Tag Archives: VVD

Yay or Nay

There is no escaping the EU elections, the issues are large and the anger in Europe is equally sizeable. In France Marine Le Pen has the lead with a little comfort, but not much. Still Macron got initially defeated (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/europe-election-results-france-marine-le-pen-macron-national-front-rally-latest-a8931361.html).

So even as National Rally is ahead by a fair bit with 24%, it is only 1.5% ahead which is comfortable but by no means a done deal at present. With “even slightly down on what the National Front won in 2014 – meaning the party has made little progress on previous years against an unpopular president” we see that Marine Le Pen is not set in stone, she will need powerful allies in the EU to get anything done and as we learn that “the Danish People’s Party and AfD have stood still or fallen back” it implies that she is already two allies down, and as we also see that at present the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (led by Nigel Farage) only has 54 seats (7.2%), and in all this her Dutch allies fall short by a lot, there the reversion to the old parties is remarkable, it is there that we see that the Forum for Democracy (Thierry Baudet) is seen as the joke it needs to be seen as. Although having 11% and the Dutch PVV (4.1%) shows that Geert Wilders is pretty much done for. Dutch Labour took 18%, with the classical parties VVD (15%) and CDA (12.3%) together they are taking a little over 45%, when they get the Greens on board, the majority is a fact and the other two are out of consideration. The independent also shines light on something I noticed earlier in Australia. It seems that the Greens and their choices are having an impact on Global scales. The Green parties have made remarkable strides in the Netherlands (Groen Links), the Greens in the UK and in France (Europe Eologie-Les Verts) are now a European force to be reckoned with, a shift I actually never expected. As we see that in several places their growth is almost everywhere (where it matters that is) is a 10% growth, it requires us to look into it, these are the voices of the people and even as I am a Brexiteer, I will not ignore the Green view when it grows that fast. I have always given support and specifics on why I am a Brexiteer and I understand that plenty of people have another view, so when we see such a shift it is important to examine the optional why. I refuse to give in to some ‘voting fraud’ BS story. Yes, there will be voting fraud, but the optional 322 fraudulent votes do not add up in a place where 675 million people are eligible to vote. Only a complete fool will set weight to 0.000477% to invalidate any election (I guess that there is a chance that Dutch Thierry Baudet will do just that soon enough).

I am actually willing to speculate that for every Brexiteer there is a person who thought that Brexit was too extreme and pushed towards Greens, other opposed UKIP and went LibDem (a wisdom that is definitely debatable), which is my personal sense of humour that is kicking in. I made notice on this in the last election. I wrote about that in ‘On the purple side‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/05/26/on-the-purple-side/) in May 2017. When I dug into the numbers that the Guardian had, I noticed that “a lot of UKIP and Labour are too uncomfortable with the conservative view“, The numbers showed that the shift when Tories were number one, that the growth went to either Ukip or LibDems and they were almost always mutually exclusive, Where LibDems ‘ruled’ there was a diminished Ukip and vice versa, which was an interesting side to see. I believe that this trend has continued, which is why the LibDems surpassed Labor, Greens and Tories, for a lot Brexit was too extreme and they went LibDem instead. How this will work out in the next national election remains to be seen. In this case it will depend on what the Brexit party actually achieves and so far the EU elections do not give them too much to work with. Nigel might have Marine Le Pen in his corner, but with the Dutch, Danes and Germans absent in this, they lack the seats to get anything concrete done, which would have been essential if the Brexit party would be growing a national impact. On the plus side Jeremy Corbyn got kicked out of London, so there is still another reason to party and when we are confronted with that result we see a reason to have a milestone party, even if that milestone has a LibDem flag firmly planted on it.

We cannot tell what Vince Cable will do next, but today he gets to party, he has earned it and he should. It has been a while since any political leader went out on a high note, just ask Theresa May, and as I see it the win for the LibDem will be the hardest challenge for whomever succeeds Vince, keeping the votes will be a large task, even as Jeremy and Theresa are on the way out (Jeremy Corbyn is in denial of that part for now by his intent to be monitoring workplace humour), their infighting implies that either party will not be out for LibDem blood, but that might not be for as long as the LibDems hope for.

In the meantime just to appease Jeremy Corbyn: ‘How many managers does it take to change a lightbulb? None, they are not qualified‘, monitor that Mr Corbyn!

In recognition

So if I am such a Brexit fan, why am I not angry at the defeat? I believe in democracy, if Bremain would have initially won, I could have lived with it, because we are all for the most democracies (except Turkey at present). The issue was that the Bremain groups were complacent, ignoring the danger, and when they lost the fear mongering began. I will revisit certain articles form then and highlight the big business connections whenever possible. The EU facilitates to big business, only the delusional highlight laws and proclaim that the butcher and grocer at the corner benefits. It all benefits the Tesco’s and large providers, it makes the multi-millionaires and billionaires richer, the rest still end up with a diminished quality of life and for them the EU has had a close to zero impact, but they all share in three trillion in debt that the ECB hands over and the chosen (not elected) individuals walk away with enough coin to live in luxury for the rest of their life. That was the biggest issue and so far no serious attempt has been made to cull that problem. Earlier this month when the Irish Examiner (at https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/views/ourview/pay-for-meps-time-to-halt-the-gravy-train-922371.html) to the small fact of “outgoing Cork MEP Brian Crowley — whose health condition has prevented him from attending the parliament since the last election, in 2014 — will be entitled to severance payments of more than €350,000 and a €1.4m pension package“, so basically the man has not done his job (for 5 years) and gets a £1,541,000 package? Most people have to take a medical to proof that they are good enough to work in a bar at £7.90 an hour, as such, when you are in denial regarding the gravy train, think again. It is one of the larger supporting reasons to be on the Brexit side. A group of people who basically cost a lot and in the end do not bring that much to the table. And it is not merely their income; it is all the extra facilitation and expenses that are the much larger problem, an issue that the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/25/mep-expenses-eu-court-ruling) gave some visibility to. So when we see: “Details of MEPs’ €4,416-a-month expenses to remain secret“, whilst the larger issue is seen when we consider that besides that part, there is also: “Members of the European parliament are paid €8,611.31 (£7,705) a month in gross salary, plus pension. On leaving the parliament they receive a golden parachute, a transition allowance worth up to €206,664, depending on length of service“, which makes partial sense to some degree, yet a ‘transition allowance?‘ We usually get fired or we’re on a contract with a known end date, for a European MEP that is optionally the next election. And it is not one, it is a setting of 751 members and to some degree their staff will also be offered some expenses (which is fair enough).

So when you consider where your money went (besides the unacceptable 3 trillion in debt from the ECB, there you have it and the entire EU gets to pay for all that, so how useful is the EU for non-huge corporations in the end? I accept that there is a positive part in the EU, but it is one that comes at too high a price and that should have been central, but it is ignored to a much larger extent and now that the election are over and the new wave of keep the EU intact continues, yet even as we all bitch on expenses and nothing is done, I feel that Brexit was the only option, I wonder if it will ever actually happen and if we are on the final nose length to enable Brexit what false promises will we see from Brussels and what will actually be done about it all.

I am not optimistic at present, and I have every reason not to be optimistic any day soon.



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Batches of three days

After a Law conference of three days and a case of the flu, it is time to get back into the saddle. For the speculative people amongst you, I needed 8 boxes of tissues, so if you invested in Kleenex, their forecast is very expected to be up, so you are all good! There are a few things to deal with, but let’s get into the deep end, with ‘Trump cabinet appointments will ‘undo decades of progress’, rights activists say‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/18/trump-cabinet-appointments-sessions-pompeo-flynn). Yes, from their point of view that might be, but you do not get to cry wolf over Syria, whilst leaving a pussy to deal with the situation. This is now a Republican administration and as such, there will be a change of hearts, minds and a few tactical directions. The first one to look at, director Pompeo is an interesting choice. He has earned his stripes in several events. A thorn in Clinton’s Benghazi disaster and a member of the Tea Party. However, this is not same Jasmine flavoured variety, this member from Kansas is more like gunpowder tea. An acquired taste that is likely to turn a few stomachs in Iran. As I see it, one of the most likely to receive a high Israeli award for keeping them safe from Iran’s bile as some would quote it. My issue has always been no matter how liberal this elected official is, we have seen that the next elections could bring another Ahmadinejad, not something anyone is waiting for.

