You see another matter suddenly dawned on me. I reckon you all remember Julian Assange, from all those cables regarding the Afghan war. 5 days ago, they decided to also go public on all those Sony hacked cables. We see the quote: “This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation. It is newsworthy and at the centre of a geopolitical conflict. It belongs in the public domain“. No Mr Assange! You decided to play god with stolen data and you decided the fate of this corporation by hanging out the laundry, in addition, you handed the power they wielded and threw it up in the air to be taken over by any competitor who can grow in directions they never bothered to look, because they could not be bothered taking the effort.

And as we are talking into the public domain Julian, what happened to your ‘bravery’ when you made the quote “In November, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Forbes the site has a ‘mega leak’ on an unnamed major US bank exposing an ‘ecosystem of corruption’ that will be released early this year?” I am pretty sure that this never went public. I searched high and low and your WikiLeaks page shows nothing there either. It seems to me that many parties are too scared when it comes to banks and financial institutions.

The question should be Did Julian Assange have anything ever regarding his claims on an ‘ecosystem of corruption’ in regards to a US bank. Should I not ask that question? You see, when the press at large ignores the PwC issue, many should ask questions, especially as both Tesco and Greece fill pages of text in the Guardian and several other newspapers, yet the hunt for information regarding PwC is not moving forward.

In the first article mentioned, where we see the dubious term ‘what the experts say’, NO MENTION AT ALL on PricewaterhouseCoopers (or PwC), is that not strange? The question how 10 million in costs (which I converted to 199 full time accountants working on Tesco for a full year alone) did not reveal anything in time, so how could such a managed event stay hidden? In several articles we see a similar quote as I am adding here, a quote that in many cases was the very first paragraph of articles late October 2013. “DELOITTE has completed its review of Tesco’s overstated half-yearly results and confirmed that its black hole is even bigger than the £250m previously declared and goes back even further than the supermarket group had originally stated“, which means that these auditors ‘missed’ it for a longer period of time. A thought I had in the first few hours, was confirmed a month later (which is fair enough, they hard to check many numbers before stating anything), yet I saw and reported on this (as well as my thoughts), having no economic degree, just me as an analyst saw what the press has been ignoring ever since.

One of the more revealing articles was in the Financial Times named ‘UK accountancy watchdog hits PwC with two separate probes‘ (at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/98e02452-89c8-11e4-9dbf-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3Y3cymr54), which was in late December 2014, after that the news and the hunt for the Priced and watered Coopers stops on nearly all media fronts. I wonder how they pulled that one of. The fact that there is almost no visibility on the two probes is only more cause for concern, but those experts all have ‘something’ to say in this matter. Isn’t it nice that they did not have anything to say, or did not say it out loud before the calamity was seen. All those Tesco projects, ready to roll, not one came with the considerations ‘Tesco is spreading itself too thin‘, which is nice before the fact, but pointless, bordering on clueless after the fact. I especially liked the quote from Mike Dennis from Cantor Fitzgerald, you know, one of those after the facts proclaimers. “We believe Tesco should consider closing 200 underperforming supermarkets/superstores and focus on growing the more profitable remaining 700 stores (excluding Express); in addition, this should also allow for £40m of cost-savings from the closure of a distribution centre“, you see, my issue is twofold.

