It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say

Archive for May, 2015

The Greecey slope

Posted by chrisrick13 on May 29, 2015

It is obvious: there are a lot of puns to be worked out of my system

There is a good laugh to be had looking back at the projections for the Greek economy by the organisations that are ‘rescuing’ it.  Percentage debt almost down to double figures.  GDP growth nearly 3%.  Unemployment almost in single figures.

Nobody that I was reading at the time believed that the numbers were anything better than fairy tales, and they were all right.

At the moment there is a public negotiation over the Greek debt.  There is also a very private one going on as well.  I have had it explained to me how austerity measures increase a deficit and a debt.  Demanding more austerity for Greece will have the effect of increasing the debt.  So why do it?

Greece is just further down a hole that many countries including the UK are also descending.  Austerity will not work.  Growth to earn more to pay off  debts is not possible.  All that remains is to avoid paying off the debts.  There are three ways.  First you can default and tell the lenders to b***er off.  Second you can steal it from someone directly as Cyprus did and pay off debts with it.  There is only one victim to hand.  At least there it a country’s worth of them.  Third you can steal it from everyone indirectly by decent inflation.

None of these options are very alluring if you have any connection with the country.

Of course there is one more option and that involves a fairy-godmother with a lot of money…Germany?

The Greek country owes more than twice as much as its GDP.  The country is in so much chaos that its GDP is shrinking.  I cannot pay off the debt.  It cannot even pay the interest on the debt.  The people who have leant Greece money are going to lose some or all of it.  This public negotiation will run until the Greek people have had enough.  There might then be a revolution.  There might be an election and the right-wing extremists will be given a go.

What do I care?  It is a long way away.  They are ‘Johnny foreigners’.  There is the potential for cheap holiday in future – though would you holiday in a country where they are no longer paying their policemen?  The problem is that a bank near you is probably one of those mentioned in the paragraph above.  What is worse they might not even realise it as the money they leant to someone else who leant to someone else…is the money someone else leant to Greece so that they could push double-digit-returns back up the chain.

Things always go on longer than you can possibly believe…which they have already done.

It is obvious: there are a lot of puns to be worked out of my system so I’d better do it now before it ceases to be funny

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Who let the bloody elephant in?

Posted by chrisrick13 on May 14, 2015

It is obvious: the Labour party is in safe hands

I have been held to task.  I predicted that there would be a reset and the party in power excluded from power for a generation.  How wrong.  At least my other claim that things like a reset take longer to happen than you can possibly expect comes into play.  The Conservatives judged it right.  Keep reset at bay for a term and get another go.  It must happen during the next parliament (sic).

What can they do?  I think that the only option is the one of runaway inflation.  It is time to spend your savings!  I assume that there will be no safe-haven.  Interest rates cannot be allowed to go up.  House prices cannot be allowed to fall.  Nobody can work our inflation adjusted pricing.  If a loaf of bread doubles in price in the shops shouldn’t your house?

The Labour party now goes through public agony selecting a leader.  Poor Mr Milliband.  So young and already on the scrap-heap.  Wonder where he will pop-up?

I read that the unions are trying to time the election so that they can improve their share of the vote.  Remember it was they that chose Mr Milliband…at least the ‘Ed’ version.

Already I have read some cringing statements from candidates.  I do wonder who they are talking to.  Remember that many or even most Labour supporters are not socialists and few of them are members with a vote.  Neither are they particular supporters of unions.  All they are after, as we all are, is the best deal that we, individually, can get.

Don’t think that I consider much of what I hear from the Conservatives as anything that will cheer me.  The one thing that I have still not heard mentioned is the Boundary Commission.  With a majority and no Liberals to stop them the Conservatives will run it.  The result is to remove 20 seats from Labour.  Perhaps more importantly it will take seats from Liberals.  Think of it today: a 52 seat majority and Liberals down to maybe two seats.  The Conservatives will hang on until the boundary changes happen.

There will then be the triple attack on Labour: boundary changes, new leader, SNP.  The 56 SNP seats will vote with Labour but they are toxic votes.  For every Scottish seat an English seat turns not-Labour.  There are 20 seats about to go Conservative.  We wait for the unions to choose a new leader for the Labour party.

