Tag Archives: Sadiq Khan

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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Sex Driven Developers

There are always ways to find weaknesses in government; there is a decent chance that we find them on a daily basis. Yet, how must we react when the foundation of those making the decisions are now in a runt of enabling? What happens when the government first decides on cyber rules for the safety of all whilst opening a bordello around the corner so that those in dire need of affordable housing are getting screwed over?

This is what is on the goose feather of Julia Kollewe as she dipped it into the ink jar and gave us ‘Battersea Power Station developer slashes number of affordable homes‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/21/battersea-power-station-affordable-homes-almost-halved-by-developer). She is trying to wake up pretty much everyone with this and it should wake us all up. You see, the next decade is about the dire need of affordable housing, London is in danger of alienating the very population that is the means for its survival. You see, in my mind, greed is not a ‘technical issue‘. Greed merely is and never goes away. A technical issue is when you get the cement batter wrong in one shipment, a technical issue is when you are looking at a square and you calculated for 5 corners. When you have a £9 billion project and you have to redesign 40%, you are in my humble opinion screwing people over for your need of greed and profit whilst ‘putain‘ the 250 people now left outside in the cold (pardon my French). So as we see that someone clever from these Malaysian investors, are now trying to maximise profit by slashing the affordable housing part as we read: “The affordable home proposals amounted to 15% of the total 4,239 homes planned, which included luxury pads ranging from £800,000 for a studio atop the former power station to £4m for a four-bedroom flat (the three penthouses have yet to be priced).” there is no other option but to fight back. In this there are two options left to the government. One is to get the list of investors and they are to be banned from any other real estate investment in the UK for 5 years. The second option would be that if the apartments are uninhabited for over 40% of the time, there must be a large service surcharge to the building services. Once that these investors have to report these surcharges in the upcoming sales bill, they might have to let slip some of their expected profits. In all this, the ‘compensation‘ of mentioned “build the 386 affordable homes three years earlier than previously envisaged, which means residents will receive their keys in 2020. They will be located in apartment blocks near the power station“, is only a small band aid, because it is not just about time, it is about space and location, the space of 250 apartments is now gone! We sometimes state that no man is an island, but the UK kind of is, so that means that once the space is gone, it is definitively gone. We also get the quote “an assessment of the profits the developer expects to make. Independent adviser BNP Paribas advised the council that it is “very unlikely” that the 250 homes will materialise“. So when we see this ‘independent’ party. Have they been on this project from the very beginning? You see, if that is true than we see a feigned level of incompetence. From my point of view, BNP Paribas is not just the largest bank in France; it is one of the largest banks in the world, so when they make an £9B ‘oopsie’, something else is going on. From my speculated view is that they had made for whatever plan they could offer so that they could get the project, whilst down the track they adjusted the view to get the results their investors needed and submitted the new plans so that they end up getting what they wanted in the first place. I cannot tell how deep BNP Paribas is into this as ‘Independent adviser‘ implies that they could have been called in down the track, not initially. In support of this view the article also gives us: “Keith Garner, a local architect who has campaigned against the Battersea project for years, said: “Underlying it, the financial model is all wrong. A developer-led project to conserve, repair and bring back in to use a famous London landmark is turning in to a predictable disaster“. This now gives us two parts. The first is that this is not just coming to view and even as the lord Mayor Sadiq Khan is only now coming into view, his administration as well as the previous one, will now need to show clearly that due diligence was maintained throughout the project including the view and calculations before approval was given. This puts Boris Johnson equally on the hot chair as his team comes under scrutiny. If we are to maintain the push for affordable housing, we cannot accept screw ups of this magnitude. Because once the cashable buildings are gone, it is over and no other option remains. It is the curse of sitting on an island. Keith Garner has been vocal in the past, going back even before January 2015, yet from this point onwards we see Keybridge House in Vauxhall where only 4.5% became affordable (19 out of 419), it seems to me that when we tally that part the failure is a lot larger than most realise. Even then there was a list for the PowerStation with a setting of ‘3,444 new homes at the power station 560, or 16%, will be affordable‘, so the list got slashed before and it got slashed again. Actually, the numbers changed as 3,444 became 4239, so there has been more ‘revamping’ it seems that a project this much in flux implies that certain elements were either never set or set in a questionable way. Now, we get that things change, there are always details that need ‘alteration‘ yet when you ‘suddenly‘ add 795 apartments (which under normal conditions seem to be 2-4 additional towers, we should agree that ‘questionable‘ is very much the better word to use (without getting to rude and rely on the ‘putain’ word).

