Tag Archives: Lloyds Banking Group

The new Monopoly game

Do you remember playing monopoly? Did you ever play it? I grew up loving it. I am not some realtor, some real estate dreamer beyond the dream of having my own place. Most of us are like that. Just the time when I was young and the family played that game, or plying it with a couple of friends. I ended up having several versions, including the replica original with coins, in a wooden box, just a cool thing to have. So when we consider this game, as the prices of the streets were shown in those days; we knew that blue was the highest an always out of our reach. I lived in a green property for some time, so life felt good, yet today, Yellow, Red, Orange, Purple and light blue are no longer in my view of affordability, in the best case, I might be able to get one of the brown coloured properties. This is how the market changed in a mere 22 years. From an optional 80% of the map to a mere 2 out of 16, that is all that was left to me. So when I read ‘Total UK wealth tops £10tn thanks to City and property boom‘ by Larry Elliott (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/08/total-uk-wealth-city-property-homes-inequality-saving), I just had to laugh. I understand that he might be trying to have a sense of humour about it. Yet when we see “A booming City and rising house prices provided a double boost to Britons holding assets in 2016 as they pushed the nation’s wealth through the £10tn mark, according to a new survey“, the question becomes: ‘How much of that is NOT owned by foreign investors?‘ Is that a weird question or what? Even as we see “Since the better off held a greater proportion of these assets, 40% of the gains of rising share and bond prices went to the richest 5% of households“, is ‘households’ correct or should it read clients represented by British law and accountancy firms, representing foreign interests in the UK? With “The £3.9tn increase in the value of residential property and financial assets owned by UK residents represented a 59% rise, whereas prices rose by 39% and gross household income was up 37%“, we see again the ‘UK resident‘ part and when we take a look at the government (at http://www.ukimmigration.com/investor/uk_investor_visa.htm), we see that basically any person investing in any property (as the London bulk is well over £1 million, the threshold for foreign investors is reached), which beckons the call, when we start digging into UK residents versus UK citizens, how will this all end? Lloyds shows even more sense of humour with “Lloyds said its figure excluded non-residential property and assets held by charities and other non-profit institutions“, which clearly includes all the foreign investors and they are always in it for the profit. It is the final part that gives the new consideration “However, a continued low mortgage rate environment, combined with an ongoing shortage of properties for sale, should help continue to support house prices over the coming months“. This now gives the premise, have the current and previous governments been guilty of betraying the British people by setting the stage of ‘ongoing shortage of properties for sale‘, in this we see the historic part that former Prime minister Margaret Thatcher was the last of the prime ministers giving a rising and clear need for social housing. We see this in the 2015 article from the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-14380936) where the amount of social housing went up in the beginning of her ‘reign’ to the highest ever recorded surpassing 150,000 right-to-buy, it took a small dive and in 1987 it got back to around 140,000, after she was succeeded in 1990, social housing took a steep dive to below 50,000 and from there it just went down and down. At the end of the labour reign in 2010 it was at the lowest stage ever, only now is there a small increase visible in that graph. Yet in the BBC article we also see a problem, even as it compares to 1918 where owner occupied is a mere 23%, the 2012-2013 part where 65% is owner occupied is as I call it ‘misrepresented‘ at 65%, because how much of that is empty and what part is foreign invested? You see, plenty of places in London are not offered for rent, but for lease, so who is the owner in that case and where does this fit in that graph? If we add the privately rented, we see that socially rented is a mere 16% (way higher than 1918), yet as we see the Thatcher numbers, who got the people there and how were the people kept out of affordable housing by not making that available. In Australia it might be as bad as the valid people in NSW housing are on the lists for a time in excess of 6 years. So how is that a solution to solving housing issues? And let’s not forget, when the housing is set and forced to become a larger contributor to social (read affordable) housing, what then remains of this ‘£10tn UK wealth‘ housing side? The fact that both sides of the political isle have been in denial and remiss to get any of that solved and Jeremy Corbyn claims to have a solution by pushing the UK in even deeper debt, deeper by the better part of a trillion pounds. So how does that help anyone?

Now, we might accept and understand that life in London is never affordable ever again, yet the political isles must equally accept that this change could constitute an infrastructure collapse. This gets us to some old news. In August 2014 we saw (at https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/aug/07/london-gets-24-times-as-much-infrastructure-north-east-england) the mention ‘London gets 24 times as much spent on infrastructure per resident than north-east England‘ which is a nice title, yet the dangers are shown soon thereafter. With “more than half of that total was down to the decommissioning of the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria – necessary, doubtless, but hardly an infrastructure ‘improvement’ as most people would understand it” we see only part of the danger. The quote “New analysis of public infrastructure spending by IPPR North lays bare the gap between how much capital expenditure there is in the capital than the rest of England” shows another part, yet the actual issue is not what is spent, but what is required to get something done. When we paraphrase it into “analysis of public infrastructure spending by IPPR North lays bare the gap between how much is required for the same amount of work in London compared to the rest of England” we see the dangers, when the infrastructure maintenance is 2400% of the rest of the UK, there is a danger, yet is it the correct one? In February this year, we see a partial repetition of the old Guardian article, yet with updated numbers it shows (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/feb/20/more-than-half-uk-investment-in-transport-is-in-london-says-study) that London requires 50% of all the funds. In all this we are not given any reliable numbers, because in all this I do not see the comparison of £ per mile of rail serviced. Consider that London has 20 times the amounts of rail that most places have and he London rail when stretched can get a person from Waterloo station to Glasgow five times over (OK, slight exaggeration). Yet the message should be clear. As the infrastructure has less options with in addition less people being anywhere near it, the city of London is facing all levels of collapse. Another part was shown on July 17th in the Independent. The title ‘More than half a million social homes in England do not meet basic health and safety standards‘ is the first indication that social housing and infrastructure are beyond collapsing. With quotes like ‘almost one in seven of all social homes in England‘ are below standards, we see a dangerous escalation. So in this we see a mention of 224,000 houses where the most dangerous safety hazards (category one) is seen. It includes “exposed wiring, overloaded electricity sockets, dangerous boilers, leaking roofs, vermin infestations or inadequate security“, yes, the right and proper place to get your partner pregnant and start a family, would you not agree?

