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

Thursday, December 25, 2008

No doubt the bombshell, to date, for the series of 'Official' speeches we'll hear.. has been dropped by Pope Benedict XIV..
His violent condemnation of the stance on homosexuality the Church appears to have adopted of late is a stance which could lead to a schism within the Roman Church..
Benedict didn't even leave out transsexuals.. quoting scripture which in a nutshell.. Defend "the nature of man against its manipulation.."
It's a radical stance.. and an uncompromising one..
This one should be interesting to watch unfold.. no pun intended..

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Bank of England did not understand the depth of the problem created with their encouragement of soft credit.. according to deputy governor Sir John Gieve..
Begs the question.. who's analyses were they reading..?

Another sign the global automotive industry is bowing under the weight of accumulated completed stocks, crowding the storage facilities at the ports of entry to bursting points.. waiting for dealers to make room in their own inventory to take their new orders.. Toyota says it's going to suffer it's first loss in 71 years.. £1.1billion. Now this business year ends in March, and this loss won't be felt by the average stockholder 'til next year..
And the company is investing in expansion into production of a viable hybrid.. with a plant in Cambridge, Ontario..
It would seem to harbinger the core changed all car makers are going to need to adopt if they're going to remain viable..
It will be interesting to see what develops between the Big Three American automakers and the government.. what commitment will be demanded for alternate fuel re-tooling..
What direction the new 'work for the government.. don't call it welfare' scheme will take.. Which infrastructures will receive the bulk of the new workforce, be it roads which basically haven't had a major overhaul since the 1950's.. or railway lines, now unused, linking communities through the repair and reactivation of lines deemed unprofitable..
And oncer again, it would be a vast step in the right direction if some entrepreneurs were given the chance to develop trans-Atlantic Zeppelin travel.. Supersonic speeds were developed to ensure a representative of one company could be physically present throughout what could be days of negotiations in distant locations..but in this day and age.. Internet connections could allow that same executive a two day window for net negotiation, and still ensure his physical presence at the finalisation process..
We have the capability for instant communication.. and still we run about as though '..not a moment to be lost..' still has meaning.
As the financial chaos will moil and toil it's muddled way back into a semblance of order over the next five or six years.. we could be working towards reducing a constantly increasing stress factor, by returning to that which is 'low-tech'.. profitable..ecologically sound.. and relaxing..
Somewhat a surprised Richard Branson hasn't been working on plans for a modern blimp.. It would be something one would have thought would have crossed his mind..
Interesting..
That the head of the IMF would be calling on world governments themselves should commit even more of their GDP towards solving their internal financial crises..
It could be mooted that was a call for nationalisation, ignoring the subsequent isolationism which would follow..

A word of remembrance for perhaps the first of the terrorist bombing attacks originating from the Middle East.. the bombing of PamAm Flight 103 over the Scottish village of Lockerbie.. 270 killed.. 11 of them residents of the village itself..
Twenty years ago.. 21st December 1988..

And at least the two main contenders in the race for Israeli Prime Minister are united on one front.. Both have vowed to eliminate Hammas in Gaza..
There appears to me no cracks whatsoever in the goal shared by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Likud party leader Binyamin Netanyahu to eliminate the group entirely.. regardless of the cost.
Always comforting when you know whoever wins will have one issue they'll agree on..

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's an unwelcome announcement..one which will upset the British public in its entirety..
But at least someone is finally telling us something closer to the truth..
John Varley, the Head of Barklays Bank, has warned the public that while credit for mortgages and small business will still be available to borrow.. the strictures on getting said credit will be far, far tighter..
"As soon as asset prices stabilise, then we will see the financial economy recover. And when will that occur? That will occur some time over the course of the next 18 months," said John..
'It's a painful process,' he went on to say, 'but one which must be endured..'
Indeed it will be, and indeed it should.. but it strikes one as odd, that the first of the government cash will go towards minimizing the banks own losses on the oil futures markets.. tied in to $100US/barrel. And then there's the gap left in asset values of all the homes repossessed to be brought into line..
Now, after that, perhaps in eighteen months or a couple of years, things should be back to 'normal' for the man on the street who wants that new car..
'Banker' will soon become as pejorative a term as 'politician'..
Back in the real world for a second now.. Housing prices fall another %30 before anything close to stability is achieved.. This again from John Varley..
And.. he expects the average householder who's last years £45thousand salary keeping him and his comfortably.. with a trip to the Maldives not an impossibility if they put a bit away.. will find themselves worrying about keeping the household intact..
And John's time frame is just a carrot to keep us plodding along and not breaking into a panicked gallop..
Watch the Pound Sterling rate with the Euro..same with the greenback and the loonie..
Y'know..
Historically, it's always been that civilisations,as they rise and fall,and as they grow and decay into decline. But this particular Western Ethic.. quickly becoming a world-wide Ethic.. is going to leave our grandchildren..what?
Will we actually allow our legacy to be one of lassitude and l'aissez faire..?
To ponder the differences between nascent Rome.. Greece.. Sumeria.. we have the luxury of that which they left behind, and the time to study the millennia some of them existed.. and to watch the change in societies from structured, and content to
live their lives according to their skills and opportunities, to a world when everyone knows instantly what's happening everywhere. A world super-saturated with information which, in less than 200 years, has gone from 'fresh' news for some meant it was only three days passed, to 'fresh news' meaning it happened 3 seconds ago.
A world in which a growing number are never going to find jobs again.. because by the time this 'recession' is over, there'll be lineups of younger men who'll have taken advantage of government schemes to by-pass apprenticeships per se..with the one learning for he who taught and employed him.. and issue Certificates.
Valid indeed, for those who have passed the course will possess the skills, they too will develop the experience.. that those left standing back when the queue formed had at that time.. Too old.. disinterested or incapable of 'teaching'..this group will be scrounging one would think..
One has to wonder..
What success Barak's going to have dealing with a problem that's got a shelf-life much longer than 4 years..
What happens if the US does begin to fracture as the infrastructure dependent on the auto industry can't be funded by the consumer.. and if one politician comes out with the line "..the American car industry is not on it's knees..it's, with the help of the American people, going to provide a homegrown,
greener product that out-performs anything any foreign country can produce..", or words to that effect..
Well, a few might.
But if the US does collapse.. how big would the wave be here..
But back to the original premise.
What are we going to leave.. each of us.. on our own.. to our kids.
How can we help them with coping with all the information they're being streamed with..
Help them develop discernment.. teach a kid to be an autodidact.. award achievement
and encourage striving for the next chance..
Ahh it's just a thought that flits through the mind early in the morning..
"The moving finger.." and such..
A domewhat macabre Christmas this time around..
People still flock the High Streets, overjoyed with the fire sale prices they're finding on some merchandise.. but aware on some subliminal level, that their will come a reconning..
Yet.. despite the doom and gloom which permeates almost everything.. Britons on the whole appear willing to buckle down, and weather the storm..
The Pound Sterling nearly at parity with the Euro...? Pshaw..
Record numbers of unemployed...? We've had hard times before..
We'll all put on the kettle, and have a nice cup of tea..
And Gordon.. seems to thrive on crisis situations.. It's alomst Churchillian.. the depth of his voice and determination on his face radiate a man who has power.. and experience..
Amazing what a wordlwide financial collapse can bring out in a man.. His visits to the Middle East could not have been timed better.. what with oil (oh..we were wrong on that one!) hitting record lows and the OPEC nations threatening to limit production to a mere 2 million barrels a day.. we're literally stumbling from one shell crater to the next..
But Gordon's shining in this.. Give that man constant crisis, and he'll give you the old British Stiff Upper Lip.. and at least a sense that it's all going to work out..
Lord, what Barak's stepping into..
And with the immenent change in the US Presidency.. even France's Sarkosi's making an economic stand.. that vastly inflated Euro's not going to make European goods that attractive to foreign investment, or consumption..

But.
'Tis the season to be jolly.. and if we're wise, we'll take the chance while we can.
The opportunity might not crop up for the next few tears..

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It would have been an oblique insult to the inteligence of my few regaular readers, to have wasted my time at the keyboard, and yours by taking the time to read it..
We are entering dangerous times..
The Chinese hold a susprisingly large stack of chips at this global table.. but the government's is busy dealing with internal problems at the moment.. and they have the luxury of having all the time in the world to look for a Western Society to fall into absolute chaos, should that be the outcome. Equally, they can sit it out..take care of domestic problems.. and still sit with a mammoth stack..
India's watching a prosperous outsourced business, with European and British companies bringing their call-centers home..
Woolies is closing, for gods sake!
In this country alone.. with a possible workforce of less than 40% of the population.. watching the unemployment figures hit the one million eight-hundred thousand level is..to say the least.. frightening..
And who would have imagined the Pound Sterling would ever be close to parity with the Euro..
And the United States..
The auto industry.. the backbone of the country's domestic economy.. is begging for billions of $Am in bail-out money.. and with Barak's pledge to "see the automotive industry in the United States back on it's feet..with investment in new.. environmentally friendly..
The OPEC Nations.. watching their prices fall at one point to just over $5Am a barrel..recover to sit at the $49Am rate, which for the monent, seems to be the beam petrolium companies are walking..
Africa is in turmoil.. and a perpetual money pit..
The Thai Government managed to record a growth in their economy..must study the ins-and-outs of Thai political/economic system..
That note above was something of a lapsus calumni..
Nevertheless..
While one would not to present the idea, that these next few years will be instrumental in how we define 'governments'..
Whether our western financial wizards manage to create the aformentioned financial 'Black Hole' into which they can quietly shovel all this debt our various governments have committed us to for the foreseeable future..
Have faith..
This too shall pass..
Eventually..

