Tag Archives: François Hollande

Strike a match

In Australia, an island with plenty of drought and as we go into the really nice and warm season, a match is not a thing we look fondly off, yet the strike of the match as we see it in France, where it is now uncomfortably cold is another matter. So is it ‘Strike a match!‘, or ‘Match a strike?‘, the strike called on regarding labour reforms could be the one that sets flame to that nation and set flame to whatever growth economy the French think they have. Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-reform-protests/frances-cgt-calls-another-strike-against-labor-reform-others-refuse-idUSKBN1CE2CH) give us “the more moderate CFDT, now France’s biggest union, and the Force Ouvriere preferring negotiations” these two are starting to figure out that the long protected labour rights in France are to ancient. With a mobile workforce all over Europe, it will soon be about taxable products and services no matter where they are and as such France is pricing itself out of a market of workers, faster and faster. The weird part is that France has so much to offer, so the fact that the economy is barely reaching +2% for the longest time is less puzzling and is more and more about the uncertainty that the labour laws are bringing entrepreneurs. Now, I am all for protecting the workers over greedy corporations, yet the draconian shape that it has in France is stopping new waves from moving towards France. French publication ‘the Local‘ (at https://www.thelocal.fr/20171009/france-how-tuesdays-mass-public-sector-strikes-will-affect-you) is giving us “with particular reference to the pay freeze and rise in social security payments, plus the government’s controversial decision to dock pay for the first day of sick leave (jour de carence) to fight against absenteeism“, this implies that former president Hollande has been asleep at the wheel. The changes imposed are to some extent to top the coffers from taking too much of a hit and with minus 2.6 trillion Euro the French coffers need all the help they can get. In this, many newspapers are all about how the appeal of President Macron is wearing thin, yet the bulk of issues that we see in a few fields are ignored to a larger extent. So, when was the last time that a corporate CEO got time with a national ruler to discuss national taxation? Because that is exactly what Tim Cook CEO of Apple seems to have been doing in France. With one source giving us “So, when Tim Cook meets with French President Macron, the matter of taxes could make for an icy situation between the two men. Macron has said he wants to promote France as a place for tech companies to set up shop, but he has also been critical about the role internet companies, in particular, play in society. Macron has been pretty vocal lately about how France and other E.U. countries should close up the loopholes that Apple and other tech companies have been able to use to move their earnings around to more tax-friendly countries, such as Ireland and Luxembourg“, is it a first indication that the French economy is in a much worse shape than expected? The fact that Tim Cook is visiting Élysée Palace not because President Emmanuel Macron is buying his wife the new iMac Pro (an assumption from my side). I am not thinking the worst of the French president, but the issue is questionable, especially as Apple is about to open a massive site in the Battersea Power Station, so as Apple (as I personally see it) is trying to spend the money twice, once by spending it in London and the second time by getting tax deduction for the amount just spend in London so he can get a second building for free in Paris. We see too many people in charge giving in to large corporations too easy and too often. Mostly merely getting it done for their ego’s whilst they sell short the needy coffers of their own nation. They present it as the cost of doing business. Corporations like Apple can merely offer to go somewhere else and the politicians fold like wet paper backs, no hard backs amongst them. As Apple is now getting the news to invest in several nations, $10B for a plant in Wisconsin, $500M in China and as we now see (at http://appleinsider.com/articles/17/10/10/detente-possible-between-tim-cook-macron-over-apples-future-taxation-in-france-eu) “Macron’s staff report that past tax disputes weren’t discussed in any way, but Cook acknowledged a sea change in how companies should pay taxes specifically where they are earned, and not in one country to cover the entire EU” is just one side, so as we also see “Apple continues to deal with a ruling by the European Commission, which will force a $15 billion payment of back taxes to Ireland —when the Irish government gets the disbursing fund established. Ireland disputes the ruling, and says that Apple has paid all of its required taxes. The European Commission is suing Ireland for the lack of collection, and to force the issue“, an issue that has played for the longest time. And every time when I see that politicians are ‘offended’ by the lack of payments I wonder how they are selling the lack of their treasuries to the Irish people. Ireland must be the richest nation in the world when it regards a non-paid $15B as not an issue. So whilst public services are lowering in Ireland and as we see “Sinn Féin’s Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty said, however, that the government has failed spectacularly with today’s budget and suggested it was a lie to suggest you can cut taxes and solve the problem of the health and housing crises” (at http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/donohoe-defends-tax-cuts-despite-growing-pressures-on-public-services-809339.html) whilst there is an apparent issue with Apple’s outstanding $15 billion, we need to wonder on who the politicians are actually working for and who pays their income. Questions the media seems to walk away from. Yet this was not on Ireland, this is about France and the labour issues. It seems that Ireland and France are labour opposites. As Ireland is showing itself to be more flexible than a slinky in a hurricane, France is showing their flexibility to be zero degree Kelvin, which could remain detrimental to the financial growth of France in more than one way.

So as France is now huddled into a posing form of strikes all over the place, we see that emotions run high, so high that the French decided to release teargas, so that the people could cry over the matter. So as we see the news that 450.000 travelers are feeling the consequence of the French not agreeing with the labour overhaul, we need to consider how its impact is on the long term. You see everyone forgot about Marine Le Penn. After she was not elected, all the people thought they had evaded having to bite the bullet, yet in all this; the issue is not what had been surpassed, but what can haunt again. Instead of the media trying to figure out and illuminate what Front National had in store, with actual answers to how the issue could have been solved, the media bombards Macron again and again, the issue is not what happens when Macron fails. The issue is that when the dust settles, there would not be a long election, the labour parties would jump on the Le Penn bandwagon in a heartbeat leaving no options for France at all. The entire ‘Status Quo’ debate could quite literally blow up in their faces and when the next smear campaign starts, the people will in unity ignore the media to the largest degree. So as we see the nonstop battering of the strike and how bad Emmanuel Macron is doing, they are equally ignoring the fact that none of the other politicians have any better a clue or an idea on how to solve certain matters, which means that Front National is currently swimming free setting up whatever they want. Because the people might have shared some enthusiasm with some young sprout now President of France, but that trick only works once. In opposition, I doubt that Marine Le Pen has a clear path on how to fix the economy. The IMF is actually assisting her as we see Bloomberg with ‘Raising Taxes on the Rich Won’t Necessarily Curb Growth, IMF Says’ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-11/raising-taxes-on-rich-won-t-necessarily-curb-growth-imf-says), yet even as we see “The IMF report comes as governments in advanced economies face a backlash against the effects of globalization and technology. Voters from France to the U.K. have expressed frustration with what they perceive to be the unequal benefits of free trade and open borders”, the bandwagon that the IMF offers is equally a much larger problem. Even when we ignore the actions of Depardieu moving to Russia, the media has bungled the events for the largest degree. You see, as I mentioned before, whilst media is staring at the ‘super wealthy’ and giving rise to emotions of more inequality in an age where the people are pointed in the wrong direction by the media at large. Yet this group is a mere 330,000 souls large last year and less than half a million cannot supply the multiple billions (read: Trillion) that the treasury is already short of and the IMF knows this. This is the UK, in France, where less than 1% pay at the rate of 45%, we see an implied group of a little over half a million making it into that group. The reality that the IMF is selling is not realistic and everyone with spreadsheet skills can see that such a small group cannot address the trillions of debt that France has, so as we see that growth might not seem to e curbed, the issue is that the infrastructures are starting to collapse. In the UK the NHS is pretty much the most obvious example, but in all this France has a few issues of their own and none of it will be resolved until there is a fair setting of corporate taxation for the larger players who leech their zero tax vie Ireland and other options; options that the local shops can never rely on, which growth business inequality even more and a lot faster. Is it not weird that the IMF is in total denial through carefully phrased messages like “When it comes to corporate income taxes, the trend in lowering corporate tax rates is a pervasive trend overall in the last few decades. That is something which is often attributed to tax competition. There is, however, the interesting finding that this reduction in corporate tax rates has not been, in general, matched by a fall in corporate tax revenues”, which in my view means ‘corporate profit can be maximised through lesser taxation and increased production’, which is not for the corporations, but working a person to death whilst there is no quality healthcare is equally detrimental to the health of any nation. So how is that an option?

History has shown that again and again. This we see in the Guardian as it reported “Union leaders said they wanted to show a “profound disagreement” with the president’s plans to overhaul the state sector“, yet where will they go? That is the part the players are all ignoring and in this the media is one of the players. You see, we have seen quotes like “The main reason they voted for him was as a default, as a barrier against the risk of a Marine Le Pen fascist, far-right government“, yet when he does not deliver and as the failings of the left are stacking up. Where do you think the unions will go? They too require being ‘in power’ and they will align with anyone who gives them what they need to stay in power. The media has forgotten about that, or did they? That is the issue because the people at large are not in the know and when the bottle boiled over, they are in the ‘not caring’ team, which allows for a load of misinformation and the official media channels have lost the levels of reliability they need, they lost it the day after the election, especially when the failings started to show. So as the media blunders its way by blasting their current president, they forgot to notice that they have painted themselves in a corner. The question becomes: ‘Can it be fixed?‘ I am not certain, I actually do not know how some of the channels can regain the faith of their readers, that becomes the issue more and more and when that is too late, may Marianne symbol for the French people help them, because the others will not care and that is actually a lot more dangerous than any President Le Pen (should that ever happen).

