Tag Archives: The Telegraph

Drop the Mike, Ashley!

Welcome to the issues on a man that I do not know. This is not the most straight-forward of starts, yet the man who has been valued more than once and that verdict is several thousand stacks of £1,000,000. The man who owns Newcastle United, which means he gets the swanky seat in the stadium. Now, we can understand that this man founded Sports Direct. When you get enthusiastic about sports, you can bet that it will be part of your life. There is no denying it and as it became a good success, I would state ‘good for him’. Yet, the focus on him started in an entirely different way. It started with him getting in on the videogame action by getting a near 26% stake in the franchise ‘Game‘. That brand did not go well here in Australia, yet I always found it to be a decent store and the people working there knew their games and consoles. I have seen them in the UK as well and a similar feeling remained on that experience. Here it did not go well as they were up against EB Games (who grew aggressively at that time) and JB Hifi that was an established chain of quality stores, so they had a murder competition, they did not make it (for the most). Yet all this is now in play when I read “Mike Ashley swoops on video games retailer after profit warning forced by shortage of Nintendo Switch consoles“, this is a weird issue. We get ‘profit warning‘ in regards to a situation of shortage. Basically the story becomes, we are short on revenue/profit because we can’t get any more consoles, they are sold out, and everyone wants one! Which at present is pretty much the truth of the desire of people and their need for the Nintendo Switch, it is actually THAT amazing.

The result was “Game shares rose by more than 15% to 28p on the news, and later traded at 26.5p (up 9.3%), giving it a market value of £47m“, apart from the 28p not sounding like that impressive, it is the end result of +9.3% that is staggering. You see, I have issues with the entire part where ‘profit warnings‘ are labelled in the way they were. You see, the entire mess (as reported) gives no clue on the actual situation (well, the one as I personally see it), I do not care how people quantify one way or the other; it is the addressing of profit warnings.

I offer in evidence the following pieces

Part 1, Sony (at http://www.playstationlifestyle.net/2017/01/03/uk-2016-sales-chart-2016-game-sales-down-13-infinite-warfare-the-2-best-selling-game-of-the-year/) gives us ‘UK Sales Chart: 2016 Game Sales Down 13%, Infinite Warfare the #2 Best-Selling Game of the Year‘. In this we see: “The major titles of 2016 also disappointed when compared to 2015’s, with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (the second biggest title of 2016) lagging 31.5% behind Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. In other comparisons, Watch Dogs 2 fell just short of the 500,000 copies Assassin’s Creed Syndicate sold in 2015, Steep performed worse than Rainbow Six Siege, Gears of War 4 couldn’t reach the heights of Halo 5, and Final Fantasy XV was outsold by Just Cause 3.” For those who do not talk games, let me boil it down to the first item is that overall less games were bought. In my personal view, the overall quality of games was not great. Even as Watchdogs 2 was a good step up from the previous game, yet many gamers felt too burned by the first game. I believe that the second game was good, it has online and offline options and people were not forced to go online here. Regarding the other title, I am not a fan of Call of Duty, I know many are. the fact that a game like that became ‘the’ game is not entirely on the fact on how good their Infinite Warfare was, it is more that the other games were way below the line. The fact that the last four larger releases this year alone could be bought for 50% down, including the special editions with figurines is also a changing trend. People are less willing to just shell out the cash for games, reviews are more competitive and even though there are really good reviewers, there are a lot more really bad reviewers and they tend to get plenty of exposure. Yet in the end, the games were for a larger extent not up to snuff. The reviewers ‘deserve’ extra attention as some are more and more about the larger players, whilst some of the true gems have been largely ignored by plenty of people. Nioh is perhaps one of the most visible ones. Like Infinite warfare it is a specific game. I actually like this game, but I loathe the challenge it contains at times (they are really hard games). Some saw that is was some Dark Souls games and plenty of people ran for the hills as this is a game for actual gamers, not for wannabe’s. In my view there are several similarities, yet the only thing that the game Nioh truly has in common with Dark Souls III was its graphical excellence.

So here we see two elements that would push any revenue down.

Part 2, Pushsquare. At http://www.pushsquare.com/news/2017/01/ps4_physical_game_sales_increase_as_uk_industry_suffers_blow, we see more confirmation: “Overall sales down 13.4 per cent“, the mere subtitle and the direct impact that matters, less sales overall, this is not entirely correct, but I will get to that in a moment. The next quote is, as I personally see it wrong, but still essential. With “Bethesda’s Dishonored 2, for example, couldn’t come close to matching the success of Fallout 4, while Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XV somehow failed to outsell Just Cause 3.” My issue is that no matter how you slice it, Dishonored 2 is a little bit of a niche game, more intent for those who love stealth gaming (me being one), it is graphically superb, the game is a little steampunk in a very good way, but for the most, it is highly original and exquisite in quality. It is not fair to compare it to a game that has millions of followers and has been revered since its original release (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC) on 11/11/11, the date that some will carry with them for all time. An established success that was bought on the console be new players as well as nearly everyone who had the previous version. The game is good for months of gameplay, so a game that sells itself due to 5 years of raving reports. The second is equally unfair. I myself was never a FF fan, but I have always admired the originality and scope of the stories and the near perfection each game brought. Even I am surprised that Just Cause 3 outsold it, perhaps merely because of the over the top explosions and things you can do with the game? I cannot tell what the exact reason is, yet the second part implies that the gamers are diversifying in different directions, changing the gaming requirement. It is almost like there is a new generation taking over the baton of gaming and it has different tastes.

Yet he best is left for last, in part 3 we see Retail Week

The mention (at https://www.retail-week.com/sectors/entertainment/game-issues-profit-warning-as-uk-sales-falter/7022184.article), where we see “The specialist retailer, which posted a slump in its interim profits in March, said anticipated supply in the UK of the latest Nintendo console had failed to meet expectations, negatively impacting overall sales“, is a first issue. In this the mention ‘anticipated supply‘ beckons the question, so did you order enough or not? As the experts, you should have seen the impact it would make. The E3 and other events clearly showed that Nintendo was blowing both others out of the water. In addition we see “alongside ongoing poor sales of Xbox and PlayStation devices“, now we can argue about Xbox for several reasons, so let’s take this out of the equation, the PlayStation part gives the issue. Overall sales of the PS4 and PS4pro are still up by a decent amount, so it now becomes a shifting focus, but I will get to that soon.

For now I will end with the quote “The group continues to actively implement its UK action plan, encompassing improved supplier arrangements, enhancements to the customer experience, further operational progress including cost reduction programmes and disciplined cash management“, yet will not address it yet. Let’s take a look at three more elements.

The first is from the Business Insider which gives us “Sony sold 10 million PlayStation 4 consoles between early May 2016 and December 6, 2016. That puts sales in the neighbourhood of over 1 million sold every month, which keeps it locked in as the fastest-selling PlayStation console of all-time

The second is again from PlayStation Lifestyle with “Taking a deeper look at software last year in the UK, Games Industry points out that nearly 80% of all boxed games sold last year were either on PS4 or Xbox One (up from 66% in 2015)

The last is G24/7 where we see (at https://www.vg247.com/2016/11/14/ps4-console-sales-have-tripled-in-the-uk-following-the-launch-of-the-ps4-pro/) “Sony’s PS4 Pro launched at the end of last week and has had quite the impact on PS4 console sales. According to MCVUK, PS4 sales for the week ending Saturday, November 12, were up 204%. 65% of the total PS4 sales last week were for the PS4 Pro, while the final sales figure for all PS4 consoles was 44% higher than those for the Xbox One.

Now we put the whole together!

We know that sales were massive end of year 2016, especially with a new console and Christmas coming up, all that makes sense. We can also clearly see that overall, the consoles represent the bulk of all game sales. This partially makes sense because that is what we see as flagships in pretty much any gaming store, PC owners have a lot more options to buy in other places and at times a lot cheaper and there is Steam to consider, so that part remains an unknown and as such a much lesser impact to these stores (apart from the selling of steam credit). The fact that the PS4 is surpassing the previous consoles, is debatable (PS2 sold over three times the amount in its life time), yet the overall market trend is that games should be on par and were up by a fair bit last year. So when we go back to the initial start with “Video game retailers have been particularly badly affected by the broader shift away from the high street in recent years, with developers moving to increase their own profit margins selling games as direct downloads“, which we get from the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/172c3ba1-e880-35e8-9273-957e325cd7f4?mhq5j=e3).

