Tag Archives: Danny Alexander

The after election party

I have had a few words in the past in several ways. I for one thought the UKIP would become a much larger player, this did not happen, but is that fact totally true?

You see, when we look at the very nice full election map the Guardian made available (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2015/may/07/live-uk-election-results-in-full), we are shown an interesting option, not when we look at the winner, but when we select ‘vote share UKIP‘. Now we see the view I had, which is to be honest a minority view. The purple map show one true dark spot (the one area they got), but we also see a fair bit of purple all over Britain. Hartlepool, Haywood & Middleton, Rotherham, Boston & Skegness, East of London and North-West of Birmingham. All areas that have clear UKIP representation, and even though not a winner, the European events as they are unfurling could make these new powerbases. But that is not for the immediate at present. The Conservatives could diffuse the situation and see how the minds of these areas can change, because Nigel Farage is down, but he is in no way out at present. You see, in all these areas UKIP came second and in some cases only by a small minority that this loss became fact. This means that in those areas trouble will brew for whomever held that constituency.

There is another side for the Guardian, that map they produced (which would not work during the elections for me), is still an amazing source of information, so I hope that they will release it as an app for mobile tablets as the information will be useful to many people who keep an eye out on British politics.

So how wrong was I? That is the question I ask myself. I felt comfortable with my predictions and the map (as well as the numbers) show that UKIP could have been much more powerful, but why that did not happen is less easily answered. You see, as we focus on Nigel Farage, we need to consider how well and how well supported Jane Collins was for Rotherham. The same question counts for John Bickley in Heywood & Middleton as well as Philip Broughton in Hartlepool. Three politicians who got close to make Nigel cry out loudly. UKIP seems very happy with the amount of votes they got, so as the Liberal Democrats move into the basement office space, UKIP is on the way up. This is not me poking fun of the Liberal Democrats, I tend not to kick a man when he is down. If that person is a militant extremist, I might shoot that person in the head, but this is politics, not a warzone (even though the difference in a week before elections is really hard to tell).

You see, when you look at the vote share map, but now, when we look a Liberal Democrats, an odd situation occurs. I am not talking about the massive losses they led, but wherever the Liberal Democrats have a decent footholds, UKIP tends to have near zero influence. This is exactly what I mean when I said ‘the Conservatives could diffuse the situation’. It is almost like the Liberal Democrats are a conservative buffer, keeping UKIP even further from any chance of being a contender. Perhaps there is the difference, but also the danger. If we accept that those moving away from the Conservative, or not entirely ready to be conservatives are Liberal Democrats (or UKIP), then it stands to reason that the Liberal Democrats could be the new power base for UKIP if they can get their acts right. If too many of the LD goes towards UKIP, the initial prediction I made would be exceeded by a lot, which also means that the Conservatives will have to start wooing the LD in a few ways from day 2.

Now that Nick Clegg has resigned (not sure if that was a good idea), we need to consider two parts.

The first part is that the data seems to imply that the Liberal Democrats had a two sided battle, one not moving to either Conservatives or UKIP (remember that UKIP had a massive addition of votes, but not victories), second to move the party forward. In this I actually like the headline the Telegraph offered (who would have thunk that!), which read ‘History will judge Nick Clegg more kindly than the voters have‘, I think I can second that to some degree. In my view Nick Clegg was not a true leader as I saw it, more of a follower of the Conservatives for as far as it benefitted the Liberal Democrats. It is not much of a standpoint, but it is a valid one. The pilot fish does not traverse the oceans on his own power and as long as the conservative and Liberal Democrat path are in the same direction it is not a biggie.

Yet, I must state that I never saw Nick Clegg as a leader, but was he a decent leader of the Liberal Democrats? That part remains, because who can take over? The four names that usually follow are Danny Alexander, David Laws, Lord Ashdown and Tim Farron. We can leave Lord Ashdown aside, he is the man who gave serious life to the Liberal Democrats, a youthful youngling, born slightly before 1950, originally from New Delhi. Former diplomat, intelligence officer and long-time MP for Yeovil, in the county of Somerset. My initial thought? I do not think he will return as the leader of the LD, but he will be there, as a man behind the curtains, the party orchestrator holding the strings and pulling those (read: advising) that will lead the Liberal Democrats back to strength.