So as we strike a match under the newspapers misstating our needs and matching the strike workers by educating on the dangers they are setting themselves up to, we might get some actual labour law evolution. President Macron is not wrong in the path he is taking. He is merely ignorant of the French population and their sentiment in certain matters. In that regard he has been a member of the Wall Street population a little too long, and regained his French feeling of solidarity much too short (as I personally see it). So this will not be resolved any day soon I reckon.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Politics

To be mindful

We can have a go at President Macron and at this point, it seems more like kicking a man when he is down. His numbers are sliding and as the Guardian reported, they are now at: “Poll shows French president’s ‘dissatisfaction rating’ among voters rising to 57%, up from 43% in July“, labour reforms, housing assistance, it is all giving him a beating. The issue is not what he did wrong; the issue is what mess he inherited. Even as there was a chance that it could have fallen into the lap of Marine Le Pen, the people too scared gave it to Emmanuel Macron. There is clear realisation that France with a €2.1 trillion debt, its population in France would have to accept that hard times would be coming, no matter who had won. Francois Hollande had made THAT much a mess of things. So, France is dealing with a few things, the first is that the interest on the debt is per second more than a monthly income of a person on minimum wage, before taxation. The debt is growing that fast. To counter that labour reforms are essential to grow any level of economy. The UK has figured it out and is working on it, yet President Macron is unable to make any headway. Yet the article is not about that. It is merely the background for another matter that caught my eye. You see, the sad news is that RFI reported 12 hours ago that a French army volunteer took his own life. A young man dedicated to his nation and the security of the French people killed himself in his place of accommodation. This is about Operation Sentinelle!

You see, this event is more important than you might think. I know what he is going through; I get it (in part at least). The importance and the dangers is not because he volunteered, it is because he was not abroad. This is not some placement in West-Africa, Iraq or another Middle East placing. He was in France protecting the French. So this matters and if this is the beginning of a problem, it needs to be dealt with soon and fast. We often forget on the mental strain that any soldier of medical volunteer faces, even if there is merely the threat of danger. So when it is at the home base, it becomes a much larger issue as I see it. I agree with Colonel Brulon, who stated: “It is much too early to say anything about the reasons that led him to this extreme act“, whilst he added that an investigation had been entrusted to the gendarmerie, which is where it partially belongs.

I am stating partially, because the French Defence Health Service (Service de santé des armées) short named as SSA should and would be on top of this. It is important because the SSA findings would be important to other NATO nations. France might have been the most visible nation under attack, but it is not the only one and as such we need to know early on how isolated a case this is. I guess that Colonel Brulon would love to make a statement as soon as possible that it was an isolated case, but he can’t really, well can he? Operation Sentinelle involves 10,000 military troops and 4700 members of the Kepi Bleu (aka police or gendarmes). We know that the stress levels have been high for 2 years, which could explain part of it, yet there is little known of the soldier. Le Parisien gives us ‘a member of the 5th Combat Company of the 1st Regiment of Tirailleurs‘, yet not how long he served and how long he was on operation Sentinelle. We could normally wait for more information, but too many sides of any governmental operation are too often of hiding mental health issues and not deal with the problem face on immediately and that is where the problem lies. Colonel Benoît Brulon might overreact and give a larger side of Operation Sentinelle to the Kepi blanc (aka Légion Étrangère) yet that is equally a flawed plan as the cause of the stress is unknown and exposing the French population to the raw deadly power that is Légion Étrangère is equally not the best idea to go forward on, if only to consider the diplomatic escalated side of the matter. The second side is that there have been so far 6 attacks by French civilians on the deployed soldiers. Sky News gave us earlier this month: “Police have shot and arrested a man after he rammed his BMW into a group of French soldiers in western Paris before speeding off“, which is odd to some degree. My experience of the French people was quite different. Whilst in Orleans, in uniform I was suddenly hugged by two lovely French ladies, an always welcome salute to a summers day whilst admiring Orleans was quite the different experience, so I have seen on how friendly the French can be to their uniformed population, so for people to attack those who are actively protecting them is a bit of a weird situation. Yet, they are for the most either ‘extremist idiots’ or people with mental health issues, and there we get the issue in a little more clarity, we can dismiss the ‘idiot’ category. When a person comes to you with ‘I am here to die for Allah‘, he gets the short end of the stick because they are military units and those are not really there to arrest people, so when we get the quote “Man shot to death after grabbing the weapon of a soldier“, we can easily state that the man only had himself to blame. When it is a mental health case, in the issue of: “An Egyptian national visiting France on a tourist visa has attacked soldiers at the Louvre Museum in Paris with a machete, in what officials are describing as a suspected terror attack“, we have to wonder how sane the Egyptian was in the first place. The issue is now different. Any soldier, French or not has been (or should have been) trained to kill without reservation any enemy that threatens their life, yet when our brain tells us that this is not a real enemy, but a person with a mental health problem, are we still willing to kill just like that? For the most we are not monsters, we do not kill snakes because they are snakes, we optionally kill them because they are an immediate threat to our health and possible our lives. Now we get an entirely new situation, one that the army has never trained their soldiers on (read: never had to train them on), when placed in places of peace under non-wartime conditions dealing with non-combatants, how are they affected? Until directly attacked that person is not a soldier or a terrorist, but a person, that switch comes when the attack happens and the soldier under attack has now got to react as instructed, securing his life and protect the optional victims around him (or her). This is a muddy place where mental health issues could flourish, so the investigation into the soldier’s suicide will be a lot more important and a lot more essential than most people realise. France 24 gives us another side (at http://www.france24.com/en/20170810-operation-sentinelle-france-fight-counter-terrorism-working), with the quote ““It is essentially just posturing that has zero operational impact,” Jean-Charles Brisard of the Center for the Analysis of Terrorism told FRANCE 24. “Sentinelle has never stopped, prevented or hindered any terrorist attack in France since its creation in 2015.”“, yet he does not know that does he? Jean-Charles Brisard is a political player, one with extensive education and one who does know things, but how certain is he? Is a visual deterrent disproven? What evidence is there? It is possible (speculation on my side) that their presence has stopped several attacks, and attacks by mental health cases is all that remains, yet that is from my side and it is equally speculative. The question becomes can France take the chance of a busload of explosives getting parked next to the Louvre or the Notre Dame? Paris has a much too large dependence on tourism and its cultural heritage is packed together like a tin of sardines on a small area. It’s almost like assisting Dolly Parton to fit into a B-cup bra. It looks like a really nice exercise, but it is never going to work. Meaning that in the end, the risk factors will stack against the French military, because the extremists only need to get lucky once.

That is where one factor lies. 10,000 soldiers being aware that it is not that they win, but the fact that one failure could impact lives in France in an incomprehensible way. That is where the hidden stress lies. You see this is not an unknown. When we accept that ‘Setting goals too high – unrealistic goals can lead to stress, or lead to demoralisation‘ is giving us mental health issues. We might need to face that France has indeed been lucky that this is merely the first case and that it happened after 2 years. Again, this is speculative, but there is enough evidence to warrant this train of thought. If such levels of demoralisation leads to people giving up, and knowing that giving up is not an option for soldiers and perhaps even less so for volunteers (due to internal peer pressure), it is my personal believe that Colonel Benoît Brulon could be in much deeper waters than he has currently considered to be. He is facing a larger issue and the SSA would need to step up towards actual treatments and rotation schemes to deal with the growing pressures. Even if this is already happening, this suicide shows that there is a partial failure in place. In addition we have seen that in mental health, especially under the guise of goal setting that ‘excessively focusing on certain types of business goals can lead to competitive or unethical behaviour, or conflict in the workplace‘, so we can accept competitiveness to some degree, but when it comes to soldiers and armed individuals, when we get issues of ‘unethical behaviour, or conflict in the workplace’ we end up with an entirely different can of worms, those who are intelligent enough to see these signs, how will they react, perhaps their brooding and their inner conflict could potentially lead to depression and suicide. Again, this is partially academic speculation, yet there has been enough evidence in the past on several levels in several nations that it is a realistic danger.

