A new hope…

Well the rebel alliance has struck a genuine blow against the evil empire. Forgive the Star Wars reference but I feel it’s relevant.

My Youngest just messaged us to say “Can I come and live in Canada now the UK is going down in flames?”
To which we said “Sure. For a fee.” We’re practical folk.

Not that the UK will go down in flames. The European Union will. It is a solution that creates too many problems in a desire to shoehorn too many diverse nations under one set of laws, without understanding that those laws have to be simple enough for everyone to understand and abide by. Nor does it understand that real prosperity comes from ordinary people doing ordinary things every day of their lives rather than unelected bureaucrats making seemingly random rules and regulations.

Bags I be Obi-Wan Kenobi, or as Mrs S has just observed “I always think of you more as Chewbacca.” Heavy sigh.

Money, it’s a gas

Well actually, yes. For those willing to pay a little attention and try not to get frightened by all those pesky zero’s, Billions, Trillions and ones it’s quite interesting. I used to tune out of discussions about finance, until that is, I learned about international currency transfers. Now to illustrate my points I’m going to add a little bit of code to my sidebar over the next day or so, linking to Xe.com or CurrenciesDirect.com, who are two of the services I use when moving money around the world. Just so those interested can get more source information without having to navigate the factoids twisted by someone with an agenda, be they politician, speculator or ‘journalist’. Why? Because, unlike people, numbers don’t lie. Both web sites are having difficulties at the time of writing, and I know all the brokers (Cheers, guys) are working double shifts.

Here’s an interesting question (And I wish my younger self had understood this better).

Q: What is money?
A: The means of exchange, also a process.
Er.. WTF Bill? That’s bollocks. Money is a thing that you possess, what rich gits have and no one else does, surely?
Not so, and don’t call me Shirley. Money evolved from Barter as a representation for a sack of foodstuff as people began to notice it was a whole lot easier to carry round small pieces of rock, metal tokens or specially marked paper rather than have a chicken hanging off your belt in order to pay this weeks tithe. Money does not cluck, for one thing (Although in the right circumstances it can be made to sing), and can be recirculated so that the token can come to represent anything. The token or paper has no real intrinsic value of it’s own, but the token becomes the amount it represents. Also, the cost of producing the token has no bearing on the value of the token itself. Got that? A gold coin, for example, has the value that everyone agrees it is worth. No more, no less. A paper or plastic bank note likewise, is only ‘worth’ what everyone agrees is its value. Neither the coin, regardless of metallic composition, nor the note have any real value. A simple proof of this concept is to offer a gold coin to someone for a sack of spuds whilst there’s a shortage of spuds and a glut of gold coins from people desperate to be fed and breathing at the end of next week. Gold may be US$1270 or thereabouts an ounce today, but what was it six months ago, or last year, or forty years ago? Ampex Chart here.

In short, all value is relative. Stock prices and bond prices are what they are because all the traders agree this is their value. It’s a concept so elegantly simple that even I can understand it.

Well that’s all very well Bill you old smartarse, but what about wealth redistribution, or guaranteed base income? What about ‘fairness’?
I’ll come to that later you cheeky little scrote. Show a bit more respect or I’ll set the Igors on you. Did you get the bit about “All value is relative”? Remember it, it’s very important. Like at the moment with the uncertainty over Brexit, the pound is plunging on the markets. I know this because I am a fully paid up international capitalist, albeit in a small way, and make it my business to watch these things as they happen. I probably ‘made’ CAD$500 last night by timing a small international money transfer correctly. Although if the pound rebounds in the next few days or the fop does something economically irresponsible to make CAD sink through the floorboards, I’ll have ‘lost’ it again. It’s not Dragon Magic. In the meantime I’m quids in.

Right; ‘Fairness’, ‘redistribution of wealth’ et cetera are empty buzzwords which keep on getting bandied about by those without an understanding of simple economics. They’re empty political soundbites which really mean; “We’re going to take money off you and give it to our friends who vote for us to stay in our cushy non-jobs.” Which isn’t actually generating anything, in fact it’s a classic method of how to shrink an economy. As for ‘guaranteed base income’; that’s a thousand truck highway pileup just waiting to happen. It’s an economic train derailment of an idea. If it’s brought in over here I’m going into the alcohol and marijuana distribution business, because that’s exactly where the money will go. Not rent payments. Not on a better diet. Not paying increased Hydro (Electricity) bills because much of that ‘redistributed’ cash will go in politicians boondoggles and subsidies. Because the remainder will go straight into the dispensaries, liquor stores and bars. Hey, I’ve seen too much of human nature close up and personal not to be cynical.