Even as we now see that the Grenfell disaster is a first step in looking into cladding, they all seem to forget that the cladding was done to appease the houses around Grenfell, in addition, the other failures and dangers are basically the non-cladding issues, so the mess is a lot bigger. when we consider the quote “Local authorities have a legal duty to act if a category one hazard is discovered, but hundreds of thousands are going unreported or ignored” we see a much clearer situation where government and city council members could be held accountable towards the transgression of ‘reckless endangerment‘ of lives, so in all this, what is the CPS doing? Has the Crown Prosecution Services made any start on taking a look at this, because these 244,000 houses would in theory represent 300,000 people working to some degree for the London Infrastructure, being it the underground, busses or other civil offices, if even 10% falls away, what happens then? How much pressure, increased costs and non-functional infrastructure remains for London at that point? It seems that the City of London has no way of dealing with such dangerous terms. As I see it, Lord Mayor Sadiq Khan has his work cut out for him. We should all agree that he did not cause this, but he can equally agree that it is on his plate at present and his success will be weighed against his ability to lower that danger and remove the hazards within his largely leased London city.

So as we look at the wealth boom, how exactly is it benefiting the UK and specifically London? As London becomes less and less affordable, as its ‘status’ as premium investment location continues, we might soon see a London that even the tourists can no longer afford. This is not a danger at present with the dropping pound against the Euro, so London is a great place to visit for Europeans. Yet the reality is that this benefit is merely short term, the dangers as the UK turns its economy around, which they will for certain, gives dangers that the dangers I predict are merely 5 years away. When that happens the tourism part will drop, not by a small part, but by a phenomenal amount (In my speculative view well over 20%), so whoever is investing now needs to get that part back in 4 years, they might be facing deadly competition for the few remaining tourists after that. The Time in 2015 talked about the tourism bubble and set it to greed, I think that it is not merely greed; in all this the infrastructure that is dangerously close to a collapse would be a much larger contributing item in all this. So as we see that the infrastructure is in a dangerous place, we need to wonder how the UK government will be addressing this. It is not like it is not a clearly visible issue. It is merely one of several critical issues that the UK faces. Yet in this, the housing part is also the contributing factor for other sides of infrastructure as well. We saw 3 weeks ago that the NHS has 86,000 posts vacant. Not only can they not be filled, even if there was a person available, the reality is that for nurses life in London has become largely unaffordable, which hits social housing as well as infrastructure, a clear visible item known for the better part of 3 years. As a conservative I would be willing to blame my political party, yet the BBC chart clearly shows that as the conservatives came back into office the social housing curve was moving back up (to the smallest degree). Now, there is part that was done by the previous labour government, but only to an even smaller degree. In this I will end with an article that the Business insider has in 2015, in it we see the minimum income per area, when we take a look is that only the cheapest place was affordable for NHS nurses, 54 miles from the hospital, anything nearer would require double the income they presently have, some places are forever out of their reach. Even whilst I know of some places in Swiss Cottage, Southwark and West Brompton, it is shy of the 86,000 places, it will not even give aid to 1%, or 860 places to live in. So, as some people are shrugging at the £10tn wealth value, or the imaginative issue that the NHS problem will solve itself. We need to realise that a few of these issues were interconnected and have been for many years. In this Labour and Conservatives are both to blame, they achieved nothing in stopping, or decently reducing the danger. So when you look at the Monopoly board consider the 22 places and which of these streets you cannot afford a place to live in. So how was this UK wealth any help in resolving the quality of life for those not in the top 5% wealth part, which amounts 98.85% of the UK population, foreign investors excluded.

Consider that side when the next rent is due, and more important, even as all the papers are shouting about rent drops, in the end, the rental price is merely increasing slower for now. With the rent being on average set to £1,500, the 12 month increase is set between £22 and £35 a month depending on your condition, so when you consider that if these people are lucky, their pay increase ended up being up to £61 a month, we see that the increase only takes care of the rent, it will not hold water to take care of the increased price of groceries or heating, so the outlook for the British tenant will be gloomy this Christmas. And before you start blaming Brexit, it would not have mattered one bit. If anyone tells you different, as I personally see it, they would be lying to you.

