Tuesday 30 September 2008

The Community Reinvestment Act (reprise)

As a follow-up to this recent post I have found this rather interesting video, do watch it...

"These assets are so riskless that their capital for holding them should be under 2% ...

Yet another video showing who in America is to blame for the deceit that was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The extracts are taken from a Congressional hearing in late 2004 and the contrast between Democrats and Republicans is stark.

I do realise that the MSM in both the USA and the UK will not cover this story; the agreed convenient "narrative" being that the economic disaster that we are living through is the fault of greedy bankers and Republican policies. However if enough free-thinking bloggers keep pushing the message, it may hit home.

Thanks to A Tangled Web for the spot.

An unfortunately named Brazilian Fiat dealer

Fuck Automoveis Ltda may have trouble expanding outside of Latin America!

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme

A warning for anyone with an off-set mortgage, try calling your mortgage provider and asking them whether your "pot" is safe, should the bank fail. The reply will be along the lines that "deposits will be set off against the amount of the loan" and that there is nothing to worry about. Then ask them to put this in writing and see what happens; the letter you receive may not be quite as definite.

Then contact the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and ask them for a definitive commitment that your money is safe. After talking to them you may feel that an off-set mortgage is rather riskier than you thought. After all, statements that "no major UK bank has ever gone under" are not as reassuring today as they were a year ago.

It's all the fault of those Republican Congressmen

The BBC are "reporting" that:
"The rescue plan, a result of tense talks between the government and lawmakers, was rejected by 228 to 205 votes in the House of Representatives.

About two-thirds of Republican lawmakers refused to back the rescue package, as well as 95 Democrats."

I am confused as there is a Democratic party majority in the House of Representatives, the last election saw 233 Democrats elected but only 202 Republicans. So is any blame attributed to the 95 Democrats who voted against the motion? No, just the Republicans - it is the BBC after all.

Nuclear power no thanks, no more

The Times has the story of how:
"The climate change expert Mark Lynas has been scorned by eco-colleagues for daring to speak up for atomic power"
Do read the whole of Mark Lynas' article, it shows the eco-movement up for what it really is, and many of its adherents up for the thugs and preventers of free-speech that they are.

Being thankful for small mercies

I woke up this morning and checked the markets and was relieved to read that the Mikkei and Hang Seng were only down around 3%. When a fall of that magnitude gives relief, you know we are in deep trouble.

A bad day on the markets

The worst performing share in the FTSE yesterday was ICAP who describe themselves as providing a
"Specialist intermediary broker service to commercial banks, investment banks and other liquidity providers in the wholesale financial markets."
I think I can see why their shares might have ended down 23.58% yesterday.

Monday 29 September 2008

Sorry folks but it looks as though we are well and truly financially f***ed

The House of Representatives has voted down the $700bn plan to bail out Wall Street; Wall Street is down by 5%-6% this afternoon and the FTSE will go through the floor tomorrow. If you need something else to worry about then look out for the Nikkei and the Hang Seng in the small hours of tomorrow morning, a collapse there could have some rather nasty side-effects on business in the UK.

For around two years I have been predicting a severe financial collapse but even I have been taken aback by the speed with which the system has fallen apart. At present I really cannot see a way out of this mess and I truly believe that we have a lot further down to go before a way out will become clear.

There are a lot of people who, like me, will wish they had sold up last spring - we are all going to lose a lot of money and of course early retirement is going to be just a fond foregone dream.

Barack Obama as consistent as ever - this time on missile defence

Ready to lead?

More Chinese fakery

Following on from the fakery at the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government have now been caught out faking news reporting. Oddly it is the Murdoch owned, and therefore normally incredibly pro the Chinese regime, Times that reports :
"With a burst of flame and smoke, a Chinese rocket blasted off into orbit yesterday. But it was the state news agency that moved faster than the speed of light, publishing the transcript of an “in-space” conversation between the astronauts before they had even left Earth.

The Xinhua news agency posted an article on its website breathlessly describing the Shenzhou VII spacecraft in orbit and quoting exchanges between the crew, possibly during the most important part of the mission: China’s first spacewalk. The only problem was that the crew were still on terra firma.

The story had disappeared by the end of the day and its appearance was described as a technical error. The gaffe highlighted China’s readiness to resort to sleight of hand — if not outright fakery — to present a perfect public image, such as the little girl who lip-synched at the Olympics opening ceremony because the child who did the actual singing was not deemed pretty enough."
I would rather the world's media ignored the fakery and instead concentrated on the systematic imprisonment and murder of citizens opposed to the regime in China and on the use of slave labour both in China and abroad to support China's "economic miracle".

Daniel Mudd (ex CEO of Fannie Mae) speaks about the CBC and Barack Oabama

The facts are clear but the main stream media in the USA and UK will never cover this story as they want/need Barack Obama as President.

Jeremy Clarkson has financial issues

Jeremy Clarkson has some advice on dealing with banks.

And the left call America the evil Empire

Read Peter Hitchens in today's Mail and learn how the Chinese are the new slave owners:
"These poor, hopeless, angry people exist by grubbing for scraps of cobalt and copper ore in the filth and dust of abandoned copper mines in Congo, sinking perilous 80ft shafts by hand, washing their finds in cholera-infected streams full of human filth, then pushing enormous two-hundredweight loads uphill on ancient bicycles to the nearby town of Likasi where middlemen buy them to sell on, mainly to Chinese businessmen hungry for these vital metals.


Many perish as their primitive mines collapse on them, or are horribly injured without hope of medical treatment. Many are little more than children. On a good day they may earn $3, which just supports a meagre existence in diseased, malarial slums.

We had been earlier to this awful pit, which looked like a penal colony in an ancient slave empire.

Defeated, bowed figures toiled endlessly in dozens of hand-dug pits. Their faces, when visible, were blank and without hope.

We had been turned away by a fat, corrupt policeman who pretended our papers weren't in order, but who was really taking instructions from a dead-eyed, one-eared gangmaster who sat next to him."
Well at least they put on a good Olympics, that counts for a lot doesn't it?

The BBC's Nick Robinson - at it again

The BBC's political editor, Nick Robinson, keeps a blog, as befits a senior BBC journalist it is impeccably unbiased; well it should be but in fact it reeks of pro-Labour spin. I have blogged before about this state of affairs but his latest blog entry is a really good example of his style. The item is ostensibly a response to the Conservatives picking Gordon Brown up on his "era of irresponsibility" comments. However the piece starts with a reference to Norman Lamont's "Je ne regrette rien" comments, in fact it starts by linking David Cameron to Norman Lamont and so to the last Conservative government, the government that the BBC worked so hard to fell and replace with that nice Tony Blair. Nick Robinson gets the phrase "callous Tory party" in and the claim that the Conservatives
"did not regret the economic mess the country was in and the personal cost of it in terms of repossessions, soaring interest rates and unemployment."

Nick Robinson then states that by way of contrast:
"Cameron believes - hopes - that Gordon Brown's pledge to end the "era of irresponsibility" is another similar gaffe."