Anyway, that’s besides the point. All value being relative. Which is the only absolute in terms of money. Trade is trade, and the big secret of trading is what? Come on. I’m waiting. That person at the back whining that it’s cheating and everyone would be better off under socialism, WRONG! (Venezuela, Cough, cough, isn’t that yet another failing socialist regime? Like all the others?)

The answer is timing. Like space is relative to time, like surfing is to waves, comedy or music, so is money to trade. Which is why I ‘made’ five hundred bucks in two hours last night. My small amount of money is now worth that much more because the markets got talked into a panic. That much on a basic 5K transfer.

All this came about because the pound ‘plunged’ in the wake of the UK referendum vote (Two weeks ago it was 1.78 CAD per GBP. Last night it was 1.87). If you had a little money put by in say, dollars, now would be the time to buy Sterling. Or invest in some stocks and shares when their markets hit bottom on Friday. Because there’s a bloody good chance it’ll all bounce back on Monday morning when everyone who panic-sold has sobered up and thought about it. Only to find the cash-rich Chinese have pounced and driven prices back up. Markets are like that.

As for the whiny little tossers on Twitter saying that the older ‘Leave’ voters have just screwed the ‘Remain’ young. Wrong again. The older folks who voted ‘leave’ may have given their heirs (Providing Britain is allowed to leave the EU on such a narrow margin) the legacy of having a vote that actually counts for something. The freedom to choose their own time and place. Their own futures. To take the tide of fortune and sail to riches or failure (I’ve done both – still here). By their own efforts. Which is far more valuable than anything the unelected EU Commissars will ever let them have, and they can take that to the bank. Or in the case of the EU commissioners, not.

Enter title here…

Vintage mosquitosMe and my big mouth. Mrs S was complaining about mosquito bites last week. I made the cardinal error of saying; “They seem to be leaving me alone this year.” Ouch, ouch. Itch. One (Two? Three?) of the little sods got into my office and now I’m paying for my Hubris. Socks and long sleeves are now order of the day. Bugger. I have fumigated twice, and the little bastard(s) is (are?) still treating me like an all you can eat buffet. Where’s the Raid?

Meanwhile, other annoyances over on the other side of the Atlantic.

Watch (again?). Digest. Consider.

The UK’s reasons for leaving the EU should be economic, not emotional, and the economics are screaming “Get out!”. The cost benefit analysis is clear. A similarly honest SWOT analysis also comes out in favour of leaving. Too many rules and regulations, too many protectionist tariffs, few real benefits for the working man / woman / whatever. Not to mention the economic threat of mass migration from a hostile culture via Turkey and it’s attendant cost of 3billion GBP per year extra on the poor bloody British taxpayer. Never mind helping the third world, if it stays in the EU, Britain will become third world. Like Hmm, let me see, Rotherham for example.

Although I have a strong suspicion that actually implementing any British exit from the bureaucratic morass that is the EU will be strongly resisted. Will the unelected bureaucrats and has-been politicians of the EU Commission let Britain leave, even if there is a landslide vote in favour of doing so? Other referendums have been dismissed for not voting the right way, so what do the British do if Brussels and Strasbourg don’t like the vote result and say “Non, no, you can’t go”? To which there is only one answer; “Hey, hey, we won’t pay.” Off with their contributions, say I.

Last word: Britain has tried ‘reform the EU from the inside’ – didn’t work then, won’t work now.

Which begs the question; Is there a can of Raid big enough to get rid of the bloodsucking bureaucrats of the EU?

Meanwhile, away from the politics…

A pick a nic basketPolitics, like all creepy crawlies, gets everywhere doesn’t it? However, today I will be making a strenuous effort to avoid the wretched topic by staying away from the Interweb and going out for a picnic. We’ve been doing quite a bit of that recently. Going out to the park, choosing a shady spot away from all the noise, and just sitting to relax and partake of a little light lunch and delve into something literary. We’ve even got a proper picnic basket, just like the one in the picture. We have a small cool box for the food, a chill sleeve for the wine. Well, non alcoholic Cider really, as I don’t drink and drive, ever. Not even one glass of wine with a meal, but that’s just me. All of which fits in the pictured basket. Stylish, huh? Well I think so. No sitting on insect infested blankets for us, as we’ve also purchased two sturdy and very comfortable lightweight folding chairs which now live in the back of our pert little SUV.

Anyway, today’s little repast is spinach, salami and cheese stuffed chicken breasts, a small side salad with my patented hard boiled eggs (Large egg, boil for 8 minutes and 45 seconds only, then immediately dump into iced water for half an hour before serving – golden yolks with a still oozing centre) and a couple of nice crusty buns. I would have included a couple of small slices of cheesecake, but felt that would be gilding the lily. Did also toy with the idea of Salmon (It’s cheaper than chips locally at the moment), but decided against it. The idea of taking a small barbecue along has been mooted, but frankly they’re just too much fuss. Especially for just two of us.