The first is where the ‘under’ performing line lies. Is underperforming, working at a loss, or at a minimal profit? The reality remains that people need groceries, so if an ‘underperforming’ shop is closed another will open with a different label and now that lost revenue will go somewhere else. My second issue is that 40 million in savings. You see, if those 200 shops are spread all over, that distribution centre will still be needed, even if the amount of stores decreases, someone will need to open a grocery store and this distribution centre could service independent supermarkets to some degree, meaning a small additional revenue. Then we get the second set of debatable solutions “Matt Davies, Tesco’s UK CEO as of 1 June, should consider a further reduction in staff and a significant simplification of central functions and category management. Aldi UK today generates twice the sales per full-time employee compared to Tesco UK and is expected to report higher trading profits“, reduction on staff? Where? You see, it is nice to ‘opt’ for simplification, but in my experience in 100% of the cases, simplification was not a bad thing, but it came at some expense, what is that expense and will it hurt down the line? The biggest fun can be seen when you read the part of Philip Benton. It all reads nice, but the issue I have is at the end in this case. “The retailer is in the midst of a huge restructuring after selling off much of its portfolio including Blinkbox and Tesco Broadband as well as the forthcoming sale of market research unit Dunnhumby and undergoing a complete overhaul of its leadership“, my issue is the possible ‘inflated’ that Dunnhumby represents. You see, it could be regarded as inflated as its value is determined by what the buyers will offer. In the end Dunnhumby represents well over 140 million a year and it also represents undocumented savings. You see, if a lot of the marketing and visibility research is done at market value, Tesco will face that they either deal with additional costs (not small ones) or not do the research. Both are bad ideas. None of these ‘experts’ are looking into the amalgamation of services that Dunnhumby could offer via Tesco and/or for Tesco. Dunnhumby is a massive data warehouse and it should have loads of options. Moreover offering these additional services (in the trend that Google has done with ‘Gmail for work’ could open up new capital gaining opportunities. Now, as the economy is slowly starting over the next 3 years, those who grow could need data insight that is currently available via Dunnhumby. This means financial and revenue growth that shows a healthy future, giving that away in some sale to recoup 2 billion, from a 6 billion loss that was all based upon degraded value seems like a very bad idea to me. Even if most of that 2 billion is recovered, the invoices that follow will put pressure for a larger part on Tesco.

Consider that the interest on 2 billion is 70,000,000, now consider that not only are them making 100 million plus, they are also the centre of data, a place Tesco will desperately need in the coming 2-5 years. Not having it could imply more costings for Tesco. No one seemed to be considering that part of the equation at all.

So, reality now, will stores be closed? That seems unavoidable, yet closing stores also means no more revenue, dumping the location at a loss and a few other items linked to this. Tesco needs to grow again, but the method remains debatable. I would have thought that moving more towards an Aldi/Lidl margin might make a difference, will it be enough? Whatever move it will make, it will need data to support and test the foundations with, so I personally feel that this requires the non-sale of Dunnhumby (for now). You see, I still see the centre with Dunnhumby for another reason. When you look at their site, you see a list of the large corporations, that is all good (and it brings home the bacon), but they are also sitting on loads of Tesco data as well. What if aggregated parts could be linked to small firms, smaller firms who end up with a dashboard solution, where their limited data is linked to that massive Tesco Data Warehouse, where these smaller companies, for a small fee get a dashboard uniting their data with Tesco demographics. Now we have a whole new clientele in a business setting, so before those supermarkets get closed, they should see if a small corner of it could be an added business venture. Likely those prospective clients will be in larger area’s where Tesco remains operational, but we now have an added service and Dunnhumby has an optional new suite (based on for example SAP dashboard) that opens up new ventures and even added consultancy and training. In these times the innovators will cause growth to evolve, selling off things only makes for lost market share (even though some non-profit ventures should always be considered for scrapping).

Are my ideas so outlandish? You must always consider that part, for the simple reason that the sceptical approach causes no harm and the proof that follows will only create futures. The following quote is as old as the hills, so it should not be a surprise to anyone in this field: “Sales will blame Marketing for the lack of quality leads with repetitive precision, whilst Marketing will blame Sales for not acting on the leads on time, or at all. When nobody has any reliable stats to back up their ‘verdict’, the arguments go on forever and nothing gets done”. Now, consider all these new firms, those new start-ups, or just one man companies like for example Electricians, Plumbers and Painters. They have no Sales or Marketing at all in most cases, would it not be nice if they had a simple dashboard based option that can help them focus on where possible opportunities lie? Not to mention usual retail like family bookshops and leagues of small pharmacy places that could do better. The solution I suggested could help them focus on where to look next. The great thing is that for the most, the same basic solution will work for all, they would only need a set of very specific filters in addition to the demographical ones. A solution that could be automated to the larger extent. One simple market, there for the taking. Did anyone consider that?

