Tag Archives: Scotland

Behind the political screen

We have seen events in the last few years that make me wonder if there is sanity in choice. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Catalonia, against their desire to become independent. It might make local sense, yet where is the wisdom? You see, the same was in play for Scotland, and now we are starting to see more ‘fire’ from Lombardy. A lot of these moves do not make sense. We might argue that an independent Scotland makes the most sense, yet in all this the direct issue is that they cannot afford it. If the oil was different, perhaps, yet even then there are larger questions not considered. The first being ‘How will we keep a budget?‘, this is the first issue and it sank any chance for Scotland. Even with the oil sales, they were already well over 10% short and as oil revenue dwindles down, the Scottish options melted like snowflakes in a Pizza oven. So until the Scottish political delegations attracts a larger more settled form of investors and long term players there is no independent Scotland, there never will be one as it currently sits and I agree that this is a sad thing for the Scots. Now as we consider Scotland and consider that both Catalonia and Lombardy will be in a place that is a lot worse than Scotland would be, the question now becomes, who is pushing behind the screen. You see these levels of ‘local pride’ is getting pushed, and it is always pushed by people with a greed driven agenda and that is a much larger problem than anyone is willing to admit to.

You see, as I personally see it, a few players didn’t get their way through Spain and the UK and are now vying for another path that opens up opportunity and credit cards. Yet behind all this, once they have what they got, they move away, out of sight, out of mind and leave where ever they have been a massive financial mess that is suddenly not theirs to solve, which they then ‘sell’ on to other players. And after that, who pays the bills? Will the ECB come with funds? Will they make the nations sign new debt agreements and exchange bills for large corporations? Perhaps we will suddenly see a wave of news with all the great things the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) can do for all the players involved. It opens up the doors they need and makes the government vassals towards the goals they have in play. One large Europe where no one gets to have a say, except for the large financier and multinational that swim in the pool that supports and supplies their needs. The fear after Brexit is growing almost exponentially within their halls of power. With ‘Since our establishment in 1991 we’ve invested over €115 billion in more than 4,500 projects‘ we all seem to think the best of the EBRD (which might not be wrong), so where do they get their profit from? Because a bank, EVERY BANK, requires return on investment to continue! With “The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is owned by 67 shareholders, 65 countries and two international organisations” that question becomes more and more important. You see, the fact that there are nations providing funds is fine. Yet when we see Canada subscribing with $1 billion a year, are they throwing money out the door, or window for that matter? In addition, what are the Governor and alternate, or more precisely The Hon Bill Morneau and Mr Ian Shugart getting out of this? Now, let me be clear. I am not stating that the EBRD is doing anything wrong, illegal or immoral! I am asking questions on where these independent seeking groups are getting their economic wisdom (or lack thereof from) the fact that these organisations ALL have boards of directors, getting an income I reckon, is food for thought, because all that money is set, stored or reserved to some extent and their local citizens should be allowed to know where that money is going to. In addition, when these groups are being invested in, the fact that they have no real viable plan to be economic independent is also a matter of concern, so whoever is setting up the funds in all this should be placed in the spotlight. The questions I ask regarding the EBRD, should give food for thought. Even as many might not remember 1993, the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/attali-runs-out-of-credit-the-ebrd-president-was-finally-forced-to-yield-to-calls-for-his-head-1494218.html) gave us: “Jacques Attali, the beleaguered president of the Bank for European Reconstruction and Development, picked up the telephone in his office in Broadgate and rang a number in Sweden. He spoke for several minutes to Anne Wibble, the Swedish finance minister and chairman of the bank’s governors, who was away from her office on Sweden’s summer solstice holiday. By the time he put down the phone, he had resigned from his post.” It sounds so summery and tranquil, yet the story is not so sweet. With “The Financial Times reported that Attali had been reimbursed twice for the same first-class air fare to Tokyo and had collected dollars 30,000 (pounds 20,000) for a speech there, even though bank staff were not supposed to be paid by anyone but the EBRD“, we see merely another section of the gravy train. First class lights, twice in his case apparently, or is that for what we used to call a ‘travel secretary‘? In addition he seemingly gets more for one day than most are hoping to ever get for an entire quarter. As for the ‘not supposed to be paid by anyone but the EBRD‘, how much was he on? As the list goes on with most notably the refurbishment of 55.5 million, I think I have illuminated enough for more questions to be asked. The article has more and more vicious material, so do read it. This now gets us to the three optional nations to be, because they will need funds and loans and other things. So whilst it is not out of the question that they would knock on all those doors, the slam back from the EBRD part is: “The EBRD’s expenditure on itself was twice as much as the bank’s actual lending in 1991 and 1992, its first two years of operation“, so running the gravy train, or is that ‘hiring executive jets‘ to fly back an forth to these three nations to be, will we see more disgraceful spending? Reuters gives us more from last June with ‘Ex-EBRD banker jailed for six years for bribery by UK court‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ebrd-corruption-prison/ex-ebrd-banker-jailed-for-six-years-for-bribery-by-uk-court-idUSKBN19B37Y), with the quote “Andrey Ryjenko, 44, who has joint UK and Russian citizenship, had been found guilty of conspiring to make or accept corrupt payments between July 2008 and November 2009 while he worked at the London-based development bank“, so there are issues and I am decently convinced that in all this Andrey Ryjenko was not the only player, as it went on for well over a year, he was merely the less intelligent one as he was the only one who seemingly got caught. So as we see how Europe is not bursting at the seams for new players to create what we might see as a ‘virtual’ or ‘fictive’ growth of the economic terrain, we will see more economic players, opening new commissions, new ‘opportunities’ whilst in fact, it is merely to set up another part of the gravy train with three new optional stops. This is what is going on behind the political screen and it is happening right in front of our very eyes. So, now as the EIB s loaning Spain 600 million euro for a Basque high speed railway, we need to ask how this will be earning itself back. It might seem nice on the verge of creating jobs for a little while. The idea that something will bring 24 million in revenue a year merely to pay for the interest is just short of insane. It is a 180Km track, so the idea that people would pay 400% to gain 30-45 minutes is close to insane. Having a normal upgraded rail that would be at 30% of the cost giving us a 140-165Km per hour train versus a train that needs to slow down by the time it is a maximum speed is beyond belief (OK, that was a small exaggeration). I get that it might seem really cool for Spain to have their three Basque capitals (Vitoria, Bilbao and San Sebastian) connected, yet the way money is thrown away is just too weird for reality (at http://www.globalconstructionreview.com/news/eu-loans-spain-600m-basque-high-speed-railway/). The 600 million is merely the loan whilst the plan requires at least 400 million more and I feel certain that by 2019 the people get to learn that the calculations were off by no less than 17%. It is the final part that astounded me the most. With “More than 7 million people are expected to use these new high-speed lines in their first year of operation, said the EIB“, Yet when we look at Statista (at https://www.statista.com/statistics/457527/passenger-traffic-in-the-high-speed-train-between-madrid-and-barcelona/) we see that the biggest transport vein (Madrid-Barcelona) was getting between 2.5 million (2010) and 3.4 million (2014), so how that goes up to an astounding 300% for High Speed trains is quite beyond me, because let’s face it, not only is it the size of the place, where we see 3 million for Madrid versus 340,000 for Bilbao, we see Barcelona with 1.6 million versus San Sebastian with 186,000 and there is Vitoria with 244,000. So the population numbers do not add up, the stats compared to other high speed trains do not add up and the required economic importance of the locations do not add up, but someone sold the story that made Spain to be facilitated for a loan that is already surpassing 1.4 billion. That is the game behind the screen and in all this, there are a lot of questions and no one is asking them. The people are merely sitting down, casually seeing train carts full of loans pass by, loans that they in the end have to pay for. And I am willing to bet anyone a nice old beer that the people selling the story that sold got a nice pay check in the end too.

