Archive for the ‘economy’ Category


My anxiety and sense of loss begins to subside. The one and I are now waiting to see what the future holds for us and our children. Exciting times.

I am slightly surprised that Jeremy Corbin has not stood down following the recent furore in the press and parliament.  But then again, he appears to have attracted about 100,000 new members, predominantly young people. Perhaps Jez is banking on a new wave of socially aware members to reform the Labour Party. Perhaps he wants to step left, away from Neil Kinnocks ‘New Labour’ and return to more socialist values. He would, perhaps, be able to form a proper Labour Opposition unlike the Labory party of Brown, Blair and Milliband.

A new socialism could sweep the country with the interests of the nation put to the fore rather than the interests of those in power. I can live in hope.

The other lot are arguing among themselves, should it be May or Leadsom. Now as an incumbent of the Sty I have no love for Mrs May. She may be a ‘local lass’ in that she was born where I now live, but she has not be fulsome in her support for my colleagues and I.

On the other hand Leadsom is a paid up member of the grab the money and run club for bankers. May is equally tainted with scandal so the choice for the Tories is bad or worse effectively.

Our friends in UKIP make the Lib Dems look irrelevant at the moment. However I understand that we are safe.  Whilst at this time there is no leader (bit of a theme, it must be the holidays) it has been announced to the public that UKIP will monitor negotiations to make sure we get what they want. Unfortunately it is not entirely clear what it is that they bring to the table.

So it is exciting times. There is no precedent for what is about to happen. Will the Tories elect the self confessed Thatcher mark 2 or the current Home Secretary. Will Labour keep Corbin or shuffle back to the right for more Tory nonsense. Will UKIP ever have anything positive to bring to the table or just shout about the evil immigrants. Will anyone come up with a plan, who will negotiate with Europe and what will the country look like in 10 years time. I hope I will not be too senile to comprehend.

I have a thought. It has been said that whatever happens there will not be enough time for the PM to run the country and negotiate our exit. If that is true perhaps a Brexiteer could be nominated to negotiate (Boris anyone?) while the PM deals with the country and navigating it and its citizens through this difficult time, ensuring there is no breakdown in law and order. By this I mean attacks on our current migrant population. The business of ensuring economic stability in the transition period and establishing closer ties with our Commonwealth friends, if we have any.

Overall my excitement is tarnished only by my own unease in leaving important decisions about my life and the countries future in the hands of people who have amply proved themselves, time and time again, to be dishonest, untrustworthy and corrupt.

I hope I am wrong.


On the 8th May 1945 the war in Europe came to an end. VJ day was celebrated in August of that year. I have no first-hand knowledge of these events not being born until 1957. I was born three years after rationing ended in Britain although the effects of the war continued well into the 80’s so far as the dairy industry were concerned.Britain joined the European Community in 1973. At the time I was living at home with my parents and brother. We were a small family, living in a small home. Times were tough, there was little money to support the family even though both of my parents worked hard. But I felt loved and safe and cared for.

My memories of life, pre 1973, are smoky coal fires, a coke hot water boiler, the winter of 1962-63, shortages of everything, dark days, even in milder winters scraping ice from the inside of my bedroom window. Grey men in grey clothing happy but poor. Support from neighbours, even for the old and cantankerous Mrs White who lived next door.

Produce was scarce, fruit and veg poor quality unless it was home grown. Cheap cuts like Oxtail from the butcher. Local shops of questionable cleanliness selling bread, greengrocery, butchery and sweets. Sweets, but not as they would be recognised today.

Things did not improve overnight. But slowly, incrementally, my family’s lot improved. Wages rose, the family became better off. There was more to eat both in quantity and variety. Little luxuries became affordable. We were able to buy a car to go with the van my father used for work, we even got a telephone. We all learned to answer the telephone, ‘Horsham 61618’. As a family we had entered the modern era.

By 1975, the time of the referendum, I was a soldier. I was serving in Germany as part of the occupying British Army of the Rhine. I felt no animosity from our German cousins. I also served in Belgium and France with trips to Holland. Nothing from the population but friendly intercourse. Convivial sharing of food, wine, stories. Things seemed, to me at least, to be normal. Normal that is except for the ever present threat of annihilation from the Communist Block, which really meant the Soviet Union. We all lived under this threat. Some people chose to ignore what the potential was, this was not an option for me and my comrades.

When I returned home after my discharge, things were so much improved in these United Kingdoms. I accept that I am a soft Southerner. I have no links to t’North save by Marriage. I have no knowledge of the hardships of pit life, working in cotton mills, hill farming and the like. I do have experience of factory working, building work, small holding and small business life. It is true that our close connection caused ‘issues’. Increased paperwork blamed by the UK government on Europe. The disappearance of bent cucumbers and bananas. But life was good.

