Tag Archives: George Osborne

Bridge or swim?

Last Saturday, one of the weirder pieces of news hit me. It was all about a garden bridge. Now, I have had my garden salads in my time, as well as crossing some ridges to get me to the garden salad in the first place. Yet what is this about the Garden Bridge? The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/apr/29/joanna-lumley-attacks-sadiq-khans-scrapping-of-thames-garden-bridge), is giving us the goods with “Actor who devised proposal describes London mayor’s decision to pull financial backing for project as devastating”, which is a genuine feeling I reckon. What some might not get is “In a study of the project commissioned by city hall, the Labour MP Margaret Hodge found the bridge was likely to cost more than £200m, and that £37.4m of public funds had already been spent without any building work taking place” as well as “Osborne committed £60m of public funding to the scheme when he was in office. The Department for Transport has already given £30m and Transport for London contributed £30m, £20m of which structured as a loan”. I personally think that bridges are cool, so I would be on board of this. In my view the two issues here are:

  • Where did the £37.4m of public funds go towards?
  • Sadiq Khans carefully spoken words regarding the HS2.

The second part needs some explaining. Yes, we know that Sadiq Khan has had a few issues on the Highs Speed line in the past as well a now, yet finding ways to cut costs in a non maximum effect, whilst that invoice will surpass £56 billion is a stretch on both sides of the equation. Oh, and before we all get comfortable, I feel certain that after the elections certain issues will dissolve and the HS2 will quietly be implemented. All that to save half an hour to Manchester. In that regard, if the Garden Bridge is actually scrapped altogether, the issues on spending and certain issues that MP Margaret Hodge stated will need open investigations in the open light for everyone to scrutinise.

Now, we all agree that costs will be seen in one light or another and when the costs are set at 10%-25% differences, there are a few details to look at. Yet, as I see it, the difference between £60-£200 is far too wide to be something simple. I wonder who else this impacts, and in addition I would equally like to know what makes for the difference. I like in part the response that our little New Avenging ‘Purdey’ Lumley is giving us. Her link to 38p to al the people in the UK comes to nearly £200M and as such the initial £60 might seem nice, but that is less than half way. Still, should the bridge not be placed? In a need for more options to cross the bridge, more reasons to not take the car and rely on a healthy walk is good for London and it is even better for tourism. What is equally striking is that former coffer key holder George Osborne was willing to go where the UK labour party is not. Even as from my early point of view, a bridge could be regarded as a drain on empty coffers, so not spending too unwisely is a great idea. In this I should be on the Labour side for a change. Even as Sadiq Khan is the person linked to a set of experts trying to save 60 street markets, in that I wonder how much these experts cost and why street markets are under scrutiny in the first place. In all this it is the bridge that suffers the consequence.

Yet in all honesty it is the response from Khan that requires consideration as well. “It is concerning that a huge amount of effort and expenditure has been expended on other aspects of the project when there is a real possibility that agreement will not be reached before the expiry of planning permission, or at all.

That reads like some people have been selling the ham without slicing the pig and now there is an issue. As I see it, there is an issue on more than one level, which directly gets us to the point of where the wasted £37.4 million went. Which is a valid pressing argument in public spending. And anyone who comes with the response that it is a ‘complex question’ should be stricken from any public spending consideration for life. You see, when I initially saw the article, my mind went straight back to he Guy Ritchie movie RocknRolla. As I personally see it one of Guy’s weirder views on London, yet entertaining and with an awesome cast. I am not implying that this is all linked to corruption, I am merely asking if the bridge process had not been set up to fail from the beginning and the funds offerings were not just there to appease a political climate at the initial time from going into the wrong direction. Is that such a weird question?

The elderly population might have been sussed to sleep as Jimi Mistry had his time on Coronation Street, yet the real world is neither that nor is it East-enders. London is a weird amalgamate of Citizens, Residents, Immigrants and Tourists. These CRITters make up for the life force of London and Bridges are part of this, in addition, with each bridge new areas of London are raised in value, awareness and investment opportunity. The question becomes, who benefits from those parts, perhaps the wrong players? All questions that are not asked, not shown and not considered. Merely the £60M question, what more does it need to build a bridge?

I wonder what happens when Joanna Lumley starts comparing this openly next to the billions the HS2 is swallowing, how long until a few construction players ‘suddenly’ find a way to get both made a reality? At that point, should we get cautious and ask a whole lot of questions, or should we quietly celebrate the victory of a Garden Bridge becoming reality?

I am not sure on what path would be the better one to take, yet in all this I feel that a first nail has been driven into the coffin showing that Sadiq Khan has a few agenda points that should raise questions and awareness on what he actually wants for London, actually I wonder what the view of Ken ‘red’ Livingstone is on that bridge. No matter if he is if favour or against. His point of view and especially ‘the why’ seems to be a question that I want to see from other former Mayors. Perhaps it is I who saw the issues wrong and he would side with Sadiq Khan on very valid reasons. I just like to keep an open mind, yet in all this, if I had to consider either the bridge at the max of £200M or a dubious HS2 at £58B, I know what I would choose and it would not be that expensive choo-choo solution.

 

 

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No Health Statements

This is not the first time that we see a level of anger non-management in regards to the NHS and the medical staff. The proclaimed shortages and a government in denial over these elements. Whilst the DMG Media papers (among others) have had their fun day. The messages concerning the NHS are increasing all over the place and when we start reading about the  ‘The worst conditions in memory’, we know that we have come to that place also known as rock bottom.

This in contrast of messages like: ‘Hospital pays £1,800 for an agency nurse to work a single shift‘, April 5th 2014 (at Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2597442/Hospital-pays-1-800-agency-nurse-work-single-shift-thats-163-hour.html), Paul Dacre and ‘his’ DMG media. It is not the only case, there was a similar story on July 30th of that same year. The Telegraph gives us a similar story on January 19th 2013. This in contrast with real newspapers, namely the Guardian who voices (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/nov/01/nhs-spending-agency-nurses-cuts) ‘NHS spending on agency nurses soars past £5.5bn‘, with the second line giving us ‘Government accused of ‘truly incompetent planning’ after years of training cuts push cost of temporary staff way over budget‘, this is a situation that affects both sides of the isle as it wasn’t started by this conservative government, it started before 2010. Neither side of the political isle has given proper vision to the pressures building, and this current government is now watching from the sides as they need to find £25bn. That number is actually pretty easy to see.

Staff shortage, overhaul of equipment, shortage of infrastructure and an overhaul of the infrastructure to protect it from this ever happening again. In this we have two elements. The first is that the press is partial to blame in all this. Consider the speech by Paul Dacre “a kind of show trial in which the industry was judged guilty and had to prove its innocence” (source: betterratailing.com). I like the news in the Spectator even better with “unremitting pressure of fighting what I have no doubt was a concerted attempt by the Liberal Establishment, in cahoots with Whitehall and the Judiciary, to break the only institution in Britain that is genuinely free of Government control – the commercially viable free press“. Yet, Paul Dacre sold out his readers in an instant as he kept quiet on the changed user agreements PSN users were forced to agree to, just a mere 10 days before the release of the Sony PlayStation 4. In that, as I personally see it, he kept the people out of the loop. So as the commercially viable free press is betraying its readers. Possible because he had to orally please the ears of Sony? How can we have any faith on anything we read regarding the NHS, especially when it is coming from DMG Media? You see, the issues are very much linked. The people have been made aware again and again that people like this cannot be trusted. It is Stephen Fry who brings the best definition of the Daily Mail “the only good thing to be said about his Mail is that no one decent or educated believes in it“, which is pretty much spot on, and the news the Guardian gives us regarding: “Paul Dacre steps down from the post of Chairman of the Editors’ Code of Practice Committee, which he had held since 2008” (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/dec/01/paul-dacre-to-step-down-as-chair-of-journalists-code-of-practice-committee) is only the smallest of positive messages, even as he attacks it on the way out. Yet the Mail Online, which is owned by the mother company DMG media has had a long line of issues, among others with Tom Cruise as he was identified in a relationship between ‘Tom Cruise and the head of the church of scientology, David Miscavige‘, which might or might not be a big thing, what was the issue that the publishers were unable to defend themselves and even as we see ‘diplomatic’ responses like ‘Mail Online had failed to demonstrate that it had complied with its obligations under the first clause of the editors’ code on accuracy’, and as Editors’ Code of Practice Committee is part of IPSO, and they administered ‘penalties’ on a DMG Media sibling, the news that the Guardian gave “Regulator to reconsider whether the editors’ code, and its rules, can apply to a global digital publisher” (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2016/jul/19/ipso-review-after-mail-online-fails-to-defend-tom-cruise-story), so at this level of ‘contemplation’, something I personally tend to see as ‘inbreeding’, they are contemplating ‘a commercially viable free press‘. Are you freaking kidding me?

