Tag Archives: UK

In light of the evidence

We tend to accept facts and given situations whenever we have a reliable source and a decent level of evidence. The interesting side is that howling to the moon like a group of sheep hoping the lone wolf will not hear them is an equally weird revelation. The question becomes at that point, who is the lone wolf and who are the sheep, because neither position nor identity is a given. Now, for the first art, we have the Guardian article (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/27/eu-theresa-may-combat-terror-brexit-europol), with the expected title ‘We need deal with the EU to combat terror, experts tell Theresa May‘, which of course gets them the DGSE, yet the usefulness of the rest becomes a bit of an issue. For this part we need to look somewhere else, and we will do that after the given quote in the mentioned article “Although our partnership with the US for intelligence sharing is extremely important, the fact is that the current terrorist threat is very much a European dimension issue. The Schengen database and knowing about who has moved where are all intimately dependent on European systems and we have got to try to remain in them“. This could be a valid and valued statement, yet is that truly the case? For this we need to take a little gander to another place of intelligence and Intel interest. The Cyber monkeys, or is that the cyber-mercenaries? The difference is merely a moment when you WannaCry 1.4. You will have heard, or perhaps read regarding the NHS as it was struck, here again we see: “However, it instead appears to be down to organisations and individuals failing to run keep Windows up to date“, which was actually voiced by NHS Digital, the failure of policies as they were not adhered to by IT staff, or at least those responsible for keeping those PC’s up to date with patches. The second quote given much earlier in the IT article is ““To be abundantly clear, the recent speculation concerning WannaCry attributes the malware to the Lazarus Group, not to North Korea, and even those connections are premature and not wholly convincing,” wrote James Scott, a senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT)“, which is where I have been all along. The one nation that has less computer and internet innovation than a Nintendo GameCube sets this level of hardship? It is just too whack for thought. It is the quote “At best, WannaCry either borrowed heavily from outdated Lazarus code and failed to change elements, such as calls to C2 servers, or WannaCry was a side campaign of a minuscule subcontractor or group within the massive cybercriminal Lazarus APT” that changes the game. In addition we see: “The publication referred to “digital crumbs” that the cyber security firm had traced to previous attacks widely attributed to North Korea, like the Sony Pictures hack in late 2014″, we will exclude the quote “Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth has said Labour would invest an extra £5 billion into new IT infrastructure for the NHS, after hospitals and services were affected by the widespread Ransomware attack on Friday“, especially as Labour had in the previous government wasted £11.2 billion on an IT system that never worked, so keeping them away from it all seems to be an essential first.

The issue is now in several phases. Who got hit (those not updating their systems). It affected according to some sources thousands of systems, yet when it comes to backtracking to a point of origin, the Cyber Intelligence groups remain unclear. The IT article (at http://www.itpro.co.uk/security/28648/nhs-ransomware-north-korea-may-not-be-behind-wannacry), gives us a few things, yet the clear reference to the Guardians of Peace, the identity the hackers had given themselves in the Sony event gives a few additional worries. Either this is clearly a mercenary group without identity, or we have a common new issue on identity when it comes to Cyber criminals. You see, as we see more and more proclaiming the links between the Lazarus group and North Korea, we do not get to see a clear link of evidence. Many sources give us ‘could be linked‘, or ‘highly likely‘, which is an issue. It makes the evidence too shallow and circumstantial. The NY Times gives us (at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/22/technology/north-korea-ransomware-attack.html) yet they are basically stating what Symantec game us and mention that. My issue here is “But the hackers left behind a trail of digital crumbs that Mr Chien and his colleagues had traced to previous attacks by the Lazarus Group“, what if the crumbs were an intentional side? You see, the quote “another group of hackers that call themselves the Shadow Brokers published the details of National Security Agency hacking tools that the WannaCry hackers were able to use to add muscle to their attacks” give a different light. The fact that there is a team reengineering tools and flaws to get somewhere fast is one. We have seen the lack of actual cyberpower of North Korea in the past, the fact that they are regarded on the same level as Chinese Cyber forces is a bit silly. You see, any country has its own level of savants, yet the fact that North Korea, a nation as isolated as it is, gets to be on par with China, an actual superpower that has Cyber infrastructures, experts at the University of Shanghai (the white paper on cracking AES-256, 2001), as well as a growing IT technology base is just a little too whack.

This now reflects back to the European need of Schengen. The UK needs quality intelligence and with the US breaches of Manchester, the fact that no high quality evidence was ever given regarding the Sony Hack, the growing source of all kinds of hacker names and no validity or confirmable way to identify these groups leaves us with a mess that pretty much anyone could have done this. In light of the NSA flaw finders, there is now more evidence in the open giving the speculative hacker as one with skills that equal and surpass people graduating with high honours at MIT, than anything North Korea could produce. It does not put North Korea in the clear (well the fact that the generals there had no comprehension of a smartphone should be regarded as such), and as we see the entire Bitcoin go forward, we need to take more critical looks at the given evidence and who is giving that evidence. We all agree that places like Symantec and Kaspersky should be highly regarded, yet I get the feeling that their own interns know more about hacking then the sum of the population of all North Koreans do, which is saying a lot. We see supportive evidence in the Business Insider (at http://www.businessinsider.com/wannacry-ransomware-attack-oddities-2017-5). Here we see IBM with “IBM Security’s Caleb Barlow, researchers are still unsure exactly how the malware spread in the first place. Most cybersecurity companies have blamed phishing emails — messages containing malicious attachments or links to files — that download the ransomware. That’s how most ransomware finds its way onto victims’ computers. The problem in the WannaCry case is that despite digging through the company’s database of more than 1 billion emails dating back to March 1, Barlow’s team could find none linked to the attack“, one billion emails! That is what we call actual evidence and here IBM is claiming that the issue of HOW the malware spread remains a mystery. Now, can you see that the entire North Korean issue is out of touch with the reality of Common Cyber Sense and Actual Cyber Security? Two elements, both are essential in all this. It is the lack of actual evidence that seems to be the issue, giving us the question, who wants the North Korea issue propagated? Any answer here is more likely to be political than anything else, which now gives us additional questions on where for Pete’s sake the need of European Intelligence remains as they fall short of providing answers. In light of the Schengen database. Why would that not be shared? If the US has access as a non-European, non-EC nation, why would the UK, a clear European nation be barred from access? With all the flawed acts by the US, having actual professionals look at Schengen data, seems to be an elemental first, would you not agree?

An additional question would be on how these Bitcoins would be cashed, it is not like an isolated nation like North Korea ever had a flying business in Bitcoins in the first place. It is actually (yes, I am shocked too), that quality information comes from PwC. In this case Marin Ivezic, a cyber-security partner. He gives us “EternalBlue (the hacking tool) has now demonstrated the ROI (return on investment) of the right sort of worm and this will become the focus of research for cybercriminals“, which would be a clear focus for veteran cyber criminals, yet the entire re-engineering foundation gives another slice of circumstantial evidence that moves us actually away from North Korea. So in this we have two elements. As the FBI and CIA have been all about pointing towards North Korea, the question becomes, where do they not want us to look and whatever else do they not have a handle on? These points are essential because we are shown an elemental flaw in Intelligence. When the source is no longer reliable, why would they be around in the first place? We can agree that governments do not have the goods on Cyber criminals, because getting anything of decent value, tends to require inside knowledge, which is the hardest to get in any case, especially with a group as paranoid as cyber criminals. The second side is that China and Russia were on the list as one of the few abled parties to get through Sony, yet Russia has fallen of the map completely in the last case, that whilst they are actually strengthening ties with North Korea. That does not make them guilty, yet on the sale required Russia was one of the few with such levels of Cyber skills. The fact that we see in the NY Times that it is too early to blame North Korea is equally some evidence, it gives vision to the fact that there are too many unknowns and when IBM cannot give view of any mail that propagated the worm, gives additional consideration that there are other places who cannot claim or show correctly how the worm got started, which is now an additional concern for anyone altering the work for additional harm. As the point of infection is not known, stopping the infection becomes increasingly difficult, any GP can tell you that side of the virus. There is one more side I would like to raise. This comes from a source (at http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/59458/breaking-news/wannacry-linguistic-analysis.html), it is not a journalistic source, or a verified source, so please take consideration that this news could be correct. It is however compelling. The quote ““The text uses certain terms that further narrow down a geographic location. One term, “礼拜” for “week,” is more common in South China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Singapore. The other “杀毒软件” for “anti-virus” is more common in the Chinese mainland.” Continues the analysis “Perhaps most compelling, the Chinese note contains substantial content not present in any other version of the note, is lengthier, and differs slightly in format.” The English note of the ransomware appears well written, but it contains a major grammar mistake that suggests its author is either not a native speaker or possibly someone poorly educated“, that would make sense, yet how was that source acquired?