From a personal point of view, there was increased opportunity for me, if I was prepared to work I could be what I wanted to be. My father always saw this as a betrayal of his way of life I think. Certainly when I was born, when I left school, there could have been no thought of university. No thought of a gap year. No thought of travel. No thought of any kind of trade except building. There was no social mobility. I felt like Ronnie Corbett in the famous TW3 sketch with Ronnie Barker and John Cleese. Stuck in a rut. The only difference being I was not satisfied to accept my lot.

I have seen my parents and friends standard of living grow. Friends from school who stayed in trade, seized their opportunities and live a fulfilling life of a higher standard than any of us had any right to hope for. There were some who fell by the wayside. I met the brother of a boy I was at school with. ‘Paddy’ was always a person I shied away from. However, from living in the poorest part of town, coming from a troubled family, in his late 20’s he had done well for himself. Sadly Cancer took him but even weeks before his death he was fulfilling his stand up bookings. I saw him in an Indian restaurant he was joking and a pleasure to spend time with.

Paddy’s brother, that I was at school with, was a painter and decorator. He was less well off than Paddy, he made money but drank it away. My point is that people do have choices. Those people from my past that I remain in contact with have largely seized their opportunities. They have made a good life and have a standard of living that could not have been dreamed of in 1970. Some fell by the wayside but they were handicapped, not by their upbringing or their neighbours but by their own deficiencies.

My own immediate family, all working class people, born into a time of social stagnation, were released by the opportunities created by this country within a broader Europe. I have witnessed the breakdown of rigid social order which I admit began in the sixties, but was assisted greatly by the introduction of a more European way of thinking. Both of my children are successful in different ways. I am proud of my son, he chose not to indulge in further education and has made a good life for himself. My daughter is an academic, she is able to make her own choices. I honestly believe without the influence of Europe she would not be able to live the life she does.

I have always thought of myself as English first and European second. I have revelled in the company of a variety of people from a number of backgrounds. The cross pollination of ideas and beliefs is stimulating and enriching. My friend Salim said to me the day after the referendum, that he was scared. He said that our country is the only country where people are free to practice their own beliefs, religion and are able to express their sexuality without fear. He wondered if this would change.

I too have concerns. Concerns that this country may descend once more to the xenophobic land of the late sixties early seventies. Gangs of WASP’s rampaging the streets fighting anybody they thought might not be pure bred English. That in itself is an oxymoron. We are all out of Africa, by way of the Middle East and Europe.

I have always felt at home in Belgium and Germany. As this country plummets toward isolation my thoughts turn to whether a small flat in Berlin might be a nice place to spend my latter years. A little place in Brugge perhaps, or Dieppe or Lake Garda.

 

 


I am less angry today than I have been for sometime. I had a glorious couple of days with ‘the one’. Findon Sheep Fair was duly attended a blissful day among the livestock.

However, Dave and his chums do seem to have the knack of keeping me where I apparently belong. The doldrums.

Two brief posts for today, rolled into one. Travelling to work today Classic FM announced that the government was to impose stiffer penalties for benefit cheats. This could, we are reliably informed by auntie BEEB, lead to 10 year jail terms for those who claim without merit. Ummmm, if there is so much cell space in Her Majesty’s hotels, why are burglars, murderers and rapists not locked away for a decent amount of time? Me thinks that this may need to be reviewed in the fullness of time. Or, will they just amend the legislation allowing a maximum term of 10 years then issue sentencing guidelines which will tie the hands of the judiciary and force short sentences, with an automatic third off if they behave, oh and the third is calculated off the half at they are expected to serve. ??????

Yes, sentence to five years serve 2.5 and get a third off that if you are good.

The other thing I have noticed, trawling the BEEB’s website, the chancellor who is in charge of the countries money was happy to pay 73.6p for Lloyds shares. The government are thinking about selling 6% of there shares. The current share price is 77.36p. The chancellor is pleased that this is beyond his break even figure of 61p.

I am no mathematical genius. I do know though that if I pay 73.6p for something and I sell it for 61p I have not broken even. I have received no value from the stock in the way of dividend, the government saw to that, I have received no payment or utility of any kind from owning the shares, so I must be out of pocket 12.6p per share.

Indeed at the time the government paid 73.6p per share, the shares were selling for 61p. So we, the people, paid 12.6p over the odds for shares that the chancellor was happy to lose another 12.6p on when he sold! No wonder the country has gone to the dogs.