This sidestep is essential, because if it does not come from the Guardian, the Independent or the Times, we cannot be certain of anything nowadays, so as we lash out against the NHS, its governance and the consequences its patients face, we seem to be spurred into a false sense of righteousness as we kept on reading regarding those £225 an hour nursing jobs, which should be seen as misrepresentation of the highest order! The Telegraph isn’t helping any as they publish that the NHS now has access to Artificial Intelligence (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/01/05/nhs-trials-artificial-intelligence-app-place-111-helpline/).

The part that the Telegraph does show that is important is “Joyce Robins, from Patient Concern, said: “I find this quite frightening. People who are ill want a person they can speak to. Typing in your own symptoms and waiting for a result is just ridiculous – what happens if you make a mistake?”“, which is just the tip of the iceberg.

The issues seem to escalate and there are a few players in this dramatic comedy that have to explain their reasoning. I am clear in ‘explain’ because there are sides that I am unaware of, to boast not being unaware of anything is utterly irresponsible. Before I go into the separate points. I did make a case on several levels with ‘The UK NHS is fine‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/09/20/the-uk-nhs-is-fine/), and an even stronger case with ‘Is there a doctor on this budget?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/02/15/is-there-a-doctor-on-this-budget/).

Staff shortage.
It is the easiest one to solve, but cannot be solved overnight. Yet the shortages have been known for close to 4 years, so what has been done over the last 4 years to address these shortages?

Overhaul of equipment, Professor Angus Dalgleish has been outspoken in the past in several ways, mentioning the budget of the NHS not in the smallest way. We know that George Osborne had cut the budget by 1 billion, which in light of the shortages was a bad idea, the question is, was it avoidable, if not, how can the NHS move forward? With the current unemployment levels, how come it is still so hard to recruit nurses and doctors? I myself have had a lifelong interest in Radiology and Anaesthesiology. I am not alone in this, although in the 70’s when I was initially studying, getting into law or medicine was only possible if your parents were wealthy or if they were in law or medicine (meaning that they were wealthy). Now consider what the governments have done over the last 2 decades. I am giving that frame because we have known for at least 20 years that there was an aging generation coming up. Now the press at large seems to be blaming the immigrants, they might be as factor, yet they are not the main cause. A UK parliament going all the way back to Tony Blair should be seen as responsible for this. Those words are very specific. You see, when we look at the NHS expenditure history (at http://www.nhshistory.net/parlymoney.pdf), we see that in 2004/5 and 2006/7, Under Labour Tony Blair, the expenditure takes a massive hit, it is after that during Conservative David Cameron that expenditure goes straight into the basement, both sides fell short whilst both groups knew that the increased pressure from 2013 onwards would be strangling any budget as the NHS gets to deal with an aging population moving into retirement and an increased need for health care. None of it got properly dealt with by any parliament. In this, a rough estimate would be that the UK needs to hire no less than an additional 2,000 students a year for no less than 7 years to get anywhere near the numbers we will need in 8 years’ time, because the current shortage will increase. Perhaps parliament should take additional looks at places like the Royal College of Physicians (https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/), we can agree that quality needs to be high, Yet when your annual tuition fee is set at £23,190 with an additional college Fee of £7,350 there will not be much appreciation on an international level, unless it is for private practice and that is where the NHS luck runs out, in addition, for the ‘locals’, £9,250 annually is still a big ticket, especially in today’s financial uncertainty. Consider the fact that this goes on for 4 years (the NHS is mentioned in several places to cover years 5 and 6), still, the average student will end up owning over £37,000 before they are actually earning anything and by the time they start earning enough to pay some back, the houses and their prices come across the corner, so these people too will try to find a commercially viable place. Perhaps they will go into journalism? Which is an issue as Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail (read: DMG Media) and Jane Dacre (President of the Royal College of Physicians) are related to one another, so I can only speculate with the question whether the Daily Mail news and Mail Online and others are setting a stage that is leaving a foul taste in my mouth. Now we all know that there are plenty of other sources making statements in the open, yet I cannot wonder if there is a sorted wave of misrepresentation of information is going on. We all know that there is an issue and that the NHS is in serious trouble, yet it requires drastic changes and a vocation that attracts many yet nearly null can afford is still a vocation with no staff.

Shortage of infrastructure.
This is seen in two sections, the people and the technology. Both are in a failed state. Even as plenty of people are looking for jobs, it seems that the infrastructure is under pressure as well. A cut budget as George Osborne had put in place is in addition incrementally debilitating to the NHS infrastructure shortage. Now in this I am not placing blame on George Osborne. The UK got themselves into a £1.7 trillion debt, the NHS is only one side of a national infrastructure that needs a budget, whilst the previous administrations have been burning their budgets like there is no tomorrow, the point has been reached where government credit cards are all maxed out, so finally budgets get cut hard all over the place. The NHS was not the first and will not be the last to suffer near death symptoms for some time to come. Unless parliament takes drastic steps and starts to change the way things are done and perceived there won’t be anything left.

Overhaul of the infrastructure.
The NHS infrastructure requires a massive overhaul, the NHS has to some degree failed itself. This isn’t just about cut budgets, this is about the essential need for hospitals to be lean and mean (read: not average). Processes need to change, the objectives of hospitals need to change. Larger implementations are required that deals a blow to the posts that have too large a cost. One if the implementations would be that alcohol and/or drug related injuries are no longer treated unpaid and only treatment when upfront payments are placed. It will be the first harsh response to binge drinking. It was stated a year ago that binge drinking is costing UK taxpayers £4.9 billion a year, which boiled down to almost £13.5 million a day. Now the researcher set that it equates to £77 per person, so in my view, any alcohol and drug related treatment will be set at £60 per treatment up front. Those who cannot afford it (spent their money on booze and drugs) simply get to wait outside until that bad feeling is gone (or they can die and decrease the surplus population, source: Charles Dickens). It is my personal view that it will take no more than 1000 deaths for people to realise that binge drinking needs to get to an end. This is actually small fry compared to Australia where the annual tally of costing is set to $36 billion and when we accept that the currency is only slightly below 2:1, whilst the population is set to 1:3 (only 23 million in Australia) we can honestly state that Australia is in a much bigger mess than the UK and if the UK adopts certain policies, Australia is likely to follow quite quickly.

If these three parts can be addressed, there will still be a dangerous time for the NHS, but there is also the option that the NHS will move away from near death to extremely sick and hopefully the death of the NHS will be averted. The alternative is to put faith in the aging population to throw their numbers in another direction. You see, at present, the death rate is down. Over the last 10 years it went down on average by almost 14%, so if the elderly could be so nice to do an about face and start dying more increasingly (like an annual average of 2,500 elderly per year), we would see a diminished drain on the NHS, housing prices more affordable, you see the benefit, right? Now, if you feel that this is so inhumane, than this is the lesson you now get to face.