Interestingly Nick Robinson ends with an explanation of Norman Lamont's words that I do not remember getting any coverage on the BBC at the time:
"Lamont was, in fact, simply cracking a joke to try to avoid answering a skilful question posed by my colleague John Pienaar in the Newbury by-election in May 1993. Pienaar asked Lamont at a press conference whether he most regretted claiming to see "the green shoots of recovery" or "singing in his bath". He replied by quoting the Edith Piaf song "Je ne regrette rien"."

A suspended sentence

Read this article and despair for the UK.
"A MUSLIM man who was found guilty of encouraging two boys to whip themselves as part of a religious ceremony has escaped jail.
Syed Mustafa Zaidi was found guilty of child cruelty last month after the two boys, aged 13 and 15, told a court he had forced them to flagellate themselves with a bladed zanjeer whip as part of a traditional Shia Muslim ritual.
A jury at Manchester Crown Court convicted Zaidi of two counts of child cruelty, but in sentencing yesterday he was handed a suspended sentence."
A suspended sentence, A SUSPENDED SENTENCE!

The police response:
"Superintendent Paul Savill from Greater Manchester Police said the force had implemented a working code of conduct for adults about involving children in the self-flagellation ritual since Zaidi was convicted."
Oh wow.

The local Islamic dignitary's response (my emphasis):
"Mr Safdar Zia, general secretary of the Jaffria Islamic Centre said while the ceremony could not be eliminated, mosque leaders would now work within the law.
"This sort of practice has been going on throughout the Islamic world for centuries and although there have been cases like this in the past they haven't been brought to court,” he said.
"We cannot eliminate this practice, but we can and will work to a code of practice so that the children don't get hurt, the law isn't broken, and the people who do want to take part don't get prosecuted.
"We have to take into account people's beliefs and their rights, and we will respect them. But we are not above the law and we never will be and working with the authorities is the best chance we've got to prevent any harm being brought against any children.
"The best way of achieving our aims now is to try and understand the law better and work within the law to move forward.""
Oh what has happened to the UK?

Is Keith Vaz in more trouble?

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. I read in The Guardian that:
"Vaz under pressure over 28-day query
Emails suggest Prime Minister was approached in advance of publication of independent report


Keith Vaz, the chairman of the home affairs select committee, sought the private views of Gordon Brown for an independent report into government plans to extend the detention of terror suspects beyond 28 days.

Emails which have been seen by The Observer suggest that the MP for Leicester East spoke secretly to the Prime Minister about the committee's draft paper and proposed a meeting because 'we need to get his [Brown's] suggestions'.

The disclosure has deeply concerned committee members and civil liberties campaigners. Select committee reports are supposed to be compiled independently of government influence.

Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, said: 'This email is obviously cringeworthy - a "Yo, Blair!" moment - but the real concern is a select committee chairman seeking the Prime Minister's suggestions for an independent report. Judges deciding cases don't email one of the parties in private seeking their suggestions on the eve of their decision.'"

Read the whole article, decide for yourself what you feel about Mr Vaz; I made my mind up some years ago about this individual.

The lesser of two evils?

US politicians have finally agreed upon a $700bn deal to rescue America's financial system. The move allows the US Treasury to spend up to $700bn buying up bad debts from ailing US banks. George W. Bush has urged Congress to support the bill, which needs approval by both houses of Congress over the next couple of days.

I am not a great supporter of this bill but it seems better than the alternative of doing nothing and watching the US and so the West's economy collapse.

Sunday 28 September 2008

Chemistry lesson time

That's Tom Lehrer with "The Element Song" and a rather clever video from Useless Bay Productions.

It's been a hard day's night

Peter Sellers as Laurence Olivier as Richard III "doing" The Beatles' "A hard day's night" - sheer magic...

A scorched earth policy

Last November I first blogged that
"This government and its advisers are rapidly losing the plot, maybe they realise that their time in power is coming to an end and they are now pursuing a scorched earth policy."
In July I blogged about Fraser Nelson's article that included these passages:
"The Scorched Earth policy has begun... In the vernacular, Brown has realised that if the Tories win the next election the he is now spending with Cameron’s Gold Card – every by-election bribe, every union sellout will be funded by borrowing with the bill sent to D. Cameron Esq. Cameron will have to tax us to pay for what Brown is today spending.


My take is that Brown doesn’t care, not any more. Like a retreating army, he doesn’t want the advancing Cameroons to have any advantage at all.


Brown, however, is on a mission to raise state spending - and, right now, it looks likely to be a Tory government that pays tomorrow for the money he borrows today. It is impossible to understand Gordon Brown without understanding his approach to debt. It is his weapon of choice, and if he loses the next election he can right now start turning that weapon on the Tories. So he will have to feast on humble pie, and his own words, as he tears up his rules and lets debt soar above 40%. Yes, he may lose the election. But he has realised one upside to this inevitability: he can start spending David Cameron's budget now."

Today I read that the Conservative front bench are now pushing this message:
"Gordon Brown plans to leave any future Tory government a financial "scorched earth" by borrowing too much, shadow business secretary Alan Duncan says.

He told the BBC News Channel's Straight Talk that the prime minister wanted to "scupper" his party by leaving "a legacy afterwards which is difficult"."
This message needs pushing, it is the dagger to the heart of Gordon Brown and the failed New Labour project. The Labour party pushed the "Tory sleaze" line at every opportunity in the years running up to the 1997 general election and the Conservatives must do the same from now until 2010. Of course Labour were aided and abetted by the BBC in the run up to the 1997 election, whilst in the run up to the next election by way of contrast Labour will be aided and abetted by the BBC...

Beware the custard

The Telegraph report that:
"A lorry driver has been forced to flee after the 60,000 tins of custard and rice pudding he was transporting began to explode."
Read the whole report and worry about the contents of your fridge...

Derek Draper spinning like a top

Derek Draper was given some space in yesterday's Telegraph to spout his usual rubbish. One comment came shining through as even more "out there" than most, he described Gordon Brown thus:
"He also shies away from today's celebrity culture, thinking much of it schmaltzy and insincere."
This is the same Gordon Brown who opined on the Shilpa Shetty affair, had secret drinks with Kylie Minogue, who recorded a tribute to Countdown on its 25th birthday, who offered GMTV's Fiona Phillips a peerage and a place in cabinet. The same Gordon Brown whose invitees to Chequers include Lord Attenborough, Beatles producer Sir George Martin and Four Weddings and a Funeral writer Richard Curtis, Sir Tom Stoppard, Lady Antonia Fraser, Piers Morgan and Kathy Lette.

Gordon Brown does not shy away from celebrity culture, he embraces it because he thinks it makes him look human. How wrong he is, he has all the warmth and sincerity of a snake and the fakest smile of any politician I have ever seen. For the avoidance of doubt, none of this would matter if Gordon Brown had run our economy competently; if he had been the economic genius that he believes he is, then he could be as weird and unpleasant as he wanted to be but he has failed at that as well so no excuses.

