Tag Archives: UK

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 A small outdated statistic is: “On a typical July day there are around 30,000 flights across European airspace“, 30,000 flights!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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Dangerous levels of extinction

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Banking France

The last few days have seen a serious change in multiple directions in Countries all over the place (in that rugged area known as Europe). One part is not a surprise, the news that the ‘Pound jumps against euro‘, it is the second part ‘as Germany’s inflation data shocks markets‘ that is cause for concern. We should not be that surprised, because it had been known that Germany was facing a slowdown, which in light of so many events in Europe makes perfect sense. It is the by-line “as German inflation fell short of expectations to give a big setback for the European Central Bank (ECB) programme to support the Eurozone economy” which is the actual story. You see, last week I mentioned Mario Draghi and the dangers he represents, we now see the first chunk of worry that came from ‘Decoupling Draghi is hard to do‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/03/28/decoupling-draghi-is-hard-to-do/). The mention of Reuters and how big funds are having concerns is now more than a fact. The quote “This assessment had raised hopes the ECB could perhaps cut short the money-printing programme, which injects billions of euros into the economy each month. But the fall in German inflation will be seen as a sign that money-printing will not be reined in any time soon“, implying more and longer printing of money to do something that never worked the first time around and will in equal measure fail the second time too. It is a side that the papers are not touching, not by a mile, yet it is also the reality that we face in the upcoming reality of Frexit. This is seen in two parts.

The first are the big 4 powers in the EEC Economy. France, Germany, Italy and UK. With UK triggering article 50, the stability of the Euro is now gone. Whether we have Frexit or not, the reality is that the Euro has relied on the German economy for a decade and now that there is an issue, that whilst The French economy has been stagnating since at least 2015 (actually longer than that), now with the German economy taking a dive towards no-growth, the issue changes dramatically, because the Italian lack of growth had been an issue for some time. With the German setback, the dangers of printing money becomes a lot more visible and the acts of the ECB needs to be questioned by several governments, who are actually not doing that. In equal measure the media at large seems to steer clear from the entire ECB debacle, which is a worry on another level. All this is now part of another shadow that is covering the ECB. Reuters has given view to the following quote “The documents show repeated violations of the ECB’s own rules by its executive board, chaired by Mario Draghi, and come amid staff complaints of favouritism at one of Europe’s most powerful institutions” as well as “Staff representatives complained last year to the European Parliament, which oversees the ECB, that dissent was discouraged at the bank, potentially hobbling its ability to spot the next financial crisis” an issue that should be very much on the minds of every European government, as the ECB is costing them a fair amount of money. Another Jewel from Reuters is seen in the quote “Recent comments from the ECB were misinterpreted, according to a Reuters report citing ECB officials, after President Mario Draghi dropped some of the more dovish central bank language and did not replace its bank lending facility at its latest policy meeting on March 9” as well as “adding to the slightly hawkish feeling, ECB policymaker Ewald Nowotny said a week later that the central bank would decide in the future if it would raise interest rates before ending its quantitative easing program, a comment that took market participants by surprise“. Whilst we can argue on the value of “The core inflation rate is currently running at 0.9%, not close enough to the ECB’s stated aim of ‘near to 2%’ to cause President Draghi to change anything, even rhetoric, at the next ECB meeting on April 27“, the reality is that we are facing a quarter of feigned misinformation due to what I would see a as an unacceptable level of ‘miscommunication‘ (read: misinterpretation). Especially when we consider that quote ‘comments from the ECB were misinterpreted‘, misinterpreted by whom? By the economic governmental powers, the banks, the traders? Is a major factor of the ECB not ‘clarity‘? Should clear communication not be seen as a way to thwart ‘misinterpretation‘?

The fact that the ECB is not just showing favour in the wrong places, but a level of non-clarity gives a second failing by the ECB, that whilst they are still printing billions of euro’s on a daily level. Not the place where you want to be anything less than crystal clear. It is that factor that is enabling Marine Le Pen and giving more and more concern towards Emmanuel Macron. There is a second sight to all this. You see, part of the entire election is set on what some agree ‘what is good for France’, yet who decides that? When we consider “The major candidates for the French presidential election Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen and Francois Fillon all present their economic programmes to the Medef employer’s federation today. All will be hoping the influential group will give them the “business-friendly” imprimatur” (source: Reuters), It is in that light that I refer to the Saxo Group, who has an interesting article (at https://www.tradingfloor.com/posts/europe-divided-the-front-nationals-absurd-economics-saxostrats-8577141), there are too many quotes to just pick from and in the end, my version might come across warped. What does matter is the question that follows:

If we agree that the New Franc is not immune to speculation, how come that a national currency is (as claimed) so susceptible to speculative attack?

There is no clear answer, yet it is an important one, one that Marine Le Pen needs to answer. In addition, the article implies that Medef needs the ECB and that there is a link, as such we get two parts, the first is that Marine Le Pen is getting discriminated out of two economic groups, making the French elections no longer fair. The second is that the ECB has been setting up links and connections giving them unelected national powers in nearly every European nation, how is that in any way acceptable, especially when it gives them the influence over elections?

So why is it an issue?

