Tag Archives: Stockholm

The truth that kills you

It started in a setting that I observed and wrote about for the last few years, every now and then the NHS rears its ugly head. My look into this started when the Labour party has created a £11.2 billion fiasco that involved IT. When it comes to governmental IT issues, the UK does not score that high. In addition, when you drain a resource in one path, the other path tends to fade away and there were always politicians who claim they could do better, yet experience for over 20 years have shown me that they tend to remain clueless on the matters at hand. The moment they accept it, they go have lunch with friends who all see opportunities and before he/she knows it, the required scope has grown by 250% and soon thereafter it becomes too large to manage. From there onward it goes from bad to worse and that is how the NHS got sliced and diced (just one of many issues plaguing it).

So when I saw ‘Shock figures from top think-tank reveal extent of NHS crisis‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/may/05/nhs-lowest-level-doctors-nurses-beds-western-world) I was not convinced that the Guardian had even ruffled the top layer of feathers here. So I took a look. Now, the article is linked to the King’s Fund that has the numbers (at https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/spending-and-availability-health-care-resources). The work by Deborah Ward and Linda Chijiko is actually really insightful, and an amazing read. So let’s take a look and they do not disappoint, the start gives us “Although it can be difficult to find data on health care resources on a comparable basis across countries, international comparisons can still provide useful context for the debate about how much funding the NHS might need in future. There is also precedent for this approach – for example, when Tony Blair famously pledged on the ‘Breakfast with Frost’ programme in 2000 to get health spending up to the European Union average“, I have to consider the value of adding flair of Blair, but it is fair enough (or was that flair enough). Yet, data is everything and proper data rules the setting, this paper recognises that and that is a massive victory.

It is important to add (pasted) the following, because it shows the value to a much larger degree.

Alongside the UK, we have chosen to look at a selection of 20 European or English-speaking countries drawn from across the OECD. For some analyses, data was available for only a subset of these countries. For some indicators, data was only available for services delivered by the NHS and did not include resources in the private or voluntary sectors.

List of UK comparator countries in this report

Australia Czech Republic Germany New Zealand Slovak Republic
Austria Denmark Ireland Norway Spain
Belgium Finland Italy Poland Sweden
Canada France the Netherlands Portugal Switzerland

Unweighted averages and medians have been used throughout this report to summarise data for the collection of countries as a whole. The amount of people who relied on weighted data cannot be underestimated on stupidity to some degree, as we get raw numbers we see that weighting would look better, yet less accurate. In this we do recognise the danger we see with ‘each country is given equal importance regardless of the size of its population‘, especially when we consider that non-rural Denmark tends to me limited to Copenhagen, and rural Netherlands (if there is any rural part left) tends to reflect Birmingham population numbers on average, so when we also take into consideration the truth of ‘The median and unweighted average are often very similar across these analyses, though the median will be less affected by extremely low or high values‘, we know that we are looking at something serious, but in the micromanaged parts (bordering rural/non-rural), there will be the sliding of values at times, not on a national scale, but where we consider certain parts per nation do not properly reflect internationally (the Netherlands vs France or Canada vs Germany).

Now we take a look at certain segments. The first one is “Under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s new definition of health spending, the UK spends 9.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) on health care. This in line with the average among the countries we looked at but is significantly less than countries such as Germany, France and Sweden, which spend at least 11 per cent of their GDP on health care“, Sweden stands out as it has a much more refined social based system, so there is a shift there, yet as Sweden has 3 cities (Stockholm, Goteborg and Malmo), whilst the rest are basically villages some no larger than 1600 people (2 of them), the rest are between 2,500 and 140,000 in size, so in that regards, the population spread required an approach that differs from several nations, especially when you consider a place like Skellefteå and Lulea in the north. To give a little more reflection Skellefteå has 33,000 people over 8.39 square miles another 40,000 live outside of the ‘city’ limits. So it is 3,900 persons per square mile that in comparison against Birmingham that has 10,391 Ashton Villa fans per square mile. Different solutions are needed, and more often it the hardware (ambulance/helicopter) is very different especially in the winter season (in Sweden) where they actually have a white Christmas and often a white Easter as well.

Now we get to what initially was considered an issue by me, but that was because Denis Campbell Health Policy Editor of the Observer messed up a little (likely unintentionally). You see the article in the Guardian gives us “They reveal that only Poland has fewer doctors and nurses than the UK, while only Canada, Denmark and Sweden have fewer hospital beds, and that Britain also falls short when it comes to scanners“, now what is stated here is true, yet by stating “Britain falls short in several ways, especially when we compare ourselves to the Unweighted average. When we do that when it comes to nurses, only Spain, Italy and Poland have a less fortunate situation“, the Unweighted average gives a proper light per 1,000 population and that is where we need to look at the start and the King’s Fund research is doing that splendidly and shows that ‘spendingly’, the UK falls behind. It falls behind more and more is still speculative, yet if the coming 3 Financial years do not show a massive increase (read: change to the NHS approach) that will become a worsening situation for the population requiring nurses, doctors and equipment.

In the reports, I find one thing missing, that is, it would be a good idea to have that, you see, in the part Medical Technology, the CT Scanner part is partially flawed, Australia scores massively high, which is nice as I am on that island, but I also recognise the part missing there, even as there is a proper notice given with ‘Data for the UK only includes MRI and CT units in the public sector, so these comparisons should be treated with particular caution‘, the missing element is not the numbers, but the distance. As Australia is an ‘island’ nearly the size of Europe, it has its own problem, most of Queensland is rural territory and when you consider that Australia is twice the size of India, the amount of technology they have is often a burden on the size of that nation and the mere fact that the 5 large villages (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth) merely represent 65% of the population, the rest is rural.

