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As a puppet

Have you been in a place where a person behind the screens is slowly shows his ability to give appeal? He is majestically moving his hands, not seen by anyone, hidden in shadow, yet the audience is delighted, the audience is watching a show of puppets, whether Muppet or Punch and Judy, the kids are in delight, at times, so are the parents. You see, the true master is not just about the posing or the dance of the puppets, as a master his voice give reign to banter, gossip in two layers, one that makes the children laugh and that makes the adults go: ‘Ha!’. The mark of of a savant. Yet, the bulk of them are not savants and in the political field there are at times a few people who are a lot less than savants and the media lets them, because the outrage created is what their circulation depends on. That was my view when I initially saw: ‘Doctors’ leaders accuse ministers of ‘callous disregard’ for the NHS’, a piece of work by the Health policy editor. We see a few things in the article and we all know that the NHS is in serious trouble. The part that stopped me was: “Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrats’ health spokesman, said: “Instead of £350m a week for the NHS, under the Conservatives we’ve seen the health service being gradually run into the ground“, you see, leave it to a LibDem to be clueless on the best of days, but just in case (because I make mistakes too), there was the small decision by me to take a second look, for that just in case moment in my life. You see, I remember that number, for one, I have never had that much money in my wallet, but I remember the amount in different ways. You see, the busses, the mention, when was that exactly a promise? The Brexit team bus (fuelled by UKIP) states: “We send the EU £350 million a week, let’s fund our NHS instead“, it is a valid slogan and it is a wish, in addition, the Nigel Farage interview on some morning TV show gives us “I would much rather give it to the NHS“, that is wishful thinking, it was not a promise or commitment, that came from nearly EVERY anti-Brexiteer. Now, I have slapped Labour UK around on their manifesto. It states: “The people of Britain are rightly proud of the NHS and we will invest £12 billion over the next five years to keep it working for them“, so we get a little over £6 million a day, or slightly more than £200 million a month, so where does this £350 a week ‘pledge’ come from? The independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/conservatives-must-make-manifesto-commitment-of-350m-a-week-for-the-nhs-say-doctors-a7739401.html) shows us: “Doctors, academics and public health officials have called on the Conservative Party to include in its general election manifesto a commitment to spend £350m a week on the NHS, in keeping with the notorious posters of the Vote Leave campaign“, which makes me wonder where the actual pledge comes from. So it seems that Dr Chand Nagpaul and Norman Lamb are both missing a few parts here (I am happy to be proven wrong), The conservatives pledge (2015 manifesto) was to increase £8 billion over 5 years, the increase goes nowhere near the 350 million some are muttering and this manifesto was BEFORE Brexit happened, so I am wondering what the article is based upon. If it was written with in mind the presentation of some think-tank, then this approach is a massive failure. So this health foundation think-tank is also moving in other not so clever directions. I could start that I had a solution (which only costed me 135 minutes to figure out and Google could get it from me for £15 million post taxation), yet they aren’t interested in a multi billion-pound revenue solution. And if this article is about spiralling pressures, well, we all agree and if the wasted £11.2 billion pounds on a previous IT project under previous labour, there might have been some space, yet the pressure would always have been there. As I wrote in previous blogs, the first thing that the NHS needs to do is change its mindset. That is an initial need on several levels. The ‘old’ way of doing things is no longer an option and it is weighing down as the cost of infrastructure is just increasing, that initial change is essential to survive. In my view (which might be flawed and incorrect) there seems to be an increasing wave of commissions in play and those groups are not free, there was a paper showing it and the reference is in my previous blog from January 15th 2017, where we see: “Coventry and Warwickshire NHS chiefs fork out £340,000 for advice on how to SAVE money” (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/01/15/the-views-we-question/), this time it is not about the money, well perhaps partially. It is about the 7 commissions in Warwickshire. How much to they cost? Now, this is not about their validity to exist, yet it seems to me that these trusts and commission groups might need trimming or reengineering. And that is just Warwickshire. This is what I am implying with the ‘rethinking‘ part. Yet, when, I ask again when did any of these think tanks go there in looking on changing the NHS and the costs they have? I am pretty sure that the media have not seen or reported on that issue for the longest of times. As I read now that they are looking to fill 80,000 positions, whilst I with three Uni degrees can’t get a job because I turned 55 is just obscene in several ways. And the entire ‘government must plug funding gap in healthcare spending between UK and other European countries‘, which is debatable right there as the Netherlands is twice the size of Ross-shire, with 16 million people in there, in addition we see Sweden which is almost twice the size of the UK, with 10 million people and 20% of that in the three largest cities. So here we already see three very different dimension of issues, making the ‘funding gap’ a bit of a question mark, in addition, as the UK is well over minus a trillion, the health care issue will be an issue and remain so unless some players start considering different paths, throwing money at it does not make it go away, you merely move the issue after which you end up having to solve two problems. So how does that solve anything? Well, I believe that we need to get the Universities involved and start brainstorming on how certain problems might be solved. You see, there is nothing like the unbiased view of a politically incorrect student to try and solve a puzzle, especially when political lobbyists are not allowed to ‘forge’ minds to become politically accepted minds. I think that turning the puzzle into a creativity challenge will get us potentially some options people forgot about. I found my solution whilst browsing a historical page on Scotland, of all the technological solutions, I found mine in a history book that predates that device that Graham Alexander Bell invented (read: telephone). How weird was that?

The puppet issue still remains. You see, the quote at the end: “Urgent action is needed, the thinktank says, because 900 people a day are quitting as social care workers, too few new recruits are joining the sector“, is an issue. I am not doubting the number as a total, yet when monthly a industry is drained by 18,000 workers, there are additional problems. When we in addition see a source claiming that NHS digital had notified staff on patches and we see news that Labour now wants to pump £37 bn in the NHS, we have several issues. For one, the unrealistic prompt for money that cannot be found in a realistic way and the fact that Labour gave out a manifesto promising the UK to get them a quarter of a trillion in deeper debt is a worry. The IT story is also linked to all this as it shows that there are additional infrastructure issues. If the endgadget quote is true “It seems this advisory fell on some deaf ears, which explains why only certain NHS Trusts were affected“, it clearly shows that the infrastructure needs an overhaul and there is a strong requirement to take a harsh look on where the money is going. The endgadget quote shows a STRUCTURAL failure of the NHS, and only an idiot will pump £37 billion in something that could be structurally unsound. That part has been ignored by the media on too large a scale. Oh and that is not limited to the UK, there is a European failure here (as well as a few other parts of the British empire, like Australia). So we need to consider that we have to give stronger illumination to the puppeteers, because, who exactly is part of the the Health Foundation think-tank? And as we illuminate the players in such think-tank, as the people have a right to know, we need to stop being puppets. We need to look at actual solutions, that is because I have seen a few ‘think tanks’ and ‘consultancy teams’ mentioned and even as we can agree that ‘£340,000 for advice‘ could be money well spend, it seems that over the last year there have been a few of these events and I am decently certain that these people do not work for free, so how much has been spend? I feel that I am massively underrating and could end up being equally massively underpaid with my £15,000,000 solution that would bring the project completionist a few billion.

It is also my personal belief that in many cases the person claiming ‘urgent action is needed‘ is also the person who wants the ‘victim’ to jump the shark so that they can coin in as large a way as possible. Yet I agree that the NHS needs acts that lead to solutions, here I differ in labelling the action as an act. The act of instigating change is not done in a few minutes and I do not want it to be wasteful, so people need to have their bullet point list ready (I actually hate those lists). Not a longwinded presentation, or is that ‘long wined and did possibly’? The NHS issue is in too critical a state, pretty much everyone agrees, yet the way how it is addressed and where the highest priority lies is another debate, in my mind (possibly a wrong deduction) is in the first, nurses, in the second infrastructure shifts and three the doctors. The infrastructure is important, not because doctors are not, but because the infrastructure has been showing to be a drain on the funds available. In that part we see that as issues are resolved more and more funds would become for both doctors (and GP’s) and upgrades. It is not that points two and three could not be instigated at the same time, yet in equal measure whatever infrastructure issues is resolved might actually give additional funds for more doctors and GP’s as well. It is merely a thought and there will be enough opposition, or better stated valid opposition to my priority list, it is just finding the path that is best walked. And in this case, I have the feeling that from the very beginning of the failed IT project that the NHS decision makers have been all about talking the walk and not getting any actual walking done, which would be a terminal disaster for any project, no matter how many billions you throw at it. It will merely be wasted coin.

 

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As an election looms

Finally, we get some words on the Labour manifesto, the Guardian has been on top of it and whilst they are presenting a good part, I have a few issues as they went a little light on labour as I personally see it. Again, it is a personal side and as a conservative you should take into consideration that the flaw is on my side, and I would accept it, but let me give you the goods.

