March April 2017

The Budget that never was

9th march 2017

Daffodils
A sign of Spring, The daffodils bringing a ray of sunshine into our lives.

With Labour in disarray, Article 50 still to be actioned, the Liberal Democrats harmless, UKIP looking like a one trick pony, the Chancellor’s 1st and last Spring Budget was never going to be spectacular. No one was expecting ~The Budget that never was~.

Back in the 1950s, one of the best selling war books, made into a film, was written by Lt Commander Ewan Montagu, and called ~The Man who never was~, the book was still a steady seller into the early 1970s, long after the Dambusters and Reach for the Sky had stalled.

German (not so secret) secret agent

Basically the book is a spy story, without a spy, and the hero was a vagrant, who was already dead, when he was hired for the job? Ewan Montagu worked for the Intelligence service, MI17 (in the days when MI numbered around twenty?) and came up with the idea of a fictitious courier whose plane had crashed in the Atlantic, near Spain, carrying secret plans for the coming invasion of Greece by the Allied forces, with the expectation that the body would be washed up on the shoreline close to where a known German (not so secret) secret agent was active. The body was released from a submarine, and with the tide, washed up where they had predicted. And just as predicted, the Spanish Police informed the German agent, before the British Embassy was informed.

Glyndwr Michael
Glyndwr Michael, did more in death than most of us will do in life. Technically M17 (MI17) broke the Law, however the surviving relatives think it was justified.
The old adage, rules are made for the obedience of fools, and the guidance of wise people, springs to mind.

Chancellor Hammond came up with a similar plan, last November at the Autumn statement, he announced that this March would be his 1st Budget and last Spring Budget. Actually during his speech last Autumn, I was so taken by what he announced was going to be in this ~Budget~, and that no further major announcements would be made, until more details over Brexit were known, that I got it into my head, the Spring Budget would be just a statement.

So much so, I was barracking the BBC on Twitter over using the term ~Budget~? Oops.

But on reflection I was correct. It turned out to be ~The Budget that never was~. Apart from the announcement over Class 2 NIC rates for the Self Employed, and where the Treasury would allocate the monies, namely Social care, it was really a statement on how the UK Economy has to be set fair so that it can meet the battering of the coming Brexit storm. Hammond had dressed up the old Autumn Statement into the Budget in the way a vagrant, Glyndwr Michael, who had died from Pneumonia, so that it looked as though he was, a drowned Major, named William Martin.

just a pleasant jaunt

A statement, that is being made in the Spring no longer in Autumn. So no big shocks, no hike in alcohol or Tobacco that wasn’t previously known about, or change in petrol prices, just a pleasant jaunt, telling us that Hammond is keeping a tight rein on spending.

And all the opposition parties were set to get their responses wrong, Corbyn was bound to fail, he is so out of touch with working people, it beggars belief, Tim Farron is ineffectual, pleasant man though he seems to be, but also doesn’t give off the air of someone who is quietly dangerous. He also lacks a point of attack. The Scottish National Party will bang on about independence, and so be totally irrelevant.

In fact Chancellor Hammond is not a difficult target, just go for his jugular, savings, or in his case his lack of incentives for the Citizens of UK to start saving at least twice to three times our current levels, and with it, reduce consumer spending.

Danny Blanchflower oil painting
Northern Ireland Footballer not to be confused with David Blanchflower lol

There is an argument against this idea, Danny (David) Blanchflower points to the danger, that the reduction in consumer spending might not be balanced in any manner by investment in Industry and Commerce, on that point we disagree, but at least the former member Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee knows what he is talking about. Not so, most of the Politicians, the Labour Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell is Economically an ignoramus, but that stems from having a belief that Marx actually knew what he was writing about, he didn’t, it was fantasy with no basis in reality. As the rich get richer the poor become poorer, stop it, we are not poorer than our forbears, by any stretch of the imagination. And for those saying their parents and grandparents are much better off. Stop it, they are rich today, not back in the 80s, 70s and before. Not one of them could buy a Computer pre 1979, they didn’t have the money, and food took up a much larger % of their income.

ended up saving countless allied lives

Just a note on the book ~The Man who never was~ by Ewan Montagu is a cracking read, and part of its charm is the fact that, a man who was a vagrant, had few chances in life, and found it difficult to cope with life, ended up saving countless allied lives. And in death was treated with care and when put into the sea, had a prayer said for him. Plus when he was eventually buried, albeit with a fictitious name, his grave was for many years tended and fresh flowers placed on it, it is now attended by the War graves commission.