For me, not that much, yet when we consider the actions since Brexit intent, and now that Brexit has started, we suddenly see the same panic driven media mob with headlines like ‘Study: Frexit chaos would be ‘worse than collapse of Lehman Brothers’‘, where we see the label ‘doom-mongering‘ with the quote “the population at large is in favour of the single currency and that there is little to suggest any economic benefit to doing so“, this whilst we know that leaving the Euro is almost the singular reason that Front Nationale with Marine Le Pen is this popular. Then we get ‘Why ‘Frexit’ not Brexit should top bond investors’ fears‘, with the mild claim “‘A more pressing concern [than Brexit] is ‘Frexit’,’ he said. ‘Le Pen is polling well in the run-up to April’s presidential election and looks likely to win the first round. She has pledged to lead France out of the single currency“, which is given AFTER Article 50 was delivered to the processing parties. What remains unstated is that with 2 of the 4 large players remaining, the Euro cannot survive. They are mellowing it down with ‘the Front National is unlikely to win sufficient National Assembly seats to enact her policies and such a decision would probably be subject to a referendum’, yet as I see it, when the French realise that Macron in conjunction with Manuel Valls is gaining momentum, the French are angry (according to several sources), in addition Fillon is losing ground too fast. There is no doubt that it will be between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, even as at least three elements have decided to discriminate against Front National, her numbers are still stable. This should be a worrying factor to many as this implies that her vote will be carried by just the French voters, no tainting by Medef or pressure through foreign European leaders.

No matter who wins, there will be a powerful backlash. Even if Macron wins, France needs to realise that changes are essential to survive what comes after. Italy is up next and there the mood is also heavy. The Financial times was ‘timid’ with ‘Italy is falling out of love with Europe‘, it is however not that easy and it is getting harder in Italy on several fronts. Here is largely a blame game in session and the truth is that Europe, the ECB and others are not that guilty in the hardships that Italy faces. Its debt is far worse than Greece and the Italian banks have no way to deal with this problem. So there is a chance (not a very realistic one) that the next in power will start the Italeave signal. Even if that happens, the chance that France and Germany can keep the Euro afloat is much more realistic, but it comes with a two decade burden that any hardship or any recession (read: some kind of economic crash) would be disastrous to both the two nations and the Euro, a risk that the ECB, IMF and Wall Street are very willing to take as it gives them time to find other solutions to not get killed in the process.

So in the end, we are now 36 days away from learning whether the Euro will be dead or only near death, yet still dying.

 

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Decoupling Draghi is hard to do

Like a bad disengaging train, we see more and more how the Euro has become a dangerous place to be. I have pointed the finger at Mario Draghi more than once. He is not the only reason mind you, but he is a massive one. As I see it, a facilitator towards the Status Quo of a coin no one wants. Europeans see how their retirement is devaluating itself, others see a coin they do not trust, they do not like it, and to be honest they do not know why, but the numbers do not add up. Wall Street loves it, as they can leverage iteration after iteration of floating values as they can reset the currency seesaw, but over a dozen nations in Europe cannot, their hands are tied. It gets even worse in the near future if Japan is any indication to go by. Min Jeong Lee and Yuko Takeo from Bloomberg (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-27/escape-route-eludes-japan-stocks-still-hostage-to-u-s-sentiment) are showing you the prelude to the disaster that Europeans could possibly face within 24 months. The first statement is already showing u the issues that Europe will face soon enough: “Japan’s stock market is again showing itself handcuffed to U.S. growth prospects and its own currency“, In that same sense Europe will soon enough be depending on US growth prospects and the massive debt that Mario Draghi is pushing onto the Euro nations. Now, we need to realise two elemental parts:

  1. Europe is not that deep in debt, but the holes that Mario Draghi is creating is already having an impact. “Big bond funds are becoming increasingly reluctant to lend to the euro zone’s weakest members, looking past a crowded electoral calendar to an eventual winding down of the European Central Bank’s ultra-loose monetary policy” (source: Reuters), with the personal change, setting ‘European Central Bank’s ultra-loose monetary policy‘ into ‘irresponsible spending‘. As the time frame goes, Brexit and Frexit might be just in time to avoid a noose for the United Kingdom and France, but for many smaller EU nations it is too late, they have lost economic control and they are now the mere vassals (read: unchained into slavery) to do the bidding of the ECB. Is that what Euro nations signed up for?
  2. Japan has its own way of dealing with the debt and economy and many fear it was never a good plan, but as they skated the edge of the abyss for over a decade people have become insensitive to the impending doom, that is not a good thing, it is merely a Japanese thing.

FXStreet (at https://www.fxstreet.com/analysis/catalyst-for-chaos-201703271520) gives us the two elements. “The BOJ has an inflation target of 2%. If Mr. Kuroda ever has the temerity to end his bond-buying scheme, borrowing costs in this bankrupt nation, which has a total debt to GDP ratio of around 600%, would have to abruptly surge over 200 basis points just to keep even with the central bank’s inflation target” as well as “If the ECB were to seriously commit to ending its QE program, fixed income investors and speculators would panic to get ahead of the removal of Draghi’s bids; and Bund yields could surge well above the rate of inflation in a very short period of time“, which shows the removal of control and the implied fact (read: implied) that Mario Draghi has no intentions of ending his QE plan. Because the devastation that the surge of Bund yields would come with a hefty invoice, one that none of the EU nations can pay, this includes the big 4. Isn’t it nice that FXStreet and other trader and broker sites are actually starting to realise that what I have been warning people against for well over 2 years? I am not the ‘prognosticator of prognosticators‘ (Punxsutawney Phil has that title), mine was merely the conservative approach to the use of a modern abacus (read: Excel) with the application of common sense. Those who were claiming me to be wrong, (a fair amount of them) are now facing their own ridicule as they hide behind slogans like ‘changes in the economy‘, ‘a mere miscommunication‘ and my favourite ‘as we trusted the analysts‘, that is my favourite as it is based on the governmental forecast numbers that have not been anywhere near correct for well over a decade in well over a dozen European nations.