Such is currently setting the tenor for our Late Spring / Early Summer Sunday afternoons. Mrs S and I chew the fat, set the world to rights, read, or just watch the antics of everyone else letting their kids burn off steam away from their Xboxes. Which is as pleasant a way of spending an afternoon as I can think of, short of fishing. Which is the next step. Leaving Mrs S to watch while I do some casting practice so she can have a giggle when I screw up. I can think of worse ways to spend my downtime.

The idea for today is to avoid politics. No American election news or reading about the forthcoming EU Referendum. Even though Mrs S insisted upon reading an article from the Spectator to me this morning about Donald Trump. Yes, he’s pissed off all the political insiders, which is no bad thing. They’ve had it all their own way for too long, made too many messes, and need a kick up their collective arses. Frankly I don’t care about whether some journalist thinks he’s ‘presidential material’ or not. I’ll reserve judgement until if and when he actually gets elected. The scary lady hasn’t finished singing yet. Or is there an Aria yet to be composed when the FBI finish messing around and decide to play hardball?

That is speculation for another day. For today we are going on a picnic.

Who said that….

” I think it will take a nonpolitician to break the logjam. Somebody with a big-picture outlook. “

I wonder who said that back in 2000? Hmmm.

First to answer doesn’t get a prize for being a smartass. I wouldn’t like to be around to argue with the mildly scary guys who are volunteering to do extra security for his supporters either. Oddly enough, I’ve seen rent-a-mobs fade away from such a robust response. Well, they don’t want their asses handed to them on a plate. It’s why vegan activists generally don’t throw things at big guys wearing lots of leather.

Gosh, this looks like it’s going to be fun.

My ten cents worth..

I think the world and his wife / husband / hamster have commented on a possible Brexit and everyone has an opinion. I’ve read the reports, all the scaremongering articles, watched the pound recently dip over ten cents against the US and Canadian Dollars and the UK property market take a hit. What my observations have told me is this: The ‘Remain’ faction are talking bollocks. Complete and utter crap. They’re just throwing out unsupportable assertions with little basis in fact. As for ‘Sir’ Bob Geldof getting a whole bunch of media types to hate on ordinary working people having a legitimate protest on the Thames the other day. Heavens to Murgatroyd, the guy’s Irish for Pete’s sake.

As for poor Jo Cox, that was tragic. Apparently she got in the way of a psycho having a bust up with somebody else, and all the allegations that the psycho shouted “Britain first” and targeted her have been made up by elements in the lamestream. No such thing was heard by most eyewitnesses.  Not that it matters, because the whole circus is designed to tar all those who want out of the EU with the same ‘spot the looney’ brush.  (Post updated June 19th)  As I have observed before, it’s awfully hard to change someone’s mind when you’ve just blown their brains out.  Changed minds are better.

Regardless of dead campaigners and other shenanigans which have nothing to do with the real issues, the simple truth is that the UK gets less out of the EU than it puts in for no real monetary gain and a whole shitload of bureaucratic interference. To the tune of just under a thousand pounds sterling a year cost in extra taxation per family (This may be a low estimate; some say this is down to every taxpayer). The UK could put that money to good use, like oo, lemme see, paying off the national debt for one. Or feeding the fiscal black hole which is the NHS.

Then the UK could take back control of its fisheries and a whole lot of other stuff. As a deep sea sport fisherman, I often used to despair at the wastefulness of the Common Fisheries Policy and noticed how catches around UK coasts declined throughout the 1980’s and 90’s. Then seeing French and Spanish purse seiners swanning around inside Eddystone, hoovering up everything in their path.

There’s also the risk to startups posed by the beginning in 2017 of the EU’s Unified Patent Court, which promise to make it easier for the big guys with teams of lawyers to nick ideas and screw over small innovators by getting patents bought and paid for before the inventors can. Everything in the EU is guided by the interests of big corporate entities, who are the only ones able to afford enough legal eagles to successfully fight an action through the court system. The little guy hasn’t the wherewithal to do so. It’s hard enough to get a business going.  Especially in these straitened times.

Then there’s the abuse of EU arrest warrants, which have often been used for petty rather than major crimes, and on one notorious occasion resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of a UK citizen for murder, even though his alleged victim was alive and well (Link to Fairtrials article here).

