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The Sleeping Watchdog

Patrick Wintour, the Guardian’s diplomatic editor is giving us merely a few hours ago [update: yesterday 13 minutes before an idiot with a bulldozer went through the fiber optical cable] before the news on OPCW. So when we see “a special two-day session in late June in response to Britain’s call to hand the body new powers to attribute responsibility for chemical weapons attacks“, what does that mean? You see, the setting is not complex, it should be smooth sailing, but is it?

Let’s take a look at the evidence, most of it from the Guardian. I raised issues which started as early as March 2018 with ‘The Red flags‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/27/the-red-flags/), we see no evidence on Russian handling, we see no evidence on the delivery, merely a rumour that ‘More than 130 people could have been exposed‘ (‘could’ being the operative word) and in the end, no fatalities, the target survived. Whilst a mere silenced 9mm solution from a person doing a favour for Russian businessman Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin would have done the trick with no fuss at all. And in Russia, you can’t even perceive the line of Russians hoping to be owed a favour by Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin. In addition, all these months later we still have not seen any conclusive evidence of ANY kind that it was a Russian state based event. Mere emotional speculations on ‘could’ ‘might be‘ as well as ‘expected‘. So where do we stand?

A little later in April, we see in the article ‘Evidence by candlelight‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/04/04/evidence-by-candlelight/), the mere conclusion ‘Porton Down experts unable to verify precise source of novichok‘, so not only could the experts not determine the source (the delivery device), it also gives weight to the lack of evidence that it was a Russian thing. Now, I am not saying that it was NOT Russia, we merely cannot prove that it was. In addition, I was able to find several references to a Russian case involving Ivan Kivelidi and Leonard Rink in 1995, whilst the so called humongous expert named Vil Mirzayanov stated ““You need a very high-qualified professional scientist,” he continued. “Because it is dangerous stuff. Extremely dangerous. You can kill yourself. First of all you have to have a very good shield, a very particular container. And after that to weaponize it – weaponize it is impossible without high technical equipment. It’s impossible to imagine.”” I do not oppose that, because it sounds all reasonable and my extended brain cells on Chemical weapons have not been downloaded yet (I am still on my first coffee). Yet in all this the OPCW setting was in 2013: “Regarding new toxic chemicals not listed in the Annex on Chemicals but which may nevertheless pose a risk to the Convention, the SAB makes reference to “Novichoks”. The name “Novichok” is used in a publication of a former Soviet scientist who reported investigating a new class of nerve agents suitable for use as binary chemical weapons. The SAB states that it has insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of “Novichoks”“, I can accept that the OPCW is not fully up to speed, yet the information from 1995, 16 years earlier was the setting: ““In 1995, a Russian banking magnate called Ivan Kivelidi and his secretary died from organ failure after being poisoned with a military grade toxin found on an office telephone. A closed trial found that his business partner had obtained the substance via intermediaries from an employee of a state chemical research institute known as GosNIIOKhT, which was involved in the development of Novichoks“, which we got from the Standard (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/uk-russia-nerve-agent-attack-spy-poisoning-sergei-skripal-salisbury-accusations-evidence-explanation-a8258911.html), so when you realise these settings, we need to realise that the OPCW is flawed on a few levels. It is not the statement “the OPCW has found its methods under attack from Russia and other supporters of the Syrian regime“, the mere fact that we see in regarding of Novichoks implies that the OPCW is a little out of their depth, their own documentation implies this clearly (as seen in the previous blog articles), I attached one of them in the article ‘Something for the Silver Screen?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/17/something-for-the-silver-screen/), so a mere three months ago, there has been several documents all out in the open that gives light to a flawed OPCW, so even as we accept ‘chemist says non-state actor couldn’t carry out attack‘, the fact that it did not result in fatalities gives us that it actually might be a non-state action, it might not be an action by any ‘friend’ of Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin or Igor Valentinovich Korobov. These people cannot smile, not even on their official photos. No sense of humour at all, and they tend to be the people who have a very non-complementary view on failure. So we are confronted not merely with the danger of Novichoks, or with the fact that it very likely in non-state hands. The fact that there is no defence, not the issue of the non-fatalities, but the fact that the source could not be determined, is the dangerous setting and even as we hold nothing against Porton Down, the 16 year gap shown by the OPCW implies that the experts relied on by places like Porton Down are not available, which changes the landscape by a lot and whilst many will wonder how that matters. That evidence could be seen as important when we reconsider the chemical attacks in Syria on 22nd August 2011, so not only did the US sit on their hands, it is now not entirely impossible that they did not have the skills at their disposal to get anything done. Even as a compound like Sarin is no longer really a mystery, the setting we saw then, gives us the other part. With the Associated Press giving us at the time “anonymous US intelligence officials as saying that the evidence presented in the report linking Assad to the attack was “not a slam dunk.”” Is one part, the fact that all the satellites looking there and there is no way to identify the actual culprit is an important part. You see we could accept that the Syrian government was behind this, but there is no evidence, no irrefutable fact was ever given. That implies that when it comes to delivery systems, there is a clear gap, not merely for Novichoks, making the entire setting a lot less useful. In this the website of the OPCW (at https://www.opcw.org/special-sections/syria-and-the-opcw/) is partial evidence. When we see “A total of 14 companies submitted bids to undertake this work and, following technical and commercial evaluation of the bids, the preferred bidders were announced on 14th February 2014. Contracts were signed with two companies – Ekokem Oy Ab from Finland, and Veolia Environmental Services Technical Solutions in the USA” in light of the timeline, implies that here was no real setting and one was implemented after Ghouta, I find that part debatable and not reassuring. In addition, the fact finding mission was not set up until 2014, this is an issue, because one should have been set up on the 23rd August 2011, even as nothing would have been available and the status would have been idle (for very valid reasons), the fact that the fact finding mission was not set up until 2014, gives light to even longer delays. In addition, we see a part that has no blame on the OPCW, the agreement “Decides further that the Secretariat shall: inspect not later than 30 days after the adoption of this decision, all facilities contained in the list referred to in paragraph 1(a) above;“, perfect legal (read: diplomacy driven) talk giving the user of those facilities 30 days to get rid of the evidence. Now, there is no blame on the OPCW in any way, yet were these places not monitored by satellites? Would the visibility of increased traffic and activities not given light to the possible culprit in this all? And when we look at the paragraph 1(a) part and we see: “the location of all of its chemical weapons, chemical weapons storage facilities, chemical weapons production facilities, including mixing and filling facilities, and chemical weapons research and development facilities, providing specific geographic coordinates;“, is there not the decent chance (if the Syrian government was involved, that ‘all locations‘ would be seen as ‘N-1‘, with the actual used fabrication location used conveniently missing from the list? #JustSaying