To have a social civil society, or a civil social society, you need to be certain that you can afford to maintain it. As the political parties gave the keys of non-taxability to large corporations, the first step in having no budget was reached, as these players had no taxation, they still would try to find every corner to cut costs. So the car industry moved, fashion production went to places like Malaysia and Indonesia and sales went online via places like Ireland. It does not take a rocket scientist to work out that jobs would decrease and governments would no longer have a budget to play with, this is what we see in nearly EVERY nation on the planet, whilst the senior management places in corporations on a global scale left those few with more money than ever before and they do not need health statements, their incomes allow for their private physician with a nurse for the happy ending.

In all this, is this a story of hope? I am not certain, you see, unless draconian drastic changes come along, it might actually be too late for the NHS, merely because of the oldest triangle in existence. I am referring to the triangle of Places, Provisions and People. Any government and corporation can undercut one element for a longer time without consequence, for a short time you can undercut two elements with minimum consequences, yet there is no chance for survival when you undermine all three for anything longer than a really short amount of time. This is what has been done to the NHS for no less than 10 years, that whilst all the players knew that the pressure and needs of the NHS would increase and will continue to do so for no less than 10-20 years. What did you expect would happen to the NHS under those conditions?

 

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Gimme some Sugar

In the week where we saw the disgraceful act by Sam Gyimah, a British Conservative, who made sure that the wrongs against gays in the past remain, he filibustered the meeting, so that the Gay population will be stigmatised a little longer. Hiding behind “We have developed a way to do this without giving any perception that the pardon covers perpetrators of sex with a minor or non-consensual sex“, whilst it has been known quite clearly that there is no pardon for acts that are still criminal. We could ask if he has had non-consensual sex lately, because that might give cause for confusion. As I see it, this seems to be nothing more than the shameful act by a homophobic government representative. Yet that is actually not the worst what is happening. You see, George Osborne has had a few decent ideas and one of them was the Sugar Tax. The information that we get to some extent (at https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/oct/21/soft-drinks-industry-lobbies-government-dilute-scrap-sugar-tax), shows the information that “Research has found that drinking more than two sugary or artificially sweetened soft drinks per day greatly increases the risk of diabetes“, which would be worrying enough for most parents on the best of days. In this age of obesity, something needed to be done and the Sugar Tax would be one way of doing it. Is it the best path?

That is a fair enough question, and it could have been debated if the large corporations had actually done something, but they did not. They were in it to maximise profits. One could argue that the soft drinks companies are the new cigarette companies. The information that we get from all kinds of debatable sources is because the media at large refuses to properly inform the people. It is the old story of what I regard to be ‘whoring for advertisement‘ that is part of all that. The initial news (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/mar/16/george-osbornes-sugar-tax-economic-fears-budget), gave us the goods that when we see the Sugar Tax as “eventful by any standards”, you better realise that there will be plenty of opposition.

But that is not the biggest issue in this. The article that drew my attention gives us the following parts. “Health campaigners in favour of the proposed soft drinks industry levy said they are concerned that neither Theresa May nor Philip Hammond has personally spoken out in support of the tax since coming to office“, the fact that this gets delegated to junior ministers gives rise to the fear that things will get bungled and that implementation will be delayed or just blatantly rejected. This article also has a few issues. One of them is “At a drinks party at the Tory conference sponsored by the industry, a spokesman for the British Soft Drinks Association pleaded with Greg Clark, the business secretary, and MPs on the Conservative Reform Group to drop support for the levy, saying it would harm small businesses and cause job losses at a difficult time for the economy“. The first clear issue is who exactly was this spokesperson?

So, I decided to take another look and my first impression is that this BSDA reads like a joke (I have an evolved sense of humour, often intensely inappropriate). It starts with Health ‘Helping our consumers reduce their calorie and sugar intake‘. It comes with the picture of a woman you want to fuck six ways from Sunday on a daily basis. So we see nameless products with labels like Product Innovation Sugar Reduction and Smaller pack sizes. At this point you wonder what you are in for, in the ‘UK Economy section’ we see how £11 billion was added to the economy. This sounds so nice, but where was it added to the economy? Being THEIR revenue? That is aid to them, but is it truly aid to the UK economy? This site just reeks like corporate marketing in what they call a ‘non-profit coat’ and it is high time some changes are made.

From my point starting by adding to the sugar tax would be a great idea.

You see, the executive council of the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) includes Pepsi, Lucozade, Coca Cola, Red Bull, Tropicana and a few others. Many of them not paying heaps of taxation in the UK, Coca Cola avoided £102 million in the UK in 2012 (I have no clear numbers from the years following that) and was mentioned recently as one of the 50 stashing a total of 1.3 trillion off shore. It is time to stop enabling these large corporations, because this is one of the main reasons the NHS can no longer continue the way it did. If there was no large scale tax evasion, the sugar tax would never have come into existence.  In addition, stories on what Diet Coke apparently seems to do to the human body and the relentless support from the media through not illuminating it, because of the advertisement they represent. So for the most, many people, perhaps even better stated most people are unaware of certain cause and effect issues seen due to the usage of what we now laughingly refer to as the ‘diet fuzzy drinks’.

So now we get back to the lady on page one. You see, if the members of the BSDA are not doing their part other than hiding behind statistics, changes will be required. So if we need more physical exercise the BDSA can send their fitness/yoga outfitted lady to my address where I can lose 15,000 calories a day through consensual sex (when doing it 3 times a day that is).

Is this thought too inappropriate?

I think the BSDA is a hatchet job in this age of marketing to serve the interest of large corporations and their needs. Their needs being profit and only profit. The issues of the BSDA is just like the acts of Sam Gyimah. They are legal and part of the political life that needs to be frowned upon. The fact that the BSDA a non-profit organisation is bombarding advertisements with added twitter stories from a ‘Tunbridge Wells newsagent‘ whose business will be ruined by sugar tax. If that is truly so, perhaps they should try to sell newspapers. The fact that their business survives on sugary drinks is a bit of an issue, as they tend to be over 150% more expensive then the nearest supermarket. Just a thought!

These levels of marketing require a lot more scrutiny and no one is stepping to the plate to do so. A harsh reality of big business in charge. Yet, there is more, the BSDA reports on one of their pages “‘We are pleased that the latest NDNS data shows a decline of over 8% in teenagers’ sugar intake from soft drinks between 2012 – 2014“, which is a statement that might be true, but where is the data? The second statement is one I have a definite issue with. The quote “Soft drinks companies have taken significant action to help their consumers reduce their sugar intake since the NDNS data was collected over 2 years ago. Independent analysis confirms that sugar intake from soft drinks has been reduced by over 16% in the last four years“, I believe this to be incorrect. You see Coca Cola is as ‘sweet’ as it ever was, so were most other drinks. So here we see the switch from ‘sugar’ to these ‘diet’ drinks and the dangers there have been avoiding visible presentation and scrutiny from the media at large, because they are nowadays too much about circulation and advertisement. Then the page goes one step further and states “we understand there is more to do and only last year we set ourselves a 20% calorie reduction target by 2020“, now it is suddenly about calories? calories are mostly from sugar, meaning that this is about alternative ‘additives’, they might not show up on the calorie list, but there is enough worry to consider that it will show a long term effect on the human body. No one can know for sure, which is a truth in itself, but the fact that there are long term considerations and the fact that the almighty US FDA is suddenly way too quiet and we see certain aspects, we now also see that the FDA is now no more than a valve of corporate discrimination as to what is considered safe, set by who is bringing it to market. Is that not an interesting development? The fact that we see in this place that “A 2010 Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine review of the literature on artificial sweeteners concludes that, “research studies suggest that artificial sweeteners may contribute to weight gain”” (at https://usrtk.org/sweeteners/diet-soda-fraud/), whilst the media is too quiet is equally disturbing. The fact that the BSDA is all about promoting the biggest ‘dealers’ in sugary substances (with the clear exception of the British Sugar at http://www.britishsugar.co.uk/), seems to be pushed slowly into the background of the issue. The issue was the sugar tax!