The second quote: ““Given these facts, it is possible that Chinese is the author(s)’ native tongue, though other languages cannot be ruled out,” Flashpoint concluded. “It is also possible that the malware author(s)’ intentionally used a machine translation of their native tongue to mask their identity. It is worth noting that characteristics marking the Chinese note as authentic are subtle. It is thus possible, though unlikely, that they were intentionally included to mislead.” The Flashpoint analysis suggests attackers may have used the Lazarus code as a false flag to deceive investigators, a second scenario sees North Korean APT recruiting freelance Chinese hackers to conduct the campaign” gives us a few elements, the element of misdirection, which I had noted on from other sources and the element that North Korea is still a consideration, yet only if this comes from a freelance hacker, or someone trying to get into the good graces of Pyongyang, both options are not out of the question as the lack of Cyber skills in North Korea is a little too well set from all kinds of sources. The writer Pierluigi Paganini is a Cyber professional. Now even as Symantec’s Eric Chien is from California, did they not have access to this part and did no one else correctly pick up on this? As I stated, I cannot vouch for the original source, but as I had questions before, I have a few additional questions now. So, exactly how needed is European Intelligence for the UK? I think that data should be shared within reason. The question becomes, how is Schengen data not shared between governments? The Guardian gives us “After the Manchester attack, which killed 22 people and left dozens of others grievously injured, it was revealed that suicide bomber Salman Abedi had travelled back to England from Libya via Turkey and Dusseldorf four days before the attack“, so how reliable is Turkish intelligence in the first place? How could he have prepared the bomb and get the ingredients in 4 days? There is an additional view on ISIS support active in the UK, yet as we now see that this drew attention to him, why on earth was the trip made? Also, was Libya or Mecca the starting point (source: claim from the father in earlier Guardian article)? How would sharing have resolved this?

Now look at this in light of the US leaks and the Cyber Intelligence of a dubious nature. There is a growing concern that the larger players NSA, DGSE, GCHQ have flaws of their own to deal with. As they are relying more and more on industry experts, whilst there is a lack of clear communication and reliable intelligence from such sources, the thoughts now become that the foundation of fighting terror is created by having a quality intelligence system that recognises the need for Cyber expertise is becoming an increasing issue for the intelligence branch. Should you wonder than, then reconsider the quote: ‘demonstrated the ROI (return on investment) of the right sort of worm and this will become the focus of research for cybercriminals‘, if you think that cyber jihadists are not considering the chaos that they could create with this, then think again.  They will use any tool to create chaos and to inflict financial and structural damage. They might not have the skills, yet if there is any reliable truth to the fact that the Lazarus group is in fact a mercenary outfit, there would be enough critical danger that they will seek each other out, that is providing that ISIS could bring cash to that table. I have no way of telling how reliable or how certain such a union could be. What is a known is that Sir Hugh Orde is not answering questions, he is creating them, as I personally see it. The quote “UK membership of EU bodies such as Europol and Eurojust, which brokers judicial co-operation in criminal cases, not only allowed access to huge amounts of vital data, but also meant UK police could set up joint inquiries with German police or those from other national forces without delay“. You see, the UK remains part of Europe and Interpol existed before the EC, so as we now see the virtual creation of red tape, the question becomes why the EU has changed rules and regulations to the degree that the UK would fall out of the boat. Is it not weird that the EU is now showing to be an organisation of exclusion? Even if we laugh on the ridiculous promises that Corbyn is making, just to be counted shows that there is a larger problem in place. Why is there suddenly a need for 1,000 more intelligence staff? Can we not see that the current situation is causing more issues then resolve them? As such, is throwing money and staff on a non-viable situation nothing less than creating additional worries?

The last part is seen in “The Schengen database and knowing about who has moved where are all intimately dependent on European systems and we have got to try to remain in them“, yet this does require all players to enter the data accurately, in addition, that only applies to people entering Schengen, yet as has been shown in the past, after that getting locations on people is becoming an increasingly difficult problem. The fact that after the Paris attacks, some people of interest were found to be in Belgium is one side, the fact that these people could have met up with all kinds of contacts on the road is another entirely. The truth is that the intelligence branch has no way of keeping track in such details. In addition we have seen that the list of people of interest is growing way beyond normal means and organising such data streams and finding new ways not just to find the guilty, but to decrease the list by excluding the innocent is growing in complexity on a nearly daily basis. And that is before the cyber mess is added to the cauldron of nutrition. There is at least a small upside, as the technology stream will soon be more and more about non-repudiation, there will be additional sources of information that adds the branches by pruning the list of people of interest. The extent of pruning is not a given and time will tell how this is resolved.

It all affects the evidence that the parties hold and how it is applied, it remains a matter of time and the proper application of intelligence.

 

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As a puppet

Have you been in a place where a person behind the screens is slowly shows his ability to give appeal? He is majestically moving his hands, not seen by anyone, hidden in shadow, yet the audience is delighted, the audience is watching a show of puppets, whether Muppet or Punch and Judy, the kids are in delight, at times, so are the parents. You see, the true master is not just about the posing or the dance of the puppets, as a master his voice give reign to banter, gossip in two layers, one that makes the children laugh and that makes the adults go: ‘Ha!’. The mark of of a savant. Yet, the bulk of them are not savants and in the political field there are at times a few people who are a lot less than savants and the media lets them, because the outrage created is what their circulation depends on. That was my view when I initially saw: ‘Doctors’ leaders accuse ministers of ‘callous disregard’ for the NHS’, a piece of work by the Health policy editor. We see a few things in the article and we all know that the NHS is in serious trouble. The part that stopped me was: “Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrats’ health spokesman, said: “Instead of £350m a week for the NHS, under the Conservatives we’ve seen the health service being gradually run into the ground“, you see, leave it to a LibDem to be clueless on the best of days, but just in case (because I make mistakes too), there was the small decision by me to take a second look, for that just in case moment in my life. You see, I remember that number, for one, I have never had that much money in my wallet, but I remember the amount in different ways. You see, the busses, the mention, when was that exactly a promise? The Brexit team bus (fuelled by UKIP) states: “We send the EU £350 million a week, let’s fund our NHS instead“, it is a valid slogan and it is a wish, in addition, the Nigel Farage interview on some morning TV show gives us “I would much rather give it to the NHS“, that is wishful thinking, it was not a promise or commitment, that came from nearly EVERY anti-Brexiteer. Now, I have slapped Labour UK around on their manifesto. It states: “The people of Britain are rightly proud of the NHS and we will invest £12 billion over the next five years to keep it working for them“, so we get a little over £6 million a day, or slightly more than £200 million a month, so where does this £350 a week ‘pledge’ come from? The independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/conservatives-must-make-manifesto-commitment-of-350m-a-week-for-the-nhs-say-doctors-a7739401.html) shows us: “Doctors, academics and public health officials have called on the Conservative Party to include in its general election manifesto a commitment to spend £350m a week on the NHS, in keeping with the notorious posters of the Vote Leave campaign“, which makes me wonder where the actual pledge comes from. So it seems that Dr Chand Nagpaul and Norman Lamb are both missing a few parts here (I am happy to be proven wrong), The conservatives pledge (2015 manifesto) was to increase £8 billion over 5 years, the increase goes nowhere near the 350 million some are muttering and this manifesto was BEFORE Brexit happened, so I am wondering what the article is based upon. If it was written with in mind the presentation of some think-tank, then this approach is a massive failure. So this health foundation think-tank is also moving in other not so clever directions. I could start that I had a solution (which only costed me 135 minutes to figure out and Google could get it from me for £15 million post taxation), yet they aren’t interested in a multi billion-pound revenue solution. And if this article is about spiralling pressures, well, we all agree and if the wasted £11.2 billion pounds on a previous IT project under previous labour, there might have been some space, yet the pressure would always have been there. As I wrote in previous blogs, the first thing that the NHS needs to do is change its mindset. That is an initial need on several levels. The ‘old’ way of doing things is no longer an option and it is weighing down as the cost of infrastructure is just increasing, that initial change is essential to survive. In my view (which might be flawed and incorrect) there seems to be an increasing wave of commissions in play and those groups are not free, there was a paper showing it and the reference is in my previous blog from January 15th 2017, where we see: “Coventry and Warwickshire NHS chiefs fork out £340,000 for advice on how to SAVE money” (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/01/15/the-views-we-question/), this time it is not about the money, well perhaps partially. It is about the 7 commissions in Warwickshire. How much to they cost? Now, this is not about their validity to exist, yet it seems to me that these trusts and commission groups might need trimming or reengineering. And that is just Warwickshire. This is what I am implying with the ‘rethinking‘ part. Yet, when, I ask again when did any of these think tanks go there in looking on changing the NHS and the costs they have? I am pretty sure that the media have not seen or reported on that issue for the longest of times. As I read now that they are looking to fill 80,000 positions, whilst I with three Uni degrees can’t get a job because I turned 55 is just obscene in several ways. And the entire ‘government must plug funding gap in healthcare spending between UK and other European countries‘, which is debatable right there as the Netherlands is twice the size of Ross-shire, with 16 million people in there, in addition we see Sweden which is almost twice the size of the UK, with 10 million people and 20% of that in the three largest cities. So here we already see three very different dimension of issues, making the ‘funding gap’ a bit of a question mark, in addition, as the UK is well over minus a trillion, the health care issue will be an issue and remain so unless some players start considering different paths, throwing money at it does not make it go away, you merely move the issue after which you end up having to solve two problems. So how does that solve anything? Well, I believe that we need to get the Universities involved and start brainstorming on how certain problems might be solved. You see, there is nothing like the unbiased view of a politically incorrect student to try and solve a puzzle, especially when political lobbyists are not allowed to ‘forge’ minds to become politically accepted minds. I think that turning the puzzle into a creativity challenge will get us potentially some options people forgot about. I found my solution whilst browsing a historical page on Scotland, of all the technological solutions, I found mine in a history book that predates that device that Graham Alexander Bell invented (read: telephone). How weird was that?