As I personally see it, greed will always be the main player behind nearly every political screen and the three optional nations to be, would potentially get into hot waters on year one of their existence. So how does that solve anything? It is not impossible that these steps are not the beginnings of independent places, it is merely the start of the sovereign right of a financial institution to have the terms of conditions of their needs be made into law by contractual agreement of whatever geographical indicator that they have acquired ownership of through hostile takeovers without an army and no elections required.

And all this comes at a slightly larger price than most would expect (even beyond my descriptions given), as Spain is lowering its forecast, we see the dangers that the deficit will grow way beyond the proportions expected a quarter ago, so that will dampen further positive news. In all this, whilst unemployment is still way over the top, the EU will have a dampened outlook on a few levels, as Spain is now becoming the more outspoken negative element in all this. In this too many players have been looking towards the short term gains that were seemingly in place, yet in the end, so far they still need to prove to be a positive return on investment, something the new High Speed Train is unlikely to ever become. In that setting we see player’s vying for some level of independent growth, whilst they have futuristically been set on a debt level that will merely strangle them. How is that independence or an act to create forward momentum?

We see the elements, yet the media at large steers clear of several parts in all this. At times we hear some overpaid high official in that government state: “It is a really complex matter to address, so we have sought the expertise of the leading members in that field”, we only need to look at ABC (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-01-27/milk-company-problems-as-dairy-industry-sours/8184544) to see the events that involve the Tasmanian-based Linear Capital, we see in addition “Queensland coal miner Bill McDonald told the ABC he planned to build a 40,000-strong dairy herd and was on the hunt for 250 million litres of milk to complement his own production”, it is followed by “Within 18 months, the company announced that Mr McDonald had sold all his shares in the company and he instead planned to invest his money back in the coal industry. His departure came after the company announced its $500 million plan to produce and process its own milk had been put on hold”. So as I see it there is a structural failure, because in all this, where are the contracts? Was there any investigation? What were the findings? All this in an established nation like Australia, so when Scotland, Catalonia and Lombardy get their own version of these ‘investors’, how will it end for them? Perhaps a nice high aimed loan from places like the EIB, the EBRD, or perhaps even both? Yet when the plan starts failing and people start jumping the shark, what then? What will the damage be and how is it that these matters are not set in stronger bonds holding these investors long term accountable for the consequences of their actions.

The real question remains if such events could be prevented; you see the issue was partially addressed by me in August 2013, with ‘Political ego and their costs’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/08/16/political-ego-and-their-costs/) we see the issue raised and not before 2015. In 2 articles the first (at http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/05/the-fyra-high-speed-train-debacle-cost-the-dutch-state-e11bn/) shows that the Dutch state losses were stated to be just over €10.8bn so far, the NOS stated that week. Also we see stated: “travellers did not get what they were promised, MP Madeleine van Toorenburg, who is heading the inquiry, told a news conference”. In the second article (at http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/10/the-fyra-high-speed-train-debacle-what-the-dutch-papers-say/), So when we see ‘a job half-done which has cost every household in the Netherlands €1,500’, as well as ‘The crux of the matter is the un-transparent and unclear relationship between what was a public sector company and the government’, so the people get to read parts that I had already seen coming two years earlier. Of course the largest delay was the commission, and those dragging their heels to make sure that some names were either delayed in mentioning, or merely blocked from being mentioned at all. The Netherlands and Australia have protection from multi billion Euro stupidities, the new regions will not have that benefit and as such someone gets to pay the price. In all this, the less said on the NHS blunders the better, yet it clearly shows that the entire situation cannot be maintained and still some people end up with a large bag of coins, they move on whilst the households get to pay for their overvalued income.

It is a game that I have seen starting, misreported, placed on notice of communication and written off the red ledgers as bad debt for decades, larger more draconian changes are need to hold ‘PowerPoint users’, who in the end quickly move to another challenge with bags of coins, these people need to sign waivers and be held accountable for damages and losses, yet at that point the politicians will back down, their symbiotic connection being vital to their own futures, no matter how massive a project fails.

The fact that this has been going on for too long and still is happening all over Europe is why I fear that in the end nothing gets solved, nothing is clearly improved and every cent of the overinflated budgets is still spend, often with well over 10% spent beyond of what was available. Feel free to consider your losses as you pay for a project that never worked, was never implemented and is sitting on a shelf; you merely have to release your savings, is that not fair?

So welcome to the show of what you cannot see as it happens behind the stage of the politician and it is demanding all the camera time it can get, leaving you in the dark.