But let’s get back to nominated director Mikey. The one part that was part of the Wichita Eagle (link lost) was that Mike Pompeo predicted a new energy bill would cost millions of jobs and make the United States a net food importer. There are two sides to all this, the first the energy part. There are too many question marks (apart of the change to make it realistic), the net food importer is another matter, and it also drives at the core of national security. You see, NAFTA, opened up a whole range of options in regards to the trade with Mexico and overall there is a benefit, yet when we realise that this opens up regional security options (as stated by s Col. Michael Dziedzic, USAF), we see that in light of multiple sources stating that the Mexican Cartels have been assisting ISIS members to get into the US to explore targets. The fact that ISIS sleeper cells are reported by a few sources to be close to the US border gives cause to consider certain new avenues for the CIA to consider. That is, if they aren’t already doing that, because we can all agree that yours truly isn’t being kept up to date by Langley for reasons that need no clarification.

The Wichita Eagle also gives us: “Pompeo ended up co-authoring a separate report from the main committee investigation, which accused former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee for president, of downplaying the attack to boost President Obama’s re-election efforts” (at http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article115756373.html), which is only half the truth I reckon. I mentioned earlier that the intensely wrong acts by people in the US Department of State in 2012 was centre in all this and the events since have only shown that they were utterly negligent in several ways (not only the office of State Secretary Clinton), the downplay has been beyond that office and as such left too many concerns, especially when you do not react strongly to such an event, should you be considered President of the United States?

I reckon that once confirmed, Mike Pompeo might be one of the strongest members of the Trump government and could possibly be one of the better CIA directors of these last three administrations, which is speculative, and time will tell. Jeff Sessions is another interesting pick, although the President elect could have taken several extreme options, which in light of following Eric Holder, the only cabinet member in history to be held in contempt of congress (there will always be a first one), the President Elect had a few options, yet those were basically taken off the table when Loretta Elizabeth Lynch, the 83rd United States Attorney General decided

On June 27, 2016, Lynch and former President Bill Clinton met privately aboard Lynch’s Justice Department jet which was parked on the tarmac in Phoenix. ABC15 Phoenix reporter Christopher Sign broke the story on June 29, citing unnamed sources. (at http://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/loretta-lynch-bill-clinton-meet-privately-in-phoenix), in light of Benghazi, when we see the quote ““Our conversation was a great deal about grandchildren, it was primarily social about our travels and he mentioned golf he played in Phoenix,” said Lynch Tuesday afternoon while speaking at the Phoenix Police Department“, now we can agree that if you have 35 things to do before lunch, having a social meeting on the tarmac of an airport in a jet is rather odd, to say the least. It is true that it might not have been about Benghazi, it might have been about future careers, yet the event on the tarmac and not in some closed of 1st class business lounge implies that this was about deniability, not something that is required when Golf is on the menu of conversation. The image of Benghazi remains, whether just of unjust, when you decide to do a Deep Throat (read: Woodward, Bernstein & Washington Post), you set yourself up for all kinds of gossip.

So when we see Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, a former senator of Alabama, we have to wonder what America will get this time. The media is already all over it. The Guardian stated: “The hawkish trio have made inflammatory statements about race relations, immigration, Islam and the use of torture, and signal a provocative shift of the national security apparatus to the right“, the subsequent quote is “For liberals they appeared to confirm some of their darkest fears about the incoming Trump administration“. To them I have this message. ‘Over a period of 8 years, this administration has done absolutely nothing to reign in corporate accountability, the financial sector can go its own sweet way and this American administration turned 180 degrees around on corporate taxation. Their acts, together with the IMF is why Brexit is now a fact and is also still the driving force for Frexit. Those who are now fear mongering in the direction of France better realise that a second bad estimate (like Brexit) will be regarded as clear evidence to dismiss their services’. Columbia Threadneedle was quoted in Reuters on what a catastrophe it will be. Yet, who would it be disastrous for? The quote “Mark Burgess, chief investment officer for the firm in EMEA, said that unlike the positive or even ambiguous market reaction to the British vote on an EU exit or Donald Trump’s win last week, a win for avowedly anti-euro, anti-EU party in one of the many euro zone elections next year could spell disaster for the still-undercapitalized European banks“, the banks have had more than enough time to get their affairs in order. We have seen bail-out after bail-out and we have been all subject to a large loss of quality of life, whilst the financial sector played and gambled living on incomes that most people have never seen, not even before the financial crash. This has driven anti-European Union sentiments. The sentiment of all talk and no achievements, no forward momentum for anyone but the large corporations. This is what the Democratic Party left America with, no real future and a 20 trillion dollar debt. It is now up to the Republican Party whether they can return the USA towards a status of less debt and a healthy economy. This will take a years to achieve, but no matter how far it is taken, America seems to realise that the party is over, they only have themselves to blame on how they got to this point.

So how did I get from these three to Frexit and Greed? Let’s face it, the President-elect is part of a system of greed and Frexit is pretty much next on the agenda. All those ignorant economists and media that have been ignoring these events for over two years, all with comments on how this was never a reality now have faced Brexit and after that, they played anti-republican for 8 years, they now see their options cancelled and they are left in the dark regarding events in the White House. How many wrong predictions does it take for the media to realise that reporting is not the same as speculative empowering?

As the world is now setting the stage of how the first three picks of the President-elect is to be regarded. We need to realise that the world is a lot larger than America and our choices are indeed diminishing when we side with only one group of governing people. For those who seem to be focused on how bad this upcoming president will be, perhaps we need to take a look at a little place like Syria and how this current administration has not achieved anything at all. With bombings increasing and the Non-Assad supporting Syrian population getting closer to zero, we need to ask questions that no one is asking and even less are willing to answer.

The last part in all this is the IMF, as mentioned before. When we see the Australian, we get: “The IMF has given powerful backing to Labor’s call for a crackdown on negative gearing saying Australia’s tax rules are encouraging people to take on too much debt to invest in the housing market, pushing prices higher. The IMF’s annual mission to Australia has also criticised the Turnbull government’s May budget, saying it is trying to narrow the budget deficit too rapidly and risks hurting the economy.” Can anyone please explain what the fuck (pardon my French), the IMF is doing telling a sovereign nation on how we prefer not to be in deep debt and that is not OK with them? Consider in what state the debt driven economies are when it can be endangered by one economy removing its deficit. Consider on how many papers have given proper attention to debt driven economy (read: meaning almost none have done so, apart from those ridiculing the issue), this in light of the IMF quote in the Australian “The IMF says the government has been right to allow deficits to blow out over the past few years, saying the shortfalls have been mainly due to weak revenue, not excessive spending. The fund suggests that if the government spend more on infrastructure, it would generate enough economic growth that there should be little impact on the ratio of debt to GDP“, we need to wonder on how we were all kept in the dark when the media at large ignored calls for clarity, when we were (as I see it) intentionally misinformed, now we see that ‘right to allow deficits to blow out‘, which was never OK, even as Australia is getting out of that dark valley, other nations are still fighting their own battles. This is one of the driving sides to France, who have been pushed into a $2.4 trillion dollar debt. Perhaps President Hollande will have the same excuse that it was ‘mainly due to weak revenue‘, so the French people get to live with consequence of the IMF driven ‘equalising’ of debt. Now this last part is purely speculative from my side, yet how wrong is my train of thought? And as other nations realise that these debts are orchestration and the governments refused to tighten belts, spend irresponsibly regarding the need of other nations, keeping debt at a maximum. How do you think people will react when they realise that irresponsible behaviour will keep their quality of life down, perhaps for more than one lifetime? Are you still wondering whether Frexit will happen, or are you realising that Frexit not happening is no longer being considered?

Now, events differ from nation per nation, yet there is clear evidence that nations have been overspending for well over a decade and none had the idea to tighten the belt (except Germany in 2009). This is how Europeans feel and all this to enable big business, whilst they get more and more deals offered. This is the setting in which President elect Trump finds himself. The three nominations are not part of any of it, but they give rise to the question, who will be the elected officials in the departments, of State, Interior and Commerce, these three subsequent nominations will be at the core of what will happen next. No matter what the pressures are for the upcoming American Administration, they will be at the core of events that will take centre stage in 2017 and 2018. So many eyes, not just in America will be on those nominated for these three fields. We will have more and more questions, we only need to await the first results.

