Tuesday, 22 April 2008

BNP election broadcast

Did you catch the BNP party election broadcast on BBC1 last night? Nope? Well before you take another step watch it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ysT5Du9Q7M

(You can also find it on the BNP site but frankly that site is so ridiculously busy it could take a while - unlike the sites of the other political parties in the UK which are semi-moribund.)

Anyway what did you think of the video? I liked it, although it was almost too feel-good. Some people reckon it should have been a bit harder hitting. And please, if you're going on national TV, don't wear trakkie bottoms and do clean your teeth first!

All this is prelude to the big day - May 1st - London elections and the first realistic opportunity to root out Mayor Ken Livingstone and his cohort of apparachiks from City Hall.

Glass Testicle

London City Hall: Home of every mad, money-wasting scheme under the Sun. Also known as the "glass testicle".


So how will this blogger be voting? For BNP candidate Richard Barnbrook of course. But, problem, each Londoner gets a first preference and a second preference vote. Who gets the second tick? Well, even Barnbrook himself is stumped on that one.

Tactically the Tory candidate, Bonking Boris, has the best chance of unseating Red Ken, but he's such a buffoon it's quite difficult to recommend him to my faithful readership - but I suppose I must, since Ken must go.

So here's the ticket: 1st - Barnbrook, 2nd - Bonkers.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Sterling Crisis?

When I cast my jaundiced eyes over the UK economy, with its falling house prices; minus 2.5% on the average house in March alone (annualise that, if you dare!), its ever-increasing debt burden, its cascading redundancies in the financial sector, and the incipient decimation of retail, one question comes to mind – why haven’t we had a sterling crisis yet?

You know, that’s when the pound collapses in value compared to the other currencies and the Prime Minister has to go rushing to the IMF to borrow money.

I mean, the pound is supposed to be a metric of the performance of the economy; and the performance is dire! What titan is holding it up? And how long can he last?

Of course, it is possible to “buy” value for your currency. Put your interest rates up and money will flood into the country so investors can benefit from your generous offering, and this demand puts up the value of the currency. And fair to say: the UK’s base rate, even after yesterday’s cut, at 5.0%, is still quite attractive compared to other large countries/zones: eg, Euroland: 4.0%; USA: 2.25% and Japan: 0.5%. We comfortably outbid them all.

However this “buying” value for your currency is a nasty tiger to have by the tail. You have to keep handing over the cash or the tiger will turn on you. Countries with economies that actually make things (USA, Japan) don’t need to buy value for their currency – it has intrinsic value because it’s backed by the productive capability of the country.

There is another reason the pound still retains some value… asset sales. UK Plc is selling off the nation’s assets at quite an alarming rate. Over a third of our quoted shares are now owned by foreigners; many of our major financial institutions have been taken-over by overseas concerns; city of London property is at least 50% foreign-owned; four of the six big power generators are foreign-owned, and the foreign ownership of prestige domestic property is widely reported – in London only Buckingham Palace seems to be resistant to the Russian mafia.

Of course, New Labour would call this “inward investment” and applaud it as a wonderful thing. But stop to consider the currency implications. When a foreign concern seeks to make a major UK purchase, first they need pounds. So they buy pounds and this pushes the value of the currency up. And the money they spend enters the UK economy and flatters the GDP figures with a one-off boost which pushes the pound up a bit more. Over the last few years we’ve been having a continual shower of these one-off boosts.

Unfortunately once the one-off boost of a major investment into the UK has completed the money conveyor switches into reverse gear. The new foreign owners of the UK company or commercial property want profits they can repatriate, so they start sucking money out of the UK.

This has a negative feedback effect: first with the boost gone sterling starts to fall, and as sterling falls the foreign owners need higher sterling profits to maintain their foreign currency-denominated profitability, so they put prices up in the UK. This causes GDP to fall and hence depresses the pound even more. Of course they wouldn’t be able to put prices up in the UK if there was a strong domestic supplier of the good in question, but since foreign concerns now dominate many sectors (power, property, finance, etc) they have a free(r) hand. They can put prices up and we can’t stop them. (Think electricity, EDF charges more here than in its home nation of France.)