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Interesting..
That the US Defence Department has 'warned' the enemies of the US not to 'test' Barak during the first few months of his upcoming Presidency..
As though a "whoa there.. back off while the new guy gets his feet wet.." will have any effect on terrorists, other than perhaps accelerate their time tables..

And while we in Britain are looking at job losses unprecedented since the Great Depression, with Santander announcing it's plan to shed yet another 19 hundred jobs here.. the government is planning on shovelling £480 million into Pakistan.. to 'help with border controls'..
It does seem we have our priorities somewhat skewed.. for while international affairs are indeed of prime importance,, it would seem, even in the long run, to stabilize our own economy before we begin throwing half a billion around which, for the most past, will end up lining the pockets of politicians..bureaucrats..and local tribal chiefs..

More later..

Monday, December 01, 2008

What a great day to find the time to update this peripatetic journal..
Lets start with Canada. After speaking with a number of Canadian journalists and analysts.. not all of which by the way hail from 'English' Canada.. It would appear the entire population would quite happily watch the Province of Quebec float away into the Atlantic..
The issue seems to have started with Steven's suggestion, that considering the average Canadian is going to have to give up a fair amount of disposable income during these next few years of worldwide deprivation.. politicians should forego their campaign subsidies come election time.
Now Steven has a minority Conservative Government.. and faces one, the Bloc Quebecois, a party concerned only with maintaining it unique position among all other Canadian Provinces. Two, the Liberals, who have traditionally been the 'other' Party..frequently the Opposition but equally having been the Government, and they are bankrupt. And three, the New Democratic Party, traditionally the counterpart of the British LibDems..
It appears these combined Parties are conspiring to force a vote of non-confidence..forcing yet another election on the Canadian electorate.
This is not the instability a country such as Canada should be experiencing, and quite frankly, the entire weight of the problem can be laid at the feet of the Bloc Quebecois, and the Pequiste who voted them into this position of power..
As one who has lived, for many years, in Canada..both 'English' and Quebec.. it is a situation which has deepened the historic division between Upper and Lower Canada.
It was a mistake to change the flag.

Now.
Mumbai.
It's an indication of the direction militant Islam is going. India's not happy with Pakistan for it's failure(sic) to roust terrorist training camps from what Hezbollah to al Q'Aida consider training grounds. The man on the street appears to be angriest at their own government for not preparing of terrorist attacks, but it won't be long before their ire turns towards their Muslim neighbour..
Watch.

Now..back at the ranch..
A Home Office worker found himself subjected to a police raid on his home and office today.. and now faces Treason Charges for passing along 'sensitive' material, through his secretary which which he has a three year relationship, to the Media.
The gist of it all comes down to Christopher Gally's leaking information 'in the public interest'..
The Government admits that nothing involving National Securuty has been disclosed.. more along the lines of information which could prove 'embarassing' to Gordon's regeme..
One waits for a knock on the door..

Thursday, November 06, 2008

So..
It's to be Barack for the next four years..with the American people, in record numbers showing up to exercise their franchise.. and giving the Democrats a President..the House..and the Senate.
Okay.
Now while there has been little concrete said about the plan Barack and his advisers have been working on to give 'Joe the plumber' back his livelihood.. but what has been said..with the oft-repeated line 'let's get back to a buy American attitude'.. would suggest this new Presidency is planning import tariffs, which will be used, ostensibly, to turn American manufacturing green..and competitive in nature with that which can be bought abroad..
But there is always a quid pro quo..
America, if it imposes tariffs on imports from say.. China.. can expect similar moves from the Chinese government.. restricting American growth into their ever increasing market..
And Barack seems to have indicated that his real focus in going to change as far as Middle Eastern foreign policy is concerned.. Removing troops from Iraq.. and bolstering their presence in Afghanistan. To take the 'War on Terror' to where Barack and his people see as it's root.. and to prioritise the capture of Osama bin Laden himself..
Stirring words..
But what of the instability the removal of a significant number of troops from Iraq will cause.. Will the major military presence in that country while some civil order is restored be left to the British..?
Something to ponder.. Will we be left to clean up what was an American war, while maintaining our own troop level in Afghanistan..

But.. the world rejoices at Baraks victory.. and expects much of this man..
There will certainly be a honeymoon period wherein some of the programs to help small business are quickly put into place and monies distributed through what will be more receptive banks..
But the facts are.. unemployment is on the rise in the US.. as it is around the world..
Consumer confidence is close to an all time low.. the High Streets are expecting a lean Christmas this year.. with one major clothing chain already forecasting their January figures will be significantly down over last year..
The housing market's usually a good indicator of the state of the general economy.. and there are fewer housing starts this last quarter than there has been in over 30 years..
While there is still a need for housing.. neither the man on the street nor Councils are prepared.. or in most cases, unable.. to finance major projects..
Interest rates are expected to fall again later today.. with the expectation of a half point drop to set the new rate at 4%.. But, the markets expect this, and it will have less impact than the new unemployment figures..
So Barack.. you have to put the American back in American.. so as prospers the United States.. so prospers the rest of us..
For now.. at least..

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Congo has taken over the top news spot..
We've even sent our Foreign Minister, along with David Millibands French counterpart.. off to try and broker some kind of cease-fire between the Tutsi rebel Chief General Laurent Nkunda and the D.R.C.'s elected president Joseph Kabila..
Best of British to both of them.. This 'war' ended officially five years ago.. and the word from a Congolese representative speaking from the UN to the BBC, the Congolese people want the hundreds of thousands of Rwandans who fled from their own country back in 1994. It was somewhat surprising to hear a diplomat speak with such candour.. for he clearly blamed all the current atrocities being reported on a few Government troops caught up in the moment.. perhaps if he'd known he could have cited Lt. William Calley and MaiLai.. however stressed the vast majority of these rapes..looting..killings..are the work of the rebels..
And then there's the UN Peacekeeping Force.. the largest deployment of UN troops in any theater at the moment..
Some 17 thousand of them, and by all reports, they're not sure who they should be firing at..
Tin.. Gold.. Oil Tar..
The Congo is well supplied with these, and fighting or no fighting, international interests are still mining and pumping out that tar. The country has the potential for providing an economy..establishing an infrastructure..developing beyond ancient parochial problems..
But that would mean those businesses already entrenched in active operations.. would have a stable government to deal with.. with Congolese resources demanding parity with the international commodities market.
However.. that is not the focus of the reporting.. We are concentrating instead on the humanitarian issues.. the problems of distributing supplies.. although the rebels have announced they will allow safe passage for relief transports.. Pictures of starving women and children act as the backdrop for reports from the refugee camps..
The latest news..broadcast as this is being typed.. is that rebel troops have attacked a refugee camp which was home to some 10 thousand former Rwandans..killed hundreds, and burnt it to the ground.
Now.
Cast your thoughts, or have a look, at African history as recorded by African scribes and oral tradition. Long before there was contact with any outside influence, a society developed. Perhaps what we might call a Feudal System, the various tribes frequently went to war. Warlords ruled their fiefs, and gave their allegiance to a central figure..The rich were rich.. the poor starved.. the middle class got by.. and, until Christian ethic came upon them, life itself was not 'sacred'. Their belief gave them a peace with death which fit the conditions in which they lived..
While the attitude towards death may have changed in some.. it certainly hasn't in others. And the system of government is much the same.. with the only difference being that those who use weapons have much better toys to play with.. and those in power are getting richer, faster.
It would seem that before the issues in the Congo can be seriously addressed, there must be an agreement for the repatriation of the Rwandan refugees..
Is not the cart before the horse here..?

Coming down to the final sprint for the tape in the US..
It's all been said.. but one point of interest here..
As this race comes to it's climax.. three reporters have been told that because increased campaign staff needed their seats..they couldn't fly with Barak anymore.
They were the reporters from the Washington Times, the New York Post and the Dallas Morning News.. all papers who have come out editorially in favour of John..
Good to have priorities.. the reporters from Glamour and Jet magazines stayed on board..

And never been one to dodge a miscalculation.. it must be said that according to recent reports.. oil is looking at a record drop in price over the next few weeks.. allowing petrol to come down from it's summertime high of $100Am/gallon at the pumps..
$64.61Am/barrel of light sweet is a far cry from the $Am100/barrel we saw just a few months ago..
Let's hope it filters down to the consumer in Britain, soon..

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's baffling, in a sense, how any political candidate can justify either the need, or the cost, of buying a full half hour on four of the five major American networks, plus simulcasts on several Spanish speaking stations.. for a political campaign message..
How such blatant waste of funds is not what the American public needs to see.. If, through media coverage and public appearances, and the scheduled televised debates, a platform cannot be explained clearly enough, then one would think judgements could be made through consideration of the degree of obfuscation, or candour, expressed in that explanation..
How many public charities, or community projects, could have been boosted by the donation of those funds.. And how much more impact would the publicity of such donations..of campaign funds.. have had on the public..
On 'Joe the plumber'..
Makes one wonder where priorities lie..
And begs the question 'is the Presidency something which can be bought..?'