In that light we get to look at some of the issues I predicted two years ago. Last Saturday I got the Quote “European leaders have come to a 27-nation consensus that a “hard Brexit” is likely to be the only way to see off future populist insurgencies, which could lead to the break-up of the European Union” (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/nov/19/europes-leaders-force-uk-hard-brexit-farage-le-pen). The subtitle gives us even more ‘Fears grow about impact of populist surge as Nigel Farage predicts Marine Le Pen could win French presidential election’. I got there a year earlier, even now there is still some doubt as Sarkozy is making an about turn move on French National issues, yet Marine Le Pen remains a contender. Slightly stronger than before Trump got elected and there is where the issue for Europe now resides. Their indecisiveness in certain matters is driving people towards nationalism, with President elect Trump now approaching office, those issues will polarise and the shift will move stronger towards the right. The additional quote: “The latest intervention by Farage will only serve to fuel fears in Europe that anti-EU movements have acquired a dangerous momentum in countries such as France and the Netherlands, following the precedent set by the Brexit vote”, is one that is not correct as I see it. You see, Brexit was always a risk, yet those working behind the screens were so intent on the Status Quo that they forgot sight of the effects of the actions that they caused, Greece being the first and strongest elements. By trying to hang onto a non-realistic 300 billion, they now stand to lose 14.5 trillion, you tell me how stupid this was. The Netherlands is not the strongest influencer and at present, the Dutch PVV might be strong, twice as many seats as the number three (CDA) and leading by merely 4 seats on number 2, the reality is that this party became the largest fast and as they were only regarded as something not to be taken serious, the size they are now does not warrant such consideration, they are the largest player. Yet in all this, the issue is that 150 seats are there and a majority requires 76 seats, which cannot be done without some coalition that will require the PVV. In this the PVV is the only clear anti-EU party. The example as given by me in ‘A noun of non-profit’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/05/15/a-noun-of-non-profit/), where I state: “Consider a large (really large) barge, that barge was kept in place by 4 strong anchors. UK, France, Germany and Italy. Yes, we to do know that most are in shabby state, yet, overall these nations are large, stable and democratic (that matters). They keep the Barge EU afloat in a stable place on the whimsy stormy sea called economy. If the UK walks away, then we have a new situation. None of the other nations have the size and strength of the anchor required and the EU now becomes a less stable place where the barge shifts. This will have consequences, but at present, the actual damage cannot be easily foreseen”, What I predicted on May 15th 2013 is not just coming to pass, finally others are admitting that this is the future, a future they kept you in the dark about, consider that when you realise that this had been known for some time. They played their ignorance and fear mongering game and those who have done so are now considering what one more bad prediction will bring them. I still believe that it required the second of four to truly collapse the EU barge, but that reality is now getting closer, with the Republican push we see, the chances for Marine Le Pen getting elected as President is now an actual reality. I knew that there was a chance just within France and as President Hollande failed again and again her chances increased, now with the Republican view of nationalism, the French view only enhances that view for themselves, enabling Marine Le Pen as a possible President of France. This links to Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and his conservative views. He plucks the same chords on the musical loom of government as Marine Le Pen will when it comes to immigration. In that regard, the choices that still have to come will make even stronger impressions for European nations as they unite or dissent from that view. You see, we still need to realise that America is 20 trillion down, which implies that if Europe decides to exit hard for the second European nation (France most likely), the economic view for America changes, especially as it has been a net importer of food and a few other materials. It would need to strengthen ties with Canada and Mexico by a lot, allowing those two to get a better overall deal, increasing the cost of living for Americans. At this point, we see that Wilbur Ross is now the strong favourite for the Commerce position. It is CNN that gives us a quote, which seen in a different light implies the issue I had for a long time. The quotes “Pritzker strongly supported free trade, traveling to 38 countries over her tenure. She advocated clean energy partnerships and the Trans Pacific Partnership deal” as well as ““Free trade is like free lunch: There is no free lunch,” Ross told Lou Dobbs of Fox Business in August. “Somebody wins and somebody loses. And unfortunately, we’ve been losing with these stupid agreements that we’ve made””, Here we see that someone visited 38 countries, which sounds like an office paid world tour and we know that is NOT the case, but all that travelling must be nice. Following that, we see Wilbur Ross stating that there is no such thing as a free lunch. That we have all learned, many of us learned it the hard way and the TPP was a bad deal from the get go for several nations. These quoted came from CNN (at http://money.cnn.com/2016/11/20/investing/wilbur-ross-donald-trump/index.html) and are at the core of changes for commerce, which will reverberate in both the English and French minds as well. So 4 of the 6 main nominees are also powering the European Exit. I believe that one of them is in for quite the challenge. Michael Flynn is a veteran on several levels, as a retired General he knows the military and as former director of the DIA he knows the intelligence whip. Yet, the premise he faced will start to change dramatically in 2019, as such the America he will be the National Security Advisor for will have new challenges, some none have seen before. Time will tell how realistic those challenges are, yet we are already faced with the limitations of dealing with 4G and the next wave is now less than 365 days away. The funds needed for cyber security and cyber development were never forthcoming, giving nations at large new challenges and totally new issues in Criminal law. All fields untouched to the degree they needed to be. Another reason why W. Ross and J.B. Sessions need to sit down sooner rather than later. In that regard, the UK needs to clearly revisit some of the protocols that never worked in the first place.

There are many changes coming towards us, some will drive others, some will just be met with complaints, and others will just drive the Democratic Party insane, which will be used to the entertainment of the media at large.

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Run Michael Run!


Our David met Goliath, ehh, I meant Brexit and took a dive. He did not slay the Brexit, but that in itself was no real reason to quit. Let’s face it, the people are losing more and more hope regarding the validity of a united Europe. The one issue that requires addressing is wholeheartedly ignored all over Europe. Now, we see all over Europe messages like “the spectre of a “Frexit” now hangs over France” (at http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/frexit-to-be-major-issue-in-french-2017-presidential-campaign-1.2703237). Which is not even the most important part. Nexit seems to have been avoided when we see “A narrow majority of 53 percent of Dutch voters are against holding a referendum on whether or not the Netherlands should stay in the European Union” (at http://www.nltimes.nl/2016/06/27/dutch-narrowly-nexit-70-low-educated-favor/), which is only marginally good for Europe. You see, the issue that drives these exits are not being dealt with. Frexit remains an issue as the majority in Fr4nace is now in Favour of a referendum, that majority is surpassing the 60% line. Nexit remains an issue as the far right party PVV is steering the same course as UKIP. Yet there is one difference here. The PVV is currently the largest party, it is actually larger than Dutch Labour (PvdA) and Dutch ‘conservatives’ (CDA) combined. The only part is that what might be regarded as ‘Dutch Liberal Democrats’ (VVD) is in second place and they can unite with either PvdA or CDA to stop the PVV party led by Geert Wilders. So when it comes to Nexit, there is a larger danger as PVV is all in favour and there is a lot of support within the constituency of the other parties too. Even as the media is ‘hiding’ it behind the fact that low educated people are in favour of leaving the EU, the truth is that most politicians are too cowardly to speak out against the gross overspending of Mario Draghi in addition to most of these governments remaining unable to get their budgets in order. I personally regard this as the number one fear that people have. The next generation is handed a debt of too many trillions of Euros. Grexit is in no way the main reason, the wrong actions that have ruled a non-Grexit is the other reason people want out of the EU, but they do not seem to blame the Greeks, only the non-acts by all parties that should have decided to push Greece out of the EU and find a way outside of it to support growth and stabilisation. Now, that path is no longer realistic and the masses are all upset of non-actions.

These elements will all affect the UK. Even now as we see “Deutsche Bank AG is the riskiest financial institution in the world as a potential source of external shocks to the financial system, according to the International Monetary Fund” (at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/financial-services/deutsche-riskiest-bank-in-the-world-imf/news-story/4ed1043ffdf76cb26324b531dd0f3171), certain events that have not been properly dealt with will all hit the UK one way or another. Now that the German economy is getting a downgrade, which the IMF states is due to Brexit, but that is not entirely correct!