So what economy is brought into danger? When we see Coca-Cola Coke 1.75L £1.71 and Any 2 for £2.00 (Source: Tesco), either the margins are astronomical, or Coca Cola is giving away their profits, what do you think is more likely to be the truth? So when we include taxation and Cola becomes 2 for £2.20-£2.40. Considering they are giving the second bottle for only £0.29, are they really in danger? Are any of those soft drink manufacturers in actual danger? No they are not, because in the end, there is a group that will stop getting the second bottle, yet in my pragmatic view, it is more likely that families will now only get this article twice a month instead of weekly. Which would reduce the sugar intake by a massive amount. Also, in light of the BSDA statement that teenagers were reducing intake by 8%, now consider that we see that Coca-Cola Coke 1.75L contains 29.0% sugar. How likely is that the 8% is just a weighted average and that the numbers are not that positive? I am using Coca Cola as an example, yet when we see that regular Pepsi contains 31.0% sugar, it seems clear that I have a case here. Now Pepsi might come with the response that their revenue comes from the Pepsi Max drinks, yet here we see ‘Low Calorie Cola Flavoured Soft Drink with Sweeteners‘ and ‘Contains a Sourced of Phenylalanine‘, with twice the sentence: ‘contains no sugar’. Yet the mention made me search and WebMD has this (at http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/phenylalanine-uses-and-risks). The warning is “Doses higher than 5,000 milligrams a day can cause nerve damage“, which sees like a really dangerous issue (and a massive dose is needed), yet there is no mention at all how much is in Pepsi Max, only that it has 0% sugar (on the website). In addition, the risk mention is “And use caution in taking phenylalanine if you have: High blood pressure, Trouble sleeping, Anxiety or other psychiatric problems, Also, it is unknown whether this supplement is safe in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

That is a lot of risk groups, knowing that high blood pressure is a risk group here and also considering that “Approximately 16 million people in the UK have high blood pressure” (source: NHS UK) gives us that 24% of the population is a risk factor, so in my view, at that at this Conservative Tea Party (where tea is unlikely to be served), it seems to be sound advice that representing Pepsi, Mr Mark Elwell – PepsiCo International, remains quiet as a mouse. It seems to me that his conscience is better served with the Sugar tax in place, but that is just me speculating.

So here we see that those fueling the NHS customer base, are mostly all about not having to pay any bills in this matter. I think that the people forgot the 2004 movie Super-Size Me. Even as this was mostly about McDonalds, the fact that we are supersizing ourselves with that second bottle at a mere £0.29, we are doing the harm to ourselves. It is more than just taxation by rescuing us from ourselves. The Soft Drinks industry has the ability to throw millions in advertisement on a playful and sporty youth, yet they are not representative of this healthy life style, not to the degree it should be and that is the real danger. The fact that the BSDA spin machine is running at full power and that the image at present is that Prime Minister Theresa May is not taking this as serious as she should (by setting this agenda on the collar of a senior Conservative) is equally disturbing. You see, if the sugar tax is watered down or stricken off, she has absolutely no rights to deny the NHS the funds they need and she will have to order the current Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Right Honourable Philip Hammond to find those needed funds. In my view, good luck to that tall order, because there are almost no margins left to play with, the Sugar Tax was the first real step in creating some level of margins (to the smallest extent).

We have to admit that the BSDA has a right to do the things they are doing, they aren’t breaking any laws, yet the linked issues are there and the press overall for one isn’t doing its job to the extent they should be. When we see the end of the initial Guardian article, we see “The charity Action on Sugar has said the tax will have an impact on intake because people respond to price, but the government has said it wants the cost of the tax to be borne by the industry and not consumers“, there is truth in that and there is misleading parts in that. That is, when we widen the statement ‘the tax to be borne by the industry‘. You see, tax law overhaul is the only way to do this, the sugar tax will have an impact to the margin of profit making the industry increase the prices. That seems just mere logical. However, if we can make people reduce the purchase of these drinks, that too would be a positive effect. Any chance in lowering the intake of sugar and artificial sweeteners would be a massive win for the population of Britain. The fact that the government saw raising prices as a solution for the tobacco industry and not for the soft drinks industry is also worrying. You see, there is a direct health risk, so making these lemonades unaffordable would make sense, the fact that this isn’t treated as the dangers they represent, just like the denial we saw in the 80’s on tobacco is cause for distress and reason for debate. The only interesting ‘coincidence‘ is the quote in the Guardian, which is “The link between sugary drinks and obesity has been well documented with evidence suggesting they account for 29% of 11- to 18-year-olds’ daily sugar intake” and this is exactly the amounts of sugar that Coca Cola has in its bottles. Life is full of little coincidences, isn’t it?

 

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In opposition

I have been waiting for the dust to settle a little. I predicted the dangers of Brexit 2 years ago. Even if there was no guarantee it would happen, the danger was realistic. Only the most naive person would be able to sit down and claim it was never a reality. Too much issues have been ignored and shoved under a bridge where no one will look. The reality is that people were looking and the tainted waters were there for all to see. As a conservative it is also my need to call on my party to wake up. The first rude awakening is seen in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2016/jun/28/brexit-live-cameron-eu-leaders-brussels-corbyn-confidence). You see, the title is the first issue “‘It was not our responsibility’ to have plan for leaving EU, says Osborne“, in that part I state, ‘No, George, it is most certainly your responsibility!‘ and that realisation needs to hit you all sooner rather than later. No matter how we got here and no matter that it was UKIP pushing this cart, the fact that 51% of the British population has no confidence in the EU makes it for the governing party a must to address and the Governor of the Bank of England has given several reports regarding the consequences of Brexit, two of them that are not shown to the public at large, one of them for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, also known as George Osborne. He will have a hard task ahead, but governing is about challenges and meeting them, so the response ‘It was not our responsibility’ should be regarded as incorrect.

I wonder if I should put myself up for election, would people vote for me? I would run as a conservative, yet that is not a problem, I like a challenge, because no matter what UKIP thinks, it is most certainly not ready to govern the UK and governing is what is required in the stormy seas that will require navigating the next 3-7 years. You see, the economy will take a hit, but finding new ways to grow is where the challenge is and success will give new strength to the phrase ‘Rule Britannia!

You see, there is a lot wrong and some of this is due to political ego. The strongest examples are Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron. The biggest loser in that regard is clearly Jeremy Corbyn. Not because we was unable to achieve a Bremain result, but because the issues in play have been around for a lot longer than he is and as such he has done little to nothing to address these issues. When we see the Independent state ‘The Labour leader called on people to unite together to oppose racism but did not address the challenge to his leadership’, one must wonder if Jeremy Corbyn had a clue to begin with. Let me explain this, because this is not some anti-Corbyn event. The quote ““Can we all agree we are going to unite together as one people, one society, one community, to oppose racism?” he asked the crowd. “Don’t let the people who wish us ill divide us,” he said“, this is where we have the issue. You see, as I see it, Brexit was NEVER about racism. I have addressed the issues on many occasions and whilst there will always be some with racist tendencies, the massive issue was the economy, blatant overspending and a Status Quo driven EU parliament who was eagerly spending other people’s money. The fact that Jeremy did not address this issue is one of the reasons why this went tits up!