So as we go back to the Bloomberg part we now see: “as a chorus rises among analysts who think they see sufficient improvement in Japan’s domestic economy for the nation’s equities to unlock themselves from the exchange rate. Before last week, the yen and Topix were both up about 3 percent this year“. Yet not long thereafter we see “After Monday’s drop, the Topix is within one and a half percentage points of erasing its gain for 2017“, so before Q1 of 2017 is done, we see that the prospective gain of 2017 is all wiped out. This does not mean that there is no room for improvement, ye the fact that Bloomberg sees Japan as the 7th worst return of the 24 developed markets implies that Japan could potentially end dead last in 2017, music to the ears of the Chinese I reckon. In that same trend I disagree with Soichiro Monji, general manager at Daiwa SB Investments Ltd, as he makes the observation “Investors should focus on fundamentals like the economy and corporate earnings“, perhaps he remembers that somewhat popular kitchen course ‘How to cook the books‘, the news made some reports and comments on Toshiba and Olympus attending those artsy classes. Or perhaps the honourable Soichiro Monji remembers Nikko Cordial Corp. which is now part of the Citigroup Inc. and no longer in the hands of the honourable Junichi Arimura who was never proven to be involved, the proven guilty party is set to Hajime Yamamoto. As the pressures for these corporations go up, the dangers of ‘fraud’ (read: unintentional misrepresentation of a company’s position) will remains a danger and will also increase the impact it has on the Japanese economic forecasts. And this impact is also felt by those into the retirement system as it lost $50 billion less than a year ago. If we accept the realistic return of $2.5 billion, which fuels nearly 30% of the elderly, that is a big chunk to lose, in addition, in 8 years’ time 24 percent of gross domestic product will go straight to welfare, which is a mighty chink out of a budget that they cannot even get close to now, the Japanese debts are too high and Europe is slowly yet surely steering in the same direction.

There is one more element in all this, Toshiba is now ‘demanding’ that its US Nuclear unit (Westinghouse) to file for bankruptcy within the next 24 hours. This is not just cutting losses, this is a move to set losses where they need to be before the financial year ends (so basically all of Westinghouse and some of Toshiba losses (within legal limits of course) in Westinghouse. This gives us the consideration that Toshiba is having a disastrous year and fancy bookkeeping is in order to keep the stakeholders and stockholders happy at the upcoming reporting waves and meetings. This on top of the Fraud that happened earlier, this fits with last week headline ‘Toshiba ponders asset sales as it fights to stay alive‘, the question is what will be sold in addition to Westinghouse, because shedding the losses alone will not do the trick, they need to sell something with profit too. Nikkei Asia Review reported: “If Toshiba fail to win the bourse’s confidence, Toshiba shares will be delisted“, Now, bad places are bad places, yet when a 6.5 trillion yen company gets delisted, it will have an effect and not just a few small ripples. For some of the consumers this will be a golden year, you will face an optional sale of 65” Toshiba displays with possibly 70% off (everything must go, yes really!) Yet, as I stated earlier, they are in a state of clever bookkeeping (not a crime), the question becomes will the holders of stock and stake accept this? I have no idea, but what is decently clear is that the impact will be felt in both the US and Europe, yet not to the degree Japan will feel it.

These are just a few of the elements as they are brought to light that Draghi’s irresponsible spending is becoming more and more of an anchor, one with a noose around the necks of the European governments. In all this it was not a week ago that the Irish independent reported ‘Banks grab €233bn in free ECB loans as Draghi warns on profits‘, with the added quote “Yesterday, ECB president Mario Draghi signalled time is running out for banks to get their house in order“. So, consider the quote. Basically, whilst the ECB knows that the banks do not have their shit in a row, they still got their hands on a quarter of a trillion Euros? How is that not irresponsible? And free loans? When did any person get a free loan? For banks it is even an act, rasher than ever before as they tend to not be held accountable. All this comes with the additional quote “The banking sector’s capacity to fully support the euro area’s recovery is curtailed by its low profitability“,  so we know that the profitability is low, which was not a surprise, it affects recovery and yes, Mario Draghi dumps Europe in even deeper debt. Are you still on the path to support his irresponsible spending?

I am not, but as I am no longer in Europe, there is not much I get to do, the only disaster for me is that I have worked the bulk of my life there and I have seen that my pension is down by will over 60%, 40% in devaluation and 20% due to an increased and uncorrected cost of living. So when the debt bomb blows, very likely before 2019, I will ended have worked pretty much my entire life, with no pension remaining. Perhaps the arts can intervene? Would it be an optional economic success if Joss Whedon launches ‘Betty the banker slayer’? #Justsaying

 

 

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Life in USA less healthy now

You might not have thought it, but did you realise that your life, if you are in the USA is as per direct a lot less healthy? Did you know you are now intentionally endangering your health? You did not, then read on and learn how you have thrown your healthy life away. In the LA Times (at http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-broadband-privacy-senate-20170323-story.html), we see ‘Senate votes to kill privacy rules meant to protect people’s sensitive data from their Internet providers‘, you might wonder how this is a danger to your life, but it is, and it will hurt your pocket too no less. The first part is “overturn tough new privacy rules for Internet service providers, employing a rarely used procedure to invalidate restrictions that cable and wireless companies strongly opposed“, now this is not the FBI or the CIA spying on you, this is the option for internet providers to sell your actions and your privacy driven information to whomever wants to buy it.

One quote from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) was “The FCC privacy rules are just another example of burdensome rules that hurt more than they help”. Now, this is not just something that started now, to his credit, he has ALWAYS been on the commercial bandwagon, some of that goes back years where he questioned the White House on the way the FCC’s set-top box proposal came down and what role the White House had in that, and other, FCC decisions. He is clearly a man of less governmental oversight and that is his right. The issue becomes when TV and internet usage is sold to health care providers and on the consequence of what those people call the ‘weighted classification of couch potato‘, in that with the rise of health care premiums. This actually goes further than merely health care. The fact that app use and geographic data becomes available is equally a concern. There is a secondary situation, Companies can now go via consultancy firms and avoid issues with that pesky Employment discrimination law. You see, “the elimination of artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barriers to employment” can now be circumvented. People who are too often on Boston South Side, East LA, or the SF Mission district, the use of Geo data would allow for a percentage analyses of this GeoData, giving some people who had hit on hard times even less able to fight for a decent future. And let me be clear, any ISP denying that will be lying to you. The data will be part of something else, like where were you when a certain app was used, which might seem nice, but if they check all apps than that picture gets to be pretty complete.