You see the quote “Britain is an important trade partner for Germany, and significant changes in the economic relationship between the two countries will have repercussions for Germany” is one we could have expected, yet the falsehood of it is also a given. You see Germany has every option to broker an immediate deal with the UK. But the banking powers are now all about ‘procedures‘ and ‘leaving the EU‘, which sounds correct, but let’s not forget that these parties have looked at an optional Grexit for 3 years, is it not weird that any EU exit is not properly addressed? When you consider that, then consider why we suddenly get these new Grexit fears, fears that are considering the voluntary need of an exit would be unfounded.

In this primordial mess we see Michael Gove moving towards the leadership!

This is where I am in favour of Michael Gove taking leadership. We can see in the first part that Boris Johnson has his own agenda, which could be fair enough, but it is important to unite all the conservatives for whatever comes next, it is my personal view that Boris Johnson will not be the man to get that done. In another light we could conclude that Theresa May would not be the right choice either. Her dealing in the Abu Qatada case is one. I raised a few issues in my article ‘Humanitarian Law v National security‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/03/10/humanitarian-law-v-national-security/), in addition I will be the first one to state that this is not all on Theresa May and that the office of Dame Stella Rimington (MI-5) needs to take a truckload of the errors involved, his entry on a forged passport happened on her watch. For me the strongest issues were shown in 2014 (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/sep/02/theresa-may-political-correctness-rotherham-abuse), the Rotherham scandal left its mark, the entire matter as blamed on  “institutionalised political correctness” leaves us with a nasty aftertaste, the fact that too many sides that are non-prosecuted will stain (illogically and wrongfully) the coat of Theresa May and as such, she would not have the gravitas she would need to be a successful leader of the Conservative party.

Michael Gove gave himself a boost with the letter that the Independent printed. His 1500 word essay (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eu-referendum-michael-goves-full-statement-on-why-he-is-backing-brexit-a6886221.html) gave the people something to think about. I reckon that the well thought actions of Michael Gove, with the added distinction of Mark Carney could be what the UK needs to move forward faster. I believe that the indecisiveness of the other players outside of the UK will only give more strength to these two power players. The UK must move forward and the Conservatives are still governing. This is unlikely to change as Jeremy Corbyn is now contested as leader as we see Angela Eagle picking up the momentum to remove Jeremy Corbyn. As a conservative I will not mind, you see, whomever ends up in charge of Labour, the Conservatives will end up being in a better position either way, the division that these two players bring to the Labour party will be equally a blessing for Tim Farron, the Lib Dems could profit of this infighting in no small way. Tim Farron has in my view a few other issues to deal with, but those would shrink if he can grow his party fast enough.

This gets us back to my Conservative party, likely under leadership of Michael Gove. Unity is for all parties a need and there is a mess with Brexit to deal with, which is exactly why I think that Tim Farron’s call to undo Brexit is a lot more dangerous, especially as 3 nations are now considering and aiming to secede from the EU at present. Michael Gove is in my view the strongest runner for the conservatives at present. Yet, we must accept that there are a few flaws in that case. Even if we ignore the popularised expression ‘50 shades of Gove‘, we should not ignore the Financial Times (at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ca079702-392d-11e6-9a05-82a9b15a8ee7.html#axzz4D3Y8IePA), where we see “a slogan without substance is a flimsy platform for future success“, which is true when it is just a slogan, a 1500 word essay is another matter. From that point of view, Michael Gove is pretty much the only contender left standing. The quote the FT has at the start “One thing has become clear over the course of the UK’s referendum campaign, and even clearer since the Brexit vote: no matter how you define leadership, this isn’t it” is equally matter for debate. It could apply to the callously shabby way Boris Johnson took it, yet in all that Michael Gove gave clear reasoning. The part that is equally interesting is the fact that the Financial Times did not dig into the real pain the UK people had, by not leading that part, we got to the place we are now. The FT also states “Plenty of companies are now scrambling to adjust their plans because of the unexpected outcome. They are guilty of a lack of foresight“, which is true, but it is equally the arrogant consequence of anticipated outcome through the bullying of some of the players. One example was Citibank and how they would ‘move’ operations if Brexit became a reality (at http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/09/citigroup-warns-staff-of-brexit-risk-to-uk-operations-report.html), in my view I state: ‘Well James Bardrick, you got you’re Brexit, so would you kindly fuck off towards Germany, France or the Netherlands!‘ and please do so by the end of next week!

You know, I reckon that they will remeasure their actions, because Frexit is still a possibility Nexit is not definitely averted and the Deutsche Bank as well as the German economy would impact whatever you shift towards Germany. In addition, the changes in India and certain shifts all over Asia Pacific requires a stability foundation, which means that Citibank definitely requires to remain strong in the UK. If not for what is, than certainly for what might be. If I am correct (4 out of 4 would be nice), than there is a strong chance that the M&M team (Michael Gove and Mark Carney) could propel the UK positive ahead of schedule, meaning that Citibank would cut itself in the fingers in more than one way. In addition, and pardon my French, Citibank could end up being the bitch of Natixis in France, a very French way of banking I might add. Giving rise in more than one way that Citibank could lose momentum when it leaves UK operations, letting other banks move in and making the Citibank lose additional market share, which seems like such an ego based error to make.

All in all we can go for the slogan ‘Run Michael Run‘, looking towards better times, not immediate mind you, but possibly faster than we thought possible, the IMF papers regarding France give weight to that, providing the UK, more specifically if the Rt Hon Hugo Swire can get a few trade irons ready for agreement with France, the Netherlands and Germany. If he pulls this of, the UK is on a first leg towards true economic restoration, with the absence of Mario Draghi’s overspending nature.

In the end these are elements that matter, but strongest of all is to address the people who feel that they have been left out in the cold by Europe. National pride is only a first step, momentum will be gained by achieving results, in that Mark Carney remains correct, these steps come with a large risk, whether it is too large is for all players actually remains an unknown for now.


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The Defiant Possum!

Yes, Greece is all over the news today, in many ways the people are now expecting a Grexit, the Greek exodus from the Euro. The people are reading more and more about the Greek way and no one is playing nice anymore. Even though readers might disagree with my view, which remains forever valid, let me show you the evidence that brought me to this!

The Centre Party, led by telecoms millionaire Juha Sipilä, must now put together a coalition. And if he invites the Finns into office too (Timo Soini, leader of Finns, who has already vowed to change’s Finland’s approach to Greece), we will see the complication regarding the chances of agreeing a third bailout for Greece. (Source: the Guardian). You see, Finland’s economy not in a great shape and they are now facing austerity. Sipilä had pledged a wage freeze and spending cuts to make it competitive again, which are issues that Tsipras is not addressing, which means that the Finns are no longer playing nice, one less vote that might have been in favour of any third bailout, now lost, the trip from Tsipras playing nice with the Russians did not help either. We now see a direct consequence on inaction where the observing it all are going more extreme, less positive towards the Euro. The Finnish Centrist Party is only a smaller step in the path that UKIP, National Front and the PVV are proclaiming. So, those who were rightfully sceptical of my predictions can now personally see the first of 6 steps fulfilling, the Pro-EU part in Finland lost and the Centrist party now has a staggering 49 seats, they are now in the centre of any coalition, gaining 14 seats. This is the danger I foresaw all along, even if many other parties were blind to this danger.

The second part was seen today when Fabrizio Goria (@FGoria) published the Barclays list on the payments that Greece has to make, these are only repayments and payments on maturity of bonds, the repayments are €1B by May 15th, €1.7B by June 17th, €4.7B by July 20th and €3.6B by August 20th. This brings the total repayments €10.7B before September 1st. Can anyone tell me how they expect to pull this off? Let us not forget that the days of the Onassis shipping fortunes are gone, the nation has a population of 11 million. We could state that it boils down to 970 Euros from every Greek (including the minors and babies), in addition to the taxation they are mostly not paying at present anyway. Add to that that many Greeks are living way below the poverty line.

So when we hear on French TV (iTele) the fact that Moscovici added that “Plan A is for Greece to remain in the Eurozone, and there is no Plan B. But there’s also no time for prevarication“, so in this story of ‘Moscovici the Possum’, playing dead to the realities of finance, where the next bailout of €7.2 billion, does not even cover the bills due before September 1st, which add up to a lot more than the bailout money that might not even come in. When we saw that the last payment was almost not made, when the Greeks pulled it off we saw the some triumphant pose of ‘we did it!‘, whilst we also saw that it cleaned out Greece for the most and that the payment made is only 10% of what is due over the next 18 weeks. This is the future I foresaw, one that could be done by nearly all using Excel or an abacus.