Another issue is seen in “Officers appreciate the level of stresses a scheme of this size and complexity has and that the main priorities of the scheme have been the conservation and redevelopment of the listed power station building, the delivery of the Northern Line extension and new underground station and the jobs to be created as part of the new town centre“, you see, as investors are always happy to sue the pants of any official, the mention of ‘delivery of the Northern Line extension and new underground station‘ is not a problem to the Malaysian investors, so if the UK government had impeded the development of an agreed project, the government get the invoice. So there is now the implied issue that there was a mere trade off and 250 affordable homes were scrapped. Is that not a view you would envision? In addition ‘jobs to be created as part of the new town centre‘ sounds nice, but how is that part of the powerhouse building project? So as this all comes to heads in “A report by the Wandsworth council planning officer recommends that the proposals be approved, ahead of a meeting of the planning committee on Thursday evening“, there is the speculated issue that the Wandsworth council made a right mess of things and they are trying to appease the situation so that they keep their jobs and possibly avoid the wrath of parliament, there was just the need to scrap housing for 250 people who desperately needed them.

So, feel free to object and oppose my way of thinking, but that is how I see it. I understand that the UK needs economy, it needs houses and it needs jobs, but when a limited resource is wasted to this degree we need to ask questions loudly and there needs to be the revision of policies to make certain that affordable housing remains at the top of the list, and remains the top priority of the list of achievements. Yet in the last 2-3 years, there is additional evidence growing that what was a desperate need is ignored by those, because it does not really impact them.

Yet the 2015 article also gives some opposition. We see this in “Tony Travers, director of the Greater London group at the London School of Economics, says: “In fairness, the developer is being required to pay for a lot of other things. The land has to be used very intensely to produce enough yield to pay for the things that the government used to pay for.”“. OK, this is fair enough. My response would be: ‘I agree, but that is the assessment of an investment opportunity. The numbers are done and in the end it is either feasible or it is not!‘ So the investor could have walked away from it. If the government had found the £9B, it has the option to do it themselves, with a very different balance, and perhaps with only one penthouse, the other 2 could have become 3 3-bedrooms apartment each. In addition, as it is now less about profit, there could have been 900 affordable houses instead of the 636 initially envisioned. As I read the articles over time and the sources given, it seems to me that orchestration might have been at the centre of things from the beginning. That feeling is gotten from ‘The land has to be used very intensely to produce enough yield to pay for the things that the government used to pay for‘, you see, like some naval projects, where voting for adjustments is often much better than being the messenger on a failed project, because those investors would sue, and the eagerness of the Wandsworth council implies to some degree that there would be a case and a court settlement of £9B might not be the best way to go forward. And as we see in the past “Many flats were sold off-plan and, still unbuilt, are back on the market at higher prices. Just before Christmas one unbuilt studio flat in the power station, which had sold for close to £1m, was back on the market for £1.4m. Last week, estate agent Chestertons was reported to have other unbuilt flats on the market for £865,000 – £150,000 more than their original asking price” implies that investors are getting rich fast, so the entire drop of 250 affordable apartments is becoming more and more of a debatable issue.

Yet the final issue not seen in the latter article is most damning on both the houses of Sadiq Khan and Boris Johnson. The quote “the lack of a master plan for the area” is damning because it implies that the area could lose its identity, and I am willing to buy either a coffee with a cream cheese bagel with Salmon if they can clearly oppose the drop of value for the loss of identity validity. Those who truly move to London want to be in an area. They want to be part of Islington, Hammersmith or Chelsea. Some will prefer Southwark because of Hay’s galleria, yet in reality they might just do it because the hookers give much better value in that borough. Whatever reason we hear the identity of the place matters. And this requires a clear master plan. to some degree when it is in the hands of foreign investors, things go into flux, yet a clear master plan is essential the prevent London of becoming an anonymous place of chaos.