I have mentioned it for the better part of a year and I am not the sharpest tool in the tool chest. So if I can see it, why can’t he? It is also not a mystery that the Bremain power is in the big cities, places that overspend and need that credit line to continue, the credit card users (especially in London) will be the biggest losers, which makes them the strongest supporters of Bremain, but also a minority. The addressed issue could have propelled the Labour party, of course they were the biggest wasters of budgets in the last two administrations, so they would not be able to shout it the loudest.

The other losing party is Tim Farron. Now, I would almost give him a pass (I did say almost), but as the leader of the Liberal Democrats he needs to address what the people want, what the people need and seeing the words ‘Lib Dems to pledge British return to EU in next general election‘ is almost too pathetic for words. His failing strategy is not addressing the issues at hand. The Guardian map clearly shows it (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2016/jun/23/eu-referendum-live-results-and-analysis), the simplest example (Sandwell), it is so labour that the only game that the two conservatives can pull off is a game of Ping Pong between the two of them. There is not a racism issue, there is a massive problem with trust towards the EU and the non-Grexit is only one of three massive pillars that gave Brexit the power is needed. Let’s get back to Tim Farron. You see, if he wants to have any decent chance he needs to become his own main man, he needs to become a leader, undoing issues whilst not comprehending the fallout will get a person a clear vote of ‘no confidence’ soon thereafter. He should grow the LibDems and weirdly enough it is by actually talking to the conservatives on tactics. He cannot become a ‘conservative lackey’ as Nick Clegg has been accused of being in the past. He needs to become a strong voice within the Lib Dems by learning what ails people and by adjusting his vision to what the people need. You see, that works out in two ways for me. Where ever Labour and Conservatives were, UKIP did not achieve victory where the Lib Dems were a stronger option. There is a lot of terrain they lost, but there are options of winning them back, which can only be achieved if Tim Farron shows himself to be a leader. The evidence (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2015/may/07/live-uk-election-results-in-full), area’s like Newbury, Horsham, Dorset North, Stockport & Luton, places where Tim can grow the Lib Dems by chiselling away on UKIP. Yet, he needs to realise that the people voted because they have issues, mostly with the economy and the irresponsible acts of the EU. Until they are really addressed, the quote ‘return to EU‘ would more likely become the beginning of a joke at his expense than an election promise that has any level of realism.

Are there more losers? Well, that is a matter of perspective. You see, the SNP needs to wake up and realise that being in any EU whilst you cannot hold your economy above water will be the fastest way to diminish one’s self towards irrelevancy. Even if we give a little weight towards the words of Nicola Sturgeon in the Huffington Post, the phrase “a vacuum of leadership” applies to Nicola as much as the other political players. Like Nicola there is Angus Robertson, who according to the Financial Times (at https://next.ft.com/content/8c0588c9-22f3-3f98-a424-4a0a9dd53a18) stated “We have no intention whatsoever of seeing Scotland taken out of Europe. That would be totally, totally democratically unacceptable. We are a European country and we will stay a European country“, well you are still part of Europe, just not part of the EU. So, the man is not the brightest. In addition, Angus seems to have his head screwed on backwards. You see, I was always in favour of growing an independent Scotland, but at present they have no way of doing so. The simple issue is that Scotland cannot make ends meet, if they were independent, they would soon grow into the poorest one in Europe. Angus forgets that UK money is finding Scotland for a fair bit, until they can address this and grow a surplus budget without using the oil funds, than we should reconsider Scotland. They have either missed opportunities or ignored them altogether. It is not for me to say and we can all understand that Nicola Sturgeon is focussed on a Scottish Scotland, but at present we have seen that Scotland cannot make it on their own. So when we realise that we see that Angus and Nicola are whistling a tune that no one can dance to. It is dangerous! Now, if the change allows to grow economic opportunity in Scotland, than that would get my undivided attention, but for now, that is not happening. Giving rise to the question, ‘where should Scotland go‘, which is a fair enough question, the fact that the answer is ‘nowhere soon’ is equally a fact and the two political players should have realised this before going into speech mode and they should have moved into lecturing mode by making the people around them more informed and seeking options, not obstacles. Because in that regard, the UK could still be massively helpful.

So here I stand, in opposition of what is settling. We see in equal terms the issues now playing in France. An issue I partially predicted, with one exception. The fact that Frexit sentiment is growing faster than I predicted is not all due to Brexit. The news (at https://www.rt.com/news/348422-hollande-rejects-frexit-referendum/) gives rise to more issues. You see, the quote ‘President Francois Hollande has firmly rejected calls for a referendum on leaving the EU‘ might be fair, but what about the alternative? You see, at present will over 62% in France now wants a referendum. It was initially mentioned by Front National and this is all about Marine Le Pen, but the French people are growing the need for their own EU referendum. The fact that it is vastly above 50% gives rise that in France not all is well and not dealing with it is the biggest mistake President Francois Hollande could make. On the other hand, the French have a nice history on what to do with political puppets so this event could grow its own nice little tail. Whether it is a nice or a nightmare one remains to be seen. Brexit might be triggering a few other counts, the fact is that the EU has played a dangerous game for too long and people are walking out.

In all this, we see that some are now going for petitions regarding a second EU referendum, wasting more time, more money and more resources, whilst the EU refuses to clean its act up. It refuses to temper overspending and refuses to hold over spenders to account. Greece is small fry in that ocean, all this because the clearest of evidence is ignored.

There is an issue with the EU and their flaccid dealings with the national responsibility of its nations and we can no longer afford to be a part of such mismanagement. That should have been clear for the longest of times, the fact that the press skates around it also implies that denial is part of a larger problem, one that made the people rise and vote Brexit. Making that mistake twice is one that could break the British economy. So do not give in to the whims of Wall Street, block it from all your data streams and decide for yourself, what is the best use of your time?

Because I am not convinced that it can be found within the EU at present. Oh and for those Liberal Democrats not thinking it through, consider that when the UK gets back to the EU and France leaves it (something that is very likely at present), the mess you create at that point will be one that cannot be resolved, you will actually kill the UK economy.

 

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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!

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Waffles, the Welsh Sidestepper

On my side, my party (specifically George Osborne) is stating that Brexit would leave UK ‘permanently poorer’, whilst on the other side we see Boris Johnson stating: “‘Its b******s’: Boris Johnson hits out at David Cameron over impact of Brexit on trade and jobs” as given in the Independent.

I stand by my party, but there are questions that need to be asked. Brexit, as well as a bankrupt America has been forever about greed moving, about giving in to banks and financial institutions. When we look at the Panama papers (and the debatable method how they got out in the first place), we see a banking structure that is completely greed driven, whilst we see again and again how the US (Congress, the Senate and the White House) give in to that greed whilst being unable to manage their debts and their budgets. In that same light we see the EEC remaining unaccountable for too long, pushing debts, overspending and non-accountability.

The Conservatives need to realise that scaremongering is no longer a method, yet here, is my usage of scaremongering correct? Are they scaremongering? You see, when we see statements from the PM, the Exchequer and the governor of the bank of England, we need consider the positions they hold. We might all consider the fact that we are being ‘misled’ because of a desperate, clueless and greed driven America, but is that the actual fact here?

I wish I could give you a clear concise and utterly precise answer. That I cannot do. Yet, what can I show you? Let’s take a look at that part!

The first consideration is given in the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/its-bs-boris-johnson-hits-out-at-david-cameron-over-impact-of-brexit-on-trade-and-jobs-a6988236.html), where Boris Johnson gave us the following: “Now there is this idea that trade is entirely controlled by governments, that no trade takes place unless governments agree with each other” and “Well, b******s. It’s nothing to do with governments. It’s to do with businesses, people and enterprises deciding they have something to buy or sell“. We can to some clear part agree towards this? America is the best example here. They will sell anything and anyone at the mere drop of a hat (any hat), business is merely the operation of a seller selling its goods. Every corporation needs sales, whether locally or internationally. As the UK is selling, it is also buying, because these two go hand in hand; there is an equilibrium (at least some form of). As long as a nation exports more than it imports it is making a clear profit (whether taxable or not is another matter). This simple truth gives validity and power to the words of Boris Johnson.