This now gets us back to President Macron, not because of his approval ratings, but the issue that he faces (which got him the sliding approval ratings). The two elements that do impact the soldiers is one, to a lesser extent labour reform, because their setting is different, but the rotation approach could be seen as labour reform, and the second is housing assistance. You see, no matter which country you are in, housing tends to be an issue for everyone in the lower incomes and soldiers were never heralded with large pay cheques so that issue would still remain. We have seen how a homely place can help alleviate the pressure and stress. Having soldiers in barracks is one thing, but in such a place privacy becomes rare and the essential need to dissect peer pressure within the military is a much larger factor than most consider. Even as the peers accept such stress levels, we have seen too often that mental health issues are too scary an issue to deal with, people are too scared to deal with things they do not understand and fear that it will happen to them. Soldiers are no different here, so no matter what we can expect to read or be informed on, the focus will move towards the French Defence Health Services sooner rather than later, because it might be one suicide, yet history has shown where on acts, a dozen have at least contemplated the issue, so there is a growing concern, one that the French press seems to ignore for now.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Media, Military, Politics, Science

French Grape juice and a shipyard

There are issues stirring in the land of grapes and cheese. In France things are becoming slightly restless. Now, I have had my doubts about Emmanuel Macron for several reasons, but not on this. The Express (at http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/834196/France-Emmanuel-Macron-en-march-crisis-polls-fall-French-president) gives us “Several members of French ruling party En Marche! have accused President Emmanuel Macron and party directors of going against the root values of the movement by trying to change the internal guidelines regulating the candidates’ selection process“, which gives my initial response ‘And?‘, you see, being in a new party, being in front and shouting the loudest does not automatically grant the rights to wield a multibillion wallet for defence or healthcare. In the end, the selected party needs to place the right people in the right places, those with knowledge and the ability to push a nation forward. This would have been the one nightmare for Nigel Farage if he had won the elections the last time around. No matter how we feel about UKIP, it is not really seeded with senior cabinet quality fuel. The same can be stated for En Marche! That view is well phrased in “French politics expert Ariane Bogane from Northumbria University told France 24 that the party had justified its decision to change key elements of the movement, such as internal election, by saying that it was in order to avoid “personal ambition,” “rivalry” and “in-fighting”“. So what is going on, is it merely the infighting, or the disillusion of those who did work hard and expected to become part of the French government? Those bragging on the post they are considered for and having to go home realising that the carefully phrased ‘we are considering‘, becomes, ‘we were forced to find the person with the ability much more suiting the expertise required‘? Politics is all about finding the pushing forward party, within the party it will almost never be about to compromise.

Yet the title gives another image. With ‘‘Oligarchy is coming!’ Macron faces nightmare political CLASHES as he PLUMMETS in polls‘ we are confronted with two part. As the express hid in the dictionary trying to tell us that a small group of people is in control in France is not new. Those who keep their eyes open are aware of that, for example, Natixis is surpassing a trillion euro value before the end of 2018, and its 15 members of the board have a large say for well over 20% of France, which is one hell of an impact. I am not referring that they have something to say, like for example Mark Carney as Governor of the British bank, no these 15 can lay down the law in unspoken ways. Actually, one of them had a (large) setback as the Wall Street Journal reported in 2014 with “Henri Proglio’s contract as chief executive of Electricité de France SA, sidelining a powerful businessman who has been close to the country’s center-right political camp“, yet there are several indications that this was merely a resignation on political grounds as some equally powerful players got to feel the heat of more than the mere risk of the Hinkley Point C nuclear project (yet, we will remain silent on those accusers, won’t we Credit Agricole SA?); in all this, the players have a point as the costs at one point was expected to surpass over 10% and on £18 billion it starts to add up fast. This is merely part one, in part two we need to look at the plummeting and so on. Yet overall, why becomes the question. I think it is more than that the current president is a mere former banker. In this the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/emmanuel-macron-popularity-rating-plummets-french-president-worst-in-20-years-july-ifop-budget-cuts-a7856986.html) gives us “Results come after the 39-year-old former banker unveiled key budget cuts in public spending and military finances – a move which has been heavily criticised“, which might be a valid reason for some to nag, yet what they forgot is that the previous administrations left France with a minus €2.1 trillion on the French governmental credit card and their economy is nowhere near the English one. In addition, France has a mere 64 million people, do that equation as debt per person bites in equality. The money is gone! The UK has been in this mode for well over half a decade and the French better wizen up fast, because the people now complaining had not as much as a hard time because harsh changes were required as early as 2010, nothing in that regard was seriously done. Another quote is “Mr Macron ended up overruling his own prime minister by vowing to go ahead with tax cuts in 2018, and plans to cut housing benefits were received unfavourably“, which everyone sneers at (the decision that is), yet perhaps you remember the French actor Gérard Depardieu who moved to Russia of all places because of outlandish taxation. When we consider some of the French numbers, we see the quote “less than 50% of inhabitants in France pay any income tax at all; only around 14% pay at the rate of 30%, and less than 1% pay at the rate of 45%” (source French Property). Under those conditions, we might expect that plenty have to complain about housing benefits, it might well be those not paying income tax at all. So when we see housing benefits, whilst the French are down well over 2 trillion, we have to consider how valid the polls are, perhaps better stated how fair they are one Emmanuel Macron. We all knew that the promises made by Emmanuel Macron would be hard to keep, yet not impossible. As a banker he knows that if the tax hike works and the hike become thousands of jobs, he has a start, the one thing about the French is that they are proud, yet those who are part of this Oligarchy tend to invest nationally as that is where their power and influence are.

For this we make a small sidestep to the dictionary. You see there are difference (which is also odd)

In the Cambridge dictionary we see “A type of government by powerful people in a small group is called oligarchy“, Merriam-Webster gives us “A small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes in a type of government” and Oxford states “Oligarchy is a type of government controlled by a small group of people” so as we see the En Marche group cry in a Merriam-Webster style, whilst the reality is that the reality is merely the Oxford/Cambridge application of the issue. None of them invoke a social governing and even as the En Marche people are now moving towards Fascism accusations (none have been formally made at present), we need to realise that none of it matter if the French economy does not make a decent step forward. The social structures have drained the French nation too much. France has seen strike after strike; the French labour unions are a debilitating power, a fact even acknowledged by many French citizens. Now, I have never been against labour unions, yet they have to realise that their time as they perceive themselves to be is over, if the French have to default even once, their existence stops, the money flow stops and that will change the game forever in France. There are other parts and there is an issue whether a blame game applies. We have heard for some time on labour reforms, and even as we see the validity due to massive French debts, in this Bloomberg offers (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-24/macron-s-uphill-battle-against-france-s-labor-law-quicktake-q-a) questions and answers that I now can avoid. We know that there are issues, yet it comes from a civil law system, with the French labour code set in over 3000 pages, as such reform now becomes essential. We see reports like “French unions say making it easier to fire people won’t create jobs, and that unemployment results from the tight budget policies forced by EU-imposed austerity“, this is not an invalid response (read: consideration), yet in equal measure we see that there is little space for short term jobs and as such, backpackers all over Europe get to take some of the economic cream from the top of the revenue, something that might be valid work for the French, yet some of them are not going near any short term jobs in hear of long term consequences. The Bloomberg quote “His three immediate predecessors all viewed France’s labour laws as too restrictive. In 2003 and 2005, Jacques Chirac managed to loosen the 35-hour cap on the working week, making it easier and cheaper for companies to add extra hours. In 2008, Nicolas Sarkozy cut taxes on overtime work and made it simpler for individual workers to negotiate their own departures. And Francois Hollande’s reforms of 2013 and 2016 made it easier to justify layoffs due to a downturn in business” is the clearest one, you see three administrations have seen the folly of the labour restrictions. Whether the unions are in fear of the power they wield, and the fear of how they become obsolete, that is how I see it, four administrations realise that companies with 49 have growth limits, pushing themselves into foreign ground through partnerships when it becomes an option, slicing the French economy at least twice in a negative way.

The second issue is less on the things he does and more about how it is done. The New Statesman is referring to ‘the Macron Con‘, the Evening standard is all about ‘shedding the banker image‘ and some have even less nice things to say, yet some is of his own volition, with ‘My thoughts are ‘too complex’ for journalists, says Emmanuel Macron‘ the Telegraph paraphrases “An Elysée official told Le Monde newspaper that the 39-year-old centrist leader’s “complex thought process lends itself badly to the game of question-and-answer with journalists” that is held every year on the July 14 national holiday“, it is not a good way to make friends in that area of people who still at times laughingly refer to themselves as ‘journalists‘. It now becomes the question how they will see and report on the STX France nationalisation. In this there is validity to at least some degree. There is no guarantee that the Italians will keep it as is, there is no guarantee that there will not be a ‘transfer’ of grounds towards very different applicable destinations. When we consider USA Today as a source with: “STX France is the only shipyard in France big enough to build big warships. It’s also a significant employer in France“, if so, can anyone explain to me how handing it to the Italians was a clever move to begin with? If the EU will builds its force on EU ground, than France would fare a lot better keeping the one place where they could be build French property, that is merely good business. In addition, as it is still doing jobs, which are unlikely to be completed before the end of 2018, how is changing hands of the shipyard a good idea?

