Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Trump to ban musims from USA

Presidential hopeful and Republican front-runner Donald J Trump has produced his next policy masterpiece.

Adding to his "build a wall" solution to the problem of Mexican immigration The Donald proposes to ban all Muslims from coming to America; included are both tourists and wanna-be immigrants.

"Sucks to be you!"

It's almost like he is reading this blog!

Unfortunately the policy is time limited. The ban would only apply until "our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

Have they really not figured it out yet? They've had long enough. Perhaps a quote from the Koran will help:

9:5 When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful. 

or perhaps this one...

8:12 Your [Muhammad’s] Lord revealed to the angels: "I am with you: give the believers firmness; I shall put terror into the hearts of the disbelievers. Strike above their necks and strike their fingertips."

Sadly The Donald is 14 years too late. This policy would have prevented 9-11, and the innumerable acts of terrorism since then.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Bombing Syria, who cares?

Would it surprise you to learn that this blog does not really care whether we bomb Syria or not?

The whole situation is a tangled mess and dropping bombs on the situation will neither make it better nor worse. Many of the 'players' have special interests which are not officially reported and the UK contribution to the cause is only planned to be tiny anyway. We have 4x Tornado GR4, each carrying 3x Paveway bombs per sortie and maybe the occasional, much touted, Brimstone missile.

The Americans have three aircraft carriers involved; two in the Med and one in the Gulf. They also operate out of a megabase in Qatar. They have Marines, airforce bombers and elements from the 82nd Airborne and the 1st and 505th Infantry divisions in the theatre of war. The total commitment amounts to thousands of men and hundreds of aircraft. They have flown about 3000 missions so far.

The French have sent their aircraft carrier the Charles de Gaulle with 26 Rafale and Super Etendard fighter/bombers on board. The CDG is the only nuclear powered aircraft carrier in the world not owned by the Americans. They are also flying missions off the US carrier Carl Vinson.

The Canadians have sent 9 aircraft and about 100 special forces. The Australians have contributed 10 aircraft. Both are active bombing ISIS assets, mainly in Iraq in the Mosul area. They fly out of airbases in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Then you have the Russians. They have 32 planes in action, mainly su-24s and su-30s flying out of al-Assad international airport in the Syrian port city of Latakia. As friends of Assad they have the best possible vantage point.

Also helping out are the Turks. They have 335 combat aircraft, mainly old F-16s. Saudi Arabia (313 combat aircraft), Jordan (38 combat aircraft), the UAE (157 combat aircraft), Bahrain (39 combat aircraft) and Qatar (15 combat aircraft) have also carried out bombing missions. These countries are close enough that they all fly from bases at home.

And we have four planes based in Cyprus.

We currently own zero functional aircraft carriers. We have two under construction but the first will not be in service until 2017 and the other in 2020 and they will not be nuclear powered, which means they cannot use steam catapults to launch planes, which means they must fly VTOL or near-VTOL aircraft with a much shorter range than regular fighter/bombers.

So it is difficult to get worked up about our negligible contribution. Compared to the others we are trivial. The only good reason for us being there is to show willing, to show the French we care about what happened in Paris and to show the Americans we appreciate their efforts. Our military significance is nil.

Which does raise the question of why is everyone else there? Does it matter to us or them which despotic regime controls Syria or Iraq?

Not really.

The Americans are only there because their puppet regime in Baghdad will not survive without their help. The Russians are trying to destroy the infrastructure ISIS are using to smuggle oil from Mosul to Turkey (with the full connivance of  Turkey's President Ergodan who is getting very rich on the back of this war) because Russian oil exports are affected by cheap looted oil flooding out of the region.

The French have a tenuous colonial connection to Syria and feel some residual responsibility; the Canadians have had their arm twisted by America and the Australians are trying to look relevant. The Gulf states themselves are mainly just responding to American pressure. Saudi, UEA, Jordan, Qatar would all be quite happy if ISIS took over in Iraq and Syria. ISIS is Sunni, just like them. The current governments of Syria and Iraq are Shia or Shia-aligned and pay homage to Iran which is the local superpower they all like to hate.

So in bombing Syria (and let us not forget we have been bombing Iraq for quite a while now) we are dipping a toe in piranha invested waters and in the end more innocents will have died and no one will thank us.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Autumn statement, 2015

This afternoon George Osborne delivered his Spending Review, generally known as the Autumn Statement. His tone was triumphal: growth is higher than expected; tax receipts are therefore up and the Chancellor was able to don a long white beard and hand out early Christmas presents. Invited to sit on his lap were: national infrastructure; museums, culture and sport, the armed forces and the police - all of whom got their spending increased or at least maintained.

Osborne: We are the builders

Osborne went on to unveil some rather radical changes. He sounded low key but there could be dramatic effect if they stick: local councils to keep business rate receipts with the power to vary the rate; consequential abolition of the central government grant to councils so they become entirely self-funding. Also all schools to become "academies" and so taken out of local education authority control; a new 2% "levy" on council tax for adult social care (ie, putting up council tax by 2%) and retirement age to rise in line with increased life expectancy - some people might never see a pension at that rate.

There were several casual mentions of some quite extreme austerity. HMRC is to be 18% "more efficient", which presumably means 18% of staff made redundant. Osborne is introducing a "digital tax account" for all taxpayers and businesses and it looks like he expects all tax transactions to take place online. Once this has happened taxes such as CGT will become payable within 30 days of the transaction rather than at the end of the year as now. Nice, for HM Treasury.

He seems to have adopted "We are the builders" as his catchphrase. He's going to build 400,000 new houses before 2020 and they will be affordable to buy, not just rent. To achieve this he will throw money at the building firms and knock down nine prisons, including Holloway, and sell the land. New prisons will be built but one imagines not in London. The land value of London's big old Victorian prisons must be enormous and George could not keep his hands out of this cookie jar. Actually it's amazing he has resisted for the past five years.

He is also increasing stamp duty by 3% (of the total sale price, one assumes) on buy-to-let and bought-by-foreigners houses. There will be devil in the detail of this provision but it needed to happen. We cannot have our national housing stock bought up by the Chinese and be paying them rent forever more. He should probably have gone further.

Councils will be "encouraged" to sell assets - he didn't say how.

Income tax and Corporation tax will be devolved to the devolved nations (Wales, Scotland) with special legislation passed so the Welsh and Scots will not be entitled to a referendum before that happens. Presumably this is a poisoned chalice they would not willingly drink from.

There were a slew of cuts in other departments: Department of Transport 37% cut; "biz budget" halved, and others. Most departments are getting cuts.

His big rabbit out of the hat was the abolition of the tax credit cuts which haven't actually happened yet. SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie later noted wryly that the Tories cheered just as much for the abolition as they did for the introduction a few months ago.

After an hour and six minutes he sat down and shadow Chancellor John McDonnell rose to reply for the opposition.
McDonnell: I have a little red book

For his first twenty minutes McDonnell was lackluster and dull. He wittered on about the Chancellor not abolishing the deficit like he promised five years ago - a speech that could have been made anytime in the last year. MPs in the benches behind him started filing out of the chamber. But then, in a stroke of genius, he pulled out Mao's little red book (his personal autographed copy it seems) and started quoting the late Chairman of the Chinese Communist party. Labour MPs perked up no end and he even woke up the Tory side.