So the House of Lords thinks it can block or derail Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May, needs to just inform them they will be abolished if they try?

DEMOCRACY CONTINUES.

23rd March 2017

Martin McGuinness and handgun
Martin McGiunness turned from violence to peace

Martin McGuinness, the one time terrorist turned peace negotiator and peace advocate, has died aged 66, after an illness. He had resigned his post as Northern Ireland’s Deputy 1st Minister, back in January due to ill health. As a Youth McGuinness had risen through the ranks of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, (Provisional IRA) and become its Quartermaster, in other words the person who dispensed the guns, bullets and bombs to kill UK nationals. Much of this was indiscriminate, hence many casualties of ordinary people (Children included) going about their daily lives, Democracy continued unabated through all this.

killing arm of Sinn Fein

He was brought into peace talks back in the 1980s, when Willie Whitelaw started secret negotiations with the Provisional IRA, which was the armed and killing arm of Sinn Fein, the Republican movement in Ireland that tried bringing Northern Ireland into the whole of the Irish Republic. Later when the great Mo Mowlam was conducting peace talks, McGuinness appears to have started to change his attitude towards peace talks and taken them up with vigour.

Mo Mowlam Northern Ireland peace broker
Mo Mowlam Northern Ireland Secretary of State who did more than any others to bring peace in Northern Ireland

As time progressed and age along with it wisdom, started to show him talking was a better way to advance his Politics, than killing people, he came over to the talks side with full vigour. Michael McGuinness, was a person who started out hating, and learnt that talking and listening to ones opponents had superior attributes, than killing people, unfortunately he was directly responsible for many people, children included, being killed, in his last years he learnt that talking, peace and Democracy were superior. In fact part of that seems to have come home to him with his relationship with his one time foe Ian Paisely, the two were renowned for their banter, so much so they became nicknamed ~The Chuckle Brothers~. Unfortunately there will be many victims families not having a smile on their faces, however to his credit, in the end he did show remorse, and backed talking, over bullets to the full.

the deafening silence from the many prominent Muslims in the UK

Terrorist attack

There has been a in Westminster, one lone person, four victims. Worse has happened, Britain will continue to prosper, Islam will be the worse for it. One thing to note is the deafening silence from the many prominent Muslims in the UK. It doesn’t wash and it doesn’t go unnoticed, if Islam wants to become mainstream in UK, it needs to change its stance. There is a line by Richard Burton as the eponymous hero in the 1956 film, Alexander the Great, ~Greece isn’t a place it’s an Idea~. Islam doesn’t seem to understand that the same could be said about Britain, it isn’t just a place, it’s an idea, Britain continues despite having had the greatest Empire the world has seen, but gave it up voluntarily, because the time had come to change. Britain was built on a vague idea of fairness, whatever that means, but it adapts, it accommodates, Britain built the modern world, and continues to help shape the World, Islam just seems intent on taking it backwards, the flow of History has passed it by.

Terroist held Westminster Bridge
Courtesy Metro Newspaper
A policeman points a gun at a man on the floor as emergency services attend the scene outside the Palace of Westminster, London, after policeman has been stabbed and his apparent attacker shot by officers in a major security incident at the Houses of Parliament. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 22, 2017. See PA story POLICE Westminster. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Islam needs to understand, ~English Common Law~ has been around longer than Islam, (It was 1st written down by St. Augustine in 600 ad, and predates that) it has survived as an adaptable idea, and Britain gave most of the world its idea of Modern Democracy in 18th Century, and then Industrialised the world in 19th Century. The world has changed, Britain has changed and along with Democracy, continues to be a world leader, in a world it has created. Islam is in a civil war with itself, many Muslims choose the texts that are based on hate, and then try to preach peace, it can’t have it both ways, it needs to learn, and pick and choose, until it does, it will always lose, and remaining silent while people die, doesn’t endear itself to people who take time out to contemplate the results of needless deaths.