There is no doubt that the STX war is not over and I am not even going to speculate how this will turn out at present, you see being pre-emptive is one thing, the danger is that some shareholders will offer what they have in different ways to get the most out of their shares and greed can make a shareholder creative in getting the coin they expected. Yet, Trikkles (at http://trikkles.com/2017/07/28/french-government-to-nationalize-stx-france-economy.html), gives us “President Macron jettisoned his pro-business agenda and threatened to nationalise France’s leading shipyard to prevent its takeover by Fincantieri“, is that true? Keeping STX French might be very pro-business indeed. If it becomes Fincantieri property, there would be consequences. The Higher echelons could end up being replaced by Italians, so that is a chunk of funds not remaining in France, in addition, with procurement scandals first in Taipei in 2000 and now in India 2016, there are other considerations to make, so there are issues beyond the ship that is to be build. The interesting part is that in the entire emission control solution, I would have thought that they would focus on bringing jobs to the US, not ending up with a French place and getting loads of Americans and Italians to Normandy, let’s face it, it is no longer 1944.

In all this Emmanuel Macron seems to be getting a rough time. As the newspapers focussed on the largest drop, it seems that they are all in denial that both the UK and France are merely two players who have an astronomical deficit to deal with. In all this the Financial Times gives us another view (at https://www.ft.com/content/c826f982-7383-11e7-93ff-99f383b09ff9), as they state “Macron’s pro-EU stand is tested by Italy on the waterfront“, some will call it ‘betrayal’, yet who voice that and for what reasons? Here we also see the quote from Pier Carlo Padoan as he accused Mr Macron of abandoning his professed “pro-Europeanism and liberal values” by his decision to take STX France. So is it non-liberal or an essential step not to endanger the Normandy economy in the longer run? As we realise that STX is one of the few places in Europe where building an aircraft carrier is possible, as well as the fact that the largest cruise ship in history is getting build here, why leave it to the Italians? In this, the quote “Fincantieri had pledged to keep jobs and orders in France for five years” reads like a hollow joke, it merely not mentions that after 2022 syphoning the French economy towards Italy would be a given and with the French economy being a mere 1%, that syphoning could potentially kill the French options. So when I see the additional hollow quote “and Italian ministers rightly point out that Mr Macron’s demand to renegotiate suggests a lack of trust“, would that be a lack of trust, or a lack of Italian consideration when the clock strikes August 1st 2022?

In this there is one part that the complaining French seem to fail to grasp, if STX is only the first of a few reallocations to foreign owners, how deep in unemployment could France get? I have in the past never professed to be any kind of consideration to bankers like Emmanuel Macron, yet in equality I have been for the most always been on the side of giving all a fair chance, it seems that the French are not giving that to Emmanuel Macron, which as French citizens is their right (freedom of speech and so on). I merely hope that these people are looking further forward than the issues due next week, because in the long run France will need to adjust to a larger degree, the question becomes how and that is the issue that the previous 3 administrations have fought over for the longest time of their administration.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Military, Politics

Conservatively valued

When I was relaxing last night, I knew that there was an issue with the UK Labour party. There has been one for the longest of times, what was not clear to me is that it went a lot further than I expected. Not only was I unaware that in all the waves of Media bias, the voters themselves had figured out a few things. Not that the voters are in need of education, because proper information tends to give voters a better view of what way not to go. No, the fact that we se (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/05/local-elections-tories-profit-from-ukip-collapse-amid-labour-losses), that the local pats of the Labour party have been decimated by losing over 300 seats, they are not out of the war yet. In that the General elections of June will still be a fight to consider. What seems to be the case is that on a local level, the people seem to have had enough of the Labour party. UKIP took a dive too and has now no election seats left. I am not sure how I feel about that, because it is a local thing and the people will vote for those who will achieve something for them, in that regard I cannot state that for one, how active UKIP has been, and in the second part that for the most, the charisma of Nigel Farage was the driving force of UKIP, without him active in the party, it would all be about the people of the local electorate and how they perceive their local elected youkiperino. The LibDems did OK, which was a little bit of a shock, but perhaps like in the previous elections as there was an interchangeability in electorate councils between UKIP and the LibDems, there is a chance a chunk of those people switched back. I would need the actual datasets to take a better look at that part. The quote in the article by Anushka Astana and Heather Steward is an interesting one, we see: “May’s claim that the EU was meddling in British affairs, which propelled her on to the front page of every national newspaper on Thursday morning as voters headed to the polls, was believed to have contributed to her party’s success against Ukip”, there is every bit an optional truth in that, the entire EC issues and the Europe against Britain has given Theresa May a much stronger view and an increased improved exposure and that is what the local voter are influenced by. I agree with that part, yet that would still not have been possible without Labour pooching their political game. In that Jeremy Corbyn is that larger loser, as I pointed out the day before yesterday in my previous blog. So as the UK moves forward towards next month elections, we will see levels of accusation of foul play by the Labour Party and possible UKIP too, the truth is that the people are realising that it is not one against the other, it is the UK against a non-trustworthy engine in Brussels and in addition the European Central Bank and Germany. Two sides that are trying not to get thrown of the European Gravy train. In that side, the additional usage of a German opening his mouth in, what I would classify as ‘stupidity’ with ‘Brexit: English is losing its importance in Europe, says Juncker’ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/05/brexit-english-is-losing-its-importance-in-europe-says-juncker), where we read: “Slowly but surely English is losing importance in Europe,” Juncker said, to applause from his audience. “The French will have elections on Sunday and I would like them to understand what I am saying.” After these opening remarks in English, he switched to French for the rest of the speech”. It was bad form, even worse decorum and in that he is now desperately not be seen as a failure, which still has a 50/50 chance of getting getting painted as the ‘village idiot’ in the cold light of day this coming Monday.  The fact that a French election was super unpredictable in round one was pretty much a first in French modern history, the fact that t is not just party polarisation, it is the fact that the people have suffered a massive quality of life, whist in addition that level of loss has been frozen for over a decade is also an issue never addressed by those parties and the opposition is now screaming ‘everyone but Le Pen’ is doing so whilst he was part of a business that took the quality of life away from the French in the first place. It seems that the moment the voters remember their 10 years of hardship and see that one of the choices is a former investment banker, his goose is cooked and ready to get gobbled.

What we do know is that the English language has only increased in importance and it will do so for a long time to come, it does not matter whether the UK is in or out of the EC, the UK remains part of Europe, a trivial matter that Juncker overlooks, in equal measure, when people do business out of their own country in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy, it is the English language that they hold one too, both sides feel comfortable with. The European population has not felt comfortable with the German language since WW1 and the French in all honesty elide on the elitist ambassadorial need for French, which tens to be not used in those circles either. So Juncker strikes out twice and the hostility created here is also setting the UK population in what might be seen as ‘fighting mode’, which supports conservative values lot more than many bargain for. When a person is attacked on values, that person looks towards family, the homestead, the workplace and staying strong, all conservative values (here I mean original values, not just Conservative party values) and the Tories profited by the situation.