Yet the more I read on this report, the more I respect it, it clearly shows issues that the NHS UK has, partially due to its own flaws (the report does not show that). It shows at the end that there is space for jobs “There are approximately 100,000 vacancies for clinical staff in the English NHS, and nearly half (49 per cent) of nurses do not think there are sufficient staff to let them do their job effectively“, but it does not show the ‘elitist’ approach the UK has had for decades into allowing transference of other nurses (from other nations) to become part of this workforce, yet the impossible standards that the UK have used to stop that falls short of the shortages and lack of services now thrust upon the people in need of medical services. The second part is seen (at https://improvement.nhs.uk/documents/2471/Performance_of_the_NHS_provider_sector_for_the_month_ended_31_December.pdf), here we see: “Providers have not met ambitious cost improvement targets and it is critical that these plans are recovered before year-end

Providers set out plans to deliver a total of £3.7 billion savings this financial year. The sector has outperformed the wider economy by delivering an implied 1.8% productivity improvement. This was supported by cost improvements of 3.3% – equivalent to £2,139 million of improvements in the first nine months of the year, £97 million higher than the same period in 2016/17“, so how to read that? They need to show better for the same amount, they were unable to deliver and they still got paid? Is that how it reflects, because that is merely the setting of a disastrous business model, in that the elitist overkill hire approach of nurses will never be in a proper setting in that way, or solved which would be nice too.

So when we see: “By Q3 the sector had achieved 65% of the forecast efficiency savings for the year – to meet the forecast outturn, providers will need to significantly step up the delivery of CIPs in the final quarter. However, the same pattern was seen in 2016/17, so there is evidence to support the increased delivery in the final quarter“, which sounds nice, but they would still come short by no less than 20%, so even as we complement them by getting better in the home stretch, they still did not make the delivery they promised and no matter how ‘ambitious‘ the goal is, a goal not met remains a failure. So when we do address the shortages on all levels and the setting on how ‘some top think-tank‘ gives us ‘shock figures‘, it still revolved around a much larger mess that has not been addressed for the longest of times and is still nowhere near up to scrap.

The goods we need we see on page 51, with the setting of ‘Nursing vacancy position‘ we see how most other failures are shown to fail merely due to shortages, the fact that the NHS has 35,000 vacancies also shows on how timelines cannot be met, when we see that in regard to the shortages nurses to the job of 1.4 nurses, there will be more burnout and more delays on every field. Throwing money at it will not really solve the issue, because this is the one field where we see the direct impact of service levels versus the impossible demand of nurses. So when we accept that the nurses program requires a larger overhaul in setting the stage we see that this is te first field where the military are actually becoming part of the solution.

How speculative can we get?

Here is a warning that matters, because the changing of settings is essential to shaping the future. Consider two places the first (at https://www.army.mod.uk/who-we-are/corps-regiments-and-units/army-medical-services/queen-alexandras-royal-army-nursing-corps/) where we are introduced to Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC), as well as the recruitment (at https://apply.army.mod.uk/roles/army-medical-service/army-nurse). Now consider that the army is charged with the setting of training all applicant nurses to serve the NHS. So immigrants and optionally their children get a short access path to serve the UK on medical terms and it comes with complete processed nationality (after initial screening is passed). So families get the option to become British and part of the society they moved to. Now, this will not always work, yet if you see a 35,000 shortage and you get to lower that by 1,000 each year? Let’s not forget that the shortage is not going away any day soon, so any approach we can take we should consider. Now this is not for everyone, and more importantly an army nurse is still a military function, yet in this setting, there will be training in English, UK values, medical training, language and more importantly the years to come will show whether they have what it takes, in the end we use a structured system to infuse the NHS in operational ways, in addition, as the there is a growing need at the NHS, we see other parts where such reflections would grow the power of the NHS indirectly.

