Tag Archives: Nicola Sturgeon

The double sided blade

I stumbled upon a situation last night that gives food for thought. You see, I am the first one to give way to those who are growing an actual business, those who are there to be true captains of industry. Yet what defines a captain of industry nowadays? What if the person is stated to be an entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist; yet, the information given to us makes that person a mere oppressor, a borrower and an antagonist or opposer? In this case I am talking about Jeff Bezos, the man behind Amazon. Multi billionaire before he became half a century old, making him more successful than Bruce Wayne without the cape and the niceties.

So where does my view come from?

That is an important part, because other whiles it would just be envy, which in my condition isn’t entirely untrue either. The part that set it off yesterday was in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/11/amazon-accused-of-intolerable-conditions-at-scottish-warehouse). We could agree that the subtitle is merely an emotional part, yet the consideration it gives when we read ‘Willie Rennie claims workers are paid so little some camp outside warehouse in tents to cut commuting costs’, depending on the distance, we can agree that alternative solutions would be found and it is not up to an employer to decide how any employee is deciding on their budget.

Yet when we see the following elements:

  1. All permanent and temporary Amazon workers start on £7.35 an hour or more and earn at least £11 an hour for overtime (The new national living wage is £7.20 for workers aged over 25).
  2. Amazon has been accused of creating “intolerable working conditions” after allegations that workers have been penalised for sick days and that some are camping near one of its warehouses to save money commuting to work.
  3. A Sunday Times investigation found that temporary workers at the warehouse were being penalised for taking time off sick and put under pressure to hit targets for picking orders.

So are my impressions founded? You see, point one gives way that the Amazon is acting within their right and as such Amazon does nothing wrong, as stated before is there an issue as we see point two? There are clear labour laws, you get a number of sick days, but you need to build up that right, so again is there a wrongdoing? Item three repeats item 2, giving additional questions when an article seems to rehash a point, yet in addition the requirement for targets and pressure are a clear issue. The question becomes are these targets realistic? If they are not then there is an issue.

Yet this is not the only side in all this. In addition there is the part we would have seen in the Daily Record (at http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/politicians-union-leaders-urge-snp-7235948), more important that this news was from January 2016, so the issue is not really new. The issues in that part is: “Rennie clashed with Sturgeon over the issue at Holyrood on Thursday, highlighting a £1 million grant given to Amazon in the past year alone. The UK arm of the business paid just £11.9 million in tax in 2014, despite taking in £5.3 billion from British shoppers“, which implies that a company making £5.3 billion, only pays £11.9 million in tax in 2014 and got a £1 million grant last year. Now, we can see that three could be an issue, but where are the direct links? You see, Revenue is one, profit is another and after that there is taxation. We can put a straight argument that 5 billion would require more than 10 million in taxation (11 million minus a grant), yet what possessed the giving party to give that 1 million grant? Why was only 11 million in taxation paid? None is this reflects on Jeff Bezos, this is not a failure of the maker of Amazon, but a failure from the governing parties giving out cash where the requirements in light of revenue was nowhere near any justification of any grants, especially when we consider Forbes, who stated that Amazon boss Jeff Bezos ‘added $20 billion to his net worth over the 12 months through late September 2016‘, so, based on how much revenue and profit brought the increased net worth? The newspapers are extremely non-revealing on this. Now consider the two sources, the fact that some was known for nearly a year, we could ask questions from these agencies hiring, we could ask questions at the HR offices of Amazon in the UK and Scotland, yet in all this, were any errors, any transgressions made? Amazon is a business and its concern is profit plain and simple. The fact that according to the initial part that Amazon pays £0.10 per hour above a living wage, we could consider the firm to be Scrooge like which is not a crime! Now we need to look at two elements. The first is the definition of a living wage, which is regarded by several sources as ‘a living wage is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs’. Yet what are basic needs and where does that end? In addition we should consider that the living wage should be substantial enough to ensure that no more than 30% of it needs to be spent on housing. Which is interesting, because that is nowhere near realistic in many places. In larger places, we either need to consider growing cost of commuting or consider that £144 pw is not the cheapest in Scotland and not that sizeable. So at a working week of 40 hours the rent is 48%, implying that the living wage is far below expectations or realism. The only way to get near a living wage is to work a full day extra in overtime, yet in all this the cost of living is not considered, so we have a CEO who is getting demonized here (by yours truly), yet what wrong has he done? From the parts I can see, there seems to be enough evidence to see that there is no wrongdoing on the surface, yet we can in equal measure debate whether he can call himself a philanthropist. If you are spending money on one side by being a ruthless almost cutthroat like business man on the other, they should be cancelling each other out. Is he validly under the same conditions really an investor? If he is using the guise of tax deductibility, is he actually investing or is he relocating funds that were due to HM Revenue & Customs? Relocating some (read: most) of these funds so that they benefit the ‘personal goals‘ of Amazon. Is that really investing? Lastly there is the title of entrepreneur. If we accept the definition: ‘a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit‘, well Amazon has been here for a while, so setting up? We could see it in light of franchises, does that count? And as for taking on financial risk? With the league of tax write offs and grants, should he be allowed to call himself an entrepreneur?