The puppet issue still remains. You see, the quote at the end: “Urgent action is needed, the thinktank says, because 900 people a day are quitting as social care workers, too few new recruits are joining the sector“, is an issue. I am not doubting the number as a total, yet when monthly a industry is drained by 18,000 workers, there are additional problems. When we in addition see a source claiming that NHS digital had notified staff on patches and we see news that Labour now wants to pump £37 bn in the NHS, we have several issues. For one, the unrealistic prompt for money that cannot be found in a realistic way and the fact that Labour gave out a manifesto promising the UK to get them a quarter of a trillion in deeper debt is a worry. The IT story is also linked to all this as it shows that there are additional infrastructure issues. If the endgadget quote is true “It seems this advisory fell on some deaf ears, which explains why only certain NHS Trusts were affected“, it clearly shows that the infrastructure needs an overhaul and there is a strong requirement to take a harsh look on where the money is going. The endgadget quote shows a STRUCTURAL failure of the NHS, and only an idiot will pump £37 billion in something that could be structurally unsound. That part has been ignored by the media on too large a scale. Oh and that is not limited to the UK, there is a European failure here (as well as a few other parts of the British empire, like Australia). So we need to consider that we have to give stronger illumination to the puppeteers, because, who exactly is part of the the Health Foundation think-tank? And as we illuminate the players in such think-tank, as the people have a right to know, we need to stop being puppets. We need to look at actual solutions, that is because I have seen a few ‘think tanks’ and ‘consultancy teams’ mentioned and even as we can agree that ‘£340,000 for advice‘ could be money well spend, it seems that over the last year there have been a few of these events and I am decently certain that these people do not work for free, so how much has been spend? I feel that I am massively underrating and could end up being equally massively underpaid with my £15,000,000 solution that would bring the project completionist a few billion.

It is also my personal belief that in many cases the person claiming ‘urgent action is needed‘ is also the person who wants the ‘victim’ to jump the shark so that they can coin in as large a way as possible. Yet I agree that the NHS needs acts that lead to solutions, here I differ in labelling the action as an act. The act of instigating change is not done in a few minutes and I do not want it to be wasteful, so people need to have their bullet point list ready (I actually hate those lists). Not a longwinded presentation, or is that ‘long wined and did possibly’? The NHS issue is in too critical a state, pretty much everyone agrees, yet the way how it is addressed and where the highest priority lies is another debate, in my mind (possibly a wrong deduction) is in the first, nurses, in the second infrastructure shifts and three the doctors. The infrastructure is important, not because doctors are not, but because the infrastructure has been showing to be a drain on the funds available. In that part we see that as issues are resolved more and more funds would become for both doctors (and GP’s) and upgrades. It is not that points two and three could not be instigated at the same time, yet in equal measure whatever infrastructure issues is resolved might actually give additional funds for more doctors and GP’s as well. It is merely a thought and there will be enough opposition, or better stated valid opposition to my priority list, it is just finding the path that is best walked. And in this case, I have the feeling that from the very beginning of the failed IT project that the NHS decision makers have been all about talking the walk and not getting any actual walking done, which would be a terminal disaster for any project, no matter how many billions you throw at it. It will merely be wasted coin.

 

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As an election looms

Finally, we get some words on the Labour manifesto, the Guardian has been on top of it and whilst they are presenting a good part, I have a few issues as they went a little light on labour as I personally see it. Again, it is a personal side and as a conservative you should take into consideration that the flaw is on my side, and I would accept it, but let me give you the goods.

The entire review is at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/16/labour-manifesto-analysis-key-points-pledges, so you have the option to completely disagree and seek your own version of their vision. The first part “a short note on a new £250bn “national transformation fund” implies that these costs will be funded through capital borrowing” shows their intent on rail, which is a quarter of a trillion through borrowing. So off the bat we are considering electing someone who wants to add a quarter of a trillion to a debt that went off the handles due to the Labour party in two previous administrations. How is that ever a good idea? a chunk of all the other parts is supposedly coming by adding a new tax group of 50% for those earning above £123K. A marginal addition for the ‘fat cat’ group. So those making more than that will be charged for the amount above and I have a hard time accepting and believing that this will get them the ‘speculated‘ £6.4 billion. It reads more like wishful thinking in an age where rationalism will not ever get you that amount. Consider, as mentioned before, something that any excel user can check with the numbers the UK tax office (HMRC) offers, the super wealthy, those making well over a million is limited to less than 5000 people. So how is this billion pound extra achieved? Let’s not forget they only get the 5% extra over the amount over £123K, as such the income will not get close, yet after the election they will come with excuses, whilst we already knew that this was never realistic. In addition, how many are close to the threshold? In this those making £123K – £199K, they might feel safer setting apart certain investment reserves into retirement, if they get that done, the £6.4B will drop fast by a lot. In addition, the Guardian gives us: “But recent evidence from the imposition of a 50p rate in 2010 shows that the measure could spark mass avoidance by the individuals affected and raise no extra funds for the exchequer“, so there is that part too! Remember Jeremy Corbyn and his nurses? The 10,000 nurses pledge? When we consider the already announced part “Health and social care reform at a cost of £7.7bn, as part of a package that includes a guarantee of A&E treatment within four hours and the end of the NHS pay cap“, and the “Free lunches for pupils as part of £6.3bn school package“, that’s another 14 billion, where is that coming from? Remember the tax increase part? When we tally, we see that the NHS part is already leaving the tax increase at minus a billion, all the other multi billion pound parts are not even close to being addressed. This is simple tally stuff that many in their final year in primary school can achieve from their calculus lessons and Jeremy Corbyn and his ‘raunchettes’ cannot deliver, a mere exercise in lewd offensive spending. Choices without proper merit and ignoring the consequences of the deep debt they got the UK in in the first place. I am all for some level of social levy, yet any social act requires to consider the impact, something that UK Labour is clearly not doing. It is even more upsetting that simple calculus gets us to a place where this would never have been a reality to begin with. Are you seriously considering voting for such a failed attempt?

When we consider the added Cyber security, and the promise to the security agencies, we see items that are promised without any claim to the cost. Now we might accept that part, yet their own £11.2 NHS IT fiasco should clearly show that they haven’t got a clue on how to tackle it because the limitations they imposed through failed IT is part of the reason that NHS IT is not up to date in the most meagre of ways which is also exactly part of the reason that the NHS hacks were successful in the first place. In addition the entire pension part is flawed, that is a given not because of what it states, but when you compare it against the Australian need to already up the retirement point to 67, with a population of 20 million, that is a retirement change already needed now, the fact that the age wave will hit with almost 4 times the intensity in the UK and the retirement age will not significantly up for another 6 years is delusional and as I see it set so that the current Labour electorate can ignore the issue until the next election, at that point it will be way too late and they will offer some diluted solutions using capital borrowing adding another . I see it as we now need an estimated £75bn a year, it is anticipated a near doubling before 2025. You see, some of the statistics have been placing comparison of life expectancy and percentage of retirement, yet as I see it, the quality of life for those born in the 30’s and those born in the 60’s is vastly different. the difference of those two groups is that maximum life is more likely to be in excess of 20 years, so those born in the 60’s and onward have a much higher chance of requiring a pension for close to 20 years longer, on a population of millions, that would equate to an additional pile of billions that would be required. In this the setbacks that the financial meltdowns gave all the people and government institutions, it shows that the shortage will increase and the pension deficit will increase annually by a lot over the next 5 years alone, so not seeing any repair actions is just weird. So as labour proclaims to be ‘social‘ their social unawareness and unpreparedness is just a little too upsetting. Now, the Tories are not innocent either. There is a given shortage and getting rid of the debt is a first step in solving it, so as we see that Labour is now willing to add close to half a trillion to the total shortage and that is just the added shortage of what they want to do to look cool. The added deficit will go straight through the roof adding overall a lot more debt than anyone is willing to consider.

