What Now?

My God, he really is a robot.

The interviewer in that clip, Damon Green, was none to pleased with the result either. His post interview thoughts are worth a read.

To the debate last night and anyone landing from another Galaxy this morning will quickly realise that the UK is heading down a perilous path to a kind of unreconstructed socialism that we haven’t seen since the seventies. Whilst many hope for a Tory surge, and are no doubt tiring of the Spin Meisters drive for “discredit Milliband and steady as she goes,” approach, any outcome other than a Labour + loony fringe support looks at this point, tenuous. The remarkable thing is that the pound, gilts and equities appear relatively unruffled. Although weaker, sterling will take a good old fashioned hammering on May 8th and likely, long before. 

I’m not quite sure what tofu munching unreconstructed Trotskyists like the Greens, who have one MP, are doing on the national stage when the DUP are barred. Its also shocking that none of the other parties have the stones to call them out for what they are. Personally, I’d rather vote for a pigeon shouting alcoholic tramp than that lunatic Australian women. The Welsh woman is stuck in a 1973 entitlement frenzy and the SNP are just scary. If the electorate in Scotland, who seem to be permanently out to lunch,  deliver as the polls are indicating the breakup of the UK is simply inevitable. UKIP meanwhile strike the occasional chord with most voters but lack the maturity, breadth, quality of candidates  and organisation to reach a position of significant influence. That leaves the robotic Milliband who seems to be edging forward which ought to worry every sensible and reasonable thinking individual.

UK National Debt = £1.29 trillion, (chart is in €) That's tough to visualise; try this to help.

All of the parties, except perhaps UKIP, are either too stupid to understand the position of the national finances or are too fearful to be honest. They talk about the “deficit,” while conveniently forgetting the £1.29 trillion debt mountain lurking in the background. Interest payments on that debt are due to surge to over £40bn in 2016 and that’s with interest rates at a 230 year low. The truth is all they are claiming they will achieve is a reduction in the trajectory of the growth of the deficit. 

If these jokers think they have experienced austerity then they’re in for a shock. Regardless of who is elected, cuts will have to be enforced and taxes are going up, that’s just a starter for 10. One thing is for sure and for certain, if Milliband walks into No 10 on May 8th our economy, and the markets, will collapse like one of Fred Dibnah’s chimneys.

Instant Gratification

In The Dating Game, we discussed the rampant fashion among the young, (and actually beyond), for instant detailed background information on potential dates before agreeing to hooking up. One could suggest it lowers the risk of disappointment and might be a short cut to improving the gene pool by concentrating good DNA. Well, you could suggest it and you could be right if you sought a pool of narcissistic, self obsessed geeks. 

Interestingly, the Huffington Post re posts a piece from Wait but Why (which has some good links), who have also been looking at the trend for instant gratification but in the world of careers. In summary the piece suggests the parents of today's young enjoyed a period of unprecedented economic growth, fueled by low taxes, rising asset prices, relative job security and geo political dividends and have set the stage for the young to be somewhat over indulged in their aspirations and passions rather than to seek secure careers. Note to the young, most people I know who are able to retire early are those who went for the long slog rather than the quick fixes.

For sure, the one thing we can all probably agree on is the stomach churning world of reality television and the conveyor belt of temporary E list celebrities, all of which serve to present false expectation for easy access to fame and fortune on those least likely to achieve them.  

For what it's worth, I find most young people I meet to be pretty switched on, better informed, more worldly and many are more interesting than they get credit for. If anything, they strike me as a group to be a little too earnest in their approach to life and most are very concerned about the change in economic conditions and outlook that has evolved over the last five years. 

Anyway, agree or not, the piece is a thought provoking read. In passing, I'm beginning to conclude that beyond all the noise, there are very probably some very lonely people out there in the digital crowd.  

The Chosen Ones

PPE3.jpg

We see a lot of cheap political point scoring over where and who with individuals in politics went to school. The specific suggestion being that Etonians are all members of some sort of mystical Masonic like, Knights Templar of the Golden Arch secret society. 

I'm not an OE so I wouldn't know but in my experience, OE's comprise many sorts of characters from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some have razor sharp intellects, some you could hammer six inch nails into their foreheads and it would make no difference. Many are completely affable and clubbable while you wouldn't trust others to walk your dog without the two of them falling out. The only thing they have in common are parents who are prepared to stump up thirty two grand a year for the pleasure of sending them there. 