Both logistical and engineering sides of the Military could spell equal options to grow the NHS, or at least grow the ability of taking care of itself sooner rather than later. When we consider that the cost of agency nurses are close to astronomical (at http://www.kentonline.co.uk/medway/news/trust-spends-11m-on-temporary-nurses-180427/) gave us “Medway NHS Foundation Trust spent more than £11m on temporary nursing staff last year, a Freedom of Information request has revealed“, so when we consider that, is calling the army to aid in setting the boundaries back by a fair amount that much of a farfetched call? When we also see “There is a shortfall of 40,000 nurses across the UK, which has been driven by a lack of nursing training places in recent times“, is my call to call in the army and its instructors that much of a leap? Now we can all agree that it does not work on all fronts, but we can either stare at the missing beaches we have now, or start creating our own beachheads and see if we can see how new solutions could be implemented. There is no certainty, only the certainty that at the present course there will never be a solution that is what needs to be addressed. We need to accept that the current approach towards solving the NHS issues is not realistically set. When we look at merely one source (at https://www.nurseuncut.com.au/how-australians-can-get-nursing-jobs-in-the-uk/), we see the language that is given even after you get the NMC (the Nursing and Midwifery Council), you passed the tests, you have shown that you are who you are, your medical knowledge has been assessed, we then see “The hard work isn’t over after this point though, as you will obviously still need to find an actual job within the NHS. Fortunately, there are places designed to help – such as agencies like Nursing Personnel, where you can find a range of jobs across different disciplines and in different UK cities“, so we see that the agencies are set as a buffer, filling their pockets, so they never ever want to see that changed. In addition there is “Following this, you must apply for and then receive a valid work visa to ensure you can legally work in the UK. Finally, when all the pieces are in place, you can begin your new nursing role. Good luck!“, So even after that path is taken, after you get your NMC pin, there are still two iterations to get through, even as the Army, or even directly via QARAN, we could see that the entire path, towards the NMC, especially by those who have a nursing degree. That was never an option? Not even as I discussed such a path almost 4 years ago? When we see the shortage and the non-actions in this, can we even have faith that those around the NHS want anything fixed? It seems that they get ‘rewarded’ no matter what, especially the agencies, so when we see the money in that, why would they want to fix it? I say start by fixing this for the nurses first, which will get delays down and will give additional rise to finding as the agencies get less work, it also states that the invoices form them disappear meaning that millions become available. More staff and alternatively also more equipment could be the beginning to solving two issues to a larger degree. After that we can start looking into addressing the shortages on doctors, yet I also feel that once the nurse shortage is addressed, the doctor shortage might partially take care of itself. Even as the Financial Times reported last year that almost 400 GP’s a month quitted the NHS, addressing the nurses shortage will lower that number and when there are enough nurses we will see that it might lower to almost zero (speculative), yet as one fixes two other issues, we will suddenly see that when nurses reach above the unweighted number of 10, other numbers are guaranteed to shift too, because as agencies make millions less, those millions will shift to optional beds, medication and technology. Suddenly the UK will not look so bad overall. Now, let’s be clear this is a path that would take no less than 3 years to see certain parts turnaround, but it is a realistic path with a realistic curve of improvement. So even as we get served “Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has 9,264 4 hour breaches (25.5%)“, we can also see from the other numbers that a larger extent is due to a shortage of nurses, so when we accept that they could climb to 85%-90%, we see that the entire setting suddenly looks less grim, so even as we need to realise that there is a setting (based on location) that the overall need of 95% performance is ideal, the question becomes is it a realistic setting, when all matters are equal it might be, yet at present all things are not equal and that is the part that requires attention, it is not the top 5% made that sets the standard, it is the acceptance of those in the 90%-95% range that requires merely some scrutiny, the question becomes, which one alteration might get those in the 90%-95% range there? I believe that nurses are merely one part, technology is the second part and as we deal with nurse shortages, there is a setting that technology gets fixed to some degree in the process. This paper (Spending on and availability of health care resources: how does the UK compare to other countries?) does not answer it, but gives light to the path that requires attention, the paper gives a path to investigate and that is equally massively important, so when we consider figure 2, can the change between New Zealand (10.3 nurses) versus he Netherlands (10.5) above the unweighted average of 10.4 show that difference of attaining the ‘revered’ 95% score or higher? Because of ‘irregularities’ that national needs tend to have, it is a cautious approach, yet the idea that it solves it is one thing, yet the one part not shown here (hence I took these two reports) is that even a we accept that they cannot be used in comparison, the setting of getting the 95% mark is still an essential statistic (by some) and if so, we accept that we go by the Unweighted average as a mere indicator, is that the right indicator to use (read: rely on), or is there a number missing? Is there a ‘Nominal Coverage‘ missing that is an indicatory number that aids us towards the A&E 4-hour standard setting and the attainment of the 95% score? Now it remains indicatory as there will always be a shift towards nominal nurses and actual nurses, but we need to start somewhere and if additional nurses are the first requirement to start turning this around, these numbers will become a lot more important, that part is not addressed (which was never the setting for Deborah Ward and Linda Chijiko), yet it is an issue for the NHS and the writing and results by these two ladies, might be a first step in actually getting there. When we look at the simplicity of it, was it really that far-fetched? I am merely asking, because my flair for oversimplification can be overwhelming for a lot of ‘experienced analysts’.

Yet, my mere focus has always been, how can we fix/improve the current NHS?

It is the path to solution that we need to care for, how it can be fixed, if it can be fixed. I have forever opposed the Jeremy Corbyn approach to throw money at it, because in the current setting the only one getting a better deal are the agencies and they are already cats that are way too fat. Hence I look at the directions where training and education sets the pace and in that pace we need to find opportunities for the NHS to pick the fruits form the yard, it is merely a different set of spectacles, the spectacle is not merely about the presentation, it is about setting the right focus, because focus shows us where the flaw is and where we can initially start the focal point of repairing the situation.

The weird part is that Canada, the UK and Australia have similar issues, so there is a foundation of repair missing which is equally a worry. In all this someone is getting rich, is it so hard to look at those getting rich and why that is? The fix could have been underway as early as 2014, the fact that it is nowhere there is worthy of many more questions, yet the bulk of those who could ask them, do not seem to ask them visible enough for all people to wonder how certain matters could be fixed and when one is fixed how much the other problems diminish, an equally important question. Even if it is merely for the reason that not finding these answers could kill you, either in an ambulance, or in a corner of a hospital awaiting a nurse to get you to the proper place for treatment, would that not be nice too?