And it is Labour of all others who have no welfare support. they promise a future policy paper, but the overall issue is not that paper (it will be though), it is “There are no spare funds in Labour’s calculations for extra welfare spending. To counteract the effects of planned cuts, under Labour’s current plans it would need to increase borrowing“, so that implies even more borrowing, whilst they amount needed is already through the roof. I did voice a change, I offered a view where there might be some additional ‘fat cat’ costs, even though that is not what I call it, it was a need to increase the second tax tier by 2% and the third one by 1%, whilst increasing the 0% tax group. so basically the lowest people get £100 a month more and the highest (45% tier) loses about £150 a month (as they also have the higher 0% part, they lose a little in the end), around £100 for tier 2 and £50 on the tier 3 part which I saw as a very social thing to do. And all that without burdening towards extra debt. I am not stating that the lowest group did not deserve more, I was working from a 0 balance difference for taxation, so that the coffer would not be denied more coins to address the massive debts it has now. It was a simple exercise in Excel and perhaps my method is flawed, my intention was pure, that is a lot more than I can state for the McDonnell-Corbyn group who will happily max out the UK credit card and leave others to solve the matter after they leave office, just like the two previous labour governments did.

Yet in all this it is not just the Labour party that needs a look, the Lib Dems are also due a little concern. In that I actually like the entire ‘rent to buy‘ pledge. I cannot say if it would work because the ground materials are not a given at present. What homes would be offered? Consider what the foundation is. New houses, would b great, but when we see where, there will be an optional issue. It is of course a way to get the younger generation out of London and perhaps towards other places where a younger population would be a good thing. However, would they embrace life in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire or Kent? What happens when that is not an option, what if the social houses in London does not get resolved? Those elements make the Lib Dems an issue that might not come to pass, yet for every person accepting a place outside of the greater London area, the pressure will go down a little, enough little’s will make for a moment of relief, yet will it work, time will tell. In all this I personally found the second ‘referendum’ offensive. So, because people did not like the outcome, because some didn’t bother voting, the people in the UK get to vote again? I wonder how the Lib Dems will be seen when the EU gets the bill of what Wall Street does, when the UK gets the pounding because the US could not get their house in order, I wonder how those second referendum people will be seen. Even as the US is ‘suddenly’ doing great again, whilst their debt is increasing by trillions of dollars a year, as well as their inability of dealing with their deficit, how will that push others? The US now with almost 20 trillion in national debt, they stated the 1st half of 2016 a collected taxation of 1.48 trillion. now, if we do something not entirely valid, but what if we double it? (the second half is never as much as the first half, yet for argument sake), this now implies that the US would collect a maximum of $3 trillion for 2016, that whilst at present, federal spending is at almost $4 trillion and the deficit is now approaching $600 billion for this year. The deficit, no matter what they report is not getting properly addressed and has not been or over a decade. What do you think will happen when that well ends? Do you think that export to the US will continue? At that point, who would be the trade partner that remains? I do not proclaim to have then answer, yet when we see that at present US total Interest paid is set at $2.5 trillion, where do you think that goes? Who is paid interest on debts that seem to be mainly virtual? Do not think it is a simple picture, because this part is as complex as anything could ever get. Machiavelli could not design something this complex. Yet at the end of the day, the taxpayer is left with the invoice. As such lowering debt is the only safety net that would allow the people in general to have any life. I have always stated and truly believed that once it collapses, it will hit whomever is in debt. I still believe that Japan is the first domino to fall, yet that also means that the US dollar gets a hit that will be a terminal one and Wall Street will falter almost immediately after that, after which the Euro will go straight out of the window, its value less than the German Deutschmark in 1923. Japan has a debt that is close to 240% of GDP, a group of nations that includes the US, Japan, the UK and several other European nations have a budget deficit that is surpassing $9 trillion, how is that allowed to continue? This is not me, this comes from Martin Weiss, PhD. Although his PhD is in cultural anthropology from Columbia University, not in economics. Yet we can agree that at least he has a few degrees which includes degrees from Columbia and NYU, so he is not the most uneducated tool we know, unlike some in politics nowadays. The problem is not the total deficit or the total debt. It is the fact that some players like the Rothschild’s, Wall Street and even the IMF are wanting this game to continue. A push it forward game that benefits the political and financial engine operators and 0.1% of the population. Would it be fair to call this a legalised form of slavery? Is the one option allowed to have the same as a freedom of choice? That is what is more and more at stake. When the people in the UK were allowed this freedom, they chose Brexit, now we see all these players trying to undo that one part, because it is the fear of the players with too much to lose. We get more and more weighted information from the press and that engine is less and less reliable. So what remains? Well, the people in the UK are about to make their selection, whilst we see certain manifesto’s that are debatable to say the least. Some parts are just not realistic at all, yet the people must elect someone. I will not tell you who to vote for, I am merely wondering if the people will ever be properly informed.

This is mainly because there is an election looming and those not governing will make whatever promise they can just to get into office. So what will happen after that? Remember Emmanuel Macron? Making all those statements on how Europe must reform, or else there would be a referendum? Well, merely an hour ago we see: “Both pro-Europe leaders were keen to show solidarity concerning the Eurozone and have broken with previous statements by discussing potential changes to EU treaties. The move is seen by both nations as a way of healing ongoing EU upheaval, combating the rise of the far right and showing a united front in the wake of Brexit negotiations” healing whom? the ECB spending spree recipients? When we see “Visiting Berlin on Monday, Macron ‘did not push for major, ambitious reforms (of the EU) because he knows the chancellor cannot deliver until the elections in September’“, I merely see the fact that the French people have been lied to again, and those people voting have elected a new Wall Street tool (as I personally see it), and the fact that he was a former investment banker was pretty much a clear giveaway. I expect to see some kind of ‘compromise’ that gets no one anywhere any time soon around the end of August or early September, implying that the European gravy train will move along with full speed ahead for another 4-5 years. When you realise this, do you still think my Brexit support was weird? If someone had effectively muzzled Mario Draghi, that might have been a first piece of evidence that reform of the Eurozone would have been a far fetched optional reality, yet so far, that has not and is unlikely to happen.

 

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Awaiting the next…

There is not a lot to do today, the French polling booths opened up 28 minutes ago, there is no certainty who will make it to the palace in Paris and I will not speculate at this time. In that regard, the shouting of ‘hacked’ by Emmanuel Macron seems shabby and shallow. In that same light, we see (what I regard to be) the the hilarious idiocy of Jeremy Corbyn with ‘We’ll fund spending by raising tax on £80,000 earners, says Labour’, which is a joke when you consider that it does not even get close to 20% of the spending spree he has in mind. The UK is in a state of hardship for now and that has always been a known fact. It is a hurdle that the right politicians can overcome and Jeremy Corbyn is showing again and again that he is not cut out for that position. The quotes “under the plans, 95% of taxpayers would be guaranteed no increases in their income tax during the next parliament” as well as “those earning above £80,000 should expect to pay more to enable improvements to the health service, education and other public services” show the level of lacking reality. Now, I have nothing against raising taxation just a little in high earner fields, yet that was to offset increasing the 0% tax bar so that those in low incomes would get just a little more. The improvements needed to health care alone will require billions, more than the tax increase allows for, which means that the UK Labour party is deceiving you. Would you vote for someone who actively and openly deceives you? You as UK voters, you should know this by now. In all this, these false promises from Labour UK is merely a clear sign that voting for them is voting for the downfall of the UK. UKIP is equally down, having no constituencies left and the lack of the charisma of Nigel Farage is a problem for them. Paul Nuttall is not getting it done, which is no bad reflection in him. He started as the underdog and with merely a Brexit, it is not enough. Farage was (even though everyone disagrees) a visionary, not the most diplomatically eloquent one, but a visionary none the less. Paul requires more than he has at present, more following, more issues to work with and these two are much harder to come by at present. The Lib Dems are not in a growing side either, but they already had a following and I will admit that Tim Farron did a lot better in this election than I gave him credit for. If he can connect to Theresa May and plead for essential parts of the Lib Dems message to become accepted by the Tories, he will actually have a game to play and if administered better than Nick Clegg did, he will have an advantage, one that surpasses the Labour party at present, which is saying a lot.

In all this, we have weeks to see the press give voice and give a swing to what these politicians are trying to say without sounding like Oliver Twist with ‘Can I have a little more please?