So perhaps the titles or entitlements given to Jeff Bezos are no longer valid, is that a valid view, does this warrant demonization? Off course is does not, because that would be unjust. Yet, we seem to focus on the ‘stamps’ we are giving a successful person, whilst in the cold light of day we overlook the non-repayable funds given to Amazon. In addition, when we look at the independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/money/tax/revealed-amazon-earns-more-through-government-grants-than-it-pays-in-tax-8617919.html), where in May 2013, the following was given to the public: “Amazon paid less in UK corporation tax last year than it received in government grants, its official company accounts have revealed – sparking condemnation from MPs around the country“, which happened in 2013. We now get another side that is not with Jeff Bezos, but with parliament and elected officials. Yet that news did not really make it to the massive forefront (other than Willie Rennie who seems to shout for attention). You see, if I can be harsh on Jeff, I need to be equally be harsh on Willie and in that regard the fact that the Amazon issues have been on the papers for the longest of times, implies equally that there either is no political issue, or that the most in charge have not committed to anything towards the workers who feel wronged, yet are any laws broken? That is the issue we need to address. What is valid and what is of concern is the labels we seem to bestow on people. For what reason? We can argue that enabling through tax laws does not make a person an investor and the £5.3 billion gains against £11.9 million taxation is equally incomplete more important, how much was exactly invested by Amazon and where? Even if we accept certain labels and certain values, we need to equally accept that the old values entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist are no longer what they seemed to be. In a world of constants, we see the change and evolution of entitlements on a nearly daily basis giving us less to hold onto and even less than that to consider as the stability of an impression in a constantly changing world.

How is that fair on those who truly were philanthropists, investors, and entrepreneurs?

So until the true investigation, if it happens at all, Jeff Bezos might not be seen as a borrower, an antagonist or opposer. Yet at this point there is in addition nowhere near the clear evidence available to see him as an oppressor, that part would only be seen in the eyes of the workers who decided to stay in tents, to avoid travel costs that does not make him an oppressor. In addition, what scrutiny have the agencies been going through? The smallest quote in the Guardian stating: “Staff have to pay to catch an agency-provided bus to the Dunfermline site” gives us the part where we need to ask how much people have to pay and was this clearly communicated to them in the beginning?

In the end, we need to take a look at what is going on at the Dunfermline site. Is it merely Liberal Democrat shouts for attention via Amazon?  If not, considering that this has been going on for quite some time, how have officials failed and in addition, who signed off on the grants for Amazon? All valid issues and without clear answers we can only see Jeff Bezon as a shrewd business man, which is not a crime and not a valid push for demonization of him in person.

And the hidden messages we now see regarding the whistle-blowers and Google taxation? The independent is giving a nice line, in between the lines of Amazon, yet why is this not seen in a clear tax audit? If there is an issue not reported or not seen by Ernst and Young, it means that either the tax laws are not clear enough, or that Ernst and Young is shown to be unable to do its job. This would be a valid discussion with PwC, yet is there any clear indications with E&Y? And who were those whistle blowers? What many are ignoring is that the benefit of a global company means that you have global options, which is the clear benefit that Amazon is using as well. The fact that politicians have been unwilling to make changes to tax laws makes them negligent and possibly incompetent, not the large corporations, a part clearly not seen in any of the articles. So like Ed Balls, we see another politician shouting for the limelight, yet is there clear wrongdoing?