And as we look into these possibilities, we get back to the beginning, how could all the financial data be so opaque that it escaped the view of PwC, when we look at all these claims by experts, how did none of the warning lights light up, especially when we consider the words of Deloitte “these auditors ‘missed’ it for a longer period of time“, now I have brought you from the premise, past the innuendo to the basic view on how data can be new business too. Finally, when we consider the following quote that was in the Guardian “Further positives include that Tesco did in fact make a bigger trading profit than the market believed was possible (£1.4bn v. £760.86m consensus)“, this reads, they did twice as good, this means that Tesco is getting back on its feet. Yes, I did read that it is less than it was, but still, they got one dot four billion in, which is a lot better than Greece and most traders want them to get 7 billion regardless, so I think we should consider that many are willing to dump 7 billion on a location of non-cooperation, whilst they will drown a corporation fight to achieve and collect ACTUAL revenue. What a double standard we live by!

If we go by the simplest stats (not an accurate one), then we see that Tesco exceeded by £700M, which is 23% of the £3 billion loss, Greece cannot even raise 10% of what is due shortly, so it is time to look at what is real and look at why the press seems to be ‘avoiding’ (read not actively digging) into Pricewaterhouse Cooper either. But I will leave that to what I would currently regard to be the ‘Pussy’ family (Witherow, Rusbridger, Murdoch et al). Should you consider the path I walked here to be ‘inappropriate’ then Google ‘Tesco+scandal+2015‘ (837.000) and Google ‘PwC+scandal+2015‘ (271.000), now look at the amount of Newspaper links we find in the second one (almost none and many of these links are 2014). I think I made my case here, I just wonder what scared the press to this extent away from a story.

So as we see the quotes “Over the full year, the profit margin in the UK was 1.1%, a far cry from the impossible 5.2% that Lewis’s predecessor, Philip Clarke, ridiculously attempted to defend” and “Lewis must show that the ‘early encouraging signs from what we have done so far’ will produce a discernible improvement in profits“, yet no mention on the previous directors, regarding ‘cooking’ the books and still no mention of the Auditor either. It seems that everyone knows that the dice are loaded but no one is willing to say it out loud.

What else is not reported on regarding the 24:1 loss?

 

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An exceptional pound of flesh

Two articles hit my eyes as I took a small break from my midterm exam. When you dig into the: who, what, when, where how and why of Patent Systems, your sanity prevails if you take a small break every 2-3 hours. It is just the only sane and safe way to avoid getting stuck on the same page.

The two articles were ‘Cuba seeks foreign investment as it shores up increased diplomatic ties‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/10/cuba-seeks-foreign-investment-as-it-shores-up-increased-diplomatic-ties) and ‘Pound volatile amid general election uncertainty‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/10/pound-volatile-amid-general-election-uncertainty), there is no real relationship in these matters, or is there?

First, let’s take the last part first as to get it all out of the way. The end gives us: “Investors were also positive on Greece’s payment of a €450m (£325m) debt to the International Monetary Fund on Thursday“. Why? Let’s not forget, this payment is nothing more than 1/3rd of a billion against outstanding HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS, so why are investors relieved? Greece has not presented any decent acceptable plan and the visit from Tsipras to Moscow to rattle some cages will count against him sooner rather than later. In addition I would like to call attention to the ‘altered’ view from Christine Lagarde as she mentioned “developed and emerging economies still suffering the after-effects of the 2008 crash must collaborate better to avoid an era of low growth”, which reads like a detour, an extra train stop on the track where the distance between recession of true growth seems to be increasing, not decreasing or remain stable. Apart from the fact that Greece only has 5 days left to present their plan (at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-32229793), the one part everyone simply ignores is that after they get the money, then what? If these newly elected officials will not push through and re-debate the issue again, the Eurozone is down another seven billion euro plus, then what? Will Greece become a vulture funds target? Will we see newly created carefully phrased denials on what will never be? That one part can be found in the quote “Without new money it will struggle to renew €2.4bn in treasury bonds due to mature in the middle of April, or pay back another €0.8B to the IMF on 12 May“, so consider that Greece might be unable to pay back 770 Million Euro on May 12th (decently likely scenario), what else can they no longer pay? Let’s not forget that the 12th of May payment makes up for 0.25% of the debt, the interest would be is a lot more than that, so how will any ‘investor’ choice pay out? Are you people awake now? So, I dealt with Greece! Now to the linked other parts!