The entire review is at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/16/labour-manifesto-analysis-key-points-pledges, so you have the option to completely disagree and seek your own version of their vision. The first part “a short note on a new £250bn “national transformation fund” implies that these costs will be funded through capital borrowing” shows their intent on rail, which is a quarter of a trillion through borrowing. So off the bat we are considering electing someone who wants to add a quarter of a trillion to a debt that went off the handles due to the Labour party in two previous administrations. How is that ever a good idea? a chunk of all the other parts is supposedly coming by adding a new tax group of 50% for those earning above £123K. A marginal addition for the ‘fat cat’ group. So those making more than that will be charged for the amount above and I have a hard time accepting and believing that this will get them the ‘speculated‘ £6.4 billion. It reads more like wishful thinking in an age where rationalism will not ever get you that amount. Consider, as mentioned before, something that any excel user can check with the numbers the UK tax office (HMRC) offers, the super wealthy, those making well over a million is limited to less than 5000 people. So how is this billion pound extra achieved? Let’s not forget they only get the 5% extra over the amount over £123K, as such the income will not get close, yet after the election they will come with excuses, whilst we already knew that this was never realistic. In addition, how many are close to the threshold? In this those making £123K – £199K, they might feel safer setting apart certain investment reserves into retirement, if they get that done, the £6.4B will drop fast by a lot. In addition, the Guardian gives us: “But recent evidence from the imposition of a 50p rate in 2010 shows that the measure could spark mass avoidance by the individuals affected and raise no extra funds for the exchequer“, so there is that part too! Remember Jeremy Corbyn and his nurses? The 10,000 nurses pledge? When we consider the already announced part “Health and social care reform at a cost of £7.7bn, as part of a package that includes a guarantee of A&E treatment within four hours and the end of the NHS pay cap“, and the “Free lunches for pupils as part of £6.3bn school package“, that’s another 14 billion, where is that coming from? Remember the tax increase part? When we tally, we see that the NHS part is already leaving the tax increase at minus a billion, all the other multi billion pound parts are not even close to being addressed. This is simple tally stuff that many in their final year in primary school can achieve from their calculus lessons and Jeremy Corbyn and his ‘raunchettes’ cannot deliver, a mere exercise in lewd offensive spending. Choices without proper merit and ignoring the consequences of the deep debt they got the UK in in the first place. I am all for some level of social levy, yet any social act requires to consider the impact, something that UK Labour is clearly not doing. It is even more upsetting that simple calculus gets us to a place where this would never have been a reality to begin with. Are you seriously considering voting for such a failed attempt?

When we consider the added Cyber security, and the promise to the security agencies, we see items that are promised without any claim to the cost. Now we might accept that part, yet their own £11.2 NHS IT fiasco should clearly show that they haven’t got a clue on how to tackle it because the limitations they imposed through failed IT is part of the reason that NHS IT is not up to date in the most meagre of ways which is also exactly part of the reason that the NHS hacks were successful in the first place. In addition the entire pension part is flawed, that is a given not because of what it states, but when you compare it against the Australian need to already up the retirement point to 67, with a population of 20 million, that is a retirement change already needed now, the fact that the age wave will hit with almost 4 times the intensity in the UK and the retirement age will not significantly up for another 6 years is delusional and as I see it set so that the current Labour electorate can ignore the issue until the next election, at that point it will be way too late and they will offer some diluted solutions using capital borrowing adding another . I see it as we now need an estimated £75bn a year, it is anticipated a near doubling before 2025. You see, some of the statistics have been placing comparison of life expectancy and percentage of retirement, yet as I see it, the quality of life for those born in the 30’s and those born in the 60’s is vastly different. the difference of those two groups is that maximum life is more likely to be in excess of 20 years, so those born in the 60’s and onward have a much higher chance of requiring a pension for close to 20 years longer, on a population of millions, that would equate to an additional pile of billions that would be required. In this the setbacks that the financial meltdowns gave all the people and government institutions, it shows that the shortage will increase and the pension deficit will increase annually by a lot over the next 5 years alone, so not seeing any repair actions is just weird. So as labour proclaims to be ‘social‘ their social unawareness and unpreparedness is just a little too upsetting. Now, the Tories are not innocent either. There is a given shortage and getting rid of the debt is a first step in solving it, so as we see that Labour is now willing to add close to half a trillion to the total shortage and that is just the added shortage of what they want to do to look cool. The added deficit will go straight through the roof adding overall a lot more debt than anyone is willing to consider.

And it is Labour of all others who have no welfare support. they promise a future policy paper, but the overall issue is not that paper (it will be though), it is “There are no spare funds in Labour’s calculations for extra welfare spending. To counteract the effects of planned cuts, under Labour’s current plans it would need to increase borrowing“, so that implies even more borrowing, whilst they amount needed is already through the roof. I did voice a change, I offered a view where there might be some additional ‘fat cat’ costs, even though that is not what I call it, it was a need to increase the second tax tier by 2% and the third one by 1%, whilst increasing the 0% tax group. so basically the lowest people get £100 a month more and the highest (45% tier) loses about £150 a month (as they also have the higher 0% part, they lose a little in the end), around £100 for tier 2 and £50 on the tier 3 part which I saw as a very social thing to do. And all that without burdening towards extra debt. I am not stating that the lowest group did not deserve more, I was working from a 0 balance difference for taxation, so that the coffer would not be denied more coins to address the massive debts it has now. It was a simple exercise in Excel and perhaps my method is flawed, my intention was pure, that is a lot more than I can state for the McDonnell-Corbyn group who will happily max out the UK credit card and leave others to solve the matter after they leave office, just like the two previous labour governments did.

Yet in all this it is not just the Labour party that needs a look, the Lib Dems are also due a little concern. In that I actually like the entire ‘rent to buy‘ pledge. I cannot say if it would work because the ground materials are not a given at present. What homes would be offered? Consider what the foundation is. New houses, would b great, but when we see where, there will be an optional issue. It is of course a way to get the younger generation out of London and perhaps towards other places where a younger population would be a good thing. However, would they embrace life in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire or Kent? What happens when that is not an option, what if the social houses in London does not get resolved? Those elements make the Lib Dems an issue that might not come to pass, yet for every person accepting a place outside of the greater London area, the pressure will go down a little, enough little’s will make for a moment of relief, yet will it work, time will tell. In all this I personally found the second ‘referendum’ offensive. So, because people did not like the outcome, because some didn’t bother voting, the people in the UK get to vote again? I wonder how the Lib Dems will be seen when the EU gets the bill of what Wall Street does, when the UK gets the pounding because the US could not get their house in order, I wonder how those second referendum people will be seen. Even as the US is ‘suddenly’ doing great again, whilst their debt is increasing by trillions of dollars a year, as well as their inability of dealing with their deficit, how will that push others? The US now with almost 20 trillion in national debt, they stated the 1st half of 2016 a collected taxation of 1.48 trillion. now, if we do something not entirely valid, but what if we double it? (the second half is never as much as the first half, yet for argument sake), this now implies that the US would collect a maximum of $3 trillion for 2016, that whilst at present, federal spending is at almost $4 trillion and the deficit is now approaching $600 billion for this year. The deficit, no matter what they report is not getting properly addressed and has not been or over a decade. What do you think will happen when that well ends? Do you think that export to the US will continue? At that point, who would be the trade partner that remains? I do not proclaim to have then answer, yet when we see that at present US total Interest paid is set at $2.5 trillion, where do you think that goes? Who is paid interest on debts that seem to be mainly virtual? Do not think it is a simple picture, because this part is as complex as anything could ever get. Machiavelli could not design something this complex. Yet at the end of the day, the taxpayer is left with the invoice. As such lowering debt is the only safety net that would allow the people in general to have any life. I have always stated and truly believed that once it collapses, it will hit whomever is in debt. I still believe that Japan is the first domino to fall, yet that also means that the US dollar gets a hit that will be a terminal one and Wall Street will falter almost immediately after that, after which the Euro will go straight out of the window, its value less than the German Deutschmark in 1923. Japan has a debt that is close to 240% of GDP, a group of nations that includes the US, Japan, the UK and several other European nations have a budget deficit that is surpassing $9 trillion, how is that allowed to continue? This is not me, this comes from Martin Weiss, PhD. Although his PhD is in cultural anthropology from Columbia University, not in economics. Yet we can agree that at least he has a few degrees which includes degrees from Columbia and NYU, so he is not the most uneducated tool we know, unlike some in politics nowadays. The problem is not the total deficit or the total debt. It is the fact that some players like the Rothschild’s, Wall Street and even the IMF are wanting this game to continue. A push it forward game that benefits the political and financial engine operators and 0.1% of the population. Would it be fair to call this a legalised form of slavery? Is the one option allowed to have the same as a freedom of choice? That is what is more and more at stake. When the people in the UK were allowed this freedom, they chose Brexit, now we see all these players trying to undo that one part, because it is the fear of the players with too much to lose. We get more and more weighted information from the press and that engine is less and less reliable. So what remains? Well, the people in the UK are about to make their selection, whilst we see certain manifesto’s that are debatable to say the least. Some parts are just not realistic at all, yet the people must elect someone. I will not tell you who to vote for, I am merely wondering if the people will ever be properly informed.