Whatever happens, it will not happen until Tuesday as Monday will all be about France and it will be about the next phase of France. In that regard I do believe that the outcome of the elections is merely a stage towards what will be opened at that time. No matter the win, a European referendum seems to be no longer avoidable. Macron is realising it and Marine Le Pen is merely waiting for Macron to screw up that one mistake is all that will be required.

That is the setting which we will see before the general elections and hen that happens it will impact the political actions in the UK. It all takes a turn when we look at the BBC with their reality Check, those claiming (read: Nick Clegg) that households would be £500 worse off is still not proven to be correct. If anything, they are 0.2% better off, yet there is a little over 6 months to go, so there is room for the end result to shift, yet by June this might be proven to be no longer a reality. It is those bog winded predictions that should be at the core of how we hold politicians accountable and in that regard Nick and Jeremy are not doing too well. Even as they hit out against Nigel Farage when he stated ‘I would much rather’, which is a preference and not a certainty, they themselves are all about ‘is likely to be’ which is actually also a prediction. It is the intonation of ‘it could be worse’ that counts. I have seen too much from certain people showing this path. It is the level of fear mongering for votes that really gets my goat.

Clegg was doing a similar thing less than 24 hours ago on how raising taxation would gain Sheffield £100 million (source: the Express). As I see it “by adding a penny onto every pound of income tax people pay. The tax, the Lib Dems say, would raise £103.7 million for Sheffield each year – £84 million for the NHS and £19.7 million for social care” the quote is merely wishful thinking, by raising taxation by even 1%, the lowest two groups could find themselves in near physical hardship, which now implies that the spike that the increase brings will result in NHS costs more than twice the amount they are gaining. By the way, that one percent addition, implies that Sheffield gets a little too much. When we get the numbers from HM Revenue & Customs, we see that in 2015 South Yorkshire the total taxation was a little over £2 billion, 1% of that is merely £20 million, so where is little Nicky getting the rest from? I am 100% certain that the quality of life in South Yorkshire did not go up by 500% in one year. Yorkshire pudding just does not give that level of taxable revenue. Which implies that Tim Farron has a problem by letting Nick Clegg babble all over the place. Perhaps Clegg was the Obi-Wan Kenobi of Jeremy Corbyn? In all this we see a need for clarity and getting the correct information to the voters, because any Clegg-Corbyn union will ruin the United Kingdom as I personally see it.

So what is next? What are we waiting for?

That is an actual issue, at times we can only wait until the results arrive and the UK will be awaiting what happens next. On this day, this Sunday, the UK will be reacting to what happens on the mainland. Even Greece is getting visibility by proclaiming to be the ally of Macron, so how are they valued at anything? Late last month we see how Greece is one target to make the debtor deal, whilst last week we see that the EU is trimming down the forecast for 2017 from 2.7% to merely 2%, in all this were the numbers adjusted? So after the deal, we get the bad news that the numbers were off by almost 26%, how is anything in Greece valued at all? (source: RTE).

So, those people who were off by well over 25% are all about engaging through the facilitation of a former French investment banker as President of France? In all this the UK will go forward in Brexit, because not doing so will have dire consequences. That risk is now coming from the US a they are trying to get the Financial Choice Act into place. So at the Guardian reported “If you want to buy a house, it will let salespeople push you into high-interest, high-fee loans because it increases their referral fees. On top of that, it makes it easier for realtors and mortgage lenders to sell you into closing services that they actually control – essentially giving themselves a kickback”, is just one of a few issues that give rise to the angers of more than the low income earners to become either a wage slave or homeless. You only need to have been there to know that you will do nearly anything to remain a wage slave. On the 15th of February of this year I wrote (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/02/15/pimping-the-united-states/): “If there is an upside, then it will be that the next financial event will have one enormous difference, the moment the US people see that their quality of life returns to a 2009 state, there will be 170-205 million people unanimously agreeing that the President of the United States is to be assassinated, moreover, when that angry mob runs to Washington, the army will not intervene as they will have been hit just as hard as well as their family members. So at that point the Secret Service will need to protect an idiot, whilst they have less than 1% of the ammunition required to stop that angry mob. Good luck to them I say!”, the Financial Choice Act might be the actual point that made my speculation a few months ago an actual reality. At that point we need no longer worry about either the IMF, Mario Draghi or the Euro. I reckon that once one of the players goes a little overboard for mere greed, the people will gut (quite literally) anyone working on Wall Street, at that point the people at the IMF will run for their lives, having no control over what happens next on the global market. Mario Draghi would essentially take the first flight into anonymity and the Euro would take a dive so steep that 10 EC members will take flight to their old currency overnight giving the UK and Sweden a large reason to smile for a few hours (they would still take a hit soon thereafter), pensions in Europe will become a thing of the past. Yes, this is speculation, yet when the financial services making a profit will over $150 billion a year needs more options for profit, I think we can all agree that the dangers of any future lost to the population at large will have dire consequences for anyone facilitating in that endeavour.

The weird part is that Frexit will actually increase the dangers to the Financial Choice Act to become a reality, because that is the way greed tends to go. Those wanting it are already massively rich and they will not care about the 98.4% of the population that they hurt to such an extent. So as we contemplate Brexit, Frexit, Swedone, Withdrawsaw, Czech-out, Donegary and any other fashion word for countries leaving the Euro (oh, I forgot about Beljump and Nexit), the US in their lack of foresight is about to give rise to financial fears to the global market at large. I will dig deeper into the Financial Choice Act in the near future.

 

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Conservatively valued

When I was relaxing last night, I knew that there was an issue with the UK Labour party. There has been one for the longest of times, what was not clear to me is that it went a lot further than I expected. Not only was I unaware that in all the waves of Media bias, the voters themselves had figured out a few things. Not that the voters are in need of education, because proper information tends to give voters a better view of what way not to go. No, the fact that we se (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/05/local-elections-tories-profit-from-ukip-collapse-amid-labour-losses), that the local pats of the Labour party have been decimated by losing over 300 seats, they are not out of the war yet. In that the General elections of June will still be a fight to consider. What seems to be the case is that on a local level, the people seem to have had enough of the Labour party. UKIP took a dive too and has now no election seats left. I am not sure how I feel about that, because it is a local thing and the people will vote for those who will achieve something for them, in that regard I cannot state that for one, how active UKIP has been, and in the second part that for the most, the charisma of Nigel Farage was the driving force of UKIP, without him active in the party, it would all be about the people of the local electorate and how they perceive their local elected youkiperino. The LibDems did OK, which was a little bit of a shock, but perhaps like in the previous elections as there was an interchangeability in electorate councils between UKIP and the LibDems, there is a chance a chunk of those people switched back. I would need the actual datasets to take a better look at that part. The quote in the article by Anushka Astana and Heather Steward is an interesting one, we see: “May’s claim that the EU was meddling in British affairs, which propelled her on to the front page of every national newspaper on Thursday morning as voters headed to the polls, was believed to have contributed to her party’s success against Ukip”, there is every bit an optional truth in that, the entire EC issues and the Europe against Britain has given Theresa May a much stronger view and an increased improved exposure and that is what the local voter are influenced by. I agree with that part, yet that would still not have been possible without Labour pooching their political game. In that Jeremy Corbyn is that larger loser, as I pointed out the day before yesterday in my previous blog. So as the UK moves forward towards next month elections, we will see levels of accusation of foul play by the Labour Party and possible UKIP too, the truth is that the people are realising that it is not one against the other, it is the UK against a non-trustworthy engine in Brussels and in addition the European Central Bank and Germany. Two sides that are trying not to get thrown of the European Gravy train. In that side, the additional usage of a German opening his mouth in, what I would classify as ‘stupidity’ with ‘Brexit: English is losing its importance in Europe, says Juncker’ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/05/brexit-english-is-losing-its-importance-in-europe-says-juncker), where we read: “Slowly but surely English is losing importance in Europe,” Juncker said, to applause from his audience. “The French will have elections on Sunday and I would like them to understand what I am saying.” After these opening remarks in English, he switched to French for the rest of the speech”. It was bad form, even worse decorum and in that he is now desperately not be seen as a failure, which still has a 50/50 chance of getting getting painted as the ‘village idiot’ in the cold light of day this coming Monday.  The fact that a French election was super unpredictable in round one was pretty much a first in French modern history, the fact that t is not just party polarisation, it is the fact that the people have suffered a massive quality of life, whist in addition that level of loss has been frozen for over a decade is also an issue never addressed by those parties and the opposition is now screaming ‘everyone but Le Pen’ is doing so whilst he was part of a business that took the quality of life away from the French in the first place. It seems that the moment the voters remember their 10 years of hardship and see that one of the choices is a former investment banker, his goose is cooked and ready to get gobbled.