So he ended on a high.

As always the effects of this Spending Review are difficult to predict. A lot was made of the give-aways but the percentages of cuts muttered sotto voce were high. The procedural changes have the potential to be significant over the long term. Ultimately it was a job application by Osborne to become Prime Minister, and it must be said, the Tory MPs seemed quite happy.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Monday, 16 November 2015

The problem is Islam

The media and our governments try very hard to confuse us with terms like "radicalised", "extremist" and "fundamentalist" just like they prefer to use the term "refugee" when "immigrant" would be more apt. They also like to focus on very specific group names such as Al Qaeda, ISIS or the Muslim Brotherhood. The aim is to persuade us that muslims can be divided into good and bad and most are good. Only the bad ones rape, behead and immolate themselves and others.

After the Charlie Hebdo murders the BBC commissioned a poll in an attempt to prove that most muslims are good. They were successful in that they discovered that only 27% of muslims supported the killings. This number is a tad over the more usual intel metric that 15% to 25% of muslims worldwide generally support the use of violence to impose sharia but in the same ballpark so probably accurate.

So the craven politically-correct news benders at the Beeb are right when they aver that only a minority of muslims want to kill us. Unfortunately it is still a large number.

Islam is clearly a self-fueling meme. The more muslims you put in a room the more hard-line they will all be. A solitary muslim may be quite the nice guy, but add more nice guy muslims to the mix and they start getting serious about their religion. This applies as much in a local street demo as in the national population. A tipping point is reached and then we are all in trouble. 

Critical mass seems to have been achieved in, of all places, Belgium, where young men most people considered to be basically OK turned bad and went on a killing spree in Paris. This is really no different from the London bombings when four lads from Leeds, who most people considered OK guys, tried to murder as many Londoners as possible.

There is only one realistic solution to this problem. Islam needs to be banned. There needs to be a dissolution of the mosques and muslims need to go and live in muslim countries where their infectious madness can do no harm because everyone else already has the condition. 

Islam is completely incompatible with democracy. The most fundamental tenet of Islam is that only God makes the law. Man-made law (eg law made in parliament) is anathema to them. If a group of people genuinely believe that they are not bound by laws made by man then we cannot live with them since man-made law is the foundation of our society.

The other unacceptable faces of Islam: the genital mutilations, the amputations, the beheadings, the treatment of women as cattle and the injunction to fight the infidel wherever you find him are actually lesser problems than the most fundamental problem of man-made law. They might be persuaded to moderation on the other points but they will never give up the Koran as their only source of law; they will never accept a re-write of the Koran and so will never be just another ethnic group we can integrate into our society.

So they must all be expelled to make our country safe.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Jailed for exercising free speech

"Reality star" Ursual Presgrave faces jail after being charged with an offence under the Malicious Communications Act. The communication in question being:

One could agree or disagree with the sentiment, and for what it is worth this blog reckons many Down's suffers actually lead happy lives, but discussion of serious subjects such as euthanasia is a legitimate exercise in free speech. The Lancet website currently has 690 "hits" on the subject, including articles on immediate post-natal euthanasia and involuntary euthanasia of severely disabled patients.

Ms Presgrave's real crime is not her message. No, a quick butcher's at her picture shows her real crime.

Ursula Presgrave: Guilty of chav

Her problem is the bleached hair, "Croydon face lift", tattoos and piercings, including a "flesh tunnel" in one ear. People like her are not allowed to discuss serious or controversial subjects; they are restricted to talking about trashy TV programmes and football; not de juris but de facto.

Does anyone think that doctors discussing euthanasia using long words in learned publications would have any trouble from the law? Of course not, see the Lancet for proof positive.

This blog has no qualms about repeating the "malicious" communication, because some Latin was used above which grants complete exemption from all chav restrictions.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Can you spot which countries are not taking defence seriously?

Here's your clue....





Here's another mug shot...




Better, but he has never served a single day in the armed forces. Time was a military career was considered essential to become Defence Secretary, but not any more it seems.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Syrian migrants find back-door into UK

It seems two boats carrying 140 Syrian migrants have landed at an RAF base on Cyprus, thus putting them on British sovereign territory. It is a longer boat trip than the quick hop to Lesbos where you can actually see the destination from the Turkish mainland, 100 miles in fact. 

Cyprus: further than it looks!

Clever and tricky! To-date we have been protected from difficult decisions by keeping wanna-be migrants at arms' length, ie blocked in a foreign country. But now they are under the wire and officially "our problem".


RAF Akrotiri: Nice beach, shame about the migrants

There is some precedent here. About 18 years ago a group of Kurds arrived at the base and requested asylum. They were denied entry into the United Kingdom but are still being accommodated at our expense on the island two decades later.



Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Migrants are not happy

Russia Today have interviewed a number of migrants who have completed their Great Trek and arrived in their respective lands of milk and honey, and it seems they are not happy. Complaints include:
  • Not being given apartments
  • Apartments too far from the centre of town
  • Schools not near enough
  • Internet connection too slow
  • Food is bad
  • Not being given clothing
 Some of them are threatening to return to Syria!

See their tales of woe here:

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Russia attacks ISIS with cruise missiles

Have a look at this Daily Mail graphic of Russian navy ships in the Caspian Sea launching cruise missiles last night at ISIS sites in Syria...


The significant subtly is the route taken by the missiles. Fired off Russian warships in international waters in the Caspian they passed through Iranian airspace, then Iraqi airspace, then arrived at various ISIS strongholds. Early indications are that none hit a hospital run by Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Both the Iranian and Iraqi governments gave prior permission for their airspace to be used. In the case of Iran this isn't surprising; they have been helping Assad since 2011. But Iraq? In theory they are supposed to be in the American pocket, and America hates Russia moving into the Middle East. So it seems Iraq has shed the US yoke and a new Russia-Iran-Iraq-Syria (RII S) axis is now in play.

The battle lines are now RIIS vs AISA (America-Israel-Saudi Arabia). Presumably over the coming days and weeks the pretense that "we are all fighting ISIS" will give way to more overt land grabbing, although I can't see the US 6th fleet in the Med or the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt currently in the Persian gulf directly exchanging blows with the Russian fleet in the Caspian.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Supermarkets fox government

It's not only Putin who can defeat the UK government, supermarkets can as well. Years ago legislation was enacted to impose a 5p charge on the shoppers of England for each plastic bag given out by shops with more than 250 employees, and it came into effect by ministerial order yesterday. 

The money is supposed to go to "good causes" although rather mysteriously the order does not actually mention that.

Was there squealing and whining from the big supermarkets? No, there was a suspicious silence as they plotted to defeat the purpose of the government. Before "bag" day we heard little from the big shops; they didn't inform their customers of their plans or advise any preparations.

And lo, on charging day we see what they have been planning. We were expecting to have to pay 5p for each of those ultra-thin semi-useless bags. But no, they are gone, no-longer available in any form and for his or her 5p the customer gets a multi-use bag and the promise of endless more multi-use bags for free as and when the first wears out.