 

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Two streams, one view

As I see the news pass by, events shown on separate media, I notice myself wondering if my life had any meaning at all. I was young and I went to the Middle East in 1982, I would return in 83 and 84 only to learn that there was change. Terrorists like Hezbollah and Hamas were only small and Hamas rose as I would see in 1984, yet I thought that change would be inevitable. I saw Hezbollah as nothing more than pesky small minded terrorists, a tool to be used by Iran and Syria. Yet even as Lebanon was trying to move forward, there were signs in media and some places that the US needed Syria too much, in their case dealing with Saddam Hussein and as such many of us thinking we would fight for peace, we only fought for the borderlines that the US decided needed to be in place. It must have been the late 80’s, I was not longer in the Middle East and not all clued in towards the events of the day there. You see DARPA had not rolled out the internet at that point; ARPANET was not available for the audience at large. So today I see that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Now we see another push against Hezbollah. You see Saudi Arabia has had enough of those terrorists and is pushing back hard, it is also willing to push against Iran. I see two issues. One is that this issue will be bloody and even as we hope for the victory of Saudi Arabia there, there are more than just a few markers showing us that the three largest players (US, Russia and UK) are not completely in agreement whether the Middle East should have one clear dominant party. The issues in Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Kuwait that have been going on for half a century should show that. If that had not been the case Hezbollah and Hamas would have been little more than an inconvenience and they would have been dealt with a long time ago. So even as I see certain steps being taken I need to wonder if Saudi Arabia is pushing for a resolution, what will the larger picture show as it shifts. As that unfolds where will the US and Russia stand? What actions, or inactions will they use to leave the Status Quo in the middle east in a place called ‘as is’? The evidence for the longest time has shown that they pronounce whatever allies they have, but in the end, they only care for their needs and options. Now, this is not wrong or immoral, it is merely the way any nation plays its game. It is not a new game, it goes back even before Nicola Machiavelli thought it was a god idea to write down certain options for politicians to be.

As per Friday morning, we see: ““Due to the circumstances in the Lebanese Republic, the kingdom asks its citizens who are visiting or residing there to leave immediately,” a Foreign Ministry source quoted by the news agency said, adding that Saudis were advised not to travel to Lebanon from any country“, so even as we can merely speculate on what comes next, the onus is now pushed on Iran and what it is going to do with its terrorist ally Hezbollah. There is one opposing side which was shown by Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-saudi-insight/deep-in-yemen-war-saudi-fight-against-iran-falters-idUSKBN1D91UR). With: “The dysfunction is a reminder to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that his campaign to counter arch-enemy Iran in the Middle East, including threats against Tehran’s ally Hezbollah, may be hard to implement” we acknowledge that Iran has resources and skills and they are driven, both sides clearly are. In my mind, is the additional theatre (read: change of scenery) a workable factor? It does put larger pressures on Iran to get the logistics and goods underway, which will be their weakness to some extent. It is equally an issue how Russia will react. They might not openly act in this placement, yet the clear support to Hezbollah and as the times of Israel states: “the truth is that since Russia began its open military activities in Syria, Hezbollah fighters are also learning Russian methods of war, becoming familiar with advanced Russian weaponry, coming to understand the latest Russian technologies, and in some cases, actually fighting alongside Russian special forces“, we might comprehend the skills and training of the Spetsnaz Malcheks, or the ‘Войска специального назначения’ as they call themselves. In one part Avi Issacharoff omitted or decided not to implement one view in his story. In the end when the Spads are not holding their hands, Hezbollah remains what they were trained enthusiastic terrorists, they are only an army in the smallest sense of the total concept, this also means that as logistics falters, as support dwindles the armed Saudi forces will be more than a match and should gain the upper hand. Now, this can only play out if there is a stalemate between Russia and USA, because if the USA backs down and Hezbollah gets open on the ground Russian support, it becomes an entirely different slice of cake and all bets are off at that point. Only the Russians could push Hezbollah in way that the Iranians could never do. You see, if Iran enters the theatre the game changes as they become a clear and present danger to the state of Israel, their vocal insinuations made that so, so as Iran is trying to get a foothold whilst Israel has a few ways to counter them, we will see a more underground event of escalations where Iran is unable to counter a war they never have faced. You see their words (Iran that is) might look good on the news and on PowerPoint presentations, yet in the true data parks there is no setting, because in the end, this generation of Iranians have never faced anyone like Israel before and their faith in their own internal governmental presentations will make them even less prepared. So at that point it is merely a scuffle between Hezbollah and Saudi armed forces and in that equation there is no option of even a remote stalemate for Hezbollah. Is that the goal? I believe that Russia saw Hezbollah as a tool for what they needed, the US has always been hostile and Europe requires high earnings, so the ECB is very much not in favour of any outspoken hostilities against anything that can downgrade their earnings, so they are seemingly steering away from these events as much as they can, yet I will admit that is just me speculating on European events in this case. Even as London is more and more outspoken anti-Hezbollah. Amsterdam and Stockholm are not taking that path. In my mind it is the liberal multicultural flag that they embrace, in that atmosphere a group like Hezbollah can easily hide under this ‘veil’ whilst hating multicultural events as much as possible.

This again has speculative sides, but it is based on solid data and events. You might think that it does not matter, but it does. As more and more nations in their liberal mindset hold off on an actual war on terror, being it for economic or philosophical reasons. Not being part of it is equally a problem down the track. So as we move back towards Lebanon and Hezbollah, we need to realise that not only will this become ugly to a larger degree, there is every chance that unless certain actions are taken the issues seen in Aleppo will be seen in Aleppo too, there is just no way to tell to what extent. In this we can look at Survival Analyses (or listen to the song ‘as time goes by’), where the point in time and the prolongation of all this is the setting on just how much Beirut will look like Aleppo in the end, time is the only factor required here and the people in Europe know this. So as we see the news prepare on how there should be talks and there should be armistices, they all better remember that it was their need for status quo that is pushing the consideration for a terrorist organisation.