The people in Britain are seeing a new Monopoly board. Where you start with £800 and passing start gets you a mere £100, in addition add 15% to every street in the first 5 turns and add another 15% for the rest of the game. The final changes are 40% more due for any station and set utilities to 15 times rolled, regardless if it is one or both owned. Now we get a slightly more realistic version of the game as we live it today, so how far would you get in that version of the game? I might want to add that we would need to add 4 pubs, one for each side and treat them like the stations, yet the amount due is 10 times the rolled dice. It seems that our childhood monopoly is the one we still think we live at times, even as we never had any ambitions to own hotels, we always expected to get one house in one street sometimes in our lives; the reality is that this is no longer an expected reality. The reality is now that whomever owns and keeps a place, leaving that to the children is the only guarantee that they have any future at all in the UK, a reality that was not due to Brexit, but due to a government having other commitments, one that was to spending too much whilst not having any backup in place, it is the reality all in the UK face until well over 2040. I still believe that the conservative path to diminish the debt is the only way out and when we consider the news about the £40 billion divorce bill, that is not too weird, because at present Mario Draghi is spending 150% of that every month and getting out now seems to be a lot safer than being around when that collapses, or is that explodes into the faces of EU citizens? Most disagree with me on that, loads of them with economic degrees and that is fine. As I see it, the people all over are in denial of previous debts made and seem to imply that it is not for them to solve, so at your banks when you borrow £2500 every month to pay for things like rent, do you think that you will not have to pay any of it back? Do you think that financial institutions are that philanthropically minded? So as City AM announced on July 17thEurozone inflation fell in June, the European Commission today confirmed, easing pressure on the European Central Bank (ECB) to start tightening monetary policy at its next announcement on Thursday”, yet a week later we see “Draghi struck a dovish tone at the meeting in Frankfurt, with no firm date given to an announcement on the future of the quantitative easing programme, but investors were not convinced”, which we got on Friday July 21st. So as the spenders are all in denial on several levels, we see that their impact could be a disaster for London when that hits, I have stated in personal belief that getting out of that mess sooner would be essential for the UK. A mere week ago we saw (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-03/big-investors-losing-faith-in-europe-s-ecb-fuelled-junk-rally). Now we see the first mention, not of QE, but the mentioning of ‘ECB-Fuelled Junk Rally’, Bloomberg is now speaking almost the same parts that I have advocated against for many months. With the quote “Deutsche Asset Management has reduced holdings of European junk bonds in its 100 billion euro ($106 billion) multi-asset portfolios and JPMorgan Asset Management says investors should brace for a tough second half. BlackRock Inc. says risks for European credit are tilted to the downside and Nataxis SA recommends dialing back high-yield debt exposure” the large players seem to accept (read: come to the conclusion) the dangers I warned for, for many months, this is a dangers that Brexit should avoid. So, as some players are trying to delay it all, so that the UK gets part of that additional 2 trillion (as I see it).

These matters are connected, you see, when those players try to escape the sewers they will seek other parts that give rise to returns on investment that avoids their downfall, this is where the Monopoly game comes in. Because the reality is that this mentioned UK wealth of £10tn could be the escape hatch they need, yet in that the dangers to the infrastructure would only increase, I might be wrong in that view, yet it is merely my view. So feel free to disagree, providing you do not cry when I am proven correct yet again.

 

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Mayoral income £73,000,000

Yes, it is a grand day. A I see it, an optional first sign to some real life justice. As it is, some might remember some time ago, a holiday photo with three obese losers looking like they owned the world, with mention of sex parties (always a first to notice), cruises all due to high consultancy fees. They did not get away with it and now, one of its victims is claiming that large amount from the Lloyds Banking Group, more specifically due to the actions of its HBOS Reading arm. The victim here is the now former Mayor of Crinkley Bottom, the honourable Noel Edmonds. The only person who could be the look alike of Richard Branson, even more so when he wins his case as he will end up being in the same income and tax bracket.