The reality goes further than this. Even as you read this, MIT is making great strides (at http://bpp.mit.edu/offline-data-collection/). Yet when you read: “Daily price indices, monthly, and annual inflation rates for Argentina and the US. Monthly data with annual inflation rates for Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, South Africa, UK, US, 3 US sectors, and global aggregates (including Eurozone). Daily PPP series for Argentina and Australia. The data were used in the paper titled “The Billion Prices Project: Using Online Data for Measurement and Research” – Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(1) (Spring 2016)“, a serious question comes to mind. You see, once you have this data, you can go into collaboration phases, after which you could raise minimum prices on hundreds of articles. It might be cents, but that raises your monthly costs in dollars, whilst the maker now gets millions in addition. So, yes everybody loves big data, yet will it love you? You get the impression from “Daily prices for all goods sold by 7 large retailers in Latin America and the US: 2 in Argentina, 1 in Brazil, 1 in Chile, 1 in Colombia, 1 in Venezuela, and 4 in the US. Used in the paper titled “Scraped Data and Sticky Prices”“, you just wonder if it is such a weird concept. Now, from an academic point of view, it is an amazingly interesting project. So was Dynamite, which Alfred Nobel learned the hard way, had a few optional uses which he never considered. Data is in that regard a whole lot more dangerous.

The biggest joke in all this is not President Trump, it is actually the FCC puppet Ajit Pai, who was appointed by President Obama in May 2012, he stated that the rules threatened to confuse consumers as they were different to those imposed on web firms such as Google and Facebook. You see, as I see it Ajit Varadaraj Pai is stupid, but he is not stupid, you hearing me? Let me explain this. When a person looks at an advertisement, or seeks something like ‘Gaming Chairs’ at PC Case Gear. That person looks and decided not to buy, the person is just browsing. Now, as this person looks for other things or browses the internet and visits websites. This person gets to a site that uses advertisement spaces. Now for example, Google AdWords will show things that interest you, or things from places you visited. So, even as this person is just going to any place that has advertisement spaces, Google AdWords would possibly show that person ‘Gaming Chairs’ that PC Case Gear had on sale, and Facebook will do exactly the same. In all this, that persons actions and seeks would have remained private, the advertiser does not have my details. They will get general aggregated data, like the gender and the age of the visitor (age is set in an age range). At no time does the advertiser have my complete details. This is why it actually works, now that the ISP can sell my specific data, the issue changes. My details will now get out to third parties and their lack of any ethics (not that the ISP has any mind you) will now endanger us. Ajit Pai knows all this! And he is very happy to facilitate the need for greed, even if it endangers lives, because at some point in the near future it actually will. The health care data need will take care of that, meaning that when your child could not get healthcare, because his browser data indicated an unhealthy life, when he needs that Bypass and the healthcare provider got a little too needy, just remember the name Ajit Pai for the tombstone of your child. Let me explain this a little more clearly. The NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) gives us “Yet for those buying insurance on an exchange or private market plan for 2017, the average increase before subsidies was a shocking 25 percent” When we consider that the annual premium for an average family was up to $18,142 (I know, what a weird number), 25% is $4535.50, That is $378 a month, when was the last time you got a raise that allowed for such payments?, let me be frank, with 3 university degrees, I have NEVER received an annual increase that much, so as such, you lose either your healthcare or you lose your quality of life. What will you choose? So as junior is data mined as a little larger risk, your premium takes a hit and as you had to let go of healthcare, your child dies, with the compliments of Ajit Varadaraj Pai, so please send him a ‘thank you’ note, the FCC can be found in Washington DC.

You think I am exaggerating? This is the path the US was always on, exploitation to the max before the collapse. USA Today gives us “Sears and Kmart might not have enough money to stock their shelves” merely 3 days ago, it can no longer fuel its existence, that whilst its CEO grew his fortune by $1 billion last year alone. Forbes voiced it as: ‘Sears Suffers — Eddie Lampert Wins‘, now this is related, as places like Sears and Kmart will be vying for YOUR details, your browser history and your privacy and once they have your data, they will merge it and sell it via for example an Australian subsidiary to whomever will buy it, China for example. That is how your data will bounce around the planet, decreasing you and the value you have with every transfer deal made.

As I stated often in the past, I love big data, yet I know that there is an increased need for ethics on how it is collected, applied and moulded into a new base of information. The USA has shown that it is not able to keep any level of ethics in play, which sucks for Americans and it in equal measure sucks for anyone considering trusting an American company, that is, until the Europeans and others get on board on cashing in on data for sale. Consider one last thing, now, this is pure speculation and there is no evidence that this would happen, yet what happens when ISIS figures out what the parameters of a desperate person are? What happens when they mine this data to see who to approach for extremist actions? There is no way this could happen, could it?