And as the Pound Sterling slides to a 30 year low against the American dollar.. and the American Fed dropping interest rates to 1% with some saying further cuts might be expected..
We seem to be seeing a global move towards Keynsian economics..
Gordon, who said some 10 years ago that .."no responsible government should ever consider unrestrained borrowing to spend it's way out of a recession..", is getting closer and closer to the point wherein the Exchequer is going to follow countries the likes of Hungary in applying to the IMF for maintenance loans.
Some analysts are saying this 'downturn'.. soon to be a formal 'recession'.. could take a full two years to resolve.
Perhaps a tad optimistic. One would think that with the catastrophic damage our personal and corporate and governmental overspending over this past decade or so, a timeframe of four years would be closer to the mark..
And that depends entirely on what steps our respective global governments are willing to take, to recover the billions of £s spent on the recent bailouts.. and the billions more promised to small business through the loosening of borrowing restrictions at their banks..
That, by the by, is a move small business is still waiting to see..
However.. the fact remains that we have effectively.. all of us that is.. bought what amounts to 60% of our GNP is debt. Or, to be precise, our governments have bought these debts for us.
So.. as we watch the average price of housing falling..some 15% last quarter alone.. we may well think we have something to celebrate. But..what we are seeing is the falling value of the equity we hold on a good portion of the monies the banks have had pumped into their coffers to maintain liquidity..
That's our money disappearing.
And when the government allows us a tax cut which puts just a tad more disposable income in our current accounts.. something has to be cut from public services.
We've forgotten so much..
We've been seduced into abandoning the ethics that used to be a staple of our last stable economy.. those being 'don't buy what you can't pay cash for..' and 'there's no such thing as a free lunch..'
Perhaps.. as this is primarily meant to represent one man's view of contemporary society to be read by the sons of my sons.. we will manage to pull through, again..
That we will manage to defer the consiquences of our financial.. ecological.. political idiocy unto our grandchildren..
Be that the case.. apologies.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's a funny old world we've got.. isn't it..?
Who would have thought 50 years ago that the India would be launching it's own rockets to the moon..
This one's a scientific fly-by.. three orbits and away..It's meant to map the moon more thoroughly.. But more significantly, it puts India ahead in their race to launch a manned mission to the moon..
India.. China.. So many people..
And how quickly things move these days..

Is it the Mayan Calendar which predicts the end of the world in 2012..?
Some odd ideas on how to please their Gods, but amazing astrologers..
Just another date to remember..

It's an odd thing.. what with the political pundits showering us with polls and projected state-by-state percentage rates.. and the prediction that John must take at least 6 key states.. and that overall it looks like Barak's ahead..
And the preparations for what's expected to be one of the largest voter turnouts in decades, with cautions of delayed results already even with the new computerised voting system..a trend one can only hope will never take the fancy of the House of Parliament by the way..
Considering the saturation depth the American public has been plunged into for these last few weeks..with political commercials outnumbering Pepsi or Pizza Hut.. with more money spent on Barak's campaign than has ever been spent before..this from Barak's own people..
Throughout the day there are going to be millions who normally would 'give it a pass..' who will, perhaps for the first time, head out to their polling stations..
They may go firm in their mind who they're going to push that button for..or they may go only with the 'feeling' that one or the other candidate should win.. and then there are those who won't really decide who they're going to vote for, until they stand for a moment in that polling booth..and envision the faces of John McCain, and Barak Obama.. and decide on the spot who they trust the most to handle 'the world of filth'..to paraphrase..that they each, individually, have to go home to.
It's been said before here.. but it's still one of my favourite Pierre Elliot Trudeau quotes..
When asked during one of his later campaigns by a reporter if he were worried about his apparent lagging in the polls.. he turned and said "Polls are for dogs..", and walked off without another word into the snow..
It was a winter day. None of us really wanted to hang around for a long question and answer anyway. We had our clip..
A slight digression.. but to return to the original thesis..
Americans, with no disrespect intended, are really not in a fit state to be making this kind of decision with all the rest of what's going on...and their prime mover, is fear.
It was a bad year in the mid-west.. floods.. record tornado's..freak weather.. that when all taken into consideration leaves you with a lower and expected overall crop yield.. and the end of a lot of farmers who's crops were destroyed..who haven't had the relief they were promised, such as it was..who can't pay their mortgage..
Canadian wheat's at a premium..
Where California..itself having the 5th largest economy in the world.. is asking the Fed for money.. Where recession is accepted, but the effects not quite understood..
Each and every voter who steps into their polling booths will either be committed..or undecided..
Yup.
But they'll all be afraid.

One final note here..
It cannot be said that there religious leaders concerned with, and speaking out against terrorism..
Wednesday was thee opening of the 83rd session of Indian Philosophical Congress at Gujarat Vidyapeeth..and the need for emulating Gandhian principles amid concerns on growing violence and acts of terror dominated the first day discussions..
In the inaugural session, Gujarat Vidyapeeth Chancellor Sudarshan Iyengar pointed out that while the growth of consumerism is eating into the fabric of social ethics, "the social values are also greatly threatened by the rising greed of individuals, which is one of the basic causes of conflicts"...
Dr Iyengar inter-related the principles of anasakti (non-attachment) as explained in the Gita with the Gandhian ideology. He said the values like satya (truth), ahimsa (non-violence), brahmacharya (celibacy) can still provide a healing touch to the ailing humanity.
Indeed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Interesting.
The man on the street here.. without exception.. will dolefully shake their heads, and bemoan the hard times to come..
But it's with an attitude that, for the most part, if we all go and put the kettle on.. everything will be all right..
Have a nice cuppa.. and ride it out..
Yet there are cases, the likes of one former bank employee, who have lost their homes, their possessions, their savings.. who now literally sleep in the back of their Toyota Corolla.. who wonder where their world went.
An incredible 33% of us.. those capable of work.. can't find jobs and depend on a government which has just poured billions of Pounds Sterling into basically nothing for their fortnightly support cheques..
On the Dole.. spending an hour or so a day a the 'Bru or the Job Center looking for work provided by companies cutting back, and a main street which is not even taking on extra staff for Christmas.
Now, the question begs, as our £'s value plummets and our Prime Minister agrees with the Chairman of the Bank of England that we are in recession.. what is going to be done..?
It has been mentioned here before that while it might well look as though we're heading into a 'global economy'.. Indeed the recent events bear credence to that with no exception.. all country's economy crumbling.. It would seem the push towards Keynesian solutions are being embraced, without any thought of when, and how, this will all be repaid..
When will disposable income become something a family has in hand.. rather on plastic..?
When will, within industry itself, will reasonable compensation be delivered for reasonable productivity..?
Now without any Luddite intent.. it must be asked when will we return to the ideal wherein a man, skillfully building a brick wall.. or another conscientiously making decisions which affect the futures of that builder and his mates.. will of necessity be paid at different scales, but on a curve that neither diminishes nor falsely elevates the importance of either..
That there will be class systems.. But ones with common civility and an inherent understanding that without the binman, the doctors garbage would eventually bury him..

Ahh.. we're all allowed flights of fancy sometimes..

Monday, October 20, 2008

'Gordon defends further borrowing'.. to paraphrase the BBC and every other report on this Keynsian binge we are about to embark upon..
And what else would we expect.. an united stance by the governments worldwide to justify the debt we're jumping into is the least, surely..
It's frightening the object lesson of what this policy leads to as provded historically.. perhaps most recently by the Bob Rae Liberal Democrat government of the Canadian province of Ontario..
For two years.. it seemed the economy was just fine again..
Then Standard and Poors relegated Ontario from a 'Triple-A' credit risk.. to an 'A'.
Imagine such a reassessment, on a global scale. Take into account the fact that the sheer size of the debt the world is preparing to effectively write off, the timeframe of the backlash will be exponentially shorter..
Ontario, at least, had the buffer of InterProvincial Transfer Payments to shore up the debt..
Not quite sure what would qualify as a global equivelent..

Keeping in mind this is a running commentary.. designed for the most part to aid my own memory.. for future reference..
Note: house prices are reported to have fallen another 5% last month, and indications are, the devaluation will continue..
Keeping in mind the government is in fact the largest owner of mortgage debt, through the controlling interest gained through bail-outs.. we're watching our own equity melt away..
But we wrote about this, quite a while ago..
Quite a body blow there.. for John's 'friend' Colin Powell to come out in the Obama Camp..
It seems as this election looms larger and larger in our windscreens, has lost some the interest it was generating over here.. The facts are, that while it may well be Barak in the Oval Office, and may god bless America if he is.. It still could be John.. and frankly the world might breathe just a tad easier for a moment..
But the problem of a world economy poised for collapse, is almost putting this on the level of voting to determine the Captain of the Titanic..
Steven Harper has his government, and his problems downstream from the American run-off, along with growing resentment from English speaking Canada concerning the 'special status' of the Province of Quebec.. and the perversity of the voters in that province to see what successive Conservative governments have conceded to them, and flock to support the Bloc Quebecois..
It is a situation Steven's going to need to address, and with the worldwide problems, dissent in Parliament along Anglo/Francophone lines is the last thing the country needs to see..
However.. Harper does have his government. And with judicious negotiations regarding northern energy potential, Canada, while technically officially in a recession now.. might ride this out..
A far better chance of keeping inflation under control than either the US or the EU has, certainly..

Over here.. it seems that we're plodding along, stumbling perhaps along with what's been happening on Wall Street..
Much scurrying between Paris and Berlin..London..New York and Washington..
It's the same problem..
How to successfully wipe out what could amount to $4trillionAm.. when all the bailouts in Pounds Sterling and Euros and Yen and Yuan are added up.. without ending up in a true Socialist State.
Everywhere.
Now it's possible they could make the debts disappear.. it's only numbers in computers after all.. and when there are so many zero's preceding the 3, or 4,
or 5.. well it ceases to be within the realm of reality..
That Free Market Capitalism will suddenly wake up one Monday morning, to find their capital debt was less than their net worth.. that the GNP of all the nations on the earth suddenly became enough, with International assistance in logistics, to support their populations.. That an honest wage was paid for an honest hours work..
Sure it could.