Averting the High Street retail crash

Hermes, one of the UK's largest landlords, is offering existing tenants the option of paying rent monthly rather than quarterly. How nice of them, there is of course a surcharge of between 0.5% and 1% to ease Hermes' cash flow. Will this be enough to stave off the demise of retail in the UK? I think not, as I wrote on Friday - "Many retail companies are just holding position and hoping for a good Christmas, when that does not come true there will be big losses, company failures and huge job losses. I expect to see many high streets and shopping malls with over 15% empty units by the end of 2009 Q2."

Brass neck award

Gordon Brown has called the past few years "the age of irresponsibility" and has called upon banks to stop acting recklessly. These comments are worthy of a brass neck award, being made by the man who has spent and borrowed more recklessly than any Chancellor/Prime Minister that I can think of. Gordon Brown's policies have brought the UK close to financial ruin, if he had any sense of shame he would stop lecturing others - of course he has no shame, so expect more of the same...

Bradford & Bingley update

"The Bradford and Bingley mortgage book is a lower quality book of mortgages, it is a worse asset than Northern Rock," said Charlie Parker, of Citywire.

"It has experienced double the arrears rates of other lenders."
Remember that the next time some left-wing fool drones on about how this is all the fault of the US sub-prime market. The Bradford and Bingley failed largely because it made 100% mortgage loans and often on a self-certification basis.

BBC bias shines through again

The BBC "report" that:
"A restaurant owner in the Palestinian town of Bethlehem has come up with a novel use for the Israeli-built concrete wall that passes his premises.

Tourists and locals alike can now choose their meals from a menu painted on to the West Bank barrier.

Bahamas seafood restaurant has recently reopened, after closing due to lack of business in recent years."
Interesting and worthy of coverage but then the BBC get their "facts" somewhat messed up. The owner, Mr Butto,
"says the restaurant has been closed since the Palestinian uprising - or intifada - broke out in 2000, and business was "devastated" by the building of the barrier."
However in the next line the BBC states that:
"Israel began building the West Bank barrier in 2002"
How odd, how can a business closed in 2000 be devastated by construction in 2002? Of course to the BBC mind the Israelis can be blamed for everything, but surely even they could have spotted that logical flaw.

Thanks to deegee, a commentator on, Biased-BBC for the spot.

Are we full yet (update)

Further to this post which reported the BBC's article that:
"Immigration levels have pushed population density in England to a higher level than any other major country in Europe.

The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, indicate there is an average of 395 people in every square kilometre in England.

This is an increase of five per sq km in the past two years.

The increase has pushed England's population density above the previous highest figure set by the Netherlands."
I can now reveal that the population of Greater London has increased by over half a million over the last 10 years. That's an increase of 542,000 to 7.56 million - an increase of 8 per cent which is well above the average UK population growth rate of 5 per cent.

Anyone who has tried to use London's overcrowded transport system or queued to see a doctor in A&E or stood outside a school at the end of the day will not be surprised by this figure. Once again I ask - are we full yet?

Saturday 27 September 2008

Butch Cassidy is dead

"That's what sustained me in my time of trouble"

"Raindrops keep falling..."

Also take a look at the second best film ending ever - here.

One of the true greats has departed, a real shame...

"She's not there" but they will be next year

The Zombies with "She's not there" and they will be playing the Hammersmith Apollo next April, see you there.

"Well no one told me about her the way she lied
Well no one told me about her how many people cried
But it's too late to say you're sorry
How would I know why should I care
Please don't bother tryin' to find her
She's not there

Well let me tell you 'bout the way she looked
The way she'd act and the colour of her hair
Her voice was soft and cool
Her eyes were clear and bright
But she's not there

Well no one told me about her, what could I do
Well no one told me about her, though they all knew
But it's too late to say you're sorry
How would I know, why should I care
Please don't bother tryin' to find her
She's not there

Well let me tell you 'bout the way she looked
The way she'd act and the colour of her hair
Her voice was soft and cool
Her eyes were clear and bright
But she's not there

------ electric piano ------

But it's too late to say you're sorry
How would I know, why should I care
Please don't bother tryin' to find her
She's not there

Well let me tell you 'bout the way she looked
The way she'd act and the colour of her hair
Her voice was soft and cool
Her eyes were clear and bright
But she's not there"

Is there no slur that the left won't throw at Sarah Palin?

The answer would appear to be no. USA news (amongst others) "report" that:
"Mountains of controversy are swirling around Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's strange policy of forcing rape victims to pay for their own rape kits while she was mayor of the now-infamous town of Wasilla."
Shocking, appalling, disgusting - but also not true. As my Egyptian friend explains:
"In reality, and had any journalist in the MSM outlets bothered to do their job instead of working for the Obama campaign 24/7, there was a state law forbidding charging victims of rape for their rape kits since 2000. As for where it all came from, the chief of Police( chief of police, not Palin) in Wasilla wanted to have the Insurance companies(Insurance companies, not the victims) to pay for them, with the intention of billing it ultimately to the rapists eventually. However, there isn;t a single piece of record that shows that a single victim's insurance was ever billed for it. If this practice still seems creepy or exclusive to macho,
rough-and-tumble Alaska, well, it happens to be the practice in other
states, too, like North Carolina (until recently) and … Illinois.

And can you guess who co-sponsored that bill in Illinois?

Can you say Barack Obama?

Have a nice day! "

What, do you mean that the Democrats and their supporters have been telling porkies again? I am shocked...

Bye bye B&B? Hello "Command Economy"

It was in July that I last blogged about the possible demise of the Bradford and Bingley bank. It looks as though a future as an independent bank is now most unlikely and that, as no buyer is forthcoming, within the next week it will have to be nationalised in one way or another.

If this happens it may be that Gordon "Stalin" Brown may leave as his legacy a partly nationalised banking sector and a UK being run as more of a command economy than at any time since the late 1940s.

Interesting news about religious freedom in the Middle East

I see that 190,000 Jews are predicted to be about to celebrate the Jewish New Year in synagogues across Saudi Arabia. What a powerful statement about religious freedom that is...

Of course nothing of the kind will happen; I have blogged many times, most recently here about the lack of religious freedom for other than Muslims in Saudi Arabia.

By way of contrast, The Telegraph reports that "190,000 Muslims pray at Jerusalem's flashpoint mosque" and a has a picture of the event.

Oddly it is Israel that is often described as an "apartheid state", albeit by the kind of people to whom thinking for themselves appears to be an alien concept.

ID cards - now do you understand?

The new UK ID card was unveiled this week and will be rolled out to some of those parts of the UK population that do not have the vote - people from outside the EU renewing their permission to stay in the UK. The next group to fall foul of this Labour governments' salami-slicing tactics will be those working in airport restricted areas. The cards will not be "made available" to the rest of the UK population until 2011, safely after the next general election.

What I found most interesting was that this UK ID card has no Union flag on it or indeed any mention of the United Kingdom. Instead there are five stars taken from a part of the EU flag and a picture of a bull just as other EU ID cards have. You could be persuaded that this was the forerunner of an EU-wide ID card; how cynical of you. Jacqui Smith, the most hopeless Home Secretary since the last, explained this away by saying that other countries in the EU did not have their national flags on their ID cards. She believes that is an argument in her favour, whereas I believe that that is the whole point, the EU is reducing the incidence of national symbols and flags whilst increasing the incidence of the EU flag appearing. Take a look at every capital project in the EU, obviously you will find these more easily in Southern and Eastern Europe than in the UK, and you will see the EU flag alongside an explanation that the project was funded by the EU. The EU sees itself as a country to replace its constituent countries and the next UK general election, if we are allowed one, may well be our last.