 

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When a Newspaper gets it wrong

We’ve all had these moments. We have a preference in things we do, I look at the Guardian in the morning, and at times I check out the tabloids (front pages and in one case page 3 as well). Yet I keep the Guardian as my main source to work with. So I was slightly miffed when I spotted ‘EU fears influx of ‘British champagne’ once Brexit ends food naming rules‘, which is utter baloney (read: bullshit)! The United Kingdom is still bound in laws, in this case it means that Trade Marks are still protected and ‘British champagne’ is not ever going to be an option and any Trade Marks office in the UK initially passing such a request might get itself invited to a mandatory meeting with the Professional Standards Board. I now feel that at this point, that my concern becomes that the writer Daniel Boffey has no clue! So (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/15/eu-fears-influx-of-british-champagne-once-brexit-ends-food-naming-rules) we see “The European Union is concerned that British companies could violate protections given to the names of thousands of European products – such as Parma ham and Champagne“, these two examples Parma Ham as well a Champagne has been clearly settled, so that will not ever be allowed. This is something that can be set in stone as the United Kingdom joined WIPO in 1970. The UK uses Trade Marks Act 1994, where we see this part. The Trade Marks Act discusses in section 3 reasons that are an ‘Absolute grounds for refusal of registration‘, with in section 3(1)(c) we see: “Trade Marks which consist exclusively of signs or indications which may serve, in trade, to designate the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, geographical origin, the time of production of goods or of rendering of services, or other characteristics of goods or services“, as Parma (Ham) and Champagne are regarded as ‘geographical origin’ the examples are faulty. So what is Daniel Boffey? An editor who did not prepare his work? Or is he another anti Brexit fear mongerer with a need to rile the people for his own personal needs? I actually do not know, but it is clear that (as I personally see it), that Daniel did not talk to any Trade Marks Attorneys. Even a quick call to Intellectual Property Office (at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/intellectual-property-office), or just look at the website and lodge a question would have answered the part that is (again as I personal see it) a blight on the good frame of the Guardian. The articles linked to his name ‘Brexit transitional deal will lock UK into EU court, says Verhofstadt‘, ‘Northern Ireland peace at risk because of Brexit, says Bertie Ahern‘, as well as ‘Britons living in the EU face Brexit backlash, leaked paper warns‘ gives indication that he is very much against the Brexit. Now, I have no problem with those against Brexit, because that was a valid choice of the minority. In addition, they are not swayed yet and they might never be swayed, yet the issue I see here as an Attorney is that the UK has clearly accepted IP laws and leaving the EU will not change the accords that the UK agreed to as a signatory of WIPO. So when I see “The question of what will happen to EU GIs after the withdrawal of the UK is a difficult one” I get the clear indication that the Guardian editor is in cahoots with the European parliament’s agriculture committee on spreading misinformation. In addition, I think he is actually making a case for Brexit, as it now shows that those people in the European parliament’s agriculture committee might be regarded as overpaid incompetent individuals that should be fired immediately, because there is a clear IP setting in place and as such, just by reading the Trade Marks Act 1994, Contacting the UK Intellectual Property Office, or contacting WIPO, this mere fact could have been cleared up in 15 minutes. An alternative is the WTO (at https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/trips_e/gi_background_e.htm), which shows these issues clearly resolved as well. The WTO also gives us “The United Kingdom has been a WTO member since 1 January 1995 and a member of GATT since 1 January 1948. It is a member State of the European Union (more info). All EU member States are WTO members, as is the EU (until 30 November 2009 known officially in the WTO as the European Communities for legal reasons) in its own right”.

It seems to me that the EU gravy train on knowing as little as possible so that many meetings in 5 star locations could be held, which sounds like a massive waste of funds. Finding these facts took almost 10 minutes, so why are these EU members posturing on ignorance?

So the quote “If no arrangements to another effect are made, the protection afforded by the above-mentioned legislation would normally cease to apply in the UK, which means that over a thousand European registered names could be exposed to violation in this neighbouring country” is in equal measure a load of bollocks (for those unaware of the terms, they are the two elements positioned between the legs of a man), and if you are at this point still getting a blank, feel free to call Jim Davidson (the famous UK comedian) and ask him about a historical law enforcement agent (somewhere between 1068 until 1568), the name of that person was Big Dick Dangling, Sheriff of Nottingham Forest.

So there is a clarity that this is a non-issue, as the Trade Marks Act 1994 would remain in force after the UK becomes the Brexiteer, so as such I think that Katharine Viner (editor in Chief) needs to urgently call her Brussels office, especially as the non-issue is painted in such an obscure way that hiding behind “A document from the European parliament’s agriculture committee, which is advising the chamber’s leaders on the Brexit negotiations” is just too unacceptable, no matter how true that is, especially as the editor is now playing political suicide as he is stating “The document drawn up by MEPs warns: “In the hypothesis where the UK, as a third country, would enter into a new relationship with the EU27 based on a free trade agreement it would be important therefore to include a mutual recognition of GIs in such an agreement on the model.”“, which is  as I see it the hidden message. The ‘would enter into a new relationship with the EU27 based on a free trade agreement‘ is not for him to state, quote or comment on, especially as the bare minimum of the article is grossly misrepresented. Actually he could have quoted it, but I personally believe he fell short by a lot on elements like diligence in this article. In pursuit of the previous statement, we see the quote “The MEPs suggest the UK will need to maintain EU standards during any transitional period before a free trade agreement can be struck“, in that, can we get in writing that this includes equestrian beef burgers from Romania? There is light in the end of the tunnel as we see “the MEPs appear to take solace in the suggestion that the British government will be unable to take advantage of third countries seeking other options” with the supported follow up quote “One may wonder, in particular, whether the UK will have the sheer capacity to handle so many urgent trade negotiations in parallel with a national administration which has lost the experience and knowhow of such negotiations since the mid-1970s“, which sounds funny and in in fact hilarious, because in the first, the UK has been involved with trade negotiations on a global scale and in the end, it is the 27 nations that will be chomping at the bit to get a deal for their deliveries towards 68 million consumers. And if anyone thinks that 23 of these nations (who are smaller than the UK) will walk away from a customer base that represented 12% of the entire EU than those claiming that can apply for the function of Mad Hatter!