It seems to me that if this setting is to be more (professional is the wrong word) capable to be effective, a very different setting is required. You see, that setting becomes very astute when we realise that non-state actors are currently on the table, the danger that a lone wolf getting creative is every bit as important to the equation. the OPCW seems to be in a ‘after the fact‘ setting, whilst the intelligence community needs an expert that is supportive towards their own experts in a pro-active setting, not merely the data mining part, but the option to see flagged chemicals that could be part of a binary toxic setting, requires a different data scope and here we see the dangers when we realise that the ‘after the fact‘ setting with a 16 year gap missing the danger is something that is expensive and equally, useless would be the wrong word, but ‘effective’ it is not, too much evidence points at that. For that we need to see that their mission statement is to ‘implement the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in order to achieve the OPCW’s vision of a world that is free of chemical weapons and of the threat of their use‘, yet when we look at the CWC charter we see: ‘The Convention aims to eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction by prohibiting the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons by States Parties. States Parties, in turn, must take the steps necessary to enforce that prohibition in respect of persons (natural or legal) within their jurisdiction‘, which requires a pro-active setting and that is definitely lacking from the OPCW, raising the issue whether their mandate is one of failure. That requires a very different scope, different budgets and above all a very different set of resources available to the OPCW, or whoever replaces the OPCW, because that part of the discussion is definitely not off the table for now. The Salisbury event and all the available data seems to point in that direction.