In this there is debate, yet he part no one touches on is how the expectations were set, what they were weighed on and on the given image that sales were down, which had been an upcoming known for close to 2 quarters of a year. The part that the Financial Times gives us is that direct downloads are playing more of a role nowadays. It actually impacts the industry in 2 ways. Apart from buying directly, the additional issue is that consoles have a premium service; most gamers take that because of online gaming and the fact that both systems offer at least 2 free games a month. Microsoft was initially really bad with that (lousy games or games everyone had), they are still not great, yet this month it includes Lego pirates of the Caribbean, which is actually a nice and decent game (and not a large download in console terms). Sony beats Microsoft here hands down with titles like Until Dawn and Life is Strange. In all this both offer decent free games, with a bonus for Sony people as their account will also enable them to get free games for their Vita handheld, all that for around £50 per year, the premium service sells itself to both consoles without any difficulty. All elements that shows the impact of a bad year of games, not consoles, the overall quality of games gives rise to people deciding to just download an average game instead. The interesting part that even as Ubisoft lagged in a few ways, the one game what was awesome in many ways, ‘For Honor’ actually did not do that well, which is a mixed signal that multiplayer games are wanted, yet without a strong one player side, it tends to not make the cut in a top 10, which would be unfairly devastating on the makers I think. All elements that the analysts in this case should have known and realised and as such, when we see ‘would not meet expectations‘, my question becomes: “the expectations of whom and on what foundations?” Now we get to the part I skipped.

With “The group continues to actively implement its UK action plan, encompassing improved supplier arrangements, enhancements to the customer experience, further operational progress including cost reduction programmes and disciplined cash management” I wonder what we are being served.

  • Did they call short because they did not keep an eye on running costs, what arrangements would be needed with suppliers? Were they not up to scrap?
  • Even more customer experience? Were the current settings and anticipations of the competitor not up to scrap?
  • Disciplined cash management? Is cash not managed correctly?

The feedback we got from Game, directly below the image of a sort of smiley ‘Game CEO Martyn Gibbs on the merits of in-store gaming arenas‘ is one that leaves us with the thoughts that Game is going down because they are not on the ball of the game, and the game is passing them by? So in all this Mike Ashley merely flying in to pick up a bargain? In this he better realise fast that Game has an issue and more than one potential issue in play, he also needs to realise that the Games market is a shifty one and in the years before the publishers see clear to push a bigger load to online sales in the next 5 years (depending on where you live), we better consider that top games is a market in motion and it is likely to see a shift that Microsoft and Adobe made some time ago on PC’s, it is not a change that gamers are currently happy with, but it is one that the next generations of consoles will likely face, the game shop is seen as the middle man and they are trying to cut it out to maximise it for their own need to please whatever stakeholders they report on. It is early days now, but in 5 years it won’t be.

In the aftermath we actually need to look where I normally do not go. It is the Telegraph, in this case the business section, where (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/06/30/game-warns-profits-will-substantially-expectations/) we see the generic parts like “following its third profit warning“, we know that Christmas was weak (to some extent), yet in equality when you consider the previous information, the issue is not entirely just ‘weak Christmas‘, it is merely a much stronger competition to some extent and the fact that the cost of living in metropolitan UK seems to be ignored by analysts and those who speculate on how it would (read: should) be. The issue that is stronger is “The shares nosedived to just 21p on the back of the profit warning, valuing the business at £35.6m only two years after it was floated at 200p a share by US hedge fund Elliott Advisors” as well as “Elliott cashed in £101m at the time of Game’s stock market listing by selling a stake and made a further £59m by dumping a further 10pc of its stake just three months afterwards, despite agreeing to a lock-up period of six months” which now also implies that Game got played and not in such a nice way. Yet the bulk of all the sources do not give any clarity of the part that Elliott Advisors was playing, even the Financial Times steered clear of that part. In this, I am now also questioning the setting as given to Game and its senior management. Even as CNBC is giving the notion that Paul Singer, CEO of Elliott Management is just the best invention since Frozen Yoghurt (if we are to believe places like Forbes, CNBC and the Wall Street Journal), I wonder what price we can see the UK pay for getting played to the extent it is getting by the US Hedge market, in that regard should we allow for any US company coming in under false pretences and flood the market so that they can drain the profit quickly and walk away? It seems to me that they tried that in the Netherlands with Akzo Nobel, which had the great benefit of Elliott Management failing (for now), but it shows the extent that as a shareholder Elliott Management will go to get their profit, it seems to me that Game was not nearly as lucky and the fact that the different levels of publications left that side seemingly in the dark corners of ‘them not printing that part‘ is also upsetting (to me even more upsetting is the part that the Telegraph actually did get that info out). The fact that Game has been seemingly under exploitative attack does not diminish the issues as given by some of the publishers by the quotes, Game got caught out, which under the current size and the possible level of possible losses is a dangerous place to be in.

In all this, I am aware of things, but not as much as a person like Mike Ashley would be, so is this his triumph with Game, should we see this as a mere quick victory to see if he can get more out of this than Paul Singer’s place did, or is it an actual rescue and grow attempt? I am not implying one or the other, but as you see the presented evidence, there are a few issues with Game and I believe as such they were set up as the weak runt in the market, whether this will happen twice in a row is something I have no way of telling and I am not implying anything wrong, immoral or illegal. The entire mess is not completely shown by some players and that is what seems to be the actual issue. I remain in an attempt to be protective of the places that feed my need for gaming and there is a positive in having a diverse and competitive market. It guarantees to some degree I get the best games at the sharpest price, which is what every gamer wants, there is no exceptions to that rule.

 

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Under cover questions

Yes, it has been a week. When the fire was first reported I steered clear. It was a fire. What was weird was the ferociousness of the fire, I had questions from the moment I saw the fire, but I waited. I had no Intel, I had no facts and it was a fire after all. Fires happen. Yet, those who saw the limelight seeking photos from the Telegraph might have noticed a thing or two. You see, the fire was like a fire that Hollywood could not do. The Towering inferno was not that intense. The fact that the fire had a casualty list that is massive is also an odd part in all this. So I decided to wait, I would not be the one shouting arson on something that was not that. The consequence is a little too unsettling. Yet now, a week later I found myself collecting what I could. It started with the noise on cladding.

The first thing I found was a similar issue in Victoria, Australia. On April 30th 2015 we see: “Testing conducted by the CSIRO in mid-April on behalf of MFB found that the Alucobest cladding material installed by building company failed to comply with high-rise combustibility requirements“, in addition there is “The external cladding material on this building did not prevent the spread of the fire as required by the Building Code of Australia,” said MFB chief officer Peter Rau“. It was a fire that happened in 2014. So these events had been happening for years. This now gets us to Rydon Ltd in East Sussex. They got the job, because they were £2.5 million cheaper. Like in the Towering Inferno, that place went down in the story because of cutting corners. So my initial thought was that this might be the case here too. The question is ‘Was that the case?‘ You see, it is all good and fine in books, but the reality is how were the materials tested, how did the makers of the original cladding present their materials? One of the parts is ‘Celotex RS5000 PIR thermal insulation‘, when we look at those specification we see: “Fire propagation ‘BS 476: Part 6′, Pass” and “Surface spread of flame ‘BS 476: Part 7′, Class 1“. It comes with the footnote “The fire performance and classification report issued only relates to the components detailed above. Any changes to the components listed will need to be considered by the building designer”