And as for the Chlorinated Chicken, that issue has been going on since 2014, which does not mean that the deal is null and void, or that it is not an issue, but at present, especially when we see the application of the word ‘if‘ we know that this is currently not the case and there is no clear indication that this will change, as such it remains a non-issue, because whatever the UK imports, if the EU does not allow for it, it stays within the UK, making it a non-issue for the export and the EU will not be affected as it has these limits in place. And in that regard, did these same MEP’s stop the issue of equestrian burgers yet?

Listen, there will be issues in the Brexit time, some will be complex and will require time to solve, anyone stating that this is not the case is lying to you, but to see articles that are a travesty of common sense, a case that could have been verified by any Guardian intern in Brussels with a few calls begs to consider what Daniel Boffey is doing. From my point of view he is not reporting, he is merely what some call a Reuters copy and paste user, which makes him very overpaid and replacing him with previous suggested intern might not be the worst thing to do.

The Guardian is not alone here, the amount of timewasting we see from the mirror, the Daily mail and the Daily online is far worse, but those places are not to be regarded as newspapers, so there is a difference. We see issues in the Independent as well, but one of a different kind. There Ben Chapman (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/brexit-britain-must-be-made-worse-off-after-leaving-eu-says-austrian-chancellor-christian-kern-a7578206.html) writes on the Austrian Chancellor and his views. The subtitle gives an interesting and non-invalid view ‘A member of a club must have better conditions than somebody who isn’t a member of this club‘, which is actually a decent way to put it. Yet, what the chancellor is not stating is that this club has failed. Some of its members has not been able to keep up and in response to failed economic numbers the club decided to pump in cash, two rotations of well over a trillion each and the club members need to pay up, even as all members know that it was not a solution. This is regarded as irresponsible acting and this so called club has failed its members by not setting a proper charter for misbehaving members (Greece) as well as a failed system regarding the acts of its executive members (Mario Draghi). Part of that we saw in last weeks The Week (at http://theweek.com/articles/679060/european-central-bank-about-something-stupid), as we read “when it kicked off a quantitative easing (QE) program worth $60 billion a month. In plain English, that means the ECB started creating a bunch of euros out of thin air and using them to buy up various financial assets. In March 2016, it kicked things up a notch, to $80 billion in purchases a month“, which was one of the issues I had. In addition, how anyone can see ‘creating a bunch of euros out of thin air‘ and ‘buy up various financial assets‘ seems so odd as it is not money that is supported by any gold reserve or at lease set against something of value. This doesn’t just read like a Parker Brothers monopoly heist, basically Draghi is buying stuff that is then paid for and is given to? To whom exactly? It almost reads like a derivative nightmare, Mr Blotto buys a lemon and goes bust. He sells this lemon to Draghi for the initial value and he walks away smiling again, whilst Draghi is buying lemons in stacks of 80 billion a month. So who owns the lemon? And where is that 80 billion coming from? Some people forget that if we add (for example) 2 trillion to our 10 trillion, the value of our 10 trillion would now be 10/12 trillion, implying our value decreased by 17% (because against the pound and the dollar it did), but now we get the small complication, Sweden is still using the SEK, the UK has the Pound, so there is an impact there too. That is the part the Draghi elites (financial captain and his minions) seem to ignore. There is an impact on our values, and that decrease is actually increasing faster and faster, especially as there is no improvement in sight.

In this we saw the growth and the actual move towards Brexit, yet at present as the smaller nations are realising (Austria) that they are merely less than 2% of that group and the impact of the exiting nations is seen, Austria is now facing a very mental breakdown. Because it sees the dangers it faces. Austria has a 67% services industry and whilst that is not great, it is not the worst either. The changes that they are now facing might negatively impact their economic value, in addition, the speech the chancellor gave was nice on a European value, the fact that the top 6 of its main export partners does not include the UK, and neither does the top 5 import list, so his club speech sounds nice but is now laced with the emotion of ‘I am taking whatever the UK loses whenever possible‘ gives rise to his reasoning of the club mentality, in addition European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gives us “Do the Hungarians and the Poles want exactly the same thing as the Germans and the French? I have serious doubts“, which is fair enough, yet at the same time we see “and the endgame is that there is no united European front“, which is a realisation that is long overdue, that was a given for the longest of time and the economic posts have been somewhat clear on that. That part is also clear in France where Emmanuel Macron has joined Marine Le Pen by adding the Eurozone membership on the agenda. Which now means that out of the three most likely to win the French election, only François Fillon seems to voice a continuation of France within the Eurozone. As such there is no guarantee that the Eurozone loses France, but only if François Fillon beats both Macron and Le Pen, a feat that is not impossible, but for now decently unlikely. That will be known on 23rd April 2017, when the 1st round of the 2017 French presidential election will be held. Perhaps it would be nice that Daniel Boffey realises that the French will not walk away with a French version of the West Country Farmhouse Cheddar and in equal measure Champagne will still be French, also after both have left the Eurozone, it will not be possible for Either to claim ownership of the Trade Mark ‘Edam Cheese’ as it is a Dutch Trade Mark.

