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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Dave’s caved.

Call me Dave has blotted his copybook. It’s his own fault of course, he only has himself to blame. From Veto  hero to Caved Dave. It could all have been so different. In fact it was different. Substantially different.

At the last EU Summit Call me Dave was ostracised. He cut a lonely figure, sitting on his own, no-one acknowledging him.  Back slapping laughter and smiling faces all around him. Call me Dave, Johnny no mates, last guy to be picked for the team. Poor wee Call me Dave. He apparently wielded a veto, although there was never any possibility of a veto being available to wield.

It wasn’t his fault you know. At no time did he actually say he’d used a veto. A bad man at the press call late in the night put those words in Call me Dave’s mouth. It was a temptation, an opportunity Call me Dave just couldn’t resist. Once the veto was out of the bottle it raged around the press like a virus. Whoosh, all and sundry, regardless of broadsheet or red top status, leapt on the word.

A Churchillian stance, Call me Dave against the world, or just a bit of it, it matters not. Call me Dave holding back the hoards of Germans and French knocking on the door of the Bank of England to help themselves to boost their safety net fund so that Greece, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Belgium, Ireland and others could survive for another few weeks.

The Bank of England’s cupboard, or vault, is bare. Start the presses or press the button; quantative easing is the way forward. The ECB, IMF and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all can be satisfied. What can’t be printed or brought into digital existence can be borrowed.

Call me Dave spoke about making a stand, he lectured the European Court, he talked about repatriating powers back to Westminster. His party loved him. He is the wonderful boy. He will save us from the EU dragon, the dreaded two-headed Merkozy.

Then it’s time for another EU summit. This time held in Brussels during a national strike called because of the increasing austerity measures being introduced in Belgium. The great EU leaders sweeping by any potential protestors in their warm, taxpayer funded, gas-guzzling limos nice and secure and unstoppable. When they looked out their bulletproof windows did they wonder who these people were? Who are they? Why are they protesting? They must be confused? We are protecting them! We know what’s best to sort out this temporary banker imposed situation! We will solve the problems! We will bandy together and make Europe a great place to live in. For us at least anyway. We are the leaders!

When Call me Dave arrives, it’s all smiles, handshakes and back slapping. Call me Dave is back in the fold. People are talking to him. He even kisses Angela’s cheek. He joked with Sarkozy. They are bestest pals again.

Call me Dave tells the press that he is most concerned with developing trade and getting the economies in Europe moving forward again. Trade with the fastest growing world economies is the way to go. No one mentions that the EU economies are at best stagnant and at worst teetering on the edge of recession, depression and deflation. It’s fair to say trading your way out of a hole is a way to go along with a gentler tightening of public spending at the same time; too little too late, too many costly legislative regulations which competitors don’t have and would ignore anyway if they did

Call me Dave is back in the fold, singing from the same hymn sheet as all the rest. All the behind the scenes telephone calls and nudges here and there since the “Veto” moment have made sure Call me Dave is on-side. Just not on our side, the people of the UK’s side, the people of Europe’s side. He sits at the top table with the big players. He enjoys the benefits. We all want to be popular and Call me Dave is no exception. He has once again chosen to be popular with his big mates rather than his party and the people of the UK.

A large swathe of his party and his voters are disappointed. Perhaps if they hadn’t fallen for the “Veto” nonsense it would have been easier to take, too late. Can the Tory Party do anything about this? No. It would cost them their power. It’s just too much to ask of them, just too much to lose.

Stuck in the EU. Overburdened by regulations. Taxed into oblivion, double dip recession imminent. Ruled by the EU with no democratic mandate. No democracy with even the slightest possibility of affecting any chance of real change and real accountability.

And we are surprised by this?

 

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Beware Greeks not bearing gifts.

In a previous post last week I mentioned Martin Durkin and his theory that perhaps it was time to privatise money. This was based on his belief that governments, politicians and the civil service/ administrators have failed to control spending and have actually caused the boom and bust cycles, which have had such a devastating effect on the world’s economies.

