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Friday 26 January 2018

Crime up: Plod can go back to work.

There is no direct link between the number of police officers in post and the number of crimes committed. If this were the case, police numbers would have been slashed from those in post in 1996 rather than having remained fairly constant; the UK crime rate has plummeted mostly because the age cohort of the population most likely to commit crime has grown up. 

Now the crime rate is starting to rise again, the knee jerk call is for more police. But wait. Think. What have all those police - whose numbers have hardly changed, remember - been doing since 1996, when there haven't been enough burglars, car thieves or muggers to keep them busy? Isn't it obvious? They've all been sitting at the station watching porn on their computers and patrolling Facebook and Twitter for people being rude. 

During the working day, Twitter used to be the preserve of unemployed people in their underpants. Now you can't move for tweets from plods, bored out of their skulls looking for racists. Well, their time has come. The British criminal has come to their rescue. They can now lever themselves out of their rotating chairs and bloody well get back out on the beat. 

Thursday 25 January 2018

Internationalism vs Globalisation

As comments to the post below demonstrate, words matter. I am a patriot, not a nationalist. I am both British and European. I am both enlightened and can speak the words of the Nicene creed in full belief. And I am a passionate Internationalist who loathes globalisation. It is this last distinction that often causes confusion.

The global corporates and their political dags, including the puppets Merkel and Macron, characterise those opposed to globalisation as nationalists who would build a trade barrier around the nation, cut off from the world. Globalisation means free trade, they aver, and open borders. It is, of course, like so much of what they say, a lie.

Globalisation means big business working hand in glove with supranational government, subverting democracy. Globalisation means International organisations of which you've never heard, cannot influence and do not elect making rules that change your life. Globalisation means the corruption and moral relativity of the UN and its spawn, and the trade protectionism of the anti-democratic EU. Globalisation means ever greater barriers to entry for new business and innovation, ever more restrictive regulation preventing free trade and commerce, ever greater central State control over an ever increasing part of our lives. 

At Davos, the Euro puppets are worried. Their concerns need a little translation, though. Macron said 
"We haven’t established an organisation at a world level which looks at artificial intelligence and automation. We allow private companies to control this. We are encouraging technological change, and we are in danger of living in a Darwinian world"
"We haven't yet globally regulated AI and automation, so the field is still open to independent innovators and venture capitalists. The technology is outside the control of the existing global corporates. This innovation threatens the existing economic power of established global actors and the power of their puppet politicians". 
Of course, had we allowed the EU and UN to regulate tech advancement forty years ago, we would still be dominated by IBM, the internet would not have happened and Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, eBay and Paypal unborn.  Merkel also spoke wistfully, no doubt wondering if the Stasi hadn't been a bad thing after all;
"Data will be the raw material of the 21st century – the question is ‘who owns that data?' In China there is very close co-operation between those who collect the data and the Chinese state. They are almost one and the same"
"The State and the established global corporates in Europe are losing control of computing innovation. All the innovators are anglophone and the EU has no silicon valley, no silicon fen, no M4 corridor. Trade and commercial advantage will increasingly come from a market of individual economic actors moving toward 'perfect knowledge' and from the removal of barriers to commerce. The State needs to protect its power."
Take a look at the members of the ERT, the shadowy unelected cabal of Euro corporates that really shapes EU law and guides the EU Commission. Not one single tech leader, not one single global innovator amongst them. They are the past.

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Are we negotiating the wrong Brexit?

Trade and commerce post Brexit has been the core of all discussion since 2016. But when it's discussed, what is discussed is B2B - bulk trade; tankers and shiploads, containers, cheese by the thousand tonnes, wines by the lake. It's all based on the traditional model of shippers, wholesalers and retailers. But just exactly how robust is this model? 

We know that web-enabled B2C - business to consumer - trade volumes are substantial enough to have hollowed out our high streets, and the effects do not stop at national borders. Once every ten days I place an order with Screwfix, and kit - including radiators - is delivered to my front door from the UK four days later. For Christmas I ordered a mixed case of Port from Portugal at about €8 a bottle compared with about €25 locally. English crisps, French cheese, Italian stone tiles are all ordered either directly from producers or their local agents. My music CDs are from the Netherlands and my English bookseller ships via a postal aggregator in Hungary. My work shirts are ordered direct from the US. When I ordered a knock-off Poulsen light from China at a quarter of the £500 price tag of the real thing I had to pay thirty-odd Euros in import duty and VAT - to the postman, all of whom carry cash wallets here as COD remains common in Austria.  