This is mainly because there is an election looming and those not governing will make whatever promise they can just to get into office. So what will happen after that? Remember Emmanuel Macron? Making all those statements on how Europe must reform, or else there would be a referendum? Well, merely an hour ago we see: “Both pro-Europe leaders were keen to show solidarity concerning the Eurozone and have broken with previous statements by discussing potential changes to EU treaties. The move is seen by both nations as a way of healing ongoing EU upheaval, combating the rise of the far right and showing a united front in the wake of Brexit negotiations” healing whom? the ECB spending spree recipients? When we see “Visiting Berlin on Monday, Macron ‘did not push for major, ambitious reforms (of the EU) because he knows the chancellor cannot deliver until the elections in September’“, I merely see the fact that the French people have been lied to again, and those people voting have elected a new Wall Street tool (as I personally see it), and the fact that he was a former investment banker was pretty much a clear giveaway. I expect to see some kind of ‘compromise’ that gets no one anywhere any time soon around the end of August or early September, implying that the European gravy train will move along with full speed ahead for another 4-5 years. When you realise this, do you still think my Brexit support was weird? If someone had effectively muzzled Mario Draghi, that might have been a first piece of evidence that reform of the Eurozone would have been a far fetched optional reality, yet so far, that has not and is unlikely to happen.

 

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As the UK changes

There is no doubt about it, the UK is about to get a drastic change of image. Some of these parts is on them, other parts are set for them by others. We might all debate that it is usually the one or the other is sorely mistaken. It is when the industry and those trying to ‘guard’ their path to become members of ‘the billionaires club’, it is at that point we need to worry on who can influence our paths to a decent life and those who is trying to direct their ‘image’ from behind the screens. It is at that point ‘we the people’ must worry. You might think that me, being an Australian blogger, that I have no skin in the game. That is where you are wrong!

My grandfather was not just British, he served during WW1. In addition, there was a moment where my grandfather excelled, it was not WW1, it was a little later that he became one of the volunteers who acted and helped to unload the boats as there was a dockworker strike. I am not up to date on all the details as he passed away whilst I was still too young to comprehend the concept of ‘strike’. The reason why I remember it was because my grandmother showed me the letter of gratitude which came from King George V (I personally reckon it was done by his staff and he signed it). Still, my grandmother was proud to have the letter. This is not just some memory, the event mattered. Not all things done for King (or Queen) and Country is done in a war. We have points of view, and in the past the people had a strong moral compass. Those who did strike might have had an equally strong moral compass. I do not oppose that or their view. My point of view is different as I am from a much later era. So when we see: ‘Tories attack Labour over inheritance tax and spending plans‘  (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/03/corbyns-economic-policy-would-cost-voters-45bn-ministers-claim), where the backdrop is Jeremy Corbyn with the bomb stating ‘More debt, higher taxes’, we need to be concerned for our future. It makes me particularly sick that Jeremy Corbyn is making promises that have no bearing on reality. As a conservative, I would love to employ another 10,000 police officers. Actually, I prefer 4,000 Police Constables’s and 6,000 nurses, but that is just me. With over a trillion in debt the UK government cannot afford it and I get that. The previous Labour government has wasted so much money, they should not be allowed to drive the UK deeper in debt by making promises and spending cash that will take an entire generation of workers to settle. 4 years of spending and 25 years of paying it back is not a plan, it is idiocy! In that we need to realise that the game has been over for far too long. The UK needs affordable housing plans, which will also cost heaps, yet this is money they will get back as the economy is starting to employ people again and get the quality of life for all (especially the lower incomes up), in that Jeremy Corbyn has absolutely no clue what to do and it is with that level of cluelessness that he wants to be elected, so he is making empty promises (as I see it) to throw money at any sizeable group for the mere number of votes. A party that cannot even be one party and is infighting nearly non-stop, that is not a party that should be regarded as a valid choice, at that point UKIP will be a much better choice than Labour has been for close to 5 years. I reckon that even if the LibDems could find their groove and direction, they would be a better choice than the Labour party is at present, which is saying a lot.

The UK budget is an issue and those who can count know this, they have known this for 6 years that the party was over. The Commonwealth needs to pull together and find solutions that will bolster each other. In this Australia and Canada are the most likely allies, yet we should not discount New Zealand or India here either.

The second part actually intersects politically with the first. I have a few issues with the article called ‘The six Brexit traps that will defeat Theresa May‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/03/the-six-brexit-traps-that-will-defeat-theresa-may), yet there are parts that we need to truly consider in more than one way. The first is shown with ““It’s yours against mine.” That’s how Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, put it to me during our first encounter in early 2015 – referring to our respective democratic mandates.“, as well as “Brussels became the seat of a bureaucracy administering a heavy industry cartel, vested with unprecedented law-making capacities. Even though the EU has evolved a great deal since, and acquired many of the trappings of a confederacy, it remains in the nature of the beast to treat the will of electorates as a nuisance that must be, somehow, negated“. I have some issue with the second one, but that will be addressed shortly. The fact is that the writer, Greece’s favourite rock star: Yanis Varoufakis (read: former Greek Finance Minister) has been playing a game whilst in office (a politically valid one), yet the consequence is that their play pushed Brexit forth. In addition, we know that there is a long lasting issue in Brussels and the fact that the EU-zone is a mere facilitator for big business is slightly too conspiracy theoretical. Yet the fallout, which I blogged about for a few years pushes that view forward too. I believe that the truth is that the EU opened up a power broker game where large corporations had much more influence than even before. The EU players have to have one front whilst corporate divisions could play both ends of the political field against the middle, with the economic area’s being always too scared of their local needs. And those in charge had (read: have) no real need for Greece, only for the banks that could give them larger than life careers after their political day. This has been a global view and shown to be correct for the longest of times. So when we read: “From my first Eurogroup, its president, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister, began an intensive campaign to bypass me altogether. He would phone Alexis Tsipras, my prime minister, directly – even visiting him in his hotel room in Brussels. By hinting at a softer stance if Tsipras agreed to spare him from having to deal with me, Dijsselbloem succeeded in weakening my position in the Eurogroup – to the detriment, primarily, of Tsipras“, this read completely correct from my point of view, yet I must also state that as Yanis played his public game (or is that pubic?), as the testosterone was flying off the newspapers, whether under orders of his PM or not (an unknown factor), Yanis played his game too hard and Greece was in no place to play the game that hard, especially as the Greek spending and misrepresenting transgressors never ended up in court and prosecuted, Greece did not have any options to lean on, not morally and not literally. Yet, there is a side that we see has a ring too it, we have seen it over the last two years as the ECB and Mario Draghi have been playing their political game for slightly too long, certain better financial media are now asking questions on Draghi and his non maintainable status, that whilst Draghi has been making additional Brexit threats. All this in the agony of fear because the turmoil in France is intensifying. In sight of the slip of numbers in the pro-Macron group, the financial world is now holding its breath and the next 96 hours will be the killer with adrenaline levels so high that can be cut with a knife. Wall Street will be glued to the election result screens, quite literally praying for a miracle.

Last there is the everlasting issue with the NHS (the one where the UK Labour party wasted 11.2 billion IT funds on). The article ‘Hospital waiting lists ‘will rise above 5 million’ as targets slide‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/03/nhs-annual-health-budget-increases-conservatives-ifs), is one that intersects even more. the cost of keeping it correctly alive should be on the minds of anyone voting in the UK. It is the most important long term part in everyone’s life in the UK. The issue is that it might not be immediate and therefor too many people are ignoring it because there has been too many NHS news mentions, but it will define the life of everyone in Britain, as such we need to realise that the hollow promises of Jeremy Corbyn are a direct threat to the existence of the NHS. Many might blame the Tories here, but the reality is that 2 terms of Labour did spend all the money there was and they also did the spending of 3 additional administrations as I see it, which is why they are so dangerous. The quote: “Without further help from the next government after the election, this is what the real impact will be on patients of successive underfunding of the NHS,” said Ian Eardley, vice-president of the Royal College of Surgeons” is not incorrect, yet those in charge of the NHS and those connected to high valued luncheons and board meetings should have taken a much better posture when billions were spent on a system that never worked. There is a consequence to that and as funds and infrastructure both took a dive the future will be grim, not unsolvable but grim none the less. Denis Campbell has written a good piece and should be read, this is not merely about a few quotes, there are serious issues, yet in all this there are parts missing, parts that are connected yet unmentioned. In light of what needs to be a light, the one article will never cover it (not due to the writer). Merely because the issue has become too great. Now, as we see what is in play, we need to revisit the start of this blog. My grandfather did what he thought was essential and right. Ships had to be offloaded, the goods were meant for the people and as such if not unloaded, the people would suffer. In that light the NHS is in a place where it is doing what it can, but the truth is that the NHS must change and adapt. People a lot more clever than me will need to make a reform, reforms that Greece halted and it is dragging them down, the UK will have to change the NHS is drastic ways. When we read that 5 million people are on a waiting list, we have to question the time they remain on that waiting list. The elitist approach that the nursing groups have taken as to whom can become a nurse and which tertiary education is good enough to be a nurse in the UK is one that requires scrutiny. There are too many political games being played and even as they voice ‘quality of staff‘, there has come a point where people are dying because there is no staff. We need to instigate a change that opts for a situation where 100,000 patients can get some level of care as per immediate. The Corbyn solution of throwing money at it will not do. We can argue that in equal measure privatisation is equally a bad idea, because we merely replace ‘level of care standards‘ by ‘level of profit‘ and that will never ever lower cost for the people at large. The parts we tend to ignore is not privatisation, it is interactivity of services that will lower cost, that part needs to be ascertained and not by groups trying to create a new gravy train.

