Tag Archives: UK

Told you so

Well colour me cynical. Not that I’m a nice person anyway. My days of wide eyed innocence were lost many moons ago. But today’s news of a top level resignation has me sitting here with a smug smile on my face. Back in March 2015 I wrote:

“…anyone taking a new, PC sanitised Top Gear on will have to be really, really, good, or more likely be so blindly ambitious they don’t realise they’re committing career Seppuku…”

Bye, bye Chris Evans. Told you so. When I told Mrs S, she promptly punched the air with a shouted “YES!” She doesn’t like Evans either, he’s “Just loud.”. Me, I think he’s a very noisy one trick pony. Some people find him funny, but then they’d probably have a good giggle at a public execution.

No seriously; the Beeb tried to ‘keep the old format’ and re-create the same kind of car show. Which was a mistake. And like the vast majority of remakes it turned the revamped show into a complete turkey which threatens to fold after only one year. By contrast Clarkson’s version ran for thirteen years.

So, the new revamped Top Gear looks like sinking without trace whilst The Grand Tour, starring Clarkson, May and Hammond comes out sometime this year on Amazon Prime. Which may get shown here on Shomi, as for some reason known only to Canadian Broadcasting, we can’t get Amazon Prime north of the 49th parallel. Not that I watch TV anyway. Well, apart from advert-free streaming on Netflix and Shomi. At least I get to choose which repeats I watch.

Not that we’ll be watching much for the next week or so as we’re going into conference mode. Mrs S and I are heading over to the mainland and then down south of the border for a few days to partake of our respective conferences and shop for a few electronic bits and bobs before heading back home for the rest of the Summer. The only trip I intend making after that for 2016 is to hire a motorcycle and pootle off up island some time in August or early September. Maybe the week after Labour Day, when the weather is still good and the crowds have all gone.

Interesting…

I’ve just been fielded an email about the UK’s referendum to exit the European Union. Specifically about this press release from London Law firm Miscon De Reya’s legal challenge regarding the EU Referendum result. Oddly enough on behalf of anonymous clients. The briefest précis of which is to forbid the UK’s Prime Minister ‘triggering’ Article 50 without a full parliamentary debate and act of Parliament.

However, there are differing opinions; the Jack of Kent blog runs a legal thought experiment on whether or not, because the intent had already been stated to ‘trigger’ article 50 if the British people voted in favour of leaving, then a Parliamentary debate and act of Parliament is unnecessary.

Pass it on; this looks like being fun.

So…

Another day, another picnic. Today I have prepared Tacos and Southern Fried (In my case baked) chicken. Previous taste tests have been positive, so I’m sticking with the tried and trusted today.

Anyway; what’s new out in the wider world?

I see 50,000-odd (Some odder than others) people have been marching against Democracy in London. By comparison; London February 15th 2003, around 750,000 protested against the Iraq war. Didn’t make a spit of difference. 50,000 by comparison, some of whom (If you read the text) are not UK citizens and therefore not eligible to vote in a UK referendum, making the protest a mere drop in the ocean. Not that the anti-Iraq war protests really achieved anything. Blair still committed the UK’s armed forces. 50,000? As the French would say; “Call that a march? It’s not even a Janvier – pff”

Similarly; Mrs S’s Open University course on the EU is proving lively, with a great many sceptical voices in the forums. It’s an online course with people from as far away as Brazil and New Zealand taking part. She tells me that only one pro-EU voice spoke out to indulge in a single trollish ad hominem attack against everyone else, which was promptly ignored. I think the person who made the bitter remark subsequently left the course in a huff as they haven’t been heard from since. Or possibly even huff a minute. (Ouch. Sorry, I’ll get me coat)

Over here the Postal workers are going on strike next week. I will be using UPS myself for important documentation. They get my packages and letters where needed on time every time. Not in three bloody weeks (For Air mail no less!) I have some important legal documents to go to the UK next week and am not entrusting sensitive documents to Canada Post. I can’t afford to muck around either as Mrs S and I are off to a conference on Wednesday and have to get stuff notarised and sent before then. Costs me a hundred and fifty bucks a time for notarising and sending, but as the deal is time sensitive it’s worth the expense.

It’s also National Fishing Week. Which I’m going to miss this year (Again!). Never mind, when I’m back home on the 12th I intend to cast my cares on the waters regardless of whether there’s a festival or not.

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?

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…

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

That Brexit business

I’ve been reading some interesting history about the causes of the American Civil war recently, with more in depth contemporary sources from both sides of the Atlantic. Civil war Bill? Isn’t this post title about the UK leaving the EU? Okay, bear with me. All will become crystal in due course.

Now the US Civil War was fought over slavery, right? That’s what we’re taught in school. Erm… wrong! It began because of taxation. Ever hear of a thing called the Morrill Tariff? Those guys in Fort Sumter that got fired upon, kicking the whole thing off? Tax collectors, there to ensure the collection of said Washington imposed Tariff, which hiked internal Federal import duties for the Southern states from 20 to 47%. Yikes! Much to the annoyance of the Southern states and also the British, who were a major trading partner at the time.