Even as Theresa May keeps a cool head not relying on this victory for the general election, there is a truth in he fighting stand to keep Britain together. In that the Labour party with all its infighting is hurting itself with every round that some Labour person comes out with some strong statement trying to look clever. They merely seem to alienate their own member base. The fact that the Welsh side of the Labour party feels safer doing it on their own is a second sign that shows how much they bungled their own chances (not the Welsh mind you). I have seen and heard cries for Miliband, yet I am not certain how he could fit in. We could argue that anything is better than Jeremy Corbyn, yet the strength of Labour was always coming from a local side and they los that, implying that without that momentum there is no Labour to consider. I am not certain that this is true, in that France can be a driving force for the Labour message in the UK, especially is Le Pen wins. I have stated before and a few times that ‘nationalism’ is not an ugly word, we al believe in our nationalism to drive national pride in sports and products. Do you think that ‘buy Australian’ is merely an empty gesture? As the French rely on the national pride to grow its economy, Labour could do that in the next local elections and regain their own strength (be it with an essential lack of infighting). Yet, this is for the next local elections and in that, unless a miracle happens, the General elections are a wash for the Labour Party. If you doubt me, then consider that this path had proven to be a winning strategy for UKIP and it is still giving momentum to the LibDems. Too bad that the Corbyn groups did not figure this out in time. Will there be a power shift in Labour? It essentially need to be because they have nothing left to rely on, Corbyn threw that away. I cannot state that Miliband is the solution, it is weird, but I do believe that if Ed takes the lessons of his father Ralph to heart, he could swing it all over the next elections. Those who rely on the hatched job the press did two years ago need to realise that his father a Polish Jew immigrated to the UK, fought the Germans (as all British did) and as a University professor created what is now known as ‘the New Left’, Marxist in origin or not, you need to be a person of particularly strong vision to pull that off and he Labour party grew from near nothing to true strength, historical sides that were ignored, even by junior himself. I am not going into he said, she said, and the mud slinging. We know that historically both sides have been fiercely Nationalistic as only the Brits can be. That side has been lost by Labour as it tried to be more European at times, which is now a decided disadvantage, because how did the UK fare under the ECB? Not that great, or at least not to the degree they could have been and the people are seeing the realisation of that more and more, to the detriment of the Labour numbers. Even as some people are urging that Mario Draghi is easing down from his spending spree, Draghi is defiant in his need to wave the trillion-euro credit card around, leaving whatever to come next to pay for the bills. It only resolves the need for Brexit and any anti-Brexit noises we hear will impact the voting numbers, UKIP started it, the people voted on it and now France is moving on it too, yet that outcome is not a given. In all this we see the IMF calling in negativity towards the UK, whilst they have been wrong already three times. In all this we also see the influence of Greece on all this, because it will. Ekathimerini reports: “Greek bonds are investors’ last chance to take a free ride courtesy of the European Central Bank. Athens could soon be eligible for the bank’s program of bond purchases, pushing up prices just as those of other Eurozone bonds start going the other way”, they did not learn the last time, now they have to get to be this stupid again? You see, bonds are lovely for those mediating in this, the expected windfall for those mediating was roughly 50 million Euro last time, and this time? Consider that the Greeks ended up with literally nothing t show for, so why repeat such a stupid mistake, this just drives the need for Brexit and Frexit faster and stronger. That is how Greece is impacting on Europe. We can argue on how desperately the Greeks need it, yet when we know the consequence that it merely keeps the lights on for merely a month and it will take the people years to pay it off, how good an idea do you think this is? And that is when we realise that the interest levels will only rise again giving additional hardship to the Greeks, in all this that so called ‘independent’ ECB seems to be setting the stage for themselves alone. How is that European, acceptable or even problem solving this ECB is? So far there has been no evidence that they are anything but a facilitation to a group that was not elected and seems to have an agenda that is locked down and detrimental to the heath of the entire Eurozone.

Now I agree that my previous statement s a little too strong and perhaps off the boil, yet the election over the next 48 hours are giving us the reality that the people are feeling the hurt, whilst unelected elements are paving the way for big business to get free rides and easy access to the options of profit which will not help the voting population any. Website Fortune.com is giving us “The gross domestic product of the 19-country euro zone bloc grew by 0.5 percent on the quarter in the first quarter, which translates to annualized growth of 1.8 percent in all of 2017, the European statistics agency Eurostat said”, my issue is that the year is not over and in the bulk of all instances in the past, expectations ‘suddenly’ get winded down in Q1 2018, In addition we know that after one quarter 0.5% does not make for 1.8%, and that reality has been shown to many of us too often, the issue is also that this is happening whilst Mario Draghi is spending €60 billion a month, so basically it is fuelling some commerce which is not any level of economic growth, in that realisation, the UK is growing decently and France could go the same way when it Frexit’s the hell out of the ECB jurisdiction. With every spiced report we read, with every ‘speculated translation’ we are given less of less faith in a system that is fuelling itself by plunging the European nations in deeper debt. Tell me, when was that EVER a solution to economic hardship? In my view nationalism seems to be one of the few working solutions left. We just need the right champion and so far (even as I was not a fan of her) Theresa May has been doing the right job, steering the right path, so as a conservative, I feel pretty good. I just hope that Labour gets its act together, because better politicians are forged through opposition, and in the coming four years we need Theresa May to be as strong as possible, because Brexit will not be a cake walk, as the European players are losing their power base and as their fear of a mediocre income grows they will be changing their games and tactics into something insidious, hoping to strong along weaker players and seeing what they can bank for themselves. The lack of transparency will increasingly allow for it. The fact that there is such a lack of transparency has been voiced by others for some time, yet the lack of actions ran updated code of conduct, whilst the ECB powers have grown (source: Handelsblatt Global), when we see such a failing after a decade, whilst the ECB is all about stopping people leaving the European Fraternity is a weird situation, the act that you cannot be thrown out (see Greece) and when a party seeks a better place (see UK) we are confronted with actual issues on the ECB and its spending spree, even hen its largest player (see Germany) is asking  Mario Draghi to ease off. All this is leaving a bitter taste in my mouth and that is even before we realise that the UK has big national fish to fry and solve (see NHS). In all this should we even wonder how France will react? How the French will act when Emmanuel Macron wins and makes a quick deal with his former investment banker friends? I reckon that there is the smallest of chances that in the hereafter Louis XVIII will ask Emmanuel Macron: ‘You too?’. In that, it is so Monty Python to quote that Emmanuel Macron was 171cm in life, whilst at the day of his death he was only 149 cm tall. I joke and offcourse it is unlikely to happen, yet the rage of the French people is such that 50% is siding with Marine Le Pen, a situation that would be unthinkable before Francois Hollande became president. So you tell me, if Le Pen does not win (not unrealistic) and suddenly the people see Frexit fall away (also not unrealistic), how unrealistic is it when some elements of the ECB get exposed and the French rage that follows, especially when the UK economy remains growing stronger and stronger, that not only will a Frexit referendum be demanded by well over 70% of the French, or what will happen at that point when Emmanuel Macron starts dragging his feet?

We will not know for two days, but after that, no matter who wins, France will be in for several large changes. You might have seen how Emmanuel Macron voiced his view on Frexit, yet like Jeremy Corbyn, talk is cheap and the agenda of an elected official tends to change after getting elected, that much has been proven for decades. The question is how far is Macron willing to take it and how will the French view the changes offered. This all impacts on the UK general elections as it will set the tone for Europe. It will have an impact that will last the rest of this current generation to clean up the mess that EC non-elected officials created.

For those who vote, do so, be true to yourself and your family, whilst being in support of your nation, that is as much as anyone can do, do so truthfully and you should be fine.

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Media, Politics

The finality of French freedom

Even as the world is looking at the Dutch elections, we see initially that the biggest fear in the Netherlands is gone. Geert Wilders is still number 2, yet the VVD (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy) did not lose as many seats as initially expected. This is good for the current Prime Minister, yet not as good for Geert Wilders as other parties had vowed not to work with him, no matter how many seats they got. Well, the initial numbers are out and now we see that the Netherlands will have some tough times. To get the next Cabinet to work they will need 4 parties, which becomes a small issue. The easiest alliance would be involving the CU (Christian Union), yet any medical ethical issue would cause concern on a few levels (the usual suspects like the pill, abortion, prolife issues). The second option is with the Green Left party (GroenLinks), which is predominantly youth driven, here the VVD will have some issues and there seems to be a level of unwillingness to work together. Now, the first option gives only one seat in majority, the second option gives a little more space to breath, but neither is a great match, both are decent matches. The Dutch labour party has been decimated. It went from 38 seats to 9 seats (Source: Volkskrant). They will need a serious amount of time to lick their wounds. No matter how this all fares. If Geert Wilders can keep his cool, he would keep a few options down the track. Here it is anyone’s guess what will happen next. I predicted that there would be no going around the PVV, yet I was proven wrong. Green Left grew a lot stronger and the VVD kept a few more seats than most predicted, so there is that too. Yet, with this situation, Nexit has basically become a non-issue, it is off the board for the Netherlands, so as that certainty becomes a reality we see that Mario Draghi wasted not even a second to give the French people his demands and ultimatum. In  the Express (at http://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/777170/Euro-irrevocable-ECB-draghi-Le-Pen-Frexit-vote-warning), we see the headline “‘The Euro is IRREVOCABLE’ Euro Bank chief fires warning at Le Pen over Frexit vote promise“, so if we would be a lot less diplomatic than we ought to be, we would state ‘Mr Looney Tunes has decided to be a slamming tactical in his claims‘. The two published facts given are “The ECB chief insisted the Front National leader was not a threat to the euro’s future, which he said was a measure of solidarity among members. His comments come after Ms Le Pen’s promise to call a vote over France’s membership of the monetary union if she wins the election in May“, You see, with smaller members pushing pressure Draghi had no chance at all, now, he has a few more options by trying to persuade the system players with “a measure of solidarity among members“, which I can counter with ‘perhaps spending the trillion you did not have was perhaps not the best idea?’ In that we can agree, we can disagree, but we all know that no matter the direction, it was a pretty dangerous step to take. It is the next two parts that are the cause of issues: “Market worries over the presidential race have increased as polls charted the rising popularity of the right-wing candidate, with France’s borrowing costs jumping, while the euro suffers sell-offs. In an apparent shot at the right-wing candidate, Mr Draghi today dismissed fears of the breakdown of the currency as ‘unrealistic’“.

Is that so? If that actually was the case, he would not have needed to reinforce it, didn’t he?