 

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Retrenching under false pretence

Today we see (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/01/len-mccluskey-ford-unite-tariff-free-single-market-access-bridgend), how Ford is moving its needs and its projections towards other places. It fill the pattern and projected promise that have been set in motion a few years ago. The US is moving parts back to the US and some parts to Asia. Australia had been feeling this for some time. Ford left Australia in 2016 when in October the last Falcon XR6 came of the belt. Now we see the beginning of their exodus from the UK and in this the title ‘Unite blames Brexit as Ford prepares to cut 1,160 Welsh jobs‘ is as they call it, a total load of bullocks! You see, this is the other side of a one market and tariff free access. You see, as these costs fall away, making these 4 wheeled thingamajigs in America becomes profitable again. Now, let’s be fair, Ford is an American company. For American companies to move back to their home turf makes sense, it could even be seen as patriotic. But in all this, Ford remains a business. So they need profit to soar and that can be done by having their factories in America and Asia. Brexit was never a factor, Australia never had a Brexit.

Is there a chance that Brexit was any factor? I do not believe so, the UK is not yet in a completed Brexit and it would take a few years before all would be complete, so there is no Issue for Ford, in their camp it was already planned, the entire pressure on Brexit is just tactics, because the US is scared of what comes next, so for the US, in light of the upcoming French elections, the anti-Brexit pressures are essential. The game is changing in France. President Francois Hollande is not seeking a second term, according to the BBC the first French president to do this in modern times (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39130072), he is that unpopular and as such France is seeing several different issues and power plays in place. With one in four under-25’s is unemployed. So even as all parties agree that massive changes are needed, the Socialist failure gives rise to additional voices moving towards Front National. In all this, we see additional moves. We could even consider that this is a partial discriminatory ruling. The EU claims to be all about the freedom of speech and freedom of opinion, yet they will happily lift parliamentary immunity for the French prosecution to take legal action. We can argue the validity here in two ways. One: Marine Le Pen did break French law. Two: how many other French people have been prosecuted for ‘publishing violent images’? I would really like to see the numbers on that one. So as we will see big data mining on transgressors, I wonder how many have not been investigated, which shows that the EU is very willing to upset the sanctity of a fair election, especially as those deciding on this are likely to lose their jobs when Frexit becomes a reality.

So as we see through the (what I personally regard to be) blatant lies by Ford, or better stated by Len McCluskey, and in this as Ford is not forthcoming they get to be tainted by the very same lie. The quote “UK’s biggest trade union has urged Theresa May to guarantee car makers tariff-free access to the single market“, in this I would state ‘Mr McCluskey, are you usually just facilitating for big business?‘, you see, as I see it, Ford is using Len McCluskey not for the plant, not for the single market access ‘need’. No, they want to sweeten the deal! They need other concessions, like the ones they had in Australia. ABC Australia (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-17/tax-transparency-report/7036708) gave the people a Tax Transparency report. Where: FORD MOTOR COMPANY OF AUSTRALIA LTD, had a Total income ($) of 2,940,670,099 (so basically almost $3 Billion), a Taxable income ($) of a mere 7,057,051. This means that 99.9917% of the income did not need to be taxed. So as we see: Tax payable, Tax payable as percentage of total income, as well as Tax payable as percentage of taxable income. These numbers become zero (that means $0.00 and 0.00%). So is Len McCluskey going to open his eyes? Is he going to realise that he is made the bitch of big business that requires the UK government to give away taxable income in the form of free labour? Perhaps Len McCluskey remembers what slave labour is? All valid questions, more important, if this is the path Ford wants, why not let then fuck off to merry old America? Let’s be fair and honest. America is in dire need of actual jobs and an actual economy. They are bleeding currency value and as such, if American companies decide to retrench in the US to save their home country, than that should be regarded as a noble action. Yet, these companies are run by boards that have one need, dividend and bonuses. Let’s also be honest here, these people don’t make any massive coin, not compared to a few other fortune 500 companies. The top executives, have an income ranging from $5.2M to $17.7M, which in Wall Street terms might be laughingly little, yet the retrenching has the danger of those people losing 28%-42% of what they are getting now. You see, as the US has a collapsing infrastructure, the strain the US is getting by having these manufacturers move back to the US is going to cause a few infrastructural gaskets to blow. It will not happen overnight, but within 24 months they setbacks will hurt Ford, there is no doubt in my mind on that. The level of setback will be anyone’s guess, I do not have any wisdom that could state to any degree of certainty how much the impact is. Yet, when you consider that Ford is working on a 3.9% operating margin (2014 reported numbers) and they walked away from an Australian 99.9917% non-taxation, we should wonder on how they tend to do economically more terrific in the US. It seems to me that the US retrenching has either massive kickbacks, or will come at the consequence of short sightedness and long term hardship. The numbers do not makes sense to walk away from either, but the clarity is that fingering Brexit was not the reason. But then, Ford did not do that, they got