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Choosing an inability

This all started last night when a link flashed before my eyes. It had the magical word ‘NHS’ in there and that word works on me like a red cloth on a bull. I believe that there is a lot wrong there and even more needs fixing, it needs to be done. There is no disagreement from anyone. The way to do it that is where the shoes start feeling tight. There are so many sides to fix, the side to start with is not always a given. There will be agreement and disagreement, yet overall most paths when leading to improvement should be fine. There is however one almighty agreement. You see the data analyses side of health care is not that high on the list. Most would agree that knowing certain stuff is nice, but when you have a primary shortage (nurses and doctors) the analyst does not rank that high on the equation. Although I am an analyst myself, I agree to that assessment of the NHS, my need is a lot lower than getting an extra nurse (at present). So when I see ‘Another NHS crisis looms – an inability to analyse data‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/science/political-science/2017/feb/08/another-nhs-crisis-looms-an-inability-to-analyse-data), I start wondering what actually is going on. The first issue that rises is the author. Beth Simone Noveck is as the Guardian states “the former United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer and Director, White House Open Government Initiative. A professor at New York University“, you see, it is a given that Yanks always have an agenda. Is this about her book ‘Smart Citizens, Smarter State: The Technologies of Expertise and the Future of Governing‘? Just asking, because the by-line there is: “New tools—what Beth Simone Noveck calls technologies of expertise—are making it possible to match citizen expertise to the demand for it in government. She offers a vision of participatory democracy rooted not in voting or crowdsourcing but in people’s knowledge and know-how“, which seems to match the article. So, is this her sales pitch? You see, she must have missed the memo where the previous labour government wasted £11.2 billion on something that never worked and now as the NHS has plenty of crises moments, spending it on something that limits the growth towards nurses and doctors is a really bad idea.

Then she sets the focus on the HQIP with: “The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) conducts forty annual audits comparing hospital and physician outcomes, and the implementation of National Institute of Clinical Excellence standards across England and Wales. But, as HQIP Director Dr Danny Keenan admits, although they have the expertise to do the analysis, “we are woefully inadequate at translating such analysis into improvements. What’s the takeaway for the hospital or community provider Board or the medical director? They cannot understand what they have to do.”“, from that I get that the existence of the HQIP is under discussion because they cannot communicate. This we see in: ‘They cannot understand what they have to do‘, which means that the hospital or community provider Boards or the medical directors are either incompetent or there is a communication issue. I am willing to ‘auto-set’ to: ‘the inability to communicate’. I admit that I would have to read those reports to get a better view, but it is clear that the HQIP has a few cogs missing, which is on them and not on the NHS as such. So if the NHS needs to cut further, that’s where the cutting can start.

Am I against the HQIP? No, of course not, but the NHS has actual problems and putting more resources in communication gaps when a place is running low on gauss and staff the priority seems to be pretty clear. I also accept that if this path is taken that restoration of the NHS will take longer, I get that, but I hope you can agree with me that once the ability to properly aid patients is restored, we can look at the next stage of fixing the NHS, because aiding patients’ needs to be the primary concern for all sides of the NHS.

A second element in the given sales pitch comes from Dr Geraldine Strathdee, where we see “National Mental Health Intelligence Network, together with partners, launched the Fingertips Mental Health data dashboard of common mental health conditions in every locality. Strathdee points out there is a tremendous need for such benchmarking data: to design services based on local need, build community assets, and improve NHS services“, I have stated at a few conferences (mid 90’s) that there is an inherent need to document and create clear paths of internal knowledge retention, which included healthcare, education and government departments. I literally stated “as you grow the knowhow with your own staff members, you will increase their value, they will be better motivated and you create a moment when you become less and less reliant on outside sources, which usually cost a fair amount“, I have been proven correct in more than one way and the lack from some people who saw the gravy train benefit by being aligned with consultants is now at an end and those people tend to not have any allegiance, other than the need to grow their bank account. Creating internal knowledge points has always been a primary need and as this opportunity was wasted, we now see the plea ‘a tremendous need for such benchmarking data‘. They should have listened to some of their IT people a long time ago. The second opposition is seen in “Without it, NHS resourcing is just based on historical allocations, guesswork or the “loudest voice”“. This implies that there has been no proper data collection and reporting for well over 5 years, whilst 10 year gap would sound a little more correct (an assumption from my side). When you look at the Netherlands, there is a long list of reports that psychiatrists and psycho analysts need to adhere to and deliver towards those paying for the services. That has been the case for the longest time. What happens afterwards? Are they not properly collated and reported? In the Netherlands it was and I think it still is (a fact, not verified at present). Yet what happens in the UK? The yank might not know, but I reckon that if the MP’s ask these questions from Dr Geraldine Strathdee that we will get proper responses on what is done now, how it is recorded, reported on and considered for continued improvement. If all of that is absent, who should we talk to? Who needs to give an accountable response?

At that point the doctor becomes a little confusing to me; perhaps that is just me, because when I read “The data dictates investment in early intervention psychosis teams, which dramatically improves outcomes. Fifty per cent of patients get back to education, training or employment. However, there is a shortage of people able to draw these insights“, I just wonder what is set in reports. It is confusing because psychosis is only one of many mental health issues that are in play. When someone gets diagnosed as such a treatment plan comes into focus and as such data had no impact. The patient is either correctly treated or the patient is not. Data had no influence there, it is the carer’s report that is submitted and for that this person will either get the resources needed, or not. Data will not influence this. A report on how many are treated with psychosis is required, but as the reports are handed upwards, those numbers would be known and as such the required needs in medications, staff, treatment plans and of course the required funds to pay for all this would be known. If not, the question becomes: is Professor Noveck there to aid in obscuring events, or should we consider that the National Mental Health Intelligence Network has become redundant and is draining funds needlessly? If you think that this is an exaggerated notion, consider that when we look for the ‘National Mental Health Intelligence Network‘, we get the website (at http://mentalhealthpartnerships.com/network/mental-health-intelligence-network/), the latest thing on their website is a meeting from September 2013, in addition there is something from Professor Chris Cutts on STORM Skills Training and that is May 2014. So I think that the National Mental Health Intelligence Network did get itself involved in a sales pitch and a very poorly constructed one I might add. You see, when we go to Public Health England, we see that there are health Intelligence Networks, but the one they have is called ‘National Mental Health, Dementia and Neurology Intelligence Networks (NMHDNINs)‘, perhaps an oversight from the two sales people? You see the Mental Health Dementia and Neurology path gives us all kinds of information (shallow information I admit), but I wonder if that is wrong or just not the proper place to find it. In addition I see when I look at ‘Severe Mental Illness‘, some 2017 mentions (so it is up to date) with the Psychosis Care Pathway, where I see “The Psychosis Care Pathway provides a high level summary using 16 key indicators to help users assess and benchmark how they manage this important condition. This pathway is consistent with and linked to the Commissioning for Value Psychosis packs to be published by NHS England“, this is an interesting part isn’t it? Does this mean that this is happening, not happening, or more important, what on earth does Dr Geraldine Strathdee think she is doing? Perhaps it is an ill-conceived hostile takeover using an outsider who was published and has a name, whilst the minimum needs to be taken seriously are not even there (an up to date website perhaps). This whilst the mention ‘based at Public Health England‘ is an issue as the Public Health England (at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england), has no mention at all of the ‘National Mental Health Intelligence Network‘, is that not odd? So what ill-conceived sales pitch are we reading in The Guardian?