What we do know is that the English language has only increased in importance and it will do so for a long time to come, it does not matter whether the UK is in or out of the EC, the UK remains part of Europe, a trivial matter that Juncker overlooks, in equal measure, when people do business out of their own country in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy, it is the English language that they hold one too, both sides feel comfortable with. The European population has not felt comfortable with the German language since WW1 and the French in all honesty elide on the elitist ambassadorial need for French, which tens to be not used in those circles either. So Juncker strikes out twice and the hostility created here is also setting the UK population in what might be seen as ‘fighting mode’, which supports conservative values lot more than many bargain for. When a person is attacked on values, that person looks towards family, the homestead, the workplace and staying strong, all conservative values (here I mean original values, not just Conservative party values) and the Tories profited by the situation.

Even as Theresa May keeps a cool head not relying on this victory for the general election, there is a truth in he fighting stand to keep Britain together. In that the Labour party with all its infighting is hurting itself with every round that some Labour person comes out with some strong statement trying to look clever. They merely seem to alienate their own member base. The fact that the Welsh side of the Labour party feels safer doing it on their own is a second sign that shows how much they bungled their own chances (not the Welsh mind you). I have seen and heard cries for Miliband, yet I am not certain how he could fit in. We could argue that anything is better than Jeremy Corbyn, yet the strength of Labour was always coming from a local side and they los that, implying that without that momentum there is no Labour to consider. I am not certain that this is true, in that France can be a driving force for the Labour message in the UK, especially is Le Pen wins. I have stated before and a few times that ‘nationalism’ is not an ugly word, we al believe in our nationalism to drive national pride in sports and products. Do you think that ‘buy Australian’ is merely an empty gesture? As the French rely on the national pride to grow its economy, Labour could do that in the next local elections and regain their own strength (be it with an essential lack of infighting). Yet, this is for the next local elections and in that, unless a miracle happens, the General elections are a wash for the Labour Party. If you doubt me, then consider that this path had proven to be a winning strategy for UKIP and it is still giving momentum to the LibDems. Too bad that the Corbyn groups did not figure this out in time. Will there be a power shift in Labour? It essentially need to be because they have nothing left to rely on, Corbyn threw that away. I cannot state that Miliband is the solution, it is weird, but I do believe that if Ed takes the lessons of his father Ralph to heart, he could swing it all over the next elections. Those who rely on the hatched job the press did two years ago need to realise that his father a Polish Jew immigrated to the UK, fought the Germans (as all British did) and as a University professor created what is now known as ‘the New Left’, Marxist in origin or not, you need to be a person of particularly strong vision to pull that off and he Labour party grew from near nothing to true strength, historical sides that were ignored, even by junior himself. I am not going into he said, she said, and the mud slinging. We know that historically both sides have been fiercely Nationalistic as only the Brits can be. That side has been lost by Labour as it tried to be more European at times, which is now a decided disadvantage, because how did the UK fare under the ECB? Not that great, or at least not to the degree they could have been and the people are seeing the realisation of that more and more, to the detriment of the Labour numbers. Even as some people are urging that Mario Draghi is easing down from his spending spree, Draghi is defiant in his need to wave the trillion-euro credit card around, leaving whatever to come next to pay for the bills. It only resolves the need for Brexit and any anti-Brexit noises we hear will impact the voting numbers, UKIP started it, the people voted on it and now France is moving on it too, yet that outcome is not a given. In all this we see the IMF calling in negativity towards the UK, whilst they have been wrong already three times. In all this we also see the influence of Greece on all this, because it will. Ekathimerini reports: “Greek bonds are investors’ last chance to take a free ride courtesy of the European Central Bank. Athens could soon be eligible for the bank’s program of bond purchases, pushing up prices just as those of other Eurozone bonds start going the other way”, they did not learn the last time, now they have to get to be this stupid again? You see, bonds are lovely for those mediating in this, the expected windfall for those mediating was roughly 50 million Euro last time, and this time? Consider that the Greeks ended up with literally nothing t show for, so why repeat such a stupid mistake, this just drives the need for Brexit and Frexit faster and stronger. That is how Greece is impacting on Europe. We can argue on how desperately the Greeks need it, yet when we know the consequence that it merely keeps the lights on for merely a month and it will take the people years to pay it off, how good an idea do you think this is? And that is when we realise that the interest levels will only rise again giving additional hardship to the Greeks, in all this that so called ‘independent’ ECB seems to be setting the stage for themselves alone. How is that European, acceptable or even problem solving this ECB is? So far there has been no evidence that they are anything but a facilitation to a group that was not elected and seems to have an agenda that is locked down and detrimental to the heath of the entire Eurozone.

Now I agree that my previous statement s a little too strong and perhaps off the boil, yet the election over the next 48 hours are giving us the reality that the people are feeling the hurt, whilst unelected elements are paving the way for big business to get free rides and easy access to the options of profit which will not help the voting population any. Website Fortune.com is giving us “The gross domestic product of the 19-country euro zone bloc grew by 0.5 percent on the quarter in the first quarter, which translates to annualized growth of 1.8 percent in all of 2017, the European statistics agency Eurostat said”, my issue is that the year is not over and in the bulk of all instances in the past, expectations ‘suddenly’ get winded down in Q1 2018, In addition we know that after one quarter 0.5% does not make for 1.8%, and that reality has been shown to many of us too often, the issue is also that this is happening whilst Mario Draghi is spending €60 billion a month, so basically it is fuelling some commerce which is not any level of economic growth, in that realisation, the UK is growing decently and France could go the same way when it Frexit’s the hell out of the ECB jurisdiction. With every spiced report we read, with every ‘speculated translation’ we are given less of less faith in a system that is fuelling itself by plunging the European nations in deeper debt. Tell me, when was that EVER a solution to economic hardship? In my view nationalism seems to be one of the few working solutions left. We just need the right champion and so far (even as I was not a fan of her) Theresa May has been doing the right job, steering the right path, so as a conservative, I feel pretty good. I just hope that Labour gets its act together, because better politicians are forged through opposition, and in the coming four years we need Theresa May to be as strong as possible, because Brexit will not be a cake walk, as the European players are losing their power base and as their fear of a mediocre income grows they will be changing their games and tactics into something insidious, hoping to strong along weaker players and seeing what they can bank for themselves. The lack of transparency will increasingly allow for it. The fact that there is such a lack of transparency has been voiced by others for some time, yet the lack of actions ran updated code of conduct, whilst the ECB powers have grown (source: Handelsblatt Global), when we see such a failing after a decade, whilst the ECB is all about stopping people leaving the European Fraternity is a weird situation, the act that you cannot be thrown out (see Greece) and when a party seeks a better place (see UK) we are confronted with actual issues on the ECB and its spending spree, even hen its largest player (see Germany) is asking  Mario Draghi to ease off. All this is leaving a bitter taste in my mouth and that is even before we realise that the UK has big national fish to fry and solve (see NHS). In all this should we even wonder how France will react? How the French will act when Emmanuel Macron wins and makes a quick deal with his former investment banker friends? I reckon that there is the smallest of chances that in the hereafter Louis XVIII will ask Emmanuel Macron: ‘You too?’. In that, it is so Monty Python to quote that Emmanuel Macron was 171cm in life, whilst at the day of his death he was only 149 cm tall. I joke and offcourse it is unlikely to happen, yet the rage of the French people is such that 50% is siding with Marine Le Pen, a situation that would be unthinkable before Francois Hollande became president. So you tell me, if Le Pen does not win (not unrealistic) and suddenly the people see Frexit fall away (also not unrealistic), how unrealistic is it when some elements of the ECB get exposed and the French rage that follows, especially when the UK economy remains growing stronger and stronger, that not only will a Frexit referendum be demanded by well over 70% of the French, or what will happen at that point when Emmanuel Macron starts dragging his feet?

We will not know for two days, but after that, no matter who wins, France will be in for several large changes. You might have seen how Emmanuel Macron voiced his view on Frexit, yet like Jeremy Corbyn, talk is cheap and the agenda of an elected official tends to change after getting elected, that much has been proven for decades. The question is how far is Macron willing to take it and how will the French view the changes offered. This all impacts on the UK general elections as it will set the tone for Europe. It will have an impact that will last the rest of this current generation to clean up the mess that EC non-elected officials created.

For those who vote, do so, be true to yourself and your family, whilst being in support of your nation, that is as much as anyone can do, do so truthfully and you should be fine.

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As the UK changes

There is no doubt about it, the UK is about to get a drastic change of image. Some of these parts is on them, other parts are set for them by others. We might all debate that it is usually the one or the other is sorely mistaken. It is when the industry and those trying to ‘guard’ their path to become members of ‘the billionaires club’, it is at that point we need to worry on who can influence our paths to a decent life and those who is trying to direct their ‘image’ from behind the screens. It is at that point ‘we the people’ must worry. You might think that me, being an Australian blogger, that I have no skin in the game. That is where you are wrong!

