It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say

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Even a stopped clock is right once a day

Posted by chrisrick13 on February 27, 2020

It is obvious: are you feeling lucky

I have banged on about a trigger for a long time.

I thought that leaving the EU was someone holding the trigger down on an automatic weapon.  Does not /did not seem to be the case.

The Covid-19 virus does seem to be that trigger.  At a time when many countries have been close to recession the virus is causing a big disruption in trade.  That is not the trigger though.  Italy has had a large outbreak of the virus.  An economy that is not in a robust state.  Now it has been taken out of the tourist industry for this summer.  Tourism is big for Italy but this year it is small.  I think that will be enough.  If not then the likes of Greece and Spain will suffer the same fate.

It will take a while to develop a vaccine.  Note, not a cure.  The virus seems to be mutating already so any vaccine might just be galloping along a few paces behind all the time.  The biggest hope is symptomatic drugs that will keep people alive when they are ill.  These drugs will be needed in large quantities.  Whole economies will revert just to keeping their populations alive.

Think of the lucky ones: already had the virus and recovered.  They have rolled the 2% dice and won!

Though where there is one there is always two.


It is obvious: are you feeling lucky – you are probably going to get the chance to find out

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EU Jimmy

Posted by chrisrick13 on February 17, 2020

It is obvious: anyone can predict what will happen

I have kept away from writing blogs during Brexit as my heart could not handle the increased blood pressure.

I think we are now going to leave the EU as we voted 3 years ago and re-confirmed a few months ago. The right thing for all the wrong reasons.

There has been a huge amount of media coverage of the pluses and minuses of leaving. None of them cover anything but the economic consequences. And nobody can predict those consequences. Look at all the economic predictions by the BoE, the IMF, the ECB and many ‘think tanks’. The ink is barely dry and they are revising them. Nobody knows.

I think that there will be a period of chaos and then with a lot of gainers an losers things will go to pretty much as they were before. There is enough concern about chlorine washed chicken and the like that we will erect all the mechanisms needed. Don’t panic.

I was sanguine about Brexit as I believed that there would not be an EU to leave soon enough. However I have often said that things go on for much longer than you ever think possible – there still is an EU.

The appointment of Christine Lagarde to president of the ECB is a confirmation to me that collapse is imminent.

Germany has been sucking the life out of other EU countries and then effectively supporting them. Not that efficient a process but one that has worked for some while.

Net contributions to the EU budget are headed by Germany. The UK is second and a distant second thanks to St Thatcher. Ignore Germany and the UK contributes more than all the other countries put together. Put Germany in and it does the same. (Poland and Hungary alone take nearly as much as German puts in.)

Some interesting things are happening. Eire is the smallest net contributor and is on the up. Brexit will see it go negative as the economy is strangled by the land border with the UK. Germany is heading into recession. Its GDP is shrinking. This means that some of the net takers will become contributors: Malta, Cyprus, Spain, Slovenia, Estonia, Croatia. Increased money will be needed from Finland, Denmark, Austria, Sweden: being the ones that will find it hardest. But the fourth biggest contributor is Italy which will be hard pressed to increase its contributions at all.

More importantly the EU budget will have to shrink as there will be a lot less money. A lot of EU funded projects will just stop.

It is much better to have the UK inside the tent p***ing out than v-v. You would think that now the UK is out the EU might want to avoid us p***ing in but it seems not.

All that adds up to the collapse of the EU.

It is obvious: anyone can predict what will happen – when is a little more tricky

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Fly me to the…

Posted by chrisrick13 on February 17, 2020

It is obvious: I’d rather not go to Birmingham

Are you old enough to remember when BT was state owned? It was part of the Post Office.

What I remember was that it took 12 weeks to get a phone line put in. Moving house meant you were without a phone for at least 6 weeks and often longer. They also did whole minute billing when they had the capacity to bill by the second.

A state owned monopoly and they did pretty well what they wanted.

Do you remember when the railways operated as one company owned by the state?

Do you remember that nice Mr Corbyn. He promised to bring all the privatised businesses back into state ownership. Every election someone promises this. Who could possibly think that politicians or worse, civil servants could run things better than private enterprise? When things go wrong who is accountable? We’ll have the government investigating the…government. That will work well.

I am hard pressed to think what governments, politicians, and the civil service do well.

HS2 is in the news and in my mind. Going to cut the time of travel from London to Birmingham by 20 minutes for those who can afford it. It will also cut the time of travel from Birmingham to London unless they deliberately slow trains going in that direction! I think that there is a better chance of dragging economic activity from Birmingham to London than v-v.

Not sure that I can see too much gained from this expenditure. I have not studied it much though. However NASA have just put out an estimate of how much it would cost to go to the moon. About the same as HS2. I had a look at the cost of the first trip. A difficult comparison over all the years but it was less than HS2 I am sure.  And I am only using the current estimate – it will be more.