So the two parts are ‘with France’s borrowing costs jumping, while the euro suffers sell-offs‘ and ‘the breakdown of the currency as “unrealistic”‘, no, it is only unrealistic as only Brexit is coming and until now, we have seen levels of misrepresentation and downright corporate ‘blackmail’ to anyone not singing the false tune Mario Draghi is giving us. Last week there was some economic recovery, but the sharp sell-off that had been visible is still a factor, that whilst the Dutch Nexit was never a true reality, we all knew that. France is another matter, the French has not seen decent economic days, for at least two administrations, which is why France is a big deal, that whilst they represent one of four anchors keeping the Euro in place. With the British anchor removed, the stress on the three is intense, the Euro cannot continue with the remaining two anchors that is the desperate game Draghi is facing now. Weakness and non-decisions from 2012 onwards have caused this mess, and of course he is not done yet. As we see in Reuters, last Monday he stated “If non-high-tech companies adopt more innovative technology, that would provide a boost for European productivity“, speaking as the European Central Bank President last Monday, it that so? With what funds? Innovations requires money, such steps have a cost. To get into deeper debt without the true prospect of revenue and incomes is too dangerous a game to play for too many companies. Many who think in such short-sighted ways will not survive the next fiscal year. In all this, it all hangs on how the elections are going in France. Mario Draghi might be voicing ‘a measure of solidarity among members‘ but the people behind the French member have been in a bad place for too long. In this there is even more pressure growing from Italy. Bloomberg gives us ‘production declines after rising for three straight months‘ as well as ‘Unemployment unexpectedly rose to 11.9% in fourth quarter‘, more important, the production loss is the biggest one in 5 years and pretty much nullifies the last two months of growth. That whilst we see a growth in unemployment. It is in this light that France should consider its options. That is, in equal light should reflect on whom they need to support in an election that will have a massive impact on the course that France will take into the future seas of turmoil. Steering towards the new elected President. What is equally disturbing is that the French political lines are changing, to a much larger degree than ever before, for reasons that are actually slightly unsettling.

The question becomes why?

You see, French Senator Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne is now endorsing Emmanuel Macron, we knew that François Fillon is pretty much on his way out and François Hollande never had a chance; so is this an act to enforce any party that is not Front National? Consider that question, it is now no longer for some to support the net best candidate and the best winner. No, there are now signs that certain power players will unite in backing whomever is most likely to stop Marine Le Pen. Certain plays have become this dangerous, not for what she is, who she is and what she stands for. No, certain members seem to fear and not embrace economic change. The Status Quo is everything. In equal measure, Macron has won the endorsements of those abandoning Benoit Hamon. Some press have even resorted to headlines like: ‘Hamon plans radical departure from EU ‘blabla’, some parties are now extremely worried, especially as the Status Quo groups could lose their Billion Euro gravy train. This is almost a unique situation where we witness the change of approach towards the need of individual economic momentum, which now trumps the electing the need for the good of France (I am not stating or implying which politician represents that).

My evidence?

There are several pieces in the more respectable news carriers. In this case a first is the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/cbf9a59c-04a1-11e7-aa5b-6bb07f5c8e12), who gives us: “Fifteen years on, however, the anti-far right “republican front” to stop the FN appears to be crumbling“, which is only an indication. The chart that they present in that article gives a very nice indication of the splitting of votes. The strong push from Fillon and Hamon towards Macron is almost unheard of. The abstention group is however still large enough to make an impact, yet the shift from 24.5% to 60.5% is also a little more than amazing. Such landslide victories are so rare, that seeing it twice in a row is no longer a mere coincidence. In this Mario Draghi could actually end up being the contributor to the success of Marine Le Pen. As he proclaims the quotes I used earlier, the large group that currently represents the younger voter that currently seems to be set in Emmanuel Macron camp at present, could realise between now and voting day that the words of Mario Draghi are hollow at best and that his ‘proclamation’ will be replaced hours after the election by apologies and words of hardship whilst claims of better economic times cannot be fortified or made into any level of reality on any way shape or form.

In that light, is it not weird that an investment banker who has never been elected to political office, is at present not a projected frontrunner, is forecasted to carry an optional 60% for round two? That isn’t just unheard of, it is a statistical anomaly and in the political field, such landslide levels are a no-no to say the least, especially twice in a row. Someone is buttering the electoral sandwiches in new unheard ways. Now, France or not, we can agree that extreme vote options like Marine Le Pen tends to sway a decent amount of people to go towards ‘anyone but this one‘, yet the numbers at which this is happening at is just too weird. In this we see that both Bloomberg and Citigroup are playing their own little game, especially as the collapse of the Euro would be devastating to those involved. At https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-15/le-pen-win-would-wipe-out-25-from-french-bank-shares-citi-says, we see ‘Le Pen Win Would Wipe Out 25% From French Bank Shares, Citi Says‘, which is really intense and I wonder what evidence they can present, especially after these players got it so massively wrong after the Brexit vote. So the first quote “A victory for Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential elections would cripple the country’s banking stocks, says Citigroup Inc” is one that cannot be countered easily, yet when we see the graphics on that page, we also get: “The analysts predict declines of 30 percent and 34 percent for Credit Agricole SA and Natixis SA, respectively“, there it is, everyone’s favourite French government banker (Natixis) would lose 34% value, which would send anyone reeling, but in this case as the information as I presented them in my blog articles over the last two years, this drop would be impacting long term plans and Natixis does have a decent amount of fingers in all sorts of government pies. And the quote “Even though Le Pen’s policy plans threaten to shake up the country’s banking system, financial institutions including Credit Agricole, Societe Generale and Axa SA have avoided contact with her team“, which is also really weird, would you not try to talk to a candidate and even if they are all in the mindset that her approach is wrong, the veritable truth is actually in a direction on a path that is 180 degrees from shown. A dialogue trying to understand her path and showing the evidence to other directions and perhaps even alternative ways for both to get what they want.

Yet as we have seen, certain players are in the Segregation, Isolation and Assassination mode. Which is me stating that some shady solutions which are usually limited to HVT’s are now optionally tactics in which the larger corporations will engage to keep their status quo, this is nothing new, but it has never been this outspokenly clear before, there is that much at stake for them. Even if it is merely political assassination, Fillon is already crying those words and the setting towards the investment banker Emmanuel Macron is now clearly visible. I reckon that in this regard, the switch by French Senator Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne came slightly too soon, too soon as an increasing amount of voters are now wondering why the change, because such a shift would not have been needed until after the first round. As I personally see it, French Senator Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne used himself to create a momentum towards Emmanuel Macron, an act that will only create more momentum over time. This I see as the second piece of evidence that this time, the elections are about something a little more unsettling. I wonder if the French people see it in the same light.

In the Bloomberg article we see the included wrong vision too. As you see “losing the May 7 runoff against more business-friendly leaders such as Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron” gives us the ‘implied‘ fairness of two candidates, yet at present, two days after this, we see that Fillon got gutted, not surviving on his present 19.5% setting (3rd place), he gets to be the chance for Macron to solidify the pole position.

Citi is currently doing to France what several UK players did to anyone supporting Brexit, the question becomes: ‘Will the French voter realise this in time?

More important for Marine Le Pen will be whether this would realign those who are now predicted to go the Macron way. Time will tell and when we start seeing accusations in 2018, 2019 on how big business is influencing French votes, you better realise now that the warning signs have been all over the place and the non-intervention seems to be relying on the press and a select group of financial power players. By the way, it does not stop there, it goes on in several direction. Now, I do not feel inclined to prove them all wrong, it would make this merely a ‘he said-she said’ debate, what you should consider is the final part that Bloomberg gives us, “the analysts predict” is in the middle. You see, predictions require models, they require data and a few more little titbits that make up for the forecasting models. This model has to deal with two elements it cannot correct for as it has never happened before. First is the fact that President Hollande is currently the least favourite French president in modern history, and soon to be the only one term President in French modern history, so one of the data outliers is based on a premise that had never happened before, the second part is the ‘forecast’ that an politician, never elected in public office before becomes the person growing to over 60% in one round, as I see it, another prediction that is not a given. Are you getting the image? Whatever forecast we are introduced to will be a lot less accurate as several elements in play have never seen the light of day ever before. As such, there are serious questions in play on any prediction given in this election, no matter in which direction it goes.