Remember it was only a year ago that it was revealed that the EU had plans to replace the UK passport's opening statement that
"Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State Requests and requires in the Name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary."
with this "elegant" prose alternative:
"Every citizen of the Union shall, in the territory of a third country in which the members of state of which he is a national is not represented, be entitled to protection by the diplomatic or consular authorities of any member state, on the same conditions as the nationals of that state."
The single market is on the verge of becoming the single state, is it too late to stop it?

A topical football joke

Newcastle have a new manager, I'm sure there's a Joe Kinnear somewhere, oh there it is.

This may be quite obscure and probably indecipherable for any Americans passing through.

Statistics and unanswered questions

Yesterday's Telegraph included a pie chart showing data from a British Council survey. The subject was "Young people in the UK said they felt most like...". The results were as follows:
British citizen - 40%
Citizen of England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland - 24%
Citizen of the world/western world - 13%
European - 7%
Citizen of their region - 4%

Interesting, firstly because there is an answer that received 12% that has no description against it, sloppy statistics or sloppy sub-editing? What would also be interesting is to have a little breakdown of the results, here are some questions that I would like to have the answers to:

What percentage of each of English, Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish described themselves as British or one of English, Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish?
How did the members of the various new immigrant communities describe themselves?
How did the above differ from longer established immigrant communities?
How was the poll carried out, were the different options given or was a straight - how would you describe yourself question asked? I ask this because the 13% Citizen of the world/western world seems rather high for an unprompted answer.

Senator McCain is absolutely right

So sayeth the Obamamessiah...

Friday 26 September 2008

"Why is Obama so vapid and hesitant and gutless?"

"Why is Obama so vapid and hesitant and gutless?", Christopher Hitchens on fine form.

Worldwide air traffic movments

Quite hypnotic... I love this sort of thing, that and maps...

Thanks to Theo Spark for the spot.

Terrorist attack thwarted?

The BBC report that:
"Police in Germany have arrested two terrorism suspects on a plane preparing to take off from Cologne-Bonn airport.

The two men, both in their early 20s and of Somali origin, were under surveillance for months, police say.

They were said to be "possibly planning attacks" and had left suicide notes at their flats expressing their wish to die in a "holy war".

The KLM airliner, which was bound for Amsterdam, was eventually allowed to take off after a luggage search.


He said the suspects - a 23-year-old Somali and a 24-year-old Somali-born German citizen - were "under suspicion of participating in a jihad [holy war] action and of possibly planning attacks".

The remaining passengers were ordered off the aircraft for a baggage inspection.

The plane was cleared for departure just over an hour later and has since landed in Amsterdam.

Germany's federal crime office said on Thursday it was hunting for two Islamic militants believed to be on their way to Germany."
Careful BBC you mentioned the word "Islamic" in that report. Maybe it would be best to get rid of that word, after all you don't want to give people the wrong impression.

Freedom of Speech EU style - update

Further to this post, it seems that the EU parliament has not voted as I had feared. However I predict that this proposal will rear its head again in the not too distant future. The EU does not like dissent, it does not like opposition, it knows that it is the one true path and those of us who disagree should either shut up or face the consequences. With Gordon Brown's disintegrating government of quislings welcoming EU plans to allow British citizens to be tried in their absence in other member states and for British subjects to be extradited automatically at the request of other EU states under the proposals, the future of free speech in the UK has never looked so precarious.

Washington Mutual and beyond

The forced sale of Washington Mutual allied with the currently blocked state of the Wall Street rescue discussions leaves me with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

The collapse in retail sector profits, that I have been predicting, seems to have started with JJB Sports reporting a loss for the last six months and describing the situation as the "worst retail recession" it has ever known. Many retail companies are just holding position and hoping for a good Christmas, when that does not come true there will be big losses, company failures and huge job losses. I expect to see many high streets and shopping malls with over 15% empty units by the end of 2009 Q2.

The collapsing financial sector will flush out more troubled companies and this allied with the collapse in the retail and the construction sector will increase unemployment and decrease government tax revenues.

I don't wish to sound like the harbinger of doom, but...

Thursday 25 September 2008

"The media can no longer be trusted to provide accurate and fair campaign reporting and analysis."

Those are the words of the National Journal's respected correspondent Stuart Taylor referring to the way that the US media have fallen in love with the idea of Barack Obama and will not accept any criticism of him. As Real Clear Politics makes clear:
"The image of Obama that the press has presented to the public is not a fair approximation of the real man. They consciously have ignored whole years of his life and have shown a lack of curiosity about such gaps, which bespeaks a lack of journalistic instinct.


The mainstream media ruthlessly and endlessly repeat any McCain gaffes while ignoring Obama gaffes. You have to go to weird little Web sites to see all the stammering and stuttering that Obama needs before getting out a sentence fragment or two. But all you see on the networks is an eventually clear sentence from Obama. You don't see Obama's ludicrous gaffe that Iran is a tiny country and no threat to us. Nor his 57 American states gaffe. Nor his forgetting, if he ever knew, that Russia has a veto in the U.N. Nor his whining and puerile "come on" when he is being challenged. This is the kind of editing one would expect from Goebbels' disciples, not Cronkite's.

More appalling, a skit on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" last weekend suggested that Gov. Palin's husband had sex with his own daughters. That show was written with the assistance of Al Franken, Democratic Party candidate in Minnesota for the U.S. Senate. Talk about incest.

But worse than all the unfair and distorted reporting and image projecting are the shocking gaps in Obama's life that are not reported at all. The major media simply have not reported on Obama's two years at New York's Columbia University, where, among other things, he lived a mere quarter-mile from former terrorist Bill Ayers. Later, they both ended up as neighbors and associates in Chicago. Obama denies more than a passing relationship with Ayers. Should the media be curious? In only two weeks, the media have focused on all the colleges Gov. Palin has attended, her husband's driving habits 20 years ago, and the close criticism of the political opponents Gov. Palin had when she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska.

But in two years, they haven't bothered to see how close Obama was with the terrorist Ayers.

Nor have the media paid any serious attention to Obama's rise in Chicago politics. How did honest Obama rise in the famously sordid Chicago political machine with the full support of Boss Daley? Despite the great -- and unflattering -- details on Obama's Chicago years presented in David Freddoso's new book on Obama, the mainstream media continue to ignore both the facts and the book. It took a British publication, The Economist, to give Freddoso's book a review with fair comment.

The public image of Obama as an idealistic, post-race, post-partisan, well-spoken and honest young man with the wisdom and courage befitting a great national leader is a confection spun by a willing conspiracy of Obama, his publicist (David Axelrod) and most of the senior editors, producers and reporters of the national media."

Thie bias makes me feel unwell but just wait until the next UK general election campaign starts and see how the BBC campaign for Labour...