So if a tad of the shine has come off the enthusiasm concerning any of the elections we're going to be having in the West, it must be excused..
With Peter Mandelson as Finance Minister.. not Chancellor of the Exchequer mind you.. it's going to be interesting to see what spin we're all fed here over the next few months.. as heating costs really begin to take a bite..
And if we've learned anything over the centuries on these Islands.. it's that there is no form of government which can can wave a magic wand and make it all better..
And when in a bind like this.. it doesn't matter who's on what side of the House.
The whole of bloody Parliament had best be united in a feasable plan to put in place now.
It must be the same in the States. It doesn't matter who's in the White House.. It matters that all issues be treated expediently, and with total support from both sides Partys.
Still..
Governments have been known to lose billions in assets before..
Why not a few trillion.. worldwide.. in debts?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Last note for this early morning..
The US and India have finally signed a deal that will allow the sale of American nuclear materials to India.. ending a thirty year embargo..
One wonders now, what Pakistan will expect.. what quid pro quo will need be offered to assure Pakistani/American relations remain cordial..
Islamabad's already upset with American incursions into Pakistani territory from Afghan bases, in the pursuit of the 'War on Terror'..
The US is not that popular with the Indian man on the street.. as we have mentioned before, there is a decided leaning towards developing relations between the Indian and Russian governments.. But this deal could mean a fair amount of money coming into a country which will soon be dealing not only with the global economy collapsing around it.. but famine looming as a result of crop losses due to these last typhoons..

Interesting times..

Friday, October 10, 2008

They're calling it 'pocketbook campaigning' now.. with both John and Barak concentrating their campaigns on homegrown economics.
Truthfully, this economic crisis couldn't have come at a better time for this particular campaign.. What with it being a worldwide problem, rather than particularly American, the focus has been taken entirely away from Foreign Policy..
When the concern is with inflation.. recession.. market collapse.. Issues the likes of Iraq.. al Q'aeda.. get pushed to the back burners..
Point here.. if there is any proof needed the terrorists have achieved their goals, any question left in the minds of those still sceptical about the power they wield, let them simply look around..
Our typical Western knee-jerk reaction to what is a viable threat, is one of the contributing factors to our present economic position.
But.. twenty/twenty hindsight can only be used if the lesson is learned..
Generally, history is not given the credence it deserves..
However.. 'pocketbook campaigning'.. spiced with some exceedingly amusing vitriol..

Steven's campaign in Canada might lead one to believe that it's going to be yet another minority government.. and as if Canadians hadn't learned anything from the fiasco of Bob Rae's term of office in Ontario in the 90's, the New Democrats may again hold a hand in the game..
Ahh.. where's Mulroney when you need him..?

Economically..?
What's to say that's not been said.. much earlier.. right here..?
Stay with gold. If you're into futures.. invest in grains.. wheat..rye.. rice..
Especially rice.
Don't trust any currency..
With all these debts being swallowed whole by federal governments worldwide.. devaluation lurks..
Countries the likes of Russia and China have nothing to lose by unilaterally devaluating their currencies.. They hold vast trade surpluses with the West, and equally vast reserves of foreign paper..

It's going to be quite a ride..

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Now.. Gordon's stressing these are not 'crisis meetings' he's having with the Chief Financial Officers of several banks.. of course Alistair's there as well.. presumably to rubber-stamp whatever agreement is announced later this evening..
It seems the meetings held this past weekend were basically pointless.. with those participating making unilateral financial guarantees as soon as their respective planes landed.. Fear seems to be the prime mover in the EU these days..
And we can all take hope from the British Chamber of Commerce's announcement that we're already in recession.. and we can expect unemployment in these British Isles to increase by.. get this.. 33% over the next couple of years..
Now I'm sure there are those who would blame television..
But in truth.. we have put ourselves in this position..
When there are those daft enough to accept a mortgage worth five times their annual gross salary.. When we blithely spend money we don't have, provided by banks who's only purpose is to make money, and expect to float along spending our futures for immediate gratification..
What did we expect..?
We complain about our relative governments incessantly.. yet we vote them into power..
We complain when it's difficult to get onto the 'housing ladder'.. when market demand forced prices through the roof.. Yet we took on the debt..
We thoroughly commit ourselves to a 'throw-away' culture..
And we expect there to be no cost?
Oddly enough, those who will weather this crisis with the least loss, are those with little or nothing to lose. Those on government pensions have their income tied to the rate of inflation.. And while, at the moment, there are calls for the Fed to set the stage and lower interest rates next month, there will come a time in the not too distant future when inflation will set in with a vengeance..
The interest rates in inter-bank loans is already above 15%.. How long do we expect to be immune..?
There's a Government announcement 'poised' for release..
More when we've heard what the substance is..

Sunday, October 05, 2008

It is disturbing..
Watching governments worldwide buying private debt, and effectively expunging it, should have the man on the street concerned.. at the very least..
But it appears, for the moment at least, is an almost irrational sense of relief..
The fact action is being taken.. until the recession really kicks in.. is seemingly enough to placate the middle-class..
They see literally trillions of dollars.. Euro's.. Pounds Sterling.. being 'injected' into a system which had allowed itself to become so debt-heavy.. so entwined with paper value, as opposed to realistic equity..
One might as well say 'thrown away' as 'injected..
Are any of the economies involved in these bail-outs solvent in themselves..?
We had France.. Italy.. Germany.. and the UK meeting in Paris this weekend to decide
how much money they can get away with printing.. India's Finance Minister was there as well..
With the outcome today of Germany guarranteeing all bank deposits and.. let's use that word again..'injecting' 50 billion Euro's into a morgage company/bank bailout..
This will put enormous pressure on Gordon to effect the same measures here, and why not..?
'In for a penny..', as they say..
The pundits seem to have reached agreement on a term of 6 months..give or take.. for the markets and the High Street to bounce in and out of recession.. there is consensus on inflation, and the universal effect it's going to have on consumers worldwide..
How this arbitrary timeline was arrived at is a masterwork of spin.. Truth be told, there can be nothing more certain than an inflationary spiral.. increasing unemployment..until the waste and paper debt is paid for..
Six months would appear to be somewhat optimistic..
Especially when we take the coming chnges in administrations.. Canada.. the US.. the UK..
Might be a power shift developing in North Korea.. and Pakistan is still ajusting to the vacuum left by the departure of Mussharraf..
Fun times ahead..

And on our own political scene.. we much extend that pre-eminent Doctor of Spin, Peter Mandelson, back in Cabinet in charge of the nebulous Portfolio of 'Business'..
Leaves quite a wide mandate there..
Peter will certainly prove to be amusing, if nothing else..

Friday, October 03, 2008

Interesting. While Joe came through as a capable.. likeable.. trustworthy..
So did Sarah..
Where Joe may have had more facts and figures at his fingertips.. Sarah had enough in her arsenal to answer.. and to pose counter-point..
Taxes.. climate change.. Pakistani nuclear aspirations.. the economy..
They, and this is the important point, neither made any gaffes.. neither fell into the many pitfalls a media confrontation might have produced..
And perhaps more significantly, Sarah didn't lose.
Not to say Joe did..
But it cannot be said that the Republican candidate was no less capable than Hillary was, in any of her appearances..
If this election goes to the Democrats, it would not have been because of their Vice-Presidential candidate's performance tonight.
It will take a couple of viewings of this Vice-Presidential debate to read the body language..the intonation.. and the substance of either candidate..
Palin seems to be well composed.. Biden may well be leaning too much on the mistakes of administration even the Republicans are distancing themselves from..
Points made on both sides promising social services.. each with their own method of raising the $AMthree trillion..
Point and counter point..
It must be said though.. Palin's a lot better looking than Biden..

There's another debate taking place north of the 49th Parallel tonight..Canadian Tory Leader Stephen Harper takes on Candidates from 4 other Parties..expecting to be under vitriolic siege from rivals, but, will keep his cool..according to Tory sources.
“We're not going to try to respond to every sneer or accusation,” a Conservative source said..we're going to try to keep it prime ministerial..erring perhaps on the side of calm.”
That means he will try to maintain the same muted body language he used in the French language debate Wednesday night..
Steven is expected to more carefully defend his plan for the economy in the face of Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion's five-point action plan to address the country's finances.
“It's to keep taxes down, keep inflation down and making sure we don't spend ourselves into a deficit with irresponsible new spending. That's how you weather the storm.”.. is the Conservative platform..
And what's more convincing an argument.. is the Conservatives will running on their record when it comes to the economy, which includes tax cuts that amount to $40-billion per year by 2012 – including faster tax writeoffs for machinery– and a $1-billion community adjustment fund for smaller communities as well as a $250-million fund to help automakers..
The Dion economic plan, meanwhile.. unveiled during the French-language debate Tuesday night, is an attempt by the slumping Liberals to gain momentum and win back right-leaning supporters by contrasting themselves with the Tories' laissez-faire approach to the economy...
The plan, which overshadows Mr. Dion's controversial carbon-tax proposal, is also an overt attempt to hearken back to the Liberal Party's glory days.. their 1993 election win, and subsequently successful action plan to slay the federal deficit.
But that was then.. and this is now..
However..it proposes an acceleration of already-promised infrastructure spending to juice the economy and a series of huddles with regulators, economists and premiers to discuss what should be done about the spillover effects of the U.S. financial meltdown. Questions would include whether Ottawa needs to toughen up its financial-system regulations..
These are actions will of necessity take place, regardless of who's in majority on Parliament Hill..
Watch the results of this election.. a mere matter of days away..