It seems that this is sidestepped by several parties and when we consider that the sources I mentioned are news sources, perhaps they are missing the plot too, but that just a small speculation from my side. We look at a double sided blade, Amazon and Google alike will slice from the revenue on one side, yet they will in equal measure slice from entitlements within legal limits from the other side of the blade because the option was given to them. Given to them, not taken by them, there is a clear difference and politicians are at the core of that largely diminished roast being presented.

 

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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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Within the Entitlement of Relevance

Very early this morning an article made it into the Guardian. The title ‘David Cameron boasts of ‘brilliant’ UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia‘, (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/25/david-cameron-brilliant-uk-arms-exports-saudi-arabia-bae), which is fair enough. The UK is one of those nations that actually has an arms export option. It is nowhere near the size of the US, but that is not the point here.

When we read: “on the day the European parliament voted for an arms embargo on the country over its bombardment of Yemen“, we should be asking: ‘and why do we care about that?‘, yet this is not the case. We see both “At almost the same time, the European parliament voted in favour of an EU-wide ban on arms being sold to Saudi Arabia in protest at its heavy aerial bombing of Yemen, which has been condemned by the UN” as well as “The vote does not force EU member states to comply but it increases pressure on national governments to re-examine their relationships with Riyadh“. Which is a joke of sizeable proportions (reasoning will follow). Finally we see: “The Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has been extremely critical of Cameron’s relationship with Saudi Arabia because of its human rights record, prompting an angry response from Riyadh“, which could be seen as a humorous climax in labour less form.

We need to deal with the quotes so that it all makes sense to you, but there is one more element in that story. That we see from: “Oliver Sprague, Amnesty International UK’s arms controls director, said: “The ‘brilliant things’ that David Cameron says BAE sells include massive amounts of weaponry for the Saudi Arabia military, despite Saudi Arabia’s dreadful record in Yemen“. I needed to add this to all this, because there is the start.

You see, I am on the fence here. I will happily support Amnesty International, because for the most it is a force of good. When I see the title ‘UK’s arms controls director‘ I wonder if AI lost the plot a little. Let’s be clear here. It makes sense that AI has people on the payroll who understand weapons, understands mines, chemical ordnance. That makes perfect sense. AI is in need of knowledge on many levels and plenty of their work is in places where people tend to passionately not like each other (as in: with clubs, machetes and automatic weapons). Yet, when AI is wasting time on a valid business deal, we should ask a few additional questions. Now, we should quickly mention another side. At https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/amnesty-expert-barred-london-arms-fair, we see ‘Amnesty expert barred from London arms fair‘ as well as his quote “They’ve kept me out, but the question is: what has DSEi got to hide?” Let me answer that instead of the DSEi. You see, I could with my own expertise attend that event, and like him, I will equally hear “alas sir, you didn’t meet the criteria for registration“, even though there should be a few around in that field who know my skill levels in that regard. It is not skill or expertise, you see, it is about CLEARANCE LEVELS. These events are frequented by a massive who’s who of unregistered events, with a decent amount of government employees who need to talk shop, having non-cleared people on that fair tends to be a little unsettling for several reasons. In part because this world has its own rules, you obey those rules or you stop functioning in that world. There is every chance that I could accidently make the mistake whilst Oliver Sprague would intentionally do these things. Most of these people shy away from cameras (apart from those special social functions), they are there to talk shop!

You see, I have every respect for Amnesty International, they have done many good things in the past and will continue this in the future. For example stop torture makes perfect sense. There is also a questionable part from AI, it is nice to talk about the Human Rights Act, yet in the decades they have never succeeded in championing the need to add Spousal Abuse to article 3 of that HRA. Is spousal abuse not torture in its own rights? In that regard AI likes to be very visible, but in some way the big fights are never really fought (or better stated have not been fought for a long time). They have shown success stories every year, but landmark achievements have been absent for some time. Let’s get back to the initial story, but do not forget this part as it has bearing.