We could hope that the UK’s foreign holdings might offset this downward spiral. But they are shrinking, and profits from concerns owned abroad are not necessarily repatriated to the UK. We are now also a net oil importer for the first time in many decades, and our “invisible” exports are too small to offset our all-too-visible imports.

So I feel that sterling is due to come a cropper, and frankly we deserve it for the way we’ve run the country over the last ten years.

As I’ve said, the top economies have base rates lower than ours. But let’s look some second tier economies (remember the UK has a base rate of 5.0% at the moment); Australia: 7.25%; New Zealand: 8.25%; Norway: 5.25%. And then further down the scale, highest in Europe, Iceland: 15.5%!

Iceland is already desperate to defend the value of the krona which has been sliding for months. Iceland basically “produces” fish and tourism. They import the rest of their needs. A falling krona is a nightmare for them. (Although their “invisible” exports have been quite high. Financial services have been propping up the rest of their economy. They also have substantial geothermal power for domestic use. The financial side is probably a busted flush now.)

It seems likely that as the UK economy slows down and the foreign owners of our major companies and property stop pouring the money in and start to sweat their assets we will need sharply increasing interest rates to prevent the pound from falling quite dramatically due to the double attack on our GDP.

Or we could let the pound fall. Is that a bad thing?

What it is, is massively inflationary. We import the fuel we use in our cars; we import 40% of the food we eat; we import raw materials for our manufacturing industries. On the plus side, our exports would become cheaper for foreigners, and if there were any appetite left for our assets they would also become cheaper. But note we are overwhelmingly an importing nation, not an exporter. We haven’t been a net exporter of tangibles since the 1970s.

To put it bluntly, unless we defend the pound the economy will go belly-up and foreigners will pick through its bones for any choice morsels there might be left.

But if we do defend the pound we face belt-tightening and hardship as we service our massive debts.

It’s a rock and a hard place. We should never have got into this situation.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Mass immigration is bad for the UK

Yesterday saw the publication by the House of Lords’ Economic Affairs Committee of its report The Economic Impact of Immigration. It has long been an article of faith in New Labour that immigration into the United Kingdom was a benefit to all concerned. During their decade of misrule an uncounted torrent of migrants has flooded into this country by a variety of legal avenues: lawful migration from EU accession countries in the East; asylum seekers given leave to remain; marriage to a citizen of the EU; the highly-skilled visa programme; and some unlawful avenues: bogus marriage, visa over-staying, and of course the ever-popular hiding in a truck at Calais.

The attitude of our government has all along been immigration is good so why attempt to stop it or even enforce the existing laws against it? The experience of ordinary members of the public is different though, the public somehow felt cheated by immigration, and finally the great and the good in the form of their Lordships is agreeing. You may read their report here:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldselect/ldeconaf/82/82.pdf

Or, if you prefer not to wade through it, I’ll summarise. Their Lordships find: migrants do not produce more than they cost to keep; they are not needed to fill job vacancies – we already have plenty of unemployed workers who could do that; and they will not solve the looming pensions crisis – not least because they will also be entitled to a pension from the UK taxpayer.

We should however distinguish two classes of migrant. Most migrants arrive at our shores destitute, with poor English, and not possessed of skills which we ourselves lack. They have not come to teach to us anything but rather to learn, and they have not brought funds to spend here but rather to earn and maybe even repatriate some money. The second class of migrant hails from the advanced nations, they are often American, they bring skills and money; they work in banking or the hi-tech industries; they are better educated than the typical native and their presence here, usually temporary, is a great boon to us as it expands our capabilities and grows our industries. Unfortunately the first class outnumbers the second class many thousands to one. Lumping these two classes together and then producing a “benefits of immigration” overall conclusion is an intellectual fraud. We should be asking: can we get the same or more benefit with fewer immigrants?