The contribution to "good causes" will likely be 20p per shopper, in total, ever. And since it looks like the government was planning to keep the "good causes" money anyway, tough.

However anyone still determined to get their bag for free should note Schedule 2 section 2(1)(f) of the order, which stipulates that if you slip a live goldfish into the bag then you get the bag for free!


Thursday, 1 October 2015

Putin wins again

Russian President Vladimir Putin has outmaneuvered the West by joining in the air strikes on ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Once again Kremlin strategists have wrong-footed the hopeless amateurs in Washington and London.

The real politik is that the West desperately does not want the Russians in the middle east and they do want to overthrow the Assad regime in Damascus. Assad supports Hezbollah which periodically attacks Israel. The Zionist lobby in DC therefore nominates Assad as Public Enemy #1.

The problem is that the public in the USA and UK have seen a lot of beheading videos and think anyone fighting ISIS must be a good guy. So America is torn between bombing ISIS and bombing Assad; in fact there is no-one in Syria they don't want to bomb, but various shadowing groups have ensured that high quality ISIS beheading vids get lots of airtime and Assad is looking like yesterday's boogey man. Add to that the Russians have been allied with Assad since the year dot (because of his Mediterranean access) and it all gets very frustrating for your average American neo-con.

The Russians are well-placed to bomb ISIS because, being friends with Assad, they get to use his airbases. So they are likely to be more effective than the West and now have a perfect excuse to build up substantial forces in the area. Forces which could be used to defend Assad against the West should the Zionists ever manage to get regime-change in Damascus back on the agenda.

Also, America now considers most of the middle east to be under her military control - notable exception: Iran. The US basically has air superiority in most countries with the agreement of the local friendly government: ie, Israel, Iraq, Saudi. The UAE and Oman are long-term allies. Which really only leaves the Lebanon and Yemen - both lawless hellholes of no strategic significance, and no actual governments.

But now the Russians have moved in, with an impeccable excuse, doing nothing more than the Americans were already doing, and are throwing around considerable weight. The Americans were notified that Russian bombing was about to begin when a 3-star Russian general knocked on the front door of the US embassy in Baghdad and gave precisely 60 minutes notice that "American" airspace was about to be buzzing with Russian jets.

Cue much gnashing of teeth. The Americans and allies hate the Russian presence but cannot think of any good reason to object. So far they have only come up with the Russians being a bit hit and miss, but since Western forces have killed any number of innocents that is not much of a reason.

Putin is continuing a period of Russian expansionism. He has taken the Crimea, is in the process of taking Eastern Ukraine and now is moving into the Arabian peninsula.

Meanwhile the public in Europe and America now so despise their own governments for being completely sold-out to all interests except their own citizens' that they are actually rooting for the Ruskies.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Massacre at Mecca

Seven hundred people have been crushed to death in Mecca when a crowd stampeded during the annual muslim "hajj" or pilgrimage. Hundreds of others have been badly injured.

Last week 100 people died when a crane fell through the roof into the Grand Mosque.

In previous years hundreds have been killed by poor organisation and failures of the built infrastructure.

But why does Mecca have such a high mortality rate? Perhaps this motorway sign gives us a clue...



Don't diss Lord Ashcroft

Seriously, don't. All this week the Daily Mail has been publishing extracts from his new book and so far we have allegations that:

  • David Cameron took canabis
  • David Cameron took cocaine
  • David Cameron was groomed by the KGB
  • David Cameron put his penis in a (dead) pig's mouth
  • David Cameron blamed deputy PM Clegg for not giving Ashcroft a job
  • David Cameron was told off by the Queen for nearly breaking the UK over Scottish independence.
  • David Cameron made his wife's hair fall out
Quite why Cameron didn't properly reward Lord Ashcroft for 10 years' work and £8m donated to the party is unclear. Clegg denies vetoing a senior position for him so it looks like it was Cameron's decision alone.

He's probably regretting it now.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Corbyn curiously effective

Corbyn has just asked his six questions at PMQs and he was not a complete disaster area.

Like all newbies he started by saying let's have a new more adult PMQs with serious questions and serious answers. They all do that, and it generally lasts all of five minutes before they degenerate into slagging each other off.

But Corbyn has found a tricksy style which Cameron will find difficult to crack. Corbyn announced he would be asking questions sent in by members of the pubic - so immediately the PM is on the back foot, he cannot diss the public. Corby said he has received 40,000 questions and proceeded to read a few out, giving the first name of the questioner each time. The PM dully answered, after which Corbyn gravely told him why he was wrong and then moved on to the next question, thus allowing him the last word on each subject.

The usual PM tactic to deal with the 'last word' problem is to bottle it all up until he answers the leader of the opposition's last question and then give him both barrels secure in the knowledge that he can't shoot back. However, with a named member of the public asking the questions, and the real prospect that the Labour Party might actually produce this member of the public tearfully lamenting the PM's rudeness, Cameron cannot afford to let loose and has to just answer on the facts. Hint to Corbyn for the future: make sure the last question always comes from a woman, the tearful lamenting will look so much better. So "Dave" is on a sticky wicket here. It's not clear how he will take Corbyn down. Some pondering required.

After Corby was done, the leader of the SNP in the House (Alex someone-or-other) asked a few questions and the PM wiped the floor with him.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Jeremy Corbyn: some thoughts

So Comrade Corbyn won just like everyone assumed he would and now we are all kicking ourselves we didn't place a bet back when he was 500/1 against.

Power to the people!
 
The other Labour leadership candidates looked "suitably delighted" for him when the results where announced, although Yvette Cooper had a little cry and Liz Kendall actually looked relived.

So what now? Is the show over? Of course not, it's just getting started. The next installment is PMQs on Wednesday this week when Corbyn will take his first swipe at Cameron. That should be interesting to put it mildly.

Before then Corbyn needs to appoint a shadow cabinet and it seems a bit of a bloodbath is in progress. Moderates and Blairites are being purged to make room for socialists with pedigrees dating back to the Cretaceous (the  last time dinosaurs ruled.) Comrade Corbyn has 35 years of grudges that need sorting out. His appointments so far are drawn from the fringes of the party so mainly people no-one has ever heard of: eg John McDonnell as shadow Chancellor, Angela Eagle as "first secretary", Heidi Alexander as shadow Health Secretary.

A bit more familiar are Diane Abbott and Andy Burnham, the only other leadership candidate who would agree to work with Corbyn.

A big buzzing fly in the ointment is the fact that Corbyn is eurosceptic. Historically Labour has been pro-Europe while the Tories were anti. But now it looks like Euroscepticism will be quite acceptable on all sides of the House. The referendum in 2017 is looking like a wide open goal.

Daddy issues

Behold Ms Charlotte Proudman, PhD (student) and Barrister...

Ms Proudperson

Having recently started a work-placement at Chambers Ms Proudman fired off a few 'friend' requests to people she had never met to bolster her address book. Mr Carter-Silk, solicitor and senior partner at a law firm, looked like a good connexion to have. Barristers get their briefs from solicitors so sucking up to them is an essential Barristorial skill.