 

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Dangerous levels of extinction

Bloomberg reported Yesterday that Nicola ‘Sturgeon Sticks with Timing for Scottish Independence Referendum‘ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-01/sturgeon-sticks-with-timing-for-scottish-independence-referendum), which is a little odd after the previous one not so long ago. As I stated in earlier blogs, I am not against Scottish independence, I think that at the earliest point, Scotland should seek independence. Yet at this point it is not a good idea. The situation has not changed for Scotland, at present their budget is already 11% short and that is with the inclusion of decreasing oil revenues. This means that within 10 years there will be additional problems for Scotland. And this is only the start of their troubles. You see RTE reported only 12 hours ago ‘Spain would not ‘initially’ block Scotland from joining the EU after Brexit‘, the catchword is ‘initially‘, we see the quote “any part of the United Kingdom that becomes a state and wants to join the EU will have to apply. And follow the steps that are stipulated“, this is the part that matters. Basically until Scotland is truly independent there is every chance that Spain would object, and that is just one of the 27 nations. After that when Scotland is independent, the initiation into the EU would start, which could take up another 5 years, perhaps even more. That is the part Scotland faces, so Scotland is facing the consequence of independence, growing a ‘national‘ debt and after that we see the issue that Scotland would be debt driven and getting into the EU, a triple banking issue (debt, interest and inflation levels), all levels that Scotland would need to overcome.

For example, try googling Scotland and economy and see what you get. What economic achievements did Scotland have gained in the last two years? The Financial Times gives us a part I actually do not agree with (at https://www.ft.com/content/7c6f8ca8-0807-11e7-97d1-5e720a26771b) ‘The economic case for an independent Scotland rests on the EU‘, to that the Scottish response should be: ‘the dog’s bollocks they are!‘ In this Scotland needs to grow an economy, so far, as long as Nicola Sturgeon has been in power, not too much has been gained in that department. I am certain that there are options, I even mentioned one in April 2015, (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/04/05/the-labour-manifesto/) where I write “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“, so which Scottish politician had actually made any headway into looking beyond the EU, its ECB with big debt credit cards? Because when the credit card stops, Scotland will be in levels of hardship they have not seen before for the longest of times. At that point, who will the Prime Minister be when that happens and where will that person lay the blame?

In the end that is a Scotland that has no chance to build any future at all. How is that a good idea?

So as we see that Scotland is focusing on the USA with the added quote from Bloomberg “She also noted her political differences with President Donald Trump, who owns golf resorts in Scotland. During the election campaign, the Scottish government stripped Trump of his role as business ambassador for the country“, which sounds nice, but how did she fare with Corporate America? Scotland might be open for business, but where is the interest in Scotland? How about the Far East? How could Scotland become a hub for places like Indonesia, India, Pakistan and China? With Beef as an export, why not benefit by creating a European Halal Trade centre in Scotland? With ferries leading to Norway and a growing Muslim population, there are options, it only requires the right politician to open certain doors. I am not saying this is a solution, I am merely showing that options are there, the right people only need to look into the right direction. Because, as I see it, relying on the USA and ECB grants will not work, not whilst Europe is in the state it currently is. With Italy set to grow no more than 0.9%, its position is weaker than France and its youth unemployment still stands at 38%, implying that Italy’s infrastructure will remain under harsh levels of duress for several more years. The quote “Italy’s chronically low growth, low inflation and gigantic public debt burden (133% of GDP) make a potentially deadly trio” gives us even more to worry about (source: the economist), with the UK having triggered Article 50, France elections still having the consequence of a Frexit signal and Italy under the duress it is in, the European Union will only have Germany to be the large positive impact player on its economy and that one is not faring too well either. So this is the moment Nicola Sturgeon want to enter the EU whilst going independent? It is not just a bad plan, with a non-closing budget she will be drowning Scotland into debt and this debt will grow and grow leaving Scotland with no options for any future at all.

Yet we could go with the definition of Sturgeon that she is honouring. I cannot state whether this is the same for both Prime Ministers and fish, yet the International Union for Conservation of Nature gave us: “According to the IUCN, over 85% of sturgeon species are classified as at ‘risk of extinction’“, which is a large group that Nicola Sturgeon seems to be happy to join, the sad part is that she would like the whole of Scotland to join her in this, which is really not a good idea, or fair on the population of Scotland.

 

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What the Frack?

I have stated in several occasions that I am at heart a Conservative, I believe in the conservative plan and for the most, the damage Labour has achieved, on a near global base gives me the certainty that I will nearly never see eye to eye with labour. Yet, it is that nearly part that is today the issue. You see, the one part I do agree with is their opposition to Fracking.

I myself grew up in the Netherlands. My grandfather is British and served in WWI , my mother was British, so I am unofficial (for now) British too. I have seen the damage that Fracking has done in the Netherlands. The historic buildings that are now damaged, some beyond repair is just unacceptable. The North of the Netherlands (Groningen) has a unique historical architecture, which is now partially diminished and that is not a good thing. Consider the people who are losing their houses so that a little more gas can be obtained, and the expense that it had to go through to get it. In addition, the Dutch gas company NAM that was the instigator of this approach lost its case last year, which had as a consequence that loss of property value has to be repaired, with over 2000 claims in 2012 alone, the NAM is currently looking at claims totalling into the billions of Euro’s. The good part in this for British Barry Gardiner is that Common Law torts is actually stronger in protecting the home owners’ rights than Dutch law was, so the moment anything goes wrong (it will), the parties that will start fracking will end up paying a lot, possible even a lot more than the value of the gas obtained, so that story could go south fast and a lot faster than any administration would like it to be.

In addition, the UK has one additional issue the Dutch do not have. Fracking in the UK, because of the rocky foundation requires a higher pressure than the Dutch required, giving the UK a slightly larger issue with earthquakes and in addition to that, if the chemicals enter the groundwater in any way (a very likely issue), the damage to people’s health because of water pollution could have the realistic danger to hit water sources that people and farms rely on (being an island surrounded by salt water adds to that danger). That last is not a given, but if it happens, the UK would be in a perilous situation. You see, the Dutch have a collection of waterways and water sources that outdo the UK by a lot, considering they have larger (drink) water provision, with the Dutch at 17% of the size and only 25% of the population, if anything had gone seriously wrong (water wise), the Dutch have alternatives, the same is not clear and should be considered as doubtful for the UK.

In the Netherlands there is an issue, however, we need to clearly look at both sides. The anti-Fracking sites are giving the readers the ‘burning water‘ example, whilst the pro fracking people claimed that this was swamp gas that had found its way into the ground waters. There are issues here, but it was not a given that fracking caused this instance. Still, the county of Groningen has access to 45 billion litres of water, and that is one of the least populated areas of the Netherlands. The Technical University of Delft had this paper that was done for the Drinkwater cooperation in the Netherlands (at http://www.vewin.nl/SiteCollectionDocuments/Dossier_schaliegas/Schaliegas_gevolgen_voor_ons_grondwater.pdf), their site vewin.nl has an English version of the site.