The entire issue becomes more of a mess when we consider that ITV business editor Joel Hills stated that he had been told that the installation of sprinklers had not even been discussed (at http://www.itv.com/news/2017-06-15/grenfell-tower-original-proposed-contractor-was-dropped-to-reduce-cost-of-refurbishment-project/), the ITV article focusses on the ‘cost saving‘ which is correct, yet the one part they do not raise is whether the materials were up to scrap. In addition they do mention two parts that are essential. One is “In 2013 the government wrote to every local authority to encourage them to retrofit sprinkler systems in older tower blocks. It did so at the request of a coroner who leads an inquest into a fire in Camberwell in which six people died“, the second one was “Before passing judgement on whether the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management therefore acted irresponsibly, bear in mind that, according to the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association, only 100 older tower blocks in Britain have been retrofitted with sprinklers since 2013. Around 4,000 have not“, the councils were apparently put off by the costs, which in this was about £1150 per apartment. We read more about these tests as presented by Celotax (at http://www.ecosafene.com/EN/firetesting/building/228.html), so we get some clarity here. Yet the surface flame test (BS 476-7, linked in the referred page), gives us “Extinguish the pilot flame 1 min after the start of the test“, yet these numbers will not add up, because there were no sprinklers, no dousing the flame, so the entire operation will be working on different elements. This does not invalidate the test, yet if I look at the Ecosafene site I am now looking at ‘BS 476-15Fire Tests on Building Materials for Measuring the Rate of Heat Release‘ as well as ‘BS 476-5 Fire Test to Building Material for Ignitablity‘, you see, this caught fire somehow, after that Bob is your crispy dead uncle (in this case). Yet in all this, we did not mention Celotex. Their site gives us “As with the rest of the nation our thoughts continue to be with those affected by the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower in London. On Wednesday, as soon as we were able to, we confirmed that our records showed a Celotex product (RS5000) was purchased for use in refurbishing the building. We wanted to provide an update to that statement and provide further information as we are able to. It is important to state that Celotex manufacture rigid board insulation only. We do not manufacture, supply or install cladding. Insulation is one component in a rain screen system, and is positioned in that system behind the cladding material“, It is what we now see in the Metro that kinda takes the biscuit. “Controversial cladding was added to Grenfell Tower in part to improve the view for nearby luxury flats“, which must have been a nice clambake to watch I reckon. It is the term ‘Controversial cladding‘ that now becomes the focus. You see, the Birmingham Mail and others are all about: “Grenfell Tower £8 million refurbishment ‘met all required standards’“, yet the fire does seem to tell a different story. The Guardian has another article linked to all this. The article ‘Complex chain of companies that worked on Grenfell Tower raises oversight concerns‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/15/long-builder-chain-for-grenfell-a-safety-and-accountability-issue) gives a few items a few answers and more questions. In opposition I need to give the quote “Ben Bradford, a fire safety expert who is managing director of the risk consultancy BB7, said the multiple links in the chain of contractors could cause safety problems. “There are probably multiple failings that have occurred in this particular case,” he said. “The work, in terms of fire stopping, often falls to a sub-contractor. They don’t always realise the critical nature of the components they’re installing in the overall system“, I have an issue here. It is not untrue what he is stating, yet the elements on the page give us a little clarity. You see Rydon used Harley Curtain. This setup is not unique. Rydon cannot afford the amount of people needed, hence a subcontractor is used. They would work according to the requirements of Rydon. That link is seen with the subsequent links to Celotex and Arconic. So Celotex is the insulator and we saw all those links, yet now the actual cladding remains. ‘Reynobond PE‘, in the end Rydon had to sign off on that, in clarity, at present Rydon is the responsible part (until valid defence is given). You see, when we go to Arconic, we see “Reynobond PE features a polyethylene core that adds strength and rigidity to the coil-coated aluminium panels. This maximizes its flexibility and formability, while maintaining a light weight for easy installation“, you see, when I went to High School (early 70’s) I was told that polyethylene was combustible, it is a common trait in the polymer group as they are all inflammable family members. You see, perhaps it is just me, but the brochure states: ‘building code recognition‘, is that the same as passing a test? The tests Canadian fire tests CAN S101, CAN S102 and CAN S134 are a nice mention, yet the idea that an AMERICAN company is relying on Canadian fire tests got me thinking. I have not found the answer; I am merely puzzled by it. The question is what did Rydon know on that part? They are supposed to be the expected experts, I am not!

The question still gives us a concern, you see the fact that the outside got to play the part of Roman candle is one side, at that point the sprinklers inside the building would have been pretty useless at that point. What is interesting is the mention on page 5 of the brochure: “It’s perfect for new and retrofit projects less than 40 feet (three stories) high” This is an interesting part because the ‘why‘ comes into play, why only 3 stories? That part becomes a point of discussion, as page three shows a 7 story high building in the images. On page 6 we see the safety rating form flames and smoke as a pass with Class A as per ASTM E84. That part revealed two elements. One is the mention ‘This test method measures flame growth on the underside of a horizontal test specimen, using the Steiner tunnel test‘, the operative word is ‘horizontal‘, the next one is shown (at https://www.astm.org/Standards/E84.htm), here we see “This test method exposes a nominal 24-ft (7.32-m) long by 20-in. (508-mm) wide specimen to a controlled air flow and flaming fire exposure adjusted to spread the flame along the entire length of the select grade red oak specimen in 51/2 min“, in addition they do not give ‘measurement of heat transmission‘, which seems a pretty important element in VERTICAL applied cladding, as flames tend to ignore gravity and move upwards adding to the temperature, for those extra crispy roasted victims. More important the ‘effect of aggravated flame spread behaviour of an assembly resulting from the proximity of combustible walls and ceilings‘ and as polyethylene is combustible, we now have an issue. From my point of view, if Rydon signed off on this there is an issue. Yet more important, the fact that there is documentation that goes back to 2014 in Australia and there are a number of buildings in London that have this issue, London Town there is a much larger issue in play. Now, we see that everyone is bashing Theresa May, and as she made me no Bundt cake I am fine with that. Yet this is a long term failure. It has an impact on several administrations on both sides of the political aisle. There is a clear call, one made by MP David Lammy in the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/grenfell-tower-fire-corporate-manslaughter-arrests-david-lammy-mp-labour-london-kensington-a7790911.html). I agree that ‘corporate manslaughter‘ is more than a fair call. As the Tottenham Labour MP states this, there is a call for the executives of Rydon to explain and show their elements in all this. They should be in defence mode and it could result in their arrest if clear evidence of negligence is found. The elements I found clearly support that and that is merely the 45 minutes getting through some of the brochures and going through the fire tests. You see, the earlier quote from the Birmingham Mail with ‘met all required standards’ does not hack it in my view. I found three issues in mere minutes, so we either have a systematic failure of government allowing this to continue (even more damning in light of the concerns from the occupants that had been going on for some time), the other side is that underlying communications might or might not exist. There is no way to tell until this is brought into the open. David Lammy might not ‘name’ anyone, but I did, and they should be named. Yet that also means that they can and should defend themselves as they might not be the guilty party, but no matter what, they are to a larger extent, the accountable party until properly investigated. And this is not because I am trying to have a go at Rydon, I want this to come out into the open. The failure that we saw burn is just one of several buildings where cladding has been applied to, and as the train wreck is pushed into the limelight carriage after carriage, only then will we see the complete extent of the failure and there is no ‘walk softly’ that option has been taken away by the dozens of fatalities. A little limelight is the least of the problems these people need to face.

Even as we saw the ‘cost saving‘ there is still going to be a backlash to KCTMO, you see, they made a call on the cheaper option, which might be fair, but why was the ‘other‘ solution cheaper? When those elements are brought to the surface there will be questions as they tend to come, fair or not. This all gets to get political soon thereafter as we saw the ‘reasoning’ of ‘improve the view for nearby luxury flats‘, you see, I am not buying a Versace suit so that I look more appealing to my neighbour. She (and he) can bloody well move to Knightsbridge and get a more expensive view there. Yet, that is just me.

rs5000_productdatasheet_aug16

Reynobond_Brochure

 

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The hard-line path

Over the last days we have seen an increased voice of extremist call by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran. The question now becomes, how will the internal struggle change the game for Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran. The NY Times gives us (at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/20/world/middleeast/iran-election-hassan-rouhani.html) the issues that play. “He badly needs to demonstrate progress on overhauling the moribund economy”, which is just one of several quotes. Yet the danger is not in the achievements, the issue now is that someone else will get the seat to the presidency in less than 4 years. The optimism could go straight out of the window sooner than we think. The hard-line of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen everywhere and even as President Rouhani is on his last term, the ayatollah is not. The news we see now, the beats and shouting of ‘Saudi Arabia’s rulers faced “certain downfall” for aligning themselves with the US‘, as well as ‘Saudi Arabia is a ‘cow being milked’ by US, says Iran’s supreme leader‘ is now getting a louder view and voice, whilst they are positioning Saudi Arabia as the oppressor of Islamic faith, whilst he throws Bahrain and Yemen into the mix. As we see the news, the issue that President Trump remains in opposition of Iran, causes additional worries. Unless the US is willing to go into a direct war with Iran, the only thing their diplomatic corps is achieving is to set the population against the US, in this what was regarded as a moderate, President Rouhani is now on the edge of finding a moderate continuation through a successor, whilst the Ayatollah is finding new ways to instil conservative values, undoing what President Rouhani has achieved. In all this the ‘progressive’ approach of Europe, with their nuclear program for Iran, lifting all sanctions and other ‘path improvements’ are soon to be a new cause for concern. I made that point 2 years ago in my blog when I mentioned the need for caution as the world was still getting past the idea of a post-Ahmadinejad era. I was clear in my warning that no matter how moderate the new president is, the hardliners might get another Ahmadinejad into play, that would change the status by a lot.

In addition, Forbes gave us the following a mere 4 days ago.

  • Sent over 3,000 to the gallows and escalated domestic crackdown,
  • Increased its export of terrorism through Shiite proxies across the Middle East,
  • Boosted the Levant dictator Bashar Assad in his massacring and displacing millions of innocent Syrians,
  • Supported the IRGC in test launching a significant number of ballistic missiles in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and harassing US Navy vessels in international waters,
  • Increasing Tehran’s support for the Afghan Taliban, according to the The Washington Post,
  • Made having dual nationality a threat, as experienced by too many hostages

In addition, we get “For hard-liners and their affiliates — including the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Basij, the judiciary and the Intelligence Ministry — Rouhani is more helpful in achieving their major objectives“, which is given by Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, a leading expert on Iran and US foreign policy and president of the International American Council.

