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

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A number of issues have popped up since last there has been time to update this missive.. much to discuss..
Let's begin with the massive 'correcttion' in world markets.. It was an obvious development and a direct effect of the 'free credit' attitude of lending institutions, for eventually, even they will run short and demand that either interest rates oon their loans increase, or that the funds be replaced. This bagan, as was noted here some moths ago, with the increasing number of forclosures on the individual level. Where families, enouraged to buy on the 'no money down never-never' and given floating rates, found themselves on the street. This allowed the lenders to acquire temporary equity of their own, but even that wasn't nearly enough to cover their outlays to big business for the endless chain of takeovers which had been financed..
This fall in the American markets triggered a chain-reation worldwide, as indeed it would, and has sparked talk of the housing boom here in the UK, quickly reaching it's ceiling. While we've seen no action towards evictions here yet, but realistically, it's only a matter of time.
This is not the time for first-time buyers to enter the market... Perhaps in eight or nine months, but not now..
Now this issue is clouded by another, which we will get to in a moment. That being the numbers of immigrants who are coming into the UK from the EU, especially from Poland, who are filling skilled jobs and making decent wages.
However, we'll come to that..
To finish eith matters economic for the moment, it must be noted that the UK economy grew at an annual rate of 3% in the first quarter of the year, higher than most other major economies.
Gross domestic product (GDP) grew at 0.7% during the period from the previous quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Although this figure was unchanged from previous estimates, revisions to earlier data pushed the annual growth rate higher to 3% from 2.9%.
It would seem we're doing well..

Now, there's Darfur. It was suggested quite a while ago that the UN should employ a PeaceKeeping force for the distribution of goods sent to assuage the plight of the refugees, and with this system now in place, and an infrastructure developing, it would seem the various rebel factions have decided the political route might well be the way to go now.
Dozens of leaders from Darfur's fractured rebel movement have begun talks in Tanzania...These talks, mediated by the UN and African Union, are aimed at finding common ground between the groups, if at all possible..
The UN envoy to Sudan, Jan Eliasson, said he was hopeful the talks would lead to peace negotiations with the Khartoum government in several weeks.
But, and there's always a 'but'.. an influential rebel leader has boycotted the talks, signalling the divisions within the movement.
Abdul Wahid Mohammad Ahmed al-Nur, of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), said he had no intention of going to Arusha.. that he wanted the killing in Darfur to stop before he would participate in negotiations.
Another Northern Ireland situation here, and one with an equally good chance of finding a solution..
But again, it must be kept in mind, that an agreement may well be reached.. 'Hail fellows, well met' exchanged.. But in that country the situation could change instantly.. at the drop of a grenade..
This certainly won't be the last of these Conferences.. Again, it's a process that will take time.. decades at least.
However, there's a lot of oil money to be developed from the deposits in the Sudan, and that in itself may prove to be an incentive for at least, a temporary agreement which will halt the destruction of the oilfields, and pipelines.
One can only hope that Nigeria will see what exchanging 'force' for a better standard of living, has on the Sudanese man on the street..

Now. Immigrants.
Two and a half million foreigners have moved to the UK to work since 2002, National Insurance figures suggest.
The numbers, which include those who may only have been in the UK for a short time, have been getting larger each year, reaching 713,000 last year. The Home Office stressed these were people coming to the UK to work, and said it now monitored social impact.
But Damian Green, for the Tories, said the "huge" and "accelerating" figures were "extraordinary" and should be cut.
His reasoning is, that we will find the societal differences being introduced by these immigrants, being used by political fringe groups the likes of the BNP, to attract even more adherents, and raise racial tensions. That these immigrants are not coming here to be 'British'.. but to remain Polish, or Bulgarian, or Armenian, or whatever, and would simply be using this country to earn a wage impossible for them in their homelands.
One sincerely hopes that Damian's sentiments are not shared by the majority of 'native Brits'.. That we, on the whole, have more common sense.

And finally, back to George meeting Gordon, for the first time in his position of Prime Minister..
One must say, Gordon did exceedingly well. He worked from notes, taken no doubt during the talks he and George had before their Media appearance. Gordon gave the impression of being far more articulate, and willing to lay out exactly what were the most important issues, as far as Britain was concerned.
While George resorted to his usual flamboyant rhetoric when speaking about the threat of terrorism and the war in Iraq.. he was forced to agree with Gordon's statement that the ara for which Britain is responsible, Basra and four provinces, in three of those provinces the British Forces have made enough progress to hand control of those areas back to Iraqi officials, and Police Forces..
Of the other issues Gordon brought up.. the likes of global economy, global emissions, global cooperation.. George appeared to be somewhat at a loss for words..
He described Gordon as 'a man of principle'.. a pause as though searching for another phrase, then 'a man who likes to get things done..', all in a rush.
A body language expert would have pointed out the 'baby pout' George made during that extended pause.. a sign that he was making a statement which was somehow 'distasteful'..
Gordon made it clear, that while Britain and the US are still 'primary allies', the two countries are no longer attached at the hip. That British soldiers will remain on the ground, until their mission is completed, but after that.. well.. we'll see.
Britain's committed to Afghanistan as wwell..
All of these issues will develop quickly over the next few weeks, and we'll be keeping an eye out..

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