It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say

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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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Horsemen of the Apocalypse (First XV) – more new signings

Posted by chrisrick13 on October 27, 2018

It is obvious: you are not alone shouting into the void

Nobody can see or at least only a few. The financial system is heading for a reset. Except a lot of people can see, it seems, not just me.

Mrs Mirkin’s party lost a lot of seats in the recent Bavarian election. They lost seats in all the recent elections – lots of them. Her days are numbered as Chancellor – accurately numbered.

Mr Orbán is running things in Hungary. Something to be avoided.

There is a clown in charge in Italy.

All over Europe a lot of people have realised that the EU does not offer them much. They are voting for anything but the politicians that got them there. Alas, that means that some unsavoury people are getting into power. (I will pay them the compliment of calling them extreme.) As much as anything it is because these unsavoury types are the only alternative on offer. The French are slick operators. They created a new party and leader to get into power. Except it was the same people as before. Smart. The USA is already a step ahead. Perhaps they will show us what happens next.

There is a message here for Mr Corbin. He meets the requirements for extreme. A box well ticked. Trouble is he sort of supports the EU. He has to really as his core support is fanatically for the EU. Trouble is that there are not many of them. Certainly not enough. Were he to take Mr Farage’s stance on  Europe Labour would win by a landslide. He won’t get power, not because he is too extreme, but because he is not extreme enough.

Saw some German economic numbers this week. I don’t believe the statistics I see so why do I believe these? They are not good and those kind of numbers are never allowed out to play, except if they are covering up something bad. Germans are busy making stuff and selling it abroad. They are not paying themselves much and so are not buying that much. The economy is expanding much of at all. This is the country that has the largest net contribution to the EU budget.

The UK is not far behind Germany in net contributions to the EU budget and that only because Saint Thatcher got us a rebate.  Take out Germany and the UK contributes more than the other 26 nations put together.  When we go that does make a big hole in the budget. But all that is small stuff compared to the support for the ECB. Germany is supporting the rest of Europe and is moving to a point where it can’t do it anymore. What is more it looks like the German population now realises how much they are supporting Greece where they will not get a penny back. It is only pennies though.

What is more interesting is Italy. Greece found out that when you owe the bank beans the bank is in charge. Italy or at least its current leaders have realised what when you owe the bank gazillions then you are in charge. The current problem with the Italian banks and the national budget is interesting. If the EU bullies the Italians into changing their budget the economy will still move into recession and kill the banks. The people in power will double their majority in parliament if they stand up to the EU. They got in on that promise. Can’t see any reason for Italy to change course. It is going to fail and resort to the only solution possible and devalue the Lira…ooops. Stitch that Germany.

Two weekends in a row senior ministers in Italy have said they have no intention of creating a new Lira or of leaving the EU. So it is going to happen then.

(…you do own some gold don’t you?)


It is obvious: you are not alone shouting into the void sometimes you get back more than just an echo

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Got a sledgehammer – any nuts need cracking?

Posted by chrisrick13 on October 14, 2018

It is obvious: there are a lot of good ideas

I know it is not obvious but I am a big supporter of getting out of the EU. It is only an experiment and it has failed. It needs a reboot. I think it will get one soon. I don’t know what will cause it but when the German population realises they are paying for everything they might demand that Germany comes out of the EU.

Jean Monnet is considered one of the ‘the fathers’ of the EU. He was a French politician active at the end of the war. He was instrumental in diverting all of southern Germany’s coal production into France weakening German industry and strengthening French industry. He arranged for the Saar to come under French control for its coal also.  Such a good set of ideas that in 1950 tensions between the countries were increasing and to prevent conflict between the two countries (only 5 years after the war) he came up with the idea of creating the European Coal and Steel Community which has become the EU of today.

There are some chilling quotes attributed to him that on a little research are not all of good provenance. There is the general idea that the ECSC and now the EU were created to prevent conflict between France and Germany. My thought, as above, is, that the people creating it were just trying to fix a problem they had created earlier.

Is it right to force all the nations of Europe into a federation to prevent conflict? It certainly works in the US. It works in the UK. There are agglomerations of smaller states now forming larger countries that are working reasonably well in Italy and Spain.

Is there a simpler and cheaper way?  Yes!  Having the USSR as a big ugly bear on the border helped the countries of Europe adopt a unified approach. However one organisation ensured that there was a defence against the USSR and that any members would not attack each other. That organisation is NATO. It is cheap and effective while also providing some deterrence to Russia. Indeed without NATO we would already have a unified Europe…called the USSR.

With its tariffs the EU is anti-trade and isolationist. While it is trying to take down borders internally it is strengthening the external borders. It continues to support CAP which distorts trade and favours one country. It gives little to the member countries. Ask the people of Greece: what has Europe done for you?

We know what NATO costs as most countries are below the 2% of GDP on defense spending that it asks for. Wished the EU was a cheap.

It is obvious: there are a lot of good ideas and many more bad ones

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Horsemen of the Apocalypse (First XV) – late kickoff on next game

Posted by chrisrick13 on October 3, 2018

It is obvious: predicting ‘when’ is difficult

2010 was the year that UK government debt first exceeded 60% of GDP.  If you include personal debt and a lot of unfunded liabilities such as pensions then it is a lot more, but the moment it is at 84%.

Italian debt is 131% of GDP.

German debt is 64% and has come down from 84% in 2010.

French debt is 97%.

Spanish debt is 98% and it too went over 60% in 2010.

Finnish debt is 61% only recently exceeding 60% and on a downward trend.

Belgian debt is 103%.

Debt for an economy is acceptable as the economy will grow and be able to service the debt.  Not pay it off.
Alongside that, 2% GDP growth is accepted as a normal rate of growth that countries can reasonably be expected to achieve.  Do not forget that 2% growth doubles an economy every 35 years.

There is a level of debt that means that a country can never grow enough and will eventually default.  That figure is 60%.  It is so well accepted that it is an EU rule that 60% is the maximum debt allowed by any member…60%.

Just for a giggle: the Greek national debt is 178%.

It is inevitable that these countries will eventually default on the money lent to them.  Take out Germany and Finland as they are both pretty close to 60% and we get 5 basket cases that include 4 of the 5 largest economies in the EU.

It is troubling for the numbers people that Germany did get their debt from 84% to 64%.

If EU rules are treated like the 60% rule then those about free movement of people can’t be that set in stone.  Indeed immigrants entering the EU must stay in the country they first arrived in.  So how come thousands of immigrants clustered around Calais trying to get into the UK.  According to the EU France should have been dealing with them…or Italy…or Greece.

What the 60% rule means, if it is right, is that a lot of EU countries will default.  If not tomorrow then next week, next month, next year.

Any large disruption but the UK leaving the EU could easily tip one of those economies into default and drag many more with them.

It is obvious: predicting ‘when’ is difficult, ‘if’ is not nearly so

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