I personally believe that Marine Le Pen is not the given loser (with 60% opposition), there are a few elements in play, but in equal measure I do not believe that Emmanuel Macron will be the given winner to the degree forecasted either. In the end, we will leave it to the French People to decide who will go to the Élysée Palace, not the banks, not the lenders and not any collection of ‘storage and media clowns’. All these proclaimers are for the most, all on the gravy train of globalisation (the Macron side), a term that has been filling the French with disgust for the longest time and the last 10 years have not been kind on any positive feeling of globalisation. Still, in the end the French will need to remain a little pragmatic, which does not mean surrendering to Globalisation, yet in equal measure there is uncertainty on how France will deal with Frexit, unlike the UK, they are directly tied to Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain, so there are a few more practical considerations for France. I believe it can be done, but it is up to the French to select the referendum to leave the EEC and the Euro. We can forecast all we like, but if there is one thing the Dutch election have taught us, is that these matters are not black and white and that the outcome is currently getting bounced on the waves of identity and economy, two elements that never worked well together.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Politics

On the day of voting

It is the day of the referendum and as is to be expected, the final views are given towards either Brexit or Bremain. In this we need to look at ‘yesterday’s news’ as given (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/22/nato-chief-says-uk-staying-in-the-eu-is-key-to-fighting-terrorism), we see the title ‘Nato chief says UK staying in the EU is key to fighting terrorism‘, to that my initial response is: “Is that so?” It is the quote “What I can do is tell you what matters for Nato, and a strong UK in a strong Europe is good for the UK and it’s good for Nato, because we are faced with unprecedented security challenges, with terrorism, with instability and an unpredictable security environment, and a fragmented Europe will add to instability and unpredictability“, the quote reads nice, but how correct is it? Perhaps correct is not even the right word here, as the quote is a correct one. The issue that Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general is dancing around is seen in: ‘a strong UK in a strong Europe is good for the UK‘ as well as ‘a fragmented Europe will add to instability and unpredictability‘. You see that is already happening at present. The issue that has been on the table from the beginning is what I personally regard is the unacceptable amount of overspending and feigned credit limits, where the people have quite literally ended up with nothing to show for. In the second, there is the matter of Greece. Mind you, this is not about blaming Greece, this is about the fact that hard decisions should have been made 3 years ago, but Europe, and within that its own NATO were all about the status quo and the internal deception that if you ignore it, it goes away! That has not resolved in any resolution. Mario Draghi has set forth spending well over a trillion with what we can see, nothing to show for, only a weighted regression towards the unstable extreme. That can be shown in equal ease as we see that the trillions in overspending have not resulted in any positive light, only in slowly moving backwards, at the expense of…what exactly?

Well, we can argue that is equally at the expense of a more fragmented and weaker Europe. This is exactly the issue Mark Carney left me (in all honesty less towards Brexit and more towards Bremain), but the question, can we afford these unacceptable levels of spending and force European budgeting? That is something Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England cannot guarantee (which in all fairness he can’t and that does not reflect negatively on him), which is in my view the main reason why Brexit gained the momentum it needed.

The issue ‘add to instability and unpredictability‘ is equally an issue, not because of Brexit, but because of the EU, which in heart is trying to remain a negotiating party, even after we have seen too many examples where this is not leading to anything. As evidence I would like to call towards Turkey. The latest event (at http://www.dw.com/en/turkey-blocks-german-delegation-airbase-trip-over-armenian-genocide-row/a-19349172), where a historic event of 1915 is cause to block a German delegation. The amount of unacceptable acts by Turkey, whilst making all kinds of demands have left more than one party in a state of concern, but the EU wants to be seen as the ‘talking party’, not a decision maker in sight. Even if we ignore this event, the acts that Turkey has shown in regards towards refugee smuggling as well as the downing of the Russian Jet, based on clear evidence that makes the act in light of Islamic State issues utterly unacceptable, but the European Community is not speaking out. At best it is cautiously whispering. How is that contributing to ‘stability and predictability?‘ As I personally see it: it is not and it will not!

So the two elements in this NATO debacle are now already debunked and Bremain would not have made any difference. Now we get to Whopper dealer #2. Here we see France’s president, François Hollande making the statement that has been debunked long ago. The quote “There’s a very serious risk for the United Kingdom not to be able to access the common market and … the European economic area any more“. Do you actually think that ANY, I say again ANY party will be unwilling to commercially deal with the UK? Hah! I say. For example. If France holds true word and stops for example the commerce of French Wine, French Cheese and a few more items. It would lighten up the Cheese markets of the Netherlands and Belgium in addition there would be a massive growth opportunity for German and perhaps even Hungarian wines, whilst France’s commercial position shrinks from 6th to 11th on the world list of exports (based on 2015 estimates and my estimated French drop), falling below Belgium. So how is his statement folly? It is simple: it is a buyers’ market and the UK still wants to buy, providing it can sell too. Making them an interesting partner for all of Western Europe, especially as the UK imports more than it exports. It imported 629 million, whilst only exporting 465 million (source: Trade statistics for international business development), so a very welcome trading partner for every nation willing to strike a deal. Do you think for one moment that France could even chance to lose these levels of business? I personally think that this is not even a scaremongering quote, it is one made in infinite fear of the upcoming Frexit referendum which is a certain when Brexit happens. It is also one that will end the presidency of Francois Hollande, which is pretty much a given at present. Only now do we see more newscasts take the Frexit chance more seriously, almost two years after I predicted the danger and the chance of it. It is true that only Marine Le Penn is voicing this promise, but it is clear that too many French are demanding a French referendum, none of the French parties can avoid a French referendum at present, making the statement Francois Hollande makes even less valuable and more questionable.

The article has a few more ‘gems’ to throw against Bremain, but I think a clear point has been made. Those who are evangelising the EU, have been and remain to be unable and unwilling to address the flaws the EU has. An unaccountable part that refuses to stop wasting resources and funds, only to satisfy the status quo. They had 6 months to make strong changes here and nothing got done, so as it is now in the final hours we see iteration of events and iterations of claims that are being made on both sides of the isle, yet now it is more and more important that the Bremain side shows strength. One side that did that was the EU via Jens Stoltenberg and as I personally see it, it failed miserably!

It would be equally fair to have a go at Brexit now and I am all for fairness. Yet, I am a little biased, so bear with me (pun intended)! We see that David Cameron is having a go at his previous buddy Mickey Gove, or as non-intimi call him: the Right Honourable Michael Gove, Lord Chancellor Secretary of State for Justice (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/22/cameron-gove-has-lost-it-in-comparing-anti-brexit-economists-to-nazi-experts). Here we see the important quote “We have to be careful about historical comparisons, but Albert Einstein during the 1930s was denounced by the German authorities for being wrong and his theories were denounced and one of the reasons, of course, he was denounced was because he was Jewish,” Gove said. “They got 100 German scientists in the pay of the government to say that he was wrong and Einstein said, ‘Look, if I was wrong, one would have been enough.’”, which is slightly awkward. Not because he is either right or wrong, but because any reference to any Nazi event tends to get emotional backlash. What he is questioning is what I have questioned. The economic ‘experts’ making the wildest claims are partially those same experts that have been wrongly forecasting the economy again and again. A system of overoptimistic forecasting which follows spending (often too high), after which we see cycles of managed bad news. This has been happening all over Europe, which is why there are many trillions of debt. These experts will not be trusted in any way, shape or form as they require the continuation of the EU (if they want to continue their gravy train) and as such, their views would be skewed and weighted.

What is interesting that Europe’s irresponsible overspending does not make it on either table, which remains at the heart of the matter as I see it! I believe it to be a balancing seesaw attempt to keep the US Dollar afloat, because when the Euro goes, the US Dollar will find itself in a reweighted status, one that is unlikely to be anything but disastrous for the US and for those relying on its stability.

To those deciding to vote today. To you I state: ‘Do what you honestly believe is the best for you, your family and England! No matter how you feel at present, find the speech Mark Carney gave to the House of Lords and read that before you vote. It is a true and honest recital, he mentions the risks England faces and those risks are real. The question becomes, are those risks worse than the current irresponsible acts by the massively overspending EU politicians? If the answer to that is Yes, than Bremain is your likely voice, if you feel that it is ‘no’, the fact that the current irresponsible acts by the EU politicians spending too much again and again is indeed the biggest danger, then Brexit becomes your path!

I have no voice in this, I have tried to give you my honest view in this. To show insight whenever and where ever I could. Now it is up to the voters and the results will be seen and felt all over the world from tomorrow onwards.

Mark Carney Testimonial in the House of Lords

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Politics

The Wrong Question

Another day, another wave of news. To be more precise, more and more ‘news’ regarding the upcoming Brexit event. The vote that will impact Europe, the vote that will drive America nuts with fear and the question that is less and less about actual reasoning, especially as France is now moving towards a referendum too.

You see, the title Cameron says Brexit would be ‘economic self-harm’ might be correct, it might be to the point and it could certainly be a truth in itself. My issue is that my Conservatives are no longer thinking things through. Perhaps there are issues that they cannot address and as such the Brexit wave will grow and grow. You see, the Guardian might be all up and proud with the illusion of informing the public, but in that regard they are falling short.

So the title ‘Today’s briefing: what we learned from Cameron’s TV grilling‘ is equally disturbing, but does it give us actual information that the people in the UK can use to form an opinion which party (Brexit or Bremain) is the right one?

I feel that the answer to that question is ‘No!’, in addition the Scottish equation is pushing the matter even further out of balance. You see, the ‘grilling’ of David Cameron gave us the following quotes: “I think if we’ve learnt anything over the last six years, if you don’t have a strong economy you can’t have the health service that you want, you can’t have the schools that you need, you can’t have the public services you want, and this would be an act of economic self-harm of the United Kingdom doing it to ourselves” and the closing remark that is equally disturbing is “I’ll tell you what it would be like, we would be outside the room. The European Union doesn’t stop existing just because we’ve left.