You see, the next part is slightly more entertaining. That tends to be the case whenever the honourable Jeremy Corbyn gets involved. Apart from the fashion comments we have seen in the last two days. The actual issue is his choice to get to the CND-rally, which is not a bad thing, but in light of timing, he decides to walk away from the national Labour campaign day, where he would be persuading voters to back Britain’s membership of the EU. This leaves to mind, is this a first inkling that even labour expects Brexit to become a reality? Whether that is true or not, this event has a direct bearing on the British population within this year, the CND rally has been going on for decades, so there would be another one next year. There is no other story beyond that. When you lead the labour party, it must be about the party, not about temporary ideology, because the CND is temporary at best and all ideological. I state that because there is no doubt that the UK would never instigate it, it would however respond if need be. Jeremy knows this (or he should not run the labour party). In all this I accept and understand that this is an option to rub elbows with people like SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood and Caroline Lucas of the Green Party. Yes, those meetings make perfect sense, yet that means that none of them are really there for a CND rally. That is not an accusation, it is not wrong, but it leads to questions; questions that can slow down any election for a massive amount.

Two events all with issues of relevance, relevance from within those people from their point of view.

Now we take another gander, a gander towards the path of Saudi Arabia. Most people refuse to understand (read: accept) two elements. The first is that Saudi Arabia is a sovereign nation, a nation founded in 1932 by the House of Saud. The most important part here is that this is a Muslim nation, it is a nation of laws, in their case it was the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia in 1924 when King Abdul-Aziz made Shura a foundation of his government in order to fulfil the divine order by applying Shariah (Islamic Jurisprudence) and Shura as parts of it. So, we have a clear given, a monarchy that lives by Muslim rule of law, Shariah law. We might not comprehend, understand it or even accept it. But in the Nation of Saudi Arabia it has forever been law. I still do not understand how people go about trying to enforce their rules upon others. You see, when I hear these ‘moralists’ speak on how Sharia Law is so ‘barbaric’, they in equal measure forget that their own governments abandoned them as markets collapsed twice since 2004, no decent part of the involved parties went to prison and absolutely no laws were properly instigated and enforced against greed and in that regard, the least said about flawed corporate tax laws the better. In light of all this consider another fact that applies to the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia, the previous assembly had 70% of its members with a PhD, 49% got their degree in the US and 20% from a University in Europe. So this is a group highly educated. Initially, going back to the beginning, the council was entrusted with drafting the basic laws for the administration of the country. Which is interesting as the US started in a similar way, a nation of laws under god (their Christian version). When we see the Shura council, we see in Article one “and following His Messenger Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH) in consulting his Companions, and urging the (Muslim) Nation to engage in consultation. The Shura council shall be established to exercise the tasks entrusted to it, according to this Law and the Basic Law of Governance while adhering to Quran and the Path (Sunnah) of his Messenger (PBUH), maintaining brotherly ties and cooperating unto righteousness and piety“, so as others judge the actions of Saudi Arabia, ask yourself, in the last 5 years alone, how many instances from large corporations and government have we seen, where ‘maintaining brotherly ties and cooperating unto righteousness and piety‘ were never part of any consideration? You only have to look at your pension plan, healthcare or deficits to see that ‘brotherly‘ is nowhere to be found.

This too is relevant to the entirety of the situation when we return to the honourable Jeremy Corbyn. Several sources stated “Jeremy Corbyn has called on David Cameron to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia after a United Nations report found the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen had “conducted airstrikes targeting civilians”“, based on what evidence would be my first question (not stating the validity of the UN), apart from that, Corbyn has a direct responsibility, you see, the UK had coffers that need to be filled, the UK has product that can be sold. We have seen how UK Labour was willing to spend money they never had, leaving the UK in massive debt. The last thing he should do is call for a suspension. Let me explain that part.

  1. This arms deal is not with some organisation like Hezbollah, it is a legitimate sovereign government of an established nation. The UK has every right to sell products to this nation.
  2. Whenever the west gets directly involved in any Middle Eastern event, it becomes a massive mess, in all this after half a decade, the west has done next to nothing regarding Syria, Europe has to deal with massive waves of refugees and there is no end in sight. Amnesty International knows this. They also know that Sharia Law is another matter, it is not for them to judge; it is for them to accept that the sovereign nation of Saudi Arabia has every right to keep their own set of laws.
  3. Hezbollah and other players in Yemen are not part of an established government, they overthrew governments and the mess that followed has been ongoing ever since. In that light, there are too many question marks in too many places.