It is obvious: the Labour party is in safe hands if you are a Conservative voter

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A bad day at the office

Posted by chrisrick13 on May 8, 2015

It is obvious: we are saved

The Conservatives will be in charge when the disaster strikes.  They have had 5 years and will have some more time so they can justifiably take a big share of the blame.  Then they will be out of power for a generation.  Did Labour just target their core vote in the election campaign so that they could sacrifice 5 years for 30 years?

At least this proves that there is a god in heaven.  Ed Balls is out and Ed Milliband will shortly follow.  Two of the main architects of the economic disaster that was the Labour rule under Brown and Blair.  I am just vindictive.  No need to worry Labour have plenty of like-minded people to take their places.

Without first past the post voting we would now be faced with a Conservative/UKIP coalition running things.  If there is a good reason to keep it then this result is it.  If you want to see what happens go and look at Israel.

The reality is that for a lot of what goes on in the early days of this parliament the Conservatives will have a majority in the commons of 41.  So they will last a while…but perhaps not 5 years.  Certainly when the reset comes they will fail a confidence vote.

Both my bets came in.  Conservatives to get more than 272 seats seemed to me to be an opportunity to follow the ECB and print money.  The 56.5 for SNP gave me a much harder ride.  I was tempted by 300-325 for the Conservatives but 3-1 was not good enough odds…and I would have lost!

There is an elephant in the room.  Only one commentator has mentioned it this morning.  The Conservatives will be able to run the boundary commission – something they could not do in the previous parliament.  When they have finished their deliberations it will take 20 seats from Labour and pass them to the Conservatives.  It is a removal of the Rotten-Boroughs of times past.  I am still uneasy about it.  If the SNP stay as they are this will make sure that Labour cannot win an election into the future…except for the effects of the coming reset.

Mr & Mrs Weir won £176m on the lottery and provided most of the SNP funding in recent years.  A £2 bet that has change British politics.  Given that many people in England bought lottery tickets to help the Weirs get to £176m it shows that no good deed goes unpunished.

I have to thank the BBC and others.  At 22:00 they gave the result of the exit poll.  It asked questions of 22,500 people.  This is 10 times the number that take part in the average opinion poll.  It was much closer than the opinion polls by an order of magnitude but still did not get it right.  However it meant that I could go to bed at 22:05.  No tents all-night vigil to see what might happen.

I saw an episode of the Power Game on BCC.  I have mentioned the program before.  The MD was negotiating with (I think) a Russian to sell stuff to his government department.  The MD was having trouble.  The Chairman stepped in and took over negotiations.  He spouted good socialist rhetoric and was amazed at the end of the process that they did not get the contract.  The MD pointed out to him that what the Russian wanted was not socialism but a bribe.  I think this result exposes one of the flaws of the Labour party.  A great number of Labour supporters are not remotely socialist.  The Labour party will have this drag for all time.  Not something that bothers the Conservatives.

I would add one more thought.  I love and hate trade unions.  They have had their time in control and when a lot of committed communists intent on the downfall of the UK were running the unions.  They will not have it again.  Perhaps their ineptitude to manage a political party was embodied in the choice of Ed Milliband as leader.  He is a man of his words and his ideals – something to be proud of.  He is not a winner.

It is obvious: we are saved, at least those of us who made it to the hills are

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It’s a bit windy up in the hills.

Posted by chrisrick13 on May 6, 2015

It is obvious: pulling the legs of living things is great fun

Sean Richards said it today.  If he finds a political party that can fix our economic problems he’ll let us know.

I have watched a bit of tv and listened to some radio.  All the interactions with politicians had a single theme.  Not one answered the questions put to them.

Too late now but I have some questions for you to ask of politicians should you get the chance.

Why are you only now cracking down on tax avoidance?  Why didn’t you do it 10 years ago or 20 years ago?  Tax avoidance is legal.  It is much the same as choosing the best energy provider.  Why not simplify tax laws so that avoidance is difficult to do and does not need enforcement?