Meanwhile, if we look for the source of these criticisms then we far too often find ourselves tracking back to the list of those who did PPE at Oxford and what a grand collection they are.

The problem however, is that far, far too many of the Westminster cabal come as a job lot from one place, have been educated in the same way by the same people. That includes politicians, advisors, lobbyists, policy wonks and most worrying of all, journalists who are never shy of telling us they are the unofficial guardians of freedom.

How any of this is supposed to create an environment of free thinking creative solutions to problems is beyond me. It's just all too cosy.

My, how I would love to see the list of Oxford PPE grads who now run Qango's. 

Eton isn't the problem; the PPE course at Oxford is. 

The Newsroom Returns; Thank Goodness

A pretty compelling clip from The Newsroom Courtesy of HBO. 

Good news! The Newsroom returns this evening on Sky Atlantic at nine o'clock. How sad though, that the best comedy and drama television is now produced in the USA. Here, we subsist on what seems a death spiral of talentless talent shows, the sole aim of which appears to be to enrich Simon Cowell. The rest of the schedule is packed with cookery programmes, house improvement drivel, junk yard auctions and second rate costume drama which has now sunk to a level only marginally above the talent shows. All of this puerile rubbish is ever so slowly suffocating the wit and natural creativity that once flourished and challenged us in a sector where previously, we led the world. 

Moreover, there is no longer any justification whatsoever for sticking the taxpayer with a licence fee; there simply is no value or moral proposition there anymore. 

Still, if it weren't for bloody Downton Abbey, the Daily Telegraph would have nothing to write about on pages two, three and four.................  every bloody day.

Don't agree?............ then do please watch the clip for the first series of The Newsroom; it sells itself as well written, directed, acted and produced television that leaves you with some points to ponder. 

 

HMG; Switched Off and Unplugged

What passes for our self obsessed government these days continues to demonstrate a woeful lack of grip on both themselves and the economy. I've repeatedly written about the pressing requirement to eviscerate government spending and promote growth through lower taxation and smart investment. HMG though, has all but missed the boat. The penny will eventually drop but it will be too late for thousands of businesses and individuals and particularly for the politicians responsible for a lack of purpose and clarity of thinking.

It's a fact that government spending hasn't actually been cut. Simply, the trajectory of spending increases has been slightly lowered. Meanwhile the nonsense alarm is clanging away with hourly updates from Leveson telling us what an incestuous, corrupt and colluding collection of under qualified clowns our political elite have become. We can make a start on both the problems of government spending and political intrigue by jettisoning all special advisors. Don't chuck just the odd one under a bus, do a job lot. That's right, fire them all by 10am and by 12am the country will already feel a better place.

The taxation issue meanwhile is just plain silly. The chancellor has slashed the wrists of the wealth generating and revenue contributing section of society and blood is gushing out of the economic body of UK plc. Here's an example.

I’m told, (anecdotally), that sellers can now negotiate rates with the big estate agents. We can all see that property isn’t shifting up and down the country, (except in central London where the big agents don’t even now bother to work Saturdays. This is a typical market response to stupid tax policies designed to make chippy Liberals feel good when they get together for their sandal wearing, tofu munching sessions.

A stamp rate of 7% on a £2m property means that the buyer must earn £280k pre tax, at 50%, to pay the tax. Now, few of us will lose any sleep at the thought of Justin Fothering-Frampton of Hamptons not being able to upgrade his Aston, but the positive trickle-down effect on removers, plumbers, carpet firms, decorators, furniture retailers, gardeners and the rest clearly completely pass the dreamers at the Treasury by.

I sit in quiet bemused bewilderment and ponder how much economic damage they will be allowed to inflict on us before someone wakes up in a eureka moment and shouts, “I know, let's try the low tax = growth thing.”

In the unlikely event that this selfish, self indulgent preening shower actually switch on and start making some constructive decisions we might find ourselves eventually crawling out of recession just in time for the inflation storm that is coming our way, currently due to hit in late 2013-4 by my reckoning. That's a nice little by product of current central banking printing which will eradicate whatever wealth you may have left at that point.