The question becomes, on how Iran sees facilitation and how they consider it is used by Iran in Europe, because the limitations that hindered serious facilitation by Iran in the past are all but gone. The overly optimistic people (called politicians with a personal agenda), have paved a very dangerous path. They will be in denial, yet the parts that are clearly showing is that President Rouhani has been more and more outspoken in certain regards, which as the president of Iran he should be allowed to do, yet it is an extremely outspoken anti-Saudi Arabia view. This is happening whilst the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has now finished a third underground missile production factory. And whilst I note upfront that I have no ballistic experience, which means that I am not an Aussie electrician (jab at: ‘Aussie electrician charged with helping IS develop missile capabilities’), yet what some sources have not mentioned is that the commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, is the very same person who boasted rocket aid to Hezbollah as well as the mention that the Iranian missiles can reach Israel. In addition, we have the threat: “Hajizadeh explained that if the Zionist regime attacks Iran, it will be destroyed. He said, “If those people make a move, it will hand us a justification to wipe them off the face of the earth“, this part actually needs additional footnotes. The link is at https://www.juancole.com/2012/07/hajizadeh-if-israel-attacks-iran-it-will-be-destroyed.html, and it is good to read as it addresses a few issues. In all this Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh gives a clear address to a reaction, with the reinforced ‘when Israel attacks’, so the General states to only act in retaliation, he states he would not act in a first strike. I can accept that, although my rusty Arabic is set at 0%, so if the original text was a recipe to make spicy lamb, I would not be able to tell the difference. Yet in all this, the subterfuge will be missed. Even as we accept that the General is a devoted Muslim with a love for his country and a devotion to live to highest standards, how many hard-line Iranians would it take to create the wrong intelligence and the missiles would get fired towards Tel Aviv anyway? Do not even consider that this cannot happen, with a closed system and with Iranians that have the mental drive that Ahmadinejad had, how many would it take to set the system to give the decision makers the wrong intel? America has had its share of miss-presentations. Perhaps some of you remember Colin Powell and his suitcase with evidence of weapons of mass destruction in 2003. How did that go over? The reality is that Iran has an environment where the hardliners get to be in power again and again. Whenever that is not the case, there is enough time to debunk and diminish the work that moderate minded Iranians achieve. As there is a military power core, a religious power core and a political power core, it requires only two hardliners too grab the power via elections. We already know that the Ayatollah is a devout hardliner, which means that they are one step away from another hard-line elected rule. This is the reality that was and Europe has opened up additional paths for that future to return in the future, intentional or not does not matter.

This all matters in a second phase too. Even as we see news by tabloids and not by actual newspapers, the news given is that Jeremy Corbyn, the man who wants to be in charge of Labour UK and is electable, that person attended a ceremony honouring terrorists, the wreath was laid at the grave of one of the PLO terrorists that killed the 11 Israeli Olympic athletes, all killed during the 1972 Olympics at Munich. The fact that it is in several tabloids is why i am mentioning it. The issue in addition is why the actual newspapers have no mention of it. The sun gives us ‘FRIENDS LIKE THESE Jeremy Corbyn called banned terror group Hamas ‘serious and hard-working’ after admitting attending wreath-laying ceremony for Palestinian killer‘, so as I am in some confusion on why anyone wants to be that stupid, the fact that multiple sources are making mention on it, the larger danger becomes on why anyone would allow Jeremy Corbyn to get elected, especially as he gives ‘value‘ to a terrorist organisation, so as we now wonder who is briefing him and who would be this stupid. I am trying to make very sure that I am not facilitating fake news. There is additional evidence as he the Telegraph gives additional links to Channel 4 news (2015 event). Whenever I try to go deeper, they seem to refer to the 2015 event. This now calls to question on how Corbyn got to be in charge of the Labour in the first place. It should make the party feel really happy. The fact that it now reaches the limelight again seems to be political gaming, yet the worry is real, do you want someone in charge who gives voice to a group that is regarded as a terrorist group in several nations. Even as MI5 is looking into the events before the Manchester bombing and what signals are missed, the UK is now contemplating setting the person who put a wreath at the grave of one of the Munich murderers at the helm of Britannia. it is like making Alex DeLarge minister of Justice (Clockwork Orange reference). It seems like really not the best way to go about making Britain stronger. Yet in all this, there is an underlying pressure. You see, these elements unite as there is a push to find a way to make the UK-Iran link a stronger one. As the UK peers urge to make these policies stronger and better, the report gives within the title ‘Time for New Realism‘, in this as additional ties to Palestine are called for, the UK is setting the unique part in distancing itself more from the US in an anti-Trumpism move, yet in addition, it will create a wall between the UK and Israel. The report has loads of wisdoms, and even propagates my own view in different words. As they state: “We have a new and uncertain American policy in the region…We can no longer assume America will set the tone for the West’s relationship with the Middle East“, which was voiced by me differently as I stated in the past: “The United States is no longer a superpower, with the national debt (now at $20 trillion) setting the stage of labelling the United States as a bankrupt nation“. Its inability to set a proper economic stage has left the United States with a lack of options. there is little cause to take notice on what the United States administration shouts as it cannot afford any actions, this is also what North Korea seems to realise as it commences missile test after test, with test missiles entering Japanese territorial waters (Sea of Japan). As Japan urges China to act, which we could consider to be an act by a nation as bankrupt as the United states are, we need to also realise that China is an actual superpower and Japan is not. As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed actions, we will need to see what actions the Japanese will actually take, the 3rd US nuclear aircraft carrier now entering North Korean waters, we also see that the US is opting for sanctions and diplomatic pressures. We can assume that this is the best way to go about it and the question is for how much longer, the second speculated reason is that the US has no other options available. With the Syrian escalations still in place, getting into any war on multiple fronts is something only Napoleon succeeded in. Oh wait, no he did not, it was the end of Napoleon, having a theatre of war on multiple shores is a really bad idea, so that is also a thought to consider, but that realisation comes with the premise that unless China acts, North Korea can do whatever it wants (for now). So as we see several nations play what we call the hard line, the UK is setting the stage but is wisely playing a cautious game until after the elections, in addition, the UK peers are giving out a report that requires a shift in actions and thinking. We can oppose this, but as this report comes from the 0.1% most intelligent persons of the UK, ignoring that report is a really bad idea (read: utterly stupid path to follow), so as we get to know that report better and better, my initial thought is on how to create a really strong bridge with Israel, because if pro-Palestinian dialogues begin, there will be the need of diplomatic handholding (not in a romantic way). It is not merely because this world is not as small as we sometimes think it is. So as we see that the Brexit path is opening new terrain and in addition new paths to grow economies, we are left with the notion that as some think that the hard-line is the best path, we must realise that it is not the only path and there is much work that could be achieved, it remains a question how far it gets us all, but that is usually the notion of another path, it could open new terrain for all and in addition, there is an upside as the EU is following the US path for however long they can the others can look and evolve new options never before offered. I am still hesitant to consider any connection to Iran, yet the letting that fear stopping me from seeing where that could get us all is equally stupid. the power of fear is for many just too overwhelming. The problem then becomes, especially in light of Manchester, is the move a wise one?

Time will tell! Sometimes it is just that simple!

 

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No Health Statements

This is not the first time that we see a level of anger non-management in regards to the NHS and the medical staff. The proclaimed shortages and a government in denial over these elements. Whilst the DMG Media papers (among others) have had their fun day. The messages concerning the NHS are increasing all over the place and when we start reading about the  ‘The worst conditions in memory’, we know that we have come to that place also known as rock bottom.

This in contrast of messages like: ‘Hospital pays £1,800 for an agency nurse to work a single shift‘, April 5th 2014 (at Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2597442/Hospital-pays-1-800-agency-nurse-work-single-shift-thats-163-hour.html), Paul Dacre and ‘his’ DMG media. It is not the only case, there was a similar story on July 30th of that same year. The Telegraph gives us a similar story on January 19th 2013. This in contrast with real newspapers, namely the Guardian who voices (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/nov/01/nhs-spending-agency-nurses-cuts) ‘NHS spending on agency nurses soars past £5.5bn‘, with the second line giving us ‘Government accused of ‘truly incompetent planning’ after years of training cuts push cost of temporary staff way over budget‘, this is a situation that affects both sides of the isle as it wasn’t started by this conservative government, it started before 2010. Neither side of the political isle has given proper vision to the pressures building, and this current government is now watching from the sides as they need to find £25bn. That number is actually pretty easy to see.