In this we remain at minus 250 apartments. You see, no matter how grand it all looks, the immediate need for infrastructure is simple. When the people have to travel too far to work, the job will no longer be a feasible solution. Even as some are pointing to an extension of the Northern Line, the simple truth is that it is an additional 15 minutes, meaning that some people will travel 90 minutes each way to get to (or from) a place where they can afford to live, on top of that travel costs are rising too. So the new place ends up being a ghost town without infrastructure. How is that an interesting investment when some could go in and out of this ghost town to burglar it into heaven as they get to do that unopposed? How many paintings and electronics need to be removed before the investors seek another place to go to?

All elements that seem to have been missed, all part of a master plan not in place and all linked to investment and economic plans that might have been dubious from the beginning. As I personally see it, a lack of long term oversight, checks and balances all cast aside for the quick profit and the marketable view of mentioning, to merely look good. And now Lord Mayor Sadiq Khan has the mess on his plate and he gets to see what might be salvaged, because when I see ‘A report by the Wandsworth council planning officer recommends that the proposals be approved‘, I wonder what has not hit the light of day yet and what else has to be sacrificed (or additional costs received) in the next upcoming year. Would you not wonder (read: worry) about that very same thing?

 

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Silence in our hearts

There is no avoiding it. There was an incident in London and this is not some ‘I told you so‘ moment. This is the moment when we need to remember is the 1st of September 1939. That was the date that the war on Germany was pronounced by the act of invading Poland. This is the moment the people had enough. Neville Chamberlain mentioned on the 30th of September 1938 the phrase “Peace for our time“, that fateful day that he held a piece of paper that unlike Celeste value, no longer had value. Those pieces of toilet paper would later be known as ‘the Munich Agreement‘ and the ‘Anglo-German Declaration‘. It took another 11 months for the war to start; I am stating that we are now moments away to be in that same position. Not some dubious moment of diplomacy. This is where we go into any nation that has Islamic State fighters. We kindly tell these governments to get out of the way or be destroyed together with Islamic State. There will be no borders, no disputed ground. If it holds Islamic State, we will come and we will kill whoever is there. You can hide behind Human Shields; we will no longer stop, give consideration or give opportunity. We have come to kill you and your children. We are no longer waiting for the diplomats who failed us again and again; we will no longer await the need of politicians to give one final option. We seek war, because we want it now!

This is not just about the seven dead and the dozens that were injured. This is because this has been going on for too long in too many places. We kindly request, that the French armed forces join us in this upcoming endeavour. We hunt, we get to them. I feel certain that Legio Patria Nostra is every bit as ready as all the other legions and all the other branches. This is where we change the game from intelligence in just hunting and killing. I feel certain that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte would welcome our arrival. According to Indonesia there are now 1200 IS militants in the Philippines. So let’s start to clean Marawi, and we will happily include Maute in the death toll. They have now resorted to using children; we will come like Hell’s winter to remove them from life. This is because the right of life no longer applies to anyone who is Islamic State. We see too much inactions as ISIL executed anyone who was unable to quote the Quran.

No worries, we will not require a reading test. In case of ISIL, the literate and dyslexic are both equally worthless. I do not care for the political excuse: “It’s Ramadan, it will be over soon“. No, I have several Muslim friends; they suffer (read: are fasting) through the Ramadan day and remain in peaceful loving union of their friends and family in the evening. This is shown in even more daring ways, if we can accept the news in the National today (at http://www.thenational.ae/world/southeast-asia/filipino-muslims-shield-their-christian-friends-in-bold-escape-from-extremists). Here we see: “More than 200 civilians walked out of the besieged Philippines city of Marawi in a daring escape from their Islamist captors, concealing dozens of Christians and saving them from almost certain murder“, that is an action that counts, which gives an annoying silence in our hearts when we contemplate the words by Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of NATO. We get the quote “NATO allies are now, in many ways, contributing to a very important fight that will take time, to defeat ISIL and extremists“. ‘It takes time‘ because you aren’t going to war, you are trying containment. There is a tactical difference. There was once a tactical advantage to that, but that time is gone. If there is one clear revelation seen from the attacks on Paris, London and Baghdad. Is that containment no longer hacks it. It is time to go on an actual assault with the clear intent to decimate the numbers of ISIS/ISIL.