The man who perfected the big pork pie, a meal that was designed by Sweeney Todd using politicians. In all this, we see the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/may/10/noel-edmonds-compensation-hbos-fraud-lloyds) give us the goods in all this. A 10 year wait that ended up lowering our former mayor in a lifestyle that most people dread to get into. Lost speaking options, the dissolvent of the Unique Group, pain, suffering, additional damages and legal fees. Yes, it must be a real win for the HR of Lloyds to see what the consequence is of hiring people like Lynden Scourfield, whilst applicants like myself were not seen as dynamic and assertive enough. That might be true, but as Lloyds is now having to post close to 200 million pounds because some people had a quarter of a billion lifestyle over several years, that part must feel really good for the HR that signed them into that lovely life style. To be quite honest, I hope Mr Edmonds will end u with way more than that as a message to the Lloyds banking group to clean house and have a strong and hard look at their hiring policies. If only to avoid giving away 60%+ to litigation and payments for really bad form of banking and investment, which with the upcoming US Financial Choice Act will be even more important, because as the victims there might not have a case in the US, any UK or EU bank involved will suddenly see a growing list of claimants on claims that they were connected to, but never instigated. I hope that they remember that in Torts, the claims end up on the desk with the party that is the richest. It might not be fair, but that is the rule of thumb in torts. I especially like the quote: “A sex worker told the court that Scourfield resembled the actor Danny DeVito”, which seems to be fair as they both played with ‘Other people’s money’, however M DeVito played a role and he did so brilliantly (some might go weak at the knees hoping that he got the girl in the movie, the lovely Penelope Ann Miller), yet in all this he played an honest game of setting the stage of profit. In real life (played by the despicable Lynden Scourfield), the truth is that he willingly left people in a state of destitution without a second thought, merely to have the lifestyle he knew he wasn’t entitled to. In this case drug dealers are much higher on my list of people to have regards for. So as we get back to one of the best liked mayors in the United Kingdom. In all this when we see “Edmonds’ move comes as Horta-Osório prepares for Lloyds’ annual general meeting on Thursday, days before the government will be able to claim that the 43% shareholding bought by taxpayers to rescue the bank in 2008 has been entirely sold off”, we need to acknowledge that the timing is pretty awesome. You see, António Horta Osório, AKA, the man with the Julio Iglesias smile gets the opportunity to set in motion a massive overhaul of morally reformations that have been overdue in banks ad financial institutions for the longest of times. As the business world it trying to move faster and faster, we will see new technologies in these financial places. Having blockchains in testing phases might sound nice, yet when we consider that there are others like Lynden Scourfield, the ante is upped by a lot because the damages will move from millions to billions. Consider that this was a six-year investigation by Thames Valley Police. Consider what happens when the Blockchain issues start tumbling, a technology that is barely understood to the degree it needs to be, if such technologies are pushed in too fast, the consequence would be that the Crown Prosecution Services might not end up having a prosecutable case at all. That is the upcoming next stage and even if we want to remain in denial, under the guise of ‘the technology is not here yet’, consider that the happy victims of Tesco ATM’s where they got double the amount that was withdrawn. Now, I am really happy for those people, yet what happened if it would have been the other way around? How could a person prove that they only got 50%? By the time the tellers were corrected, whilst no one could prove anything, the CPS would not be there either, because it will be about the evidence (lack thereof), as evidence is central, getting any of it in any new tech is increasingly more complex, will take years and not always will the victim get actual justice. It is in that light that we need to look at the banks too. I am not blaming technology for any of the crimes, yet when the people get to abuse a system too often without any consequence or accountability (read: the acts of certain Wall Street people), how can we move forward with any financial system?

Hence I am happy and hopeful for the Mayor of Crinkley Bottom, yet in equal measure I hope that António Horta Osório sees this as a moment to reflect on actual changing the mindset of the bankers in his corporation and adjusts the mindset of those that his HR department appoints a position to.

 

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Is the truth out there?

That is the question that sprung to mind, when the article ‘Brexit could cost £100bn and nearly 1m jobs, CBI warns‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/mar/21/brexit-could-cost-100bn-and-nearly-1m-jobs-cbi-warns) crossed my screen an hour ago. Of course it then continues with the subtitle ‘Report conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the CBI‘, perhaps you remember that firm named PwC? The people behind the books kept for Tesco. The firm the press avoids like the plague (especially when digging into Tesco issues). A report for the CBI no less. When we look at wiki we get ‘Confederation of British Industry is a UK business organisation, which in total speaks for 190,000 businesses’, so basically, because businesses are afraid to export their articles, we get this level of scaremongering. And let’s be honest, when Lehman Brothers is not available, PwC is all that remains. The Wiki reference will be explained shortly.

The first paragraph states “Leaving the European Union would cause a serious shock to the UK economy that could lead to 950,000 job losses and leave the average household £3,700 worse off by 2020, a report commissioned by the CBI business lobby group has warned“, I personally consider this to be a blatant lie!

There is NO WAY that there is any clear data on this event. The reason is simple. This situation has never happened before so there are questions, that is a given, yet what they predict is that 2 times 100% of exports that the UK ships to the USA becomes lost revenue. This is just ludicrous. Leave it to the place that embellished 110 million in revenue for Tesco will be able to lose 1000 times that amount in goods and services for the CBI. I am merely speculating here. I wish I could give you more, but the press is very engaged into not confronting PricewaterhouseCoopers on their actions.

The second paragraph “an analysis conducted by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers for the CBI said that Brexit could cost the UK economy £100bn – the equivalent of 5% of GDP – by 2020 and would cause long-lasting economic damage from which it would never recover“, let take a look at the parts PwC (as I see it) hides behind ‘could cost‘ meaning that it might, it is not a given. the second part ‘would cause‘, means that if they lose 100 billion then it would impact the economy, which we can all agree with, but that level of loss is NOT a given. Lastly there is ‘long-lasting economic damage from which it would never recover’, ‘would never’ is also not a given, consider that thanks to British Labour, who caused a massive part of the fourteen hundred billion in debt, on that part 100 billion will have an impact, the economy will recover, yet in all fairness, at what speed? We all agree that this massive extra level of debt is not a good thing, but it all began with ‘could cost‘ so it is not a given! The CBI, like frightened little sissies are trying to sway voters through fear. You see, if these businesses have an actual product to share, people will buy it.