"Gordon Brown is not a good man"

Thus writes Brian Micklethwait at Samizdata:
"I realise that I keep going on about it, and I realise that I dissent from the view often expressed here that the next British government (Cameron's) will probably be no better than this government now, but if I were allowed just one more thing to say about Gordon Brown and his government, it would be that I wish people would stop saying or writing this:

Mr Brown is a good, decent man but ...

Mr Brown is not a good, decent man. He is an utter shit, and his utter shitness is inseparable from the difficulties he now faces in continuing to be Prime Minister despite his obvious unsuitability, and to the miseries he is still inflicting upon the rest of us.

I will not expand at length about Brown's shititude. Suffice it to say that Gordon Brown is the living embodiment of the phrase "he won't be told". When he is told, he shouts like a spoilt but thwarted seven year old, until whoever it is just gives up or goes home and pretends to be ill. And all his henchmen are like this too."
Do read the rest, all good stuff and quite accurate too.

Killing Israelis

The Jerusalem bulldozer attack back in July has started a trend. Here are two from the last few days; first Reuters report that:
"The family of a Palestinian shot dead after his car ploughed into pedestrians in Jerusalem challenged on Tuesday Israeli police allegations he had carried out a deliberate attack.

More than a dozen soldiers, on a late-night excursion to Jerusalem ahead of the Jewish New Year next week, were injured in Monday's incident. No Palestinian group has made a credible claim of responsibility.

Police called it a "terrorist" attack, the third of its kind using vehicles against Israelis in the city since July and involving Palestinians from East Jerusalem and its environs who live on Israeli-annexed land and have wide freedom of movement."
and second The Jerusalem Post report:
"Four Palestinians were arrested Wednesday afternoon after they allegedly tried running through a roadblock near the settlement of Ma'ale Levona north of Ramallah. No one was wounded in the incident."

Terrorism has many faces and Israel is facing a multitude of them. I cannot see a way out of this mess for Israel; if they clampdown they will face even more censure from the world "community", if they give way to Palestinian demands then Israel will not exist in another 20 years.

Short selling

"He who sells what isn't his'n, Must buy it back or go to prison."
Daniel Drew the 19th century American financier with an "interesting" financial history.

I hope this is not a reference to me...

Iain Dale has a piece entitled "If David Cameron Slept With a Goat...", I would just like to say, not this goat; no, not ever...

Freedom of Speech EU style

One of my "Take a look at these, I do" blogs has been forced to stop publishing. The blog is the ever excellent England Expects and it seems to have come under attack from the EU powers that be partly for being "ironique et eurosceptique". You can read the story details here and once you have read that, do read The Telegraph's report on the EU's plans to regulate the ""dangerous" and unregulated blogosphere". The EU does not like dissent, it does not like opposition, it is the one true path and those of us who disagree should either shut up or face the consequences. With Gordon Brown's disintegrating government of quislings welcoming EU plans to allow British citizens to be tried in their absence in other member states and for British subjects to be extradited automatically at the request of other EU states under the proposals, the future of free speech in the UK has never looked so precarious.

Poll watching

I last reported on David Cowling's disappearance in July when I reported that "I see that he is back with his June report." However since June not a peep from the BBC's political research editor who every month used to review the political opinion polls published in the previous month. For some odd reason the BBC seem to have decided that opinion polls are not worth reporting on any longer, I wonder why?

Wednesday 24 September 2008

Barack Obama and the truth

BorderFire reports that
"Terry Anderson, an African-American talk show host in Los Angeles, provides a list of 39 things Democrat presidential hopeful Barack Obama claims are facts, but further investigation shows they are not exactly correct.

Senator Obama is easily sailing through his campaign without media scrutiny, while reporters rummage through Gov. Sarah Palin's past in order to discover anything that may hurt her politically.

While Oprah Winfrey practically lap-danced for Obama, she's refusing to have Palin as a guest on her show (see petition urging Oprah to invite Gov. Palin to be a guest on her syndicated television show

Anderson's list is quite interesting:

1.) Selma March Got Me Born - NOT EXACTLY, your parents felt safe enough to have you in 1961 - Selma had no effect on your birth, as Selma was in 1965. (Google'Obama Selma ' for his full March 4, 2007 speech and articles about its various untruths.)

2.) Father Was A Goat Herder - NOT EXACTLY, he was a privileged, well educated youth, who went on to work with the Kenyan Government.

3.) Father Was A Proud Freedom Fighter - NOT EXACTLY, he was part of one of the most corrupt and violent governments Kenya has ever had.

4.) My Family Has Strong Ties To African Freedom - NOT EXACTLY, your cousin Raila Odinga has created mass violence in attempting to overturn a legitimate election in 2007, in Kenya . It is the first widespread violence in decades. The current government is pro-American but Odinga wants to overthrow it and establish Muslim Sharia law. Your half-brother, Abongo Oba ma, is Odinga's follower. You interrupted your New Hampshire campaigning to speak to Odinga on the phone. Check out the following link for verification of that...and for more. Obama's cousin Odinga in Kenya ran for president and tried to get Sharia muslim law in place there. Whe n Odinga lost the elections, his followers have burned Christians' homes and then burned men, women and children alive in a Christian church where they took shelter.. Obama SUPPORTED his cousin before the election process here started. Google Obama and Odinga and see what you get. No one wants to know the truth.

5.) My Grandmother Has Always Been A Christian - NOT EXACTLY, she does her daily Salat prayers at 5am according to her own interviews. Not to mention, Christianity wouldn't allow her to have been one of 14 wives to 1 man.

6.) My Name is African Swahili - NOT EXACTLY, your name is Arabic and 'Baraka' (from which Barack came) means 'blessed' in that language. Hussein is also Arabic and so is Obama. Barack Hussein Obama is not half black. If elected, he would be the first Arab-American President, not the first black President. Barack Hussein Obama is 50% Caucasian from his mother's side and 43.75% Arabic and 6.25% African Negro from his father's side. While Barack Hussein Obama's father was from Kenya , his father's family was mainly Arabs.. Barack Hussein Obama's father was only 12.5% African Negro and 87.5% Arab (his father's birth certificate even states he's Arab, not African Negro). From....and for more....go to.....,_only_6.25%25_African

7.) I Never Practiced Islam - NOT EXACTLY, you practiced it daily at school, where you were registered as a Muslim and kept that faith for 31 years, until your wife made you change, so you could run for office. 4-3-08 Article 'Obama was 'quite religious in islam''

8.) My School In Indonesia Was Christian - NOT EXACTLY, you were registered as Muslim there and got in trouble in Koranic Studies for making faces (check your own book). February 28, 2008. Kristoff from the New York Times a year ago: Mr. Obama recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them with a first-rate accent. In a remark that seemed delightfully uncalculated (it'll give Alabama voters heart attacks), Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as 'one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.' This is just one example of what Pamela is talking about when she says 'Obama's narrative is being altered, enhanced and manipulated to whitewash troubling facts.'

9.) I Was Fluent In Indonesian - NOT EXACTLY, not one teacher says you could speak the language.