I mention this because last week our politicians were in Davos discussing the continuing financial crisis, which is still affecting a large number of economies. This week those same politicians are heading to Brussels to discuss the on going Euro shambles.

It was very telling, during the weekend that news services were busy with Afghanistan, footballers and rascism with a hint of Dave and his veto. The real issues in Greece got a mention but the real issue of the EU taking over Greek sovereign finances wasn’t discussed in any detail. It looks like the Greeks are going to be able to come to an agreement with their private lenders. Let’s be honest this is a euphemism for orderly default. DEFAULT.

I’ve never been to Greece and I don’t think I’ve ever had any dealings or even a conversation with a Greek. I was wondering how many famous Greeks I could recall? Demis Roussos, the rotund singing chap with a liking for wearing voluminous garments, Nana Mouskouri, the singing lady with the well behaved hair and large glasses, Vangelis with the large number of keyboards and of course, the one, the only … Gerard Butler. He’s from Paisley you say. That may well be true but he’s a Greek in the same way that Mel Gibson is a Scot!

I’m sure the Greeks are nice people and loads of people go there on holiday. They have a splendid history and spanking very old building. Perhaps they are not so good with money. They have defaulted big time in the past.

It’s unlikely that Call me Dave will be able to stage-manage another “veto” moment in Brussels today even if he can get there. There is a huge demonstration in Belgium today, which is significantly closing down travel. No prob for Call me Dave or the other leaders, there’s always a way if you have enough of other peoples money to get you where you want to go.

Which brings me to Detlev Schlicter. What a name! It promises much before you even know who he is. Detlev, who may be called “Det” by his friends although I’m guessing this, is a man who understands money and how it is used and abused. He is an Austrian economist who lives in London, yes I know, just what we need someone to tell us how things happened after the event rather than before when it might have been useful.

Give his website a go. Splice Detlev and Martin Durkin together and they maybe, just maybe onto to something which could get money under control and actually reduce the likelihood of crashes, crunches, deflation, inflation, budget deficits etc. bloomin’ etc.

Give his website a read and watch his videos. Interesting stuff.

 

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Let the Moneing commence!

The BBC carried a wee story today on Michelle Mone of Ultimo Bra fame. Michelle is a Scot born in Glasgow and has been fairly successful in developing a range of bras that ladies seem to want. Good so far. She employs people in Scotland, lives in Scotland and is well know in entrepreneurial circles here.

Today, however, she has been quoted as “threatening” to leave Scotland if the Independence Referendum vote is yes. She is entitled to her opinions and she is also entitled to her political leanings.

It’s good to know that she is keeping abreast of the independence debate and that she has the courage to get her opinions of her chest. There have been a couple of times in the past when her business may have gone tits-up and a couple of her entrepreneurial friends have supported her.

The Ultimo silicon enhancement is in the brassiere rather than inside a ladies body, which seems like a better way of doing things form a health point of view. Although, the expectation of a shiny new suitor may be tempered somewhat following the removal of said garment during a moment of heightened passion.

So Miss Mone, who has also been known to moan at times, will move to London and move her company to England also, if the majority of the people in Scotland who vote in the referendum vote yes. It may be the case that voters who were customers of Miss Mones in the past, may decide to burn their Ultimo bras and decide not to partake of her products in the future if she does move away to England. Miss Mones financial cup may not runneth over quite as much for a time following such a move.

Miss Mone has recently split with her husband, as he was not keen that she had started to model her bras and underwear for magazine adverts. If you’ve got it flaunt it Miss Mone, stand up (or lie down, kneel or generally pose) for and stick out to your principles.

In truth there will no doubt be other business people, intellectuals, sports people and all manner of other people who will decide an independent Scotland is not for them. That’s’ fine. It’s natural that this should happen. It may also be the case that just as many people or more, come back to Scotland or move here for the first time following independence.