They then continue to push more fear that people would lose between £175 and £300 a month. I would be shocked, we all would be shocked. Yet again there is ‘could be lower‘, meaning it is not a given. When I read “Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI’s director general, said: “This analysis shows very clearly why leaving the European Union would be a real blow for living standards, jobs and growth“, my response would be ‘Carolyn Fairbairn, we know you are high and mighty with previous position at the  Competition and Markets Authority, Lloyds Banking Group and the UK Statistics Authority, so if you truly stand behind these analyses you will give us all (in open data) the raw data, the analyses and the conclusions with data connections‘.

I feel certain that we will see all kinds of weighting, forecasting and predictive modelling. As I see them, they will be utterly useless, for the mere reason I gave at the start of my blog “This situation has never happened before“, there will be turmoil, there will be a time of flux, but this forecast of utter blackness on non-given facts and shady forecasts is just completely out of bounds.

You see, I went to Wiki for a reason, when we go to their website we get a few issues (and initially their website was unreachable for about 15 minutes). The first one is from 15th of March (at http://news.cbi.org.uk/news/cbi-to-make-economic-case-to-remain-in-eu-after-reaffirming-strong-member-mandate/), here we get the quote “80% of CBI members think being in EU is best for their business – ComRes survey“, now, consider the following two elements, first is the ‘given’ fact on their site “CBI’s relationship with 190,000 businesses of all sizes across the UK“, now consider that survey where 80% wants to stay within had the following quote: “The survey had 773 responses among small, medium and large firms across the whole of the UK. It reveals 80% of CBI members, when weighted to reflect its membership – including 71% of small and mid-sized business members – believe that the UK remaining a member of the EU would be best for their business. Overall, 5% say it is in their firms’ best interests for the UK to leave the EU, with 15% unsure“, So out of 773 responses, 116 were not sure, so only 658 were certain one way or another, so the 80% comes from that group?

In addition, the fact that I, in 24 years have never seen ANY survey been answered for 100%, so how many answered it, how were the numbers given and how can any of the numbers have ANY level of reliability? That is even before we start looking into the questionnaires some people tend to make, which is often enough not that neutral to begin with.

All these thoughts took 45 seconds to form, after which I needed 30 minutes to look into some of the known givens whilst Graham Norton was playing in the background. The biggest fun I had was considering the part where the CBI is basically stating between the lines that “UK products are so shaite, that it can only be sold under EU membership“, is that not so Mrs Fairbairn? I believe that UK produce is high, high enough that there will always be a demand and high enough that people will go out of their way to get it. The gaming column last week that had a go at Brexit earlier was eager to ignore the fact that some of the better games developers are British, there is British Beef, British Lamb, the UK foundation in vegetables and fruits. The United Kingdom has always had a good stock and a proud tradition. I think that these traditional times can return the UK to better times.

That is also a speculation on my side. You see, this is the one time that the Telegraph has a fair point (yes, this rare occurrence happened on February 23rd 2016), There is the quote “The only appalling part is that we import so much poor quality foreign food at the expense of our own farmers“, I believe that there is a deeper truth. Obesity comes from junk food and from bad quality food. Yes, produce might rise a little in price, yet when you get the same quality ingredients from eating only 50% of the amount of junk goods you used to eat because it was cheaper, I believe that the overall health of the British population would also go up (read: lowering obesity). Mrs Fairbairn could have given that information too, you see the CBI site claimed to be connected to 190,000 businesses, so how many of them are farms?

This is no longer the age of Tesco (thanks to PwC to some extent), in addition, it stops being the place for Aldi and Lidl, it will slowly return to being the place of the neighbourhood grocery and butcher. I have nothing against Aldi and Lidl, yet their models do not run on the small local farms, their margins (low margins mind you) comes from bulk retail from big portion purchasers to deliver to all stores. It is a fair model, yet after Brexit there will be a change, their margins will fall, that is a reality, but if this opts for small business owners to rise from the ashes, the Brits in general will all win, we would see a need for jobs, not a loss of jobs. Again, this is speculative on my side, yet I do not go about scaring you readers like the CBI is doing through PricewaterhouseCoopers.

So, how about my own statement: “I personally consider this to be a blatant lie“?

As I see it, this report has issues, possibly a whole lot of them and if that is not the case, Carolyn Fairbairn would (read: should) have all the data ready for us all. When we see this level of incomplete information, giving rise to the possibility of misinformation the reference to ‘blatant lie’ is a fair given one, as I see it of course.

Now, mind you, the CBI page has the full report ready (at http://news.cbi.org.uk/news/leaving-eu-would-cause-a-serious-shock-to-uk-economy-new-pwc-analysis/leaving-the-eu-implications-for-the-uk-economy/), a 79 page document, so what does that give us and why was that not in the Guardian (as far as I could tell)?

We see the following under the key findings:

  • We have assessed the potential economic impacts of a UK exit from the EU under two possible scenarios
  • We estimate that total UK GDP in 2020 could be between around 3% and 5.5% lower under the FTA and WTO scenarios respectively than if the UK remains in the EU (interesting is how ‘we estimate that’ was not in bold)
  • The negative impact represents a reduction of around £55-100 billion in UK GDP, at 2015 values

And the final bullet point was “As with any economic modelling exercise, our estimates are subject to many uncertainties“, which is actually the core of it all, too many uncertainties, which gives additional weight to my statement.