Who in Europe would have ever thought that support of a terrorist organisation would be the cool thing to do on September 12th 2001? So consider that and now wonder why Europe is, for now, again sitting on their hands or even contemplating siding to the larger extent with Hexbollah? Yet there is also good news because with the actions by JP Morgan to push into large chunks of the Middle East and more notably the push towards the Kingdom Holding Company. You might think it is not related, but it is. It gives the view that JP Morgan is a facilitator for setting maximised profits and these profits are not to go towards France. There has been a thought that the US is not commitment, but as there is profit in war, the clear fallout of any war is opportunity. It seems to me that the US wants to get as much profit out of that as possible, so as the dominoes are pushed into place, we see a situation where the media proclaims JP Morgan to be a mere financial advisor. I believe that to be incorrect. Even as Reuters reported “JPMorgan is in early talks with Saudi Arabian companies about overseas listings“, that might be true, but JP Morgan has been pushing itself and its ‘friends’ into powerful places where lucrative revenues are not set in millions, but in billions. I cannot answer whether Credit Agricole did the right or wrong thing, they are pretty clever all by themselves. I think that the Saudi issues in play now are pushing for polarising fields of options and opportunity on a global scale. In this case my view will be proven over the next 2 years as we follow the money. They question is where the source will be set and who gets to fill their bucket list from that well. when the options are returned in billions there will be plenty of players, although in this instance I believe that the outside opportunities (non-Saudi based companies) are offered to the friends of JP Morgan and them only, which is again a speculation. Whether I am right or wrong will be initially shown in the next 20 weeks.

There are however facts available to see that there is a direction in place. Reuters show on part (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-jpmorgan-saudi/jpmorgan-sees-more-saudi-firms-looking-at-overseas-listings-after-aramco-idUSKBN1D7107), some might think that “He said listings in New York, London, Hong Kong or Singapore might help increase the liquidity of these companies and make them attractive for international investors, he said” is the part that gives the goods, yet it is the part not seen and more interestingly not implied that gives power to it all. The implied part is seen with “Commenting on the anti-corruption drive, Pinto said: “If it is done in the right way and for the right reasons it is good to do for the future of the kingdom.”” It is however only the first part. The news given with ‘Saudi Arabia detains 201 princes, businessmen in $100 billion corruption probe’ (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-10/saudi-anti-corruption-probe-finds-$100-billion-embezzled/9136608). This was not a sudden part, this had been in play for some time. It was not merely the fact that at present 201 people are now in custody. Even as we see mention of Iran and the Lebanon pressures, we see that there is a larger play. His Royal Highness King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud have been on a path to get the nation reformed and moved away from oil dependency. In this the pool of plenty does not last too long when 100 billion get lost one handshake at a time as more and more people are connected to unlimited resources and wealth. As the press seems to be focussing on the crown prince and the ‘wild ride’ he created, there is a larger issue that is not too much in focus. No matter what the sceptics state, There is a clarity that Saudi Arabia is seriously considering that the age of oil is dwindling, as this happens they need to be able to push into other directions and they do have the wealth to create vested interests in pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, consultancy services and educational advantages. Forbes has had its share of articles on the matter, and whilst some look at ‘Saudi Arabia Looks To The Private Sector To Meet Growing Healthcare Demands’ it seems to me that 5G facilitation has much larger and more profitable sides as other providers are considering what to do, Saudi Arabia has the option to facilitate to the largest 4 cities and exceed in opportunity what Sweden has for its entire nation. When there is such a population (9.5 million) in 4 cities, there is an option to grow and grow fast. Now we know that there is a lively market already, but the idea that other services could be added grows the Saudi options to add markets and manufacturing opportunities through investment. I all this JP Morgan is potentially the spider in the centre of the web, growing in value and wealth from all sides at the same time. There is no way to state why Crédit Agricole walked away from those opportunities, but I feel certain that they did not walk away, the merely moved to a place around the corner. Even as the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/0e629bab-494c-34d0-8fe0-f71c8b089118) show mixed results, yet I believe that this French bank is moving into different fields, acquiring other banks and setting new goals. I have no way to tell on the why of it but I feel that moving away was only one as the clever people in this bank have agreed on a strategy that allows to grow faster and on larger fields. How?