10.) Because I Lived In Indonesia , I Have More Foreign Experience - NOT EXACTLY, you were there from the ages of 6 to 10, and couldn't even speak the language. What did you learn except how to study the Koran and watch cartoons.

11.) I Am Stronger On Foreign Affairs - NOT EXACTLY, except for Africa (surprise) and the Middle East (bigger surprise), you have never been anywhere else on the planet and thus have NO experience with our closest allies.

12.) I Blame My Early Drug Use On Ethnic Confusion - NOT EXACTLY, you were quite content in high school to be Barry Obama, no mention of Kenya and no mention of struggle to identify - your classmates said you were just fine

13.)An Ebony Article Moved Me To Run For Office - NOT EXACTLY, Ebony has yet to find the article you mention in your book. It doesn't, and never did, exist.

14.) A Life Magazine Article Changed My Outlook On Life - NOT EXACTLY, Life has yet to find the article you mention in your book. It doesn't, and never did, exist.

15.) I Won't Run On A National Ticket In '08 - NOT EXACTLY, here you are, despite saying, live on TV, that you would not have enough experience by then, and you are all about having experience first.

16.) Voting 'Present' is Common In Illinois Senate - NOT EXACTLY, they are common for YOU, but not many others have 130 NO VOTES.

17.) Oops, I Misvoted -&nb sp;NOT EXACTLY, only when caught by church groups and Democrats, did you beg to change your misvote.

18.) I Was A Professor Of Law - NOT EXACTLY, you were a senior lecturer ON LEAVE.

19.) I Was A Constitutional Lawyer - NOT EXACTLY, you were a senior lecturer ON LEAVE.

20.) Without Me, There Would Be No Ethics Bill - NOT EXACTLY, you didn't write it, introduce it, change it or create it.

21.) The Ethics Bill Was Hard To Pass - NOT EXACTLY, it took just 14 days from start to finish.

22.) I Wrote A Tough Nuclear Bill - NOT EXACTLY, your bill was rejected by your own party for its pandering and lack of all regulation - mainly because of your Nuclear donor, Exelon, from which David Axelrod came.

23.) I Have Released My State Records - NOT EXACTLY, as of March, 2008, state bills you sponsored or voted for have yet to be released, exposing all the special interests pork hidden within.

24.) I Took On The Asbestos Altgeld Gardens Mess - NOT EXACTLY, you were part of a large group of people who remedied Altgeld Gardens . You failed to mention anyone else but yourself, in your books.

25.) My Economics Bill Will Help America - NOT EXACTLY, your 111 economic policies were just combined into a proposal which lost 99-0, and even YOU voted against your own bill.

26.) I Have Been A Bold Leader In Illinois - NOT EXACTLY, even your own supporters claim to have not seen BOLD action on your part.

27.) I Passed 26 Of My Own Bills In One Year - NOT EXACTLY, they were not YOUR bills, but rath er handed to you, after their creation by a fellow Senator, to assist you in a future bid for higher office.

28.) No One on my campaign contacted Canada about NAFTA - NOT EXACTLY, the Canadian Government issued the names and a memo of the conversation your campaign had with them.

29.) I Am Tough On Terrorism - NOT EXACTLY, you missed the Iran Resolution vote on terrorism and your good friend Ali Abunimah supports the destruction off Israel

30.) I Want All Votes To Count - NOT EXACTLY, you said let the delegates decide.

31.) I Want Americans To Decide - NOT EXACTLY, you prefer caucuses that limit the vote, confuse the voters, force a public vote, and only operate during small windows of time.

32.) I passed 900 Bills in the State Senate - NOT EXACTLY, you passed 26, most of which you didn't write yourself.

33.) I Believe In Fairness, Not Tactics - NOT EXACTLY, you used tactics to eliminate Alice Palmer from running against you.

34.) I Don't Take PAC Money - NOT EXACTLY, you take loads of it.

35.) I don't Have Lobbysists - NOT EXACTLY, you have over 47 lobbyists, and counting.

36.) My Campaign Had Nothing To Do With The 1984 Ad - NOT EXACTLY, your own campaign worker made the ad on his Apple in one afternoon.

37.) I Have Always Been Against Iraq - NOT EXACTLY, you weren't in office to vote against it AND you have voted to fund it every single time.

38.) I Have Always Supported Universal Health Care - NOT EXACTLY, your plan leaves us all to pay for the 15,000,000 (That's 15 Million) who don't have to buy it.

39.) My uncle liberated Auschwitz concentration camp - NOT EXACTLY, your mother had no brothers and the Russan army did the liberating."

A nice summary of the slipperiness of Barack Obama and not items that will be covered by the MSM, not when there are stories about Sarah Palin's sunbed to cover.

Any comments MergeDivide?

When people begin to feel really let down by the Labour Government, it is likely that the one thing they will most loathe is the slick over-packaging.

Daniel Finklestein's Times column is a must read today.
"For what we are witnessing here in Manchester is not the beginning of the end of Gordon Brown. It is the beginning of the end of new Labour.


Ten years ago in our kitchen table Conservative paper, written at a moment when Tony Blair was more than 15 points ahead in the polls, Andrew and I thought we could see three failings that might eventually make Labour unpopular.

The first was that Labour was spending a great deal of money on public services without reforming them. At the time this was shrewd - the public didn't want market reforms and they did want more spent. There was, however, a small problem: spending more without proper reform would not work. The improvements would not live up to voters expectations. And they would become angry. They wouldn't blame themselves for this failure - remembering their resistance to reform - they would blame Labour. And there would be a change in mood. Fury at Labour, greater acceptance of reform and a change in attitude toward government spending.

The second failing was that Labour believed “there is a political solution to every problem”. They couldn't see a social issue without intervening. This made good headlines in the short term, but in the long term would stoke an anti-politician feeling. People would believe new Labour had betrayed them and had turned out to be just another bunch of politicians.

And finally there was this: “When people begin to feel really let down by the Labour Government, it is likely that the one thing they will most loathe is the slick over-packaging.”


If you doubt this, consider what happened last summer. When Gordon Brown became Prime Minister there was a brief period in which voters accepted that perhaps he represented change. Labour's popularity soared. Then it dawned on the electorate that Brown was not change and their popularity plummeted.

So to win again, Labour has to change. And to change it has to accept that voters criticism of their failings - on public services, on spin, on all their tiny micro-interventions - are not only a fact of political life but fair and reasonable."

Or they could be taught to read and write

"Lessons in healthy lifestyles and sex education could replace traditional
academic subjects in a shake-up of primary school teaching planned by Ed Balls.

Pupils could even be assessed on their ‘personal development’ as well as the three Rs.

The Schools Secretary has ordered an inquiry into primary school lessons to consider whether pupils are currently studying too many subjects.

Now the team behind the review has said heads and teachers agree there should be reductions both in the ‘number of subject areas’ and the subject content pupils cover.

Instead they want pupils to study ‘concepts and skills’ that cut across traditional curriculum areas and a stronger focus on personal development, including healthy eating, ‘self-esteem’, sex and relationships, drugs and philosophy."
That's from The Mai but the story is elsewhere as well.