Danny Alexander has a new ghost to fight, as former MP to Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey, he faces other demons (one named SNP), no matter how LD minded he is, the link that would be drawn between the LD and the SNP are too dangerous to allow them to be voiced too often. There is also every chance that the SNP will woe this capable politician down the road, that is not a given, just a possibility. David Laws is another matter, so I will skip him for a moment, which leaves us with Tim Farron. My vote would go towards him for one wrong reason, which is the fact that David Laws and Lords Ashdown are both Yovillians. David pretty much took over from his lordship leaving us with a student mentor relationship, whether true or false, this is how it looks ant that can be deadly in politics. There is no doubt that David Laws will remain the power player in the LD, but I fear not that of leader. There are other members that could rise to the occasion, people like Gerald Vernon-Jackson that could rise to it all if the right push and mentor for higher office comes around, but for now my focus remains Tim Farron. The fact that in the past he was able to sway Tories to vote his way only gives weight to his ‘fighting’ spirit. Will my view pan out to be the correct one? I dare not say, but I do know that the Liberal Democrats have less than a week to make a decision, because the members of a party without a leader tend to go shopping as soon as possible for the ‘leader’ that will represent their issues the best and there is absolutely no chance that they are all considering the Conservative party.

For now, the UK remains conservative and I hope that they will get the deficit and the total debt down, because the reality that Greece is about to bring to the table is not a nice one and the UK better be prepared for what follows, because the Guardian had one article that smouldered sarcasm called ‘nine reasons to be cheerful’, in it there is mention on how Farage lost his constituency, which is unfortunate for Nigel, but the one that does truly matter is the one quoting “Someone at the Treasury gets to write a hilarious ‘I’m afraid there is no money’ note to themselves this morning“, yes, that is true, but let’s not forget that this is mostly due to the failings of Labour, which got the Conservatives re-elected. The nation and nations at large are facing the consequences of previous governments overspending by so much that European Austerity is here to stay for at least two administrations that are to come, this one not included. So, when you consider the ‘no money left‘ issue, then also realise that above all that Greece will need an additional 30 billion (perhaps even more), an amount of which the UK gets to pay a share, the economy has been misrepresented on a European level and the economists at the Guardian have no clue as to why the predictions are so far off. Here we see the exact same as the wrongful ‘hung parliament‘ prediction, the people are no longer believing the unrealistic promises that came from Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, with the added part that they were almost on the side of Nigel Farage, but found him a little too extreme and above all, the press is no longer trusted with the ‘predictions’ they make, especially economic ones.

So as I feel that UKIP is down but not out, there is a real danger that many places will consider UKIP to be the choice next time, many did, but not enough to sway electorates, the fact that they got in second in too many places is downplayed for now and will become an issue down the road, because the upcoming decade of Austerity is not a nice one. The Greek issue should have been slammed down hard, but those relying to survive on Status Quo are too powerful for now, that is until the next European general elections that will impact the UK, which will be France in 2017. They will very much consider the EU referendum and the tantrums of Greece are not helping. On the other hand extremism has an advantage, the fact that the not so ‘clued in’ father of Marine Le Pen (Jean-Marie Le Pen) is sinking her advantage by opening his mouth is good for the National Front opposition, but it is in no way a guarantee that National Front will not sweep the nation. Should they do so than Europe will face a Euro without France, at which point the UK will not be left with any options but to enforce ‘Brexit’ any way possible. So the tactical choice of holding the referendum AFTER the French elections makes perfect sense, but that reality is now completely depending on the actions and success of National Front, which means that there is no half way option left.

Again, I could just be totally wrong!

 

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Show me the money!

That is what I wanted to shout out loud today, not because of a scene between Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr, but because of the story written by Larry Elliot (the Guardian economics editor). He is not wrong, probably with his insights and degrees he is more right than anyone else so why am I all up in arms about it? You see, if he is right then there is something extremely wrong with this world. Here is the crux, either he is wrong, or the bulk of the planet has become demented. What will it be?