But this is not just about my view, others see it in the same way. Although, there is (as will be) an opposition view too and I do not ignore it. Foremost there is the eminent view of Simon Nixon from the Wall Street Journal. He stated: “One option is that Greece fails to get a deal with its creditors (quite plausible), runs out of cash (ditto) and then defaults on a debt repayment payment. But that wouldn’t immediately trigger Grexit“, which is where I am to some extent. Yet, he adds to that “How things play out after [a default] that will depend on who Greece decides to default on and the reaction of bank depositors. If Athens defaults on a government bond or loan, then the ECB will have to raise the price that banks pay to access emergency liquidity from the Bank of Greece, effectively depriving them of access to fresh supplies of euros. If Athens decides instead to default to its own citizens, perhaps by issuing IOUs to pay pensions and salaries, bank customers may start emptying euros from their accounts. Again, banks would quickly run out of collateral for emergency liquidity. In both cases, Athens would have to introduce capital controls and bank holidays to stop the financial system imploding. Some officials believe Greece could carry on for several weeks if not months in this state of limbo while still technically remaining part of the Eurozone“, I am not denying his view, he has a good grasp of things so he is probably a lot more correct then I am. Yet, my issue now is not whether they remain in the Euro, but the ramifications of Greece remaining in the Euro, regardless of the consequences and through the wheeling and dealing of several players who feel profitable if Greece remains in the Euro. Finland is only the first of 6.

Second is the UK with UKIP, that party is still growing and the Varoufakis rock star tour, as we saw it over the last two months, only agitated people all over Europe, the entire German slamming thing as well as the political statements around the refugee issues did not help either. So as UKIP grows, so will the option (and future) of the Euro diminishing in equal measure, the nightmare that Moscovici will like even less.

Third on the list is France with National Front. They will go on growing and the momentum UIKIP gets will massively benefit National Front, the party that was ignored for way too long has become a voice of power in France. Marine Le Penn has become a global player, another member against the softness for Greece and even less in favour of the Euro power as it diminished the force of France will take a steep change for the worse of the health of the Euro as they gain more momentum.

Fourth is the Dutch PVV, by themselves not that powerful or too influential, but with the like minded views they have to some degree to both UKIP and National Front, PVV will be invited to several tables they were not invited to earlier, even though their favour is falling (especially against the Dutch VVD), they remain a higher placed party (higher than they were before) and should the VVD be unable to create a working dialogue with UKIP and National Front, we will see more growth towards PVV, making them another voice that asks to end the Euro.

Fifth is Germany. Their power is actually twofold, first there is the growing opposition from Bernd Lucke, with his AfD (Alternative for Germany), remains on a forward momentum. And as they are anti-Euro, that ship needs to be closely watched, in addition, some German magazines state that one in two Germans are now in favour of Grexit. And here we get the first major Crux. Should some player overextend their reach by forcing some ‘deal’ keeping Greece in the Euro with a last minute ‘miracle’ solution (with ‘some’ hidden costs down the track of course), then the move towards AfD could be a lot more massive than before, the German player is the biggest one at the moment (in economic regard to the other 5 parties) and they have had enough (especially after the WW2 debacle Tsipras reignited).

Sixth in all this is the wildcard Italy. Here we have several unknowns, yet there is also a glooming danger. You see, the party here is Lega Nord, normally, this party is the one that is not the biggest contender it never was. However, Matteo Salvini is making headway, slowly but surely. Now we get the other side of the Greek issue. Matteo could grow in Italy with Lega Nord, the same way Syriza got Greece under Tsipras. Now we have ourselves a different fight, because Lega Nord is the opposite of Syriza and they are anti-Euro, as well as Anti-immigrant. So the issues pushed on us by Greece that are nagging us, are also growing the powers of Lega Nord. Normally it would not be such a big deal, but with National Front and UKIP being similar minded, Lega Nord will now get a more powerful European voice, together they will also push growth for AfD, or through AfD. I feel that they could grow a ‘symbiotic’ relationship.

If you are scared now, then do not be (unless you are a banker). These issues have been clearly in play and the vocally uttered path from Moscovici is helping these six entities and his speeches might help Moscovici a little less over the coming weeks. By trying to hold onto ‘Status Quo’, Moscovici might be achieving the opposite, who is the nice cuddly Possum now? Actually Possums are regarded as pests in New Zealand, so even as the possum is protected in Australia, is gets shot on sight in New Zealand. So as Moscovici contemplates his value as an asset by some, several nations are regarding the steps of Moscovici to be like a pest. Even though most of these politicians are not into the fair wildlife ‘game’, they will regard his policies and the need for them to be shot down at their earliest convenience. Not by the six I mentioned mind you, but as these issues are reason for growth for the six players mentioned, the other parties in those nations will now slowly more and more accept sacrificing Greece (by holding them to account), for them it is about governing and their chance to do so diminishes with every iteration where Greece remains unaccountable.

So here is as I see it the opposition I see to Simon Nixon from the wall Street Journal. Not because he is wrong (he is not wrong), but because the correct path seems to elevate some political parties to the degree that several political opponents do not want to see, which exasperates the Greek position even further.

This all escalates even further when we consider the news from NBC less than an hour ago. The title ‘Greece requires public sector entities to transfer cash balances to central bank’ should worry many, as it could be the first signal for the population of Greece to make a bank run (at http://www.cnbc.com/id/102601803). The quote “Greece issued a legislative act on Monday requiring public sector entities to transfer idle cash reserves to the country’s central bank, as part of efforts to deal with a cash squeeze” gives a fair view that Greece is trying to collect all the ‘idle’ cash there is. Is that not addressing the very last option? The second quote is “Monday’s act excludes pension funds and some state-owned firms. Cash reserves that are needed by these bodies for their immediate payment needs are also excluded from the regulation”, here we get the part ‘excludes immediate payment needed for pension funds’, yet what is ‘immediate’ here? 4 weeks, 8 weeks? This could possibly imply that those on a pension might not receive anything from June 1st onwards. Perhaps this is just to make headspace (or is it fund space) until May 12th? I do not presume to know the answer, but the Greek acts only confirms how right I was all along (as I see it).

So as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras seems to continue to try to convince sceptical foreign creditors to extend new financial aid, we must ask how successful does Alexis Tsipras consider his chances when the state is collecting all ‘idle’ coins. If it takes all coins just to make the next €1 billion, whilst 9.7 is still required soon thereafter, how much faith will the creditors have? So, the earlier statement that Yanis Varoufakis made (three days ago), when he stated “On the 24th [April] there will not be a solution, there will be progress”, he’ll better wake up now and realise that he finds a decent solution before Saturday, because progress might not be enough and when the creditors state ‘no!’, then the Greek default could be regarded as the next reality. By the way, the quote from Bloomberg (regarding the legislative act of Greece) is: “Central government entities are obliged to deposit their cash reserves and transfer their term deposit funds to their accounts at the Bank of Greece,” the presidential decree issued Monday said on the government gazette website. The “regulation is submitted due to extremely urgent and unforeseen need”, I wonder what unforeseen need they might imply, because there was very little un-foreseeability regarding the strapped cash issue, that part was almost crystal clear when the previous payment was barely made.

The only thing remaining is to keep an eye out on the quotes from Pierre Moscovici for the next 48 hours, it might be interesting to see the ‘swing’ it holds (if it swings).

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Yesterday’s news, today’s politics

This is the initial view I had when the NOS reported on a debate in the chambers on a case that had occurred 14 years ago (at http://nos.nl/artikel/622822-teevendebat-loopt-met-sisser-af.html). In the first 7 seconds I was hit by two questions that my mind raised

  1. Does this have any current bearings?
  2. Why, is the person who was involved not part of the proceedings?

Let’s take a look at what happened.

In 2000 Fred Teeven, who was the District Attorney at that time made a deal with Drug criminal Cees H. a deal which ended the criminal with a nice pay check, no taxation and no prison. The tax office knew nothing of the deal and this case was given a prompt wave of visibility.