We need actual solutions and it requires a different train of thought, one that needed yesterday. So as the press is facilitating on how Labour will spend more on the NHS and nurses, whilst the publishers of these papers know that there is no way that this can be funded, you need to question on what makes for an actual solution. The only solution (as I personally seen it) is to create a wave of credible positions and train the people in some places on the job. Perhaps these colleges need to accept a new degree where people can be trained on sight step by step, lowering the pressure for those who can do it all by slowly replacing those who can do it too and not just in nursing, because if the waiting list got to the millions, we need to see where surgeons could have an alternative group of people, not unqualified, but those who barely missed the grade. We need to reconfigure the pyramid shaped triangle into a parallelogram, so that some functions that cannot be filled can be done by others. Now, lets all accept that a surgeon is an extreme example, yet can the same be stated for a radiologist? an Anaesthesiologist? or even a surgical assistant? Three functions that might opt for additional people from other branches. Even as we know that they all claim ‘dedicated’ and ‘perfectly schooled’ personnel. It is time that those academic ‘advisors’ from Royal Colleges take a sharp look at wartime conditions and to the parts that some could play in aiding in a solution. Now because there is a strike and the dockworkers are busy standing up for their rights (which is a valid activity), but because in this high pressure world there are ships docked and there is no one left to unload the boats. That is where the NHS is and that is where they need to find a solution. Perhaps this will be found in the military, it is possible that those in the medical services of the Army, Navy or Air force will find that they are doing part time work at an NHS location. In that same stage, so will other defence branches find themselves. Fighting for their country, not in the trenches of the Somme, but in the tranches behind a desk of London Hospital. It might just keep that deficit down from £134.9m (that is this year alone) to something that could actually be managed.

We need another play, and it is perhaps the UK who might remember how they changed Cricket tactics in 1932-1933, so they did not get completely humiliated by Don Bradman. We still need a better solution and the Bodyline tactic was never an acceptable tactic, that whilst the ‘win at all cost‘ is not a decent play, but the NHS is now in a stage where it is ‘survive or die‘ and nobody wants the NHS to die, so in this the NHS and especially the advisory boards will need to look at tactics that will make them really unhappy, but at this stage they have left themselves no other options and the political players can only facilitate unrealistic options that are no options. They will start a path that will change the UK for generations, yet in that let that be in a way that will allow for the existence of some level of National Health Care. In this that they will need to write a new playbook, one that can offer options, not limitations.

 

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The views we question

This is not a piece of me knowing, this is not a piece of me telling how it is. This is me questioning certain choices and certain actions. When we now see the actions as displayed by the press, is the press correct, was the press played or is the press playing us? To help to you in this, let’s start with two articles, both in the Guardian. The first (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jan/14/nhs-crisis-my-frail-mum-was-forced-to-wait-on-the-floor-for-eight-hours), where we see the emotional start ‘My frail mum was forced to wait on the floor for eight hours‘, I myself have had to wait in triage twice. This happens. There is only so much a hospital can do, as for the wait on the floor? When we see the first story appear we see “It was another seven hours before he went upstairs for an angioplasty and a stent. The A&E staff were under immense pressure, having to deal with far too many patients, but they did an amazing job“, now this person was from Worcestershire, famous for its Lea and Perrin’s sauce. In another case we see “It took 30 minutes for the paramedics to get there but when they arrived they were brilliant“, as well as “I don’t want to blame the paramedics or any staff at the NHS. They do a wonderful job and do their best to take care of patients when they arrive. But the issue is with the government and the lack of funding to our healthcare services” from that same person. Finally the one that is important here is “Dr Liam Brennan, president, Royal College of Anaesthetists: ‘These are no longer winter pressures, but perennial pressures’” with the added quote “In my 34 years as a frontline doctor I have never seen the breadth and scale of the relentless demands across the whole health and social care system that I see today“, in all this, this is the part that is in the eye of the hurricane, because, when we look back to Baron Kerslake, or as he is called in the House of Lords ‘bobby’ (assumption from my side). You see, he came up in an earlier blog, appointed as the Chair of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. On February 17th 2016, in my blog article ‘Behind the smiling numbers‘, I wrote (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/02/17/behind-the-smiling-numbers/), “The title ‘Income tax must rise 3p to stop NHS ‘staggering from year to year’‘, which implies initially that the NHS needs £1.95m, which might be OK. Yet the truth is far from that, the text gives us that Lord Kerslake stated “Income tax will have to increase by at least 3p in the pound….”“, which is another story entirely (and first evidence that members of the House of Lords are gifted with a decent sense of humour)”, which came from a February article in the Guardian. Now when we consider The Royal College of Anaesthetists (www.rcoa.ac.uk), we see “Anaesthetists are qualified doctors who are registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). The first step towards a career as an anaesthetist is medical school. Undergraduate medical training normally lasts for five years and medical students normally graduate with a bachelor’s degree. After graduating, the newly qualified doctor enters foundation training in hospitals around the UK. Foundation training lasts two years and after the first year, trainees become fully registered medical practitioners. Through the second year of foundation year training, trainees apply for postgraduate training in one of the specialties, of which anaesthesia is one. Trainees can apply for the seven years anaesthesia programme or the eight years anaesthesia programme which includes two years of the Acute Care Common Stem (ACCS) programme. Trainees also have the option of completing dual Certificates of Completion of training (CCT) in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine. The dual CCT is similar in principle to achieving dual degrees and will normally take 8.5 years to complete“, so as we see staff shortages, as we see resource shortages, we also see something else, do we not? The quote from Lord Bobby, my apologies for this error, I meant Lord Kerslake, Baron Kerslake no less, it is my personal believe that harsher calls should have been made near a decade ago. In this former Prime Ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron should have made larger adjustments towards the NHS. Yes, we know that the Labour party bungled 11.2 billion pounds in that regard, but that was IT, staff is another matter and adjusting for those needs should have been done a long time ago. I have had an interest in becoming an anaesthetist a long time ago, if I had known the dire shortage then, I would have appealed and applied to Professor Peter Hutton in person in 2001. I might not have made it and unlikely I would have been able to do this, but I would have made the effort, a part I now see a failing Lord Kerslake with Lord Kerslake stated “Income tax will have to increase by at least 3p in the pound….“, I believe that if this is going to get saved, Prime Minister Theresa May will have to increase taxation to all working people by £1 every month as per January 1st 2016 and all pensions by £0.50 as per that same date. The treasury coffers will need to make a larger change, yet if anyone in House of Commons, the House of Lords or Parliament has any serious consideration to keep the NHS alive, that action is now needed. It is not unlikely that we will see a 2018 judicial public inquiry regarding the actions, practices, responsibilities and funding of the NHS. There is no telling which Lord Justice would be chosen, yet in these levels of failure, in these levels of events and the inhumane pressures that the medical profession is now under, brings a pain to my heart a lot more severe than a heart attack (I had more than one of those, so I know). The reason for all this is that there is a similar atmosphere all over the Commonwealth and if we want to prevent such a disaster in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, something needs to be done now.