An important conclusion is: “De overkoepelende conclusie van voorliggend rapport is, dat schaliegaswinning in principe veilig zal zijn voor het drinkwater, onder de voorwaarde dat maatregelen worden genomen die de zorgpunten van de sector adequaat wegnemen. Dat vergt in elk geval openheid over de gebruikte chemicaliën en monitoring die start voorafgaand aan het boren en wordt voortgezet tot en met de nazorgperiode (30 jaar na het voorgoed sluiten de putten)“.

The paraphrased translation “The conclusion of this report is that Fracking is in principle not hazardous for drinking water, with the clear condition that safeguards are set in place, with openness of disclosure of all chemicals used and monitoring starting before fracking commences with continued measuring of the chemicals for a period of 30 years after fracking stops“. There is a little paraphrasing here. Yet the foundation that monitoring for 30+ years will have a massive impact on the profitability, with the added situation that the Dutch, due to the soil, required an expected lower pressure. Also, the risk was still there, yet lower due to what I regard of vast water supplies. Elements the UK does not have to the extent the Dutch have, meaning that the risk here will be higher. This is one of the principle reasons I am on the side of Barry Gardiner. The interesting thing is that he is a lot more fearful than the Scottish are, which is also weird because should any water get a case of fracking chemical pollution, one of the main ingredients for making whiskey is gone, ending that market for a very long time. So, buying a 100 cases of Scotch, the day fracking is approved in Scotland, might be a very worthwhile investment indeed.

You see, my aversion to all this is that it requires openly revealing all chemicals used and monitoring. I have never ever seen any profit driven company adhere to these terms. Like the Dutch report shows the Halliburton side of it all and how spiffy their technology is. It is in the end an academic presentation to a set of requirements most large companies will ‘accidently’ ignore and when it goes to court a ‘fine’ will be advocated for that allows them still a degree of profits, whilst the elements in nearly all reports require a level of responsibility and adherence to issues that make profit a near non-issue as there will be no profit. This beckons me to think why any consideration to allow fracking is even considered to begin with. By the way, should any drilling organisation decide to go bankrupt, the aftercare of 30 years would not be possible, meaning that suddenly the government would be required to monitor all this, an expense no one is waiting for.

For the most, there are issues that cannot be guaranteed how deep it will impact the UK, yet the dangers, the risks and the long term consequences, whilst the profit is not even close to a guarantee makes me wonder why the UK Government on both sides of the isle have abstained to unite in banning Fracking on the grounds of risks and uncontrollable costs after the fact. That alone, whilst a trillion in debt should be enough to keep people away from Fracking. Only today, the Dutch NOS now reports that the Dutch NAM is going to appeal last year’s decision regarding the loss of value of houses. A Statement of Appeal, in Dutch named ‘memorie van grieven‘ has been submitted, at 16.5 Kilograms, or in a slightly more metrical definition: 3400 pages. The quote “The Company calls the verdict outdated and vague, saying it creates a huge administrative burden for the NAM“, which I find hilarious. There has been too much damage and clearly proven damage because of fracking, now that the NAM is finding the loss of profit too large, it drowns the court with a document that will take months to read. So as this case will now see another legal iteration that will not start until 2017, the people at NAM will get out fast with as much cash as possible and leave others to clean up the mess (speculation on my side). This is in my view another reason to support the view Barry Gardiner has. If not for the mere logic, then for the common legal sense that any mishap will bring with it.

The last side is the US, when we look at sourcewatch.org, we see the claim that go a lot further. There have been cases where the monitoring labs falsified data and ended up paying $150K fine with 5 years of probation, which was in East Syracuse New York. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has shown and found water safety issues with residential drinking water wells in Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming. Cases of elevated levels of Arsenic and Selenium (not the healthiest in even minute traces), places where there were elevated amounts of Ammonium and Iodide, which would be devastating to environment and wildlife and in Wyoming they found Benzene at 50 times higher than safe levels advice. What was even more upsetting is that a June 2015 report (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-04/u-s-epa-study-finds-only-limited-water-pollution-from-fracking) is reported by the news as ‘EPA Study of Fracking Finds ‘No Widespread, Systemic’ Pollution‘, there is no way to tell who to believe, but the reports stated in the past as well as some of the actions give way to the notion that big business has a hold over the EPA, not the other way around. What is also interesting in the Bloomberg article is ““Now the Obama administration, Congress, and state governments must act on that information to protect our drinking water, and stop perpetuating the oil and gas industry’s myth that fracking is safe,” said Lauren Pagel, Earthwork’s policy director, in an e-mail“, I myself would have gone a step further and make the children of the people behind the EPA report drink the water from these wells and watch how scared those parents would suddenly become. I wonder if we see any proclamations that their children are allergic to water. The crisis in Flint Michigan is another piece of evidence. Important that this is NOT about fracking, but about the mishandling of evidence regarding the quality of water. Water with heavy metals (lead) tends to be really unhealthy and the fact that one member of the EPA was involved only shows that big business finds a way to take the lead, or is that lead to profit.

As I personally see it. Fracking is nothing more than fake money. Some call it printing your own cash, which is one side, but consider that you are printing £100 that note would cost you £30 in paper and £85 in ink? How profitable is printing money then? Especially as the increased price of ink is one that both government ignore and corporations forget to mention. And the image of Balmoral Castle? Well, to cover the losses, that ‘piece de resistance’ could actually got on the market to cover the losses and that is not too far-fetched I reckon. So far there is not one place that can clearly show the benefit without the out of control risks, making this solution a non-option before it even starts.

Fracking? Get the Frack out of here!

 

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Slaves of a different nature

The sci-fi fan sees in his/her mind a woman, all green, preferably close to naked growing lust in their mind. It is the Orion Slave girl fantasy. This comes from a TV-series that is half a century old. In that universe created by Gene Roddenberry these green ladies were introduced in the original pilot of the Star Trek series in the episode ‘the Cage’, there they were depicted in a sexual context. This is not that kind of slave. Neither is it the kind that is forced to create products through prisons or work camps where they make license plates, or set up governmental mailings. Neither are they children under 18, forced into some kind of servitude. No, these are not one of the 5 forms that the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is illuminating, this is a sixth kind.