I believe that any Middle Eastern issue should be resolved by the Middle Eastern nations themselves. With escalation on the south border and firing of missiles into Saudi Arabia, they have every rights to protect themselves in any way they need to. That is also part of the equation. In that regard Islam 101 gives us two parts “Fight against those who fight against you in the way of Allah, but do not transgress, for Allah does not love transgressors” as well as “Kill them whenever you confront them and drive them out from where they drove you out. (For though killing is sinful) wrongful persecution is even worse than killing. Do not fight against them near the Holy Mosque unless they fight against you; but if they fight against you kill them, for that is the reward of such unbelievers“. The next part is also from the Quran, but I am not sure whether this is Sharia: “The Quran sanctions violence to counter violence. If one studies history of Arab tribes before Islam and fierce fighting they indulged in one would be convinced that the philosophy of passive resistance would not have worked in that environment“. This is the kicker, we see that passive resistance was not a solution, because of the mess that Arab spring left the Middle East. In that Saudi Arabia has a right to counter its attacks, which means that we do not get to say too much on how a sovereign state defends itself. In addition, with the amount of ‘additional’ groups in Yemen, can we be certain who is who there?

But do not fear, Smith is here!

You see, I am very willing to join BAE and become ‘the’ sales person there (I know a person who would join me, so a team of 2 could be achieved), I will take a decent sales income and of course the 3.75% bonus on surplus sales and 3.25% bonus on sales targets reached. I reckon that I can sell the Eurofighter Typhoon military planes, with consultancy, training and guidance. In addition, I will be happy to provide for ammunition and ordnance. As stated, we Commonwealth nations need to stick together and I am happy to aid in the support and consultancy of those jets.

This now gets us to the final part ‘an arms embargo on the country over its bombardment of Yemen‘. What data is there? What evidence is there? We know for a fact that Hezbollah is there, that the Iranians are all over this, which is interesting as they are supporting the party overthrowing the legitimate government. So is there more? Is this perhaps an organised annexing of Yemen for Iran? The elements that gives value to that are indeed in play, whether this is a factual interpretation is not clear, too much data is not available to me, as well as too much time has passed from the start of all this.

And the final part in all this is “The vote does not force EU member states to comply“, which makes the EU a lame duck organisation. All that time and all these events for something that holds no real value. Now let’s take the headcount for a second. Oliver Sprague, a civilian with no political power, a person who leads by instigating those who have power and only in events where it is beneficial to those people could something possibly happen (not in this case though). Jeremy Corbyn, a political headpiece, but not one that is currently in office, he is merely in opposition and as such he is about visibility and branding himself (politically plugging is also a term that applies in this case). These two non-deciders are opposing a nation that needs commerce that needs to export as many of their products as possible.

In the defence of the two non-deciders I must add, from our values, we might have issues and it is nice that the UN is also about values, yet in all this, apart from condemnation there has been very little against terrorist elements. Of all the condemnations we have seen since Syria has a little issue in 2011, how much actions have been taken and for how many millions of Syrians has it been too late? Too many speakers for inactions, too little actions on economy and actual actions on the HRA (like the little addendum to article three I mentioned earlier).

So within the title of relevance seems to apply to too many people, it includes me as well, for the mere reason that my blog has no effect on the actions of the UK Foreign Office. It is just my view on the matter, like it was the view of Oliver Sprague, Jeremy Corbyn and the EU parliament. We are all simply non-deciders. The deciders are the currently elected UK government headed by David Cameron as well as the Monarchy of Saudi Arabia, under King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. They both get to look at the ‘toothless’ response from the EU parliament, who might be entering their final sitting soon enough.

Our voices might sound nice, our words might read nice, but neither bring food to the table, which is the concern of the Conservative Party, one that they are actually addressing.

 

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The Labour Manifesto

Ed Miliband presented his Manifesto Res Rei. In light of what we here in Australia laughingly refer to as ‘the Labour party’, it seemed like a good idea to take a closer look at the speech. The full speech can be seen here http://labourlist.org/2015/03/miliband-launches-labours-business-manifesto-full-speech-text/.

So let’s take a dip into the claims pool.

‘Playing by the rules and paying the taxes that support our public services’, Really Mr. Miliband? So how will you solve the issues involving Apple, Google, Amazon et al? What measures are currently in play, what measures did Labour in its previous governing term put into play. I say naught!

The second part is found soon thereafter ‘With a government that balances the books, invests in infrastructure and works with you to improve skills and open up more competitive markets‘. The Tories are trying to get the books balanced, which means austerity. Labour had a massive hand in giving the UK that debt, so we can offer that Labour has no ability to balance books and the investment that they talk about will drive the UK into deeper debt.