Interesting developments in Pakistan.. with Pakistani agreement now to limited American incursions in Pakistan in pursuit of al Q'aeda and Taliban..
But India's expressing concerns..

Now.. at this point it's mere conjecture as to what the next move is going to be on the World Economic Markets..
Certainly a surge.. perhaps a brief one while speculators play their games..
But the Game's far from being close to an end..
The piper still awaits his payment..

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

It's being called 'a surprise move to resurrect President Bush's $700 billion Wall Street rescue plan,'..
Yup. It would have been far more of a surprise had the Senate not slated a vote on the measure for Wednesday..
There is though, the expected final concession from George, in the form of an added tax cut plan... mind you that's already been rejected by the House..
The move to add a tax legislation — including a set of popular business tax breaks — risked a backlash from House Democrats insisting they be paid for with tax increases elsewhere.
But by also adding legislation to prevent more than 20 million middle-class taxpayers from eating the alternative minimum tax, the step could build momentum for the bailout from House Republicans. The presidential candidates John.. and Barack intend to fly to Washington for the votes, as does Joe Biden.. the Democratic vice presidential candidate.
One would think this plan.. will be passed..
Without it, frankly, the US won't have a 'Main Street'.. let alone a viable 'Wall Street'.. to protect anymore..
It's a 60 percent majority needed in Congress for this Bill to pass.. It would be difficult for the House to reject the measures twice..
It would be a move that will drop the US in terms of global economic clout for quite a few years.. one which will demand a re-thinking of the American image of the 'world police'.. and the most charitable nation on earth.. one which require the American man on the street to re-think the definition of the 'American Dream'..
But without it, the US will lead us all, kicking and bemoaning.. into economic chaos.
The time has come for all free economic systems to bite the bullet.
There may well come again a time when we can once again do something to alleviate the suffering endemic in the underdeveloped countries.. and when we will be able to afford the luxury of interfering in repressive foreign regimes..
But, it's a responsibility which must be born by the individual.. through private donations. Not a responsibility of the government for the now.. We can't afford it.
Even Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal, in his small corner of the world, in a country who's economy is growing at an impressive rate.. has set forth economic plans for his region which are stringently parochial..
We could take a lesson.
We're working on plans to shut a barn door, after the horses have bolted..
It's encouraging to see at least one politician in a developing nation.. bringing up the learning curve..

Monday, September 29, 2008

Another short note to start the day..
It's somewhat disturbing.. the lack of what appears to be a general lack of interest among many Americans we've been in contact with, concerning this upcoming election. It's as though there's almost a feeling of fatalism.. that regardless of who sits in the While House, the immediate future is pretty well cast in stone. And whatever differences either Party might present for their plans for a resolution.. all become irrelevant when it comes down to riding this 'bad spell' out..
The emotional side of this election would appear to be taking precedence over a demand for clear-cut and definite plans to repair the economy.. deal with foreign relations and foreign wars.. to define the 'real' enemy and the presentation of concrete plans for pursuing and eradicating that threat..
At the moment.. global governments are busy pouring $trillions into their liquidity funds to keep their respective economies afloat..
But surely someone, sometime soon, will say "Enough!"..
The US Congress is expected to approve by Tuesday, the nationalisation of 'bad debt'..
It would be unlikely to think that other governments will follow suit.. dominos falling, as they do, one after the other..
But consider the effects this will have, in the near future.
After we've taken control out of the hands of institutions the likes of the Bank of England, and the World Bank, and out this 'paper debt', how do the various governments finance these losses..?
We are in financial meltdown.. with governments now legislating away the right to short-selling, a cornerstone on open financial trading, we 're seeing ourselves being led, step by step, towards government control of our banking industry.
Not the way we want to go.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

As this is set to paper.. figuratively speaking.. John and Barak are going head-to-head on the issues facing their enfranchised public..
Now, we'll keep this in the background..
'Earmarked Funds' and business tax..
So far, it's a pork-barrel issue..
Ahh this will go on and on.. but so far, it appears Barak's less well briefed.. John more prepared..

But what has been perhaps the greatest show on earth has been playing at Stock Exchanged around this globe this past week..
And, this may prove to be the longest run.. no pun intended.. we've yet seen..
The situation, as it stands, is reaching the breaking point..
The point at which governments, to a legislative instrument and a source of 'last line of defence' financing, and what few legitimate financial institutions still standing, solvent, and capable in crisis management which would avoid the looming spectre of overwhelming government investment in the public sector..
The point at which the man on the street will really feel the pinch..
When, after stopping after work at the Spar..7-11..Macs.. whatever.. they stop, count the change in their hand and think "..this is what £17 get's you these days..?"
And when their quarterly heating bill comes through the Post, and there's yet another £35 per month off the ever-diminishing disposable income..
Now this is certainly not merely hard times to come here in Britain and the US.. It's hard times on a global scale..
An American meeting is taking place now, with the Finance Ministers and the Prime Ministers of several countries..
Two are notable. Gordon's there, and he'll doubtless be bringing back an idea of what the US actually predicts for the next couple of years, and how it's going to affect us..
And the Prime Minister of India along with Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram are in attendance, both to plead their country's need for economic support, but to present their case as an invaluable ally.. a keystone in any plans the West might have in economic expansion into that potentially vast market..
Ponderous.
But back home on the ranch.. we've not got a rosy future to contemplate..
This debate.. from this point of view.. would appear to be John's on points.. so far..
John made a valid point that Barak's offer.. to meet with Iranian President Akhmadenejad with no preconditions.. Rocked Barak with that one..
We're watching the tumbling tower of the paper and electronic cash monolith which has supported our lifestyles.. the magic act of the millennium..
You's best watch closely.. or you'll miss it..
The disappearance.. before your very eyes.. of what will amount to eventually, to be trillions of American dollars!
Debts will vanish without a trace!
Cash will inexplicably appear in the funds of vehicles which will then make it into the hands of banks.. and consumer credit, while still tight, might bring that dream if the unholy-huge plasma screen for Christmas, just a little bit more plausible..
We're facing a crisis the likes of which we've never faced before..
We need leaders the likes of whom we've not seen in decades.. and all of the West will soon be deciding who those leaders will be..

Interesting times..

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A brief note to start the weekend..
While the American government's injecting hundreds of billions into the money market appears to have quelled the fears seen throughout Stock Exchanges worldwide.. the fact is that it's a band-aid measure.. not a solution.
Whether it will have long-term effects.. other than leaving taxpayers globally with massive shortfalls.. is moot.
Will it spur private investment..?
Will it replace the thousands of jobs lost through the several financial mergers we've seen this week..?
Will it allow a recovery for the man on the street, who's main concern is inflation and the diminution of disposable income..?
Moot, at best.
Doubtful, if one is realistic..

One had to smile at the grass-roots approach Barak.. who stated that it's great to see the markets solidifying, although he didn't mention where the money was going to come from.. Barak aimed his comments directly to the American small businessman, in saying the government should be concentrating on 'main street economics'..
And while it's a far less popular a stance, McCain states 'enough!.. Banks should not be supported by government takeover..'
This election campaign in the US appears to have lost any basis in reality.. It's going to be a vote based on emotion.. not from an understanding of what issues will face the new administration and who has the best plan for getting the American machine running again..
Frightening.

More through the weekend. Labour's Annual Conference begins with the coming week, and it will be exceedingly interesting to see how Gordon weathers this meeting of the Party Faithful..

Friday, September 19, 2008

A note in this early British morning.. this evening in the US..
It's been an amazing week, all in all.
Briefly.. we've seen the collapse of Lehman Brothers..the Fed has bailed out insurance giant AIG, Merrill Lynch has been acquired by Bank of America and in the UK, Lloyds TSB has acquired HBOS..
Yesterday alone we saw Central banks from the UK.. the US.. Europe.. Canada.. Switzerland.. Japan injecting $180bnAM into their money markets.
This is the fourth such joint effort, since the onset of the credit crisis last year.
Now.. the news has helped to bring down the interest rate at which banks lend to each other.. one of the key factors behind the problems in credit markets..
.Investors are looking for safer places to put their money.. and as we thought quite a while ago, the price of gold, regarded as a haven in troubled times, rose to
$871.20Am/ounce after recording its biggest one-day gain in history on Wednesday..
It's been mentioned that Lloyds TSB has released details of its £12.2bn takeover of HBOS.. Fleshing out some of the details..the deal values HBOS shares at 232p each and is expected to lead to cost savings of £1bn a year and.. as is to be expected.. will lead to significant job losses.
Russia's main stock exchange suspended trading for a second consecutive day as the government tries to halt a sharp drop in share prices and restore consumer confidence..
And.. to top it off for Thursday..the British Financial Services Authority has announced steps which will restrict short-selling of shares while New York's attorney general has launched a probe into short-selling...
Now the Dow has rebounded some 400 points at the close.. and the Nikkei is cautiously up at the opening.. about a point or so..
But what will happen when the US markets reopen later this morning will reflect the thinking of those who take the bailouts into effect for what they are, and understand what position they will put the economy in for quite some while to come..
Britain's Footsie should be comforted by the Lloyds/HBOS merger news.. but it would be surprising if there's much movement anywhere, until it's seen what's going to happen on Wall Street..
Then.. there's Monday to take into account..

