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

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yet another end to an era..
The last of the Cold War atomic 'bunker-busters' is in the process of being dismantled on a Texas Army base.. These bombs were designed to land softly on a target, then detonate on the surface.. simulating an earthquake.. This final relic was 600 times more powerful than the one dropped on Hiroshima..
But.. as human nature demands..
That bomb, and those of it's ilk.. have been superseded by bombs that burrow into the ground and then explode..
Someone in the MoD must be wearing a wry smile..

Monday, October 24, 2011

Let's see now..
EU Finance Ministers have voted to give Greece the next tranche in their bailout loans.. flagrantly tossing cash down the loo..
And as this is written, the debate goes on in Parliament concerning a referendum on whether or not Britain should become a full member of the EU..
If this should come to pass, one would only hope that there be included a choice to return to Thatcher's 'single market'..
Now, it appears this is a major rebellion, perhaps the first of Cameron's Premiership.. as many as 70 Conservative members may refuse the whip, and vote for this issue to be brought before the people..
Should this referendum decide that this country should not only be in Europe, but in the heart of Europe, this diarist, for one, will look for residence in Canada..

Cameron and French President Sarkozy have had words over Britain's involvement in Wednesday's meeting of EuroZone Finance Ministers..
Sarkozy wanted attendance to be confined to those 17 countries which actually use the uro.. in fact.. the French Head of State said, somewhat bluntly.. "We are sick of you criticising us and telling us what to do."
The infighting between France, Germany, and Britain.. should we apply for full membership and take on the Euro.. would render the group impotent through endless debates on bailout payments..
And, are we willing to give that much power, legislative, judicial, financial, to a group which can only be compared to a sinking ship..?
The EuroZone’s debt crisis might already have pushed the bloc’s economy back into recession, according to business surveys that showed China’s economy taking a stride forward in October..
Purchasing managers’ indexes (PMIs) today.. only served to underscore why Europe’s leaders are scrambling to identify substantial and lasting measures to contain a sovereign debt crisis that knocked EuroZone businesses into a second month of decline in October..
Not encouraging.. although there are those who would argue that the current situation is not a 'double-dip' recession, but merely a continuation of the damage caused in the US with the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac..
This worldwide problem, excluding China apparently, brings fond memories of 1988, when the situation was bad, but not nearly as bad as they are today.. or will be tomorrow..
British inflation is up to 5.2%.. if there is more quantitative easing, watch that figure climb..
The flash Markit EuroZone composite PMI, which measures business activity at thousands of manufacturers and service sector companies, sank to 47.2 this month from 49.1.. some way below the 50 mark that divides growth from contraction..
That was below every forecast from 19 economists polled by Reuters, to say nothing of the consensus for 48.8.. Survey compiler Markit said it was consistent with a 0.5% rate of quarterly decline in GDP..
“All in all this is a miserable report, highlighting the fact that the euro zone is falling into recession again,” said Peter Vanden Houte, chief euro zone economist at ING Financial Markets..
“The snail-like progress in the resolution of the European debt crisis is unlikely to alter this picture soon.”..

Thursday, October 20, 2011

And so it comes to an end..
Mohammar.. out, not with a bang, but a whimper..

More later..

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Another dinner party discussion which led us into dissecting our current worldwide situation..
Now.. as has been written here before.. figures which describe our National Debt.. are far and beyond comprehension.. Financial experts toss about sums which the man on the street cannot possibly imagine, and thus, in incomprehension, a certain comfort is associated with 'trillions' of Pounds Sterling.. of American dollars..
The latest reports have the UK public sector net debt in July 2011 at £940.1 billion.. or 61.4% of GDP.. Now, if all financial sector intervention is included..such as the Royal Bank of Scotland.. Lloyds.. et al.. , the Net debt in July 2011 was £2266.3 billion.. or 148.0 per cent of GDP.. This is known as the unadjusted measure of public sector net debt..
Now lets break that down into something perhaps a bit more understandable..
If we say, that taking all those at work into account and the various incomes they earn.. we could strike a mean amount for 'work hours'.. Lets set that at say, £30 an hour.. we get something close to 75 billion work hours, and that is the true measure of our debt..
This is the depth of the hole our particular government is looking at climbing out of.. Finding some 75 billion hours of productive work.. and that which it pays to each individual worker.. to be applied to an intangible electronic debtor against an equally intangible debt..
And further.. the cost of National debt is the interest the government has to pay on the bonds and gilts it sells.. In the first six months of 2010, the debt interest payments were £21.6billion, suggesting an annual cost of around £43bn.. or 3% of GDP..
And perhaps more disturbing.. it is estimated National debt will could rise close to 100% of GDP by 2012.. It is far and away above the government’s sustainable investment rule of 40% maximum..
But tell the man on the street, that what's needed is 75 billion of his and her hourly wage.. and a light might begin to come on..
Food for thought..
And more on this as the concept is digested..