The Bank of England gives us the following (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/apr/14/bank-of-england-warns-brexit-could-do-serious-harm-to-uk-economy). We get to see: “extended period of uncertainty about the economic outlook, including about the prospects for export growth. This uncertainty would be likely to push down on demand in the short term,” then we get “A vote to leave could have significant implications for asset prices, in particular the exchange rate. The MPC would have to make careful judgements about the next effects of these potential influences on demand, supply and inflation. Ultimately, monetary policy would be set in order to meet the inflation target, while also ensuring that inflation expectations remained anchored” and finally there is “A Reuters poll this week found that 17 of 26 economists thought a vote for Brexit could prompt the Bank to cut interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis“. First the last one, because it is an easy option. I think that is a reality that the UK would face no matter what. Do you think that Mario Draghi setting negative interest rates would not impact the UK? Do you think that Draghi starting a spending spree, one that monthly exceeds the total fortune of Bill Gates will not be felt (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-01/draghi-begins-ecb-monthly-bond-spend-exceeding-gates-s-fortune)?

We see in the News that Draghi has a planned total of about 1.74 trillion Euros of purchases in mind. That much debt added on the Eurozone. Who is paying for that? No one in Europe has that kind of cash, so explain to me how this would end well for anyone except the bankers and the financial sector? What will you expect when you send your 13 year old child with your credit card into a mall? Do you think that this teenager (regardless of gender) will come back with only the rashers of bacon, a pair of socks and a yoyo? Perhaps the storekeeper will talk your teenager into the consoles, shoes and lollies. It’s a credit card and the bill does not need to get paid at present. This is the reality the people at large have had enough of.

Now, back to the main line, because neither is lying, but in this first part, does the forecast of the Governor of the Bank of England matter? This situation is already out of hand, getting out seems to be the better of choices as no one is muzzling Mario Draghi, or those behind him trying to make sure that the money is spent. The Irish Times gave us another headline regarding the shopping spree of Mario Draghi: ‘In a world of negative rates borrowers get paid and savers penalised‘, in an age where the golden age group is the largest, the governments at large are using whatever they have saved to damage the elderly even more, whilst the criminals causing the damage are not required to be accountable. You might wonder how I am now labelling a party Criminal.

You see, in the Crimes Act 1900, where we see section 195 Destroying or damaging property. At Section 195(1) we see: “A person who intentionally or recklessly destroys or damages property belonging to another or to that person and another is liable to imprisonment for 5 years“. Seems odd doesn’t it? Yet, this conviction could make for an essential claim form the government as well. You see Austlii gives us “‘Property’ includes every description of real and personal property; money, valuable securities, debts, and legacies; and all deeds and instruments relating to, or evidencing the title or right to any property, or giving a right to recover or receive any money or goods; and includes not only property originally in the possession or under the control of any person, but also any property into or for which the same may have been converted or exchanged, and everything acquired by such conversion or exchange, whether immediately or otherwise“, which means that money and valuable securities, meaning ones retirement coin. In that regard, Draghi is playing with cash he doesn’t have, diminishes money he is not entitled to and the people at large are left with nothing.

Is anyone even surprised that the Brexit group is growing so fast?

So back to the Bank gov. You see, he is talking about forecasts, expected events and non-expected events. This is done as he should, but the silence around irresponsible spending has not been addressed for years now and this has the people scared, panicky and riled up, a really lousy combination if I might say so.

Now we get to the big one. The exchequer giving us “Britain would be “permanently poorer” if voters choose to leave the EU” as well as “The conclusion is clear for Britain’s economy and for families – leaving the EU would be the most extraordinary self-inflicted wound”, you see. I am not convinced. Moreover, I am not convinced that the 6% downturn would not happen. When we see spending into the trillion plus, what shortage would not happen? The question becomes how reliable is the quote “Britain would be worse off, permanently so, and to the tune of £4,300 a year for every household“. So where did he get those numbers from? There is a real risk of an economic contraction, but that risk is already there. I reckon that should the Exchequer want to regain any reliability and trust, than this full calculation with all evidence would be made public for scrutiny. That is massively unlikely to happen. This gives us the problems we currently face. Those who are needed in the trenches do not seem to be correctly informed and going public on those numbers would cause too many searchers for a document that has no longer value after the scaring is done.

Or is that scarring?

You see, this current government is not sitting safely where they are. When we read “It is a well-established doctrine of economic thought that greater openness and interconnectedness boosts the productive potential of our economy. That’s because being an open economy increases competition between our companies, making them more efficient in the face of consumer choice, and creates incentives for business to innovate and to adopt new technologies” we see the initial part of the problem.

What is written is a clear truth, but it does not touch on the issue that resides in all this. The image is given, with in personal mind that we are all accountable and that correct scope in usage is there. Yet the truth is that this required proper taxation laws where corporations can be held accountable. Governments all over (including the UK) have created a labyrinth of shelters leaving them with a mere shadow of a coffer, a government coffer that is empty, giving us the nightmare scenario we all currently face. You see, as I see it, greater openness requires accountability and the law at large has been remaining too short on the facts and yes to the options. Now we see an additional piece from the Guardian where they are explaining that magical number, still it reads like a presentation and not a journalistic piece. It is like the article is mainly the treasury making its case and no critical eye is falling on it. Yet, there is absolutely no indication that any of it is a lie. Yet, the countersign is equally a worry. The article implies that the UK could only exist through the coat tails of the EEC, that is not the image I ever held of the UK, this, not unlike the Panama papers, seem to give off a feeling that there is American orchestration. There is absolutely no evidence of it, but the way it is presented, it implies that high investment only comes from EU connections. I disagree, we only need to see how absurd luxurious and unaffordable sky scrapers come into existence in the UK to see that cash will remain on course towards the UK, the nice thing of an island is that space is finite and London is built to the max of its land size. The cost of irresponsible spending seems to be neglected as well as the paper downplaying the pressure of paying the EU. In equal measure is has (as I personally see it) downplayed the consequences of recessions. Greece has another one now, soon to be followed by Spain. Both France and Italy running high risks of two years of recession, all downplayed. The IMF added the last drop to the bucket. Again embellishing the effects of a Brexit, whilst they attacked Osborne’s austerity path in January 2013 (Olivier Blanchard), 1 year ago to the day Christine Lagarde is now admitting that Osborne’s plan was good as well as the best option.

So neither party seems to be lying, you are merely seeing different cogs of different engines in this entire play whilst you expected to see only one engine. That is no longer the case. What is still equally worrying is that the US is involved in all this. For them to not be involved is just too ludicrous to contemplate. That will be part forever overlooked. You see, the consequence that the Euro will have on the dollar has been trivialised.

This is where we stand, we see that there are no lies, but certain statements aren’t getting the proper back-up from open data. It is the rhythm in all this that we expect an American link to come forward sooner rather than later, for the mere reason that the collapse of the Euro will hit the US dollar like a sledgehammer, one that will spark collapses all over the financial field. This is something we see more and more in publications at present, but the one source I am referring to is the one I predicted on January 30th 2013, over three years ago (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/01/30/time-for-another-collapse/), there was no time line of the event, but I had initially (wrongly so) predicted it to be before now. So the entire Euro mess has been going on for 3+ years and again and again we get the unbelievable projection that next year will be better. Can anyone explain to me how that can become a reality when 41 trillion is unaccounted for? (US, Japan, UK, Germany, France and Italy)

Apparently debts are not dealt with, that whilst the top of banking on a near global scale ends up with a bonus exceeding 5 billion dollars (just the bonuses). Where does this money come from and who is getting the invoice on all this? It is that part that is pushing Brexit and Frexit forwards (although the massive reason for Frexit remains to be Brexit).