The drive for independence is not based on disliking the English, wanting to grab the oil, having a voice in the world, etc. It is about having the right to determine our own future as a country. Miss Mone should perhaps deal with the realities when they become actual realities. She is quite entitled to her views and her need to share them and I’ve no doubt that she has carefully considered the financial implications of her “threat”.

She will have weighed up the risks for her business as they currently stand and mixed in the potential risks following a positive yes vote in the referendum. It would make perfect sense for her to stay in Scotland and try to influence the business implications, which she seems to have identified at the moment as being negative. Good business people will do this.

One last thing. There’s no such thing as bad publicity, Michelle, isn’t there?

 

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Birdsong

This article was originally published on Subrosa Blonde Blog and is reproduced here with permissions.

The BBC have been heavily advertising their new shiny two-episode Birdsong programme based on the book by Sebastian Faulkes. The adverts showed a few scenes and looked interesting but I wasn’t convinced. I’d hoped that Spielberg might have picked it up or Saul Zaentz the producer of films like The English Patient, One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest, The unbearable lightness of being etc.

Zaentz could produce a film, heavy on the romantic side and treated with respect and care. Spielberg could bring realism to it as he previously did with “Saving Private Ryan”. If that film was about anything at all it was about the true horror of war rather than the censored versions we’ve been spoon-fed.

I just wasn’t sure I should watch it. What if it was a poor reflection of the book? What if the story was diluted? What if, what if, what if? It’s one of my top ten favourite books and I have the greatest of respect for the men who fought and were slaughtered in action during the First World War.

I decided to watch it. I thought I could stop if it wasn’t to my liking. However, I was pleasantly surprised, it wasn’t bad. Not as “real’ and the romantic part wasn’t overdone, so far so good.

Having the Great War brought back to the fore as it were, has reminded me of two things; the poetry created by the likes of Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and Rupert Brook to name but three. I really must go and visit the War Poets Collection at the Craiglockhart Campus of Napier University. Owen and Sassoon were there during the war when it was a hospital.

The other thing it has reminded me off is that for all the cost in human terms that “the war to end all wars” was supposed to be we just haven’t learned the lesson. Here we are almost a hundred years down the road and there has rarely been a gap between conflicts. The recent Iraq and Afghanistan actions reinforced the incompetence of the MOD and the failings in the services procurement system. Soldiers’ lives have been lost as a consequence. Vehicles were inadequate in the protection they were supposed to provide, costing young men their lives. Body armour being shared rather than being available to all, again cost lives. The Americans do things slightly differently. They aim to send their forces out with the weapons and kit significantly better than the enemy. They’ve just started rolling out a gun which fires a grenade accurately over long distances and can then be detonated at a point chosen by the person firing it. They can now hit targets hiding behind walls barricades etc. A game changer apparently although war is only a game if it’s played on a PlayStation or X-box.

Unfortunately our sabre-rattling politicians are lining up the next conflict. Iran. Like we need another conflict.

Men and women sign up to join the forces. When they join up and take the Queens shilling they can expect to see action but they should also be protected and only put in danger if it is the last resort. Even then they should have the best kit, if they don’t have the best kit or even appropriate kit for the job they should not be put in danger.

Most incriminating of all of our various governments over the years however, is that if our forces are injured they should get the best treatment possible and if their injury means they need care and support for the rest of their lives the state should pay, ending the reliance on charity which is an insulting way to treat our service men and women. The state should also provide a reasonable level of financial support to the partner and children left behind if a life is lost and this should continue as long as it is needed.

War, conflict or whatever name people wish to call it is disgusting and inhumane, the way our forces and their dependents are treated should never be disgusting and inhumane; when planning the Scottish Defence Force Alex could do well to bear that in mind.

I don’t think the Scottish people want our forces involved in any conflicts, perhaps Alex should seek a mandate from the Scottish people, it’s far too important a decision for him or his government to take on their own?

 
 

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It’s a bonus.

The Royal Bank of Scotland are trying to spend money. They are very, very, very keen to give away over £900K.