Why do I consider this to be my view?

The view evolves when we consider the following aspects of the British economy. First there is “The budget deficit will be almost £100bn this year and is rising. It was supposed to be below £40bn. If the current Treasury chief secretary, Danny Alexander, is foolish enough to leave a little note for his successor, he will only need to insert one word into the one penned by Byrne: still” and “Britain currently enjoys the sort of growth rate that Germany, France and Italy can only dream about. The economy should expand by 3% this year, making the UK the fastest growing G7 nation. Jobs are being created at a record rate, a development that explains why Britain is proving a magnet for migrants from the rest of the EU“, we have seen this. Yet, as immigration is not capped to the extent it should be, jobs go to the cheap Polish workers, whilst we see a massive +50 workforce unable to get jobs, which we get from the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/nov/13/unemployment-fall-masks-jobless-over-50s). “Bennett is one of more than 400,000 people over 50 in the UK who is registered as unemployed, according to the latest official jobs data released yesterday“, you see, the mature experienced workforce is deemed useless in many areas and as such, the economy will take two hits. The first one is that these people in the end still cost money, in the second that as companies rely on cheap labour; we see that they go three steps forward, two steps back; it is getting them nowhere fast and at great expense too. So as those people have an income, the companies are just scraping by, having therefor the dubious benefit of living at tax level zero. That keeps the Osborne coffers (also known as the UK treasury) pretty empty.

Let’s take a look at some events linked here “Former BBC director general Mark Thompson has said sorry for the £100m failure of the BBC’s Digital Media Initiative (DMI)“, “Siren police IT project’s £15m failure a ‘debacle’” and not to forget “Abandoned NHS IT system has cost £10bn so far“. There is a level of sheer incompetence that is beyond measure. Yet, I think it goes further than that, I think that as areas have cut back and scrapped from the bottom of the barrel, we see cogs of non-comprehension that just twirl having no connection to any other cogs. Companies, which are no longer structured in the old ways, but still presented as such, they are niches into rooms, where only the manager has access. Like the American cubicles, that only one person oversees, absent of checks and balances, whilst the people no longer talk to each other, no clear communication. That represents the new era of work. The 50+ population have seen why there are issues with the cubicle approach and the manager who needs to get the task short-sightedly done is barring 50+ from being hired, this results in a sliding slope of minimised success.

What do they have to do with one another?

Let’s get back to the writing of Larry Elliot at this point “It took until 2013, however, for the level of output to get back to its pre-recession level, the slowest recovery of the post-second world war era. Osborne thought the economy would cope with austerity better than it did. He underestimated the impact of higher VAT and cuts in spending on growth. The chancellor thought his tough deficit reduction plan would boost growth by generating more confidence in the private sector that the books were being balanced. He was wrong. The upshot was weaker growth, lower than expected tax revenues and higher than expected borrowing. Half way through the coalition’s term in office, Osborne abandoned the idea of sorting the deficit in one parliament, and reverted to a more modest plan akin to that drawn up by his predecessor, Alistair Darling

The crux is “The upshot was weaker growth, lower than expected tax revenues and higher than expected borrowing“. I think that it is not entirely correct! Yes, Elliot writes the truth, but behind the curtains we see projects failing due to bad decision making (like the headlines mentioned earlier), in addition we see mergers of an unparalleled size “The chemist chain Boots is being sold to the American retail company Walgreens in a £10bn deal that is delivering a huge pay-day for its private equity owners“, which sounds nice, but how does that fill taxation coffers? It does not!

Corporate choices are made to avoid taxation like “U.S. Treasury Seen Loser in Tax-Avoiding Pfizer Move to U.K.” is at the heart of the second tier of failures. Not a failure by George Osborne, but a failure by their corporations that bleed nations dry, whilst not being held accountable, there the nations have failed themselves by not alter the proper legislations to avoid these acts of non-taxability. Whatever happens next will happen too late, the coffers are empty and those who walked away will do so in non-taxable luxury for the rest of their lives and the lives of the next 3 generations of their family to come.