This is pretty much it. There were additional loops of misinformation on how this was all about 5-6 million, which was countered that the total amount was 2 million (750,000 of this amount was kept by the Dutch government as a settlement fee).

This all got started by the current Dutch opposition. This entire case shows the same level of nonsense that Australia is currently getting from the Labor party. All wind and no real case (Australian Labor left huge bills, no resolutions and no prospects), not unlike the Dutch opposition they are crying like little girls because they are not at the governing table. They squandered by in-fighting and now they are all on the sidelines.

Why am I having this debatable point of view?

This is always a good question. This all started for whatever reason with a case that is 14 years old. Seems like an initial way to be a whiny little politician, whoever started this). Yet, that is not the whole truth either. When we consider the source (at http://nieuwsuur.nl/onderwerp/622023-geheime-witwasdeal-teeven-en-crimineel.html) other facts come to light. Here we see “Als je naar de richtlijn kijkt waarin duidelijk staat dat er afstemming moet plaatsvinden met de Belastingdienst” this was stated by the Dutch Professor Zwemmer from the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam (translated: “If you look at the guidelines, it is clearly stated that an adjusted view is set together with the taxation services”, which might contradict the statement, yet, a guideline is not set in stone. what does the law state?

The case was when Article 20b of Dutch Criminal Law allowed for it. That legal option of making deals with criminals was scrapped in 2001, but the article was in active in 2000.

There is another side to this. When we consider the following paragraph from Nieuwsuur, we see the following: “Advocaat Jan-Hein Kuijpers bevestigt vanavond in Nieuwsuur dat de deal volgens alle afspraken is uitgevoerd. Omdat Kuijpers zelf niet van witwassen beschuldigd wilde worden, moest het geld via een justitie-rekening verlopen. Kuijpers: ‘Ik had voorgesteld en ook wel bedongen dat het geld uit het buitenland eerst naar justitie zou gaan en dan naar die vriend van mijn cliënt, waardoor het spierwit was. Sowieso, of het nou wel of geen drugsgeld was of zwart geld of grijs geld of wat dan ook.’ Uiteindelijk is er een bedrag van tussen de vijf en zes miljoen gulden daadwerkelijk via deze constructie overgemaakt, bevestigt Kuijpers“.

(Translated) “Lawyer Jan-Hein Kuipers confirmed in Nieuwsuur that the deal had been processed according to the accepted arrangement. As Kuipers wanted to avoid accusations of laundering, the money would be processed through an account of the Justice department. Kuipers: ‘I had proposed and stipulated that the funds from abroad would first go to the Justice department, after that to my client’s friend, making the funds snowy white. Whether it was drugs money or not, whether it was black money or grey or whatever’. In the end an amount between 5 and 6 million was transferred via this construction, confirms Kuipers“.

This all leaves me with a few questions. What on earth is a Lawyer doing spilling the beans to this extent on a talk show? As well as the fact that we have two sides to the amount, was it two million, or 5 to 6 million? If we accept what Nieuwsuur mentioned: “Vervolgens zal het OM het geld via een rekening van het Openbaar Ministerie ‘terstond aan H.’ overmaken. En dat alles onder de expliciete voorwaarde van ‘volstrekte geheimhouding’ waarbij ook ‘de nationale en/of internationale Belastingdiensten en/of Fiscale autoriteiten’ niets van de deal mogen weten

(Translated) “After that the Public Ministry will transfer the money via an account of the Public Ministry ‘swiftly to H.’ all this under explicit conditions of ‘complete secrecy’, whilst keeping the national and international tax offices unaware of the deal

So, again, why is this Lawyer Kuipers singing like a canary on a talk show? Even more questionable is how international tax offices are kept in the dark, whilst they knew that the money came from non-Dutch accounts. It seems weird that international tax evasion could be part of this deal in 2000.

We can waste time on whether these events were all known or not and whether this was all legally arranged or not. It is a 14 year old case and the facts could have been checked before the House of Representatives booked overtime which might cost the taxpayers even more. I am not debating whether it was right or wrong to proceed, but in the view I have, this was another goose chase by the opposition to bring embarrassment to Minister Opstelten (who is the current minister of justice and Security) as well as secretary Teeven of Justice and Security, who was the District Attorney in those days and would not have been politically responsible anyway (which answered the second question I initially had).

I remain on the fence, even though I still see this (to some extent) as an exercise from the prissy opposition, the questions remain valid. Yet, what was the point to take a case, which could have been easily defended in the House of Representatives to begin with. What was the end game and why is there a discrepancy between 2 and 5-6 million?

That last part is still an issue of some debate. There are additional questions that rise when we consider the Dutch article (at http://www.vn.nl/Archief/Justitie/Artikel-Justitie/Teeven-sloot-al-in-1998-deal-met-Cees-H..htm), which gives a lot more validity for the opposition to call for a debate in the Dutch version of the House of Representatives, yet the fact that this is coming to light 14 years later is also quite weird. That side is shown to some extent when we look at the last lines of the article “Dat alles is weliswaar geen sluitend bewijs dat Cees H. nog steeds in criminele zaken zit, maar bij justitie kijken ze in ieder geval met argusogen naar de handel van de beroepscrimineel. En dat plaatst de ‘gift’ van Fred Teeven uit 2000 toch in een vreemd daglicht“.
(Translated) “Al this does not lead to evidence that Cees H. is still criminally active, but the Justice department is looking with an eagles eye towards the wheeling and dealing of this professional criminal, which places the ‘gift’ from Fred Teeven in 2000 in a strange daylight

When we look back at this, then we see a seldom seen application on the cost of doing business. The talkative lawyer (who seemed to forget the meaning of complete secrecy), the muddy view on the exact amounts of money involved (the difference between 60,000 and 20,000 bills of 100) and in rear sight the time passed before certain people started to ask questions. Consider that all but the heaviest category of crime can still be prosecuted (5th category), other crimes would have passed the prosecutable expiry date, in that light, why bring this case forward?

For political points against a District Attorney who, according to the issues, had acted within his scope of abilities? Nieuwsuur does report an issue in the way the deal was pushed through after the fact (2 months after the fact) and the signature came from Ben Swagerman, who is in the Dutch version of the House of Lords and he is the head of corporate security of the Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM). I do agree, that certain questions should be asked, yet, they should have been asked at least 6 years ago, not now. At this point there are several points that imply that this was about something else, not just about this case. So will the Dutch audience get treated to a second round of ‘sudden revelations‘ in a later episode of the program Nieuwsuur?
Time will tell, but when they do, I will take another look at this case.


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The Age of ‘no retirement left’ is coming

Another day and another play for one of the last foundations of wealth. As the Dutch NOS news reported, the Dutch pension funds are willing to invest in its own country. The Netherlands is currently an investment location that is receiving a very small part of that fat fund. Yet, pension funds want a level of government guarantee for these risky investments at present. That guarantee will save them for a certain amount of losses should they occur. As such the government has a level of objections. As the news reported, this plan has been a year in the making. Basically the pensions will be doing all the tasks banks are supposed to do. There is a level of risk that the pensions are not willing to carry at present. And why should they?

The reporter Jeroen van Dommelen stated “the government does not have the funds to invest, it is poor“. This is part of all the mayhem and issues on play. When the government could have stepped on the plate, they refused to do so. They pushed the bills forward. They relied on certain numbers of bettering the economy. A game played since 2006. And every time the Dutch CBS, which has government stakes and are prone to certain levels of censoring presented them. Those numbers have been downgraded quarter after quarter and as such no issues were resolved. Now this government is pretty much at the edge of viable as they received invoices from past administrations, and now, the one cauldron of cash that remains, and needs to be kept safe is being tapped on. This is not a cauldron where money renews (you know that realistic 100 coin leprechaun model), no it is like a simple soup cauldron, what is taken out, is lost forever. Starting a grab from that last cauldron that keeps an entire generation fed is not acceptable. It is too dangerous. When there were options, we were not allowed to touch it. Now that there are no options they want to touch it against our wishes and diminish it?