Yet how were these numbers derived?

You see, when we see ‘Table 2.1: Exit scenario results – percentage difference in real UK GDP from levels in counterfactual scenario‘, we think we have something here, but on what core business is this founded? Is this on raw data sets? On aggregated data? You see, PwC have done all kinds of reports where they were overly optimistic, is the idea that they are intensely overly conservative on any of these numbers (by request of the CBI) and that the negative numbers are actually quite too negative? The fact that they are making predictions until 2030, whilst so far many firms resorting to analyses have been unable to make any decent prediction 3 years into the future, they ended to be overly optimistic again and again by more than one percent (try remembering Greece and Cyprus). Then there is: “A vote to leave the EU would create economic and political uncertainty that could last for several years while the UK Government negotiates the terms of its exit from the EU as well as new trade arrangements with non-EU countries“. Here is the kicker: the report did not once, I say again not once properly discuss the option of growing economies by promoting a growth interaction between Commonwealth nations. The UK stands not alone! Her siblings Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India et al, still need goods too. Whilst we see the ‘BS’ (Belonius Substance) from America regarding how the UK must stay within the EU, the UK can decide to collaborate with India on Generic medication. Now suddenly we get some individual in a white condo going on how friends should remain friends (that individual tends to be addressed as President of the United States), so here is one side of commerce that would ‘suddenly’ open doors for all kinds of trade.

The bibliography has a fair amount of theory references, and even though their existence, or their academic value is not in question, what is in question is the PDF we are looking at, especially when we see ‘Figure D.5: Working age population projections under the WTO and FTA scenarios and counterfactual‘, we see these numbers and graphs, but from what dataset? Where do we see any reference to the data population used, especially when we see a collection of graphs from various sources but with no clear reference to the numbers that these predictions are based on? In one example starting on page 47, we see ‘C.1 Economic context and key issues‘, with a reference to three graphs from two different suppliers. This gives me a few additional question marks (and it should leave you with even more questions). You see, if 80% wants to stay in Europe as stated by the CBI, whilst they had less than 800 responses, how does that hold any weight to the fact that they, on their own site state “the CBI’s relationship with 190,000 businesses of all sizes across the UK gives us a unique insight into what the result will mean for UK prosperity“, which means that 80% of the 0.4% of the businesses that decided to answer the call of the survey. I think I have raised enough questions for you the reader to be a lot less worried in this case!

Now, I am not stating that there will not be any issues, because the UK will face issues, but in equal measure the UK will stop making massive donations to a system that does not hold some of its members properly to account. It is like carrying buckets of water to the sea, an empty gesture that is a clear waste of time and money.

By the way, that report has a very interesting by-line which is shown at the very end (page 79): “This publication has been prepared for general guidance on matters of interest only, and does not constitute professional advice“, so if that is the moment of non-accountability than my final words are towards the writer of the article Julia Kollewe and especially her boss (or the boss of her boss, Katharine Viner): ‘How could you have been so stupid to go with this article. From my point of view, as a blogger tends to be a subjective one, it is a hack job, nothing more than mere anti Brexit material‘. As a newspaper you should have known a lot better! The fact that Julia writes “By taking a clear stance on Brexit, the CBI differs from the smaller business lobby group the British Chambers of Commerce, which is trying to be impartial. It recently suspended its director general, John Longworth, from his post after he suggested that Britain would be better off outside the EU“, yes, they might have done this, and they did it in what I regard a shady and shoddy way!

The article in the Guardian and the report leaves us with a few questions regarding Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI as well as a few questions regarding the editorial of the Guardian. I hope that at the very least that part has been brought to the surface by me writing this article.

To all a lovely evening and whether you believe in Brexit or Bremain, make sure that you go towards the referendum properly informed!

 

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What lies beneath!

Today is the day we get to take a look at those who get and those who did not receive an Emmy. This is a remarkable year for it. Not because of the winners and non-winners, but from my personal view on the quality of TV shows. There was little way for me to predict the winners in this year. This is not a year where there is a clear winner. They were so many amazing shows and some of them blew away their own fans. So whether we cheer for 30 Rock, Louis, Nurse Jackie or Glee, or even all of them. 2013 shows that the audience won in a very big way. If the bad economy brings out creativity then no one can afford to miss the 2014 Emmy’s as true creativity is just around the corner.

Talking about the economy, is there any news? Well, today, not unlike the Emmy’s the UK is facing issues like vetting the spending by labour, Ed Milliband does not tolerate backstabbing and George Osborne is facing Scepticism over the multi-billion pound sale of Lloyds Banking Group.

So as we are in the sphere of the Emmy, considering that soon there will be the Tony for theatre and the BAFTA and Academy awards for the cinema, here is the Churchill Award. This golden statue shows us Churchill in a thick winter coat and a cigar. Like the image we had of this great man during WW2. We should not confuse the statue with a Hitchcock or any other drama figure. Here we ‘award’ the politician.

So in good standing, the Churchill award for political events goes to (wait for it)……

Nigel Farage of UKIP!

Surprised? Angry?