The second article I mentioned was ‘NHS in crisis as cancer operations cancelled due to lack of beds‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jan/14/health-service-in-crisis-cancer-ops-cancelled-nhs). The second line is the one that brings the beef to the table: ‘Hospital chief warns government must face the truth, as patients lose surgery dates with some only receiving one day’s notice‘, the question becomes how could this have come to such a dire place? You see, this is not just some refugee or illegal immigrant thing, this is what I personally see a categorical undermining of an essential support system. This is a basic view, but is my view incorrect? It can only be seen as such if there is a visible spike of 30%-45% of Cancer patients and I am fairly certain that actually newspapers did not make such a report. In this the quote “Today, writing for this newspaper, the chair of King’s College Hospital, London, Lord Kerslake, a former head of the civil service, suggests Theresa May’s government is not sufficiently in touch with the reality facing NHS hospitals and staff to appreciate the severity of the crisis“, in this I would respond is that Lord Kerslake left the needs of the NHS too shallow in his 3 pence required statement, perhaps I just got that wrong, but if I misread it, than who else did that very same thing? Yet there is another gem in this article and it is shown a little further down that piece. The quotes “Kerslake also sides with Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, who last week questioned the prime minister’s claim about NHS funding“, “Dr Sarah Wollaston, chair of the Commons health select committee, criticised the government for blaming GPs for the crisis” as well as “She said in a tweet: “Pretty dismal stuff for govt to scapegoat GPs for very serious NHS pressures. Failure to understand the complexity or own responsibility.”“. So we have a few political fires going on and the fact that Prime Minister May reacted poorly is just one facet. The one that does matter is “failure to understand the complexity“, you see, it seemed to me for the longest of time that there was too much politicisation with the NHS, which is why I am referring to the essential need of a judicial public inquiry of the NHS. Why on earth has the NHS become so complex? Is that not a valid question too? In this world, is medical care and health care the one item on everyone’s agenda to keep that as simple as possible? In that, we see another part, in advance I will apologise for the upcoming ‘less’ civil words, but why the fuck is anyone handing over £340,000 to PwC? The headline from the Coventry Telegraph ‘Coventry and Warwickshire NHS chiefs fork out £340,000 for advice on how to SAVE money‘ (at http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-warwickshire-nhs-chiefs-fork-12436466), there is in addition a small part if each forked that over, or if this was a total amount. The fact that PwC, you know the ‘idiots’ involved in fallen places like Tesco and BHS, now they are advising the NHS? How much is that going to cost the tax payers after the initial fee that equals 13 annual incomes for most UK working citizens? The quote “The document, released in December, aims to address the need to bridge the local NHS funding gap of £267 million which will exist by 2020 if services stay the same in the region” gives rise to even more worry. Not only is the NHS a quarter of a billion short in roughly 1080 days in Coventry and Warwickshire, to survive they have to move? How will that aid the people in Coventry and Warwickshire? Will they end up with any health care at all, or will the local Romani Gypsies with oils and herbals need to be relied on? You think that I am exaggerating? If so, please feel free to inform me on how those two places Coventry and Warwickshire, with 340,000 and 550,000 people end up coming up short by £267,000,000 in three years? Well if advice comes at £343,000 on private consultants, that shortage might be reached rather quickly, but that is not the story is it? The story is how funding has failed and how much more it will fail over the next three years. So, as such, is my view as I personally see it of an essential judicial public inquiry that far-fetched?

In that part, the PwC will have more to explain. When we see: “The sum cannot be broken down as you request as the work was undertaken on a fixed fee basis but please note that the work was commissioned in line with government framework rates.”, what else was done, how many hours and what data was the advice based on? In addition we see that the payment to PWC LLP, who were commissioned by the STP member bodies to help to develop the STP between July and September 2016 (as quoted), so this Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) gives a solution, which involves:

  • University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust
  • South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust
  • George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust
  • Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust
  • NHS Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group
  • NHS Warwickshire North Clinical Commissioning Group
  • NHS South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group

It now becomes a question on where the trimming would need to be, more important if there is an upcoming shortage of a quarter of a billion, is there an oversight of what has been billed, what has been received and with three commissioning groups, should we fear what kind of a gravy train is running here. How many clinical commissioning groups are there in the West Midlands? If every county has one, how much in payments go into those clinical commissioning groups? These are all questions that are not heard by too many places. I think that there is an issue, I am not sure if what I am raising is an issue, but with only part of West Midlands, if they are short by a quarter of a billion, what shortages can we expect to see in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire? Consider that the West-Midlands is around 5.8 million at present. Implying a lot, that part you should realise when 15% of a West Midlands is cause for a quarter of a billion in shortage, where is the rest of West Midlands at? Is that such a weird question? Even as there is absolutely no fault to the medical practitioners themselves, there is a fair bit of uncertainty regarding the governance of the medical profession and the governance of the NHS trusts. It is the scent of silence. In this I equally blame the Labour party as they did not change direction funding the NHS as it should have. Now, we know that the financial crises has hit everyone, this is a fact of life, yet the issue we see when the Guardian quote “saying that the real amount of extra cash being given to the NHS in England between 2014-15 and 2020-21 is only £6bn and even that much smaller sum has only come from cutting spending on public health programmes and medical education and training by £3.5bn” was given on October 31st 2016 also implies the partial pressure we see mounting. by cutting £3.5bn on medical education and training, we can see one headline, namely ‘NHS in crisis as cancer operations cancelled due to lack of beds‘ as it changes into ‘NHS in crisis as cancer operations cancelled due to lack of qualified surgical staff‘, when some of these specialists require 8 years of training, that view is not overly pessimistic, it is an actual reality that the UK could be facing from 2019 onwards, yet for how long cannot be predicted because the changes in policy are unknown and they will largely influence for how long this problem will continue, as well as it will continue to grow as a problem.

In light of this, perhaps a light hearted alternative? When we see the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-35121632), how long until politicians will consider: “Nearly 1,500,000 people were killed this year as part of the government’s NHS sustainability cull“. You see, if we do it to the badgers, how long until people are on a similar list to create convenience?

 

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The reality of danger

The entire Palestinian UN issue or as some call it Resolution 2334, certain players decided to make certain moves. There will be long term consequences, yet what they are can only be speculated on. The Washington Post gave news last year (4 days ago, at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/12/29/trumps-plan-to-move-the-u-s-embassy-to-jerusalem-could-help-the-peace-process/) that is another issue that will play. There is a choice at times to place anything governmental, yet where to place it has been less of an issue. You see the initial quote: ‘move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could help the peace process‘ is a loaded one. Like in the Netherlands, Israel is one of the few places where the embassies are not in the capital of that nation. Tel Aviv is the most important city in Israel and the central hub for all business. There is a reasonable speculation that Ben-Gurion airport is a driving reason in that. Yet Tel Aviv is only half the size of Jerusalem, which does not make the move wise or foolish. What is a given that moving the embassies to Jerusalem will spark massive response. What is interesting in the Washington Post article is the reference to the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.

In this we see:

(1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected.
(2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel; and
(3) the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.

We can see that this act was either ignored or basically not taken too serious. The quote “However, a built-in waiver provision intended as a temporary measure has allowed every president since then to delay the move at routine six-month intervals” gives voice to that. So in case of the Israeli case as a solid ally, the US would state ‘not this time around‘ twice a year. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, 10 years of delays, 20 delays. Now, we see that the new president will push forward. Still at this point there are a few considerations to keep in mind. It is the quote “But a reversal of the long time U.S. diplomatic boycott of Jerusalem could bode well for Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects. Sending a strong message that the new administration stands with the Israeli government on a major symbolic issue with high potential costs could push the Palestinian leadership to a greater sense of urgency in negotiations” that I have an issue with. You see, Mahmoud Abbas is on his last options, quotes like: “Mahmoud Abbas, Re-elected as Fatah Leader, Moves to Solidify Power” is one side the other is “Hamas delegates find welcome at Fatah conference, but not trust“. The ties between Abbas and Hamas are strained and the Jerusalem move could implode the connections. This comes from a 2007 statement by Mussa Abu Marzuk ‘the failure of any political process to solve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict will lead to ultimate victory and the destruction of Israel reflects the Logic of Implosion of the Resistance Network‘, This resistance network is not that visible. Unlike some claimants to be ‘all for Palestine‘ they tend to brag on social media using photo ops for visibility. There are connections we see regarding Mussa Abu Marzuk, yet there is clearly another side. The conspiracy theories regarding Assad’s mercenaries are as unreliable as it gets, yet there are seemingly links in Beirut that do require scrutiny (an open blog is not the place to do this), the reason for these mentions are the reality that the move to Jerusalem will spark actions by Hamas and anyone with anti-Israel sentiments. Jerusalem could become a powder keg in more than one way. When we look at the same quote again ‘move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could help the peace process’, I have to conclude that this is not likely to be. The so called burning bridges tactic could become the fire that lights dozens of fuses. Even as Iran had seized funding to the larger degree (implied that this was done), it could be a move that will reopen acts of support from antagonists like Iran, I very much doubt that Iran will be the only one. You see, the embassies not in Jerusalem gave some parties the idea that certain topics could be reopened. This move, when it happens takes that off the table and several parties will not like that at all. Yet it is not all doom and gloom. The reality is that Palestine has a massive benefit when the Embassy moves go through. Consider the benefits that Jerusalem traffic towards a place like Bethlehem brings, which is on the Palestine side.