Mr Alexander Carter-Silk 

Mr Carter-Silk it seems took a look at the unsolicited approach in his email and, despite being vastly more senior than Ms Proudperson, decided to take her on as a friend and responded along the lines of: Charlotte, delighted to connect. This is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning photo.

To which Ms Proudy responded with words to the effect of, Alex, I find your message offensive. I am on LinkedIn for business purposes not to be approached about my physical appearance or to be objectified by sexist men. [blah, blah...] Think twice before sending another woman (half your age) such a sexist message. (She couldn't actually spell LinkedIn but I have corrected it here.)

She then seems to have decided to maximise her satisfaction by tweeting her response to the world, presumably with a view to basking in the adulation of her fellow outraged feminists. 

Mr Carter-Silk responded with an apology which Ms P didn't like because it wasn't grovelly enough.

But, unfortunately for Ms P she has been throwing stones from the comfort of a glass house because Daily Mail journalists performed a cursory search on Facebook and found her referring to men she liked as "hot stuff" and "oo-err Missus" (I may have made that last one up.)

It looks like she developed "daddy issues" when her father died and left all his money to cancer research. Considering her father died when he was 37 one might guess he actually suffered from cancer and considered it a more deserving cause than his proud daughter (who assumed the name "Proudman" when she dropped her father's surname.)

Alexander Carter-Silk has clearly made a number of serious mistakes. He should never have prefaced his first email with the words, This is probably horrendously politically incorrect but..., that's just asking for trouble. Better would have been, Cute picture but you're the most junior it's possible to be and I'm a senior partner so I think not.

Realistically Ms Proud was trading on her looks trying to get a connexion with a senior partner she had never met  anyway. And since her looks aren't all that anyway he should have turned her down. (Not that we can really judge her looks. She wears hijab levels of make-up. Doesn't she know make-up is a conspiracy of the patriarchy?!)

Mr Carter-Silk should certainly not have apologised in his response. Better would have been, I don't appreciate your ageist attitude and you have breached my copyright by publishing my email.

Sadly Ms P has now blotted her copybook for life. She is forever going to be known for her pompous retort. Maybe she should change her name again.

On the plus side Mr Carter-Silk will probably sail serenely on.

Achtung! Papers!

Well, that didn't take long - Germany has closed the border with Austria.

The reason....


...too many of these.

The German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere announced that the border with Austria was closed to undocumented persons, in violation of the Schengen Agreement. We can now expect a cascade effect because the only reason Austria was letting them in is because they could pass them on to Germany. So Austria will stop taking them from Hungary and Hungary will have to stop them entering from Serbia.

There will be a build-up somewhere in the system, and if it's an unfriendly place like Serbia or Macedonia violence is to be expected.

The effect on Chancellor Angela Merkel's rating is starting to show...

Sad face
 
Seventy-one percent of Germans now disapprove of her policy and don't want any more immigrants let into the country. There have been riots in Dresden - not generally reported by the BBC with its own agenda to push. Fortunately for Merkel she is mid-term at the moment and won't be facing the electorate until 2017.

And talking of BBC agendas - look at the top picture. It's a representation sample of migrants; 9 out of 10 are single young men (flicking victory signs). When conducting interviews the Beeb always contrives to give the wrong impression by showing mothers with young children but the reality is much different. Families have been left at home. The Germans are allowing a foreign army to build up in their country.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Killer Cameron

Two British citizens have been killed by their own Government without the slightest attempt at legal due process; killed by a country which officially does not even have the death penalty. They were supposedly killed for plotting to kill the queen. Of course, had they succeeded in killing the queen the penalty would only have been life in prison.

Bang! You're dead!

This blog has no real objection to muslim terrorists being killed, and plenty of private individuals have travelled to the Levant to help kill ISIS fighters, mainly by joining up with Kurdish forces, and there has been no great outcry or legal sanction when they got back to the UK. (Unlike those who travel to join ISIS who get prosecuted.)

It's not a new thing for HMG to kill its own citizens. In 1988 three unarmed IRA members were killed in Gibraltar by the SAS. Throughout the "troubles" in Northern Ireland arrests of suspected terrorists were divided into "hard" and "soft". In a soft arrest the suspects were actually arrested but in a hard arrest they were simply shot dead and there was no legal consequence for the killers. (After several members of the UK government were killed in a Brighton hotel in 1986 by the IRA the army in Northern Ireland were given free rein to kill at will.)

However there is a new thing here. For the first time the Prime Minister has personally ordered an execution (two in fact.) There can be absolutely no pretense that it was necessary as a national security measure - the two terrorists were nowhere near British territory. "Dave" wanted them dead so they died. One imagines though, that he was egged on by the intelligence services and the RAF, very keen to try out their comparatively new toys.

This may not be the zero cost operation that Cameron imagines. The two terrorists are likely to have family back in the UK. There could be court cases; demands for compensation; allegations of murder even. Cameron may discover the long term legal ramifications outweigh the fun he had on the day

Germany has turned suicidal

Angela Merkel has said Germany will take half a million Syrian migrants per year - every year!

If she means it then that's effectively national suicide. The Syrians will re-create Syria in Germany. They won't turn into Germans. That's not the way it works. Geography does not make a nation; people make a nation. Germany would be Germany anywhere the German people were. If Syria were exclusively inhabited by the Germanic peoples then Beamers and Mercs would come from Syria and that's where the Oktoberfest would happen.

Germany may be rich at the moment, and they have only recently become rich again after absorbing the costs of re-unification, but they won't stay rich for long with a massive muslim population. BBC reporters have done a good job of spotting the families and children in the invading hoard, but even they, when forced, admit that 9 out of 10 of the migrants are young men.

The "refugee" status of the migrants is a complete fiction. They are safe in Turkey. They are actually safe in many parts of Syria itself, including Damascus where life carries on as normal for the most part.

Sentiment in Europe was turned by the dead boy on a beach. Various idiots have claimed "his parents would not have put him in a boat if it were not safer than the land," but where was he, his brother and his mother buried? In Syria! Yes, the father took the bodies back to Syria for the funeral and has turned down an asylum offer from Canada (where his sister lives) and intends to live in Syria from now on.

Was safe in Syria - victim of father's greed!

At best the hoards headed for Germany are economic migrants who have selected the richest country in Europe as their destination. Germany guarantees each and every one of them housing and support. So they marched out of Syria, across Turkey, across the sea to Greece, across Macedonia and Serbia and even Hungary and Austria were not good enough for them. Only at the German border do they consider themselves "home".

It's obvious that the Middle East is now going to siphon into Germany. Are there enough empty houses? Job vacancies - for people who mainly don't speak German? No, of course not. And the German government knows this. Why Merkel has embarked on this foolishness is baffling. Germany does not have any moral liability for the Middle East situation. They have not been involved in the wars against Iraq. They are still being tripped by residual guilt from the second world war; a war few people can even remember. Angela Merkel certainly cannot, she wasn't born back then.

They had better come to their senses fast or they will have big problems.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Germany has blinked

Last week we were bombarded with images of migrants out of the Middle East kicking down fences to get into Macedonia and then forcing their way onto trains to get across to Serbia, where of course they did not stop, as now we are seeing the hoards outside Budapest railway station in Hungary. (We didn't see much in the way of reporting from Serbia - the Serbians seem to have just waved them through.)