Staff shortage, overhaul of equipment, shortage of infrastructure and an overhaul of the infrastructure to protect it from this ever happening again. In this we have two elements. The first is that the press is partial to blame in all this. Consider the speech by Paul Dacre “a kind of show trial in which the industry was judged guilty and had to prove its innocence” (source: betterratailing.com). I like the news in the Spectator even better with “unremitting pressure of fighting what I have no doubt was a concerted attempt by the Liberal Establishment, in cahoots with Whitehall and the Judiciary, to break the only institution in Britain that is genuinely free of Government control – the commercially viable free press“. Yet, Paul Dacre sold out his readers in an instant as he kept quiet on the changed user agreements PSN users were forced to agree to, just a mere 10 days before the release of the Sony PlayStation 4. In that, as I personally see it, he kept the people out of the loop. So as the commercially viable free press is betraying its readers. Possible because he had to orally please the ears of Sony? How can we have any faith on anything we read regarding the NHS, especially when it is coming from DMG Media? You see, the issues are very much linked. The people have been made aware again and again that people like this cannot be trusted. It is Stephen Fry who brings the best definition of the Daily Mail “the only good thing to be said about his Mail is that no one decent or educated believes in it“, which is pretty much spot on, and the news the Guardian gives us regarding: “Paul Dacre steps down from the post of Chairman of the Editors’ Code of Practice Committee, which he had held since 2008” (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/dec/01/paul-dacre-to-step-down-as-chair-of-journalists-code-of-practice-committee) is only the smallest of positive messages, even as he attacks it on the way out. Yet the Mail Online, which is owned by the mother company DMG media has had a long line of issues, among others with Tom Cruise as he was identified in a relationship between ‘Tom Cruise and the head of the church of scientology, David Miscavige‘, which might or might not be a big thing, what was the issue that the publishers were unable to defend themselves and even as we see ‘diplomatic’ responses like ‘Mail Online had failed to demonstrate that it had complied with its obligations under the first clause of the editors’ code on accuracy’, and as Editors’ Code of Practice Committee is part of IPSO, and they administered ‘penalties’ on a DMG Media sibling, the news that the Guardian gave “Regulator to reconsider whether the editors’ code, and its rules, can apply to a global digital publisher” (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2016/jul/19/ipso-review-after-mail-online-fails-to-defend-tom-cruise-story), so at this level of ‘contemplation’, something I personally tend to see as ‘inbreeding’, they are contemplating ‘a commercially viable free press‘. Are you freaking kidding me?

This sidestep is essential, because if it does not come from the Guardian, the Independent or the Times, we cannot be certain of anything nowadays, so as we lash out against the NHS, its governance and the consequences its patients face, we seem to be spurred into a false sense of righteousness as we kept on reading regarding those £225 an hour nursing jobs, which should be seen as misrepresentation of the highest order! The Telegraph isn’t helping any as they publish that the NHS now has access to Artificial Intelligence (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/01/05/nhs-trials-artificial-intelligence-app-place-111-helpline/).

The part that the Telegraph does show that is important is “Joyce Robins, from Patient Concern, said: “I find this quite frightening. People who are ill want a person they can speak to. Typing in your own symptoms and waiting for a result is just ridiculous – what happens if you make a mistake?”“, which is just the tip of the iceberg.

The issues seem to escalate and there are a few players in this dramatic comedy that have to explain their reasoning. I am clear in ‘explain’ because there are sides that I am unaware of, to boast not being unaware of anything is utterly irresponsible. Before I go into the separate points. I did make a case on several levels with ‘The UK NHS is fine‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/09/20/the-uk-nhs-is-fine/), and an even stronger case with ‘Is there a doctor on this budget?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/02/15/is-there-a-doctor-on-this-budget/).

Staff shortage.
It is the easiest one to solve, but cannot be solved overnight. Yet the shortages have been known for close to 4 years, so what has been done over the last 4 years to address these shortages?

Overhaul of equipment, Professor Angus Dalgleish has been outspoken in the past in several ways, mentioning the budget of the NHS not in the smallest way. We know that George Osborne had cut the budget by 1 billion, which in light of the shortages was a bad idea, the question is, was it avoidable, if not, how can the NHS move forward? With the current unemployment levels, how come it is still so hard to recruit nurses and doctors? I myself have had a lifelong interest in Radiology and Anaesthesiology. I am not alone in this, although in the 70’s when I was initially studying, getting into law or medicine was only possible if your parents were wealthy or if they were in law or medicine (meaning that they were wealthy). Now consider what the governments have done over the last 2 decades. I am giving that frame because we have known for at least 20 years that there was an aging generation coming up. Now the press at large seems to be blaming the immigrants, they might be as factor, yet they are not the main cause. A UK parliament going all the way back to Tony Blair should be seen as responsible for this. Those words are very specific. You see, when we look at the NHS expenditure history (at http://www.nhshistory.net/parlymoney.pdf), we see that in 2004/5 and 2006/7, Under Labour Tony Blair, the expenditure takes a massive hit, it is after that during Conservative David Cameron that expenditure goes straight into the basement, both sides fell short whilst both groups knew that the increased pressure from 2013 onwards would be strangling any budget as the NHS gets to deal with an aging population moving into retirement and an increased need for health care. None of it got properly dealt with by any parliament. In this, a rough estimate would be that the UK needs to hire no less than an additional 2,000 students a year for no less than 7 years to get anywhere near the numbers we will need in 8 years’ time, because the current shortage will increase. Perhaps parliament should take additional looks at places like the Royal College of Physicians (https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/), we can agree that quality needs to be high, Yet when your annual tuition fee is set at £23,190 with an additional college Fee of £7,350 there will not be much appreciation on an international level, unless it is for private practice and that is where the NHS luck runs out, in addition, for the ‘locals’, £9,250 annually is still a big ticket, especially in today’s financial uncertainty. Consider the fact that this goes on for 4 years (the NHS is mentioned in several places to cover years 5 and 6), still, the average student will end up owning over £37,000 before they are actually earning anything and by the time they start earning enough to pay some back, the houses and their prices come across the corner, so these people too will try to find a commercially viable place. Perhaps they will go into journalism? Which is an issue as Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail (read: DMG Media) and Jane Dacre (President of the Royal College of Physicians) are related to one another, so I can only speculate with the question whether the Daily Mail news and Mail Online and others are setting a stage that is leaving a foul taste in my mouth. Now we all know that there are plenty of other sources making statements in the open, yet I cannot wonder if there is a sorted wave of misrepresentation of information is going on. We all know that there is an issue and that the NHS is in serious trouble, yet it requires drastic changes and a vocation that attracts many yet nearly null can afford is still a vocation with no staff.

Shortage of infrastructure.
This is seen in two sections, the people and the technology. Both are in a failed state. Even as plenty of people are looking for jobs, it seems that the infrastructure is under pressure as well. A cut budget as George Osborne had put in place is in addition incrementally debilitating to the NHS infrastructure shortage. Now in this I am not placing blame on George Osborne. The UK got themselves into a £1.7 trillion debt, the NHS is only one side of a national infrastructure that needs a budget, whilst the previous administrations have been burning their budgets like there is no tomorrow, the point has been reached where government credit cards are all maxed out, so finally budgets get cut hard all over the place. The NHS was not the first and will not be the last to suffer near death symptoms for some time to come. Unless parliament takes drastic steps and starts to change the way things are done and perceived there won’t be anything left.

Overhaul of the infrastructure.
The NHS infrastructure requires a massive overhaul, the NHS has to some degree failed itself. This isn’t just about cut budgets, this is about the essential need for hospitals to be lean and mean (read: not average). Processes need to change, the objectives of hospitals need to change. Larger implementations are required that deals a blow to the posts that have too large a cost. One if the implementations would be that alcohol and/or drug related injuries are no longer treated unpaid and only treatment when upfront payments are placed. It will be the first harsh response to binge drinking. It was stated a year ago that binge drinking is costing UK taxpayers £4.9 billion a year, which boiled down to almost £13.5 million a day. Now the researcher set that it equates to £77 per person, so in my view, any alcohol and drug related treatment will be set at £60 per treatment up front. Those who cannot afford it (spent their money on booze and drugs) simply get to wait outside until that bad feeling is gone (or they can die and decrease the surplus population, source: Charles Dickens). It is my personal view that it will take no more than 1000 deaths for people to realise that binge drinking needs to get to an end. This is actually small fry compared to Australia where the annual tally of costing is set to $36 billion and when we accept that the currency is only slightly below 2:1, whilst the population is set to 1:3 (only 23 million in Australia) we can honestly state that Australia is in a much bigger mess than the UK and if the UK adopts certain policies, Australia is likely to follow quite quickly.

If these three parts can be addressed, there will still be a dangerous time for the NHS, but there is also the option that the NHS will move away from near death to extremely sick and hopefully the death of the NHS will be averted. The alternative is to put faith in the aging population to throw their numbers in another direction. You see, at present, the death rate is down. Over the last 10 years it went down on average by almost 14%, so if the elderly could be so nice to do an about face and start dying more increasingly (like an annual average of 2,500 elderly per year), we would see a diminished drain on the NHS, housing prices more affordable, you see the benefit, right? Now, if you feel that this is so inhumane, than this is the lesson you now get to face.