Len McCluskey to do just that. It is the part “McCluskey also demanded that Ford provide “legally binding guarantees” of future production at the plant”. It made me giggle. You see if they had not before, why would they do that now? It seems to me that McCluskey, not unlike Kim Carr in Australia, was either in on part of it for a time, or I need to consider them both to be massively incompetent. A legal binding guarantee after the fact. It is just too hilarious! Of course, when the issue collapses and Ford moves, then we get the real issue, because at that point the blame game starts. In Australia, Kim Carr got to play his game and got the reprieve, so when his labour team got replaced by the Australian Liberal Party (the Aussie Tories), he stood back and got to stand playing with his beard thinking ‘not my problem anymore!‘, yet Len McCluskey does not get to be this lucky, when Ford leaves it will be on his plate and the Unite members will have a massive amount of questions, I wonder how many actual answers Len McCluskey will have.

So all these revelations and facts brought to you because someone decided to blame Brexit and I have actually had enough of those blamers. The fact is that there would always be consequences to Brexit, so when I see another ‘bremainer’ demand a Brexit without consequences, I wonder just how stupid some people tend to get. Another side linked to this is seen in the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britain-will-not-contribute-to-eu-budget-if-no-brexit-deal-is-reached-says-lords-report-a7609526.html), here we see ‘Britain will not contribute £50bn to EU budget if no Brexit deal is reached, says Lords report‘, the subtitle is even more descriptive ‘The UK appears to have a strong legal position in respect of the EU budget post-Brexit and this provides important context to the Article 50 negotiations‘. The reason to go here is seen in “According to the Lords, EU budget payments – likely to be a contentious issue throughout the Article 50 negotiating period – would not be enforceable and the UK would be in a “strong” legal position to not pay a penny if talks ended with no deal“, so all the hard play we have seen has been absent of a proper analyses of the articles, something the House of Lords was not about to let go. The quote “Theresa May has warned her European allies that the UK is prepared to crash out of the EU if no reasonable Brexit deal is agreed on. In this case, the Lords add, Britain will not be liable to make any further financial contributions to the budget” also implies that there is a two stream issue within the conservatives. You see, when we see the quote of Theresa May against “David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, said earlier this year that the Government would not rule out making future payments to the EU’s budget in order to secure favourable access to Europe’s markets“. The two streams are ‘let’s be flexible about it all‘ and ‘we have had enough of this‘. The point being that large corporations have been souring the cream pushing European politicians to take emotional stands whilst others are trying to muzzle Mario Draghi and his need to spend a trillion no one has. This now pushes back to the Automotives of the land (including the exiting Ford), I think we need to see that the approach that has been used for too long a time, making some industries holy and non-taxed is not the way to go. Now, there are plenty of people who want certain markets to push forward and to have trade deals in place tends to be a good thing. Yet the part that the media seems to ignore again and again is that these deals benefit large corporations to a massive degree, but others tend to fall between the cracks losing out on all those fringe benefits. It is an injustice that has been seen several times and Brexit would allow for a change that gives a level of fairness to it all (allow does not mean it will happen though). So whilst we can agree that there would possibly be an impact, there are still too many waters stirring, so any level of Brexit blame is very premature. That evidence is given additional support when we consider Reuters news from 2015 (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-ford-asia-idUSKBN0O625Y20150521), it was already forecasted 2 years ago that “When I take a look at Ford’s growth over the next five to 10 years, we believe roughly 60 percent of the growth will be in the Asia Pacific region,” said Dave Schoch, president of Ford’s Asia Pacific region“, which was the first sign that the Ford plants in Australia were at risk. In equal measure, the slowing economy in China saw Ford sales drop, a similar event has been happening in Europe, where the drop is three times higher and here we get the issue. It had a rise for a while and the European numbers looked really good, that is, until you realise that Russia was the only strong contributor to the Ford sales. Yet the Russian slump has been in play and it is now also hurting Ford, whilst the news of ‘rapid recovery unlikely‘ to be at the head of the forecasting table. So when we see Ford media give us (at https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/feu/en/news/2017/01/18/ford_s-european-sales-rise-5–in-2016–strong-ford-transit–rang.pdf), “Ford sales rise 5 percent in 2016 to nearly 1.4 million vehicles in its 20 traditional European markets*“, with the reference to Austria, Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland.