This Labour government has devalued education in this country because they want a non-enquiring population. What could be better than a whole generation coming out of school with 3 A* grades at A'Level and an exaggerated sense of their own abilities and importance, stuffed full with the usual left wing credo?

Gordon Brown is never wrong - he says so

Thanks to Guido Fawkes for the spot.

Russia deploys warships to the Caribbean

More worrying news
"Russian warships are sailing towards the Caribbean for the first time since the Cold War to take part in a joint naval exercise with Venezuela.

In a display meant to show off Russia's military resurgence and to provoke the United States, four vessels from the Northern Fleet set sail on a mission replete with an atmosphere of Soviet-era bombast and brinksmanship."

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Gordon Brown's Labour conference speech

For reaction to Gordon Brown's conference speech on the BBC you could read Reeta Chakrabarti's "analysis"
"Serious about the economy - and substantial when talking about the Labour agenda."
Or you could read Nick Robinson's blog
"The conference reacted with joy and relief at seeing a Gordon Brown that some had never seen before. He restored some of their faith in him and themselves. It is, though, the public's verdict that will decide whether the party will keep him as their leader."
Or you could look at what the public think at Have Your Say, here's the first page of most recommended:
"I bet when he is "bigging himself up" over his mythical & delusional prowess as Chancellor, he neglects to mention some very big bills that future generations of taxpayers in Britain, some not even born yet, will have to deal with:

* Hundreds of millions of pounds committed to PFI projects.

* Uncosted & unfunded public sector pensions

* Northern Rock

* Massive overseas aid committment via the Department for International Development

He shouldn't be sacked, he should be prosecuted.

Righty Rightwing

I predict more of the usual,

Britain well placed...........I'm right man for the job.........mass immigration good for Britain.......all good news down to me........all bad news down to others......blah...blah

But whatever he says, he's finished!!

Politically Incorrect

I would like to hear:

I am sorry! We are sorry! I am very sorry! We are very sorry!
I am sorry! We are sorry! I am very sorry! We are very sorry! ... ad nauseam

For losing touch with reality; for leading the British people up the garden path, for our entire cabal of politicians who (as I've said before) are immersed Mouth, Body & Soul in the Trough with only their gleefully wiggling tails being seen; while pensioners die of cold and serving plus returning soldiers are left high and dry!

Captain In-the-Dock, Lost 'n' Found in Britain

Gordon Brown has finished giving one of the most important speeches of his political career. What did you think of it?

BBC Host,

The only important speech that imbecile will ever give is his resignation speech, and the day cant come soon enough.


I will not even listen I would not trust this traitor if he wrote it personally in his own blood!

Louis Cannell, Northampton, United Kingdom

It took 10 years as chancellor to blow 640 billion of our cash.
it took only a few months to bankrupt this country.
it will take years to put this country back on its feet it took labour 11 years to put it on its knees.

boom and bust gone forever he said tax and spend never left labour.
We are broke
We are taxed to the hilt
We are going to see more stealth taxes under labour.
We are sick of talk.
call the election NOW.

leon hughes, mold, United Kingdom

The prime minister is expected to underline his experience and commitment to create a fairer society.

Labour have, over their tenure, widened the gap between the rich and the poor more so than any previous Government.

Labour have failed. They've failed themselves and they've failed the country.

No speech can rectify the damage they've done to this nation over the last ten years. They should do the only honourable thing left - call a General Election.

[CeeofGee], Oxford, United Kingdom

His last conference speech he stole an oft touted & common sense BNP slogan:

"British Jobs for British Workers".

Which common sense BNP policy statement will McStalin steal this time I wonder? doubt never to implement.....

If Gordooms career were a horse, it would be illegal to leave it suffering.

Someone do the decent thing......

PS BBC: Marr & Robinson - what planet are they on? Planet Brown?

Righty RightProud, Coalville

All we've had under NuLabour is immigration immigration immigration.

What happened to 'Education education education'?


Reduce immigration and stop paying the workshy to watch sky TV,

Reduce the tax burdon on the low paid ( How about a 10% entry tax, thats a novel idea)

Stop bailing the banks out with taxpayers money whilst they buy new yachts with their annual bonus's

gey MP's to live in the real world and see what its like to pay a third of their take home pay on get to work costs


john Adair, England Not Britain, Virgin Islands (UK)

My views?

Lies, spin, and repeated garbage.

I notice that he turned the place into a fortress - is that to prevent us tax payers from making an appearance and spoiling it for him by hanging him in public?

badger fruit, resistance hq, United Kingdom

I wonder if he will still give us his favourite line "no return to boom and bust"

I somehow doubt it!

steve jones, Liverpool

Unless the speech amounts to his resignation, and the promise of an immediate General Election, I'm not really interested.

Chris, Hartlepool

What would I like to hear?

" Good afternoon - I resign - goodbye"

Totally Disgruntled, Wokingham

"People, I spent the last 11 years taxing, borrowing and squandering. Now that there is a global economic crisis, the UK is badly placed to weather the storm. After proving yet again that all Labour governments end in financial chaos, I hereby tender my resignation."

That's what we want to hear.

[SecretSkivver], Stockport"

That's the public speaking; it's a shame Gordon isn't in listening mode any more, if he ever was.

The attacks on Sarah Palin

I have been disgusted but not surprised by the intensity of the attacks on Sarah Palin. The Democrats and their tame media fellow-travellers have too much invested in Barack Obama to allow anyone to take victory away from them. The attacks on Sarah Palin have been more vehement than any political smear campaign that I have seen before and most have supposed that they have come from fringe groups. My Pet Jawa has evidence that seems to show that this is not the case and that in fact "false rumors and outright lies about Sarah Palin and John McCain being spread on the internet are being orchestrated by political partisans", including people very close to Barack Obama. Since this story will receive zero coverage in the MSM, you owe it to yourself to find out the truth.

'a cynical distortion of public finance'

Those were Gordon Brown's words when he described the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) during the last years of the last Conservative government. For an excellent analysis of the way that Gordon Brown has used the PFI as a way of spending money and making future commitments whilst hiding the figures from the public you MUST read Fraser Nelson and Peter Hoskin's piece in the current issue of The Spectator. A shocking story and one that is not as well known as it should be. Although I knew many of the facts I was surprised to learn that Gordon Brown has even found a way to wriggle out of the new EU disclosure rules that are due to come into place next April. Read it and get angry, it's our financial future Gordon Brown has destroyed.

"Is Newsnight’s Economics Editor a SWPer?"

Harry's Place has the story about Paul Mason. Interesting story, I wonder if it is true. Worryingly I wouldn't be surprised if it was true and that says plenty about the reputation for impartiality of the BBC.

Prue Leith stumbles upon the bigger truth

In the current issue of The Spectator Prue Leith talks to John Abbott about his alternative view of education. It is an interesting article and you can read it online as well. The article is ostensibly written as a way of giving advice to Ed "So What" Balls so the following line caught my eye:
"So to give teenagers the best chance of becoming a happy, productive adults, all their circuits need regular workouts. They need to challenge, to be challenged, to experiment, to take risks and learn from experience. If they’re prevented from this, they become stuck in a permanent childhood of dependence, caution and clone-like acceptance."
I am sorry to tell you this Ms Leith, but "dependence", "caution" and "clone-like acceptance" are just the qualities that this Labour government want in its population. Far from this happening by mistake, this is government policy working; an underclass of people dependent on the State for income, information and entertainment.

