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Saturday, 5 July 2014

House price boom good for society?

The Evening Standard ran a poll that found that 50% of Londoners were opposed to the house price boom. Of course. They're the 50% that aren't owner occupiers and have no prospect of being so - many of them singles. And neatly avoided by the banks in the media fuss about their looking at gym memberships or money spent on takeaway pizzas was the one key indicator they will be looking at when granting a couple a mortgage - how stable their relationship is. 

For it's only now couples in London who can get on the housing ladder - with 4.5x joint income mortgages. Singles would need a loan of 9x their salary. So the banks will be evaluating the stability of the relationship; how long they have been together, whether they intend to have children and so on. St Paul may have declared 'marry or burn' but the real choice for young London professionals is now 'marry or live in rented accommodation all your life'.  

And this of course is by far a more powerful incentive to marriage and family life than the £500 tax bonus that Osborne can offer. The law of unintended consequences strikes again ... but this time for the better?

Friday, 4 July 2014

Rolf Harris to use 'Right to be Forgotten'?

The way in which Google is agreeing to the most egregious requests to remove search engine links to stories about red-faced celebrities and assorted crooks, spivs and wideboys makes one wonder if Rolf Harris' lawyers are not already set to have him removed. The question is, should he be? Is this an important Human Right or a bar to freedom of speech and thought?

Max Mosley enjoys sex sessions with prostitutes while wearing leather bondage gear and video taken of such a session leaked and caused him embarrassment - he became a laughing stock. The sight of a man well into middle age and bearing the evidence of a sedentary life and many good lunches trussed up like a Christmas turkey was something straight out of Tom Sharpe's Blott. Mosley launched various bits of legal action in an effort to close down all access to the story and images - all to no avail. Now Google has complied with his requests to remove search links, and one of the popular searches on rival 'Bing' yesterday, which still has full search links, was "Max Mosley Sex Pics". 

They won't learn.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Federasts getting rattled

Watching Nigel Farage's inaugral speech of the new Euro parliament, there is a a clear and quite apparent change in mood from the way in which he was received by the last parliament. They used to listen to him with a sort of bored, amused contempt, slightly irritated at the interruption to their usual business of buggering-up Europe. Now it's serious. They're rattled and genuinely hostile - it's palpable. He felt it, too. Judge for yourselves;


Euro-tech sclerosis or EU self-destruction?

I can distantly remember a Euro row back in the days when Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator were the two first-gen browsers that dominated the market; I recall the EU pouring funds into trying to develop a European rival, only for the scheme to sink without trace except the wedge that a select few managed to cream-off. The same thing with GPS; they winged that we are dependent on the Septics for our GPS, and must therefore launch our own Euro satellites to compete. Then it was search engines. All the while the free market overtook the Brussels bureaucrats, and US firms with better products that people liked to use established themselves here (mostly it seems in Luxembourg, enticed by Juncker the Drunker and low tax rates). 

Now Google has taken the place of Microsoft as Euro-bogieman. Why aren't our own global corporates able to compete? The Commission is asking, and the answer, at least according to Der Spiegel, is, er, over-regulation by Brussels.
For years, the Commission and EU member states have been flooding telecommunications and mobile phone companies with new constraints and regulations. These included regulations forcing the dramatic reduction of roaming fees and prices for phone calls and Internet access. At the same time, they also forced companies to purchase mobile spectrum licenses at a cost of billions of euros in sophisticated auctions and to make their networks available to small firms at cost. The regulations were intended to spur competition and lower prices for consumers. The problem is that, to a large degree, the necessary investments in infrastructure never happened.
Perhaps version 1.0 of the new EU-funded Euro browser, able to display in 256 colours with an 800 x 600 screen and looking something like this will soon be ready for release? It may even be able to display photographs if you give it long enough ...

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

ISIS - Masters of propaganda

For at least a decade just about every regeneration and regional aid scheme in the UK has included a 'media learning hub' - a studio suite equipped at public expense with video editing, sound engineering, digital effects, filming and post production and media distribution kit - on the basis that proficiency in these things are skills 'yoof' needs to escape the chains of poverty and low aspiration. I suspect most young people get as far as a dross You Tube video with inane hip-hop sound track as they make funny sideways V signs and pull their trousers half way down their bottoms to show-off their underpants. Some, however, seem to have taken their skills and are using them quite brilliantly for ISIS, who have become masters of online propaganda. 

Not only have they taken the name of that part of the Thames above Iffley lock, which has been used for everything from Oxford University student magazines to local suppliers of quality provender (Sorry, Isis Cheese, Isis Innovation and Isis School of English - you're going to have to change your names) it's also the name of an ancient middle eastern Goddess with cultural credibility. A PR agency from Soho's Golden Square charging half a mill a pop couldn't have come up with a better moniker.

Then there's the natty banner and logo, in monochrome so it can be replicated on every photocopier and even the cheapest print equipment. To Sunni youth, it must be as achingly cool as a pirate flag combined with a chequered Palestinian keffiyeh. Their You Tube videos have what meja types call 'high production values'. They achieve effortlessly a 'viral' product spread that any marketing man would kill for. The downside of course is that they do kill for it - in  particularly brutal ways. And now they've released a photoshop map of the new 'Caliphate' stretching from Vienna to Pamplona that will have every Mail reader spluttering with rage into their breakfast tea;

So thankyou, Mr Wilkinson and the staff at Luton Media Hub - your alumni have learned well.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Cameron phones Juncker to offer congratulations

As the Speccie has picked up, Cameron today phoned Herr Juncker to offer his congratulations. The No 10 website statement states:
The Prime Minister congratulated Mr Juncker on running a successful campaign and securing the Council nomination. The PM wished Mr Juncker well with the hearings in the European Parliament. Mr Juncker responded by telling the PM 'You're my besh fren, you are; I really mean that, swear on my mother's grave, darlin, top that up .. I wanna tell you hic! you're my besh mate you are oh bugger I jush dribbled a bit there good job for dark trousers ha.'

Forget the CBI - It has nothing to do with business or trade

One thing is certain these days; whenever BREXIT raises its head, the CBI won't be far behind, issuing dire warnings on the economic dangers of exit. Many people fondly imagine that the CBI represents British Industry. It doesn't, of course. It represents global Corporatism - the hydra for whose benefit the EU is evolving. Take a look at its top team;

Sir Michael Rake, President - chairman of BT Group plc as well as deputy chairman of Barclays PLC, a director of McGraw Hill Financial and chairman of Majid Al Futtaim Holdings LLC
John Cridland CBE, Director-General - Spent his career in public sector employment, pay and skills Quangos. No experience of trade or industry.
Katja Hall, Deputy - Ex BBC HR manager, no experience of trade or industry
Audrey Nelson, Director of Communication - Ex civil servant with the DHSS, OFT and DTI. No experience of trade or industry
Mathew Fell - Career CBI executive
Neil Carberry - Ex City HR consultant
Sara Parker - Career CBI executive
Sarah Green - City lawyer, ex- Clifford Chance and Arthur Anderson 
Andy Bagnall - Ex election organiser and SPAD
Nicola Walker - Career CBI executive
Simon Moore - Ex Barclays and corporate banker

There you are. The President and the eleven Senior Directors of the CBI and not one of them has ever turned a widget or lugged a sample-case on the Redeye. Not one of them runs a manufacturing firm. City lawyers, corporate bankers, BBC executives and political dags the lot of them. The CBI is in effect the London office of the ERT, the European Round Table of global Corporates that steers EU development into 'ever closer union'.

So next time the CBI pop up in the press, remember that they have nothing to do with industry and little to do with Britain.