Giving us now the one part that the papers were missing. The fact that the sales are not sliding, but the revenue is set to better profitability, in that the element becomes that the UK is only one of 20 nations for Ford and when we add the Ford Authority quote to it from February 20thIn all, the closures terminated nearly 6,000 jobs, although some number of those were merely shifted to lower-cost countries like Spain and Turkey“, as well as “Ford Europe has continued to pare down its workforce, offering “voluntary separation” packages to some 10,000 employees since early last year to help save an estimated $200 million annually” a valid tactical move by Ford going back to well before 2015. So as we see this facts, the entire Ford issue has been playing for a while and a lot of it has been out in the open. So at this point I would ask Len McCluskey where he got the idea “workers had been “kept in the dark”“. I would like to know what actions he had undertaken since December 2015 when this was already underway, more important, the move in Australia should have really woken him up. Did it do that? Because certain facts, clearly given by several sources, some of them openly Ford themselves. It is there where we now see a reason to doubt the existence of both Kim Carr and Len McCluskey (but that is just my view on the matter). Len had the option of making a clear speech to the workers in wales starting by ‘the party is over, there will be massive changes in the future, but we do not know the exact setting, but the worst case scenario is that the plant will seize to exist‘. Did he make that speech? I reckon not, most people like that tend to avoid bad news, especially when events like Brexit can be blamed and that is exactly what he did in the end.

As a final point I need to refer to the quote “We have had, as I said, dialogue with Ford. We will continue to have a regular dialogue with Ford about the ways in which government can help to make sure that this success continues“, which was exactly was happening in Australia, with the happy ending not becoming a reality. There, certain players decided to blame the newly elected liberal government, whilst we clearly see that there is plenty of evidence that Ford had already decided, and the decision was ‘vacate!’

I wonder what McCluskey does next, perhaps blame the Welsh weather?

 

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An outlying frame of prediction

The Guardian had another interesting article to present, it came online on Jan 1st, but I just read it a mere moment ago. The nice part that this is about data, it is a little bit more about statistics, but I am not a statistician, I am a Data Miner. The title ‘Alarmingly for pollsters, EU referendum poll results depend heavily on methods‘ gave me the jolt I needed (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jan/01/eu-referendum-polling-results-depend-methods). From my point of view, the entire exercise is a failed event, no matter how you slice it. Before we go into the results, let’s take a quick look at the nations involved:

  1. UK, population 65,081,276
  2. France, population 67,063,000
  3. Germany, population 81,276,000
  4. Italy, population 60,963,000
  5. Spain, population 46,335,000
  6. Sweden, population 9,816,666
  7. Finland, population 5,475,000
  8. Denmark, population 5,673,000
  9. Portugal, population 10,311,000

Now look at two quotes: “It found strong support for the UK’s continuing membership, with an average of 53% of respondents favouring Britain’s continuing membership across nine other countries surveyed“, which might be fair enough, but then we get quote two, which is “Only in Norway, which is not a member of the European Union, would a slight plurality, of 34% to 27%, prefer to see the UK leave and join it outside the club“, this is interesting, because Norway is not one of the nine countries in the mix, which now implies that additional nations had been interviewed, so what happened, the others were less in favour?

