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Friday, 25 October 2013

Merkel wants to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds

More than any other European leader, and largely unnoticed in the UK, Merkel has moved Germany from a wholly compliant NATO member to an equivocal bridge between Europe and Russia. Sometimes she swings behind Putin, denying German air freighters, tarmac and logistics to Britain and the US. Sometimes (as with Afghanistan) she swings Germany behind her NATO allies. She wants to both run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. 

And as long as Putin's and Russia's communications are legitimate to intercept then so must be all of his allies, however temporary. That includes Merkel. Obama may have declared clearly that the US no longer monitors Merkel's phone traffic - but he didn't make the same declaration for GCHQ. 

For once, Boy Cameron should just keep his mouth shut and refuse to comment. Knowing what's going on in Berlin and Paris as well as Brussels is vital to the UK's interests.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Hit GPs in their wallets

Whether our bloated, privileged GPs suckling deep at the public tit want to or not, they have a vital part to play in controlling public expenditure. Their views on whether they want to be part of our immigration control system are utterly irrelevant; whilst they're paid from the public purse, they'll do as they're told. 

This can be done by simple legislation making each of them personally liable for the un-recovered costs of health care given to illegal immigrants if they failed to exercise due diligence as the care path 'gateway'. 

Hit them in their own purses and wallets, and few of those heady principles will stand. Most GP opponents are only principled at others' expense.

Major flaws

There seem to be two John Majors inhabiting the same body. One is the thoroughly decent chap enjoying the final innings of the day as the Sun slips below the village pub roof, the other is the sweaty grunting brute of a satyr making the beast with two backs on a Commons office floor; one is the politician stating that utilities should be private but heavily regulated, the other is the deluded Euphile.

No-one owning shares in gas, water, power, sewers or even broadband should expect to see supernormal profits from either dividends or capital gains. Utility shares should be a step above gilts but a step below truly commercial public companies; boring, safe and low return. We get the best of commercial practice and avoid the worst failings of nationalised provision. That, at least, is the theory. Where it all starts to get difficult is when these global monsters buy up a car factory in Peru or a condom distributor in Canada in an effort to offer unregulated profits. Major is of the view that as quasi-public concerns, the UK generally should benefit from such activity, not the shareholders. 

To a point. I actually believe the utilities are far too big. Nothing as big as British Gas or Thames Water can be good. Believe me.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A race to the bottom?

There are days on which I take a break from the sort of global Armageddon scenario that sells so many copies of the Daily Mail (and makes its website the most visited) and pretend that Spring is here, and days on which I curse the incompetence of the UK's worst politicians since the 18th century and when I would happily see the corpses of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Ed Balls swinging from chains from the upper span of Tower Bridge. Today is one of the latter.

First, a lengthy, calm and thoughtful piece from Ambrose in the Telegraph that leaves little doubt that an ordered breakup of the EMU is inevitable and lays out the alternatives now under serious and secret consideration in the Élysée and Bundeskanzleramt. The perverted ambitions of the Federasts will leave our beloved Europe in turmoil, pain, confusion and mutual recrimination and I would gladly see Von Rumpy and Barolo swinging alongside the others over the Thames.

And don't imagine that our own economy will fare any better; in a hard-hitting 30 minutes, Radio 4's 'Analysis' looks at QE through the words of the following;
Dr Adam Posen, President of the Petersen Institute for International Economics in Washington DC
Stephen King, Chief Economist of HSBC
Jim Rickards, author of Currency Wars
Professor Richard Werner, Chair in International Banking at Southampton University
Dan Conaghan, author of The Bank: Inside the Bank of England
Dr Philippa Malmgren, former financial markets advisor to the US President
The most frightening truth? "Don't imagine that UK Treasury officials have any sort of plan. They have no idea how it's going to end, still less an exit strategy". That's Boy Osborne and Boy Cameron up there with the rest, then.

Monday, 21 October 2013

London homes rise 10% in a month - "No Bubble"

As I described in a September post, London houses have undergone a sudden and significant price rise. Rightmove have now put a number on this - a 10% increase in September for London, 3% elsewhere. Despite this, Boy Osborne tells us this is not a bubble. 

Where is Ed Balls when you need him? Balls would no doubt describe the sudden rise as "a short-run anomaly correcting a fiscal frictional lag in the long-run housing supply curve" or some similar verbiage and not a bubble. No, no, definitely not a bubble at all.

And given that the average London home-owner has just made a tax-free £40,000 last month alone, who's complaining?

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Voters still don't trust Labour

Despite a 'cost of living' campaign that resonates strongly with the public, Labour still aren't trusted on the economy, a ComRes poll for the Sunday Indie shows. Headline vote shares are: 

Labour 35%
Conservative 32%
UKIP 16%
LibDem 9%

On the question of which party would keep the economy growing, Conservatives lead Labour by 40% to 26%; 55% support the Tory stance on dole bludgers compared to soft Labour's 16% and Cameron maintains a 14% lead over Miliband in popularity.At this stage in the electoral cycle, Labour's poll share is dire.

If UKIP can keep robbing Labour's traditional aspirational working class voters - the C2s - it will leave Miliband with a shrunken core of Guardianista middle class luvvies and inner city immigrants. The thought of Farage speaking at the Trades Union Congress may be a novel one, but not one to be dismissed...