It's not just postal-sized items, either. I saved €1,200 including transport by ordering loft insulation from Germany rather than locally; my snow blower was €250 cheaper from the Czech Republic and I source other plumbing and heating kit from in Poland - a building store that has embraced a Europe wide B2C trade model. The cost of a pallet load from the UK is about £160.

I'd be really interested to know just what the figures are for this sort of business - including the post and pallet-carrier and courier firm jobs. From my point of view, the global consumer market place is now so well established that it is impossible to sever a single limb. And if, after Brexit, I buy my goods from Screwfix at Zero VAT rate and the local postman has to collect it here, the cost is the same to me - but the frictional costs of the tax transaction pass from the UK to the EU. Of course, if vehicle fuel prices increase substantially it would wreck the model - but what are the chances of that?

If anyone has a source for UK-EU B2C trade balances, please do share them.

Monday 22 January 2018

Indirect Fire

I like stories about Russian ingenuity. I know they're probably not true, but they really ought to be. NASA spent five years and forty million dollars, the story goes, developing a biro that would write in space. The Russians used pencils. That sort of thing.

The most recent is about indirect artillery fire - the sort in which the gunners fire hopefully into the air relying on their maths skills to predict where the shell will land. Thankfully the cerebral activity of gunner officers is usually augmented by forward spotters, who can report where the shell lands and instruct corrections. A hundred years ago, frail canvas biplanes would hover above no-man's land, or poor sods would be hoisted in balloons. Today we've spent millions developing highly skilled forward observers, trained special forces, equipped with high frequency burst radios, laser target designators and the like. The Russians use drones from eBay with go-pro cams. 

Modern steels, unworn gun tubes and munitions assembled by sober workers are century old technologies easy to achieve today. Add simple electronic fire calculators and eBay drones and you have - or rather the Russians do - an indirect fire artillery capability that recently destroyed two Ukranian mechanised infantry battalions in the space of fifteen minutes. 

Our generals are worried. Defence development in the UK is like the Great War; we fling another billion of public money into research and advance a few millimetres. Or not at all. Our ships are equipped with fire control systems that can track a cricket ball but not a Russian or Chinese boosted missile. We simply can't seem to produce the bangs for the bucks any more, whereas Russia, with the GDP of Italy, races ahead with advanced weapons and systems. 

Service chiefs naturally call for more money in much the same way as they call for reinforcements. And I agree that more men, more ships and more tanks are better (the army now has more horses than tanks). But will throwing billions more at defence contractors produce results? It hasn't so far. 

So here's a suggestion. For as long as I've known we've resisted Russian and Chinese spying on our miltech and hardware. Now is the time to turn the tables. Now that we want to make exactly the same leaps without doing the research - i.e. by stealing their secrets - we need to invest more in spies, invest more in bribing their scientists and call for the flower of English womanhood to volunteer itself to staff honey traps for Chinese generals. We should send a battalion of plane spotters to Ukraine, mount 'scientific' research expeditions, equip our trawlers with GCHQ spy gear. Any of which, I suspect, would pay greater dividends than throwing cash at the fatcats of our second rate defence companies.  

Sunday 21 January 2018

Diehard Remoaners will drop to 15%

The polling is becoming consistent. Michael Ashcroft, a businessman from Belize who takes an interest in British politics, has recently carried out his own polls. These reflect the many ongoing polls collated by the ESRC at What Britain Thinks. Both find by a clear margin that we don't want another referendum. And the indications are that a growing number of Brits are now accepting the last one; the Leavers have hardly changed their views, and moderate Remainers are joining us in accepting that Brexit will happen.

There is also a prediction that a rump of diehard Remoaners will continue; currently estimated at twenty something percent, half the referendum total, this rump is predicted to shrink to some 15% or fewer of implacable EUphiles, some of whom will devote every second of their lives and every pound of their fortunes to punishing their fellow citizens for disobeying. 

These are not ordinary people. These are the wealthy, the powerful, the influencers and manipulators who are used to pulling the levers of society. With access to money and media and the support of global finance and government, they remain incandescent and consumed by bile, derision and contempt for we ordinary folk who dared to disobey them. Gina Miller, her face contorted in fury and hate, on live TV becoming a caricature of a bitterly unhinged woman now showing her years. AC Grayling's very public and ongoing meltdown on Twitter. Blair. Campbell. Adonis. All will be part of the 15% that will never let it go.

Gina Miller before and after the Referendum
They will of course destroy their own lives and happiness with this obsession. It will be a ginormous national sulk that will be turned to humour by a British public. That, at least, is something for which to look forward.