Yet, this is not about tourism. It is about the rationale of moving the US Embassy. There have been a few voices that the US Embassy would not be safer in Tel Aviv, yet my issue is that there will be more opportunities for extremists to attack it in Jerusalem. Perhaps I will be proven wrong, time will tell. It was last year, just before Christmas, when the Washington Post stated “The United States recognized the 1949 Israeli-Jordanian armistice lines as the new borders of Israel outside Jerusalem, but as for Jerusalem the U.S. position was to support the provision of the 1947 U.N. Partition Resolution, which called for Jerusalem to be a “corpus separatum under a special international regime . . . administered by the United Nations” (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-the-us-embassy-is-in-tel-aviv-not-jerusalem/2016/12/23/89b5b5a8-c703-11e6-acda-59924caa2450_story.html). As well as “By 1953, the United Nations had shelved plans for a “corpus separatum,” and West Jerusalem was de facto understood to be part of Israel. Keeping the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv had no relationship to the status of East Jerusalem. Not moving the U.S. Embassy to West Jerusalem in 1953 or thereafter was essentially a bureaucratic decision, devoid of any legal justification“. What is now an actual issue is that less than a day ago we see ‘State Department ‘not aware’ of efforts to move US embassy to Jerusalem‘ (source: Times of Israel), where we see “We’re not privy to any moves, any decisions or active efforts to go ahead and move the embassy,” Kirby told CNN“, which reads like a load of ….. (you know the missing word). This is because on November 10th we get “Adviser says Trump tsunami will shift U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem“, making John Kirby an actual idiot. His additional clue word ‘privy’ like it was a secret makes this even more ridiculous. The president Elect has spoken on the intention of this happening. Now the DNC might not like this, yet intentional misinforming the public to this degree in the last 3 weeks of office is just stupid. How can we see John Kirby in any serious continuation when he is racking up disaster statements like this?

So we have ourselves a ballgame, because we now see: “intended ambassador to Israel David Friedman said last month that he looked forward to working “from the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said subsequently that the PLO would revoke its recognition of Israel if the US moved the embassy“, here we now get the direct consequence of dealing in any non-lethal way with terrorists. The mere ‘revoke its recognition of Israel‘ is a clear sign that Palestine cannot now, or ever be trusted. In that regard, when we see the Fatah–Hamas Gaza Agreement of April 2014, with an indefinite delay on election, we should see in that light the situation of Palestine. With president Mahmoud Abbas in lock-down whilst we see people speaking, clearly with the old man in charge, making him either a puppet or unreliable, likely both. This is the group that the UN wants to do business with. This is the group, which via Egypt started Resolution 2334. In that regard, regardless of the dangers. The option that the US and possibly even Australia are moving their Embassies to Jerusalem. A stronger message needs to be given, either we stand with Israel, or we let it all burn and in this day and age, and from my point of view burning it all is a waste of resources.

We have seen for more than a decade that the Palestine high command is not in charge. That same organisation that tried marketing in the form of “It sought to convince a sufficient core of leftists that the PLO wasn’t really committed to its goal of eradicating Israel. It actually was a peace movement in terrorist disguise”, how has that been working out? The Haaretz quote “Lemon asked Ashrawi to explain what steps the Palestinians have taken for peace with the Israelis, to which Ashrawi answered, “I think we are trying our best to make peace in every possible way” sounds deceptive to say the least, although we must take into consideration that Haaretz will always be pro-Israel, so we can’t really hope for fair and balanced in this equation and I am trying to take this into consideration. My evidence are the loads of Hamas Rockets, a Palestine leadership that plays turncoat depending on ammunition reserves and a so called nation that has decided to delay elections. All these elements are in play when we consider the Israeli issues. A side that we see repeated when we look at the US State Department (at https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2016/12/266119.htm). The quote “Both sides committed to a plan to transition much of the West Bank and Gaza to Palestinian control during permanent status negotiations that would put an end to their conflict. Unfortunately, neither the transition nor the final agreement came about, and both sides bear responsibility for that“, which is true, yet in 1995 onwards, we see bombings and suicide bombings in bus stations like Ashkelon and Jerusalem in addition to markets and streets. With an explosion of events in 2001 and 2002. Now that there is more and more evidence that Iran is backing away with their funds (likely because of oil prices in the basement), now we see there is so much need for a solution, for a suddenly giving in to Palestine. Perhaps the US wants to remember how they dealt with Benedict Arnold. How he was given land and prestige in the US? This question comes to the frame of mind when we see the Times of Israel (not the only source) state “Transcript claims to show US worked with Palestinians on UN resolution” with in addition “An Egyptian paper published what it claims are the transcripts of meetings between top US and Palestinian officials that, if true, would corroborate Israeli accusations that the Obama administration was behind last week’s UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements“, even as it has been denied by the White House, the actions and the statements from several sides give way to acts of desperation, trying to flush a result that is beneficial to the image of those proclaiming a deal, yet negligent on the State of Israel as it has remained under attack  non-stop until 2011. Is it possible for President Obama to remember what happened on September 11th 2001, perhaps he can also remember how there were no UN resolutions to chastise the Taliban with subsequent acts of diplomacy? Perhaps he remembers them, perhaps he was too busy politicising things. In all this the act of Resolution 2334 seems to be more and more a rash act. Without it, the move of the US embassy might not have been on the table, now to patch things and state that the US is an actual friend of Israel the move seems to have been pushed, with that the additional instigation of questions and requests in Canberra to move the Australian Embassy as well, which in light of Operation Paladin with 12 man could have beneficial logistical options. Operation Paladin is part of the UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO).

There is still the issue of the actions that led the UK to push for this as well as unconfirmed rumours that New Zealand had received Phone Calls from London regarding the matter. There have been protests on all levels, yet the one in London remains for now a mystery. In light of the upcoming Brexit, this resolution was a bad idea for the UK, having the UK and New Zealand abstain at the very least, although opposing it might have been a better idea. In light of the changes that Iran is showing gives several lights, not all of them good or positive. The implied changes towards Hamas and other players give light that Iran is changing priorities on several levels. It is the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center who gives the best quality info in this matter. The quote “A member of the Majlis (Iranian parliament) committee for national security and foreign policy told the reformist newspaper Ghanoon that unless Hamas changed its strategy towards Syria and stopped supporting the Syrian opposition, Iran would be forced to establish new ties with other Palestinian groups“, gives way to this (at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/21125), it is almost like reading the alternative play ‘One man’s folly is another man’s fiend‘, a not so gentle or secure way to play this game, yet it  does give the additional view to the changes in Iran, a shifting of borders, lines of acceptance without diplomacy. A view we see reinforced with “Hossein Salami added that the United States, the Europeans and the Zionists were planning to contain Hezbollah’s activity, but that Hezbollah had become a significant regional force. If Hezbollah could operate in the unlit ditches and winding alleys of Aleppo, without a doubt it could fight even better in the streets of Haifa and Tel Aviv, he claimed (Tasnim and Sepah News, December 25, 2016)“. Is this merely the wishful thinking of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the presentation inviting Hezbollah, a combination of these or something else altogether. It is up to Mossad to see where there actual enemies are, yet with Resolution 2334 their game has changed, because the clarity of friends lost means another strategy, one that the west hasn’t had for some time, because in all this, until there is clear crystallisation of who is an actual friend, certain parties will no longer receive any indirect intelligence from either Mossad or Shin Bet on anything NATO intelligence parties would need to know. As this part will get politicised very quickly, the next attack that gets missed will be a clear first indication on the not so clever act of Resolution 2334.

There is a reality of danger in all we see do and act on, yet imposing it and inviting it whilst certain parties have again and again refrained from being anything but unreliable is cause for concern. The map of the Middle East is being redrawn and the rash acts shown so far have had no positive effect at all, which should be a decent wake up call for a collection of foreign offices all around the world. Whether they do is up to them and good luck to those who get to clean up that mess.

 

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The cost of free trade

There is a side in me that is a little beyond angry. When I see these politicians whine like little bitches on how good ‘Free Trade‘ is, on how it is so good for all. I wonder if they remember the days when slavery was an actual solution for commerce. How these people look and praise Chiwetel Ejiofor (aka Baron Mordo) for playing a slave in ‘12 years a slave’. When we see “Mexico, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore aim to continue with TPP with or without the United States, Mexico’s economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, said on Friday” (Source: SBS), we need to wonder on how the TPP is seen as anything but evil, a mere apparatus of convenience for large corporations to keep a stranglehold on those around them and to minimise the number of opportunities for smaller businesses.

The Evidence?