We will learn this over the next 20 weeks. Yet no matter what is done and how the banks react is not a given, the direct dangers on how things escalate in Lebanon and with Iran seems to be crucial in all of this and I reckon that we will see the shifts quite soon. These shifts will not be through armed conflict, but will rely on the pressures and stresses that exist at present. In this Europe seems to take a ‘diplomatic’ stance (at http://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_destabilising_lebanon_will_only_strengthen_hezbollah_7235), yet with “Europeans should veer the other way, taking measures that aim to preserve Lebanon’s stability and governance structures, and to prevent wider conflagration. Iran is clearly a key source of regional instability, and Hezbollah has become increasingly assertive in Lebanon” it seems to advocate a path of inaction, 3 decades of inaction have shown that there is no solution on that path, a stream of casualties, of non-actions and broken promises. Saudi Arabia (and the USA) both had enough, and as Iran seems to be an annoying thorn in the side of Saudi Arabia, they have seemingly decided to take Hezbollah out of the equation. This will be interesting, because the moment Hamas and Iran realise that the gig is finally up, I wonder how must tearful pleads of ‘negotiations’ will be shown on nearly every soft hearted news channel on the planet. Perhaps a recollection of March 2016 is needed. With: “Hamas on Sunday sent a delegation to Egypt in an effort to beseech Egyptian security officials to stop destroying its tunnels out of Gaza. These terror tunnels, employed by the terrorist group for nearly a decade, are used to store weapons, smuggle supplies, and infiltrate enemy territory – Israel – as well as carry out surprise attacks in which people are killed and soldiers abducted.” (source: Breaking Israel News). It reads like “please let us be terrorists a little longer, we need the tunnels to do naughty things”. There is every chance that this falls on deaf ears, because as Israel is optionally no longer pressured in possible two front wars, they can fully focus on Hamas whilst Saudi Arabia will only have to deal with Iran after that. It will truly change the Balance of Power in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia as the only true power in that region, all because to a larger extent, Europe decided to remain in a self-imposed state of inaction. After three decades they still haven’t learned that inaction against terrorists will never ever lead to any solution.

Yes, there are a few elements of speculation from my side, but it is based on gathered facts and it I do not believe it is less likely on the balance of probabilities, it is merely one optional setting in a larger game that has been played for much too long.

 

 

 

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Those dodgy numbers

We knew it was going to happen, we knew that there would be some term of hardship, everyone knew this. So when the media is lashing all out whilst they know that they are misinforming the people intentionally. We have to wonder why we are not making short work of the media as a whole. So as the Independent gave us (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/eurozone-gdp-growth-rate-uk-second-quarter-2017-eurostat-ons-eu-brexit-a7870811.html), ‘Eurostat’s ‘flash’ estimate for growth in the single currency bloc was 0.6 per cent, double the 0.3 per cent estimate for the UK from the Office for National Statistics last week‘ we have to start asking questions. You see, the numbers are correct, they are all about the correct numbers, yet the clarity that is also behind it, mainly what Forbes and a few others tell us with: “We have the results of the composite PMI for the Eurozone and this is showing that the economic growth in the region is slowing. This really is not quite what is desired, especially as we’ve still got the ECB going all out on quantitative easing” we need to wonder what the game of the Independent is. In addition there is from that same Forbes piece: “in this day and age, people tend not to order the parts to make something until they’ve committed themselves to actually making it. So, what people are ordering to make things from is a really good guide to what is going to be made in the immediate future. We then standardise the measures so that we’ve an index, anything above 50 indicates expansion, below contraction. The one really great joy of PMIs is that they are a very good guide to what is about to happen” and that part of the equation is a slowing economy. Even as we see “A falling Eurozone PMI isn’t a disaster but it’s not exactly what we want either” we see what matters, in the age of 60 billion a month QE, we see in equal measure that the economy is slowing down, so in all this, did the independent give us that, or are they in a ‘lashing mode’ on how the EU is at twice the presented strength? And the term ‘presented strength’ is actually a lot more important than you think.

You see, this is important when we consider Mehreen Khan’s article in the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/edd41c68-76a4-11e7-a3e8-60495fe6ca71). Here we see: “Separate figures from a business survey showed the Eurozone’s manufacturing sector is in the grip of a jobs boom. Factories in France are hiring at their best pace since 2000 and in Spain at a rate not seen since before the start of monetary union in 1998, according to IHS Markit’s purchasing managers’ index“, interesting that both are referring to the PMI is it not? Another article in the Financial Times is giving us ‘Spain unemployment rate has fallen to a 9 year low’, which is great for Spain, yet again, it is merely part of the issue. The fact that it is over 17% is still an issue. Even as there is a drop, it is August, the tourist season is starting to peak this month and that is good for Spain, I am happy for them, I actually am. Yet, the issue is that the drop of 26,000 claims is merely a temporary one, because as tourist season winds down in 8 weeks, these people will get back on the unemployment books, so it is merely a very short term benefit. In addition, it might be better than another time, yet when we consider that the increase started in 2007 doubling the amount in 26 months is another given missing. In addition, there is still the issue not merely of the unemployed, but the internal drain it causes to the coffers (source: Statista). So in my view any benefit Spain gets at present is merely setting the clock forward a mere quarter. Unless an actual economic improvement comes to Spain, we see mere posturing through ‘presented strength‘, not by actual growth or gaining actual strength. It takes three quarters to get a true visible growth to show and the newspapers are keeping silent on that, they hide behind ‘but that is tomorrow and this is now‘, which for the most is correct, yet as they know from various sources that there is already a visible slowdown, the presentation they give is a fake, it is presented fake optimism, some might refer to it as ‘fake news‘.

