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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

George's seventh State of the Union address was somewhat of a disappointment, all in all. It seems to have offered little new for his Party to stand behind, and even less for his opponents..
He seems to be indicating that the last two years of his term of office, will be a continuation of that which he has already started, and while there was some attention paid to national issues, it's apparent the legacy he'll be leaving whomever takes over, will be focussed on Iraq, and the Middle East in general.
George has started something that the US, and Britain, cannot back out of, regardless of who holds the reins.. The threat of terrorism is growing, and will continue to do so, and it remains for the West to find a solution to Islamic fundamentalists.. a task anyone would find daunting.
In fact, it may well prove to be impossible.
It is, to many analysts, a problem with no workable answer. Once the tiger's out of it's cage, and has shown it's teeth, it will not willingly return to obscurity without an utter commitment towards action to achieve it's goal. This is a battle we're in for the long term, and a legacy no government wants to inherit.
For if, say the Democrats take power, which looks likely.. unless of course Hillary is their candidate.. they will have no option but to carry on with that which George has started. We will see the deliniation between Democrat and Republican policies diminish, of necessity, and this will serve only to confuse the American public.. Matters of local interest will still have to take a back-seat to the funding of this war in the Middle East, until some alliance is made which protects the State of Israel, while removing funding from those terrorist groups which would see the end of Israel entirely, and the establishment of the Caliphate..
Once again. the West is faced with a problem of dealing with unsure allies.. the likes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.. and this is a situation not unlike walking on a thin crust, covering a bottomless pit of quicksand..

Yet another problem facing the West, and Britain in particular, is the shifting of manufacturing and service-based operations from established markets, to both India, and the new EU countries. India's economy is booming, with IT leading the way. Scotland has lost more than 6 thousand jobs to India.. England even more.. and what has been shifted from the US to cheaper areas has yet to be addressed. We in the West have become complacent, in our work ethic, and in our expectations of what the work we do is worth. Outsourcing is good business, for the companies involved, but it's poison for those who've priced themselves out of the job market.
Projections for the year 2010, have India's GNP increasing to the tune of £12 billion.. and that means the West has lost that income to a country who's workers are happy just to have jobs.. and do their utmost to keep them.
Now it's not all roses.. There have been complaints, especially to Banks, that their call centres are based in a country in which English is not the first language. There have been many a customer dis-satisfied by the service they recieve, simply because their regional accents are misunderstood by those who're supposedly there to help them, and this has brought about the return of some jobs to the UK by the Banks. But there's no such complaints from those who outsource IT resources and manufacturing, and that is the bulk of the loss we will face.
The EU, it's major influential countries the likes of France and Germany, are already facing bankruptcy. British interest rates, already at 5.25%, are expected to rise again in an attempt to curb inflation, mainly spurred on my the outrageous rise in housing costs.
We're finally facing the realities of a global economy. Where it used to be that the skills needed for high-tech administration were available only in the West, we are now finding that expertise available, at a much cheaper outlay, in developing countries..
It's time we put an end to our complacency.. lost our colonial attitudes.. and began work on our own internal problems with education and motivation..
In fact, it's past time.

Now, a brief observation on the growing threat of Scotland's leaving the Union.
It would be an observation that would not be far from the same scenario that Canada is facing with Quebec, in that both Scotland and Quebec are living in a dream world if they think they can compete for international investment, and maintain a working economy.
If the established nations are having problems with the developing nations, what concessions would both Scotland and Quebec have to make to provide an incentive for foreign investment? Certainly the average Scot would balk at the proposal that they endure lower wages, work longer hours, and provide a better product. One would imagine it to be the same with the Quebecois.
Yet, this is the scenario both would be facing.
Not long ago, we posted an entry that stated that should Scotland separate, our economy would be much the same as that of Poland or Romania within a matter of a few years. This has been reinforced by the latest figures on outsourcing to India and Asia, and we have yet to really tap the workforce of the Chinese..
Economically, the next few years are going to be chaotic, with traditional businesses moving for valid economic reasons, to markets wherein their profits can be maximized, and their products better made.
This is not the time for 'independance'.. but a time for a re-grouping of all our resources, so we may compete in an economic situation which, historically, is brand new.
We need cohesion, not a disruption but a reorganisation of the status quo. It's time for Western Nations to pull together, and institute a return to what used to be our reputation.
British workmanship, and experts in fields as diverse as machining to invention, had been a worldwide benchmark. It's time we concentrated on regaining that status, or we will sink to the level of a Third-World country ourselves.
And, time is running out for us, rapidly.

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