It is the kind of servitude that was once a calling, once a choice of life, which governments and insurers alike have been putting under pressure beyond any normal acceptance of labour. That part has been ignored for too long. People all believing in the wealth that a doctors and lawyers income brings. Later in a career that might have some level of truth when you ignore the elements on the other side of the scale. The fact that someone in IT will surpass the income of those graduates from the very beginning is often ignored. When I see some of my friends in health care, I see friends who are exhausted 70% of the time, some working in excess of 14 hours a day. So when I read ‘Nearly 60% of Scottish GPs plan to leave or cut their hours‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/apr/28/nearly-60-of-scottish-gps-plan-to-leave-or-cut-their-hours), I am not overly surprised.

We all claim that we are against slavery and injustice, yet the governments on a global scale are seeing their health systems collapse and as such, hiding behind the false image of all doctors are wealthy, they have been cutting into the incomes of doctors and stretching the hours they have to make. Underfunding practices and making them work ungodly hours. What we see in Scotland is only the beginning. In the Netherlands we saw in 2014 that GP’s would work around 60 hours per FTA (Full Time Equivalent), making that 13 hours per day, whilst IT staff would get more for a mere 40-45 hours a week, 9 hours a day at the most.

So in all this, whilst health care workers availability are at an all-time low, we see the quote: “26% planned to leave general practice in the next five years“, so one out of four is stopping whilst one in 6 patients will at current pressure not receive the minimum level of care which will now get close to another 1.5 out of 6. This gives us 33% to 50% of the patients in a tough spot. One foot in the grave will get a whole new meaning soon enough when that comes to pass. Certain elements of these changes are already visible in France and the Netherlands, the United Kingdom is in a harsher place than the Netherlands, but I cannot confirm how France is set. Outside of the large cities the information tends to be sketchy and cannot completely be relied upon (read: my knowledge of French sucks big time). Sweden is heading towards a new economic crises on more than one side. Healthcare is one (but less visible), the issue that is visible is the economic drain that the refugees are causing, well over 100,000 have no place and no matter how obliging Sweden is. The refugees are confronted with language issues and a skill set problem. The latter one can partially be adjusted, the first one can be overcome by the refugees who truly want this, but it takes time, which is one side Sweden is having less of. Sweden is trying to recruit doctors in many ways and their approach might work, but it will work slowly and it will cost the Swedish government a fortune. The reason for focussing on Sweden is because for the most, Sweden is a social success. Sweden has made social changes that the nation accepted (including paying a lot more tax than there neighbouring nations). The refugees are changing this, a social system can only survive in balance, the refugees arrived in such massive amounts that the system cannot cope. The total refugees that recently arrived have surpassed the size of the Swedish city of Västerås, which by the way is not the smallest of places. With the banking in disarray and Sweden missing sales marks gives additional problems for Sweden and healthcare will feel the brunt as doctors are now moving to other non-Swedish shores. Sweden illuminates the required need for the UK, a need that the UK is unable to adopt at present. In addition, the approach that Jeremy Hunt is taking will not help any.

When we see the British Telecom News page, we see “But in a letter to the BMA’s junior doctor committee chairman, Dr Johann Malawana, Mr Hunt said: “It is not now possible to change or delay the introduction of this contract without creating unacceptable disruption for the NHS.”

As I see it, my response would be ‘Yes, Mr Hunt!‘ you had alternatives but you chose to ignore them. Focussed on a system that had collapsed, focussing on the approach of slavery, you saw in your school years the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, yet as we see the words from the English poet William Cowper (1785) as he wrote:

We have no slaves at home – Then why abroad?
Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs
Receive our air, that moment they are free.
They touch our country, and their shackles fall.
That’s noble, and bespeaks a nation proud.
And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then,
And let it circulate through every vein.

 

Bankers are overprotected whilst being vultures, for not being held accountable for the mess they created (as it was not illegal), whilst at the same speed, junior doctors are reset with contracts that amounts to becoming an involuntary slave labour force. This to the degree that doctors are packing their cases and moving to Australia and other Commonwealth nations that will take them and with the shortage the world at large has, for them moving to Nassau and live by the beach with a small practice would be preferred to a city job with a mortgage they cannot pay off and working 60 hours a week. Jeremy Hunt dropped the ball. He did not do this intentionally. He was given a bad hand from the start, yet in all this instead of going on the same way, the NHS needed another direction entirely, that part was never really investigated.

For me, with whatever I have left?

If I had to go into healthcare, I would try for Radiologist position in Essex or something like that. I still have 15 years in me. For now, I have a nice idea for Google to grow their revenue by 3.5 billion dollars over the next 5 years, and gradually more after that and for £25M post taxation it is all theirs! For now, I am considering to do some teaching in Italy in the future. Teaching English in Catholic Public Schools near the Vatican. You see, this crazy merry go round we have in Europe now will collapse, there is no viable way to stop that at present as I personally see it. We must focus on what comes after. That part is now gaining visibility as we see the US President (read: Mr Lame Duck Obama) is quoted in Forbes “President Obama’s Implicit Message To Taxpayers: ‘I Own You’“. My response?

No, Mr President, you do not. You never did. Like a weakling you stopped taking taxation to a realistic level, you refused to do anything to stop greed. That part was clearly shown at the G-20 in 2013, three years ago. You might actually end up becoming the most useless president in the history of the United States of America

That would be my response!

When we look at Forbes (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntamny/2016/04/10/president-obamas-implicit-message-to-taxpayers-i-own-you), we see that the Obama treasury stopped one deal, one deal only. This is about a lot more than just that 212 billion dollar deal. You see, this is not about the Panama Papers, this is what they enabled. When we consider the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/may/06/panama-papers-us-launches-crackdown-on-international-tax-evasion), we see that same duckling state “the president will take executive action to close loopholes used by foreigners in the US and call on Congress to pass legislation“, how interesting that it is just about the foreigners, so how much is in Rothschild wealth management directly from foreigners and how much is arranged through American agents?