Waffling, sidestepping, welshing all terms to avoid dealing with the issues that are on our front door and let’s be clear, we all elected those people to do just this. If you didn’t vote you don’t get to complain! Even now, the bulk refuses to deal with anything, especially with the US element in all this. As for the perjury bit, is intentional misleading not the same as lying? It is the intentional part that bothers too many people, which is making Brexit fans as well as UKIP slightly too happy.

The final part

Here we get the final pat as excellently brought by Phillip Inman (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/19/brexit-is-a-risk-to-uk-growth-says-carney). Not that word for word is such an achievement in reporting, but the article gives the part everyone should read. Here we see Marky Mark of the British bank (aka the Governor of the Bank of England) riding in on his shiny leased equestrian solution. Here we see a calm report given at the House of Lords. The important side is not the quotes, it is the way the parts were brought. The quote “Any positive impact of a [sterling] depreciation on activity would need to be set against any net negative impacts [whether on investment, consumption, exports or potential supply] stemming from its underlying cause.” He does not hit the nail with a hammer, he pretty much drives over it with a tank. You see, all he tells us in the article we get, we all understand and accept. The important side here is not what the immediate issue addresses, it is the indirect consequence of the act. A version of what lies beneath. Even if the Pound drops a little extra, that part is not the issue, the interest on a 1.5 trillion debt is the issue, that wave will hold too many people under water for a little too long, creating wrinkle upon wrinkle, each wrinkle drowning a few people with every wave. That part is addressed with the quote: “These are balances of probability, but the likelihood is that it will become more expensive to fund that deficit [if the UK leaves the EU] and, with a shift in the structure of it, it may mean that for a period the UK economy cannot run as large a current account deficit – it means that there would be less activity in the economy, less growth”. This is the brilliant side, because we waited until the Brexit crew was done waffling, we waited until UKIP shouted itself horse and the calm composed voice of Mr Carney now gives in clarity the part we all need to hear.

In perspective against the utter stupidity of the EEC with non-accountability and unregulated overspending, the British people are confronted with the simple fact that moving out of the EU will stop the ability for England to pay its debts (the interest on it). Until the economy improves the UK would go the same way as America with its unsustainable debt. It is by far the first clear element given to keep the UK within the EU for now. I have been on the fence for quite some time, but here is the one fact that matters. The British people by themselves cannot survive by itself to deal with what lies beneath.

It does not take away that the EEC needs to make massive changes, changes it needs to do tomorrow, not next week. Which shows a second part that the voters had forgotten about. You see, both David Cameron and George Osborne have been adamant and fighting to get the debt down, the one part forcing the UK in the EU, is the one element none of the conservatives want to see on the books. They prove that they want the best for England, which also gives more worry about Labour and the path Corbyn is putting the UK on, because in deep debt the UK will never have any options of choice.

So I say: Well presented and well played Mark Carney!

 

 

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Behind the smiling numbers

An interesting story got to see the internet light by Nicholas Watt (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/16/income-tax-must-rise-3p-to-stop-nhs-staggering-from-year-to-year). The title ‘Income tax must rise 3p to stop NHS ‘staggering from year to year’‘, which implies initially that the NHS needs £1.95m, which might be OK. Yet the truth is far from that, the text gives us that Lord Kerslake stated “Income tax will have to increase by at least 3p in the pound…. “, which is another story entirely (and first evidence that members of the House of Lords are gifted with a decent sense of humour).

His lordship is quite correct when he states: “big questions needed to be asked to ensure that spending kept up with medical advances, an ageing population and the need to invest in hospitals“, yet these are mere facts that should have been asked almost a decade ago, there was a clear and near immediate danger to the health of the NHS. The logic we see after that becomes an issue (read: worry, concern, and both are debatable) “Health spending needs to rise at least in line with GDP. Arguably, we may need to go faster if we want to match European funding. You might argue there is a discount there because we have a more efficient system. But it’s got to be at least GDP-linked otherwise I don’t think we’ll get there“. So let’s take a look. First the Dutch version (at http://www.rijksbegroting.nl/2015/voorbereiding/begroting,kst199401_25.html) gives us two issues should we be willing to ignore language barrier. The BZK gets €71.3b, which is divided in €7.5b called budget financed expenditure and €63.8b from premium financed expenditures. So for argument sake, let’s take the total and divide that on a population of 17 million, this now implies that there is almost €4200 per person (remember that this is a terribly rough estimate).

Now for Belgium we get the VBO with €23.85b. Now we all know that Belgium is a much smaller nation (not that much smaller than the Netherlands in size) and with 11.5 million calling the Belgium nation their homestead we now see that they end up with €2075 per person (Rounded upwards). Perhaps his Lordship could give a slightly more detailed explanation for the remark “Health spending needs to rise at least in line with GDP. Arguably, we may need to go faster if we want to match European funding“. Considering that the Netherlands and Belgium are next to one another and their budgets per person are apart by a mere 49.404%.

This gets me to the core of the proclaimed matter, can anyone explain why we are linking healthcare to GDP? Perhaps, and this is merely a lose speculation, some people in the House of Lords had the time to read a paper by Santiago Lago Peñas (added at the end) called ‘On the relationship between GDP and Health Care expenditure; A new perspective‘, now that might be a good thing, there is nothing wrong with Spain taking the lead in matters (especially if it is a good idea). Santiago Lago Peñas as well as David Cantarero Prieto and Carla Blázquez Fernández have written an interesting paper.

First let’s take a look at part of the abstract, which states “Econometric results show that the long-run multiplier is close to unity, that health expenditure is more sensitive to per capita income cyclical movements than to trend movements, and that those countries with a higher share of private health expenditure fit faster and following a different pattern“. Now, I am not going to take a deep dive into this one (it is after all an abstract), but it gave me a few ideas on where to dig.

Next are a few quotes: “Attention is paid to several usually neglected dimensions of this link. With this aim, four different specifications are presented, with the logarithm of per capital total health care expenditure as the dependent variable in all cases” this doesn’t seem to be more than just a quote, but it will have impact down the track.

It is part 2 called previous evidence that is a first issue. When we accept the initial statement “the debate on this link has moved on whether the income elasticity of health expenditure is greater or less than 1 (Bac and Le Pen, 2002). An income elasticity less than 1 classified health expenditure and income inelastic, therefore, as a “necessary” good. On the other hand, if the elasticity is higher than 1, health will be classified as a “luxury” good“, which will do for now. You see, my issue is when we see the part that follows:

  • The seminal paper by Newhouse (1977)
  • An earlier study by Kleiman (1974) for a different set of countries
  • Leu (1986) using cross-sectional data for 19 OECD countries in 1974
  • Parkin et al. (1987) using similar methods and data from 1980
  • Brown (1987) using a sample of 20 OECD countries

Here we have the first issue. You see, this is not regarding the methodology, it is about the data, methods of data collection, usage of weights (if done), these numbers regarded in contrast towards those temporary populations in reflection to the whole. Health expenditure is one part, but based against which healthy part. Now consider the initial reflection I had on the Netherlands and Belgium. They have very different norms in respect to mental health care. Now consider the statements ‘19 OECD countries in 1974‘ and ‘20 OECD countries in 1987‘ I will again make a clear speculative declaration that the mental health norms are not equal, especially when considering economic differences, which gives my first thought, how useful is the paper on a whole (I am not attacking it) and how applicable this would be (read: could be) in reflection towards the whole.