It is obvious: I’d rather not go to Birmingham – I’d rather go to the moon.

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Only 20,000 miles and one careful owner

Posted by chrisrick13 on August 6, 2019

It is obvious: A lot of people are frightened of change

You can carry out negotiating with no holds barred like you might with a used car salesman. You are only going to make one purchase then never talk to them again. Or you can carry out principled negotiating where you deal with the other party over a long period of time. Perhaps a supplier to your company. You both want the best price for the service or goods. If one of you is not getting a price that they can sustain then they soon walk away. It is in both your interests to think of the other person. You both seek a win-win.

It says a lot about the EU that they engaged in used car negotiating over Brexit. I heard it said that they had to be hard with the UK or other countries would follow the same route. The EU had no choice. Except that they did have a choice: they could have created an environment that nobody in their right mind would want to leave?

Maybe, just maybe we are going to leave the EU in October. This is going to be awful for the UK…if you listen to the right people. I could mention the IMF. This is the organisation that forecasts economic numbers into the distant future yet revises them, often by large amounts, every month. They have no idea about the future and prove it each month.

Perhaps it is the OBR whose motto is: We are always wrong.

Maybe it is the BoE who issue forward guidance that has so far been the opposite of what it then did.

Nobody knows what Brexit will do if it is enacted without a deal. On that note the EU has gone into second hand car sale mode and today said there is no more to negotiate on the current deal. I really want to be part of that (sic).

There are some things that we do know:

If the UK leaves without a deal then there will be a lot of change and disruption. Many people will suffer and lose. Some will gain. We also know that a month down the line we will have accommodated. That’s what people do.

We know that the Irish economy is dependent on the UK. If the EU insists on a hard border with NI (or even the UK does) then the EU will be pumping a lot of money into Eire. If it does not then the Irish economy will not last a month and probably not a week. The EU will not be far behind it.

The EU needs UK money and trade. It is not one way.

In short we do not know it, but the EU will have a hard time surviving the UK leaving with a deal or a no deal. This is especially so if the world recession is really up and running by then and Lagarde is in charge of the ECB.

You might have thought that they would want a deal where both parties can thrive and grow? How unreasonable to expect that.

What will happen is that there will be changes in the way that Europe and the UK operate for trade.

There will be another big change: we will be back to making our own laws, having an independent judiciary judging them and a non-political police force enforcing them. That is what really matters.

It is obvious: A lot of people are frightened of change – they are called Remainers.

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Daddy, do you remember what it was like to drive a car?

Posted by chrisrick13 on August 1, 2019

It is obvious: you are never alone

I use the mis-quote that in economics things always go on for much longer than you ever think they can.  At the moment we are heading for a huge crash of some sort.  Should have happened a good few years ago but to my amazement has not happened yet.  It is easy to work out though.  There are always some very smart and powerful people working hard to stop it happening.  Eventually they run out of options an the disaster does happen.  Probably much worse because of their efforts however well-meaning (not) then are.

In other areas a very different model applies particularly where some technological/scientific development is involved. Simply it does not happen.  Too much needs to be developed.  Too much investment in infrastructure is needed.  Not enough people to support it with the right knowledge.  The key development is simply not there yet.

…and then it is.  With exponential growth it is there and everyone uses it.

Happened with the car. I saw a picture of a London street full of horses and carriages and carts. Next to it was a picture of the same street with not a horse in sight…taken just 5 years later.

Happened with mobile phones.

Happened with broadband.

Happened with wifi.

Happened with the PC.

Happened with the gap before a computer beat the world champion at chess (and Go)

The big one at the moment is self-driving cars.  This is years away. Not because of technology: all that is needed is already in place.  Mostly it is the public that is preventing it.  The barrier is the development of an AI.  It is years away.

When it comes it will change a lot of society on this planet.  First World countries will be hugely affected.  Third world not so much.  I will be happy to live in the country.  Approaching the age where my licence might be withdrawn or my ability to drive terminate what do I care if I can whistle up a car when I need one?  Just a little forward planning needed for journeys.

In this country a lot of people will be alive who would have died had they or other idiots been at the wheel of a car.  Cars will be driven more economically.  Traffic control will be much more efficient.  I could ramble on a lot more.  Things will be better when humans no longer control cars.

A 20mph limit has been established in my borough.  Very arbitrary the way that some roads have been exempted from it.  Now there are two groups of drivers.  Those doing 20mph and those in queuse behind them taking insane risks and driving at high speed to overtake 20mph drivers.  With driverless cars we’ll all be doing 20mph.  Or at least not doing more than 20mph.  Did you realise that a 20mph/30mph/70mph limit does not mean you have to drive at that speed?