Define ‘fair’ when you talk of ‘fair share of tax’.  If someone is smart enough to acquire a lot of money don’t you think they are smart enough to take it somewhere that the government cannot get its hands on it?  Do you remember the brain drain?  The only people who you can tax are the middle classes and Dr Laffer tells you the most you can get.  So why bother trying to beat it?

If you want to help the low paid or rather the low earners why do you keep the National Insurance tax?  This taxes only the first few pounds of income and for someone low paid it is the only pounds of income.  Why not increase tax rates that are open-ended at the high-end where low paid do not swim?

If the NHS funding need is £8bn how will £2.5bn of extra funding save the NHS?  (This is for Labour supporters.)  Does not matter where that money comes from.

Define ‘hard-working’ when you talk of ‘hard-working families’.  Does that mean someone with a job?  What about unemployed people?  What about people who want to work but can’t?

How long will it be before interest rates go up and what will that do to the country?  Should we be trying to cut debt while it is cheap?  If interest rates go up there will be a lot more interest to pay before we can pay off debt.  We are paying twice for the NHS.  Is it fair to our children to force them to pay 5, 6, 7 times for the NHS and still only have one…if they are lucky?

If your income is less than your expenditure is it a good idea to cut down on food but go out and buy a Ferrari because it is an investment?  (This one is for Labour and its plans to borrow its way out of our debt problem.)

Should we give aid to India that has nuclear weapons and puts rockets and satellites into space?  Is the aid budget help for poor nations that have spent all their money on weapons or attempts at diplomacy?

Have you looked at what happened to Greece when it ran up debts that could not be repaid or reneged on?  Have you looked at what happened to Argentina when it defaulted?

Why has not a single banker gone to jail?

Whose fault is an austerity measure?  Is it 1) the person cutting the expenditure 2) the person who spent the money 3) the people who voted the party into power that ran up the debts?

How much of the NIC that you have paid over a working lifetime will fund your pension?  Is it 1) all of it 2) some of it 3) none of it?  What is the common name for this kind of arrangement?  Is it 1) financial prudence 2) lunacy 3) fraud 4) Ponzi scheme?  Tick all those that apply?

Which countries put some of their oil windfall into a sovereign fund to use for the good of the population over future generations?  Is it 1) Norway 2) Qatar 3) UK?

As in the Mikado “I have a little list” except it’s long.  Please tell me any more good questions that I might ask and I’ll add them the next time I do the list.

It is obvious: pulling the legs of living things is great fun…politicians are living aren’t they?

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Got your running shoes?

Posted by chrisrick13 on May 5, 2015

It is obvious: I know the election result

I have put my money where my mouth is.

Conservatives to get more that 272 seats looks a good bet even with the poor odds (10/11).

SNP to get less than 57 seats looks an even better bet, still with poor odds (5/6).

I think I ought to bet only on the more likely outcome and not split my money.  I think them both very likely so I’m going for maximum entertainment.

326 seats is a majority but for both Labour and the Conservatives they will lose 2 to the speaker roles.  The still have to win those two seats.

I think Conservatives will get 306 seats and Liberals will get 20+.  I have no good feel for the Liberals so I can’t be more precise.  They will need 30 and throw in occasional DUP and UKIP support to give that grouping a working majority of 20+.

That leaves Labour and SNP in opposition.

Anything less than 306 for the Conservatives will mean Labour and SNP running things.

Either way the next parliament will not last that long.

If we actually believe what we are told, the MPC will have a bigger say on the future of the UK.  They sat and watched while inflation went to 5% while their remit was to act to keep it close to 2%.  Next time round I wonder what they will do?  They are out of their band at the moment in the low direction and I have not noticed the MPC do anything.  However this handful of unelected economists will make (or not make) the decisions that will affect you and me.

Settle down in your spot in the hills and watch the drama unfold over coming months.  It will at least make the licence fee a bargain.
It is obvious: I know the election result – a disaster for the UK carefully chosen by (some of) its residents.


PS heard someone interviewed on radio who did know the name of the current PM.  At least they said that they were not voting.

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