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We seem to be slipping deeper and deeper into a worldwide recession.. a situation which would appear not only to be ubiquitous, but without an obvious solution..
While the US Presidential campaign deteriorates into childish mudslinging.. while we wait to see what will come the middle of next month in Canadian politics.. while we glibly predict what could be in line for our immediate and long-term future.. we are slipping into a general malaise in which it would appear that there's nothing we can do, other than ride the wave..
An incredible merger today in British banking, with HBOS and Lloyds making it official..
As mentioned earlier, this puts a third of all mortgages and deposits in the entire UK, in the hands of one company..
An amazing, and somewhat frightening development..
Some have observed that we're back in the 70's and early 80's where the worldwide finances are concerned.. and the problem there is, what we didn't learn 30 years ago, and what we haven't put into practice to protect ourselves..
It has often been said that history repeats itself endlessly.. And indeed this can be proven..
But the same crisis.. one of such magnitude.. happening at the rate of 3 times a century..?
Time to take a step back.. discard impedimenta.. sentimentality.. and take firm steps towards wiping the slate clean..
There was a time not that long ago, when British travellers going abroad were restricted from taking any more than £5 Sterling in cash out of the country. Where British cheques were honoured worldwide, and foreign exchange was kept within the borders of this country. This meant that Sterling was not a currency to be found in large amounts in any foreign country.. We had control over our own paper..
Perhaps it's time to pull back from a center place on the world stage again..
Watch Russia. Moscow's Stock Exchange has been shut down until tomorrow, to allow the dust to settle around the remains of Western economies..
There are times this chimera we call 'democracy' and 'free trade', drag us down through the weight of our own flawed principles, and we are hoist on our own petard.
We've finally reached what might be called the height of our financial incompetence..
A number of issues here..
AIG.. panic on Wall Street.. a Treasury/Fed combined bailout..the Federal Reserve is giving a two-year, $85 billion loan to AIG in exchange for a nearly 80% stake in the company after it lost billions in the risky business of insuring against bond defaults..
It was said here some time ago.. that the banks themselves would own the lions share of all available housing in Britain.. Oddly enough, this has come to pass faster in the US, for with this nationalisation of AIG.. Washington now owns the three largest mortgage companies in the country..
Now it will be said that this Reserve bailout is a loan.. but it's exceedingly unlikely the American taxpayer will ever see the replacement of these funds back into the public coffers.. at least, reasonably speaking, life in the US undergoes some basic changes, internally and with dealings with some of it's trading partners..
Wall Street fell 4% today. When the long-term cost of what is certainly a domino-effect in mid-stride, one might expect further falls.. diminishing consumer confidence.. and ever-increasing growth in unemployment..
5% unemployment in the States, as of this months figures.. up a full half-point from May..
That's 49 thousand more on the somewhat uncomfortable American form of the dole..
And since consumer spending is the engine of the American economy.. the last thing the economy needs is more people with less disposable income, coupled with those who have cash, are withdrawing it from investments in businesses, and turning to either commodities or turning their extra cash into precious metals..
Such is the downside of basing an entire lifestyle on paper..
We'll watch the developments closely..

Now, here in the UK, Lloyds, which used to be Lloyds/TSB.. has announced a £12 billion takeover of what used to be the Halifax Bank..then the Haliax/Bank of Scotland..now merely HBOS..
HBOS is the largest mortgage holder in Britain, and this merger will create a single institution which will handle a full third of the UK's accounts and mortgages..
Now there are few enough times that one can find occasion to agree with Alex Salmond, the First Minister of the Scottish Parliament and leader of the SNP.. but it hit it on the head, when he deplored what profit seeking speculators can effect.. for it was a basic run on the capital of that bank that forced it into a merger..
Not that Salmond had anything disparaging to say about Lloyds or HBOS..but said any merger between the two should be based on measured discussion, not a "shotgun marriage" driven by unwarranted speculation..
But such is our economy driven these days..
It's almost criminal, how those we have left in charge have been occupied elsewhere, while the clouds of this crisis built on the horizon.
And the worst is far from having been even dremt of so far it would seem..
The Trades Union Congress as assessed the job market, and is predicting that the jobless in Britain could double by 2009. Taking the entire picture into context. from inflation in China..Russia..the EU.. Britain.. The US.. that could well be a conservative prediction.
And we're all about to play musical chairs over the next short while, with the leaderships of our prime trading partners..
Ahh.. the vicissitudes of high finance.
One has to smile.
More later.. it might be mentioned that the Nikkei, at the moment, is down close to 300 points..

Thursday, September 11, 2008

An interesting approach from Moscow today, in the wording of a warning to the US to basically mind it's own business and stay out of Georgia..and that if there was an arms race developing, the US was instigating it..
It was an speech, that while spurious, is difficult to find fault with..
They're learning the game well, and developing a sophistication in Russian diplomacy not seen since the fall of the Romanovs..
By paraphrase Vlad.. the US should be more selective in choosing it's allies, and join with Russia in a combined war on terrorism.. pointing out that Russia has historically supported the Abkhazian and South Ossetian movement to separate from Georgia..
Well done indeed. Offering the hand in partnership against a cause the world is fighting, while using that key word 'ally'.
Well down the road from Nikita's banging his shoe on his desk in the UN..
And it's going to give both Presidential campaigns something to seriously think about..
For the other side of the coin was the rest of the speech.. which tore into the US for fomenting the return of the arms race with the planned missile emplacements in Poland and the Czech Republic.. and he as much as verbally pointed the finger to McCain and Obama.. warning them Russia is still a force to be reckoned with..
Ahh.. one has to love the Game..

It must be mentioned, this seventh anniversary of the attacks in New York and Virginia..
Seven years, since the entire world started, and continues to change, to deal with the ubiquitous threat posed by those devoted to a 'cause'.. a 'faith'..
It would appear that some issues never become history..

Meanwhile.. Pakistan.
Not pleased with secret orders signed by George this summer, authorizing incursions into Pakistan to attack al Q'aeda bases..
Now NATO says none of it's 47 thousand troops have trespassed.. confirming their mandate stops at the Pakistani border.. and that Pakistani Forces are provided with intelligence as to where terrorists might be hiding..
But it's a new government in Pakistan.. A Bhutto in charge again.. a Muslim State..
Something else for the future President to digest..

Commodity futures must be flying these days..
One has to laugh at both the British and American announcements that inflation is going to keep on the rise for a while, and that things are going to get tight..
Masters of stating the obvious..
The Bank of England predicted a 2% rate of inflation for this fiscal year. It's already at 4.4%, and is expected to rise again.. and again..
The US Trade Deficit increased 5.7% in July.. the largest gap since March 2007..
Yup.
Different story in India though.. While their inflation rate is still miles above that which we would consider acceptable.. that country is staging a recovery..
It depends, one would suppose, on what it takes to please the consumer.. relatively speaking..

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Now, while it may well be pointed out that some of the opinions stated here have not proven correct, yet..
It should not be much of a surprise to have confirmation from the European Commission. Official definition would have 'recession' as defined by negative economic growth for three successive quarters.. and that would indicate that France, Spain, and dear old Britain will officially slide down the economic ladder.. lose a gear..

It's odd.. and perhaps somewhat indicative of 'blue-collar' sentiment.. that the annual Conference of the TUC would spend literally hours this evening, praising their adoption of a plan to petition government for the relaxation of trade embargo's presently in place against Cuba..
One had no idea that so many members of the TUC executive were so well versed in Cuban history.. well, history of a sort..
From the utter corruption of Batista to the unwavering and indefatigable Socialist fight for the common man over the past 50 years.. it was all paraded out..
Of course.. the nationalisation of private lands, and the repressive policies which followed the actual revolution for decades after it's victory.. The thousands who flee the country still on a monthly basis to try and make it the 45 miles or so to Florida, were not mentioned..
But then.. is 'Democracy' any less a spurious label for that which the rest of us embrace, than the 'Socialism' endorsed by the TUC..

And let's not ignore the fallibility of those who venture to predict.. Brent is back below the £100AM per barrel level, and even with OPEC announcing a cut in oil production, the price of crude could well remain around the hundred level for a while. But while we smile at that, remember that's still a 35% increase over this time, last year. And the situation is still as volatile as it ever has been.
It's as though the markets are starting to inhale for the holding of breath that will start around the beginning of November..

Ahh.. and reports are becoming public now, about the international wrangling over the rights to the Arctic..
Russia is claiming the bulk of the area..citing the fact they sent a group to the North Pole and planted a flag..
Yes. The fact that flag has long ago floated away for lack of any ice to stick in, is apparently irrelevant..
Canada has the strongest claim, with Nunavut reaching far north of Baffin Island..
But the US is in there too, with it's Alaska claiming it's share of the top of the world..
Yet another reason to keep an eye on Steven Harper. A Western Canadian facing off with an old school Russian Communist.. Harper, or Steven perhaps.. has called the country to the polls the middle of October.
Should be fun..

And while the slagging picks up in the American hustings.. idiotic statements being made by both sides and tempests brewed teapots.. one is still looking for some concrete commitments from either side to bring the American economy into line, or to maintain it's position on the world stage..
A sad and lacking affair, this particular campaign, and this could be the worst case scenario for the rest of us..
One thanks what gods there may be for not being an American at this point, for either choice is going to lead to hardship, and one choice in particular could lead to the drastic reduction of the United States as a viable world power.
But, in what may well be his last major decision as Commander in Chief, George announced the deployment of another 8 thousand American troops to Afghanistan..
One has to wonder though, why so little attention is being paid to Pakistan of late.. A major change in power,, Musharaff away.. a Bhutto back in power.. that countries historic ties to Taliban..
"By the pricking of my thumbs..", to borrow a phrase..