This is why pensions what the government to accept levels of losses, and why the buck is not passed forward, but to another person. Why should these funds be used to renovate rental properties? The rental agencies have been making a killing, or at least bosses in these places were. As examples we have the Amsterdam Rochdale scandal (Source, Dutch Parool http://www.parool.nl/parool/nl/1284/Affaire-Rochdale/index.dhtml). The Rotterdam corporation PWS, where fraud was a massive tool to offset the rental market (source: http://www.volkskrant.nl/vk/nl/2680/Economie/article/detail/766332/2006/02/10/Baas-PWS-ontslagen-om-fraude.dhtml). The examples do not even end there. The issues of preferential treatment and other calamities have given these issues a bad taste. In this environment there are grounds for calling the risk of these investments too high, in addition, these expensive dwellings should be providing for its own invested renovations. None of that seemed to have been happening. If we would investigate the issues as the Dutch SHC is investigated in 2011, where fraud was a factor, then we see that these events led to fusions which ended several steps, including in my humble opinion the prosecution of several people. The fusion left Miss Hedy van de Berk in charge after 25 years of service to clean up a mess her predecessors left. She had to lean on ‘lessons learned’ and interesting that Councillor for the City of Rotterdam Hamit Karakus (US equivalent of Alderman), who was present at that meeting seems not to have been that vocal on certain issues. This is not an accusation towards either, yet the foundation of pushing forward seems to be a clear given, and as such investments with retirement funds should be classified as a definite risk. As such we should wonder why these funds have to chip in in the first place. When we look at the responses from Henk Knoop (VVD) as MP of economic affairs, we see that he makes a clear good case where politicians want to make it more interesting to invest in Dutch events. I personally have the view that risk factors currently remain too high and until certain guarantees are added until there is clear evidence that sound investments are proven to be sound investments, the current level of risk should be considered too high.

The fact remains that they want certain levels of guarantees from Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem. His view is that returns are founding certain levels of risk. This is a fair and realistic view. The issue that many have in this regard is that the risks are unrealistically given. That view has weight if we accept the faltering views SNS Reaal brought forward as it needed to be nationalised. Those are levels of lost investments, especially in commercial enterprises that are too unacceptable. Until those issues are resolved and dealt with, it seems that retirement funds have no business in a field with so much risk.

In addition the message by Jeroen van Dommelen at the end stating “resolving these issues would give way that on the day of princes there will also be good news” is way too thin to base the risk of retirement funds on. For the non-Dutch, the day of princes is on the third Tuesday in September when the Dutch government through a royal speech announces the new annual budget.

These dangers are not just visible in the Netherlands, yet in a place where they have been one of the most secure in Europe, the fall-back might be larger than anywhere else. In the UK, there is the case that Simon Cox of BBC4 reported on in regards to the pension liberation scheme last March. (Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21844955)

The options for those before retirement could access some of this cash. The issue is not just whether people select this, it is about the dangers that the acts comprises. What people do not realise is that a person’s retirement is mostly built in the last 5 years of ones funds. At that time, the interest is so rewarding that those years are the days when a retirement almost doubles making it a good thing (read enough to survive on). To lower these amounts, means that people either work a few additional years, or fall short by a chunk of what they would need. So it is a danger one should not consider. My thoughts are not as full on extreme as those of Shaun Richards of “Mindful Money”. He is more into the question whether an economic war between the saving retirees and the youthful left with nothing (something according to those lines). I do not think it is that far, yet, the greedy and their prying eyes on those untapped resources are out there, so there are dangers. His story makes for a good read, so check it out at http://www.mindfulmoney.co.uk/wp/shaun-richards/is-there-a-danger-of-an-economic-war-between-pensioners-and-the-young-in-the-uk/

If there is one note of criticism from my side on this article then it is the focal view as he looked at the groups, yet outliers from those groups and whether they moved from one group to another is slightly ignored, so a possible factor of skewing from those evading the credit crunch and those who got pushed out into destitution all together seemed to have been ignored, that group might have remained too small (however, still unillustrated).

His views should not be discarded. It seems to me that his views are partially adopted by Peter Hain of the Guardian (alternative is that they came to similar conclusions). Peter was quite adamant on the loss of cohesion as he describes it. Where I disagree is the Nick Clegg view where the better off retirees should ‘abolish’ their tax benefits. Is that fair? Those who remained cautious are now better off, whilst those who ‘partied on’ need additional support. I see no reason for those who did give out those extra few bobs to benefit now should give that up again. The social structure is all good and fine, yet those who did not keep their responsible part are now, as should be suffering a little more. A model was long term agreed upon, as today’s irresponsible spending’s should not be charged to those who got charged and worked all their lives. This is where ‘the Clegg principle’ falls short in my view. Peter’s words strike goal at the end where he writes “Cutting or means-testing pensioners allowances risks turning young against old and rich against poor while making negligible savings for the Treasury“. That is a risk we should not allow. Not because of the unfairness of this, but for the risk that the young will allow the exploiting of funds that should not be touched. In the end it is not just a negligible saving for the treasury, there is every indication that this will propel certain additional costs forward. Especially considering that these costs could have been avoided all together.

These issues also raise a few questions when we look at the Swedish system. A system protected by government and is totally untouchable by people until they retire. This quote came from the Swedish national bank this year. The question on the safety of retirements as such what return on investment has been achieved. the statement was “The major Swedish banks’ liabilities in US dollar amounted to just over SEK 1,600 billion at the end of 2012. Approximately 20 per cent of these liabilities consist of deposits, above all from large non-financial and non-bank financial companies.” So at 1.6 trillion Kronor, the outsourced risk that adds up to almost to SEK 226,000 for every Swedish citizen, all those funds in one investment? That looks like a very dangerous investment indeed, as that makes it the bulk of all the retirement investments all in one fund. When I look at my Swedish retirement savings then I have seen it go up by less than 5% annually (because I have annual costs, but I no longer live in Sweden and therefor no longer add to it). So what dangers are there for retirement investments all over Europe? France is in a peril no less dangerous, especially as President Hollande is asking the retirees to fill the French Coffers. Perhaps he will add a “s’il vous plait” (‘please’ in French) to that request at the end, but the message is rather clear. (Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/05/france-pension-reforms-hollande_n_2810024.html)

There is a European issue with retirement incomes, and it seems that the push it forward routine, as I started with in the beginning of this blog has been a blanket policy for many nations. Should they blame former president Nicolas Sarkozy? He tried to up the age of retirement by 2 years. I do not think it is fair (mainly because dangers were not reported in time). Not unlike the Dutch system as I mentioned in previous blogs. The push-it-forward routine has been employed for too long in several nations.

These retirees all worked hard until they retired. The fact that the younger generation holds those to account and not those who refused to act is unfair. We should add the question on issues that banks had like rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel. A person who decreased French bank values by almost 5 billion Euros. Even though he was convicted and he was supposed to pay this back. How much was actually paid back? Was all this money returned? It is so tearful to somehow this poor poor man has lost it all. Did he? He never owned 5 billion, so it was not his to lose. So if we see all these international trading shortfalls in France, UK, Netherlands, Italy and a few other nations (I reported on those issues in previous blogs). Those sums are more than the combined retirement funds that are about to get endangered. I think these governments should get those coins back before they go after the somewhat defenceless retirement funds.

Still today governments are setting out costs that they cannot foot the bill for. To now address retirement funds is an unacceptable step. Consider the initial Dutch version were in their own admission plans had been in the making for one year. Look at cutbacks that have not yet been met. These events show clearly that these events should have been stopped yesterday, whilst allowing them tomorrow has every realistic view that they could leave the entire upcoming retiring generation destitute.

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UKIP or U.K.I.P? (Ur Kiddin’ I Presume?)

First let me start by stating my ‘allegiance’. I for the most am a conservative in mind. I used to be Labour/Liberal Democrat in past, but like all people, over time my thoughts and ideas changed like they change with most people. And as most, we want to support the team that looks out for us, and is closest to our ideals. We often keep it in that order of importance.

The issues are not with the parties, they, for the most did nothing wrong to make me change my mind. They had priorities as any good party would have, and as they change I felt less with one and more with the other party.

So why, from Australia is this part on UKIP coming? Well, I grew up in Europe and I spend most of my life there. Perhaps at times I still miss being in London, but that would apply to anyone who has been to London. Only the dead do not miss London and even that might be debatable. So as I saw the news this morning on how UKIP made some staggering victories from the conservatives I started to ponder it all. So this is where I am at present.