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Little Island

Posted: September 6, 2013 in economy, Pussy riot, Putin, Russia, UK

With thanks to the BBC for the headline:

Cameron defends Britain in Russia ‘small island’ row
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23984730

Poor old Dave, it’s really not his week. First he loses a vote so he can’t make his name as a war monger, a la Joffrey Baratheon who was keen to lead his forces to battle from behind his mothers skirts. Then Mr Obama couldn’t find time in his busy schedule to give his poodle a nice cuddle, that damn vote again. Now, the leader of the Eastern Europe, Champion bear killer, Judo kai, and archaeologist par excellence, Oppressor of the Pussy Riot and Invincible President forever Vlad Putin has said this green and sceptered land, of which Dave believes himself to be leader, is nothing more than a Small Island.

Whilst the comment is not directly attributed to Uncle Vlad, the comment was made by a Russian Official to the press gathered for the G20, including our very own venerable Auntie BEEB. Now, there are three ways of looking at this.

1. Vlad is losing control over his paid officials. (Anyone out there in any doubt the former Mr KGB centrefold owns everything and everyone?)
2. The official was repeating something he’d overheard being said by Vlad or one of his crony fat cats
3. He is following the official party line.

Of course the swashbuckling ‘Super Dave’ could not let this pass uncommented upon. He is the leader of the most important collection of small rocks this side of St Helena. He immediately waded into the fray swining a metaphorical broadsword highlighting the achievements of this sovereign nation. He must have had lots to chose from, but here is his list as reported by our maiden Aunt.

‘We are very proud of everything we do as a small island”
“Let me be clear – Britain may be a small island but I would challenge anyone to find a country with a prouder history, a bigger heart or greater resilience,” he told reporters.
“Britain is an island that has helped to clear the European continent of fascism and was resolute in doing that throughout the Second World War.
“Britain is an island that helped to abolish slavery, that has invented most of the things worth inventing, including every sport currently played around the world, that still today is responsible for art, literature and music that delights the entire world.
“We are very proud of everything we do as a small island – a small island that has the sixth-largest economy, the fourth best-funded military, some of the most effective diplomats, the proudest history, one of the best records for art and literature and contribution to philosophy and world civilisation.”
He added: “For the people who live in Northern Ireland, I should say we are not just an island, we are a collection of islands. I don’t want anyone in Shetland or Orkney to feel left out by this.”

Well, that showed them then, …. Only, Just what achievements has Dave been responsible for?

Abolition of Slavery Act 1833, major achievement Dave, only it didn’t extend to every rock of the former Empire for some years, probably due to financier pressure. Oh and he forgot to mention we were the nation that openly embraced slavery and exploitation of the poor across the four corners of the globe.

Inventing most things worth mentioning, well we pioneered the use of concentration camps, World domination leading to mass death starvation and poverty. The rape and pillage of societies across the world to form the Empire upon which the sun never set. The settlement of disputes by force, rather than diplomacy. The imposition of foreign forms of government upon nations even as they leave the Empire, however grudgingly granted. The invention of the many weapons of war. (A question, would the longbow qualify as a weapon of mass destruction. I believe it would when viewed historically e.g. Agincourt)

Inventing most things worth mentioning including SPORT? Is that the best you can do Dave?

‘a prouder history, a bigger heart or greater resilience’ all built on the back of your average working man while the Posh stock sit back and accumulate the spoils. Not so much achievements as national character.

Proud of World War two? Of course, but also historical.

Not so historical, art, literature and music. All flourish in spite of rather than because of the present government.

‘a small island that has the sixth-largest economy,’ This cannot conceal, to our own citizens at least, that the economy is f****d. Dave and his banker chums may think everything is lovely and rosy but in the mire where the most of us live things don’t look so great.

‘the fourth best-funded military,’ Behind who? Are we really an example to others merely because we can say our Army is better than your Army? What about care for the young and the elderly? Social equality and integration are obviously less important than having lots of citizens armed to the teeth to beat thoise who disagree into submission.

‘some of the most effective diplomats,’ Who? What are their achievements? I see countries taking little, if any notice, of British Diplomats unless they are supporting the policies / requirements of the US. Where we send diplomats to talk to foreign governments on our own behalf they seem to achieve very little.

So, we are a little cluster of rocks onto which we cling precariously. The corporations domestic and foreign strip this land of wealth and resources. The air, land, sea and rivers are polluted by corporate mismanagement and land is built on, covered by tarmac and concrete leading to increased flooding risk. This once proud nation now cannot even recognise good ideas of others. There are issues with power generation. Take a leaf from the German book and have ALL public buildings fitted with solar PV.