The mistake is to restrict consideration to the economic effects of immigration. There are many other issues:

Over-crowding: It’s self-evident the roads are congested and can’t take more traffic; likewise the hospitals are bursting; the schools are over-subscribed; the police are stretched to the limit; the prisons are full and there is a housing shortage. Every extra immigrant makes this situation worse. Great Britain is full.

Food: We already cannot (or rather, do not) feed ourselves. We import 40% of the food we eat. This means that every extra mouth to feed worsens our food situation. I’m not suggesting there is a shortage of food, but each immigrant ratchets up our food import requirement by another notch with the obvious effect on our balance of payments.

Water: The South-East of England is suffering a water shortage. Most migrants to the UK will live in the South-East. What more needs to be said?

Disease: The UK HIV infection rate is rising, not because of natives indulging in risky behaviour, but because already-infected immigrants are moving here. Once settled here they will cost an average of one million pounds each to treat throughout their lifetime. A couple of decades ago we had eliminated TB from our country. This used to be a terrible scourge in the 19th and early 20th centuries but we had conquered it. Now, once again, it infects our land. Currently it is restricted to the immigration hotspots in inner London. How long before we are all at risk?

Crime: It is not very PC to point out that immigrants commit more crime (per capita) than natives, but they do; vastly more! Where do Yardies come from? How about Tongs, Snakeheads, the Eastern-European mafias, people smugglers, black-on-black gun crime? They all come from the same place – abroad. We didn’t have such problems before the recent mass immigration. Several chief police officers have alluded to this; they have said things like, “the character of my area is changing – we need more resources,” by which they mean, immigrants have moved in and crime has soared.

Social ease: This is difficult to quantify but real nonetheless. These days in London, where I live, I am surrounded by people who are not like me and it is somewhat disconcerting. In shops assistants often speak poor English. Last week I asked for “cutlery” in a local shop and was handed a catalogue. I looked through the catalogue for some cutlery but there wasn’t any. When I queried this with the assistant it transpired he didn’t know what the word “cutlery” meant and so guessed I might have been asking for a “catalogue”. This isn’t of itself the crime of the century, but the continual forced association with people who don’t share a language or values with me is irksome. Another example: in another store I pointed out that some goods were mis-described by the label, being presented as much better than they were. This was clearly an offence under the Trade Descriptions Act and the assistant should have corrected the sign pretty sharpish. But the assistant I spoke to just shrugged and moved away. I’ve no idea if he didn’t understand English; or didn’t know that attempting to cheat customers is a serious matter in this country, or understood but just didn’t care. Basically immigrants don’t live by our standards and don’t live up to our values. (This paragraph does not apply to type two immigrants of course!)

When discussing immigration, muslims need a special mention. They are different from other immigrants in that quite a few of them, a number amounting to several tens of thousands, believe that the UK should be forcibly converted to an Islamic state operating under Sharia law. This subject needs a post in its own right so I won’t dwell on it, save to say that Islam needs putting back in its box or there will be big trouble.

So why does the government insist immigration is such a wonderful thing?

There are a couple of reasons. The first is simply about votes. The Labour party knows that the immigrant communities in this country want to bring in relatives from abroad and will vote for pro-immigration politicians. This is self-fuelling because the new immigrants will then go on to become Labour voters once they have completed the naturalisation process. Put simply Labour needs to sell out to immigrants in order to stay in power; they are dependent on their votes.

The next reason is economic. Although immigrants provide no net economic benefit to the nation as a whole they do have an economic effect which is beneficial to the government. If you have read my previous posts you will know that the New Labour “economic miracle” is based on a massive debt. For this debt to remain manageable interest rates must remain low, which means inflation must remain low otherwise interest rates would have to be put up to combat the inflation. Immigrants keep inflation low by providing cheap workers, hence cheap goods and services, and they depress salaries for native workers which keeps their spending down.

So immigration is good for the government. It keeps them in power. The fact they are selling this country to foreigners doesn’t seem to matter to them. As always with New Labour – the future doesn’t matter, it can be sacrificed to make their present more comfortable.

Am I the only one who thinks it would be nice to see a few Labour ministers hanging from lampposts?