Hoard reaches Budapest, Hungary
 
The pull factor is Germany which is now willing to take a million migrants a year out of Syria. So course, as you would expect, all of Syria is on the move. The German people are reported to be generally sympathetic and welcoming although this may not last - the state of Bavaria has broken ranks and said it will not take any refugees.
Genghis Kahn didn't manage this (got stuck in Austria)
 
The next country on the migration route is Austria. So far the hoard hasn't gotten through Hungary and it looks like the Hungarian authorities are putting up more of fight than Macedonia or Serbia did. 
 
The Hungarian police tried to stop a train commandeered by migrants 25 miles outside Budapest where they have a big reception centre but the migrants weren't having it. The migrants know the rule that they must stop in the nearest safe place and they do not want to be registered (ie fingerprinted) in Hungary.

With such a long lead time we can hope the Austrians are even better prepared at the border.

It goes without saying that any refugee who makes it as far as Calais is an economic migrant even if he started out as a genuine asylum seeker since he will have passed through many safe countries to get that far.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Don't be sorry for dead migrants

Just outside Vienna, Austria, there is a lorry parked by the side of the road with approx 70 dead migrants in it. Police are not certain exactly how many bodies because they have decomposed and presumably turned into a sort of human soup. The smell can only be imagined. Another thing that can only be imagined is what the driver thought when he stopped to let his migrants out and discovered they had all died. Not surprisingly he did a runner and has not yet been found. He probably hasn't finished throwing up!

Human soup

Also, just off the coast of Libya two boats carrying migrants have sunk; 500 people have drowned and a couple of hundred survived. The drowned were locked in the holds below decks while the survivors, who undoubtedly paid more for the privilege, were carried above.

This is all bad news, and not just for the dead wanna-be illegals. It will engender sympathy and might open doors which should remain closed.

Europe is currently being invaded by two sorts of people: "refugees" who claim they are coming because they are unsafe in their own lands, and "economic migrants" who make no bones about the fact they are coming because they will be richer here than there.

We should reject both categories. First consider the refugees. It is a fundamental principle of asylum seeking that the seeker should travel to the nearest safe place; the optimum choice being a safe place inside their own country. The UK does not neighbour any unsafe country so any refugee trying to come here would have to pass through a safe country - which is where they should stop. All applications for asylum in the UK should be refused without further consideration. By definition there can be no valid claims. 

Most economic migrants should also be refused; especially the self-selected ones who push through borders. They bring no capital, and they bring no skills we do not already have. And we do have at least five million un- or under-employed people who need jobs and could be trained to do useful work. It is senseless to import workers while we have "spare" people. Even if these pushy migrants do get jobs we will still have to support our native unemployed who will then have even less chance of getting a job.

And one suspects most of the heaving masses at Calais will never be a net asset to the country. Their mere presence imposes a cost; they occupy roads, houses, their children take school places, they and their children swell GP and dentist lists and take hospital beds. They will also take up scarce prison places because they are far more criminally inclined than the native population. In fact they are selected for criminality because they came here illegally in the first place.

That is not to say there should be no inward migration. Isolating the UK technologically and culturally from the rest of the world would be not be good. We have been isolated before, at certain times during the Middle Ages when our king had fallen out with other kings, and the quality of our architecture and art from those times is noticeably poorer than the rest of Europe. But it is not swarthy young men from the East pushing down fences who keep the UK at the cutting edge. It's Ivy Leaguers arriving on business class flights we actually need. They have capital to invest or skills to teach.

The country is bursting at the seams. There is congestion and shortage everywhere: housing, schools, medical resources, public transport. Of our (supposedly) 62 million population 8 million were born abroad. And of course many more are born of those born abroad. 

And those are only the ones we can count. Illegals are by definition difficult to count. Some say we have a much higher population. Milk consumption data can be informative. The supermarkets know how much milk the average person consumes, and they know how much milk they sell, and a total population in excess of 70 million is indicated.

Much the same is true over the pond. The usually quoted number is 12 million illegals in the USA. But in her recent book ¡Adios America! Ann Coulter calculates the true number to be between 30 and 40 million. In both the UK and USA governments really do not want the people to know the extent to which they have failed.

And talking of failed countries, consider Macedonia. They had the "Calais situation" without the benefit of twenty miles of water. They put up a fight for a few days but their border fell.

Defending the Macedonian border
Failing to defend the Macedonian border
This is what happens when you fail in the most fundamental task of a country - defending your borders. Your country gets taken by others; others who have wrecked their own countries and are now coming here to wreck ours.
Macedonian plan B is to ship the invaders as fast possible to the far side of their country (hence the free train rides) so they can be passed on to Western Europe.

So harden your hearts when you hear of migrant deaths on the roads or at sea. These people are invaders and deserve little sympathy. Individually they will tell you a tale of woe; collectively they will dispossess you of your homeland.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Scientists grow human brain

Scientists from the Ohio State University have grown a human brain from skins cells they found in a cemetery. However the brain is only the size of a pea and cannot grow any bigger because it has no blood supply.

 Brain

Pea

Chief Scientist, Dr F Stein, said, "Due to its small size we believe it's the brain of a socialist. Scans indicate it is mainly thinking about spending other people's money."

Asked if it would be possible to grow a more responsible right-wing brain, Dr Stein replied, "Yes, but we would need to grow it a heart as well."

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Trump immigration policy

Wanna-be President, Donald J Trump, has published his immigration policy. You can read it here:

https://www.donaldjtrump.com/images/uploads/Immigration-Reform-Trump.pdf

It's pretty radical: build a wall across the Mexican border - which the Mexicans have to pay for! End birthright citizenship; deport all immigrants who commit crimes...

all good stuff. Perhaps when he's done sorting out the USA he can come over here and fix Calais.

Places not to visit

ISIS-land
Thailand
Tunisia

Sadly, the bombing in Bangkok will prove effective in its real goal and Western tourists will stay away in their numberless droves.

And there is really no way a country can defend itself against the lone bomber. Possibly in a hyper-vigilant Western nation someone would have noticed the bag left unattended by a yellow-shirted man at the Erawan shine in a posh sector of Bangkok, but probably not, or not soon enough. In the USA there may have been metal detectors and security guards at the shrine. In the UK almost certainly not.

Incidentally the shirt colour may be significant. The country is polarised into "red shirts" and "yellow shirts". The "reds" are rural, lefty, poor; the "yellows" urban and richer.

The real aim of bombing tourists in a shrine or machine gunning them on a beach is to undermine the government by removing a significant source of hard currency funding which leads to more unemployed people, hence more disaffected people and more recruits for anti-regime causes. Tourists are easily scared and have a lot of other options.

And what can the government do? Oppressive security will keep tourists away almost as much as terrorism. Some countries do successfully operate safe tourist enclaves in otherwise violent lands. Mexico is murder capital of the Americas but beach holidays are safe because the army protects the multi-billion dollar income stream by isolating tourist zones.