Journalist and anti-slavery campaigner Charles Dickens (Yes, that Charles Dickens) wrote a number of scathing articles criticising the imposition of this tariff increase by the US Federal Government. Which of course went down like a lead balloon with our cousins in the north-eastern USA after they’d feted him in a grand tour. Myth, is it? Don’t think so.

As an aside, I’d never really realised what a nasty piece of work old Abraham Lincoln was. He actually gave orders to instigate the war. Other secret orders followed; orders for executions of civilians. A bizarre mass execution of 38 Minnesota Indians. Carte blanche for rampaging troops to burn and pillage. He wasn’t a lover of non-whites either, preferring to ship them back to Africa and suchlike after the war. Slaves might be freed by the Civil War, but they were definitely unwanted by the North.

As a history buff, I’m often amused by the way people keep on trying the same old games with highly similar results. History never exactly repeats itself, but you don’t have to be a towering intellect to understand that applying the same old answers to the same old questions always ends in tears. So, I’m given to think, will be the results of the breakup of the EU.

Now here’s a scenario. Say the ‘leave’ contingent of the electorate get their way and there is a massive vote to ditch the bureaucratic monstrosity that the EU has become. The UK begins the process of leaving, to which the EU’s response is a demand for a massive ‘penalty’ payment. To which the UK, quite rightly and like the Southern states did in 1861, says “F**k *ff”. The EU then imposes punitive tariffs on exports to the UK, and for a couple of months the Brits can’t get parts for their Fiats, Peugeots, Mercedes or BMW’s for love nor money, and they have to import their wine from Chile and Argentina. Amongst other things. Until said tariffs are circumvented by the simple expedient of shifting the paper trail of European imports via Norway. Norway’s economy booms with this new trade route, much to the chagrin of the Brussels bureaucrats.
Brexit
Unless of course Brexit is the first step in other major contributing countries deciding that the EU is more trouble than it’s worth. France for one. Some of the old Warsaw pact states and of course bankrupt Greece. The whole project could fold if Germany decides it’s not going to keep the whole shebang going on its own. Which would present challenges, but also many opportunities. As well as being one in the eye for those who think that Government always knows best (It doesn’t). Who will not like it, not one little bit, and will take measures of all sorts to make life difficult for countries who want out. Up to and including bullets and bombs. A close study of history teaches us that this is so.

As for slavery? In the mid 1850’s it was an institution that was on its way out, at least in the West. Allegedly.

Now I’m fully behind the idea of the UK leaving the EU, which was sold as a free trade area, but has turned into a massive greedy bureaucratic leech. One that is bloated, well past it’s sell-by date and needs a good rinse and spin to shrink it down to size. Unfortunately, too many useless mouths have got, in the words of my forbears “Too damn cosy with other people’s money.” But they will fight tooth and nail to maintain their lives of privilege and air conditioned offices. In their eyes ‘Brexit’ is a major threat which may require force. Rather like the US Civil War.

My final word on the topic (for a given value of ‘final’) Leave, but be prepared for a fight. Just in case.

Blame everyone

Well, we’re off.  As you read this we’ll have already passed through customs and be well on our way across the water into the US of A.  This is a timed post, written on Wednesday night. and I’ll report any misadventures and observations later, after a very large drink.

What I’d like to say is this; having seen the UK news over the last few days I just want to say I truly feel sorry for the poor buggers trying to earn a crust at Port Talbot Steel Plant, only to find their livelihoods are being snatched away.  The trouble is, when somewhere as big as Port Talbot goes tits up, everywhere else in the area suffers.  In fact, every trader involved in the supply area finds their cashflow developing a nasty stutter.  For some it will mean the breakup of everything they gave their lives to building.  Homes.  Families.  Social networks.  Through no fault of their own.

However, even if you’re unaffected, just remember this; if you are a UK voter and supported the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, especially the Greens or any of the pro-EU political parties in any of the last four general elections, you voted for the very carbon taxes that just cost all those Welsh steelworkers and quite a few service employees their jobs.  As they say in the valleys; Proud of it are you?

Part of my genetic heritage comes from those parts, so I do feel a little sympathy for the people who will probably have to cancel their 2017 Christmases .  All because of a lie.  A veritable crime of the century.  The one perpetrated from the highest levels of the United Nations, whose name is carbon taxation and whose stated cause is ‘Wealth redistribution’.  That old fraudster ‘Man Made Global Warming’.  Whose wealth do these corrupt bastards want to redistribute?  Yours.  Mine.  Everyone’s.  Right into the pockets of the politicians and their financial sponsors.

Now repeat after me; “Carbon taxation is economic suicide.”  Got that?  Now don’t forget it.  Don’t vote for anyone who will support it.  Your job may depend upon it.

/rant