The Economic Policy Institute gives us: “This paper does not include an exhaustive review but cites as an example Capaldo, Izurieta, and Sundaram (2016), who noted that studies claiming that the TPP would have a positive impact on the U.S. and global economy are based on unrealistic assumptions, including no change in the U.S. trade balance with the TPP countries and full employment“, which is only the top of the iceberg. You see, in addition we have “Currency manipulation is the most important cause of the large and growing U.S. goods trade deficit with the group of countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Coupled with the fact that the United States is the largest and most reliable trading partner for many of the TPP countries, this is a recipe for U.S. pain at others’ gain“. This is not the USA, it would also hit Australia in other ways, not the people who secretly arranged all that they get top dollar in a few other ways. Yet, before we move on, let’s take one more part, because that will have connecting issues. The quote “Many members of the proposed TPP, including Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan, are known currency manipulators. Others, namely Vietnam, appear to be following the lead of currency manipulators by, for example, acquiring excess foreign exchange reserves to depress the value of their currency. Currency manipulation explains a substantial share of the large, persistent U.S. trade deficit with the 11 other TPP countries that has not only cost millions of U.S. jobs but also increased income inequality and put downward pressure on American wages“, and although this paper focuses on US consequences, it will in addition have a speculative negative impact on Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The Dutch Financial Times (at https://fd.nl/economie-politiek/1176922/tpp-opzegging-holt-voorbeeldfunctievs-uit) gives us: “Donald Trump heeft de wereld deze week een belangrijke boodschap gegeven. Door te stellen dat hij de Verenigde Staten op de eerste dag van zijn presidentschap terug zal trekken uit het Pacifische vrijhandelsverdrag TPP, geeft hij het signaal af dat hij de relaties met andere landen puur vanuit de blik van een zakenman zal zien. Hij wil bilateraal met landen gaan onderhandelen ‘over eerlijke handelsafspraken die ertoe leiden dat banen en industrieën terugkeren naar Amerika’. Internationale relaties moeten voordelig zijn; anders hoeft het niet“, which paraphrased gives us: “Donald Trump will be withdrawing from the TPP on day one of his presidency. He will be looking at relationships with other countries from a business point of view, international relations need to be advantageous, or need not be“. Is that a bad thing? You see for exploiters it is, which gives us the Malayan Times (at http://www.themalaymailonline.com/what-you-think/article/tpp-aint-over-till-its-over-firdaos-rosli). Last week they had the headline ‘TPP ain’t over till it’s over‘, the article is a decent legal view of getting the TPP ratified, which only gives additional cause for concern in a few ways, yet that is not the issue for now. The one quote at the end that matters is “The government must proceed with its top-down reforms agenda and these are direly required to make Malaysia great again” This is fair enough on one side, Malayans are there to make Malaysia strong, there is no cause more just, yet in what ways are they doing this?

This is where the other side gets to show us the dangers. You see the headline ‘Malaysia workers speak of their despair: ‘Samsung only knows how to take’‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/nov/21/malaysia-workers-speak-of-their-despair-samsung-only-knows-how-to-take), shows that large corporations are at the heart of the problem. Tax shelters, exploitation and what cannot be seen as anything else than intentional slavery are at the heart of the matter. The Samsung Port Klang factory as mentioned shows how Samsung is growing its business by massively reducing costs whilst maximising customer exploitation at almost the same time.

When we see “In total, Bhandari says he paid £750 to secure his job in Malaysia – more than the average annual salary in his home district” as well as “There are an estimated 2.1 million documented migrant workers like Bhandari in Malaysia, many of them hired through third-party labour supply companies who recruit foreign workers from Nepal, Indonesia, India and Bangladesh to drive Malaysia’s industrial boom“. Implying that Samsung has no HR to speak of, it is arranged through third party affairs that are buttering their bread on both sides of the isle with a labour population in slavery. So when we rethink the Malayan Times with ‘TPP ain’t over till it’s over‘, we get that they (those making the profits) need the TPP, because slaves tend to be free (read: really cheap) and too many people seem to be filling their pockets in a few ways. So when you see “Now he’s in Malaysia, Bhandari’s recruitment debt – and the 60% interest loan he took to pay it – has a stranglehold on the teenager“, you know that this is how slavery is created and how it is maintained. Not through shackles that bind you, but debts that stop you from moving and breathing. I reckon that the old southern ‘solution’ was a lot more humane. At least you knew that there was slavery, now the boat load of governments remain in denial and the large corporations can claim to remain negligently unaware. Which of the two is the larger hypocrite remains to be seen. The fact that Australia signed this, whilst they had to be aware that this was happening to some degree is an issue on many fronts, not just the slavery part, but the fact that the TPP has the largest option of being a negative influence. You see, those who had walked away wanted to do so via the TPP, there is absolutely no guarantee that whilst in the TPP jobs are not lost to areas where labour laws are a lot more flexible.

Consider the quote “Many of the group now want to leave, if only they could. They say their passports were all confiscated on arrival in the country, an illegal but pervasive practice, and they have been told they will have to pay £740 if they want to go – the equivalent of four months’ basic salary“, which translates to a little over 4 weeks of Australian welfare. Which in light of “A Samsung statement said: “As a committed member of the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), we comply fully with the EICC’s Code of Conduct and have found no evidence of violations in the hiring process of migrant workers hired directly by our manufacturing facility in Malaysia. Once there is any complaint, we take swift actions to investigate” as well as “When asked whether Samsung had repaid any worker debts at the factory, one man employed directly by Samsung instead of through a labour supply company says he hasn’t received any compensation. “Samsung doesn’t know how to give,” he says. “It only knows how to take.”” which to some degree shows that not only is Samsung not doing too much about it, it is also intent towards reaping the benefit of these trade deals for as long as they can. More important, even though Samsung is the visible one, the fact that from several sources we see “Malaysia’s trade volume is booming“, implies that there are other brands exploiting this way of cutting costs. So from that part, the evidence that Slave labour is again a ‘valid’ form of cost cutting towards commerce is given.

Should any government object that I reckon it is time that clear labour requirements are added to the TPP, I wonder how many would suddenly oppose such actions, because as I see it it is clear that Japan and USA, the two direct requirements for the TPP would not oppose it, unless Sony decides that their margins would dwindle, but that is just pure speculation from my side.

What to do?

Well, I do not think it is too far-fetched that those linked to these unacceptable labour practices are required to have a specific import license for their good, which is at a price, FTA or not! I wonder what will happen when Samsung gets a 23% surcharge on slave labour goods import. Will that suddenly make them see the light? I do not mind if they decide to make them in Malaysia, but I reckon we all agree that these workers are due decent pay and no slave labour conditions. At that point, when the margins are hit, how good was the TPP and how beneficial were factories in Asia? I do not proclaim to have the answer, I am merely asking the question. When slavery is dealt with, we will suddenly see that there is no benefit in some of these places and that other places like Argentina, Texas, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the UK and Belgium are decent places where goods can be produced whilst the company still has a margin. And perhaps there is no need for a $229 Samsung Microwave when a $129 Sharp version would suffice. So, a $100 more expensive whilst ‘depending’ on slave labour (to at least some degree), seems odd doesn’t it?

Consider: “it promised only £268 a month, including overtime“, whilst “a payslip seen by the Guardian shows Bhandari worked 29 out of 30 days in September, including 65 hours of overtime“, so we get 65 hours a slave every month and an income of £9.20 a day, which amounts to 25% of what you get in Australian Centrelink and the cost of living in Sydney is actually high. So the next time you see those Samsung advertisements, consider that they can afford these billboards thanks to slave labour. Look at your Samsung phone and admire how you got that great deal, if you are lucky only one person literally worked himself/herself to death to make you one. Feel better now?

It is also important to realise that Samsung is not alone here, one firm does not make for “Malaysia’s trade volume is booming“, it takes a lot more than one firm and if only Samsung was involved, those people would apply for every other place on day two of their arrival. This makes the issue a lot larger and this also makes the unbalanced use of what we now laughingly call ‘Free Trade Agreements‘. So when we get another load of Bill Shorten and how the TPP isn’t costing jobs, we see a clear case that the man needed to be tarred, feathered and walked through George Street whilst a person behind him clanks the bell shouting ‘Shame!‘ It might be a little too much Game of Thrones, yet in that place they are only now abolishing slavery on the East side of that place (read: Essos), in addition, Malcom Turnbull is not free of any moral harm either. The fact that the TPP was supposed to implement stronger protections and the fact that Malaysia is still very much on the TPP ball, whilst as the Guardian shows, that what amounts to Slave labour is still going strong to me implies that those involved have either loop holes in place or that there are alternative options for those enjoying the fruits of their exploitation.

You see, the TPP Labour summary gives us: “In addition to commitments by Parties to eliminate forced labor in their own countries, the Labor chapter includes commitments to discourage importation of goods that are produced by forced labor or that contain inputs produced by forced labor, regardless of whether the source country is a TPP country“, this implies that those involved at Samsung have either a Chinese wall in place or a system of deniability. The fact that The Guardian received evidence (payslips) and had testimonials of multiple workers should suffice as evidence.

The fact that Huawei has the option to expose issues with Samsung, whilst not seeming to act, gives also pause for concern. China is not part of the TPP, it is trying to seal its own trade agreement. Even though we have no evidence on how China works in certain matters, the existence of China’s State Owned Enterprise’s (SOE) is another circle of issues and it will be so for both Australia and New Zealand, yet to what extent cannot be stated by me (read: ignorant of such levels of government rules). In that regard Huawei might have an unfair advantage (read: when compared to Samsung) and of course, Huawei could impact the booming Mobile business Australia has (read: Exchange rate of sarcasm towards giggles). As many see that China has been non-enthusiastic when it comes to dealing with corruption, the shown evidence gives us that several other nations aren’t that much better and corporate greed tends to trump government requirements. So there!