So, bad news Thailand. Memories will fade over time, but billions will be lost first.

Macroeconomic tangled web

The Chinese stock markets have been on a prolonged slide, falling fairly consistently over the last three months, although with occasional "dead cat" bounces as the Beijing government intervenes to boost share prices - initially just by ordering large shareholders not to sell (it's a totalitarian regime, remember) and most recently by devaluing the yuan.

The underlying cause is a hideous mess of macroeconomic interactions across the world. QE in the Eurozone back in February and Japanese QE before that boosted the relative value of US dollar where QE was being tapered just as others were getting started. The Chinese yuan is loosely pegged to the dollar and so its value was dragged up as well, which impacted Chinese exports. Naturally Chinese investors were selling up in China with a view to moving their money somewhere safer, ie the UK and the USA; an order from the Chinese government to stay put and suck up the loses was not reassuring.

Lowering the value of the yuan is easily done. The Chinese set a new value for the yuan vs the dollar every day - the peg is very loose indeed. In one stroke they robbed investors in China of five percent of their assets and removed future incentive to decamp to a safer place. Generally people do not bother locking the door after the horse has gone, and this horse may actually come creeping back over the next few weeks.

Unfortunately devaluing the yuan just pushes the problem back on the rest of the world. At the moment all the G7 countries are attempting "export-led" recoveries. There's a fairly obvious problem with that plan. We can't all be net exporters. For one country to be a net exported another has to be a net importer.

There is another problem. China wants the yuan to be a "reserve" currency like the dollar is and also sterling to a lesser extent. This is more of a prestige thing than any real benefit to China although there is clout to be gained when the world saves in a currency you can magic out of thin air. The US dollar is so popular with the rest of the world that American can print more and more dollars (and spend them on themselves of course) and nothing bad happens domestically. If you try that and your currency is not a reserve currency your name is probably Zimbabwe.

But for your currency to be a reserve currency you must operate a net importer economic model. Foreigners must be able to sell you stuff and get your currency without having to buy stuff from you and give your money back. That way they can keep some of your currency to trade around the world. China is not and cannot be a net importer. Without exports they are nowhere. The great China boom was based on exports. With exports stripped out their economy is much smaller.

So the world is locked in a battle of competitive devaluation with everyone trying to be cheaper than everyone else and America ending up as the buyer who never says no. This means America has and will live high on the hog for decades but one day all the dollars overseas will come home and try to wipe them out.

At which point President Trump will build a wall.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Ancestry

The human genome consists of 24,000 genes (approx) half inherited from your mother and half from your father (again, approximately.)

So your parents each gave you 12,000 genes, your grand-parents (of whom there were four) each gave you 6,000 genes; your great grand-parents (8) contributed 3,000 each, and so on back through the generations.

But if we go back 300 or 400 years, say 15 generations, then each of your 32,768 ancestors contributed less than one gene to your make-up, ie zero genes, so some of them are not really your ancestors at all.

There are a couple of exceptions...

If you are male then you have a Y chromosome containing 45 genes. You got this from your father (obviously, since your mother didn't have one) and he got it from his father in an unbroken chain back through the generations to the dawn of time, ie, whenever the current genetic set up was started.

There are also 13 mitochondrial genes. Both male and female have these but they are inherited only from the mother so also form an unbroken chain into the past.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Camila Batmanghelidjh: what is it?

Behold this exotic creature...


...it's a cuttlefish. It dines on crabs, which it catches by mesmerising them with a hypnotic display of bright colours. The poor crab watches in awe for a minute or so until a tentacle lashes out and grabs it. Too late the crab realises it has been suckered (quite literally!) and then it's dead.

Here is another exotic creature...


...it's a charidee collector. It dines on politicians, which it catches with a mesmorising display of clothing it has made itself. The poor politician is backed against a wall at a "do" and is told about the suffering of "deprived kids" and forced to hand over millions of pounds.

Of course neither creature is actually a fish; they are molluscs, although the Camila Batmanghelidjh  baffles scientists who are unable to agree on an exact classification. All agree though that the dress is fundamental to its feeding habits, tricking politicians that it might be an ethnic costume and therefore racist to say no.

The Camila Batmanghelidjh is native to Iran but mainly found in the UK, at least since 1974 when it moved here. The British climate has proved agreeable to the Camila and, with no natural predators, it has devoured hundreds of millions of pounds. But sadly a native species eventually got the measure of it; the Civil Servant has choked off its food supply.

So the politician is saved. Although, to be fair, the politician was never in any real  danger since it was spending some else's money.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Sir Edward Heath next in frame

Tory PM from 1970 to 1974,  "Ted" Heath, sometimes known as "the Incredible Sulk" because after being deposed as party leader by Margaret Thatcher he refused to go to the Lords and sat on a high bench in the Commons glowering down at Maggie, is next up for paedophile allegations.


Birds of a feather
 
In fact paedo allegations have surrounded Heath for years, including the suggestion that he was a regular visitor at paedo-brothel Haut de la Garenne in Jersey. (Jimmy Savile sued the Sun newspaper when they revealed he had visited the "boys' home". He was obliged to stay his action when a photo turned up of him surrounded by boys at the home.)

Barrister Michael Shrimpton QC has claimed that Ted Heath used to moor his yacht Morning Cloud at Jersey in order to enjoy the company of boys aged 12 to 15 from the home. These boys were subsequently murdered to keep them quiet. (That  said, Shrimpton has a history of dubious claims and nobody would take him seriously if he weren't a barrister.)

Most likely Heath was just an occasional homosexual paedophile at a time when homosexuality was illegal and paedopilia was not something the public even believed existed.

Monday, 3 August 2015

The cuckoo principle

Until yesterday the USA was unique in one respect: it was the only country in the world where illegal immigrants march in the street demanding their 'rights'. Not their actual rights, but new rights, the right to be in a country they entered illegally.

You would think that illegals marching and chanting would be a magnet for police who could round them up and deport en masse. But apparently in America that doesn't happen. And now it doesn't happen in Europe either. Last night saw the hoards at Calais breaking down fences and chanting, "Open the door and let us in."

About 70% of them actually make it in eventually. Once here they are entitled to a hotel room and three cooked meals a day, and until this week, a payment of £36 per week for other expenses.

When questioned about why they want to come to the UK they answer two things: 1) my friends and family are already in the UK, and 2) the UK is much more generous than other countries when it comes to benefits. It seems they try other countries, eg Italy and France, but decide to move on. Some of them even have a lawful right to remain in other EU countries but destroy their paperwork and set out for the UK. Answer (1) of course is merely a symptom of previous failures to police our borders properly.

Anyone who thinks it would a good idea to let them in should consider the chart below:



World population chart

It's clear what we are seeing now is a serious population shift. The world's population is doubling every 40 years and the surplus people from other places are now trying to take our lands, although, ironically, their countries of origin have lower population densities than Western Europe, and especially the UK. (The UK has twice the population density of China.)

However the native population of the UK is static. Left to our own devices we would not over populate our island. But we are being swamped by immigrants. Our future as a nation is threatened by this invasion; both because the land cannot support the increased numbers, and because the immigrants are by their nature fast and careless breeders. Even in "the Jungle", the makeshift camp at Calais, babies are being born. The concept of waiting, or only having the children you can afford is meaningless to them. They work on the cuckoo principle of forcing others to support them and their children.