To have a social civil society, or a civil social society, you need to be certain that you can afford to maintain it. As the political parties gave the keys of non-taxability to large corporations, the first step in having no budget was reached, as these players had no taxation, they still would try to find every corner to cut costs. So the car industry moved, fashion production went to places like Malaysia and Indonesia and sales went online via places like Ireland. It does not take a rocket scientist to work out that jobs would decrease and governments would no longer have a budget to play with, this is what we see in nearly EVERY nation on the planet, whilst the senior management places in corporations on a global scale left those few with more money than ever before and they do not need health statements, their incomes allow for their private physician with a nurse for the happy ending.

In all this, is this a story of hope? I am not certain, you see, unless draconian drastic changes come along, it might actually be too late for the NHS, merely because of the oldest triangle in existence. I am referring to the triangle of Places, Provisions and People. Any government and corporation can undercut one element for a longer time without consequence, for a short time you can undercut two elements with minimum consequences, yet there is no chance for survival when you undermine all three for anything longer than a really short amount of time. This is what has been done to the NHS for no less than 10 years, that whilst all the players knew that the pressure and needs of the NHS would increase and will continue to do so for no less than 10-20 years. What did you expect would happen to the NHS under those conditions?

 

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Your Affordable Front door Key

There was an interesting article in the Guardian yesterday (at http://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2016/jun/03/london-foreign-investors-money-housing-property). The article has a missing side, but that is not in question. You see Dawn Foster is illuminating an essential side. The issue ‘housing without xenophobia‘ is well found and well-founded too, all rounded and informative. An excellent piece. My side is not of opposition, but on a part she did not pause on (which was never a requirement).

The quote “they drone about how “Britain is full”” is one you need to remember, you probably will because the average UKIP person will hammer it to an uninterested audience on a daily basis. The second quote is probably one of the most brilliant ones “Britain is not “full” and very little of the country is built upon. With an ageing demographic, we need our population to expand; and with birth rates declining, immigration will be key to propping up the economy, the NHS and the care industry“, I agree with Dawn, but in that light she does not acknowledge that London is actually ‘full’, that part is nearly a given. Nearly being the operative word as the bulk of the UK population can’t afford to live there. There are plenty of other places where people in the UK cannot live, because the prices have gone up by too much. You see, the silent part in this article is all around ‘affordable housing’.

Dawn does illustrate this in the quote “But the most pernicious and covert xenophobia in the housing debate concerns “foreign ownership”. The amount of overseas investment, particularly in the London housing market, is increasing. Empty towers owned by foreign money are also an issue, because they ramp up house prices and concentrate construction on luxury suites rather than family homes and flats for first-time buyers” and she emphasises the need for housing to be affordable. Yet, I ‘accuse’ her of remaining silent? How come?

Well, first of all, her article was not required to ponder on it, perhaps we the readers should be doing that. The UK must soon, if not as early as yesterday amend the investment rules regarding real estate and investments. You see Dawn is not the first person getting close to the issue. There was David Batty, who is not as batty as some say he is (at http://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2016/jan/30/luxury-london-homes-86m-social-housing), where we see on January 30th of this year “A Treasury spokesman said: “This government is already taking strong action to ensure fairness in the housing market and help people on to the housing ladder. In 2014 we introduced a higher rate of stamp duty for properties over £1.5m and from April 2016 additional properties will face additional rates of stamp duty. This will enable us to double the affordable housing budget”“, which makes me wonder how far those plans are coming along. In April of this year (at http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/apr/20/london-housing-crisis-sub-prime-problem-super-prime), Anna Minton reminds us with “Down the road from Balfron, Peter and Alison Smithson’s Robin Hood Gardens, also internationally acclaimed, failed in its bid to gain listing, and is now one of dozens of estates, housing tens of thousands of people around London, facing imminent demolition“, we should not forget to carefully ponder the quote “While David Cameron has heavily promoted the sink estate narrative to justify “estate regeneration” – essentially a euphemism for demolition – Lord Adonis (PS not the same person Greece refers to), the former Labour minister appointed by George Osborne to chair the national infrastructure commission, is given to blunter statements, having made it clear that a central reason to knock down London’s estates is that they are sitting on “some of the most expensive land in the world”“, it is there that we see the problems and the issues for London and for the UK. The part ‘the most expensive land in the world‘ comes from a push we saw in the 80’s. I remember those times really well. Here is an actual decent quote from the Telegraph (who knew): “Mrs Thatcher and her Chancellor Geoffrey Howe confronted the recession in a very brutal way. Rather that cut taxes, they raised them, and rather than increase Government spending, they slashed it“, written by Angela Monaghan. It is not unlike the days the UK is facing right now, people have forgotten that from that era new wealth was created, in similar light, the politicians have forgotten that life in those days was at least to some extent affordable when we consider the UK rents, so there is the issue that is unspoken, we need to cap certain events, not in light of some assumptionary value of land, but to a value where we count the value on how many people are housed within that area. That is where we need to see the changes to investment taxation when it comes to real estate. So what if this balance is not a seesaw as we often approach it, what if it is more like a Balancing Bird Center of Gravity (at http://www.amazon.com/Balancing-Center-Gravity-Physics-Colors/dp/B0019LNESE)? So as the body and tail of the bird is the lucrative side of investment property as foreign investors see it, than the affordable housing part would be represented by the size of the wings. The fairness of not opposing ‘profit’ for those foreign and domestic investors, but to carry their profit they need to invest into the wings and quite a large amount too. Of course, that could mean that the wings are not in London, but that would not be the worst part would it? In the end those houses are also part of their fortune, whether it is rent to own, the foundation of those investors becoming housing corporations or even the start of a new British housing dynasty. They will grow into long term investors and growing the need the UK has for affordable housing, which is where we see the highly needed balance of profit and endurance.

That is the silent non addressed issue. That part should have been dealt with for the longest of amounts. One of the articles mentions Heygate Estate, we see the area of Walworth, Southwark, and South-London as a housing project, but what it became was even worse than a failure. The fact that it required to be demolished 40 years later, only 40 years later is the huge issue. The idea of modernisation was overshadowed by many issues, yet in this light is the clarity that the buildings failed to foster a sense of community. In my view it seems to image a prison estate. Modernisation without elegance fosters alienation plain and simple. Architect Tim Tinker stated: “farrago of half-truths and lies put together by people who should have known better” (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-23371735), yet who are those people? You see, when you place people in such a massive proximity, you negate the need for what I regard to be ‘spacious privacy‘. You might not comprehend this, or at least some of you will not, but when you are in an office, try to relate to people working in cubicles, those people tend to be different. Isolation in a work environment creates a different form of segregation. There is actually a decent blog article on the matter (at https://www.tradegecko.com/blog/open-office-beneficial-detrimental), I think that there is another layer at work. The writer states this on the open Facebook/Google culture “They are popular and effective no doubt, but only work because their office layouts align with their company culture and caters to diverse staff needs“, here I do not completely agree. Yes, he is stating a correct fact, but an incomplete one. You see, in an open environment we do not only work our way, work in open space and in cohesion, it works because these people work with the need to consider the work of others. That is where these housing projects are an issue. As there is a lack of community, consideration takes a downturn for the worse more and more. Yes, it can breed inconsideration, crime and anti-social behaviour, but is that actually happening or is that only happening in the mind of the other person, the fear of hardship due to isolation? Only the people who lived there would be able to tell for certain.

It is a mere question and the question matters because that is a psychological event that has been known LONG BEFORE that housing project became to be. I personally believe that if the project was more spacious, with a small Tesco mall in the middle with a lower population on such an area, I reckon (an assumption on my side) that a critical population point was surpassed here. I do not have the skills or the math to help you in that regard, it is only speculation from my side. However, to see housing to be demolished after merely 40 years shows a larger problem, problems with planning, with execution and perhaps even with the quality. Whatever it is, this needs to be done better and it needs to be done soon and adjusting foreign investments is the only clear way to do this (so far four administrations have been a failure in this). The issue as I see it is that Margaret Thatcher was the last one truly working on affordable housing. Some state that this started to happen in 1997, whilst there is enough evidence that the flat line was as early as 1991, making the starting point of this issue whilst the power was in the hands of Sir John Major, the fact that this continued during what we now laughingly refer to as New Labour. Even as we accept that a lot was done under the Thatcher government, we have to raise the issue that several of them after 40 years are now changing hands and getting pushed into other projects, making the costs 40 years ago high and might be regarded as a bad investment. This is here we are now, the need for affordable housing and no solution in sight, especially when the government is well over a trillion short. Foreign investors could be the solution, but it will require a different kind of investor. Now, we will hear on how those investors will consider it bad investment and walk away, because plenty of them are all about short term gains. I am stating that we do not deny them the gains, we just want them to be longer term, especially with the massive tax breaks they enjoy. They can feel free to move to the US and invest there, but when that 18 trillion debt collection falters their investments could collapse or be held against much higher tariffs making the United Kingdom the best option for a safe investment, even if it is not short term. And if they back off there will be other new millionaires jumping at the chance of a long term gain with a long term balance of value and increased exposure as welcomed new wealth.