You see, the link to England will become apparent soon enough, when we consider the quote “Analysts have warned that the pound could have further to fall as financial markets react to uncertainty created by the closest general election for more than 20 years” l, we have to wonder how reserved these analysts truly are, a stable growing economy is scaring them? I agree that the plans from Ed Miliband are decently ludicrous, bus in the end, if elected, he must do what is best for the nation (which means that he would have to vote for David Cameron, hawk! Hawk! Hawk!). In all seriousness though, a close call or not, there is something wrong with the statement Michael Hewson makes: “The pound has started to come under some pressure in recent days as the prospect of political gridlock“, whilst the market is positive as Greece pays back less than a percent of its debt, this whilst it is clear that Greece has no funds left. How is that dimensionality rational in any way, shape or form? That is, unless you take into account the part that the Guardian is not mentioning. If the market is truly worried on what happens when Nigel Farage comes out on top, or ends up with too much of a gain, then the united front that Farage and Le Penn would show, would truly be a concern to investors, because those two have had enough of the entire Eurozone issue on several levels and Greece only worsened their resolve (meaning that both are more eager to pursue the end of their EEC membership. a nightmare scenario for markets on a near global base.

Now, the markets also made the following ‘claim’: “Currency traders have also been unsettled by signs of weakness in Britain’s manufacturing sector. Production figures are due out on Friday morning“, this is fair enough, you see, manufacturing is an issue and it is not that strong in the UK or in many other places for that matter. Yet, two hours ago, the following was reported: “UK industrial output is weaker than expected: it edged up 0.1% in February, vs expectations of a 0.4% gain, while manufacturing met City forecasts with a 0.4% rise. Industrial production is the wider measure, which comprises manufacturing, mining and utilities“, so manufacturing met the expectations, so why the hesitation? I am not making any assumptions here, but I am wondering on how much certain markets assume that met expectations were supposed to be exceeded. Especially in a European mess that is still all over the place. It is almost like the markets will not tolerate any bad news, is this linked to some views on US bubbles (housing for one) that could burst before June 30th? This is a question, not an assumption or an implied issue. but the question should be asked in a very clear way and certain parties should answer it in very clear ways too, because at present, when you see some journalists report on economy, they quickly move all over the field, pretending to draw a picture, whilst the sketch we end up seeing is that of something we did not ask and it leaves many with too many questions. Did I oversimplify the matter again?

So now we get to the true path in all this, the link between the Pound and Cuba. Some might know them, some do not, but I remember the Cuban Fleet Freight Services (Cuflet). I reckon that looking into options with Cuba via Cuflet could spell good times for several players, if manufacturing options are found in emerging markets, why not see what offers could be made and found there. The Dutch could gain a headway by looking into the Bicycle market, engineering projects, the issue is clarity. When we consider the article ‘Navigating Complexity in foresight: Lessons from the UK future of Manufacturing Project‘ (at https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/sites/default/files/fta2014-t1practice_52.pdf), I personally am willing to get a few giggles from the futility that figure one shows (2008, Popper’s foresight Diamond). I do not disagree with the image of with the elements of creativity, interaction, evidence and expertise brings, but in the end Manufacturing is about what one has and the other one needs. So elements like Viability, opportunity, economy and shipping brings us the need for what can be manufactured, what could be sold and what is to be delivered. So when I read the conclusion on page 11, where we see “The high level of complexity of manufacturing systems and the diversity of forces acting on them make anticipating future configurations , challenges and opportunities particularly difficult. Manufacturing foresight needs to deal with multiple units of analyses, assimilate a variety of evidence at different levels of disaggregation from a variety of sources and integrate diverse stakeholder’s perspectives“. A view from academics from Cambridge as well the government office for science.

So let’s break that down in something we all can understand.