The EU is doomed, to failure

Triggering Article 50

So March 29th 2017 sees the triggering of Article 50 and Britain’s rise from member State of a none Democratic Economic Union that wants a Political Union of all its member States based on a Fascist/Communist idea Statehood. The EU is doomed, to failure, Democracy continues to flourish and as a consequence Britain is exiting. I suspect there will be no short term fallout, within the rest of the Member EU States, until the proper negations start. Then there will be a drip, drip, drip of opposition, as it becomes clear, Britain is not doomed, but quietly prospers.

Who will be the first EU member to apply to become a Commonwealth member?

The Queen meets Martin McGuinness
The Queen is still head of State of many Commionweatlh Countries, when she met martin McGuinness, he politely asked how she was, her reply was gold dust ~Well I’m still alive~ lol

I’m being serious, once out of, EU, the Commonwealth will become more important, its stature within Westminster will rise up the agenda, with MPs becoming more fervent of its possibilities and the opportunities it brings. As the EU Member States hit the first economic troublesome hurdles, and Britain makes a deal with say, India, Malaysia, Singapore or wherever, the Baltic States, Balkan States, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, already a member but could that draw Greece in, may look with envy, that Britain has NOT turned into a backwater and just the opposite, has prospered where they are just meandering along, more surprising things have happened in History.

My money would be on one of the Baltic States making the first overtures?

For those from abroad, William Wordsworth (Poet Laureate 1813-1843) wrote one of the most famous English Poems, about Westminster Bridge where the Terrorist attack took place.

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

Canaletto Westminster Bridge
The Artist Canaletto was a Venetian who painted luxurious fictional riverscapes of Venice and England, using factual backgrounds. This is Westminster Bridge, a purely fictional scene.

SAVINGS

5th April 2017

Articulated Tractor units
Keeping the wheels of Industry moving

The savings ratio in UK drops again, and promptly HM Government does ~nowt~. There is an ideal window of opportunity being allowed to pass by. Currently £ pound sterling, is down due to the Brexit upheaval, so raising interest rates would not cause too much distress to exports.

However interest rates are only part of a savings strategy, the main thrust needs to come from the Treasury, via the Budget, and there are no signs of any commitment to increasing the savings ratio and thus changing the direction of the UK Economy to a higher savings mentality. The figures compared to Japan are startling. Here’s some figures from http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-kingdom/personal-savings It shows the highest UK quarterly savings since 1955 was 15.5%, now a word of warning the Japanese figures are Monthly, nevertheless 49.7% is blooming high. That meant in one particular month, the Japanese saved 49.7% of their disposable income. The lowest Japanese savings was -9.9%, so even if we add the 49.7% to -9.9% and let’s say the lowest figure was duplicated so add another -9.9% it still leaves a figure of 29.9% savings in one quarter. Compared to UK’s best at 15.5% which is pasty looking at best?

The reason I bang on about savings, is because it is one of the primers towards increasing productivity. There are other factors of course, infrastructure and lack of corruption are two main components. Infrastructure is high on Donald Trump’s to do list, he realises that having good transport links, and excellent communications connectivity boost the output per person, of an Economy. Corruption in the G20 Countries is not a serious debilitating problem, whilst it can always be improved, a separate Police and Judiciary are capable of keeping corruption in check.

Cars for sale
More cars for sale at the side of the A61 into Sheffield

Transport improvements are sorely needed in the UK, I suspect 95% of people in UK reading this will have their own stories of hold-ups or bottlenecks in getting oneself or goods, from one place to another. I have been working in Sheffield, this last week, and from Wakefield the shortest route into Sheffield City Centre is to come off the M1 at junction 36 and take the A61. This is the northern access into Sheffield, and so any trucks wagons coming down from Leeds, Newcastle etc it is potentially the most efficient route, except it is a single carriageway, and includes its own local bottlenecks, like traffic lights, sharp corners buses stopping and starting?

In other words, it’s a pain, and the alternative approach is to go a further 20Kms (about 12 miles) south and trundle down a dual carriageway called the Parkway, an appropriate name three weeks ago when I was effectively parked on it for over 40 minutes, making me 20 minutes late for work?

Meanwhile, on a visit to Manchester in March I was stuck for three hours getting from Wilmslow to Hyde, a distance of about 25 Kms (16 Miles). M25 anyone, but even the M25 pales compared to M6 between Junction 3 and 11. A Nightmare. Plus all the Villages without a by-pass, and all the major Town and Cities can become car parks in their own right, just by an inconvenient breakdown?

But the biggest increase to productivity comes from high investment, and high investment can only happen with high savings, the Government needs to act. Will it, no because it isn’t on the Political agenda.