Perhaps the quote ‘The NHS needs data analytical talent, which comes from a variety of disciplines‘ gives us that. And as the NHS has no immediate need to hire analysts, see there, the ‘National Mental Health Intelligence Network’ would come to the rescue and save the moment. Perhaps the first thing they would consider is hire a web designer and make sure that the latest INTEL is not 2+ years old (cautious advice from my side). In addition, as it seems that the NHS is likely to be pushed into a ‘we need analytics data‘ conversation (one they can go without at present), not taking the word from a professor and a doctor who dropped the ball might be a first notion to consider. Making a proper inventory of what data the NHS has and seeing if a conversation (a non-invoiced conversation) with someone from Q Research Software is likely to be a hell of a lot more productive than talking to the previous two ‘sales’ people that the Guardian article touches on. I will be honest I had a few issues with that program in the past (for specific reasons) but Q Software has never stopped improving and it has grown to the extent that it is now chiseling to the marginal groups IBM Statistics had and they are now losing those customers to Q Research, which is quite the accomplishment. In that I think it is Dr Danny Keenan who is likely to get the most out of such a meeting. From what the Guardian tells us, we get the implied understanding that he needs the solution to tell a better story. You see, translating statistical results into actions is done through stories. Not fabrications mind you, but a story that helps the receiver understand what direction would be the best to take. The listener will get a few options and each will have a plus and a minus side and usually the one with the best track movement tends to win. If that path includes successfully suppressing the negative elements even more, so much the better.

My main reason for opening this door is because there is enough low level talent in the NHS in several places that might have the ability to do this on the side, a simple path that allows additional reporting whilst not needing to drain essential resources. I call them ‘low level’ not because of anything negative. When working with proper analytics you need to have someone on your back and call with a degree in applied mathematics. Anyone claiming that this is not needed is usually lying to you. In the case of Q, a lot of the calculations have been auto completed and the numbers that are reflecting in the tables still need some level of statistics, but many with a tertiary business degree would have had exposure to a lot more stats than is needed here so as such this person would be low-level only in that regard. It is for all intent and purposes a reporting tool that goes a lot further than mere tabulation and significance levels. It could be the tool of choice for the NHS. Even when they start getting forward momentum, this tool would still be massively useful to them and any change might be limited to getting a dedicated person for this goal. Which with the current shortages all over the NHS is not that far a stretch anyway.

So as we realise what one program can do, we see the questionable approach that the sales person named Beth Noveck is making. The mention “the NHS should expand efforts already underway to construct an NHS Data Lab“, “Improving public institutions with data also requires strong communications, design and visualisation skills. Digital designers are needed who know how to turn raw data into dashboards and other feedback mechanisms, to support managers’ decisions” and “So the NHS needs to be able to tap into a wide range of data analytic know-how, from computer scientists, statisticians, economists, ethicists and social scientists. It is impractical and expensive to meet all of these needs through more hiring. But there are other ways that the NHS can match its demand for data expertise to the supply of knowledgeable talent both within and outside the organization

Three distinct statements which are not false, yet the first one is currently not feasible with the shortages that the NHS has the second one was debunked by me in merely 5 minutes as I introduced Q Research Software to you the reader. Anyone stating that this is not the best solution has a case, but in the shortage world the NHS lives in, with the cost of Q-Software against 93% of all other software solutions, it is the best value for money the NHS could ever lay there fingers on and the third one is even more worrying, because that expensive track of consultants is one of the ways that partially accounts for the £11.2 billion loss that the NHS already suffered. Should the esteemed professor come up with ‘additional considerations’ the NHS should become really scared, because there is a growing concern that some people want to get their fingers on the NHS data, the one treasure the bulk of ALL American healthcare insurers and provides want, because that is one data warehouse they have never been able to properly build.

She ends the article with “Whether the NHS wants to know how to spot the most high-risk patients or where to allocate beds during a particularly cold winter, it can use online networks to find the talent hiding in plain sight, inside and outside the health and social care system“, so how does that work? Where to allocate a bed in cold winter? Are they moved by truck to another location (impeding nurses and doctors as more aid needs to be given at that location), will it require the patient to move, which is actually simply done by finding out where a bed is available. The article is a worrying one, in that light that the article was published and I wonder if it was properly vetted, because there is a difference of many miles between a political science piece and an opinionated sales pitch. So my next step is to take a very critical look at “Smarter Health: Boosting Analytical Capacity at NHS England“, because my spidey sense is tingling and I might find more worrying ammunition in that piece.

 

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