With economics I think you need to at least double the time before any prediction happens.

With technology related you should halve the time and maybe more.

It is obvious: you are never alone doing 20 in a 20mph zone

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Plan for the future

Posted by chrisrick13 on July 31, 2019

It is obvious: I’ve got a pension


All those years paying NIC. At the end I’ve got a state pension. All thaT money stashed away and with compound interest rolls up into a decent income when I retire.

Except that is not what happened. The money paid in was used to pay pensioners who were alive at the time. Me and 3 other guys were supporting a pensioner. Certainly when I started she didn’t live long and I could be moved on to another one. I said she as the men barely lived to claimed any pension.

Now there are just two people contributing to my state pension. They could easily have to do it for 20 years. I hope they keep their jobs in the coming world recession and probable reset. Maybe they could come and live with me and we could share our costs.

I have deferred my state pension and now can have 50% more each week or a lump sum to make up for the pension payments I have not yet taken. That’s an easy one. Going to grab my lump sum. Just have to make sure it is in a year I pay no tax in and then my lump sum won’t be taxed. Tax expert is my new job title.

Going to squander the money. 4+ years of payments in one go. If I grab the wife’s as well I could probably get a Ferrari.

I’ve got lots of (small) private pensions. Thought I had to do it as everyone else was all those years ago. Would have been better putting the money under the mattress. Would have slept better.

What are the pension funds doing with my money? They are buying bonds with a negative interest rate or investing in shopping malls just at the time everyone stops using them.

Annuity? No chance. Going to grab the cash and run. That is the good thing about lots of pensions: they are all quite small and I can avoid higher rates of tax when I grab them.

Bit of a problem though. Do I grab the money and put it in a bank that will go bust any minute now or leave it in a pension fund buying bonds with a negative rate of interest? Could keep it in GBPs that are collapsing on the Forex market.

Perhaps a big bet on Brexit not being nearly as bad as a lot of people seem to think it will be.

So is it Ferrari and a serious drugs habit or shotgun and a room full of baked bean tins? Has to be the Ferrari doesn’t it?


It is obvious: I’ve got a pension – not.

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Tomorrow does come…eventually

Posted by chrisrick13 on June 4, 2019

It is obvious: you can fool all of the people some of the time

Early June and we have been out of the EU for 2 months now. See, it was not the disaster that everyone predicted.

What? We are still in? It seems that the conditions set out in the treaty that we signed are not actually conditions. This was confirmed by the ECJ saying that as we had out fingers crossed it doesn’t count.

This is the level of corruption that was associated with banana republics in South America.  Is that what we have become?

We have had 2 elections and it looks like the voters will vote for anything that moves as long as it is not Labour or Conservative. Amusing to watch everyone trying to look and sound like the Brexit party without actually becoming it. There is a danger at the next election, which could be tomorrow or still three years away, that first past the post will not preserve the two-party system that we have.

I think that nice Mr Farage needs to avoid dark alleys for some time to come. Accidentally shot by anti-terrorist marksmen hunting terrorists. Or killed during a street mugging trying grab his campaign rosette.

There is such agonising over the economic effects of a Brexit. It is not about that. It is about sovereignty. We suffered two world wars to protect it. Possibly, and by no means certainly, suffering some economic hardship this time round seems like a very small price to pay. Indeed we might be rewarded for it.

As the world circles the drain around an economic depression any bad effects from not being in the EU will be trivial in comparison. With the state of the economies in Europe due to the central bank ‘games’ protecting the banks, there will soon enough be a huge dislocation. This is a case of: better out the tent weeing in.

With hindsight enacting article 50 on Monday and leaving on Tuesday would have been the best option. The disgraceful ‘negotiating’ tactics of the EU would not have had to be endured. The EU would have been faced with acting quickly which is something they cannot do. With hard borders the Irish economy would have collapsed in days causing them to ignore the EU and anything they might say. A way of working would have been found because it had to. We might now be eating New Zealand lamb once again.

But all of that is irrelevant. People we elected would be making our own laws. We would have our own independent judiciary judging to those laws. Our own independent police force enacting those laws. That nice Mr Junker would no longer be telling us what to do and laughing down his sleeve while he did it.

So I need to put October into my diary.

At least they are giving me an extension on my prediction that there won’t be an EU around for us to leave.

It is obvious: you can fool all of the people some of the time and just sometimes the people get fed up of it.

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Every journey starts with a single step

Posted by chrisrick13 on March 30, 2019

It is obvious: when the revolution comes…

I have written a dozen blogs on Brexit and deleted them. What is the point.  I have voted.
I went to Australia for 8 weeks before Brexit for some welcome relief.
I have stopped watching television – except for the 6 Nations.
I have stopped listening to the radio.

Life is much more agreeable.