In addition we have “The Panama Papers underscore the importance of the efforts the United States has taken domestically, and the efforts we have undertaken with our international partners, to address these shared challenges”, which is an empty statement as I see it, because over the next 6 months too little will be done and it will be left to the next person in office. The final quote is “The problem is that a lot of this stuff is legal, not illegal”, which is something we already knew. Yet when we consider the change that could have been brought in 2013, he (read: the Democratic Administration in power) backed off, forcing a watered down version that was close to useless. This is the evidence I see as to the level of uselessness that the USA currently represents. Poverty levels are still at a high and in Europe that number is growing, this is the foundation that allows for the growth of what can be regarded as legal slavery. It is legal because it is governmentally arranged, it is slavery as the medical industry is pushed into a level of servitude of no-choice. In Europe, some are now claiming that the amount of people under the poverty line is now one out of four. That push is a great hammer for Jeremy Hunt to use to push for cheap contracts and ungodly working hours, but in the end, when doctors stop working, there is no NHS to continue to cure people (source: http://www.euractiv.com/section/social-europe-jobs/news/eurostat-one-out-of-four-eu-citizens-at-risk-of-poverty/).

There is no clear solution, but another path needs to be taken. The push from NHS and the deal that people get through what I call ‘deceptive insurances‘ and ‘skewed medicinal solutions‘ is changing the game. It now reflects back towards the change I was willing to make. What if we make hospitals self-sufficient? What if we take the insurance out of the equation and push for a self-sustaining level of hospitals on local foundations? You might think that the given logic forces us to look at Behemoths like the NHS and large medical corporations. I am stating that it is my belief that the medical gravy train is losing too much cargo on route. So it is our need to have a neutral solution. When medical suppliers start pushing on ‘how it will be too expensive that way‘, the people will have to push back. So that means that the UK hospitals start getting supplies from other sources, independent and possibly even non-UK sources. How long until greed driven corporations cave? They only need to fail 2 quarters of forecasting and THEIR nightmare begins! Trust me when I state that a merger making the board of directors over 200 billion means that their margins were really really good and via Ireland they were only getting better.

That is the issue and solving that is a first step in solving the slavery riddle, which is not a riddle, it is a mere puzzle that can and should be solved.

 

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An Olympic steeplechase

Greece is at it again (or still might be a better word)! Let’s turn back the clock a mere month! On April 28th we get the following news (via several sources): “Greece has decided to pull Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis back from bailout negotiations, a move it describes as ‘clipping Varoufakis’ wings’ and ‘reining him in’ after three months of debt talks failed to produce an agreement”.

That move made perfect sense, several people (including me) saw him in some rock star presentation which was good for his ego and not too good for the Greek people. Of course, reining in does not mean ‘keeping him quiet‘, which I would not do (for the shear entertainment value alone), but also because he is the selected spokesperson of the Greek economy. So when we see the news in the Guardian a few hours ago stating: “Greek bond weaken after Varoufakis blames creditors“, my first thought was ‘can’t the man shut up?’

The quote given is “The problem is simple: Greece’s creditors insist on even greater austerity for this year and beyond – an approach that would impede recovery, obstruct growth, worsen the debt-deflationary cycle, and, in the end, erode Greeks’ willingness and ability to see through the reform agenda that the country so desperately needs. Our government cannot – and will not – accept a cure that has proven itself over five long years to be worse than the disease

In my own view I state that he squandered 95% of the time he had with posturing, he forfeited the game buy thinking that Greece is too big to be ‘Grexitted’. Guess what Yanis! The Dutch SNS bank thought that very same notion! It did not pan out too well for them either!

Now we get the second quote, this one from Dimitris Stratoulis. He states “If we decide that there is no money left for the IMF, we have repeatedly said that our priority is to pay salaries, pensions, health, and education”. To be honest, I cannot completely oppose that! Although my priority should state Pension, Salary and Health, with a question mark to what salaries are to be paid, but I understand that the people should normally go first. I do not oppose this! Yet Syriza has been playing what I regard to be a pissing contest with people who did not need to play that game and had no interesting in playing that game. There is additional evidence. Perhaps you remember the case of Leonidas Bobolas, who got arrested in April 2015 for 1.2 million in tax evasion? That short term theatrical play just as the ‘negotiations’ were going on. I reported it in my blog on April 27th in the article ‘Finding inspiration‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/04/27/finding-inspiration/).

How many arrests since then?

The news is awfully quiet around it. There has also been zero visibility on praising Kostas Vaxevanis on his findings and his reports. It seems to me that the members of Syriza have absolutely no intent of doing anything constructive at all towards their creditors. So when we see the statements “Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has apparently pledged that Greece will meet its €305m repayment to the International Monetary Fund” by Yanis Varoufakis as well as “Tsipras instructed officials to act speedily as his government sought to defuse tensions saying it would do its best to honour its debts – even if it failed to reveal how, exactly, it would find the money to pay €1.6bn in loans to the International Monetary Fund next month” (Helena Smith, the Guardian).

Yet these two parts are already ignoring the 750 million pushed forward because the invoice of May 12th was not ‘paid’! It was settled using the IMF emergency funds, which means that this money is also due. In addition on May 12th, 16th and 19th are the amounts of 348, 581 and 348 million due. That is just the IMF, the maturing bonds as well as the ECB have not been taking into account in this matter. In addition, more bailouts are already known to be needed, so as Varoufakis is boasting, threatening and claiming, I notice that many are ignoring the observation some made “the creditors’ insistence on even more austerity, even at the expense of the reform agenda that our government is eager to pursue“. This is at the heart of the matter, because Greece is facing a 22 billion annual interest invoice, which it has no way of paying. A fact many are simply ignoring. So as non-actual payment of three quarters of a billion were made, we must wonder where that comes from. Let’s not forget that on June 12th 3.6 billion in T-bills mature!

Another non-reality comes from that same Guardian when we see: “Traders are also blaming Klaus Regling, the head of the European Stability Mechanism, for today’s euro selloff“, which is specified in “There is little time left… That’s why we’re working day and night for an agreement. Without an agreement with the creditors, Greece will not get any new loans. Then there’s a threat of insolvency. There are a lot of risks contained in that”, which is a reality I have pleaded for, for some time now. The funny part is that the New Democracy HAD it for the most sorted and the Greek people were suffering, no one denies that! Yet the courts have not made any attempt to hold previous administrations accountable, the tax evasion schemes had one trial so far and 1.2 million does not go far.