No matter how we slice it, the trade agreements only truly benefit large corporations and no one else, which is an issue on a few fronts and in that President Elect Donald Trump might be the clearest American patriot when he states “international relations need to be advantageous, or need not be“, for the simple truth is that for the most and agreement signed that was not advantageous was an agreement best not signed at all.

 

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The smokescreen of a Smartphone War

Yesterday’s news gives us ‘The secret smartphone war over the struggle for control of the user’ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/sep/29/smartphone-war-operators-user-phone-service) held my initial interest for about 7.0 seconds. You see, it is an interesting story, but it is not the real battle that is being fought. As I personally see it, the secondary war is about the agreements that the Android phone makers seem to have with one another. That war we are kept in the dark about. In the end, the Telecom companies want you to be dependent on them, their products and their solutions. They give you some BS reasoning of ‘we weren’t offered that option‘, whilst their head office is all about containment. They only hold they have is by pushing you in a position where you need a new phone EVERY year. That is the service path we are all getting pushed into. Which is one reason why outright buy seems to be so overpriced in many cases. For the next bit we need to see GSMArena.com. There we find the following parts:

32/64 GB, 4 GB RAM
32/64 GB, 4 GB RAM
32 GB, 3 GB RAM (EVA-L19/EVA-L09)
64 GB, 4 GB RAM (EVA-L29)

You would think it is all the same, right? The last two are the same brand. I will get back to the list, but for now, what you would like to do is to check where you can get a 64GB edition, and for some that list is zero, you see, in Australian (not the only place) they are making sure that you cannot get the 64GB edition, in an age of consumerism, is that not weird? In that regard, Apple is the only one offering this, because of different reasons.

In all this, I have used my phone with a philosophy. It is a simple one and in my life of budgets an essential one. In the past, I learned the hard way early in life that chasing technology is a race that costs money and never leaves you with a true advantage, the gaming industry in the 90’s on PC were all about that. The mobile industry, like the PC industry learned this from the arms industry and they were really good students. So no matter what competitiveness they have, if they agree on a few ground rules, there will be enough space for exploitation for all of them. Now, in 2015, Huawei decided to rock the boat and as such they got a larger share than ever before, now that they are on par, they seem to go with the average lot of them. My hopes are that LG tries a same approach, which will cost Huawei et al dearly this year.

When you have been around your mobile for a little while, you will see that storage is (nearly) everything on a mobile and with marshmallow, a 32GB system will end up having about 22GB space left. There is the Android system and the mandatory apps, the amount leaves you with 10GB less. This is not a big deal you think, but over the year we will see an exponential growth of apps and they cost space too. Some people already learned this lesson with Pokémon Go and all the pics that were taken. They were realising how much space was lost. Now, we know that you can add a SD card and store pictures there, but apps must be run from the main storage and those apps are growing too. So over 2 years you would have run out of space. Meaning that you either clean up your system, or buy a mobile with more space. This you might have learned if you had an iPad or iPod. Storage was running low for some a lot faster than they bargained for.

So in this age, when the difference between 32GB and 64GB is one component which is in total a mere $32.87 more expensive, why would we even consider a 32GB system? Because at this point, the mobile warranty of 24 months could be served completely and we would not need another phone one year later! In addition, after 2 years we would have the freedom to choose a better and cheaper provider, so as I see it, neither Optus nor Telstra wants a 64GB phone in their arsenal and the only reason is that the iPhone is that size is because Apple has in general a global approach to their hardware.

Now let’s look again:

32/64 GB, 4 GB RAM – Samsung
32/64 GB, 4 GB RAM – LG
32 GB, 3 GB RAM (EVA-L19/EVA-L09) – Huawei P9
64 GB, 4 GB RAM (EVA-L29) – Huawei P9

Unless LG takes advantage of the option they have now, none of them offers the 64GB version in Australia! Is that not weird? Amazon UK offers both, and at times the 64GB is definitely more expensive, yet consider that at $100 more (for some a little more), you have peace of mind that this phone can last you 2 years without storage issues. That seems a pretty big deal to me. In addition, unless Android past Nougat (V7) grows a massive part, the user will have plenty of space to update their system, if the update would be offered. In addition, with all the other stuff we carry (photo’s music and so on), twice the size is pretty much the only way to go.

So why the mobile providers refuse their product to be on sale is just beyond me and the fact that none of them are offering a product in a place seems to be massively out of bounds. With Huawei the fact that there is a single slot and duo slot 32GB option makes even less sense to me. In my mind, this is all about control of the users, and controlling where the users go, which is a limitation on freedom devices have never offered before, so in my mind it was not with the consumers consent. The fact that Samuel Gibbs did not mention that part in their article is not as quoted “Fewer purchases mean the big smartphone players are now under pressure to extract more revenue from their existing user base, which is easier for Apple and its App Store than others reliant on Google’s Play Store, and to try to convince users that life is greener on their side of the smartphone divide“, it is to make sure that continuity prevails, to some extent for the smartphone makers, to the larger extent to mobile providers to keep them in their not seeking another providers place!

In addition the quote “At the same time, the mobile phone operators are in a similar competition. Switching between the major phone networks has always been an issue, whether it’s over price, customer service or the latest handset“, more important it is over bandwidth and facilitation, the more limits the hardware has, the less issues of competition the provider needs to deal with. So is Samuel Gibbs informing you on some ‘secret war’ or is he trying to keep your sight away from the options that matter? The fact that phone limitations is not part of his view (which could be because the UK offers both models) is equally disturbing that he did not look at this from a global point of view, when you are not made aware of what is by me expected and therefore implied is the limitation of hardware offered is as I see it, part of a secret war that they require you not to be aware of. If that is done intentionally, what do you think is in play?

So as the Samsung Note 7 is now an ISIS tool (when you install the 10 second countdown app) and only LG remains to go public with their new model, they now have an option to capture a much larger share of the audience as several of the participating parties refused to consider the consumers’ needs and seems to cater to the telecom request of limitation. LG has an option to grow much stronger in this market than ever before. Apple as IOS has a different situation and as seen on many fronts they have created their own walls of disturbance, so LG could even go after that lot, but we must respect that there is a huge offset between IOS and Android and as such, people are at times less willing to switch there. For now the latest rumours are that the V20 will start the pre-orders this Sunday in the US and European markets will be getting them, yet there is at present no confirmation for both the UK and Australia. So we will have to see about that part too.

The article had more. So consider my words and now see this quote: “Bibby says: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Flexibility like this is just the next stage of innovation so we’re not surprised to see others adopting it. Manufacturers are trying to ensure that more of their own handsets are sold in the market. They’re trying to clearly compete with each other.”” I disagree with Nina Bibby, marketing and consumer director for O2. The quote is not untrue, but incorrect. It is the presentation of what they want the issue to be, because is sets our mind at rest. I believe that the more correct quote is “They’re trying to clearly compete with each other within the agreed limits of the presented options“, which is not entirely the same! In that same view, the limitations due to the telecom agreements are equally in question. The fact that none offered the complete spectrum is just as much of a worry. Because it is like a corporation trying to make sure that its employees can never truly become independent, because that would be too dangerous for their own continuation. The second part in all this is the entire upgrade service program. It creates brand dependency, which is not essentially a bad thing, but guess what! I reckon that soon thereafter the 64GB option will come and there will be a churn for 12 and 24 months. At that point, the telecom providers would want a phone to last as long as possible. It could be in different ways. For example after 12 months 65% off and a $1 upgrade after 24 months. This is just speculation, so this is not a given, yet overall not that far-fetched.

The most interesting quote is at the end “For now, the battle for control of the phone in your hand is happening behind closed doors. Soon we’ll begin to see the phone-as-a-service idea pushed by one of the big manufacturers, but only once the operators are no longer crucial to sales“. The first part is that not all of the closed doors is about the phone, bandwidth has been a forever war between iiNet, Optus and Telstra in Australia, and the phone-as-a-service is not all in the hands of the manufacturers, that will come soon enough (in one case it already is) in hands of the Telecom companies, because that is a direct factor for customer loyalty, who does not see the $45 a month phone as the margin, it is the $90 a month subscription where their margin is and that part can be set to non-taxation a lot faster too. The phone is merely a hardware write-off, increasing their ROI.

So when you consider your new phone do not be fooled by the SD slot, wonder why the full version is out nearly everywhere else, except Australia? For Australians, consider one nice issue, the Kiwi’s do get the 64GB edition several stores have it available to order. So, do you feel special now, of just used by both the handset sales people and your telecom provider? More important, what other issues did that secret war of smart phones not inform you about? Perhaps you haven’t seen the implications of not having a choice in certain cases. People have been so busy bashing iPhone’s Apple that they forget that Android phones have their own collection of imposed limitations for the consumer.

 

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