  1. Good business is where you find it. (Robocop, 1987), which gives us opportunity
  2. Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction (Ernst F. Schumacher), which gives us a handle on complexity in regards to manufacturing systems (the reason to avoid complexity whenever possible).
  3. We have to choose between a global market driven only by calculations of short-term profit, and one which has a human face (Kofi Annan), which gets us to the economic side.

We have been so blinded looking at those who only seek short term maximised personal gain, that we forget the satisfaction that can be gotten from a long term goal where both sides make gains and interact with their economy in a profitable way, without denying the other party their goals. Here we see the option for both the UK and Cuba. It is not a given, it is not a guarantee, but an option, an opportunity to consider. It is the one side of Warren Buffett I do (partially) admire, he thinks long term (in case of Tesco, not long term enough), but overall the long term side will always pay off, which is the path we should walk, which is of course not the path that the bulk of hedge funds operators want us to consider and as too many listen to those people, we end up having a problem. So as we look at the pound of flesh that could give us a sterling reward, we tend to ignore that part for the fake glory of short term boosts. Yet, if we see Lidl and Aldi where we clearly see exactly that this longer term approach will keep them afloat, unlike their competitors, which is the issue at hand!

Because in the end, the conclusion quote from the academic article gives us the massive anchor that they did not properly dimensionalise ‘assimilate a variety of evidence at different levels of disaggregation from a variety of sources and integrate diverse stakeholders perspectives‘, too often the data presented from the view of the stakeholder cannot be trusted. Whether it is the weight applied to the source, the way the question was formulated and set into the data collective, or the methodology of analytics that was pursued afterwards. It was a painted view from a person with a goal and a presented image, that ‘presented’ image tends to colour all connected evidence, which gives us a view of many games as they are played, but in all this, we all make the same mistake, we compare presented results and statistical results, whilst the individual sources are often too unknown, which is truly a bad an unexceptional path to walk.

 

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A buffet called Buffett

It is the independent that comes with the goods this morning (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/warren-buffett-tesco-losses-take-millions-off-berkshire-hathaway-earnings-9848441.html), and even though Tesco is at the centre, this is not about Tesco; it is about all of us!

The article refers to a view given a few weeks ago when we saw ‘Mr Buffett, who has called his investment in Tesco a “huge mistake”‘, this is all good, and we saw this before, but how does this amount to Warren Buffett being the ‘Sage of Omaha‘ go from a brand name to a person in a public area where the others can snack on him, like food for Hyena’s and so on.

Well, this is all about us in the end and about image and ego. You see, there is something massively wrong with those who WERE (past tense) with Tesco and as the quarter of a billion hole was found, instead of calling for restraint and standing by the ethical high ground Dave Lewis was standing. People like Mike Ashley who did bet on Tesco bouncing back, as they should and I hope that Mike Ashley makes a bundle on this. Yet, the centre piece actually not one but two of them are all ignored. The first one is that Tesco still made a billion, so as we see people running away in ‘fear’ and all other sorts of reasons, the value of Tesco went down. I reckon that those screaming in misconceived ‘horror’ are now paying for the speedy speaking, I am not impressed with their anguish and I am not convinced that it was genuine.

You see, if the financial backers had stood firm with Lewis, the hurt might have been there, but the structural repair would have been basic structural repairs and the pain to the financial backers would have been slightly more than superficial in the end.