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Quantitative easing has hit Britain..
It must be said, that printing money to hand to the banks, so more is available for loans to small businesses.. is an insane solution..
While some jobs may be created.. this will do nothing for us in the long run.. as has been evidenced in the US..
Barack himself took some shots, in preparation for next years election campaign..
Obama spoke at a White House news conference after thousands of anti-Wall Street demonstrators protested at New York’s financial district and in several U.S. cities this week against economic inequality and the power of American financial institutions..
“I think people are frustrated and the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based suspicion about how our financial system works,” Obama told reporters..
This from a man who can't seem to get his national unemployment figures below 9%..
But back here..
It's not hard to imagine what this will do to our ageing population as they claim their pensions for their 'golden years'.. annuity payments for those still working will continue to rise..
We are seeing big industry laying off workers by the thousands.. even the venerable BBC is cutting staff by 2 thousand.. and the Gods alone what those journalists.. presenters.. actors.. will find new employment..
What we can look for now, is inflation to begin rising.. despite the Bank of England holding interest rates at 0.5% until 2013, at least..
This situation as it stands today.. has the EuroZone in utter financial turmoil.. Britain not far behind.. the US imploding.. Japan struggling under the weight of shrinking world markets and the cost of natural disasters.. the entire world playing electronic Monopoly with sums of money which defy imagination..
One must wonder how long it will take to repair this worldwide problem..
Our grandchildren will still be struggling.. and what history will have to say concerning the first decade of this new millennium will reflect the fumbling manner in which our leaders have dealt with this situation..

Sunday, October 02, 2011

And as the world continues to turn..

The Greek Finance Ministry has announced that they won't be able to meet the deficit-cutting moves, as stipulated implicitly in the terms of their 'bail-out loans'..
No surprise there..
The country’s deficit this year is expected to reach 8.5% of GDP, or €18.69-billion ..$25.2-billion U.S.. higher than the targeted €17.1billion.. $23.1-billion.. That would have called for a reduction to 7.8%.. And, there's more.. They have a €2billion hole in their budget.. and yet even more.. that next years recovery rates won't be reached either..
Since May 2010.. Greece has been reliant on regular payouts of loans from a €110billion .. $150billion.. bailout from other Euro Zone countries.. Germany for the most part, but French Banks are heavily exposed as well.. and the International Monetary Fund.. It was granted a second €109billion package in July.. but details of that deal remain to be worked out..
The 2012 budget is projected to reduce the deficit to €14.68billion..$19.82billion, or 6.8% of GDP..
Excluding serving Greece’s debt, the budget is projected to have a primary surplus of €3.2billion, or 1.5% of GDP, meaning that Greece’s debt will stop growing, as a percentage of GDP..
Or so they'd like to think..
But with the government 'suspending' some 28 thousand public sector workers on partial pay, and an unemployment rate closing in on 15%.. they are simply creating yet more of a social vacuum..
Already, there have been sometimes violent demonstrations against the current 'austerity cuts' in most major Greek cities..
But in truth.. what has Greece to offer it's people in the way of employment..? There is no heavy industry.. in fact, beyond shipping, wind and water generated electricity and tourism.. Greece brings nothing to the table..
Once again, let us pose, as a possible solution.. true integration of the European Zone.. take those with practical skills who cannot seem to find work in Spain and Italy.. those who have been turned away from closing factories.. and rather than pouring money into maintaining a debt which cannot feasibly ever be paid.. And instead offer incentives for big business to build manufacturing plants.. employing those unemployed Europeans with work in Greece.. Simultaneously, Greek unemployed would work alongside, learning the trade so to speak..
The establishment of new industry is an absolute necessity for any economy.. and it seems only too obvious that the solution for economies the likes of Greece.. Portugal.. Eire.. Spain.. Italy.. is to attract foreign investment.. To provide true growth means expanding the tax base and reducing State expenditures.. and that means jobs.. and this is a course of action which must be made with some expediency.. for we have spawned a truly 'Lost Generation'..
The alternative is something thoroughly unpleasant to imagine.. Literally millions throughout the West living just at, or just below, what would be considered the poverty line.. The end of any vestige, if any remains now, of a 'work ethic'.. simmering unrest with any government elected to power, as the rich still get richer while the poor get poorer, accompanied by a general malaise.. ennui..
Admittedly, that's not the end of the story..
This has happened before..
Ahh.. Laetus Agricola..

Natural disasters abound..
The Philippines has been battered.. Rescuers scrambled today to deliver food and water to hundreds of villagers stuck on rooftops for days because of flooding in the the north.. where back-to-back typhoons have left at least 59 people dead..
Typhoon Nalgae slammed ashore in northeastern Isabela province Saturday.. then barreled across the main island of Luzon's mountainous north and agricultural plains.. still sodden from fierce rain and winds unleashed by a howler just days earlier.. Nalgae left at least three people dead Saturday..
Typhoon Nesat killed 56 others and left 28 missing in the same region before blowing out Friday..

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