Then the story changes a little and Ed Miliband goes into waffle mode. We see ‘despite the odds‘, ‘too many obstacles‘, ‘the lack of certainty about the long term‘ and my favourite: ‘Our productivity gap is at its highest level for nearly a quarter of a century‘. That last one is full of fun, because what is it based on? Weighted numbers, a lack of insight or the added anchor of virtual corporations?

Now he gets to the promise: “So we’ll balance the books and cut the deficit every year“, yes, how will you do that by investing and balancing the books at the same time? The current debt spring is loaded, because the UK has to come up 23 billion every year to pay the interest of the current deficit, so good luck with that statement, you do remember that your predecessor was cause to a massive slide in debt Mr. Miliband?

The struggle to find the workforce they need‘, which sounds nice in theory, but many corporations hire young unexperienced people to get away with what some want to slide under that table, when we see the issue where Ross Etherson, who admitted 21 counts of making or supplying articles for use in fraud, cost the NHS more than £37,000, Isleworth Crown Court heard, we clearly see that there are other issues at play, when we take the info from the BBC at http://www.bbc.com/news/10604117, we see that unemployment has steadily dropped under the Tory government. Now, I will in all fairness state that labour was confronted with the 2008 problems, but that mess was not properly dealt with under labour either. The mess left from their debacle 1997-2010 is still getting cleaned up half a decade later.

Now we get to the fishy side of it all: ‘It is a partnership for a purpose. We will give you control of the money for apprenticeships and in exchange we will say that any firm that gets a major government contract will have to provide apprenticeships to the next generation‘. How is this even realistic? Giving control of the money means that all kinds of accounting irregularities are likely to surface, then what? And in regards to ‘major government contract‘ and ‘provide apprenticeships to the next generation‘, how is that not discrimination towards the current aging workforce? In addition, we see that there are situations where apprenticeships are not a solution in the first place, which is just the reality. Consider a new frigate that is getting build with 500 engineers and 10 apprentices on the job, how many delays and what security breaches could the new frigate face? So not apply this rule to all fields? That is just a mess waiting to explode in the faces of those proclaiming it to be a solution.

Then we get (after another wave of waffling by Ed Miliband) ‘the priority for business tax cuts‘, yes, that has always been a good idea, especially as Google and Apple seem to pay 0.1% in taxation. How about infrastructure? Ah, that is next, where we see: ‘That’s why we’ll follow the recommendation of Sir John Armitt and set up a new independent National Infrastructure Commission‘, yes, spending more money on something that will not prove to be a solution, whilst the UK is down a trillion, so at this point, after we saw tax cut and infrastructure and invest, let us remember the earlier promise “So we’ll balance the books and cut the deficit every year“, which I see as:

  1. No balancing the books
  2. Increasing, not decreasing the deficit.

Now we get to the ideological part, which Ed Miliband is of course entitled to: “There could be nothing worse for our country or for our great exporting businesses than playing political games with our membership of the EU“. that is partially true, yet as the EU is unable to muzzle Greece with their flim flam rock band approach of not dealing with their debt and whilst several players are now willing to push Greece into deeper debt, both the UK and Germany need to realise that Greece is getting their credit for nothing and their luxuries at the expense of the other EU nations. How long until it is just safer to let the rest of the EU drown in their inactions against Greece? Which by the way has every likelihood of pushing both Italy and France over their maximum debt threshold, which has massive implications for any member remaining within the EU, all because no one was willing or able to stop Greece?

Now we get back to part of the speech that is an issue ‘Two years of uncertainty in which businesses will not be able to plan for the future‘, how about the fact that most of Europe in a denied recession, due to massive debt dealing is not the way to get any level of certainty? In the Netherlands, unemployment is at 7.2%, In Belgium it is 8.5% and in France it is at 10.4%, so when we look at what business options there are in Europe, we will see a cold turkey that comes home to voluntarily roost in the oven at 190 degrees, because the crispy warmth is loads better than the cold outside, even if the turkey is about to get eaten in the process.

If there is ONE business plan, that that would be the one, where the UK gets by for now, trying to grow, but most importantly is reducing the debt it has, so it does not have to fork out +20 billion in interest to banks for money the Labour party had spent.