I’d guess that at some point in your life you might have approached a bank for a mortgage, a loan or an overdraft. They are usually fairly keen to do so although they will be looking for some sort of security depending on how much you want to borrow or they will structure the loan so they get a lot of money in the form of interest from you as quickly as possible as you begin paying the loan off.

Of course you will also be familiar with the way in which banks will treat you if you hit a temporary liquidity issue. That’s what they call it when they go belly up. For us it’s a journey along the “charges” road, which can be difficult to navigate and get off. The banks are good at this. They charge you and then they charge you again and again and by this point you have less money than you had when you hit your own personal “liquidity issue”.  Before you know where you are you are paying charges on the charges you have been charged.

When the banks have liquidity problems they run to nice Uncle Mervyn from the Bank of England. He has loads and loads and loads of dosh and if he runs out he just prints some more. The banks take the money and they give nice Uncle Mervyn some of the laons they have on their books and everyone is happy. The banks carry on as before. Merv has performed a very worthwhile swerve for the banks and they don’t have to worry about charges per se.

Now, banks have to be run by very clever and good men or ladies for that matter. Fred the Shred was a very bad man. He made bad decisions. He got lots and lots of money for the work he did. He also made a lot of money for a lot of people for years as the share price for RBofS really took off but we’ll omit that because it doesn’t suit our purpose.

Now good egg and all round good guy Stephen Hester has taken over from Fred the Shred and has done such a terrific job that he was to get over £900K as a bonus albeit in shares rather than crisp £50, £20, £10 and £5 notes.

(I’d like to see him try to pay that into his own bank account in the RBofS. No printed pay in slip? Can’t be done. Fill in this form please so we know where you got the money. Do you feel like a criminal? Do the people behind you in the queue think you are a criminal? Money laundering in action? Welcome to the world of the RBofS). But I digress.

Call me Dave is having none of it. Ed Moribund says it’s George the moneys fault. George the money says it the fault of dear Gordon Brown and his little side kick Alistair who must surely be someone’s Darling although that takes some believing.

The MSM and the “righteous” are on the case. It’s a disgrace. The bank belongs to the taxpayers. Well no actually the taxpayers own the debt which is very different and not a great place to be.

Is there a conclusion to this? No. Is there a right and a wrong to this? Maybe. Probably. Yawn.

Truth is I’m loosing the will to live with all of this cleverly misdirected guff.

All of the banks played hard and fast with their financies. All of the banks are not interested in their customers, they are only interested in getting as much out of them as they can and then some.

Martin Durkin. You must have heard of the man surely? He made The Great Global Warming Swindle” and more recently “Britians Trillion Pound Horror Story”. He has a blog and his latest article argues that money should be privatised as in  having no input by governments, politicians or civil service types. It’s an interesting theory.

Let’s be honest here, could things be any worse than they are now? Probably yes but let’s not go there. Privatised money might be an interesting answer or worth a punt at least.

 
 

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Andy Murrays Grand Slam will be along very soon.

Andy seems to have made a much better fist of tackling Djokovic. I know nothing about tennis although I did enjoy watching the big names at the BofS tennis competition that used to be held at Craiglockhart

My feeling is that Llendl will help Andy be much better and tougher mentally whilst it’s unlikely that Federer will continue very much longer and Djokovic can’t keep up his level of winning. I could be completely wrong so I’ll not be rushing out to put any bets on.

Andy Murray looks as if he has the Scottish Disease. It’s like our sports people get to a certain point and then their belief in winning just goes. But then we’ve had and still have some amazing sporting people. Three to try on for size, Jim Clark, the best F1 driver ever, Chris Hoy the most amazing cyclist and Kenny Dalglish a staggering footballer. The list could be very, very much longer. So are the defeats as well though mind you.

Maybe it’s not a Scottish disease at all. Maybe it’s a British disease? Look at all the penalty shootouts that the English football team have been in and they’ve lost the vast majority of them. Maybe it’s a lack of confidence, which gets to them to?