The next part has a few issues (none of them are Larry Elliot) “The foundation notes that two-thirds of people who have moved from unemployment into work in the last year are paid below the living wage, the average self-employed person earns 13% less than they did five years ago and there are around 1.4m contracts not guaranteeing a minimum hours. Over half of them are in the lower-paying food, accommodation, retail and administrative sectors” Many of these lower paid jobs are all about areas where we see high rent, a massive drive to turn around orders and well above counted hours are needed. Life in London (as well as in Sydney) has become a life not unlike hyenas. These bosses are trying to stay afloat, which they do by hiring the weak, the cheap and the manipulative. One waitress mentioned this in a forum “Now I understand I am competing with people on the dole who can be near enough forced to work for free but it still sounds a bit shady“, the mention has bearing, as people are pushed more into unpaid extra hours, less rights, less options and less energy, we see a community that has devolved from symbiotic into parasitic, with only one winner in the end, the landlord!

Both the UK and Australia have been unwilling to deal with this entity, leaving the people at large to fend for themselves without any support.

The next part is a statement of fact, there is nothing against it in any way “If it is taking longer than expected to knock the budget deficit back into shape, the same can be said of Osborne’s other objective – to boost exports from a re-invigorated manufacturing sector so that Britain once again pays its way in the world

How to go about it is at the heart of it and several options are open as they always are, but consider that out of a dozen avenues, one is a solution, three are deadly and the rest tend to have a costly non solving effect. Several parties in play, not Just George Osborne, but in that same view, Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown all had the same flaw (as I personally see it). Instead of finding a solution that is a mere band aid, they all failed to seek the solution which had the visionary idea to include the next generation. I had that idea on two instances; the one that matters here is the article ‘What’s in a health system?‘ on June 29th 2014, where I state “When people ask which company will do this, the answer should be ‘None!’. The UK is filled with universities, some of them regarded as the most prestigious and brightest on the planet. Consider that most IT people, might claim experience, yet their drama skills are the only ones that improved for the most, is it not up to the Universities, those who are introduced to the newest ideas, design a solution that would make the work of the doctors and nurses at the NHS better, slightly more efficient and a truckload of less hassle! Is that such a tall order?

Like a regional solution for a independent Scottish IT environment, the visionary approach is to bring this to the universities, to develop a new system, not just a mere frame that goes on top of something else, but an actual new system, LINUX based option, a security enhanced LINUX for healthcare, one that is designed, not for 2016, or 2017, but for the next generation. Why not give the universities access to design their new future, not leave it to these current so called executives that waste up to 20 billion not delivering anything. That visionary approach is missing and it could be the death of us all (UK and Australia alike), we have so many similar issues, why not tackle them together, open up avenues that have never been considered. If you want visionary, then look at the Netherlands, they decided to change the bicycle lanes into solar panels, do you have ANY idea how many bicycle lanes the Netherlands has? It is actually a visible percentage of that nation’s surface. Now, they decided to give it a second function, which means generating electricity, without needing any space at all, illuminating the bicycle road through fluoresces, making it safer at night. They decided to attack road safety and energy issues all at the same time. That is the level of innovation we need to see, preferably without spending another 20 billion pounds. So how about changing, or better stated evolving universities and giving them a real hand in innovation and solving future problems we have ignored and left dead for granted (like the NHS).

The last part is seen here “Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, said: “I am not that bothered about being behind on economic competence. In opposition, we are always behind on economic competence. Brown and Blair were at this point before the 1997 election. “I would rather we were further ahead in the polls but the Tories are leaving it a bit late for a feel-good surge. That’s why Cameron is talking about red lights flashing on the dashboard. Maybe he thinks he can scare people into voting Tory.”