What do most know about UKIP? We saw some people lash out against them as they lash out against most opponents they are worried about. Then there was (too) little from UKIP and of course the votes and those who flocked towards them in droves.

When you look online, there are heaps of reviews. The Australian wrote ‘Send in the UKIP Clowns’, ‘the anti-immigration UK independence party’ and a few other less than flattering headers.

So taking a look at their site at http://www.UKIP.org had several papers that could be read, downloaded and or printed. It seems that they have information that is ready for all. One of the quotes that was on page 2 of their manifesto was “On January 1st 2014, The UK will open its door to unlimited numbers of people from Romania and Bulgaria”.

In the current economic and financial climate that makes entire Europe suffer, this message would scare plenty of people in the UK. There is even a quote from Ed Miliband MP, leader of the labour party in there. Yes, there is a simple message. So, why am I interested?

From my view many Commonwealth nations are connected. Even if Australia has a strong mining community (a force our own PM seems to be happy to break into suffering little parts), we are connected with the UK. If your mother was in danger, would you NOT come to her rescue? I think that we will always come to the aid of England, even when they lack Cricket skills ;-).

The message from UKIP remains simple, yet life is not that simple, but it ought to be. This is why Mr Cameron is now in a situation where he has to pick up the pieces. I will go one step further, even if the press was not willing (or able) to make it. If the current standing is not rectified fast, the conservatives might find themselves in less than a minority position, they will end in a position that will take multiple government terms to rectify.

So let us take a look at these issues that gave strength to the UKIP.

Open immigration from Romania and Bulgaria. Open immigration is always an issue for any nation that is in a much better place than the nations where immigrants come from. Yet, these two are not in any good state, so if those people have a chance of a much better life they will come. Yet, in support, the Netherlands has been dealing with massive scaled rental allowance fraud from Bulgarian gangs. The Dutch information program ‘Brandpunt’ (= flashpoint) even showed how organised bus trips from Bulgaria exist, just to start this method of fraud. One website even mentioned “Bulgaarse televise zendt cursussen ‘Hoe misbruik te maken van het Nederlandse systeem'” (=Bulgarian television transmits courses on ‘how to abuse the Dutch system’).

In the current climate this is what the UK might have to look forward to in one way or another. So, when we see UKIP announcing that they want to get out of the EU in the current climate, many people listen.

Is UKIP correct? This is where my shoes become a little tight for comfort. Life and politics are not that simple. No matter how much we would like it to be, the UK is currently in a 1 trillion deficit issue. It needs an increased economy and it needs export to keep it all real, yet the prospect of losing a 0.3% economical increase (achieved by the conservatives) is not likely to survive after the open border policy starts next January. There is another reality that does not bode well for Mr Cameron either. Many Nations in Europe have no real grip on their budgets at present. Germany seems to be the only one on par for now. Even the UK has a problem, but that is an UK issue. As they remain in the EU, they also inherit the issues of Italy, Greece, Spain and Cyprus. Each of these 4 are now loudly protesting in a state of anti-Austerity and as such, should their governments be overturned, then the chance of them cleaning up their own mess is not likely to happen any day soon. UKIP wants to be away from the EU when that happens. The reality is that the brunt of those blows would push the Netherlands, Belgium and France on their financial knees as well. Then what?

So even though Mr Cameron is right that life is complex, the appeal that Nigel Farage wants to do an Alexander the Great and cut the Gordian knot is not that far-fetched and is starting to appeal to a much wider audience. There is even additional support as the Netherlands did not get their budget in order and now gets a one year extension. In addition, their own labour party is entering a state of possible disarray as its members oppose a plan earlier approved in a coalition deal with the VVD (Dutch Liberal party). In this situation to get certain deals, the Dutch Labour party had to accept the standing that the Dutch Liberals want a harsher expulsion policy for illegal and criminal immigrants. To make this coalition work Labour had to go along with this to get some of their own agenda points to work. Now the party members want to move away from the Liberal stance on immigration (as the Labour mindset was never on par with that) and MP Samson was unwilling to do this. He had a standing agreement and he wants to keep his word. He also warned that pushing this would come at a cost for labour. Labour would have to hand over something else and even in the short run this would be likely an expensive change for the Labour agenda. So even though this is currently being talked about, it is clear that a crises point could come. In addition, there is no indication that the Dutch economy is changing for the better. There was mention of 0.6% of shrinking of the Dutch economy. In case you were wondering why this issue matters, it does! (Read on to learn why)
You see, if the Dutch economy gets any worse it will soon go towards a situation France and Italy are in (with a lot less deficit). Consider these nations nearly all with an overall average unemployment rate of 12.1%. These people will seek solutions and are very willing to cross borders for a better option. So, the fear that UKIP propagates is a real one.

In addition, the Gordian knot will have several benefits in these regards, but what is the downfall? There is the reality that the response from the Eurozone might lean towards a preference choice in business partners and removing the UK from the top of that list as/if they move out of the EU. It comes with the ‘we take care of our own and ours first’ taking the UK out of that equation. That is a reality to face too.

Does one outweigh the other? I feel certain that UKIP made no real investigation into that part at present. The question becomes what is done after they get the votes, and when they grow large(r), will they be able to provide not just ‘answers’ but also come up with solutions? The latter might be an issue as Nigel Farage stated on Sky News on May 3rd that a reshuffle was needed as they grew more than anticipated. That statement is fair enough when we see that thus far they gained 139 seats. It is a massive victory indeed.

Yet if there is another side then it can be found in their manifesto on page 4.

  • Protecting the greenbelt – opposing wind farms and HS2.

If the UK is to move forward then a proper energy policy is needed. They could consider more nuclear power, yet in the end, alternative fuel will be the future. Considering that the UK gets more wind daily then an average flying jet turbine, wind farms need to remain an option. In addition, if the UK will opt out of the EU, things will get more expensive in the short run, perhaps in the long run too. A strong energy policy would be paramount to keep the cost for the average citizen down and moving away from wind farms as an option seems less like a good idea.

Next on the list are 4 of the points mentioned.

  • Tax should be as low as possible.
  • Cracking down on crime and anti-social behaviour.
  • More police on the streets.
  • Cutting council executives and managers, not front-line services.

These issues are nice to hear, just like the quote we see in a fortune cookie. The tax statement is nice, but will it change? As ‘low as possible’ is just like ‘as soon as possible’, if the second one could mean ‘never’ then the first one could remain ‘too high’. There is actually more to this. Cracking down on crime is something the police have always done. Could more be done? Sure! There is however the issue that a budget needs to be kept and the UK has its own Austerity measures to consider as the 1 trillion deficits is not going away any day soon. This is where the third statement comes. Sure more police on the street sounds nice, but there is an infrastructure. Adding to the police force is nice, but with what money? The police forces have been bled dry and cut to ‘too little’ and not only in the UK. So if they tamper with the infrastructure to keep the promise of more police in the street the result is likely to be counter-productive down the line, then what will UKIP do?

So you see, they talk to the public, and tell them what to hear, but will it solve anything? This part is the debatable one. Yet, down the line, we must admit to govern one must be in office, and they did get into the office and now they must prove it.

I will not join the queue where they are labelled as fruit cakes and such. Mr Cameron is right that they will become a party to be reckoned with. The interesting part is how this will play out. The old duo Clegg-Miliband is now a lot less likely to survive, that part Mr Nigel Farage did achieve. What will Labour do next is the question. They are still the biggest for now. If they are to survive then they must align. It is unlikely they will find themselves with the Tories, yet it is either that, or their new option UKIP.

And here is where we see exactly the issue that Dutch Labour and Liberals are having (PVDA/VVD). What items are given and what are taken and what happens when the MP’s strike deals their constituents will not agree with? A British political sciences student in the late 90’s once told me “Coalition cabinets are the most entertaining, volatile and corrupt forms of governments”. I thought that his point of view made a lot of sense. The UK is about to join those ranks as they need to form coalitions at both sides of the isles. Will it be about the people or the MP’s and their futures? Time will tell but there is clarity in no uncertain terms. Those who did not give clear explanations of the why (as it was too complex) are now in a state where they must redraw lines and re-educate the masses as they figure out what to do next to get their seats back.

So the title ‘You’re Kidding I presume?’ Is very correct, yet who is stating that line, and whom are they stating it to is left in the open as both sides could claim that title and both side should be able to answer it.


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