How about the EU’s expansion and military interference in the Ukraine? We could do without stirring up the Russkies, and perhaps now they’re reasonably capitalist, make some advantageous trade deals instead of trying to muscle in on the regions natural gas supplies? Which, I might add is a failed strategy. The military invasions of Hitler and Napoleon are still fresh in Russian memory, and look what happened to them.

Let’s face it; the EU one-size-fits-all top down model doesn’t work. The only people who really derive any benefit from the EU are those directly employed by it, the big corporate entities who lobby to bring in cheap labour, the politicians who get to virtue signal, and those who receive funding from the ‘redistributed’ extra taxation. Everyone else just pays. And pays. And gets more and more snowed under by ‘compliance’ issues. While a few have ultra modern offices and little empires within the EU empire.

If the whole rotten edifice of the EU collapses with the threatened Brexit, as far as small entrepreneurial businesses are concerned, it might not be such a bad thing overall for the people of Europe. Without the bureaucrats to siphon huge tranches of tax money away to spend on their boondoggles, all the people of Europe (As opposed to the EU) might just be a whole lot better off. We’ll still have to trade, and maybe some kind of free trade area can arise from the ashes. French farmers protests and Turkey threatening to flood Europe with refugees notwithstanding.

… and yet more words…

Hmm. While I’m still wrangling over resources I was having the odd thought. With regard to BREXIT, what happened to a country that said “Nei!” to the EU. Oh yes, dear little Norway, and how are they doing? You know, still having control of their borders, fisheries and resources and all?
Hoe is Norway

After all those lies and veiled threats of economic disaster? Which never came to pass…

….and a word or two

…from the writings of Winston Churchill. Specifically from chapter two of ‘The River War – an account or the reconquest of the Sudan‘ Fate of the Envoy, which describes the circumstances surrounding the death of Gordon of Khartoum.

“All great movements, every vigorous impulse that a community may feel, become perverted and distorted as time passes, and the atmosphere of the earth seems fatal to the noble aspirations of its peoples. A wide humanitarian sympathy in a nation easily degenerates into hysteria. A military spirit tends towards brutality. Liberty leads to licence, restraint to tyranny. The pride of race is distended to blustering arrogance. The fear of God produces bigotry and superstition. There appears no exception to the mournful rule, and the best efforts of men, however glorious their early results, have dismal endings, like plants which shoot and bud and put forth beautiful flowers, and then grow rank and coarse and are withered by the winter. It is only when we reflect that the decay gives birth to fresh life, and that new enthusiasms spring up to take the places of those that die, as the acorn is nourished by the dead leaves of the oak, the hope strengthens that the rise and fall of men and their movements are only the changing foliage of the ever-growing tree of life, while underneath a greater evolution goes on continually.”

Busy with teeth grindingly frustrating family financial matters at present. Will post something a bit more interesting and closer to home in a day or two.

A short pause

… for a commercial break and a word from our sponsor.

Still hereWell, isn’t all the doom and gloom out there wonderful? The world is supposed to end today. Again? On a Saturday? Bugger. Is there still time for morning coffee? Well, they missed the last big one, so I presume the “We’re all doomed” faction got it wrong yet again. Why do some people want the world to end? Can’t they make it in this one? Sheesh.

Talking of doomsaying, we’re told voting for Brexit will cause economic chaos. Well colour me sceptical, but the odds are that any extrication from the bloated monster that is the EU is going to take a few years at least. Even if the ‘out’ faction win by a massive landslide. In which time new trade treaties can be negotiated with new partners, so the transition doesn’t promise to be as traumatic as the ‘Remain’ camp would have everyone believe. There will no doubt be a couple of wobbles, but trade won’t come to a crashing halt, and the City of London and all its important financial markets will keep on humming away. Quite frankly I think the UK will be far better off without the bureaucratic busybodies of Brussels and Strasbourg. The EU on the other hand, will be in deep shit, having just lost its third largest contributor. Boo-fcuking-hoo.

Then there’s all the “You’ll die if you eat this” faction in uproar. What happened there? The official report, which has annoyed many lobby groups, has come out with a solid “No it doesn’t.” Repeat after me. Dietary cholesterol does not equal blood cholesterol. Dietary fat does not equal body fat. We wouldn’t need a digestive system if they did. A carbohydrate rich diet on the other hand does result in more body fat. Snacking on Pizza and fries with a large side of chocolate while sitting on your arse watching daytime TV is probably the culprit for the much vaunted ‘obesity crisis’. As for ‘low-fat’, what do you think replaces the fat? Starch fillers, that’s what. The ‘official’ advice has been wrong for years, and may even have made matters worse. Who knew, eh?

Make mine a large steak with a small side salad. I may go fishing this afternoon.

TTFN

Expatriate expostulations from Canada; a.k.a. A Sarcastic man abroad

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