The latter one is no longer a given. Now that Frexit is gaining traction, Brexit becomes almost a given requirement. I do not think that this is a fair path, but when we see that Brexit is avoided and Frexit becomes a reality, the tables will turn on the UK in the nastiest of ways, as France will drive Italy out of the EU as well. Unless there is a clear call to action for the players in the UK, the start of non-Brexit, could push a Yea-Frexit voice, for the mere reason that France has pushed into a corner and Italy could act after that walking away from it all. If any of these nations Germany, Italy, France or the UK walks away, the remaining three will fall out of synch with the abilities to continue. For the UK Frexit would be a disaster as it would have to arrange special deals regarding the Euro tunnel, whatever gets shipped through there would have a nasty surcharge, in that regard, the UK would have to increase its bonds with the Netherlands a lot more tightly than it currently is to prevent export items to hit top prices plus.

Even if all rules remain open in an EU without France (which would be likely), a Le Pen government in Frexit mode would have large impacts on shipping anywhere via France, that part is almost a given and time is still money too. You see all this link to the Wrong Question, partially we see this when we look at ‘UK should stop ‘sitting back’ in EU, says Jeroen Dijsselbloem‘, you see, Jeroen Dijsselbloem is one party that has been sitting back for too long in a much larger way. The parties might hide behind the TTIP as the reason, but that joke should have been scrapped long ago. Together with the TPP, the US is becoming a business usurper. They might call it ‘legal’, but it is still the US now trying to push what they laughingly regard as ‘rights’ into a framework on unaccountability, beyond what we already regard as acceptable. That is the mere consequence of a former superpower that is as I see it now bankrupt. The Financial Times (at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ed4cfe7e-16a4-11e6-b197-a4af20d5575e.html#axzz4AVKPmPMk) goes one step further. They state “TTIP also puts private profit above public interest, penalising polities that change policy preferences to the disadvantage of business. Indemnifying business against political risk through off-the-record investor-state dispute settlement arbitration is especially worrying. Secret negotiations and special court processes — more Guantánamo than Gray’s Inn — invite the expectation of abuse“, which is pretty much what the US has achieved with the Trans Pacific Partnership. A political system that is now all about the exploitation of those they should be protecting, the people, especially the non-wealthy ones in the US!

So here we are not really admiring the words of Jeroen Dijsselbloem, whilst we get the quote “He was speaking on the same day that the head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, warned that Brexit posed “a downside risk” to the global economy“, the one person who is actually one of the larger problems in the entire Brexit situation. You see, the question that needed to be asked clearly and needed to be addressed is: ‘How can the EU be allowed to continue, whilst the political players are spending the funds of the next three generations that follow us?‘ That is the real question. Trillions are being spend without a clear plan, without clear sense making reason absent from the equation.

That is scaring the people towards Brexit and the two people addressing it are not outspoken on any of it. In here we now introduce the two silent players, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney. The unresolved issues of massive governmental overspending, is one of the reasons why being part of the EU will no longer matter, would be undesirable and would be a good thing to get rid of.

We can agree that Jeroen Dijsselbloem should get credit for “Dijsselbloem, a fiscal hawk, who has led the Euro group since 2013, sharply criticised the European commission for not championing the EU’s fiscal rules“, yet his office has not been championing changes in taxation law (or not loudly enough). That part is at the heart of it all, because overspending and failing laws of taxation makes the EU a broke and impoverished individual.

You see, part of the stupidity (as I see it) comes from “Juncker, sensitive to elections in Spain later this month and in France next year, has said fiscal rules should not be applied blindly“, yes they should! You see, whomever has lost the ability to properly budget should be removed from the game. This issue with keeping Francois Hollande in ‘his’ presidential seat is part of this mess. He is not hungry for winning, he is happy to just get by and whilst he fills his pockets (in legal ways of course), the French situation will not ever improve, which is why he is truly scare of Marine Le Pen and the rest is scared because Marine is willing to let it all collapse so she can build a real France for the French and that is scaring a lot of people, especially in the large financial sectors that run through Natixis, the IMF and Wall Street, two of them equally scared of what Brexit will bring. Yet in all this, just like with Greece, certain people are all about Status Quo and that has now angered the UK people, they have had enough and with the two British coin Big Wigs that issues are not addressed, giving additional fears to the referendum voters. All being pushed emotionally, whilst rational would have resolved it (unless controlling EU spending is not an option). We know that Mark Carney is an excellent orator, he has the ability to economically talk the crowd into getting 49 runs in one over, smashing the record of Steve Dublin, for a Canadian that would be a massive achievement and Mark better pull this off fast, because the Brexit group is still growing and when they grow a critical mass, there will be no longer an option to convert them to a reasonable solution (whether Brexit or Bremain) that would truly be about the solution that is best for the UK and the British people. That option will go out of the window.

So this is where we find ourselves. We are all staring at the Wrong Question and the actual question cannot be answered and the evidence of hardware is removed from our vision, whilst the presented software can no longer be seen as reliable. You see, the people are seeing more and more how the American agreements called the TTIP and the TPP are about American solutions to not be an acceptable option any longer. This plays out nicely for China and perhaps Russia, but overall the Americans with their arrogance and non-accountability did this to themselves, so how can our lives become acceptable and liveable? That remains an issue, yet for the UK, not to be part of many of these players might not be the special coat they are hoping we would buy.

So here we are looking at the Wrong Question and no decent answer in sight, that is the part not dealt with and it seems that this issue will not be dealt with any day soon. The mere consequence of a lame Duck in Washington and a ‘fearless’ group lacking vision in Europe, united in (again as I Personally see it) personal gain against all odds. This is exactly why UKIP remains in ascendance. The one part that requires regulation isn’t getting any, because unless the EU’s debt grows to the level where Japan and USA are, those two are in a tough spot at the end of the way to dusty death with no alternatives. In all this the final element is seen as Crete rescued hundreds of refugees coming to Greece via Libya only an hour ago. That is the first of several escalations that Europe will have to deal with (at http://www.news.com.au/world/breaking-news/greece-rescues-hundreds-off-crete/news-story/987b32889f6327496a179d4ec95f2aa8), the issue here is not just that these Syrians came from Libya, the question becomes how they got to Libya in the first place. We know that Libya had Syrian refugees as early as 2014, but are those the ones crossing? More important, how can we verify that they were actually Syrians? With Crete entering the high tourist season, will these refugees have an impact on tourism? If so, that would be extremely unfortunate for Crete who is still recovering from years of lessened tourism, not as bad as some other places, but still in a recovering situation, will the almost 30% Dutch downturn turn even worse with the hundreds of refugees arriving on Crete?

There is no way to tell, but these new growing groups of arrivals gives additional ‘worry’ to those in favour of Brexit and their numbers are still growing, the implied pressure that the UK will feel over the next 60 days as people are trying to get into the UK will only grow fears, which drives an implied drive towards Brexit. Here I am cautiously stating ‘implied’, because we have no way of telling how many want to be on route past Greece towards Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. Add to this the fact that the EU remains active in irresponsible spending, debts that the next 4 generations need to work off, and that part is another driving force for Brexit.

There is now too much noise all over the papers, too many facts are intertwined and nobody trusts any of the players involved on either side of the Brexit/Bremain equation. From my side, as stated before Mark Carney did a good job, a really good job to bring clarity to the House of Lords and as such to the British population, it swayed me back to a neutral stance away from a definite Brexit. Now Mark Carney (as well as George Osborne) need to focus on the question too many people are not asking, whilst everyone is staring at the wrong Question. ‘How do we stop the irresponsible spending by Mario Draghi et al?

That part is gaining momentum when we consider the Irish Times (at http://www.irishtimes.com/business/euro-zone-recovery-may-slow-down-says-mario-draghi-1.2670722), the issue ‘Euro zone recovery may slow down, says Mario Draghi‘ comes AFTER he has spent a sizeable slice of the planned 1.74 trillion euros. Now we see how the recovery is slowing down? So when we get the quote “Mr Draghi said his central bank was “willing, able and ready” to act again, should those measures leave inflation short of the target“, the people should worry as Mario Draghi has spent well in excess of the total GDP of most EU nations. This gives the clear danger that the debt will stay in place for another generation. So until someone muzzles that man and crazy glues his EU wallet shut, explain to me how anyone wants to remain in an EU where too many politicians are spending the coins of other people, with no clear repayment in sight? That whilst several larger nations (like France) is growing the national debt in excess of the allowed 3% and no one is getting fined, because no one has any of these levels of cash left.

So as we might remember Shakespeare’s quote, we should consider the newly revised edition: ‘this was the noblest Roman of them all, yet it no longer matters as they have become extinct!

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Politics