You only need to scan for ‘psychology, psychiatry and mental health’ to see that the paper does not take this into consideration. As we know that the EEC nations have had their own approach to mental health in the past, is not a statement that they did anything wrong, but if this is the first element that does not align, what else will not align (there are a few). One that shines directly behind the ‘previous evidence‘. You see in my head the question comes to mind when I see “The econometric analysis relies on annual data for 31 OECD countries from 1970 to 2009 gathered from the OECD Health Data Set 2011“, so is this aggregated data or raw data. if it is aggregated data the foundation might not align giving an unbalanced and invalid view (in my personal opinion), if it is raw data, what ground line data (the full population) is added so that the individual record compares towards the national whole, if that is missing how can any calculation be truly reflective of what was, especially taking into account the data is reflective over different time zones with very different social pressures. In that case I wonder if I can get a similar result by calculating Z-scores and run a Crosstabs in IBM Statistics #JustSaying!

Now we get back to the article which comes with the image of a smiling Lord Kerslake. Does this paper validate or invalidate the idea? No it does not, but it leads to questions, serious ones.

The quote “John Appleby, the chief economist at the King’s Fund, has estimated that NHS spending is due to fall from 7.3% of GDP to 6.6% in 2020-21. If health spending were to keep pace with economic growth, Appleby estimates an extra £16bn would have to be found every year by 2020-21 to take the NHS budget to £158bn. This works out at 3p on all rates of income tax, according to the IFS” is next!

The term ‘NHS spending is due to fall‘ reads like an event Baron Munchausen could have come up with (the character from Raspe’s book in 1785, not the syndrome). Of course the prediction is 5 years away, which makes it speculative. Now we know that John Appleby is more than the Chief economist for The King’s fund. He is also a Visiting Professor at the Department of Economics at City University and he has a whole range of publications to his name, so why am I opposed?

Well, part of this starts with his own article ‘Social care: a future we don’t yet know‘ (at http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2015/11/social-care-future), the two quotes that get the foreground are “In our submission to the Spending Review we called for social care to be protected from further cuts and for the money previously agreed for the postponed Care Act funding reforms to be retained and invested in social care. But non-protected departments have been asked by HM Treasury to model cuts of 25 and 40 per cent – so further cuts seem inevitable“, as well as “What would happen if the spending cuts applied to social care over the past five years continue over the next five? Spending on social care for people of all ages as a share of GDP has already begun to fall. It was roughly 1.2 per cent in 2009 but if cuts continue at the same rate it will have halved by the end of this parliament to barely more than a half of one per cent of GDP“. Now there is nothing wrong with any of the texts, John Appleby is not where he is because he is silly, he is very (read: extremely) clued in. I am stating that the environment has changed, it has changed drastically from 2011 onwards and in addition; the changes the UK faces over the next three years will take some of these prediction to town in not so nice a manner.

You will now ask why, which is the question you should ask!

We get part of this from the London School of Economics and Political science (at http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/special/cepsp26.pdf), the initial answer is given on page 13. Where we see “To summarise, treatments for the “common mental disorders” of depression and anxiety can be self-financing within the NHS. By spending more, we save even more. This is different from much of NHS expenditure. At the same time we relieve one of the main sources of suffering in our community“, in addition page 15 gives us “According to the 2007 survey, which covered a random sample of households, only 24% of people with depression and anxiety disorders were in any form of treatment“. This now gives us the first part in all this. The overall costs are not in league of the budgets because there is a missing foundations of equality on what falls ‘within’ the NHS. There is no option for the NHS other than to evolve into something ‘more’ complete. The UK is about to get 20,000 refugees from war torn Syria (over several years), the initial approved £1b seems to be nothing more than a drop of water on a hot plate, the ‘why’ will be clear shortly.

The UK has seen a massive rise in mental health issues in the last year alone. Depression and anxiety mainly due to economic events (cost of living) is now a serious concern, especially as the pressures of the economy are likely to continue a few more years. Consider my article two days ago (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/02/15/is-there-a-doctor-on-this-budget/) called ‘Is there a doctor on this budget?‘ where we saw the link to ‘Health Care for Undocumented Migrants: European Approaches‘. The graph shown on page 3 is the charm. If we consider the cube, we see that on the X-axis we see subcategories of undocumented migrants, yet the same expenditure would apply to refugees (or the population for that matter). Now consider the Y-axis which is about the type of services and the Z-axis are the funding arrangements. Now this can be treated like a glass with liquid. If we increase the base (X or Y) the funding arrangements go down, it is the simplest of physics, a bigger glass requires more fluid to fill, so we have a population with more health care needs, mental health care in this case and the types of services is not just against depression or anxiety, it will require the coverage of war trauma and shell shock. This will impact refugees of all ages. So the glass gets bigger and bigger and more and more funding will be required to keep funding arrangements on an equal level, this is merely the application of logic.

This is why I opposed John Appleby’s approach, it shows little application of a changing population, merely a greying one (which is a form of change), but it does not hold water against the massive change the UK has faced since 2013 and will face until 2019. This is why I am not in agreement with the statements of John Appleby. Now we get back to Lord Kerslake. You see, the paper I mentioned is an example. It might not even be the foundation of Lord Kerslake’s approach. Yet a multitude of papers clearly show that there seems to be no real no equality in the setting of healthcare (read: cost of health care). It seems to be wearing a different hat in nearly every European nation, it would already be a great leap forward if they all had the same colour, which does not seem to be the case either.

Now we get the quote that wakes us all up “Appleby estimates that NHS spending would have to increase by 30% or £43bn a year to take NHS total spending to the EU-15 average by 2020-21. The IFS estimates that this would involve an 8p increase on all rates of income tax“, which is one side of the option. How about the other side? When we see that AstraZeneca has been able to avoid corporation tax on a massive scale, which dwarves when we compare it to the mergers Pfizer and Allergan have achieved. Is it perhaps possible that his lordship looks at another solution like closing that tax abyss? Might I suggest an idea where any corporation involved in tax avoidance gets its medication ‘grey’ listed? Which means that any drug that could be begotten in a generic form from a place like India will be selected as a first solution? It could even result in India starting businesses in the UK (with the economic benefits that those places will give). It would also send a clear signal that if corporations would like to avoid taxation, which in legal correct way is just fine, but at that point other distributors of pharmaceuticals will be found. I reckon that between that announcement and the offer of reduced medications (read: less costs for the NHS) from pharmaceutical firms would be forthcoming within 24 hours of making the announcement.

Yet, this was not about the costing, it was about the increase and setting against the GDP. The fact that health spending and economic spending are on par reads more like an option for deferred payments to big pharma and medical supplier than anything else. In case of doctors it would mean that their incomes would go through the roof (which might be a deserved reality), but it is one that the coffers under the care of George Osborne cannot afford.

There is wisdom in his lordship stating that “a royal commission should be established to build a national consensus on NHS funding“, which sounds a lot more ‘reliable’ (read: acceptable) than the Labour party giving way by letting a banker (Sir Derek Wanless) set the NHS spending levels. It is of course desirable to go with the people and keep the directly funded NHS free at the point of use, yet that comes with a price tag that is no longer realistic in this day and age of deficit, in addition harder times are coming for a while longer, making the price tag we already have a non-linear shifting one. Yet I feel adamant to speak that mental health must be fully accepted as part of the NHS (for all people, anywhere in the UK), which slides the scales of budget by a lot. A reality many papers (as I expect it to be) did not take into account. Raising income taxation as implied could equally be an issue as that could potentially drive depression and suicide statistics overnight (the latter would lower rents but that seems just too harsh a solution).

What is a given is that Lord Kerslake is the catalyst that is making us ask several serious questions.

I am however not entirely convinced that his lordship took the best path in getting these issues out into the open.

On the relationship between GDP and Health Care expenditure; A new perspective

 

 

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