I disagree, Ed Balls needs to get scared shitless real fast! George Osborne needs to do something similar! Economic competence is not something that is behind, the indicators are that they are close to non-existent. As numbers are hidden behind the statistics of ‘% of GDP‘ we are diluting ourselves that we have a handle on things, once the message is that the total debt has decreased below 750 billion, we have an actual message, but for now, that 25% decrease is nowhere in sight. Life in the UK is all about meeting the payment of the interest debt, whilst none are tackling any solution regarding the total debt for the future. That danger has been voiced by several players all over the field. The message now is that ‘Investors Underpricing Risk May Threaten Growth, IMF Says‘ (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-17/investors-underpricing-risk-may-threaten-growth-imf-says.html) as well as ‘Flug Flags Underpriced Risk as Investors Drop Corporates‘ (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-30/flug-flags-underpriced-risk-as-investors-drop-corporates.html), which gets a punch from today’s news ‘New York Hops on $15 Billion Israeli Corporate Bond Boom‘ (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-30/new-york-hops-on-15-billion-israeli-corporate-bond-boom.html). Like the housing in Hackney through Westbrook Partners and Round Hill Capital in the Netherlands, we see again a change in markets (like they always will), but this is different. Like Greece (again) last week with “A Greek official says the country is under pressure from rescue creditors to impose new austerity measures to resolve an ongoing budget disagreement worth a reported 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion)” (at http://www.cnbc.com/id/102222375), we see a market that keeps on getting pushed whilst there is no money left. By the way, those two players (Westbrook Partners and Round Hill Capital), did you consider combining these facts?

Have you considered when Westbrook goes market value and they merge with 2-3 other players (perhaps Round Hill Capital as one of them), when they merge, how much taxation will be missed out then, also, what danger will these tenants be placed in at that point?

So back to Greece and their dwellings, Greece should both be dissolved and offered to Turkey (just to make it sting a little more) or they need to clean up their act, including dealing with these massive strikes. Let’s not forget that Greeks themselves did this to Greece (partially through Goldman Sachs). We see cogs of greed interacting, finding new connections not to be held accountable, whilst its population gets the bill, blaming Germany for all of this. In that same light we see how we are now confronted with underpriced risks. So, not unlike the 2008 crash with all these “sub-prime” borrowers and bailing on 8 trillion, we now see governments trying to intervene by ‘forcing’ banks to make low cost loans to the underprivileged “sub-prime” borrowers, trying to create a fake boom, whilst at the same time, they have created a more likely than not risk that it will only explode in their faces, whilst imploding their economy (this is as I personally see it). Here in the end, we see that the bank wins no matter what, either the government pays them, or they just own it all. Like the landlords of London, it will destroy the quality of life for more and more people, whilst not showing any resolution in solving the actual problems.

This all comes together when we consider the IMF part on underpricing risk (mentioned earlier), there we see the part that is truly linked to all our woes: “Policy makers from the Group of 20 nations meet this week in Cairns, Australia, to discuss ways of boosting global demand. The Fed today maintained a commitment to keep interest rates near zero for a “considerable time.” At the same time, Fed officials raised their median estimate for their policy interest rate at the end of 2015 to 1.375 percent, compared with the 1.125 percent estimate made in June“. The crux: “ways of boosting global demand” it is at the heart of the failures we see. It is worse than bad marketing. The last thing we need to do is boost demand. We need to resolve debts. Yes, the US wants to see demands boosted, as it was one step away from bankruptcy 5 steps ago. They are trying to bluff into a new era of not being dead, whilst they have been unsuccessful in dealing with their debts, having no solution and even less options. We must find another way. If the Netherlands, one of the smallest nations in the world can turn around an age of innovation to their advantage in a novel way never seen before, then so can we! If you wonder how this linked, then consider how their solution can become a new era of energy independence all over South America, parts of America and all over Europe and Africa. Solar panelled roads, a patented solution that can change the face of the earth in one mere step. Once the high pressure solution is done for cars, we will see a new era of energy. Not bad for a place that is famous for wooden shoes and a leaky dike! So where are we in the Commonwealth? Where is our innovation?

In the end Larry Elliott spoke the facts, the truth and wrote an excellent article, I just disagree with the views they link to, in the end, it might be me who was wrong and it is all in the eye of the beholder!

In this age of debt, innovation and Intellectual Property are soon to become the only currency that will have any true value! The Commonwealth needs its own share of those, less it becomes as desperate as America currently is.

 

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