Denying them entrance and deporting them if they manage to get in is not heartless - it's survival.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

The unspoken truth about Calais

Have you noticed that the UK press is up in arms about the migrant hoards truck-jumping at Calais; the British people are incensed at the traffic jams on the motorways and the failed attempts to go on holiday, and yet the British government refuses to take more than a very mild line with the French?

Our government is letting the French government off easy, and for very good reason.


Darkling hoards despise fences

It's because the French have granted us a generous concession. We get to put our immigration officers on their side of the border so we can check entitlement before someone actually enters the UK. Without this concession any person wanting to enter the UK would be on this scepter'd isle before being asked for papers. The hoards gather at Calais only because we are allowed to stop them on French soil.

Anytime we piss the French off they could withdraw this concession, tell us to take our bobbies home, and we would have to deal with the immigrants after they were already in the UK. That's a two year process - during which we are obliged to feed and house the applicant for admission.

So don't knock the French. They have no obligation to police people leaving their country.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Trump for president

The Americans will be voting in 2016 for their 45th president. Various hats are in the ring, including that belonging to the thrice-wed New Yorker Donald Trump who seems to have decided in February this year, more or less on a whim, to run for president.

Trump generally favours style over substance. He makes a big fanfare and announces grandiose projects; generally the delivery of those projects is somewhat less than awesome. Notionally his business is "real estate" but his real business is "Trump" - he puts his name to things and takes a cut. It was typically Trump that after deciding to run for president he had to pick a party and join it. He has been a member of most parties but seems to have settled on the Republicans this time.

In Trump's business world all publicity is good publicity. Even if he never reaches the ballot his foray into politics will translate into business success. The "bigger" his name gets, the more he can charge for using it.

But, somewhat unexpectedly, Trump's candidature is being taken seriously. He has two advantages the other candidates do not: his $7 billion personal fortune, and the fact he has never held elected office. Together these mean he is beholden to no one and owes no favours and does not have to do deals to get money.

So he is currently riding high. His blunt speaking (and tweeting) is playing well with the right wing,

Some sample tweets from today...

What a waste of time being interviewed by [Anderson Cooper] when he puts on really stupid talking heads like Tim O'Brien - dumb guy with no clue!

Media attacking you early this morning. A GOOD SIGN! America is proud of you for ignoring the MEDIA and telling it like it is!

Congress Can't Find Money for Veterans *Houses, Feeds, Educates, Provide Drs for illegals *Gives Iran over $200 Billion 
Of course "The Donald" (as his first wife Ivanka once called him) has feinted at the White House before and then shied away. But if he sticks at it he could be a contender.

Trump vs Hillary anyone?

Monday, 20 July 2015

Jeremy Corbyn is Michael Foot v2.0

The Labour leadership contest has taken a turn for the worse, or better, depending on your point of view: Jeremy Corbyn is riding high in the polls; at 10/3 he is odds on favourite to win; all thanks to his unreconstructed 1970's style socialism. He seems to talk about little else than "justice" and "equality".

Comrade Corbyn wears a hat

This is a big problem for the party. Like Michael Foot back in 1980, he has a fatal allure to party activists but could never get elected as Prime Minister. The late Foot was a duffel coat wearing bumbler without a Prime Ministerial bone in his body but he ticked every box for grassroots Labour.

Foot lost Labour the 1983 general election and was soon replaced by Neil Kinnock. Corbyn, who will be 71 at the time of the next election, has no chance of attracting the centre-ground floating voter and so would do the same for Labour now, lose them the 2020 election and have to stand down.

So the party is marching quite determinedly towards a cliff edge. The senior MPs of course can see this and have ganged up on JC. All the other candidates for leadership have said they would not have him in their cabinet. But unfortunately for them their votes do not count for as much as they used to. Time was the MPs cast one third of all votes but this time it's strictly one member one vote. (However 'members' do include registered supporters.) So keeping Corbyn out is going to be tricky.

The Labour party has a history of suicide attempts and it looks like it is about to make another slash at the wrist.

The winner will be announced on 12th September.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Budget July 2015

George Osborne has just had his second bite of the cherry this year by delivering another budget. In five or six months he will deliver an Autumn statement and then in 8 months another budget - his Christmases are coming thick and fast.

Osborne was in triumphal mood. For the first the time he could do what he really wanted to do without the Lib Dems breathing down his neck and nixing all his ideas. And it turns out what he has really wanted to do all along is cut spending and cut taxes.

He plans to get overall spending down £37bn over the course of this parliament, starting with a £12bn cut in welfare this year. The knife is going into working tax credits (WTC) which apparently costs us £30bn a year. People earning more than £23K (London) or £20K (everywhere else) will no longer qualify for most benefits, especially WTC and Universal Credit (UC). For "new" children only the first two children will attract these benefits, although all still get child benefit (CB). There will be an exemption for twins. WTC will also be tapered earlier and faster as income increases - as soon as someone earns £3K per year the benefit will tail off at 48% of the amount earned.

Good and bad news for residents in social housing: rents are going down by 1%, unless they earn £40K pa (London) or £30K pa (rest of country) in which case they will be paying full commercial rates instead. The effect of this policy in Central London will be extreme - full commercial rate for a Central London flat is likely to be far more than £40K per year.

The chancellor also had a dip into motorists' pockets. New low emission cars which hitherto were taxed (VED) at a low rate because of their greenness will henceforth be taxed quite a bit more - standard rate to be £140 per year. There is also a low rate and a premium rate - the chancellor forgot to say what they will be charged. On the plus side he is looking at exempting new cars from MOTs for the first four years instead of the current three and all the new money raised will be earmarked for roads, not general spending.

On the income tax side the personal allowance will be rising to £11K this year, and the "pledge" is to increase the 40% band threshold to £50K, but only by 2020 - next year it will be £43K.

Non-doms got hit. Anyone resident in the UK for 15 or more of the last 20 years loses his non-dom status. Some non-doms were born non-dom and have never lived outside the UK so this could be a shock to the system. Non-doms are only taxed on income as they bring it into the UK, anything earned abroad is not taxed. The question not answered by the chancellor is can they now bring their entire fortune into the UK without paying tax on it? They would love it if yes. Probably the rules will be less generous than that. Probably they will stay non-dom for existing money but be "dom" for new money. Remains to be seen if all those Russian billionaires decide to up-sticks and leave.

Defence and security spending will be increased and there was a lot of talk of the "Northern Powerhouse" with a bung to Manchester and mooting of bungs to Sheffield and Leeds if they get their acts together.

The housing market is due a little shake up. Buy-to-let tax relief on mortgage interest is being restricted to 20% with a view to abolishing it altogether eventually. Would-be owner-occupier buyers have long complained that BTL landlords can out bid them because the BTL buyer gets tax reliefs that the OO does not; looks like the playing field is being levelled, and not before time.

In a very complicated way houses valued up to one million pounds are being taken out of inheritance tax. Why it's so complicated is not clear, but the deal is good, this is a generous give-away.