Let me elaborate. I am not on his side. I remain for now a conservative. Yet, when we watch the news in triviality, where not unlike the issues in Australia Labour seems to be in power struggle after power struggle we wonder why we should support a party where the bickering of being in control takes so much energy and time of a party. Now I am all in favour of a Milliband labour with the bedroom tax gone. Yet, how will certain measures be made with a trillion plus in deficits? Similar warning in regards to the squabbling was reported by BBC’s Justin Parkinson as he recouped the words by Dave Prentis.

The second player, ‘my’ preferred side David Cameron was accused of bringing back more of the ‘nasty’. That is not a bad thing (still highly uncomfortable). I agree that costs have to be cut, yet for now he has not gotten a hold on their spending. In addition his peer in parliament George Gideon Oliver Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer did not help much. Yes, on his watch the economy is slightly better. However, if we give weight to the Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/sep/22/first-signs-recovery-despite-austerity-george-osborne) it was not his victory. William Keegan has his ducks more than just in a row and as such this article has weight. Still, the UK could have done a lot worse. Heavily against the conservatives is the Welfare Reform Act 2012 (aka bedroom tax). I always thought of this as a bad move. Especially, in a time and age, where the UK housing shortage is massive and no one can afford to move or change apartment. Nailing these people to their empty bedroom (or cupboard with bed) is just not the way cricket should be played.

So we see the winner Nigel Farage. I consider this man to be dangerous. His ideas are out there and the consequences of moving away from Europe will hurt the UK economy in ways we still cannot foresee. Still the idea of a flat tax approach has merit. When we consider the Stemcor’s of the world (or in this case, just the UK) the umbrella options and other small little twinkles that give the wealth more deductibility’s then the average welfare person many wonder. The fact that he gets stigmatised on matters seem to work positive for him as well.

Still, the plays he plans should he ever get to number 10 will hurt the UK in ways many of his voter will not realise until it is too late. He speaks to those losing much, to those in economic hardship, ever willing to blame anyone else, even if no one (bankers excluded) is to blame.

The man has the charisma and he has the drive, people react to that and in the end, all sheep plenty and few will follow the herder that gives them the best music (even if he is sitting next to a blowing volcano). If the others do not change their ways then my initial prediction from my previous blog (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/05/04/ukip-or-u-k-i-p-ur-kiddin-i-presume) will come to be true. Labour and Conservatives on the same opposition side of the isle. That would be one hell of a show to get tickets to.

 

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It hurts every time, but we love it

So, in this fifth part, we will have a little look at the UK banks that were hit lately. This is a progression from previous parts. Not because they were linked (they might be, but I gave no deeper look at that). The important reason is that the banks are doing more than setting a trend. This is all a continuation when banks became more then service providing organisation. They became profit driven. Instead of the normal profit of continuation it became driven to the optional profit of speculation. Even though most banks would argue that this is the way to go, the Netherlands showed how their banks lost to the amount of 40 billion Euros. This pretty much covers more their current deficit. There is also the continuation of thought on the decision makers. How can we be allowed to sit down and see how a group of less than 100 took decisions that would cripple a nation on narrated limitations like ‘miscommunications’, ‘blunders’ and sheer incompetence? More astounding is that following the acts, some decided to look at advices from corporations losing utter fortunes (Source: Telegraaf, 31st October 2012).

This is not just about the fact that we are dependent on a very small group of people. We are confronted that they are just people, with needs and dark desires. A group having ‘ideal’ dreams and writing checks a lot larger than their ego could ever cover.

So what to do?

Let’s take a look at three groups.
The Bank of Scotland, The Lloyds banking group (of which the Bank of Scotland is now a part) and Barclays.

In 2012 the LIBOR scandal got a hold of many (London InterBank Offered Rate), There were accusations and proof was given. As LIBOR affects the US market and it was seen as a violation of American law. The UK version of the Telegraph reported that the chancellor had made it clear that any financial penalty imposed by American regulators must be paid for by bankers, and not the taxpayer. (Source: The Telegraph).

From my side the first thought was that it might be nice if the US cleans up its own side first. I wonder how much money they reclaimed from upper management at Lehman Brothers? Interesting is the information, that those upper level ‘demons’ (aka members of the board of directors) got overall half a billion dollars in bonuses. How much was reclaimed? An example of this is Erin Callan (former CFO Lehman Brothers) who did get a nice payout and if I can believe the NY Times a new husband and moved to a high position with Credit Suisse. Now the next is really important. SHE BROKE NO LAWS! (As far as we know). Also, there does not seem to be any evidence of any kind that she lied. She has been portrayed as a ‘girl’ who was in over her head. That is hard for me to comment on, but it does raise certain questions. There seems to be a board of directors who seem to play the multi-billion dollar game like it is a round of Parcheesi. To debunk a trillion dollar company and then walk away with half a billion should result in more than just global questions. That part is important as at the end there were dealings with Barclays who had a small non illegal windfall. Now business is business, yet it does show that a certain game that was played in the US seems to be played in the UK to the extent that is now the LIBOR scandal.

 

How does this link to the Netherlands and the UK?