The fact that the BBC gave a similar view (at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-40774654) does not make any of them a liar, they spoke the truth with “The rate dropped to 9.1% last month, from a downwardly revised 9.2% in May” the fact that France, Spain, Italy and Greece are dealing with global tourism that brings them money, so they need staff is perfectly valid, yet here too is the missed information that is not shown. These nations depend on Tourism. In France and Italy we might see the year round tourism for Paris and Rome, but those two parts are extremes. What is not an extreme is that all three rely to a part on tourism, a valid dependency. Now we consider two sources, the first (at https://www.imtj.com/news/european-tourism-figures-show-growth-2017/), gives us “Several destinations report a rebound in arrivals from Russia -Iceland (+157%) Cyprus (+122%) and Turkey (+88%)-. Overall, outbound travel from this market is projected to improve in 2017“. Now, we need to remember that this was a June article, part of it was expected growth, which is fair enough. The second source Statista (at https://www.statista.com/statistics/186657/travel-and-tourism-scores-of-countries-from-europe-in-2011/), gives us a chart with Spain, France and Germany showing a rise beyond 5% and training Italy with 4.99%, a decent growth all perfectly valid, so when you realise that, and when you see that the impact was a dropped from 9.2% to 9.1% in unemployment rate, is that still a good thing? The rise of these three nations alone (others nations all have tourism, yet not that high), consider the tourism needs; how come that the drop for the short term was not stronger to let’s say 8.7%? That would have been a clear indication of progress, 9.1% even in the short term is not progress and that part remains undiscussed by the media, is that not strange? They have been slamming Brexit through speculations in dozens of articles, and the reality of this so called double economic growth versus the UK is not set into a complete proper context. Even as several sources show the European slowdown. The EU has 8 more weeks until summer is over, what happens then? Will we see the message of a non-anticipated slowdown, or will we see that the slowdown was larger than anticipated? When you see that part, could you decide to trust the media you rely on?

However the independent also gives us “However, the UK economy has grown faster than the Eurozone’s since the 2008 financial crisis, reflecting the single currency’s multiple crises between 2010 and 2013“, which is true yet in this, they also fail to mention that there will be some level of slowdown and the Eurozone will make some level of temporary improvement, the question is for how long this happens. I am slightly less optimistic, yet also hesitant to be too negative. When the dust settles in the Middle East, we know that the Netherlands have two massive opportunities and a few other options through the large projects in Oman and the UAE, those large projects are the kind of solutions that put the Netherlands in the engineering top of the planet. The options could propel that small nation with most of it below sea level in scale and equality to Germany which is roughly 900% the size of the Netherlands. As Germany is one of the large 4, the Dutch achievement would be close to a legendary one. And if there is a large boost to the EU economy it will not be less likely to come from Germany than it will more likely to come from the Netherlands in both 2017 and 2018. This was always a reality that the EU and Germany faced, things will turn around, yet for the short term the EU numbers would probably boost. What is important is that it would not have impacted the UK in any way other than the presented numbers of difference. In this the UK is not on par with the EU on the short side, yet as European tourism falls in autumn, the numbers will no longer look against the UK to that degree and we will suddenly see different mentions, in this some of them are already a near given, so when we see “The single currency zone has now seen 17 successive quarters of growth. The unemployment rate in the Eurozone currently stands at 9.1 per cent, down from 12 per cent in 2013, but still double the UK’s current rate of 4.5 per cent“. OK, I will accept that, yet what I miss is the part that needs to be given with the quote ‘17 successive quarters of growth‘, so how much were these quarters of growth and how did they compare to the UK? It seems that this part is equally missing. In addition there is another part missing, this related to the final quote in the article. With “Other data last week showed that, within the Eurozone, France’s GDP expanded by 0.5 per cent in the second quarter and Spain’s by 0.8 per cent” you might wonder, yet when we look at Statista (at https://www.statista.com/statistics/263008/gdp-growth-in-eu-countries-compared-to-same-quarter-previous-year/) we do not see the same part. We see the Q1 numbers where France and the UK are on the same foot, Italy trails by 0.1% and Spain is ahead by a fair bit, which is the part that impacts and matters, yet the high note comes from Ireland, Estonia, Malta and Romania, which seems like a powerful impact, yet they are together a mere fraction of the EU output, which is why France, Spain and Germany are so important, they are the lion share together with the UK. Only when we look at the last 8 quarters can we see numbers that make actual sense to some and whilst the future is not a given, the knowledge that there is a slowdown coming, there we see that the hyped EU numbers are slightly over the top in my view. So as we accept that the 2 of the large 4 would have much better numbers in tourism season, the fact that the unemployment numbers were projected down by 0.1% is still a much larger issue than most people realise. What is phenomenal is the fact that the impact on tourism is better for Greece. They reported yesterday that the number of international arrivals in the first half was up by well over 10%, which is awesome, as the Greeks should be getting loads of good news after all the garbage they went through. The two sources, the first (at http://www.tornosnews.gr/en/tornos/trends/26630-greek-minister-spectacular-tourism-figures-in-2017.html) gives us: “there is a huge increase in overnight stays and hotel occupancy, ranging from 80% to 95% in most tourist destinations, as well as record arrivals in some of them. The Minister also referred to important economic benefits from the tourism industry, particularly from non-Schengen countries“, which means that the local Greeks will get a relief from the pressure they have had for the longest of times. The small issue that temperatures are up to 41 Celsius might not be the best thing to be confronted with, yet over all they heatwave will give the sun the hours of baking that the tourists love so much, it would also increase the need for windy trips (on boats with sails) and those enjoying places like the caves of Lasithi (in this, I have personal experience that visiting Knossos is a really bad idea, but several museums in Iraklion tend to be nice and cool. another source is giving us (at http://greece.greekreporter.com/2017/08/05/a-record-3-2-million-tourist-arrivals-expected-in-august/). This gives us “Russia and the Netherlands have marked the greatest rise in seats by 25.8% / 46,000 and 18.3% / 26,000 seats, respectively. Top Greek destinations include islands of Crete, Rhodes, Zakynthos, Kerkyra, Mykonos, Santorini and Halkidiki. Tourism professionals are forecasting the same performance in September, citing a total of 2.73 million seats booked for the month after“, implying that it will be a much better year than hoped for, and good for them I say!