GE2017

19th April 2017

Theresa May
Theresa May UK Prime Minister

 
Prime Minister Theresa May, has called a General Election for the UK, 8th June 2017, or GE2017 in Politico speak.

I published my blog as normal back on Bastille day 2016, for those who don’t know Bastille day is 14th July, and celebrates France’s break with a Monarchy and becoming a Republic. In fact the French so love the idea of becoming a Republic, they are now on their Fifth one? My blog for that day, pointed out that in my humble opinion, Theresa May should have called an Election between October or November 2016. She didn’t of course, and I had pointed out I was surprised, because this would give her a proper mandate.

Over the Easter Holidays she revised her opinion, to come in line with mine, so GE2017 was on, as long as Parliament agreed, it did, 13 MPs voting against and 100 abstaining.

Her reasoning is that she needs the whole of Westminster singing from the same hymn sheet, two hopes there. Bob Hope and no hope, and I don’t see anyone resurrecting Bob Hope anytime soon.

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn Labour party of UK leader

Jeremy Corbyn has said he welcomed GE2017 allowing the people of Britain to have their voice heard. It will, but the voice or more correctly voices, will not be of a Socialist fantasy that Corbyn and his Labour party far left sub group Momentum envisage. There will be two voices in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, #Remain and #Brexit there could well be three voices in Scotland, perhaps even four?

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister will be wailing and doing her impression of Wee Jimmy Krankie, that Scotland needs another once in a lifetime Referendum, on top of the GE2017. In fact she will continue to call for a once in a lifetime referendum, until the people of Scotland, vote as she wishes them to vote. She might just get a surprise, namely a resurgent Liberal Democrat party winning some seats back from the Scottish Nationals.

my brother calls the fishwife

Nicola Sturgeon, who my brother calls the fishwife lol, has a severe problem, namely she has only one song to sing, and whilst there are undoubtedly many Scots who are quite happy with the tune, there are also many who know that the world does not revolve around Scotland, and that there is a time and place for everything, this is not the time.

Alex Salmond the Scottish Nationalist MP, will be hoping he can keep a lid on Sturgeon, as she will not actually be standing as an MP in Westminster, so is only a party worker with regards to the June 8th 2017 General Election. This will not stop her from alienating, the majority of Scots who are intelligent enough to realise they need representing in the #Brexit negotiations, as a #Remain stronghold.

Nicola Sturgeon a wee Jimmy Krankie deadringer
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Left and Janette Tough who plays Wee Jimmy Krankie on the right

The Scottish National Party, under Nicola Sturgeon is too busy banging on about a second Referendum, to do the people of Scotland justice over, their genuine concerns about Britain leaving the EU, to many this will be a waste, so will not support SNP in GE2017.

Which gives the Liberal Democrats, a good chance of winning back some seats, they previously lost in Scotland, to the SNP. Their leader Tim Farron however lacks charisma or presence, he is unassuming, is light weight and lacks punch. There are though waiting in the wings to support the party, two big hitters, namely Sir Vince Cable, and Sir Simon Hughes. Sir Vince is one of the few Political people, who actually understands the mechanism and fundamentals of Macro Economics and Money.

Alex Salmond of the SNP has a degree in Economics and is totally ignorant about the subject, so much so, during the Scottish Independence referendum, he lost many votes by refusing to admit Scotland would need a separate Central Bank and Currency, could we have our money back for the Degree course you took Alex?

Cable being on the hustings will add sound Economics to the voice of #Remain and certainly bolster Lib Dems cause, there are lots of votes to be gained with some savvy politicking north of the border.

voters want to be treated fairly, Socialism excludes that

Jeremy Corbyn could hold some ground in places like London, and the old industrial heartlands, that are staunch Labour. However many of the voters want to be treated fairly, Socialism excludes that, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba all prove it. Labour party in UK will not come out of this Election well, however the fatal wound will not happen this time, it will continue to struggle on under the bearded leader, in much the same way as the Fat Boy holds power in North Korea.

Theresa May will see an increase, in the number of Conservative MPs, Labour will lose a few, the Lib Dems will gain because they have stuck to their guns and stayed true to their policy of voicing that they think UK should have stayed in EU.

And the BBC will continue to spout its claptrap and tell us what we should be thinking, happy days.