Now we add the optional considerations “ICM also investigated the appetite in all these countries to call time on their own membership, in the event that their country staged an in/out referendum“, So ICM had another reasoning entirely, the ‘in the event that their country staged a referendum‘ is central to this, because that means that the questionnaire, the hypotheses and the methodology would be different from the get go, which is not even that central in my thinking process, but it is elemental to the entire event. Now, the question becomes whether this is all part of ICM Research a UK Market Research company, was it done as part of the umbrella called Creston Insight, or perhaps even a third part and I am linking the wrong ICM to the wrong company.

These are all valid considerations and in my case the assumption was done intentionally (and most likely to be correct).

You see the paragraph in the Guardian “Alarmingly for the polling industry, however, the result substantially depends on the method used. Nineteen of the 21 polls were done online, and among these the average advantage for remain shrivels to a dangerously slim two points. But the two telephone surveys that have been undertaken point to far bigger pro-EU leads of 17 and 21 points” shows the issue for me. The paragraphs result in the question, were 19 nations interviewed? If so, why are they not all mentioned, in another option, were two methodologies used in the nine countries? One via phone and one via online, which makes perfect sense, but then an even amount of polls should have been used. All the article does is wonder how reliable the approach is, and if at all, are politicians even interested in doing it fair and square?

You see, if the results can sway a lingering vote (which is a given fact) than we can see that the poll could be used to sway some to ‘follow’ the largest group (with a tie a much harder thing to influence), but influence is a given.

For me, the number one issue were none of these items, in my case it was the mention at the very end. The quote “ICM interviewed a representative sample of at least 1000 adults online in each of nine European countries on 15 and 30 November 2015. Interviews in each country have been weighted to the profile of adults living within it” this is the issue, because a sample of 1,000 can never ever be representative of a population of 81 million, not even representative of a population of 46 million, there is no amount of weighting that can give anything but the roughest of estimations. The more representative the sample is for households, the larger the interviewing sample needs to be. There might have been the slightest reliability if a sample of at least 10,000 was used per nation and I use the word ‘slightest’ in the most liberal of ways. The moment we introduce, gender, income and education 10,000 might not slice it either. You see, yes, weighting can be applied, but than a single response could represent a group of 50,000-100,000, how reliable do you think that one voice would be regarding the other 49,999-99,999?

1,000 might be budget based, but this would then reflect a budgeted population that holds no reliability at all.

Sampling can be a real science, but when we see frequency weighing to this amount, we can safely say that science has been replaced by educated guessing, which is not the way to go. Consider France for a moment. Consider that in regions people feel very different, the two regions where Le Pen are powerful, they will not be in favour of the EEC at all, the others regions might be (read: might be). Now consider that France has 22 administrative regions, so in fairness we get roughly 50 responses per region, 25 males and 25 ladies, so per education level en perhaps even per age group, how much remains? How representative are these 25 people for that region? Now consider that not every region has the same population, so the 50 people representing the 11 million that make up for get a very different weight from those representing the 4 million in Normandy. Are you catching on how utterly unreliable those numbers have become? And how is this done for the UK? Or did ICM decide to get in quick and fast so the capitals make up for the bulk of the votes, which in case of Sweden makes sense as the bulk lives in Stockholm, Goteborg or Malmo. So as there is a hint of truth that it might all be about methodology, the required setting can never be met by 1,000 responses per nation as I see it, in addition there is still the unlisted Norway. So ether the article made a few jumps (which could be fair enough) or the reference to ICM in all this should be answerable to a lot more questions than the article is currently giving.

I need to end this with one final quote: “if the huge differences between online and telephone surveys persist, one method or the other can expect to face a bruising referendum, because they cannot both be right“, from the parts I responded to, there is another option all together, neither are correct. They are not flawed, but wrong for the simple fact of sampling size and the quote given “in the event that their country staged an in/out referendum“, which means that there would have been a different hypothesis that needed answering and even then, the sample of 1,000 would never been have anywhere near useful.

A group of 9,000 can never be representative of a group surpassing a third of a billion that should be massively clear to anyone from the get go, even more so when you consider the different lifestyles and values held in Scandinavian nations versus most of Western Europe and that is just the tip of the statistical considerations.

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The freedom to misdirect?

We see all kinds of information and misdirection, almost at any given day. If one good thing is mentioned, another bad thing is swallowed into silence. So when I saw the message on Sky News that “Latvia to join EU”, I had a look.