The second part of this stake is Pricewaterhouse Coopers. There are too many questions, no answers coming in and no solutions directly in sight, other than those that would continue Tesco at a massively reduced size. I am still not impressed, you see, we all did this to ourselves. I oppose certain practices, not just because the stakes are high, but because as we ‘cater’ to profit, especially unnatural high percentages, we only cater to fatal self-inflicted wounding. So how does this link to Mr Warren Buffet (oops, intentional typo). You see we get that from the following two quotes ‘A week after Mr Buffett significantly reduced his shares in the retailer he saw $1bn (£160mn) wiped off the value of his stake in IBM, after the tech giant recorded a 17 per cent drop in its third quarter profits‘ and ‘Just days later, Coca-Cola caused Mr Buffett’s investment losses to climb to $2bn (£1.26mn) after the soft-drinks giant’s shares plummeted six per cent following flat sales and a lowered guidance for the year‘. So how does this affect us? Well consider the lives we have, the things we buy and the corners we cut. Are the two drops even a surprise and more important is the Tesco example strong enough for others not to play that dangerous game? I am not implying that certain ‘errors’ are currently being instigated, but consider the news on how America is now so much on a better track with people having jobs (which is true), yet consider when people like you and me spend money on a laptop, software and on cheaper food and no fuzzy drinks. I can say ‘YAY!’ to all three. My laptop (not an IBM Lenovo) is failing me, it is 4 years old and I have no budget for at least a year to replace it. Can you afford a new laptop, just like that? I have not bought software, still using Office 2010 (and happy to use it) and to keep my likes budgeted, my last can of coke was about 2 weeks ago. Many are turning their dimes to make ends meet and the market forgot about the people like you and me! In the end the concept requires people to buy and the juggling of numbers is no longer an option, we all depend on the cheaper places like Aldi to get a good deal. So how can Coca Cola remain so high? Will 6% be just the start of the plummeting for now? Yes, we tend to buy a little extra during Christmas and America has an upcoming thanksgiving in less than 3 weeks and Christmas 4 weeks after that, yet what happens 6 weeks after that? Will jobs suddenly get lost again, with unemployment numbers to go up? I am not sure, but it is not unlikely. People like financial analyst Charles Nenner have been speaking in regards to a crashing Dollar; he stated ‘The government has loans outstanding that are very short term.  If interest rates only go up a half a percent, they are already in trouble.  Also, the United States doesn’t have the power to force a lot (of Treasury bonds) on other countries because the United States has decided not to be a power anymore‘, which is kind of funny, because I saw that danger scenario coming for well over a year ago. Yes, I have seen some of the abuse of people stating that I am so wrong, which is a view that is fair enough, yet what happens when visible analysts in the economic market, not just like Charles Nenner, but heaps of others all making predictions in the same direction, then what will you do? Disagree a little more, or just until the dollar becomes Junk (or on equal footing with the Yen), then who will YOU blame?

Those who have no debt at that point will just lose mobility, those in debt will feel that drowning feeling sooner then they think. In the end we all did this to ourselves (to some degree). So as warren seems to lose 2 billion out of the 70 he had. I think that these ‘investors’ draining on the 10%-15% they expect, will soon need to refocus on the options where it is not about how quick you make a buck, but how you can slowly make some dollars and not lose your investments. That will be centre to all future deliberations, those who do will hold on to the farm, those who don’t will hand their farms over to those who did and now there is no actual option to recover for those who lost it. That is at the centre, as the economy is not restoring to the public and the consumers we see a push towards Aldi and other budget minded places like Aldi.

These ‘investors’ should start to realise that getting a 3% return is not that bad, it beats praying for profit in excess of 10%, which is less and less realistic, whilst they end up writing off the virtual money pool they thought they had. It all starts with the consumer, investors forgot about that, no matter what profit you expect or what is ‘balanced’ on paper, if people do not have the money to buy, it pretty much ends and that part was ignored by too many for too long a time.

The other part in all this remains PwC, let’s just accept that not all is well when we see ‘cover my back‘ statements and signing off on well over 100 million in inflated numbers, especially with a 10 million pound auditing bill, can we agree to the small fact that a clear statement after a thorough investigation at PwC could have prevented a massive loss of value for Tesco, which would have kept many investors in a lessened state of panic. By the way, did Coca Cola downgrade the profits as the stimulus is now ending? If so, what true hardships are ahead for the people as funds will need to come from other places?

For now the people are still struggling and poverty has never been higher in the US, so there will be consequences there too, but how much of it will hit the UK full on is a matter that will require time to investigate and time to protect against, time that seems to be wasted on several low yielding efforts (read: concepts that will not come to fruition). I cannot state what the best course of action is, but I feel fairly certain that the current trend will not solve anything; it will only make it harder for everyone down the track.

 

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