My grandfather was not just British, he served during WW1. In addition, there was a moment where my grandfather excelled, it was not WW1, it was a little later that he became one of the volunteers who acted and helped to unload the boats as there was a dockworker strike. I am not up to date on all the details as he passed away whilst I was still too young to comprehend the concept of ‘strike’. The reason why I remember it was because my grandmother showed me the letter of gratitude which came from King George V (I personally reckon it was done by his staff and he signed it). Still, my grandmother was proud to have the letter. This is not just some memory, the event mattered. Not all things done for King (or Queen) and Country is done in a war. We have points of view, and in the past the people had a strong moral compass. Those who did strike might have had an equally strong moral compass. I do not oppose that or their view. My point of view is different as I am from a much later era. So when we see: ‘Tories attack Labour over inheritance tax and spending plans‘  (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/03/corbyns-economic-policy-would-cost-voters-45bn-ministers-claim), where the backdrop is Jeremy Corbyn with the bomb stating ‘More debt, higher taxes’, we need to be concerned for our future. It makes me particularly sick that Jeremy Corbyn is making promises that have no bearing on reality. As a conservative, I would love to employ another 10,000 police officers. Actually, I prefer 4,000 Police Constables’s and 6,000 nurses, but that is just me. With over a trillion in debt the UK government cannot afford it and I get that. The previous Labour government has wasted so much money, they should not be allowed to drive the UK deeper in debt by making promises and spending cash that will take an entire generation of workers to settle. 4 years of spending and 25 years of paying it back is not a plan, it is idiocy! In that we need to realise that the game has been over for far too long. The UK needs affordable housing plans, which will also cost heaps, yet this is money they will get back as the economy is starting to employ people again and get the quality of life for all (especially the lower incomes up), in that Jeremy Corbyn has absolutely no clue what to do and it is with that level of cluelessness that he wants to be elected, so he is making empty promises (as I see it) to throw money at any sizeable group for the mere number of votes. A party that cannot even be one party and is infighting nearly non-stop, that is not a party that should be regarded as a valid choice, at that point UKIP will be a much better choice than Labour has been for close to 5 years. I reckon that even if the LibDems could find their groove and direction, they would be a better choice than the Labour party is at present, which is saying a lot.

The UK budget is an issue and those who can count know this, they have known this for 6 years that the party was over. The Commonwealth needs to pull together and find solutions that will bolster each other. In this Australia and Canada are the most likely allies, yet we should not discount New Zealand or India here either.

The second part actually intersects politically with the first. I have a few issues with the article called ‘The six Brexit traps that will defeat Theresa May‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/03/the-six-brexit-traps-that-will-defeat-theresa-may), yet there are parts that we need to truly consider in more than one way. The first is shown with ““It’s yours against mine.” That’s how Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, put it to me during our first encounter in early 2015 – referring to our respective democratic mandates.“, as well as “Brussels became the seat of a bureaucracy administering a heavy industry cartel, vested with unprecedented law-making capacities. Even though the EU has evolved a great deal since, and acquired many of the trappings of a confederacy, it remains in the nature of the beast to treat the will of electorates as a nuisance that must be, somehow, negated“. I have some issue with the second one, but that will be addressed shortly. The fact is that the writer, Greece’s favourite rock star: Yanis Varoufakis (read: former Greek Finance Minister) has been playing a game whilst in office (a politically valid one), yet the consequence is that their play pushed Brexit forth. In addition, we know that there is a long lasting issue in Brussels and the fact that the EU-zone is a mere facilitator for big business is slightly too conspiracy theoretical. Yet the fallout, which I blogged about for a few years pushes that view forward too. I believe that the truth is that the EU opened up a power broker game where large corporations had much more influence than even before. The EU players have to have one front whilst corporate divisions could play both ends of the political field against the middle, with the economic area’s being always too scared of their local needs. And those in charge had (read: have) no real need for Greece, only for the banks that could give them larger than life careers after their political day. This has been a global view and shown to be correct for the longest of times. So when we read: “From my first Eurogroup, its president, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister, began an intensive campaign to bypass me altogether. He would phone Alexis Tsipras, my prime minister, directly – even visiting him in his hotel room in Brussels. By hinting at a softer stance if Tsipras agreed to spare him from having to deal with me, Dijsselbloem succeeded in weakening my position in the Eurogroup – to the detriment, primarily, of Tsipras“, this read completely correct from my point of view, yet I must also state that as Yanis played his public game (or is that pubic?), as the testosterone was flying off the newspapers, whether under orders of his PM or not (an unknown factor), Yanis played his game too hard and Greece was in no place to play the game that hard, especially as the Greek spending and misrepresenting transgressors never ended up in court and prosecuted, Greece did not have any options to lean on, not morally and not literally. Yet, there is a side that we see has a ring too it, we have seen it over the last two years as the ECB and Mario Draghi have been playing their political game for slightly too long, certain better financial media are now asking questions on Draghi and his non maintainable status, that whilst Draghi has been making additional Brexit threats. All this in the agony of fear because the turmoil in France is intensifying. In sight of the slip of numbers in the pro-Macron group, the financial world is now holding its breath and the next 96 hours will be the killer with adrenaline levels so high that can be cut with a knife. Wall Street will be glued to the election result screens, quite literally praying for a miracle.

Last there is the everlasting issue with the NHS (the one where the UK Labour party wasted 11.2 billion IT funds on). The article ‘Hospital waiting lists ‘will rise above 5 million’ as targets slide‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/03/nhs-annual-health-budget-increases-conservatives-ifs), is one that intersects even more. the cost of keeping it correctly alive should be on the minds of anyone voting in the UK. It is the most important long term part in everyone’s life in the UK. The issue is that it might not be immediate and therefor too many people are ignoring it because there has been too many NHS news mentions, but it will define the life of everyone in Britain, as such we need to realise that the hollow promises of Jeremy Corbyn are a direct threat to the existence of the NHS. Many might blame the Tories here, but the reality is that 2 terms of Labour did spend all the money there was and they also did the spending of 3 additional administrations as I see it, which is why they are so dangerous. The quote: “Without further help from the next government after the election, this is what the real impact will be on patients of successive underfunding of the NHS,” said Ian Eardley, vice-president of the Royal College of Surgeons” is not incorrect, yet those in charge of the NHS and those connected to high valued luncheons and board meetings should have taken a much better posture when billions were spent on a system that never worked. There is a consequence to that and as funds and infrastructure both took a dive the future will be grim, not unsolvable but grim none the less. Denis Campbell has written a good piece and should be read, this is not merely about a few quotes, there are serious issues, yet in all this there are parts missing, parts that are connected yet unmentioned. In light of what needs to be a light, the one article will never cover it (not due to the writer). Merely because the issue has become too great. Now, as we see what is in play, we need to revisit the start of this blog. My grandfather did what he thought was essential and right. Ships had to be offloaded, the goods were meant for the people and as such if not unloaded, the people would suffer. In that light the NHS is in a place where it is doing what it can, but the truth is that the NHS must change and adapt. People a lot more clever than me will need to make a reform, reforms that Greece halted and it is dragging them down, the UK will have to change the NHS is drastic ways. When we read that 5 million people are on a waiting list, we have to question the time they remain on that waiting list. The elitist approach that the nursing groups have taken as to whom can become a nurse and which tertiary education is good enough to be a nurse in the UK is one that requires scrutiny. There are too many political games being played and even as they voice ‘quality of staff‘, there has come a point where people are dying because there is no staff. We need to instigate a change that opts for a situation where 100,000 patients can get some level of care as per immediate. The Corbyn solution of throwing money at it will not do. We can argue that in equal measure privatisation is equally a bad idea, because we merely replace ‘level of care standards‘ by ‘level of profit‘ and that will never ever lower cost for the people at large. The parts we tend to ignore is not privatisation, it is interactivity of services that will lower cost, that part needs to be ascertained and not by groups trying to create a new gravy train.