Maybe the disease has been created by Westminster. You know that place where those splendid MPs work. Maybe the political and establishment systems like it that we are a lot less confident than we should be, more malleable also; less likely to cause a fuss.

It takes a lot of skill, dedication and psychology to be a world-class sportsperson. The rewards are pretty impressive, if and when they get there. There are definitely bright spots like the work being done in Stirling at The National Swimming Academy for example.

Hopefully we’ll get our chance in the not too distant future to build a support system which the greatly help the people of Scotland become much more confident and be able to deliver that confidence when the time is right. If I’m being honest I think it will be absolutely essential that we do this. The New Scotland will need to stand tall and I’m sure we can do that.

Meantime, I’m sure Andy Murray will win a Grad Slam very soon. After that he may well win a few more including Wimbledon. It would be good if he did it this year or in 2015 when our independence is confirmed.

Think positive! Take over the world, or our small part of it anyway.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Politics, Scottish Independence

 

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Oiling the wheels of democracy.

I watched about half of the BBC TV debate on Independence shown after the 10:00 BBC News last night. It fitted pretty well with the way these programmes have been structured so far. Nicola versus the rest, although on this occasion, Lesley Riddoch was pretty fair and unbiased and took the politicians to task.

The opening few minutes saw Johan Lamont and Jim Wallace have their uninterrupted say but when Nicola was given hers she was interrupted repeatedly by them both and also by Glenn Campbell the presenter.  I don’t think we can expect anything more from these people. On the one hand they have to play the political game and on the other they will try every trick in the book to make sure that Scotland does not achieve independence.

Why? Simple, England cannot afford Scotland becoming independent. England has a huge amount to lose. It’s power, such as it is, will be greatly diminished within the EU in particular and global bodies in general. What about Scotland being diminished because of independence? No, of course not. Are we interested in being a major world player? No, of course not. Do we want to have any major input into any particular world body? No, not really.

Independence is an aim, which if delivered, should be a catalyst in making Scotland a better and fairer place to live. We can do this and it’s not too late to do what Norway has done. That is make the best use of oil revenues from our territorial waters to invest in a secure future for ourselves, our children and successive generations thereafter.

Some of you may be thinking that there is very little oil left. There isn’t if you consider 25-30 billion barrels as a little oil. This figure is an estimate from the oil producers of which some reserves may require a higher oil price to be financially viable although new technology is making oil exploration and production cheaper all the time.

You’ll be aware of Professor Gavin McCrone? If you are a teacher you may well enjoy some McCrone time today or during this week. However, you may or may not be aware of a report that Professor McCrone developed and delivered in the 70’s. In his report, which was kept secret for 30 years, he provides estimates of the value of oil to the Scottish economy and describes how Scotland would be a country with a persistent budget surplus. He also demonstrates the flow of money into Westminster’s coffers, the fact that the Treasury have not reported the correct value of oil revenues and how substantial losses of income for the Treasury were lost due to poor licensing agreements made with the oil companies.

I’d suggest you follow this link or do your own research, if you haven’t already done so starting with McCrone and working out from there.

There is a strong case for every household or registered voter to receive a copy of his report and see the truth of the situation. Yes the truth.

It is up to the people of Scotland to decide on our own future. Democracy needs to be established. A free vote determined. A Yes vote would sweep away legal arguments; democracy would and should prevail. It is the Westminster politicians who have behaved in a democratically unfair manner for many years. Labour, the Libdems and the Conservatives are staring extinction in the face in Scotland. A Yes vote would wipe them off the political map in Scotland and cause major change at Westminster also. The SNP would similarly follow sometime shortly after independence and new parties and visions would take their place.

There is much to lose then if you are a Westminster politician, regardless of where your constituency is. These politicians will fight to preserve the status quo. They have to; their future depends on it.

And a far better future for Scotland is at stake for the Scottish people.

As with all matters of this type it will be the people who want their view of the future the most who will win regardless of resource or political manoeuvring. Want is a significant driver.

We have to be on the winning side this time. We just have to.

 

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