We voted to leave the EU so why are we not out today?
Why are there cries for a second vote? I remember The Netherlands voting the wrong way and being given a second chance to get it right.
We haven’t even tried it yet and despite all the dire warnings none of them have any basis in fact or certainty.

Leaving the EU was important for us in the UK to be masters of our own destiny.

Actually doing it was important for democracy.

We no longer have even a pretend democracy in this country.

Next up is a descent into polarisation, extremism and civil war.

Worst of all is that when the EU collapses, which it will, we will be on the inside.

It is a bit late in the day for me but New Zealand looked a mighty alluring place to live last month.


It is obvious: when the revolution comes…you will have to stand up and be counted

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Are you feeling lucky…EU?

Posted by chrisrick13 on December 8, 2018

It is obvious: there is nothing to fear

Had the EU got one shining, obvious, demonstrable benefit that could have been trumpeted before the Leave the EU referendum the remain vote would have been twice that of the leave. But they had not. The remain group had a lot of “one for all, all for one” and “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” arguments and unfounded fear. It was not enough. Quite right.

Now the argument is that our trade will suffer and we will all be living in holes in the ground from the end of March. This is based on propaganda from the likes of the Bank of England. If I were playing a game of pick-up football in the school yard and I were captain then BoE would be the last pick for my team in the hope that the other captain got it.

The BoE forecast huge rises in interest rates after the vote. Promptly cut them and watched in embarrassment as nothing happened and then sheepishly put them back where they were. We need higher interest rates but not because of Brexit.

But there are men of conscience who are now standing up and declaring the figures from the EU, IMF and BoE to be nonsense. They truly are nonsense. At the very least they cannot be proved as they are all based on assumptions that are pulled out of a very special hat. There is a suspicion that end results were picked and then worked back to assumptions that would give those results.

Trade with the EU is decreasing. Going down over the last 18 years. There are better business partners to trade with. More dynamic, more agile, less regulated, cheaper. The EU cannot compete with other countries that will become our larger trading partners.

If the UK will suffer so badly from leaving the EU why not just let us go? We will be out for a few years then come crawling back with much worse terms than today. (No rebate as gained by Saint Thatcher for one.) Everyone would see the clear benefits of the EU. Other countries would be quick to join and the bonds of union would become ever stronger. No, they are using bile and deceit to try and get us to stay so that the argument will not be tested. No honourable path of letting us go with regret. Just threats and spite. Don’t think I want anything to do with that. I want to be in a European union but not this one.

I liken it to Iceland. We have spent 10 years supporting the TBTF banks and have paid a high price. Iceland just let them go bust. It was dire for a while but they have recovered and instead of walking around with the large ball and chain of bust banks they are sprinting around in trainers. If we cast free the shackle of the EU there will be a hiatus but not much of one. Then we will be off over the horizon.

There are large and powerful forces at work trying to keep us in the EU in practice if not in name. I am not worried. There will not be an EU around for us to leave for much longer.

It is obvious: there is nothing to fear but staying in the EU

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Don’t panic…much

Posted by chrisrick13 on November 18, 2018

It is obvious we are between a rock and…


I’m not paying much attention to the coverage of Brexit by press and tv.  It is depressing as I think we are going to negotiate ourselves into a hole in the ground.

It is obvious that the world economy, let alone the EU’s, is on a cusp.  A reset has already been a lot longer in coming than it possibly can be.

Hardly a trigger as they are small things, but the slowdown in the world economy is putting a lot of stress on many countries but most of all on the EU and the countries within it.  The EU is more vulnerable than most with the internal strains that is has set up for itself.  The number of trigger events that could bring on the reset have increased as has their chance of success as a trigger.

We have left the EU.  Article 50 confirmed that.  Just a matter of setting an end date which is now set.  So the remainers need a new name.  They are returners.  This is important.

Any argument the returners raise for returning now carries at least one known cost.  St Thatcher negotiated the £5billion a year rebate.  That has now gone.  Back in costs every family £200 a year out of taxed income…on top of the £400 a year that we contribute to the EU.  It’s all the fault of the exit vote, which is quite irrelevant – we are here now.  We will also be back into huge indirect subsidies of European farming.

We will also be on the line for supporting broken countries.  Germany will not do it on its own.  For example, they’ll need the UK taxpayers to support the Italian banks and those non-tax paying Greek millionaires.  That is an open-ended bill.

Then when the Euro collapses we will be into keeping Europe going while the currency disolves.  That is open ended and big.

We need to be out.  Do not worry about the future.  It is unknown and there is little to suggest that being out will be worse than being in.  Certainly being in will increase the dangers and their severity.

But hang in there UK there is still a good chance the Euro and the EU will be long gone before 29th March.


It is obvious we are between a rock and…a comfy seat in the stands watching the action way below us.

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