There is one final part that is an additional danger. It is not reported on, because in all honesty, the actual danger is not known yet. But did you consider how tourism will do this year? How many thousands of tourists will consider avoiding Greece (the Germans being a first nation that comes to mind)? You see, no matter how we regard the Germans, they for the most had jobs, had incomes and will desire a warm vacation. The Greek approach will work out nicely for Spain, Portugal and Italy I reckon, but with the acts of alienation Greece is cutting itself in the fingers. In addition, the dangers of drying ‘wells’, like the fear of empty ATM’s and other means not operational give added fear to the tourist population. Even though Crete should remain reasonably safe, the reality is that no part of Greece might be safe if clear progress is not booked within 2 weeks. I do hope that it will not pan out to be too bad for Crete, Stavros Arnaoutakis has been an active fighter for the prosperity of Crete for a long time and it was his birthday yesterday, so: “Happy belated birthday Stavros!” He was born in Archanes, due South of Iraklion. You might wonder why I bring this up. I will repeat the issue I voiced well over a year ago. It is becoming more and more visible that the power of Crete might reside in its independence. Crete has a founded tourist base, it has a functioning harbour for commerce and functioning airports for commercial ends too. This independence would not break their Union with Greece, but unlike the independence of Scotland, Greece has a much better chance to setup its independence at present, without too many nasty negative sides. Whatever options Syriza is currently destroying, Crete could set up a working base of minimal credit and continue for now. It will be hard, no one will deny that, but if Crete can sway a few services towards the Cretan island, it would for the better part be decently self-reliant.

This is a much better position than the position Greece had in the past, which team Tsipras/Varoufakis efficiently destroyed as I personally see it.

I also believe that the dedication Stavros Arnaoutakis has shown for a strong Crete could go a long way with whatever creditor conversation might be needed. As Crete moves straight into the Drachma, which would then be called the Cretan Drachma, would start to build on a future for both social enhancements (within Crete) as well as built on the decent foundations that Cretan housing has as well as a shift towards a services oriented future. Consider the mild climate Crete offers with water views all around that island, how long until 2-3 retirement villages would rake in jobs, commerce and income from retirees who would like their last few years in decent sunshine?

It is not enough to warrant full independence, but it is a start, if only to make the reliance on tourism 10%-20% smaller. Consider call centres that could work in that time zone and the better weather conditions. Before too long, students from all over Europe will seek a call centre all day and party all night vacation. I admit it is not the business call that matters here, but good commerce is where you built it!

Now, this might not be a great idea (perhaps not even a good idea), but I am trying to find a solution! I hope that there will be options for the Greek people, because Syriza is quickly and as I see it possibly intentional discarding whatever solution is left for the Greek people. If you doubt this, then consider the following facts:

* Less than an hour ago, I see in the Guardian, the following release: “Mujtaba Rahman, analyst at Eurasia Group, reckons that Greece will probably reach a deal with the Eurozone in time” (I am not convinced), in addition we see “We continue to believe Tsipras will lose around 5-10 lawmakers from his coalition when the package is presented to parliament (potentially attached to a vote of confidence). But we suspect he will lose less than 12 MP’s allowing him to keep his parliamentary majority“. As I see it, this should be about protecting the Greek people, now we see the cold reality (not an invalid one) that this seems to be more about playing with votes and keeping a ‘parliamentary majority‘!

This is why I felt that Antonis Samaras was the better option. He was trying to find solutions, not be ‘the popular guy’! You think Antonis Samaras was making friends when he was in office? No! He inherited a 400 billion invoice (very rough estimate) with no way to pay for it. With floating the credit ceiling and pushing non actions, Tsipras in his short time (with of course support by Varoufakis) has added close to 20% to that total debt. Now, in all honesty, he did not cause that 20% directly, but by sitting on his hands and playing theatrics he has not helped resolve any of it.

But we must also adhere to reality. The following we get from Bloomberg if Greece misses a payment: “A missed payment date starts the clock ticking. Two weeks after the initial due date and a cable from Washington urging immediate payment, the fund sends another cable stressing the “seriousness of the failure to meet obligations” and again urges prompt settlement. Two weeks after that, the managing director informs the Executive Board that an obligation is overdue. For Greece, that’s when the serious consequences kick in. These are known as cross-default and cross-acceleration“. This is a true reality, yet is that per payment?

Consider that this happen on June 5th and we get to June 19th? At that point two T-bills will have matured for the total amount of 5.2 billion, the second one of 1.6 billion on the 19th itself. When the 5th is missed, what will the markets do then? In addition, on June 19th a total of 910 million will be due too (16th and 19th of June IMF payments). In addition, what will happen to the interest levels when the two week term passes?

No one denies that the payment pressure is too unreal, but the Greek government themselves was cause to all of this (not Syriza)! That is at the heart of the ignored facts (read: unmentioned). These facts are exactly why Crete should consider protecting the Cretan population if at all possible. In addition, the separation could give additional credit to the Greeks on Crete and it might (not a guarantee) instil a lesser negative impact on tourism, which would be a massive plus. A few extra options could be set up there, but that would be up to Stavros Arnaoutakis and his peers to decide.

So how will we see this steeplechase unfold?

The ‘die hard’ positive proclaimers are singing the same song again and again, the doomsayers are hammering on what cannot be and both are interestingly avoiding key issues. Whether they feel repetitive on them is beside the point. I try to remain on the fence (which is hard with Syriza), yet I do try to find solutions. Will they be useful? Not for me to decide, but at least as a non-Greek, I might be one of the few trying to find a non-exploitative solution, which puts me ethically, morally and spiritually ahead of the pack.

 

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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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The dangers of freedom

I am all for freedom, I reckon that anyone growing up in Western Europe, USA or the Commonwealth has that same feeling. We love our freedom. There is however a dangerous downside. As I see it, freedom comes with the granted option to become an idiot, a moron or any other type of person that we usually find revolting to some extent. There is another group. There is nothing wrong with hem. They seem to be nice, they seem to be honest, and usually are portrayed as fair and they believe in fair dinkum. This is all good, no negative word on that part, they also exercise their right to free speech and they do just that. They believe in certain change, which is all good, but now these people are pushing us all into a dangerous area, where the consequences could be dire. This is not so good, yet they believe that they are doing the right thing. Some might state that the road to hell is paved on good intention. I think that this is too strong a statement, I believe that those people are getting on a bandwagon that goes into a foul direction, because they do not foresee the dangers that lie ahead. This is the issue!