The BBC is showing us the reality of the mess that affordable housing has given its tenants: “An entire community has been forcibly displaced for the sake of mere land value speculation“, which is the failing of three governments and a really inadequate planning department, not to mention that in all this the House of Lords equally failed its citizens by not adjusting the balance against such greed driven motives. In addition, after a long term of playing Ping Pong with the Hose of Commons, we see that projects are set to readjusting, which would make sense, but the fact that the tenants are ‘forcibly displaced for the sake of mere land value‘, whilst the tenants are partially the reason for the increase in value gives weight that these tenants should not have been allowed to be displaced, but should have been awarded an exchange to a similar sized apartment at no extra cost. The value was in part due to their tenancy. From my point of view both the House of Commons and the House of Lords failed these tenants, which makes us wonder: who gives a flying fig when greed comes to town?

There is in part the silence too, but that will be an article for another day.

The UK is currently in a place that whether Brexit happens or they are faced with Bremain, local issues will not be resolved until certain measures are taken to keep the people safe, not just from investors, but from local folly and rezoning needs at a price that might not be worth the effort, not in the long run.

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Politicians forgot about this

The easiest way to show some of the European issues is to take a little look at Dutch politics. Here we start with the PvdA (Partij van de Arbeid, the Dutch Labour party), it has been reduced to a mere fraction of what it was. The 70’s with Den Uyl for 20 years, after which Wim Kok took over for 15 years. Both ended up being Prime Minister at some point. Those were the days, that party was Labour red, the working class were treated to people with an ideological side that would make them lazy and complacent. What followed was nowhere near the old guards and the people are finding this out the hard way. Let’s take a look at the issues from the last 5 weeks alone. Jacques Monasch opposes a new era with Diederik Samsom (current leader of Dutch labour), the reason is Hans Spekman, in this, Jacques stated that as president of the party he must remain neutral, yet too early he voiced his weight behind Samson as party leader. This is the first thread of the loom. There should be clear and consistent view on who leads the party. As I see it, Spekman did nothing wrong, clear leadership is essential if ANY option against Geert Wilders is to remain. You see, the Dutch have had it with indecisive politicians, a clear path should have been there all along. It remains in flux. I personally see it as a play by Jacques Monasch to get a higher place before his life is over (as well as his political life), in the second he is too late, Samson is 10 years younger, in better shape and a stronger labour voice. In the first, I would not be able to tell, I cannot predict the future. Yet as the median age of the Netherlands is 42.9, we can conclude he broke that line by well over a decade. On March 7th we get two pieces of news.

  1. Samsom offered the idea to take in 30.000 refugees from Turkey.

He is relating this towards the need to have some control on the flow of refugees. To prevent these refugees from taking a dangerous boat trip. Here he loses the point on several sides. In the first any control on the flow of refugees is an illusion to say the least. They all want to come here, and they want to get here as soon as possible. It is a non-working solution from square one onwards.

  1. Dutch Labour dissidents want to get rid of Diederik Samson.

This was released by the post online on the same day. Here we see names Gerard Bosman and Sander Terphuis, not high in the labour structure, but the post reported that Mei Li Vos and Lutz Jacobi are also on that list, both Dutch MP’s. In addition there is the party ideologist (no idea what he does) René Cuperus. They basically states that Diederik Samson needs to go, and their enthusiasm for Hans Spekman had basically dwindled to zero.

This is at the foundation of the problem for Dutch Labour. You see, this inter party politics will happen, but when extreme right PVV is as powerful as it is, they should have waited with this song and dance until much later. Now Dutch labour has a refinement issue, with that I mean that they end up being refined into something no one votes for. This is a quote by a German taxi driver. He stated “The problem is I don’t feel any of the issues being discussed have relevance for ordinary working people. Those who struggle on a wage of €1,200 (£930) a month which never goes up, while other costs of living do – what has the refugee crisis or the state of Europe got to do with us?”, consider that this statement was regarding a lifetime of CDU (Angela Merkel), this time he will be voting for AfD (Alternativ fur Deutchland). The German anti-Europe party. This show is happening on a European scale. Politicians too fierce on their ego, forgetting the first rule of governing, which is that you have to get elected. A sour apple that is about to get served in France and the Netherlands. The latter one with Geert Wilders was until 1 year ago not a reality. Now AfD has grown from 5% to 20%. This shows exactly what I have been saying for some time, especially regarding France. The elected officials stopped listening to their constituents, they compromised their population out of bounds and now they end up not having a job after the coming elections. So when the initial statement from Geert Wilders was made towards Hans Spekman “If you end up getting shot, the bullet will have the letters PvdA engraved on the side”, which was published on February 9th, almost a month before we see the revelation that these MP’s want to get rid of Hans Spekman and Diederik Samson. It seems that Geert Wilders tapped into the anger of the Dutch people, in all this the press itself is not innocent either. The Amsterdam newspaper The Telegraph reported a week ago ‘Many citizens are angry, even though we have a good economy’, how delusional is that? The people at large have been at a lifestyle standstill for a decade with almost nothing to show for it. In addition Dutch labour mentions to take in 30,000 refugees, tax issues on large corporations are not getting solved and the people are seeing their retirement funds maturing towards zero (largely reduced) in addition my generation will have to work another 5 years. Now, personally I do not mind, but explain to a person who supposedly retired last month that 41 months were added to his/her retirement age. How many indifferent people will you meet?

Not that many I reckon!

Now, some issues are unavoidable some were but the people have been feeling abandoned for too long. This grew UKIP, PVV, Front National and AfD. I do not have any quality data on Lega Nord as it is all in Italian and my Italian vocabulary is limited to Lasagna, Pizza, Panna Cotta, Provolone, Grappa and Gnocca (which is not an Italian pasta dish, which is Gnocchi, as I learned when my mates laughed themselves silly when they asked me to order it in an Italian restaurant).

What matters is that the political situation is no joke, it is serious and it is not going in the right direction. The problem here is what is the right direction? In the first is to push Turkey away, they have been the bad apple since day one. Power players want to do business wherever they can, yet in all this Turkey has been the disturbance. This goes back all the way back to their blackmailing selves after September 11th, when they wanted all debts forgiven. How easy people forget in just over a decade. Now again we see how they are fuelling the refugee pressures, whilst Austria is quick to see Greece as part of the problem, whilst ignoring Turkey in all this. The people are not stupid, the people are realising that they are being sold as cattle, the people see that big business is getting away in pretty much every nation and their own lives remain stagnant, with diminished options for a future.

Those right parties are aiming for that anger, that pain and the only thing Labour is doing is adding to their current pain. In the Netherlands we see how this plays. They are all ‘so aware’ of the global need that they are ignoring the local need, their constituents. This is not an attack on the refugees, their plight is real, but so is that of those millions of people living barely above poverty, a living standard that has gone down the drain, with less jobs and a growing population. Politicians have forgotten about the local side of all, whilst feeding their European Community Ego. This is another major reason for parties to lose their votes, votes shifting intensely to the right. Yet their all is not safe either, for now AfD might be safe with Frauke Petry, yet she too will soon feel the pinch of party members who want a larger slice of the pie. Like Marine Le Pen has to deal with her father, and Nigel Farage has his league of Douglas Carswell’s. In that view Labour is not alone and whomever gets their act together first will give rise to even more votes, yet in all this, unless labour changes its approach to their constituents, they will be running towards the right. This will be particularly nasty for the Conservatives in the UK, because the buffer they had in the past (read: Liberal Democrats), that buffer is gone, You see there the labour masses are not inclined to go towards the Conservatives, where there were the Liberal Democrats as an alternative in the past, UKIP seems to be the only option in their view. In that regard Jeremy Corbyn seems to losing his foothold in the party. It is not a serious matter at present, yet in all this there is more and more squabble and in that the voters feel that they are losing out in proper representation as the infighting continues, just as in the Netherlands. The consequence will be bad for the Conservatives and even worse for the UK Labour party and in all this UKIP will gain more (and votes too).

We will know more when the referendum sounds the solemn trumpet of out or in, that trumpet will sound throughout Europe, starting all kinds of matters, it will sound like the Horn of Gabriel, finite in the volume you hear, but infinite in the area it touches, meaning that all of Europe will hear the noise it produces, no matter the tone it will be in.

 

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More FIFA shit?