So Latvia is now to become the 18th Euro state. That part is however you take it. The average Brit will see this as a fearful motion for another few hundred thousand to seek out the London Limelight on a permanent basis. Others might have their own thoughts and reservations. Not all of them will be negative, as Latvia has a decent record in the shipping industry.

Three parts got my eye, and they are at least worrying, infuriating might be a slightly better word. The first quote was from the European Commission that ‘Latvia is ready to adopt the Euro in 2014‘. An interesting quote, especially as well over 60% of Latvia is fiercely against the Euro. Let us be fair, why adopt a sinking ship. Would you buy the Titanic if you found it parked against an iceberg? At worst it is a 3800 meter walk back to the boat (straight down).

It is the quote from the Latvian Prime Minister that is the second quote of concern: “Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis welcomed the news, saying in Riga that ‘joining the Euro will benefit Latvia’s economy by removing currency conversion costs and raising Latvia’s credit rating’.

Really? You want to adapt even more credit option whilst you are already in a position to drown in current debts? How clueless does that seem? It will take five years to get past the weakness gained by Cyprus, and at least 15 years to get a grip on the financial vise that Greece is giving the rest of the EU. Is this a ploy to remove the option for the UK to remove itself from the EU? If that is so, then the current administration is not just heading towards failure at the next election, at that point we look at a total overwhelming victory by UKIP next election. I have nothing against UKIP, but I do not think that to be a particularly good idea. Mostly, as a large part of UKIP would be seated at senior position whilst having little more than junior levels of experience. (I just call them how I personally see them). They would be elected in charge, whilst becoming a real danger to create an unresolvable mess for two administrations to come (again a personal view of mine). I will here and now state quite clearly that this is an assumption on MY side. I will also happily add information proving me wrong when and if the time comes.

Back to Latvia!

The second quote is nothing compared to the third one. “We think Euro membership will increase investment activity. We need only to look at the Estonian example where investment in the non-financial sector doubled.” (Source: http://www.skynews.com.au/world/article.aspx?id=877664 ).

This I see as a massive misdirection. The only reason that this looks this way is because Skype was an Estonian invention (a brilliant one). It comes from the people who initially came up with Kazaa. So yes, even though their mention might be correct, the fact that one product is the major reason behind the non-financial investment is thrown into the deep left field of unmentioned factors. Of course Tallinn is also famous for the Beer ferries to Stockholm. It is indeed a pretty city to see, uncannily picturesque and of course it has some visibility for the hourly lady rental services (some are extremely good looking and it is perfectly legal in Estonia). So which of these options give that reason for investments? Also interesting is that this newscast from Sky News did not come with the identity of a writer. You see, here is where we take a look at a few things. Especially when we consider the mention by Leveson and in regards to Ethics. I think that this article is missing a lot of facts and some are too far out of context. However, this is again my personal view on the matter at hand.

Danger 1.
The EU economy is as fragile as it gets. I will not debate here whether it is a good idea to add Latvia to the list. It is important to consider the Latvian addition to the Euro. Especially, when we read statements from their PM is strong at mentioning of the option of upping their credit rating. That part will hit back to the Euro sooner rather than later and as such the other Euro nations as well. It only makes a stronger case for the UK to get out of the EU (I am not convinced it is the right option at present), and get out fast. Even if they do not, additional reasoning for better and more complete regulations is required for all kinds of banks and financial institutions. That would be needed BEFORE nations get added to the Euro as it allows for a gap for re-managing all kinds of financial packages, that would require those government to need additional IMF support. We all know where that leads the rest.

Danger 2.
Looking at Estonia? Why, because these nations are neighbours? Tallinn has a direct ferry connection with Helsinki and a ferry connection with Stockholm (amongst others). Non-financial investments are nice, but how many and who? Skype (invented in Estonia) got a strong influx by Microsoft and twice the amount of what? Another nation getting a few taxable Billions for Skype does not put Latvia in the clear (also much of that amount went to a small group of private developers) as Microsoft bought it. There is every chance that Skype will be phased out of Estonia, then what? This does not reflect badly on Estonia as it has several economic options. Latvia does not have those in equal measure. It has options, but which ones exactly? It seems that the initial article does not bear that out clearly at all.