The third front in the Philippines is happening and it is time to show them what we are capable of. This is not some: ‘let’s not wake up some people‘. No, this is now the clear moment where we are awake and may whatever god you pray for show mercy, because we no longer will!

So, are you now in a state of: “What on earth is happening now?“, then consider this the clarion call for war! The locations in the Philippines, Syria, France, UK, Somalia, Libya and Egypt (Sinai) are an initial focal point. If we decimate their existence in these 6 places, we not only turn the tide, soon thereafter deaf ears will get pleads of mercy from ISIS/ISIL trying to strike a dialogue. At that point it is our side that gets to decimate a little longer, so that they will finally realise that terrorism will never ever work. At best you a get a little limelight, at worst you wake up a monster. Guess what! The second is now a reality. This is not just within me, not just some rage of anger (which is actually partially true). This is the call of people who have had enough of high paid politicians and executives giving long speeches with term like ‘it takes time‘, time that has been wasted since the beginning of the Syrian war where everyone did almost nothing and where the US suddenly had no way of telling who started the Chemical attack, even with all the satellites there, they just could not tell. Well, we know who attacked London and let’s actually do something about that, not just talk about it, not just arrest someone; we put the hurt on the other side.

I personally believe that cleaning the Philippines is a first need. If they get an actual foothold and get traction in Indonesia we would have to face a decade of war in South East Asia, with a realistic chance that ISIS/ISIL growth in Brunei becomes an actual danger. Now we get to part 2 of this, which is seen in ‘Donald Trump berates London mayor over response to terror attacks‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/04/trump-berates-london-mayor-sadiq-khan-terror-attacks), the Lord mayor of London correctly replies with: “more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks“, which is correct. As stated, I am not in some rant; I am in a tactical mode, showing certain high paid players the error of their errors of inaction. If we add the responses by President Trump then I will need another 25,000 words and I just cannot be bothered with that. That is unless the Chancellor of my University will accept it as a thesis. The thesis ‘stupidity of a President‘ might find an appreciative audience in the social sciences, the drama department and the entertainment groups. It might not be of any use to those trying to get a master in Diplomacy, but that is at present not a requirement I reckon. You see, Sadiq Khan as the Lord Mayor has an organising responsibility and a political responsibility. That is why he was elected. I have been in a war mode, in military tactical analyses and looking at where to strike. OK, I am not getting paid for it, but those who are seem to be either silent or allegedly ignorant at what needs to be done. That last one might actually be a wrong assessment. It might be the situation that ‘they do what they are allowed to do as ordered by the political branch of government‘. Is that not the part we forget? The military cannot act against those who attack the UK, because the politicians are desperately seeking a non-military active solution. I believe that we passed that point by at least 5 years. I think we have hit rock bottom when it is the terrorist organisation Hezbollah that is telling Riyadh to seek dialogue and negotiations. I am willing to give a little leeway to Hamas trying to talk to the high officials in Egypt, yet if there is any continuation of rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel, their options will be removed. Yet here too we have issues as Palestinians (not confirmed members of Hamas) have been fighting alongside ISIS in the Sinai, yet the result might he as harsh as we need it to be. We can argue high and low, but in the end, we merely need to consider if we are willing to get our less militant way of life back. ISIS/ISIL will make that impossible. Anyone making any mention that there could be talks is merely deceiving themselves and those around them. We know that war is not a nice thing and that it is the beginning of a lot of ugly things, yet in all this, we did not start this. We might not be entirely innocent, yet we have forever been willing to talk, that path is no longer there because the attackers removed the option. The question becomes: ‘Can we submit to a war‘ that stops it, or will we be confronted by politicians and high brass that implies that ‘fucking around‘ is the better path. If they do, please tell them to submit evidence on when that approach ever worked. I am willing to bet that the number of successes can be counted on the fingers of a man who had his hands removed.

So yes, there is at present silence in my heart. Not because of what happened, but because what needs to be done. There is no validity to rejoice, because only the truly insane rejoice at a war where they have to pick up the weapons to act. That is a political fiasco of an entirely different nature. When your enemy has decided to use children to fight in this war, we can only feel a pain in jour heart to fight, but that is the part we have to do, because we need to be able to spare our children such actions.

 

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Bridge or swim?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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