So as he goes on reminding us on ‘We need to be a country that rescues our NHS with more doctors and nurses‘, yes, we all remember the NHS 12 billion computer scheme, that did not go too well for all parties involved, perhaps listening to others would have helped the Labour party heaps, but that was in those days never an option, so why trust them now? so the phrase ‘Not what we have seen over the last five years where the NHS slides into crisis‘ is a little misplaced as it was Labour who did messed up 12 billion, an amount that could have kept loads of nurses into jobs and grown the NHS. It was not meant to be!

So when we see the following quote: ‘To carry on with a Conservative plan based on the idea that as long as the richest and most powerful succeed, everyone else will be OK, or a Labour plan, a better plan, that says it is only when working people succeed that Britain succeeds

We ought to consider another option. To cut drastically on medical services for those on drug and alcohol based events. These people only get treatment if they can pay in advance for treatment.

Let’s take on the binge drinking issue heads on!

Those who fail the first two parts are thrown into a drunk tank like in the old days. If they die, well that is just too bad, we can blame the parents, we can rejoice on a growing number of available housing (the deceased do not need them) and the nations has even more jobs available and the cost of the NHS goes down.

Now, it will be fair if you disagree with me on this and I admit that this step is hugely inhumane, but consider: these people cost the society 21 billion on an annual base, which includes the 3.5 billion to the NHS. To protect the victims of their crime and violence, they will be remanded into prisons/work houses. So, you see, production will be better off if we change that workforce too!

Yes, I agree it is inhumane, but why must the people at large suffer for those who think that the rules do not apply to them? I have no issue with these people receiving treatment, however, if you are so willing to binge yourself for £39-£69, you can either fork out the £78 for treatment, or sleep it of in a drunk tank, either way, we reduce spending on NHS, which helps towards the actual spending balance Labour is actively ignoring.

So as I ended the look at the Speech of Ed Miliband, I must conclude that it reads political and in addition, decently devoid of realism. Which is a shame, because UK Business is in dire need of realism, which means the solution will come from somewhere else.

Which now gets us to part two of this event. It seems that Nicola Sturgeon is all about getting Labour into No10. It sounds nice, but how is the Scottish National Party any help there? Now, it is fair that they feel a lot more comfortable with their future if Labour is in charge. It is a valid call to make and it is theirs to make it to begin with. Yet, we must not forget the issues that Scotland is already short 11% on their budgets and with oil prices the way they are, their independent future is a lot less certain. This is a shame and I mean that. I was all in favour of Scotland attracting all kinds of Businesses from all over the Commonwealth to grow their economic footprint. I am still reasonably certain that Indian generic medication could grow all over Europe if they have a foothold in Scotland, which allows easy access to places all over Europe. With Oil being a problem and not a solution, other fields must be tackled to grow Scottish interest and the Labour party is nowhere near able to help Scotland there. If we revisit the issue of balancing the books, it will take less than 6 months for Ed Miliband to find way to move business out of Scotland, just to make his side look better, I wonder if Nicola Sturgeon is realising the trap she is setting herself up for.

So if we look at the Guardian article, which is less than 24 hours old, we see ‘Scotland’s SNP revolution terrifies the main parties’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/05/scotland-snp-revolution-terrifies-main-parties), which is an interesting light to see after the Labour-SNP link. There is one debatable quote that caught my eyes was: “Underpinning these analyses is a barely concealed narrative of contempt, which says they will all come to their senses when they realise there will be no land of milk and honey in a Scotland under the absolute control of the SNP“, this is fair enough, but I do not think that this is due to the SNP, I firmly believe that independence too late saved Scotland, if Scotland had been independent whilst the oil prices went into the basement, the damage would have been unimaginable. I remain in faith that growing business in England and Scotland is the only solution, it will be important for both (mostly Scotland) to look at fields they had not considered before. The Indian generic medicine growth is only one branch. The open remoteness (hence securable locations) Scotland has to offer, could spell interesting times for any manufacturing option that does not require the pressure of London, with added benefit of the lower costs that Scotland brings. Consider the Ferry from Scotland to the Netherlands, opening additional paths of revenue. Scotland can grow options, it is just the question whether the Labour party is truly a solution here.

So as we all get to ponder the choices the voters face for England and Scotland, I do hope that they will all look seriously at these flimsy speeches that rattle on all sides. This applies to all parties, not just Labour!

 

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