Yet in the back of our minds will be not just for the European zone, more precisely, what will Greece do next? In this day and age tourism is great for them, yet they still have the other three quarters to deal with and in this they might have options and opportunities, it merely becomes the view on how to address it and which model to change so that it becomes a benefit.

They are all issues people want to address, yet in this we need to realise that the dodgy numbers are not a help. They are merely the approach towards undesired thoughts and in the end presented strength is no strength, it becomes strength when it is acted upon and results in a positive outcome, this is why quantative easing is never an actual solution. It is merely an option for those who are paid and reflected on the presented result with quarter on quarter growth. The fact that there is a new multi trillion debt is not what their bonus is balanced on. That is the part that people forget. I state to you here that I can go into the USA tomorrow and get a firm with $2 billion if revenue within a week. I have access to all the materials. I merely want 1% of that revenue as a bonus. Now consider that I am selling Official US currency $20 bills for $9.99. I get the bonus because I made my revenue, yet the fact that there is a $1 billion loss is not my issue, it will be for the registered owners of the business and if I set up an LLC with my finding founders, go bankrupt after the exercise one week later, I am still entitled to my $20 million severance package. This is the reality of quantative easing. People like Mario Draghi will not call it like that (and in equal measure find my example way to simplified, which is partially true), but it is the reality that they face in Europe. So as we see the reported news on how the UK is merely 50% of the Eurozone, we need to realise that there is a blowback from the actions that they are taking and in the long run only the bankers and the top of the ECB will be smiling enjoying life in the luxury estates that they own. I feel that we will see a strong impact of what happened before on the 26th October in Oslo Thursday. On that day we will see

  • Norway Central Bank announces interest rate decision – 0800 GMT.
  • Stockholm – Swedish Central Bank announces interest rate decision. Monetary Policy Report will be published – 0730 GMT.
  • Frankfurt – ECB Governing Council meeting, followed by interest rate announcement
  • Frankfurt – ECB President Mario Draghi holds a press conference, after the interest rate meeting Monday, October 30th

The press conference comes three days later, so after the 3 day speculation there will be the press meeting with even more speculation all that as the Christmas temporary need for short term staff is announced in several global places. I will let you work out what speculation will be offered. I am not having too much faith in the upcoming actions. Merely an anticipation of a media assisted manipulated bad news through overly optimism. It is merely my speculation on the matter.

 

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The tactical changes

Only 9 minutes ago, information reached me that takes a different turn to several events. On the 1st of May I wrote about the Homerun UKIP made (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/05/01/homerun-by-ukip/). In this I linked a video (containing extremely graphic executions), it was a presentation of sorts, and there were several ‘links’ that implied that ISIS was active in Germany. Now I see the following (at https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2016/05/22/isis-had-a-social-media-campaign-so-we-tracked-them-all-down/), apart from the social media implication there are other implications too. The links to Munster, close to the Netherlands now give another scenario to consider. First of all, this could be a steeplechase, a red herring hunt. When you leave clues this open, with so many options to match images with the local population, the people involved are either massively stupid, or a little too clever. I have learned to always consider my enemies to be superior, so I will not make the mistake to consider them too stupid. There is of course a third side, this could be a hoax by anyone with Arabian language skills, the beginning of a steeple chase, to see if Americans/NATO people will take the bait.

One part that is a given is that in the past open source intelligence have (apart from verification) shown to have effective options. You see Americans (at times not the brightest collection of people) have worked from the ‘Americans only’ recruitment campaign, which makes perfect sense. Yet without local and language skills many details tend to go missing. Even as certain parties adjusted this view, there is a limit that hinders any intelligence investigation at times. In that same light we can see Bellingcat. It can be a great source for investigative journalists, that is, if they can successfully verify the intelligence obtained.

In an equal light, the information that I gave would require scrutiny too. Was German intentional for the locations, or is there another reason (like anti English reasoning). The other part was the language in the video. Their level of German was high, which leads to more questions, but are the questions relevant? That remains the issue.

So as I ponder the issues I saw, I also question the quote “However, these photographs revealed the exact locations of the ISIS supporters in their photographs, in some cases even exposing their home addresses. Numerous Twitter users crowdsourced the geolocation of these photographs throughout the day on Saturday, eventually pinpointing the locations of several photographs shared by ISIS supporters“, what if the trail is false? What if the locations lead to people, not pro ISIS, but the arrest that follow could turn family members more extreme, possibly even into the hands of ISIS?

It is a valid question, but for now, there is no way to see what is what, not on the information I currently have. Even when we see that some of the photographs seem to lead of Hoofddorp, a small town next to Amsterdam international and really close to Amsterdam, with plenty of possible targets. Yet, in equal measure, it could be a foxhunt whilst the fox remained intentionally absent. Without more clear intelligence there is no way for me to tell, but that does not mean that there is no way to find out.

There is one clear danger in all this, this is a move that UKIP can exploit. If ISIS sympathisers are this deep in France and the Netherlands, it will scare too many Brits into the Brexit field, no matter if Brexit is the best solution or not, moving to the Brexit field out of fear will never be the right reason or action for that matter.

 

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