We see this side in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/03/australian-republicans-we-can-no-longer-afford-to-wait-for-the-monarchs-passing). The title ‘Australian republicans: we can no longer afford to wait for the monarch’s passing‘ gives a hint of what some might regard as treason, but I am still willing to see it as people, devoted to Australia, but not seeing the dangerous currents of that journey. That excuse is not valid, when we consider the article with Bill Shorten (at http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jan/25/move-to-a-republic-would-show-australia-is-modern-and-inclusive-bill-shorten-says), ‘Bill Shorten: move to a republic would reflect a modern and inclusive Australia‘. Here we go on dangerous grounds.

You see, the politicians are all about self-preservation! No matter who gets hurt in the process!

My reasoning? I had highlighted them on earlier events, the list is long. One link is found with the ABC (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-10/shorten-says-car-manufacturing-shutdown-was-not-inevitable/5250834), Where Bill Shorten stated: ““All of a sudden, all the car component makers (in Australia) for Holden don’t have enough work,” he said. Mr Shorten says “government subsidies for car makers are essential for keeping manufacturing alive”“. Well, we have seen the use of subsidies, in that same article we see the statement: “”Australia subsidises its car manufacturing in the order of about $17 (per car), whereas the Germans do it at about somewhere between $65 and $90 and the Americans, $250″”, yet, when we see the Australian (at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/lies-damn-lies-and-car-subsidy-statistics/story-fnbkvnk7-1226824091831), we get: “Reworking the figures, it turns out that Australia has subsidised the manufacturing of vehicles to an extraordinary extent — $US1885 per vehicle, compared with Sweden ($US297), Germany ($US206) and the US ($US166). In other words, Australia has the highest rate of budgetary assistance of the seven first-world countries listed“. We could argue that this amounts to slave labour, as the subsidies is so large that the factories end up with prepaid labour. How is this not regarded as slave labour? Because people are allowed to go home and the money comes from somewhere else? Why should car be subsidised to SUCH extent? In addition, we get the quote “We now know that Toyota Australia has received nearly $500 million in the past four years. Given that there are some 2500 Toyota employees, this works out at $50,000 a worker a year“, so we have car manufacturing plants which seem to come with prepaid labour. How can a nation survive when these factories bend over backwards to avoid taxation and in addition, they received well over $100 million a year?

The next part comes from the Courier mail (at http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/opinion-the-nations-budget-is-broken-but-bill-shorten-and-labor-wants-to-stop-us-fixing-it/story-fnihsr9v-1227143768045), “The Budget deficit blew out to an astonishing $48 billion last financial year, largely because the previous Labour governments went on a massive spending binge and left nothing but IOUs in the kitty come the next global financial crisis“, by the way, the Labour party has NEVER given any clear explanation on how that money was spend, on what it was spend, and who signed for it. I reckon that is why the Labor party decided on the three party stooges approach (I wonder who plays Curly), namely Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, and now Bill Shorten. There was additional bad news, there is NO WAY that the drop in Iron was to be predicted. Neither Labor nor Liberals saw that coming. It cut export with an additional amount surpassing 30 billion, when the coffers are empty, that is not a good thing.

Now we get to the Bill Shorten Republican view. Here we see the following: ““Let us breathe new life into the dream of an Australian head of state,” he said. “114 years ago Australians found the courage and goodwill to transform this continent into a commonwealth. In the 21st century let us live up to their example. Let us declare that our head of state should be one of us.”“, you see, the article reads nicely unrealistic. There are parts that are not mentioned at all. I will get to them soon.

In the same light that Labour overspend us into massive debt, as Labour wrongly ‘illustrated’ the car industry, he also sees his option to get a little ahead as a possible first head of state (odd, do we not have a prime minister?), as he fantasises himself to become. You see, becoming a republic comes with a massive amounts of additional debts we cannot even fathom. As part of this Commonwealth, we are not alone, our army is a joke compared to Russia or China (65000 soldiers do not add up to much against the other large players), even against Indonesia, which might not have state of the art equipment, but they outnumber us 4 to 1, not the best odds to have. Together as one Commonwealth, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, we do wield a massive bat, we are part of a whole. So if China wants to play rough (or Russia for that matter), we have a few big brothers in our corner. Now, we could rely on New Zealand to give aid as soon as needed (they would never back down from helping a neighbour), but as Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Turnbull might confirm, the Sopwith Camel really does not have the range to make it to Australia, meaning we need to rely on our own planes alone.

This is only one element and not the most important one when we need to rely on our freedom. You see, I believe that Labor is squarely in the pocket of the US Democratic Party (the one who nearly bankrupted the US), the US is playing too many dangerous games, enabling big business, not holding big business accountable and overall not having the ability to manage its budget. Labor is on the same footing, and how long until the Labor party dances to the song of the White House, making us lose our choices, our freedoms and our value of fair dinkum. Is that what we desire?

What is so bad on being part of what we used to regard the British Empire? I believe that the core values that this Empire had, which were moved into this Commonwealth of ours is still good, it is still strong and it is every bit as Australian as it is British. When the lower classes here lose it all as business no longer deems these people to be of marketed value, who will they cry for? Labour? No, that lot just gave their rights away. In this the Liberal party is not without faults either, but they are not on the republican horse, giving us heaps more options.

This economy is in a bad state, no one denies that. I myself am hurting as much as many others, but like the harsh methods of Germany in 2009, their Austerity saved them and got them on top, I feel that the same will work here, Labor overspending by spending each annual budget twice is too dangerous for us. This is at the heart of the issue.

It is all directly linked to us remaining part of the Commonwealth, the one part that Labor SHOULD have been doing, they are not (or so it seems)! I voiced more than once that our future is on finding strong interactions with other Commonwealth members and offer what we have in surplus, whilst getting what they have in surplus. With Nurses here looking for jobs and the UK having such a massive shortage, why are we not seeking solutions together? Not just the medical industry, we need to put our commonwealth heads together, solving them together, not playing politics on who looks better in a pissing contest, which leaves us with a smelly floor and no actual solution. In this we should also look at what we could mean to Scotland and vice versa. Scotland will at some point be more independent, would it not be great if our message of fair dinkum and our workforce could help this stability, because a stable and prosperous Scotland helps all members of the Commonwealth, including the UK.

So as the Honourable BS talks about some republic, he should realise that unless the deficits and the bad economy are solved, we have no future ahead, other than one as someone’s vassal, a path we evolved from long ago, so whatever story he spins on how the republic gets a better business profile would soon be dead, as soon as people realise that it only opted for one goal, to give large corporations a place to get by on 1-3% taxation, how would that ever be fair dinkum?

 

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