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

It's indicative of the success what just a few terrorists can have.. what impact they can make on the lives of millions of us..
Case in point: Three British Muslims have been convicted of, to quote the BBC itself.."a massive terrorist conspiracy to murder.."
Quite a statement in defining the scope of the plot..
But, Reuters is taking a somewhat less enthusiastic in it's reporting, saying "..Three Britons were found guilty on Monday of conspiracy to kill using homemade liquid bombs, but a jury failed to agree that they intended to blow up transatlantic airliners in an al Qaeda-style attack..."
This was a five month trial, attracting, of course, great concern here in Britain..
It was the investigation of this plot that led to the banning of liquids in on-board luggage and vastly intensified examination of baggage in general..a move which while not only involved some great expense to airport security, but to the length of time passengers had to wait for their bags to load on..
It's become a situation not unlike that in Canada in the 1960's, with the FLQ in Quebec..APC's..armed soldiers on the streets of Ottawa.. What could be Pierre Trudeau's best line was prompted by that terrorist attack in the rural Eastern Townships of Quebec..
A few barns were burnt by the way..
But Trudeau, when told by an astonished reporter that "..(he) could not declare Martial Law..!" simply turned and said "Watch me."
Seemingly a non sequitur there, but the point is, that the FLQ consisted of one cell, numbering 6.
That's all.
It is not being said here that we are facing what has become a constant state of danger.. That, just in the days when the IRA bombed London itself, we face the ubiquitous threat of violent attack by those driven by idealism, but let us not become that which all terrorists aim for, that being timid.. too eager to abrogate rights and freedoms for the sake of 'national security'.
Quoting Reuters again..
" After more than 50 hours of deliberation, the 12-person jury was unconvinced by the prosecution's description of a complex airline bomb plot, finding only three of the defendants -- Abdulla Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain -- guilty of a lesser charge of conspiracy to commit murder.
The jury failed to reach a verdict on four other defendants and the eighth was found not guilty on all charges."
One has to wonder whose ends have been met to best effect.
And lets not even begin about Gitmo, perhaps a facility only the US and the old USSR could ever get away with..
Well.. perhaps modern Russia.. and Georgia.. some of the Slavic Republics.. Africa maybe..
But who knows what goes on there, eh?


And here we go with the housing market.. The value of homes across the country have dropped by between 25 and 30% across the country over the past four months, which of course means that all those who now homes which have been repossessed have lost the same amount of the equity of their investments..
Banks.. equity funds.. speculators.. are all looking at a situation which is approaching something almost Keynesian. While they are currently tightening credit, they are forcing an inevitable loss with ripples which, if they continue to spread, will strangle the downstream businesses which the banks rely upon to keep them solvent.. Fewer housing starts at the ridiculous rate of 54%..
The picture is plain..
A multi-trillion dollar bailout is not the solution Britain needs.. something far cheaper would suffice..
The abolition of the Stamp Tax on houses worth less than $225thousand is a start..
But what's needed more, is a scheme either sponsored by the government or the private housing sector, which allows the price of property to fall even more, coupled with mortgages tied to a government bond. Wherein qualified buyers could take a bank mortgage for say £135 thousand on a property assessed at £200thousand, with the government guaranteeing the remaining £65thousand..bonds which would still be repaid to the government by the home buyer, but at a zero% rate. Conditions the likes of the immediate repayment of any Bonded amount should the property be sold on would have course need ironing out..
We'll see..

Okay. Muscle-flexing over for the time being..
Russia has conditionally agreed to remove its forces from Georgian land.. other than of course Abkhazia and South Ossetia - by the second week of October.
Sudetenland.. Alsace Lorraine..

Interesting that George has set a firm target for troop withdrawal.. 8 thousand boys to come home, by early 2009..
Now George himself will not in control of course.. But he has set what will be a policy that McCain will certainly follow..
And simultaniously put Obama in a position where he's got to have a concrete plan to effect at least that target.
We'll keep an eye out for the counter-bid in the Democratic hustings..

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Twice the size of the entire UK economy.. the magnitude of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's nationalisation dwarfs our mere £200billion bailout of Northern Rock and demonstrates how little attention legislators have paid to American mortgage providers.. an area of the economy left basically on it's own since the privatisation of Fannie Mae, itself a company formed and run by the government after the return of the GI's from the Second World War..
Today..The two firms buy mortgages from approved lenders and then sell them on to investors rather directly to borrowers..
They guarantee, or own about half of the $12trillionUS American mortgage market
and are relied on by almost all US mortgage lenders.
They are looked to provide ready funds to meet consumer demand for mortgages while linking mortgage lenders with investors.. thus keeping the supply of money widely available and at a lower cost...
There is nothing.. no conglomerate structures which remotely compare in the UK..
A particularly American problem..
And, in a gesture worthy of any John Wayne character.. there's been a typical 'garb the bull by the horns' reaction..
Oddly enough, John Wayne is just what that country needs right now..

Steven Harper.
You'll recall when it was recommended that those who weren't familiar with the name Boris Johnson Google the man's resume..
Now, for those unfamiliar with Steven Harper should do the same.
He's the Prime Minister of Canada.. one who has managed to keep a minority government in power for literally decades..
And he's about to call for a General Election.. likely Canadians will go to the polls around the 17th next month..
This may well be the time for Harper to take a majority.. the Bloc Quebecois and the Conservatives are running neck and neck in Quebec.. and Harper has built a solid base in the west.. and Ontario..
This man will lead a country which, in itself, is a 'sleeping giant', through the next decade or so with America about to pull itself into isolationism..the EU wrestling with constant and chronic unemployment and inflation.. a Russia preparing for economic control in Europe, which will effectively, through economic interdependence, complete Vlad's re-establishment of the USSR..
And Canada.. throughout it's past.. has managed to remain essentially uninvolved in any affairs of international consequence.. confining to NAFTA it's economic agreements.. and NATO and the UN for it's International Peacekeeping Commitments..
Confining itself to a profitable financial 'favoured trading partner' with the US for the most part..
This will change.
Steven Harper.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Time, and the lack spare moments, has affected the continuity of this record, and to those who have mentioned this, apologies. But, and this is written with a smile, there is little income generated here..

Georgian President Saakashvili is a 'political corpse' according to Dmitry.. as the Russian return to it's rightful position as once enjoyed when it was 'the USSR' continues..
No fear here of isolation by Western countries that have condemned the Russian intervention... in fact Dmitry had praise indeed for the French refusal of join in the movement to impose trade restrictions against Russia..
An interesting progression, this Russian re-development.
Regaining it's international clout through the phase in which the west was courted.. NATO.. the increasing economic ties with the EU, China and India with Russian oil.. It's use of that commodity as an economic weapon in Georgia underlined country's growing influence.. The cooling of relations with the West.. refusal to meet NATO commitments indicate the beginning of the next step, wherein Russia, while not totally alienating the West, will keep the possible return to 'Cold War' status alive if for no other reason than to keep the particular 'fear factor' that phrase in the back of the minds of millions of American voters..
Great timing..
Recall the timeline.. fighting between Russia and Georgia began on 7 August after the Georgian military tried to retake the breakaway region of South Ossetia by force.. Russian forces launched a counter-attack and the conflict ended with the ejection of Georgian troops from both South Ossetia and Abkhazia..
Now, Russia has since recognised the independence of both regions.. no other country has.. nor does it matter if any other does.
What matters is that Russia has a safe route for the construction of more pipelines to a growing market..

One of the problems the Asian countries will face more and more is typified by some problems Tata Motors is facing in West Bengal..
The problem is one integral to economic development.. the use of land once farmed to build factories.. West Bengal is not what one might call the most attractive of locations to invest in.. This factory is important for the development of the area..
It's the poorest of the farms which will go first, but whether Indian.. Chinese culture can keep pace with the cost of literally jumping into an infrastructure which would support a lifestyle anywhere near that available in the West.. is moot.
While it may well be what they're all working for.. the cost is only now becoming evident.
Inflation in India is a topic previously mentioned here, and it's future discussed.
The same with China, and the roll-on effects will sweep Asia, possibly causing more damage than any tsunami yet experienced.. The effects this will have on us, will be explosive..

It is disturbing however, when one takes a step back and thinks for a moment.. that come November we will either have a Republican in tenuous power facing some of the most important international and domestic situations ever faced by a man who will still be thought of as 'the most powerful man' on earth.. or by an Democrat international tyro, being led by a Vice-President who has international experience, but who's job it will likely be to cut, as gently as possible, alliances which have taken years to build, while the US becomes isolationist, concerned more with repairing the American Dream than debating the value of immediate involvement in issues the likes of Iraq.
Regardless Barak's statements to the contrary, his primary aim is to make America, and Americans, feel good about their country and themselves again.
When Britain did this, it was 1949.
We'll see what develops over the next 58 years..

Monday, September 01, 2008

Astounding.
This American Presidential campaign could not have been scripted better, had the best of Hollywood imaginations been working overtime..
Of far more importance, is this latest move by the Chancellor to allow the £Sterling to slide so dramatically against the Euro.
It's a canny move, with the $American recovering, and the Euro itself vastly inflated..
With the bald statement that "a lot of British taxpayers are going to be pissed off with the developments the economy will face in the near future..", that statement made a couple of days ago on the BBC.. Alistair has, for once, been forthright, and has left no room for misunderstanding..
Now, it is also a fact that it matters little whether the Tories or Labour is in power during the recovery process.. the solutions remain the same, and while the vox pop appears to be calling for Cameron.. it will be a case of six of one..