Well, look at the reports on how percentage bases are calculated and how it reflects not on ACTUAL debt, but based on how these debts relate to Gross National Product and how these things influence the DOW. So it is in the interest for all to keep certain numbers high. Especially for the greed driven! This is the real problem from my train of thought. Considering what I wrote over the last weeks means that the Greedy need the DOW index to move higher and higher. Yet, all the numbers give me an indication, especially when we see a global depression that those numbers should not go up the way they do. It feels to me that other factors are influencing it all. The US with the fiscal cliff (Fiscal Abyss seems more accurate). Many EEC nations are in massive debt, and then hit with waves of unemployment, higher costs, declining standard of living and no direct prospect that this will improve. People are not spending the way they did. The housing market is breaking down in several nations and so on.

So consider the next nightmare. If the DOW index drops 4,000 points to 10,000. What then? Too many people seem to ignore parts, others want to control parts and those in charge want to rule, so when it does collapse, they maintain whilst none survive.

This same view seems to be happening now in the UK. The controlling of percentages to LIBOR is only a first. A lot of these reports like the one the BBC showed in August 2012 mentioned that this system must change. This was spoken by Martin Wheatley of the Financial Services Authority. He also mentioned discrepancies going back to 1991. This means that some level of manipulation has been going on for over 20 years. So is this about ACTUAL justice, or is it that the US had become SO desperate for as strong as a hand as possible that they pulled a Benedict Arnold against their own banking ‘buddies’. For the UK readers, Benedict Arnold is the American version of Edward Devenney.

Another party in LIBOR is Barclays. They dealt in services that rely on LIBOR, by intentional misrepresenting information they got better deals and therefor more profits. The problem is that using Derivatives in this way and the involved banks’ lending money to each other it becomes a musical chair exercise in passing pieces of paper from one bank to the other. From my viewpoint it could be seen as adding funny money to the internal till and amassing profits from something that was not there. And as they moved hand to hand, they kept the margin of profit that LIBOR offers.

So the following step is reforming this. The UK government seems to be happy to accept all upgrades that Martin Wheatley suggested. However, Reuters reported on the 28th of September 2012 that these changes would add volatility to the short term markets. They also reported that the FSA (the place Martin Wheatley is from) mentions that this standard is too entrenched to replace. It seems that banks on a global scale are too afraid to rock any boat. Is it a fear that their united spread sheets are altered to remove their layer of manipulating? If that is so then their powers would soon be diminished. It seems clear to me that markets are manipulated on several levels and those in charge are in no mood to change any of it. That situation becomes a lot more volatile when you consider the US debt of 17 trillion dollars in addition to the Fiscal Abyss. Those two, when a change is set might mean that the US could be bankrupted overnight.

 

Any claim that this will never happen is slightly moot. Here we now get back to the Netherlands where the same was claimed of the SNS Bank. It is now nationalised. Many nations should now be contemplating massive change to remove the power of banks as we can no longer afford THEIR life style.

It is interesting that the UK is under such scrutiny by the US, yet the US is nowhere near on cleaning its own banks (in my humble opinion). This does not mean that nothing should be done. And it does not mean that they should not have done anything. There is however the question on how those could be improved (as I have asked myself and on my blog in several situations).

So we get to the Lloyds banking group. In January 2013, 8 people were charged connected to a $55,000,000 corruption scandal. (Source: AP). This is not the only issue. Ian Fraser, an award winning Journalist, who reported amongst others for the BBC and Thomson Reuters has a lot more on his blog http://www.ianfraser.org. If anyone wants to question his education? Well the man was ‘shaped’ by St. Andrews (the University, not the Saint), which means he should be regarded as a member of the highest echelon in his profession. In addition, when we look at the board of directors of the banks we mentioned earlier, then we see more than just casual links. Some of them had positions at Citigroup, the FSA, The Royal Bank of Scotland, the US Treasury, JP Morgan Chase, International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) and more. This seems to remain a very small inner circle in-crowd.

It is clear that a lot more has happened and even more is happening. This is not even the complete story, but we have clear evidence spanning 2 continents that several nations have a collection of banks where it is all about the profit. Looking at the ‘blunders’ where they were willing to bet the house on all of it. So I feel that clear, visible and vocal oversight of these parties is a given essential need!

Please consider this last part. The UK banks involved in regard to the corruption case and the LIBOR scandal consists of 4 of the 5 large UK banks. It sounds harsh however this implies 80% of the UK banks have prosecutable issues. This is more than a scary statistic. I would take a guess that these 4 banks are controlled by boards of directors and they would add up to less than 75 persons. What happens when they in the same fashion as the Dutch SNS agree that ‘blunders’ were made? Could the UK survive a hit that large? More important will be the question whether the results also impact their siblings Canada and Australia?

Several questions and I expect that no clear answers will be forthcoming (any day soon). A political step could be in the form of carefully phrased denials and years of closed door meetings.

For me the conclusion from what I have seen over the last few weeks is that oversight is a must, there should be a clear list of definitions that the financial world must openly agree on and that there must be an open list of those involved in those standards.

As I close this final part of my reflections, the hope is that you enjoyed these five blogs.

These series were my thoughts on the Financial Banking Blunders as set in:

  • Greed and the lack of common sense.
  • Time for another collapse.
  • The future of greed.
  • A solution by annexing greed?
  • It hurts every time, but we love it.

I will try to take an evolving look at banking laws in a future blog.

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