Silly me the damn bosch thought of that one so we can’t be seen to adopt that idea. Actually, if you stop and think, the one thing this country of ours is truly great at is making enemies, even of friends.

Dave, wake up and smell the coffee.


Oh dear, there appears to have been a lovers tiff. Mr Obama, Master of the Universe, Magnificent Leader of Earth, Protector / Dictator of the Oil Rich, ignored of the poor and underprivileged, has no time at G20 for Mr Cameron, the lapdog who couldn’t control Parliament.

Apparently Obi one abama has time to speak to his oldest ally, President Hollande. The British PM’s ‘Special Relationship’ depends on Cameron’s ability to deliver what Uncle Sam wants. Failure leads to instant rejection, being ignored on the world stage. Perhaps Diddy David will be sufficiently miffed by the lack of limelight that he might actually start doing what we pay him to do. Work for the benefit of this nation not jumping through hoops at his masters command. Cameron is not alone of course, it seems that every British Government since at least WW2 has bent over and taken whatever Uncle Sam hands out, for very little recompense.

However, Cameron seems to believe that he can, as reported by the BBC, flex Britains ‘diplomatic muscle’. Dear David, just what muscle are you thinking of. It is not the one between your ears that is for sure.

If our Government had any idea of how the population feels it would not be trying to finance a further expensive war, with an army stretched to breaking point with weapons that must be nearly worn out. It appears that thrift is only a desirable attribute in the masses. The giants who have risen to the dizzy heights of power obviously have no need of thrift, or common sense. They can keep pillaging the finances of the poor to fund there increasingly obnoxious lifestyles.


It has been proposed that the UK should have a cross party commission to plan for proper infrastructure investment and implementation. The idea seems to be to have an overall plan to ensure the renewal and improvement of infrastructure. In addition plans would be considered for new technology to be used for the benefit of the population and to ensure that the countries infrastructure does not wear out.

It seems that the Victorians were the last people to seriously plan in this way. What a sensible idea one might think. If the countries infrastructure is overseen by a cross party commission general elections would have no effect on the continuity of thinking. No need to start from scratch every four years or so. There will be implications from every election of course but the strategic overview would be in the hands of people who are involved for the long haul. People who could leave a lasting legacy to the future generations.

This sounds too good to be true. That’s because it is. Instead of seeing the grander picture the Tories immediately tried to score petty political points by blaming labour for the current state of the country. Now that may or may not be true, who knows. But is it not better to look forward rather than harking back to Mr Brown, or whoever. What is done is done. Parliament should be able to rise above squabbling about the past and plan to resolve the problems of tomorrow. Mistakes have been made on both sides of the house, they continue to be made on both sides of the house. Is it not better to try and resolve the big issues together?

Children will always want to chant ‘My team is better than yours’ but can this not be saved for the little arguments, not matters that effect the entire population? Of course, such common sense is unlikely to bear fruit. Infrastructure is not sexy, no names to be made just the quiet satisfaction of serving ones country. The Victorians would see this as reward enough but today the only desire appears to be for fame, publicity and as much money as can be garnered in a lifetime.

Put aside petty politics all you servants of the people in Westminster, actually come together and serve the country rather than your own self interest. There is no real difference between your parties just varying shades of grey. Accept this and work for a brighter future for this nation, not the US or any other part of the planet. When this broken land is restored to health then can we hold our head up and help those who are less fortunate than ourselves.

I am not a religious man, but our leaders purport to be. They feel the need to be seen at church and supporting the Christian myth. They should remember the actions of Jesus in the Temple when he confronted the traders and moneylenders. His attitude to wealth would be a lesson for our leaders. They should not forget that charity begins at home.


The silence weeps oozing into the days
Stretching out into weeks and months
The frackers come, smug, oily hands rub
The expectation of profit flows from there very pores
The nature recoils, trees sigh with sadness
The earth made to heave itself skywards
In shafts of despair

A yellow flowering on the trees and fences
A splash of joy and hope unleashed
Strange people garbed in hues both bright and somber
A gathering of ordinary minds joined as one
One purpose many minds power exponentially multiplied
The pawns of the state used to suppress freedom
A bad law misapplied a legacy of Thatcher

A week or two pass our masters gaze distracted
The people remain with their black clad chaperone
Cameron is diverted he smells oil in the air
Petty politics rises with votes to beat him
His cabinet wail at lost trips oe’er the pond
They have no clue of plebeian muses
Mutterings in corners not seen by the great

The drones are restless things fall apart
Money is worthless life beyond our means
The devil strides the world disguised corporate
Gekko the model, greed is the king
You fanfare destruction our green earth is dying
Small steps derided economy ignored
The way forward is spend buy and store.