We are seeing more and more signs of a resurgent 'Russia'.. and while it has been said that Russia itself will never be a superpower again, one must point out it's tightening of relations with China and the EU.. with it's support of Georgian dissent.. with it's oil and it's ever increasingly sophisticated infrastructure and it's distancing itself from the West.. talk of resumption of 'cold war' diplomacy..
Smoke and mirrors..
It's almost taken for granted by the Western man on the street, that there is a cordial trade relationship between our markets, and the main Middle Eastern oil suppliers. How much thought is given to what talks might be going on between Moscow and Riyadh...

Keep an eye on Canada..
Prime Minister Harper could well call a snap election.
It's odd, how Canada has managed to keep such a low international profile..
World's second largest producer of gold.. diamonds.. oil.. with untapped northern reserves..
Quiet people, eh?

Monday, July 21, 2008

It might be worthwhile to keep half an eye on India today..
A nuclear development deal with the United States has the government facing a vote of non-confidence..
The left-wing has withdrawn it's complete support for the deal.. a number of reasons the likes of allowing some international inspections of existing facilities, something never called for before.. to simply dealing with the United States itself..
And while the deal may well be in India's best interests, considering it's desperate need for energy, it's become the focus of old enmities..
Interesting to note, that while India has the second largest population, politics is of any interest to some 9% of the population in general.. 29% in the cities themselves..
And many of those who are interested, have felt closer, perhaps less apprehensive would be better, with improving relations, economic and social, with Russia, rather than the US..


Also something to watch is how the current meeting of the World Trade Organisation will manage to escape reaching a final unanimous decision in a 'Free Trade Agreement'..
If an agreement is not reached that these talks.. there likely never will be one finalised, leaving developing nations to go it alone..
It's been seven years since the Dohar Round.. the stakes with the Indian and China markets opening so rapidly and how that market will be divided.. will be a integral part of any of the 30 nations before it's even considered whether any one of them begin decreasing their agricultural subsidy legislation.. allowing producers in countries the likes of Africa a competitive product..
The refusal of the WTO to reach an agreement which could be integral in bringing some African countries into their marketplace, could be a policy which will eventually bite them badly.. The reserves of oil which are even as yet undiscovered under that continent, may well have repercussions..
But.. billions of £'s are at stake if commitments are made and met..
Well.. met. The commitments were made seven years ago.
It would seem the government has finally seen the wisdom of a program initially proposed by the Conservatives some eight months ago, and is moving an entire strata of British society into a different layer.
Social Benefits, for a single man or woman, are not generous in Britain, but they are, barely, enough to live on. What they do not provide, a trait shared by all social-welfare societies, is something with which to fill the time of those out of work, be they skilled, or unskilled.
Still, the government's taking a soft approach to effecting this change. Those out of work, and having claimed social benefit for a year, will be required to do four weeks of 'community service'.. picking up rubbish.. painting over graffiti.. work around the community itself which even the Unions aren't interested in..
After two years though, claimants will do this work full-time. This effectively gives them a job, albeit for an employer who legislate your wages to provide you with an incentive to either look for better work, or entering a Trade.
But it's not 'the dole' anymore, it's a paycheque.
It's a change some will find difficult to adjust to.. a work ethic will have to be learned, for you can be fired from this work.. suspended would perhaps be a better word..
This won't hit the system until the Spring.. We won't see the real effects of this change for at least three years, but it could be a move that, over the long run, brings our workforce back on the rails..

Now this comes as figures have been released, that indicate that a single person needs an annual wage of £13,400, to maintain a minimum standard of living.
Now this definition of 'minimum standard of living' was not limiting itself to merely paying the bills, buying the groceries, meeting one's financial obligations.. but also took into account what a healthy social life and some indulgences would cost.. a car, for instance..
Keeping this in mind, keep in mind the £74 a fortnight a single man or woman on benefits takes home..
And that heating bills..something everyone pays here, owners and tenants.. will be increasing an average of $400 this year.. an increase of £1thousand is projected by 2010..
And we have the highest jobless figures in 15 years to cheer us.. As new housing starts stop dead, we're watching more and more of our Contractors laying their men off..Sectors not usually thought of, such as house-movers, are complaining of losses in business to the extent of 45%..

Now, not to say we're alone in our problems.. far from it indeed..
But it is time to seriously begin to think what should be a priority now, for there is soon coming a time a lack of preparation could be catastrophic..

One has to laugh.
We are bent on self-destruction, and all, depending on your perspective, over the possession of the likes of a 49" flat-screen television.

Friday, July 18, 2008

For ten years, while Gordon was the Chancellor, and for this past year while Alister has been the puppet-Chancellor, there was one financial rule that had been set in concrete.
"The Government must not accrue borrowing debt that exceeded 40% of GNP."
This policy, which by the way was a plank in both the Conservative and Labour platforms lo those years ago, has been one of the major factors in keeping Britain's economy separate from those of our European cousins.. in keeping our Government within in bounds of basic solvency.. in maintaining the highest possible credit rating for the Government, and the country.
Now, it would appear that with elections looming, the economy flagging, new polls suggesting the basic poverty level for a single person in this country is anything less than a gross income of £13,400 pa, inflation already at a new high and projections are for even higher consumer costs to come, that Gordon's faced with two alternatives. Raise taxes, or borrow more.
We're at our credit limit, and if government economists haven't learned from such examples as the disastrous New Democratic Party's policies in Canada's Ontario some 15 years ago, then they have only to look at the underlying situation in the United States today, to realise Keynesian economics simply don't work..
Those working to keep their debt load under control, while juggling a family, are going to find it increasingly difficult. The price of petrol, foodstuffs, mortgages, holidays, the toys kids demand as luxuries these days, will stretch their financial situations to near breaking, and in some cases, bring those who have borrowed beyond their means back down to earth, and into a situation they may well have thought they had earned their way past..
But the government cannot..must not..interfere with personal debt situations..
Further, as unpopular as it may well be, tax loopholes provided for industry, and the wealthy, must be tightened..
And if the cry comes from those who have invested well, and who can actually claim to be the movers and shakers of Britain, that they are being targeted, then unfortunately, so must it be. For those that are the wealthy, a temporary dip in their disposable income may mean the loss of a fair bit of the comfort they've unquestionably earned, but we are at war, both literally and economically.
Selling the family jewels to save a business that will eventually allow them to be replaced, is a far better option than watching that business disappear completely.
And if any comfort can be gained by those who will still carp over the gap between rich and poor, for the wealthy, relatively speaking, will still be far better off than the Prole, let the Prole take comfort in the fact their incomes, while somewhat less, are still there because some of those assets of the wealthy which have been taken, have kept them in their jobs..
That everything costs someone something.
But, Gordon will take the easy road, and perpetuate the cycle of 'bust and boom', and will announce no new taxes of any consequence, but a rise in the Government's borrowing ceiling.
At this rate, he's bringing the Euro much closer to this shore, and us all a step closer to losing the autonomy we've fought for, for time immemorial.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A final note for the night here..
One might take notice of the recent movement of Saudi Arabia, to bring the violently different factions of Islam to a meeting of the minds.
Now Saudi's themselves, the majority of them and the Royal Family, are members of a Sunni sect called 'Wahhabism'.. considered to be one of the most fundimental and strict of the Islamic communities..
It is, to be taken in context, a veritable command from those who lead Islam itself, for the Saudi's to 'invite' religious leaders from throughout the Islamic world to attend what amounts to a General Synod, so to speak..
This conference is taking place in Spain.. is in fact being co-hosted by King Juan Carlos and his government, in the interests of 'understanding and tolerance'..
One might ask.. why, at this particular time, has it become expedient for Saudi Arabia to call these talks..
To, in effect, make suggestions 'difficult to refuse' to certain factions, demands with timetables to unite those who've been fighting over the interpretation of a few verses in the Q'ran for centuries..
What is Saudi Arabia planning for a dogmatically united Islamic world.. or at least a an Islamic Middle and Far East tolerant of their peculiar doctrinal differences ..?
Most would likely applaud, and openly admit their relief at this sudden involvement of Saudi Arabia..
'About time..' most would say..
But two questions are begging..
Why now?
And, what's the bigger picture, beginning any extrapolation with the basic assumption that Saudi Arabia, will profit..?
An interesting, if somewhat confusing political dance Gordon's performing these days..
With the announcement that the planned 2p tax inclease on fuel, scheduled to come into effect next month, would now be postponed until next March, he's at least attempting to put on the face of a government sympathetic to the problems of a population facing price increases which are putting them far above their projected household expenditures.. problems that are an inconvenience to those in middle and upper income classes, but which are about to cause real hardships in those households on lower incomes and benefits..
But it's a drop in the ocean.
It will not stop inflation.. up a half today at 3.8%..
It will not stimulate industries around the country by kick-starting the likes of housing starts.. major appliance replacements.. or stop the slide in the value of existing properties and the creation of negative personal equity..
Gordon's been the Prime Minister for just over a year the now. But he was Chancellor of the Exchequer for ten years with Tony.. and is the man responsible for bringing us, through his policies and timed sell-offs.. into the position we enjoy today.
It's as though he's driven us all in a two-ton removal van a mile and a half down an allyway with a half-inch clearance between two buildings..
Gods help the man left with the task of backing us back out.. He'll not be given much time, and figuratively speaking, there'll be a gun to his head..

Haven't mentioned the New Yorker's infamous cover yet, for the simple reason that as a broadcaster, we were taught never to report on suicides..
A stupid, stupid editorial decision.

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