We need actual solutions and it requires a different train of thought, one that needed yesterday. So as the press is facilitating on how Labour will spend more on the NHS and nurses, whilst the publishers of these papers know that there is no way that this can be funded, you need to question on what makes for an actual solution. The only solution (as I personally seen it) is to create a wave of credible positions and train the people in some places on the job. Perhaps these colleges need to accept a new degree where people can be trained on sight step by step, lowering the pressure for those who can do it all by slowly replacing those who can do it too and not just in nursing, because if the waiting list got to the millions, we need to see where surgeons could have an alternative group of people, not unqualified, but those who barely missed the grade. We need to reconfigure the pyramid shaped triangle into a parallelogram, so that some functions that cannot be filled can be done by others. Now, lets all accept that a surgeon is an extreme example, yet can the same be stated for a radiologist? an Anaesthesiologist? or even a surgical assistant? Three functions that might opt for additional people from other branches. Even as we know that they all claim ‘dedicated’ and ‘perfectly schooled’ personnel. It is time that those academic ‘advisors’ from Royal Colleges take a sharp look at wartime conditions and to the parts that some could play in aiding in a solution. Now because there is a strike and the dockworkers are busy standing up for their rights (which is a valid activity), but because in this high pressure world there are ships docked and there is no one left to unload the boats. That is where the NHS is and that is where they need to find a solution. Perhaps this will be found in the military, it is possible that those in the medical services of the Army, Navy or Air force will find that they are doing part time work at an NHS location. In that same stage, so will other defence branches find themselves. Fighting for their country, not in the trenches of the Somme, but in the tranches behind a desk of London Hospital. It might just keep that deficit down from £134.9m (that is this year alone) to something that could actually be managed.

We need another play, and it is perhaps the UK who might remember how they changed Cricket tactics in 1932-1933, so they did not get completely humiliated by Don Bradman. We still need a better solution and the Bodyline tactic was never an acceptable tactic, that whilst the ‘win at all cost‘ is not a decent play, but the NHS is now in a stage where it is ‘survive or die‘ and nobody wants the NHS to die, so in this the NHS and especially the advisory boards will need to look at tactics that will make them really unhappy, but at this stage they have left themselves no other options and the political players can only facilitate unrealistic options that are no options. They will start a path that will change the UK for generations, yet in that let that be in a way that will allow for the existence of some level of National Health Care. In this that they will need to write a new playbook, one that can offer options, not limitations.

 

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Saturation in Denial

Last week the Guardian published one of the weirder stories. It’s from Lisa O’Carroll and Gwyn Topham with the title ‘Ryanair ‘will have to suspend UK flights’ without early Brexit aviation deal‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/06/ryanair-uk-flights-brexit-deal-wto), why do we care?

The subtitle is a little more interesting, but for very different reasons, so when you see ‘Falling back on WTO rules without a bilateral arrangement would be ‘disastrous’, says airline’s finance chief‘, you need to look beyond the claim given.

Why is this funny?

When you see the quote “Ryanair has warned it will have to halt flights from the UK for “weeks or months” if Theresa May does not seal an early bilateral Brexit deal on international aviation“, we need not worry, we can howl with laughter at the implied push for stress, both Lisa O’Carroll and Gwyn Topham should know better! You see, when you go to www.skyscanner.com.au, and I seek a flight from London to Amsterdam, I get flight offered from $198, for a return. Now, the issue is not the price, the issue is that between the 9th and 10th of April, I get offered 1295 results, stretching 130 pages of flights over a period of 24 hours. Now, we can agree that this does not apply for all locations. For example flights to Munich will only give 934 results and Stockholm gives me 981 options. So basically, there are more options to get from London to either Amsterdam, Munich or Stockholm, than there are trains from London to Birmingham! Now, it is a fair call that this place is filled with Ashton Villa fans, so why would you want to go there, but the direct issue is given. When we see the quote “Ryanair’s UK flights were only 2% of its business, said Sorahan“, so why on earth are we wasting time on a non-issue? Especially when the quote “He said: “We could still operate within that 1960s bilateral agreement” which established mutual flying rights between the Netherlands the UK” is found down the line. It is actually Pieter Elbers, the chief executive of Dutch national carrier KLM, who gives us value with: “It’s a worry. The instability and uncertainty is not good for business. However, it’s premature to go into this will or won’t happen“, which is actually right on course. Any action now is just premature for now and this visibility for Michael O’Leary whilst this is 2% of a saturated business is a bit out of whack on the best of days. A small outdated statistic is: “On a typical July day there are around 30,000 flights across European airspace“, 30,000 flights! Now we can agree that in July plenty of people get on a plane for an annual vacation, yet consider that we are talking about 8-12 million people per day (a wild guess in action). So when we consider Ryanair giving us grief over his 2% fleet, he should perhaps take a gander towards other shores?

This all follows with two more quotes “Brexit has already forced other airlines such as EasyJet into moving aircraft to enable continuity of business” and “Sorahan said Ryanair had planned to grow by about 15% in the UK last year but had instead posted growth of about 6%” The first part gives strength to the statement by KLM executive Pieter Elbers, ‘it’s premature‘ which gives us that some executives like those in EasyJet have a bigger grasp on their continuity of a bonus, than a sound approach towards a saturated market. The second one gives us that Ryanair missed its forecast by nearly 10%, so is this really about some Brexit deal, or is this about an airline that missed its target by 10%, from a 2% group. I am even amazed that this is on the radar of Neil Sorahan. When we consider the Financial Times last year, we see (at https://www.ft.com/content/f337fb7f-b4ba-3ad8-b50b-c698dd7a2adb), where we see “Revenue was €6.54bn, up 16 per cent on the year and only a nudge below analysts’s forecasts of €6.55bn” as well as “Ryanair said it expected net income in the current financial year to increase 13 per cent to between €1.38bn and €1.43bn“, which was off by 50%, so as Brexit was not in the referendum at that point, we get a slightly different view. There is no doubt that there will be a few issues in the post-Brexit era, yet to immediately go into ‘panic mode‘ by halting flights seems like an overreaction, especially as there are 1294 alternatives.

Saturation, when you can no longer absorb or dissolve!

Market saturation is a weird point. I remember meetings in the 90’s where I was part of a group of Americans and they were unable to fathom the term ‘market saturation‘, they regarded it as some fictional state of mind. The question becomes, are the airlines in a state of saturation? Now, consider the question how many of the 30,000 flights are actually an issue, especially with the fact that Ryanair has a mere 2% vested in the UK flights? Now we get that we have to look at it from the other side of the table. 10% of its fleet operates from one of 19 UK airports, so we get that there is a possible issue in the future. Now consider that Ryanair is a commercial operation that requires to have profit, which means it needs to keep its cost as low as possible. Which is a fair goal to have and when you are working a low cost range, you are definitely worried on what Brexit will bring, yet at present, it remains a premature act. Still the underlying score remains a valid one, what does a company do in a saturated market? Well, apparently they whine against journalists. OK, that is not really fair! I admit that, but jumping the shark at this point as politicians are still trying to get their bearings in a place where the facilitation of profit is the major taco to content towards, against whatever natural confrontational issue gets in the way.

That was a mouthful, so let me take a moment to set that in its right perspective. The EEC, EU, or EC; whatever name you want to give that bunny, it seems that the bulk of all European governments are focussed on profit in a place that has a stagnating economy. The problem from my point of view is that profit in a stagnating economy tends to limit those pursuing it to a spreadsheet life merely focussing on next quarter. In this economy the essential need will be to set an agenda towards the next 10 years, not the next quarter. The stock market, the speculators and forecasters state. They are setting the tone for panic modes and sour feelings, even as Ryanair is still moving forward. So, even as Ryanair is trying to get a stronger handle on its ‘Always Getting Better‘ programme, it needs to remain flexible to stay afloat (or flying). In this, they will soon feel a pressure going towards dashboards and short term reporting instead of growing a big data collective where they will enable themselves to get ahead of their main competitors. For that they need visionaries, not reactionists. In that Brexit will fuel the need for reactionists in panic mode, whilst the larger players need to do the exact opposite, take the possible hits they might get and after that move forward stronger, because if Brexit is any indication, the European mainland side will be hitting a recession shelf that is not unlike the 2008 events, but will take longer to overcome. In this several parties have been trying to postpose these events, yet the more postponing we see, the larger the effect will be when it hits and the longer it will last.

Again in this side we will see another emerging wave. The wave of saturation will reflect onto corporations and they will give us new waves of redundancies, where the groups of less significance will collapse opening up options for the flexible larger players, when that happens, those who do not have the data collections in place will lose out on several percentage points of margin in their commercial options. The size and scope cannot be predicted, anyone who claims to do so will not be worthy of your time in this. The fact that these systems have been delayed by a large amount of players will set them back and whilst they start fighting to get ‘something’ in place in the 11th hour does not mean that they remain a player, it merely means that they have invested in a system too late. In this I do believe that if we see a serious approach to their ‘Always Getting Better‘ programme, they could have some benefits, yet that can only be stated with any certainty if we compare what their main competitors offer against what is currently in place. Brexit has nothing to do with that, it is optionally pushing some players to up their game, we must accept that there is a reality that some industries will feel the impact of Brexit, the extent cannot be stated and should not be speculated on, the best solution is to be vigilant and see what improvements can be installed to increase the value of their company and the services that they provide. Big data is only one element and it is not a prophet on a pedestal, it is a tool that allows options if the company has certain levels of flexibility, whether that market is saturated or not, focussing on an event that the people want is not productive.

 

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