That was the very first thought I had when I found the article in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/jun/07/russia-qatar-lose-world-cups-if-bribery-found-fifa). The article ‘Russia and Qatar may lose World Cups if evidence of bribery is found‘. Domenico Scala, the independent chairman of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee decided to open his mouth. Which sounds rude, but that is what it adds up to. You see, in all this, as I see it, nearly EVERY MEMBER of FIFA seems to ignore, or sidestep the report by Michael J. Garcia. Is it not interesting that the report called for far trivialised by FIFA and now it has been silenced? Is it remotely possible that Michael J Garcia was the only uncorrupted voice?

It seems like a hard verdict and it seems crass to say so, but I have an issue with an interim manage with massive big business ties. Many of them none too pleased with either Russia or Qatar winning the ballot. With the quote “The new evidence, obtained by the BBC, appears to show how the 2008 payments from Fifa – ostensibly for a Diaspora Legacy Programme promised by South African World Cup organisers” we do take notice, especially as BBC had been on the case of Jack Warner for a long time, but how does this connect to Russia or Qatar?

The article then shows more with the quote “‘after talking with everybody … Whose votes went where? We’re all colleagues, you know. And then we found out that actually Morocco won by two votes,’ the Sunday Times reported Bhamjee as saying“, which seems to be another worry, as I see it, one of the next world cups should then be allotted to Morocco by default, which one is hard to say, 2026 perhaps?

But the article seems to go off to the side, you see the one small quote “had also alleged bribery during the 2018-22 race” is not enough. In a river of papers, documents and evidence the issue of Russia and Qatar are now set in 9 words.

So why is the Michael J. Garcia report held back, why is Michael J. Garcia not talking? It seems with Fat Cat Sepp and loads of others gone, Garcia might become untouchable, depending on that report, so why is that kept behind closed doors? That is part of the reason why I am not willing to give Domenico Scala any leeway or trust, especially with his biopharmaceutical links and his past in Nestle and Roche. These are global players with their claws all over the place. As I stated in my earlier blog regarding FIFA, ‘is it more likely than not’ that large corporations want Qatar to go because of the hundreds of millions in advertisement that are lost because of the Qatarian situation? Having the investigator who basically sleeps in the bed of these large corporations is not a mindset put at ease. The fact that Michael Garcia has vanished in a cloud of non-publications for almost 6 months does not help matter either. The fact that the press is not all over this is even more unsettling.

Then the last sentence, which is actually quite the firecracker. You see the sentence “The Sunday Times says that it supplied the evidence to Fifa five years ago but that it had not acted on it“. Of course, the fact that it is directly linked to Rupert Murdoch does not help the case. But the issue that does play is whether this interaction is in Michael Garcia’s report does matter. You see, if Garcia has it, what were his findings? If he did not have it, the question becomes, who has been regulating the mailboxes of the FIFA members. At this point it is likely to be more than just a reference to people like Jack Warden, because whoever did that (if it was done) must have been a person who is very high up the ladder of FIFA.

The one thing that puts the people (especially the Soccer lovers) at ease is the one step that FIFA is not making, now we get a new one in ‘charge’ and we see more headlines with the mention ‘if evidence of bribery is found‘. So, is my lack of trust that hard to grasp? Overall is there any faith in FIFA at present? Not by me, I do not matter, but those who are truly passionate about soccer, those who felt the reality, which they have expected so long, it still hit them like a kick in the nuts!

They are the people Domenico Scala needs to connect to, especially if FIFA is to have any future, because the news now is just news, but son we will see day after day the issues of extradition that is being fought by those allegedly corrupt, who are in fear of future for their sphincter as they enter the US courts. Then the actual courts that will take more months and more news again and again on FIFA and corruption. If Domenico Scala wants the trust of the people, the true soccer fans, than as I see it, he has no choice but to publish the report, preferably with Michael J Garcia standing next to him vocal about every part of his report. It is not the view Hans-Joachim Eckert would like, but there are questions, questions that also include the ethics committee. So as we see the quote that BBC had on December 17th 2014 “Fifa president Sepp Blatter said: “I am surprised by Mr Garcia’s decision. The work of the ethics committee will nonetheless continue”“, in light of all the arrested and one person who resigned, how did the ethics committee continue, and did it actually continue at all?

Having someone on the ethics committee does not mean that there is an ethics committee, for that reality, one need not look any further than the UK and its view on ‘justice’ via Justice Secretary Chris Grayling. The amount of my peers that have loudly voiced their view on what the Lord Chancellor regards as legal aid, which by the way is what you usually hear when a truck drives starts shouting after a traffic jam of 18 hours, it is not healthy on the ears!

In all this, many articles and several decision only seem to fuel uncertainty, especially regarding trust of FIFA that is now getting louder. Uncertainty will lead to a more grim view on what will happen to FIFA. You see in the end, the power of soccer is Europe, which means that if enough uncertainty is voiced, someone in power will voice to secede FIFA and make UEFA the one power in Europe. FIFA might laugh now, but the large soccer nations include UK, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. If three of these, agree on that action, they can pull a host of other european nations across. Let’s not forget that 70% of the power of soccer is Europe, it is not America, Asia or Africa. So whatever is left for the world cup will diminish the ‘world cup’ into a trophy of a few nations that will soon thereafter see that all the funds of soccer remains in Europe, at that point large corporations will pull out and the 6 billion Euro dream that was will be a devaluated nightmare. That nightmare will continue with every court iteration the US goes through on corruption.

That view only polarises further when we consider the quote “He has threatened to release an “avalanche” of secrets about FIFA and its embattled president Sepp Blatter, who last week announced his intended resignation“, which was in the New York Times (at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/08/sports/soccer/at-center-of-fifa-scandal-a-divisive-politician-in-jack-warner.html. This ‘threat’ is not entirely impossible as Jack Warner was previously a minister of national security and transportation. So we will soon see the ‘spook’ stories in the Telegraph I reckon.

In all this, the media will become the hyena that needs feeding, if Domenico Scala is to get any handle on this, releasing the full report of Michael Garcia would be a first step. It will not matter what that report states, you see, if it is useless, it will only reflect on Michael Garcia, if it was dynamite, it will hit resigned president Sepp Blatter, but it could also have repercussions for Justice Hans-Joachim Eckert, but that would depend on the report itself. If it does show that there were issues with both Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022, well, as I stated before, let the chips fall where they may!

So as we will get more FIFA shot for a long time to come, which has a hidden treasure (if Swiss Law helps me out here).  You see, life in Switzerland is not cheap, even though he has millions, now all that money going to him will be mapped, anyone ‘helping’ him out will soon fall under the investigative scope of the US as well, due to possibility of being an accomplice. I am not stating that those people are that, but a criminal investigation is taking place. Now he is in a land where bank secrets will not help him as he is under scrutiny of extradition, in addition, Scotland Yard (who must feel humiliated as this all happened under their noses) are now looking at him 24/7 as well (a presumption on my side). Jack Warner is under a microscope whilst his sons are talking to the FBI, naming their father as a joined co-conspirator. The fun never ends, with every claim he does not pursue (the avalanche of secrets) his position becomes weaker, whatever he reveals implies his connection and it weakens him further as his former ‘friends’ will want to stay away from that toxic environment. He still gets hit, no matter what. I would think that as a former National Security minister, he would have planned his tactics a little better, but that could just be my wrongly skewed vision. Now this comes to blows with the press, I wonder what Brigadier General Alfonso will do. Now that his former colleague is accused, will the General start an investigation into the bank accounts of the agency? I am not stating that Jack Warner stole anything, but what if he used the accounts to syphon money in more than one direction, not just to receive, but to make payment. Now we have a ballgame that is more entertaining than soccer, because if that is so, than Trinidad could be touched by the FIFA scourge. If so, Jack Warner might stop fighting extradition, just to escape the wrath of Brigadier General Alfonso.

In all this, never forget the parts that matter here, there is no evidence that Jack Warner had nothing but the highest love for his Trinidad, his need for … ‘susceptibility to gifts’ does not diminish his national love or in his view his national pride, but how is it viewed by his peers and other around him? That question touches on the quote “The prime minister of this Caribbean republic walked out of a session of Parliament on Friday, angrily chastising a fellow politician and former ally, Jack Warner, who finds himself and his two sons at the center of soccer’s widespread corruption scandal” which the NY Times article started with. You see, overall corruption is not a new thing, it happens in many places, it is just a clear fact that when it gets out in the open, those persons are usually not liked anymore. The same danger he faces all over the field, which is why some of the aspects seem so funny to me. He might throw a few parties now in Switzerland, but soon he will face the reality of legal fees and cost of living, because whatever he wants to pay with will be under none stop scrutiny.

So, we will see plenty more FIFA ‘shit’, the question I have is how UEFA will act and react, because faith in FIFA could soon be at an all-time low, more important, what is Electronic Arts (EA Sports) not willing to pay for?

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