Another quote to mention is “Latvia is a small, open economy” the Latvian Prime Minister said. Anyone remember Iceland 2004? Similar words were spoken then. That did not pan out to well for that island, as well as many of their inhabitants (and a massive amount of places after that). This is exactly why those banking reforms I pleaded for in many situations are needed and needed fast. There is NO indications that this is about to happen here, but it is proven that greed is eternal; people in power have been willing to sell away what they can and remain unaccountable after that. It is clear that the open market industry cannot be trusted the way it is. It is even proven that too many in charge are passing the buck and letting those who are innocent pay for the hardships created by the greedy (Greece and Cyprus are clear evidence of that).

These elements give additional strengths to the UKIP mission to get out of the EU, which also gives inevitable strength to the German group under Bernd Lucke, who will get the power for the last push out of the Euro. With these two elements the UK and Germany, the EU will have more than two little problems floating their way. Should this come to pass then the German chancellor Merkel will end up getting a new job and as things go, there might be a reasonable ‘danger’ for an Early UK election. At that point it will be the EU segregation of coin or nation through possible future Chancellor Lucke of Germany and Prime Minister Farage of UK that will change the EU and possibly even sink it completely. The simple reasoning is that the Euro cannot survive without both. It might survive the departure of one, but no way will it survive both leaving their support to the coin.

So, is this just speaking doom?

I will always agree that these are thoughts (non-positive ones) from me and my way of thinking. Experts will speak out on how wrong I am. Those experts also predicted that the economy was already on the rise in 2013. This has been proven wrong in most EU nations. Where their predictions were right, they were between ½% and 1½% too optimistic. For the EU it is not just about the economy, it is about getting a handle on the current massive debts. Debts so massive that it is likely to take in some cases up to three generations to get back on the horse. To add nations to a coin is one thing, but when we read about raised credit ratings it comes down to pushing many further down a debt driven society. That in a society where on average in the EU nation’s 1 out of 8 do not have a job, in some cases it is 1 out of 4. That is no place to be in a debt driven society. That is not a social structure, that is in my humble opinion seen as the population gnawing on the remaining scraps called ‘their nation’ before those nations become some industrialised economic ownership, where you either work at THEIR leisure, or you perish.

It would be fair of you the reader to dismiss this thought. Before you do, consider that Greece had been holding a fire sale of what is still in their name (for now). This act is to reduce a debt of millions, out of a total debt which surpasses several hundreds of billion. No more than a drop of water on a hot plate. That happened last year (Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/19/debt-ridden-greece-firesale)

So what happens when a nation has nothing left? Is my reasoning that outlandish? Those sales might get them somewhere near 2 billion, whilst 15 billion is due in 2015. Even if ALL savings from the entire Greek population is nationalised (confiscated). It might just be enough to get the 15 billion. So what to do about the other 300 billion not paid? I am not going after Greece; this is not about the Greek debt. This is about OTHER new members not adding to this, and for that certain precautions are needed. Certain regulations for banks and financial institutions need to be in place. Even if the IMF now admits that the damage through Austerity was ‘miscalculated’. (Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/jun/05/imf-underestimated-damage-austerity-would-do-to-greece) In all honesty, I saw that one coming a mile away. It has been known at least since the early 1600’s that a plucked chicken has little feathers left. (And boy did that chook get itself plucked!)

As messages of rephrasing ‘the message‘, it has been clear that there is a real danger that the Euro is way too close to a non-successful triple bypass.

If a new member dumps their domino on the EU and Greece falls, which will topple Cyprus and then the effect will topple France, Italy, which in turn will topple the Dutch and remaining domino stones (read weak economic countries). What will be left? I will keep one eye on the Guardian the next few weeks as people like Larry Elliott and Phillip Inman, who are excellent financial correspondents, add their views to the internet.

If there is any chance of surviving, then it is only possible if credit limits are frozen and debts are lowered. So far no one is on top of that approach and the EU will change as team Lucke/Ferage might remove the little options the EU had left. Are they wrong? I am not sure, but I do not blame these two for getting their nations out of a collision whilst the others keep on failing to successfully manage their budgets.

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