For businesses corporation tax is being reduced from 20% to 19% in 2019 and 18% in 2020. There is also going to be a £5K tax free allowance for dividend payments (nice!)

Anyway let us compare with last year (not the March this year budget since that was just for laughs)...

Spending....

                    2014        2015
Welfare            £231bn      £222bn
Social services    £ 31bn      £ 30bn
NHS                £140bn      £141bn
Transport          £ 23bn      £ 28bn
Education          £ 98bn      £ 99bn
Defence            £ 38bn      £ 45bn
DTI                £ 17bn      £ 24bn
Housing, environ   £ 25bn      £ 28bn
Police, intel      £ 32bn      £ 34bn
Debt interest      £ 53bn      £ 36bn
Other              £ 53bn      £ 48bn

Total spend        £732bn      £742bn

Taxes...

Income tax         £167bn      £170bn
National insur     £110bn      £115bn
Excise duties      £ 47bn      £ 47bn
VAT                £111bn      £133bn
Business rates     £ 27bn      £ 28bn
Council tax        £ 27bn      £ 28bn
Other              £118bn      £109bn

Total receipts     £648bn      £673bn

Total borrow       £ 84bn      £ 69bn


So planned borrowing is down and GO intends to keep it on a downward track until 2019/2020 when no more borrowing will be required and a surplus of around £10bn is expected. He is so keen on this that there will be legislation called the "Fiscal charter" which will make it illegal for any future government to increase the national debt unless GDP falls below 1%, in which case they are allowed to do some "counter-cyclical"  borrow-and-spend to stimulate the economy.

Fuel duty is frozen, and there was no mention at all of the usual budget staples of beer, spirits and fags.

Osborne's big finale was a "national living wage" which is like a national minimum wage only higher. He's going to phase it in up to £9 per hour in London eventually. This is intended to remove the effective subsidy that large businesses with a lot of low paid staff get from the government, eg the supermarkets. The reduction in WTC combined with the NLW should mean few people get in-work benefits.

Harriet Harperson then rose to respond on behalf of the leaderless Labour party. She noted that productivity in the UK was 30% down on that in France, Germany and the USA and Osborne hadn't done what it would take to fix this (open the doors to undocumented migrant workers earning less than legal minimum?)

She also objected to the politicization of the budget. And to be fair, she was right. Towards the end GO was crowing about Conservatives doing this, Conservatives doing that, all quite inappropriate for a "Government" announcement. She alluded to GO's ambitions to become prime minister when Cameron quits in four year's time.

Next spoke Andrew Tyrie, very long standing chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, and voice of reason. He noted that a "Grexit" would cause bond yields to rise, the Chinese equity collapse (30% down over the last couple of weeks) could require interest rates to rise, and the £375bn QE would have to be unwound at some point. GO was probably hoping everyone would forget he and his predecessors have printed all that money and just let him write it off. No such luck with eagle-eyed Tyrie.

And that sums up this year's second budget. All in all, quite a good budget, constraining spending and bringing down borrowing. Could have done with some decent tax cuts, but that probably won't be happening for five years, even if everything goes according to plan, which it usually does not.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

ECB getting a bit short with Greece

The Greek government complained yesterday that they are no-longer being taken seriously. Apparently they sent a 47 page document to the EU and they only got a 5 page response - which shows the EU isn't really trying anymore.

Also yesterday the ECB came out with this press release:

https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/pr/date/2015/html/pr150706.en.html

To save you reading it, what it says in summary is: no more euros to keep the Greek banks liquid will be provided and they want more collateral to support the loans already made. In fact to cover the €89bn handed over so far they want all the assets of the all banks in Greece. Nervous much? The phrasing of the press release is decidedly casual. It just says "haircuts" are to be adjusted!

"Haircut" is a slang expression that you would not expect to see in any serious document. The ECB seems to have (or is trying to look as if they have) delegated talking to Greece to a spotty coffee-fetching intern.

Meanwhile this blog is happy to maintain its core prediction that whatever happens in Greece will involve more talks.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Timetable of a grexit

MoneyWeek magazine have published a suggested timetable for getting the Greeks out of the euro. It goes like this:


A few years ago this blog also laid out a mechanism by which Greece could slide out from under the euro with very little drama.

It's here: http://britishnationalist.blogspot.com/2012/05/greece-leaving-euro.html

Monday, 29 June 2015

Can the Greeks print their own euro notes?

Opinions vary as to whether the Greeks could start printing their own euros. They certainly have a printing facility at which euro notes can be printed. And they have the steel plates used to make the notes - they made the notes in circulation in Greece in the first place.

But do they have paper and ink? Certainly they will have some in reserve but in the banknote world paper and ink are tightly guarded. The inks are made in Switzerland (not an EU or euro country!) and the paper can be made in various places but not it seems Greece.

So the Greeks would have to buy the ink and paper from abroad and realistically any ECB supplier is not going to damage their future commercial prospects by supplying the Greeks. So the answer to the titular question is: yes, but probably not enough.

Greeks run out of road

There they were, happily kicking the can down the road, the EU and the Greeks, dickering about how how to square the German work ethic with the Greek desire to snooze in the sun, all sides content that the talking could just meander on forever when Greek PM Alexis Tsipras had to go and ruin it by kicking the can against a wall.

Specifically, he called a referendum on the deal. On Sunday this week (5/July/15) the Greeks will vote and that is that; no more talks, the deal is done or not, but the show is over either way. Big mistake! Should have just kept talking. Seriously, the EU was providing a billion a week in "emergency liquidity assistance" (ELA) - why would you put the kibosh on that? And the more cash the EU provides, the deeper in the hole they are, the weaker their position at the negotiating table becomes.

Anyway, he did it. He pressed the big red button and all that remains is for the Greeks to vote Ney or Ochi. Ney means "yes" by the way, and Ochi means "No". The Greek word for yes sounds like no in every other European language. There's a lesson there, but blowed if I know what it is.

Another quirk of the Greek language (rendering in the Latin alphabet) is: kalimera means good morning, kalispera means good evening and kalinichta means good night. There's an obvious omission in that list. What happened to good afternoon? Ha! The Greeks don't have a word for good afternoon - the need has never come up.

Once Tsipras had drawn his line in the sand the EU decided the Greeks needed a nudge towards Ney, ie yes. How better to concentrate their minds than to put them on short rations for the week. So they stopped the ELA money pipe and now the banks are closed and Greeks can only withdraw €60 per day. The banks will stay closed all week and the hunger pangs should help the Greeks decide where to put their cross.

The government also closed the stockmarket for the week; not that much trading could be done with the banks offline.

Probably though, the Greeks are not going to suffer enough during the coming week to vote Ney. They have had several years to get their money out of the banks and have become quite used to removing their wages or pension as soon as it turns up. And with the banks closed they have the perfect excuse not pay any of their bills, so it's not all bad.

More likely they will vote Ochi and tell the EU to get stuffed. That would be bad news for the Germans, currently €60bn in the hole and the Italians, €40bn in the hole. So what will happen after the Greeks have voted no is that the Greek government will be invited back to the negotiating table for more talks!