Monday 22 September 2008

I think "financial crisis" just about covers it

The Telegraph report that:
"Britain may have to borrow £90 billion next year – almost twice as much as the Chancellor had expected - to deal with the ongoing ramifications of the credit crisis.

The sharp rise in borrowing has sparked fears that the Government may have to raise taxes to plug the growing shortfall in the public finances.

Economists calculate that income tax would have to rise by the equivalent of five pence in the pound to cover the extra borrowing. An analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) predicts that Government borrowing will be £63 billion this year and £90 billion in 2009-10 – the equivalent of £1,500 for every person in Britain next year.

Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, previously predicted that Government borrowing would be just £43 billion this year.

Another forecaster, Capital Economics, has predicted that the budget deficit – the gap between taxes raised and public expenditure which is covered by borrowing – will reach £100 billion in 2010-11. Britain already has the largest budget deficit of any developed country and the predicted increase in borrowing is likely to lead to a fall in the value of the pound.

Douglas McWilliams, the chief executive of the CEBR, said: "Ninety billion pounds is a huge amount of borrowing. Although there is little room to do much about it in the short term, it will overshadow public policy for many years to come." "
Does the expression we are well and truly fucked cover this?

Labour government bury a negative report about HIPs

The Telegraph reports that:
"A secret Government report has condemned compulsary Home Information Packs (HIPs) for property-sellers as a "waste of time".

Research commissioned by ministers, but never published, found that both sellers and buyers view the packs as "long, boring and technical" and see them as being of "no benefit".


The report concluded that house buyers and sellers "don't see the purpose" of the packs and show a "a lack of engagement, experience and interest". It added that "neither buyers or sellers are proactively enquiring about HIPs".

While the Government has spent almost £900,000 on an advertising campaign to promote the packs, the report also found that "amongst buyers and sellers, awareness, knowledge and understanding of HIPs is poor" and that consumers are "not sufficiently interested enough to ask to see a HIP".

The study also found that "estate agents struggled to think of positive comments about HIPs", with the majority considering the packs a "waste of time".

Grant Shapps, the shadow housing minister, said: "The Government has been caught red handed trying to hide a damning indictment of this pointless and expensive red tape. One year on, the public don't trust the paper these packs are written on.""
Who could believe that this Labour government would introduce a rubbish policy, bury negative reports on this policy and keep on coining the tax?

Sunday 21 September 2008

Blair and Miliband

The Mail reports that :
"Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary David Miliband were caught plotting against Gordon Brown in the chapel of a Benedictine monastery, it was revealed last night.

The extraordinary rendezvous took place at Burford Priory in Oxfordshire at a birthday party for media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth.

While other guests drank champagne in the palatial Jacobean-style mansion until the early hours of the morning, Mr Blair and Mr Miliband slipped away quietly for a private conversation in a candlelit chapel which adjoins the priory.

As they sat on the pews whispering conspiratorially, two fellow guests, who were exploring the house, stumbled across them by chance.

An embarrassed Mr Blair and Mr Miliband immediately pulled back from each other, as though they had been caught out.

It is an open secret among senior Labour figures that Mr Blair supports Mr Miliband's ambition to succeed Mr Brown as Prime Minister."
This is a difficult area for me to decide which of the three was/is the bigger threat to the UK. Tony Blair was a con-man who successfully fooled a lot of people before disappearing at just the right time to drop Gordon Brown in it. Gordon Brown inherited a healthy economy and managed, through intimidation and with the assistance of a compliant left-wing media who "believed" he would put Labour back on the right path. He convinced many that he was some sort of economic genius when in fact he was a lucky Chancellor who increased tax revenues at a time when rising house prices made people feel wealthier. David Miliband is dangerous, he is a true Europhile and will happily sell this Country out to the EU. If David Miliband is elected there must be a general election immediately otherwise there may never be another general election in the UK.

The Community Reinvestment Act

I have wanted to blog about the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) for some months now but have been cautious of doing so for obvious reasons. However the vitriol being spewed out, by the usual suspects in the left wing media, at the banking community has really pissed me off. So here we go, as Forbes tells us:
"The CRA forces banks to make loans in poor communities, loans that banks may otherwise reject as financially unsound. Under the CRA, banks must convince a set of bureaucracies that they are not engaging in discrimination, a charge that the act encourages any CRA-recognized community group to bring forward. Otherwise, any merger or expansion the banks attempt will likely be denied. But what counts as discrimination?

According to one enforcement agency, "discrimination exists when a lender's underwriting policies contain arbitrary or outdated criteria that effectively disqualify many urban or lower-income minority applicants." Note that these "arbitrary or outdated criteria" include most of the essentials of responsible lending: income level, income verification, credit history and savings history--the very factors lenders are now being criticized for ignoring."
I know this is not the agreed narrative but it is the truth.

The Ryder Cup after day 2

The afternoon foursomes gave Europe a chance of coming back, great performance by Ian Poulter justifying his pick ahead of Darren Clarke.

Now for the singles and here are my match by match predictions for an "at best" scenario:

Anthony Kim v Sergio Garcia Garcia 9-8
Hunter Mahan v Paul Casey Mahan 10-8
Justin Leonard v Robert Karlsson Karlsson 10-9
Phil Mickelson v Justin Rose Mickelson 11-9
Kenny Perry v Henrik Stenson Stenson 11-10
Boo Weekley v Oliver Wilson Weekly 12-10
JB Holmes v Soren Hansen Holmes 13-10
Jim Furyk v Miguel Angel Jimenez Furyk 14-10
Stewart Cink v Graeme McDowell Cink 15-10 (key match)
Steve Stricker v Ian Poulter Poulter 15-11 (key match)
Ben Curtis v Lee Westwood Westwood 15-12 (key match)
Chad Campbell v Padraig Harrington Harrington 15-13

I admire Nick Faldo but I think that two of Poulter, Westwood and Harrington should be further up the playing list. I would have finished with Poulter or Harrington but we need points on the board early, it might be too late by the time they go out.

The sad story of the numpties

A story with no relevance to the economic chaos that surrounds us...

" Men's brains are 'better connected'"

Quelle surprise!

Jeremy Clarkson on the new Volkswagen Scirocco

"All I wanted to know is whether, if I bought a Scirocco, it’d cause me to have more sex than if I bought a Golf. ...


the new car is like an old girlfriend you meet after hooking up on Friends Reunited. To everyone else she’s just an ordinary middle-aged woman, but to you she’s a bit more than that . . . "

Love him or hate Jeremy Clarkson, you have to admit that he can write.

The state is really not your friend: it is the one, unassailable monopoly of the modern world and it must be destroyed or it will.. make slaves of us

Devils Kitchen has another must read post today.
"The tax system makes slaves of us all: we have no option but to pay the tax, and thus we are serfs to our lords and masters. Because they have the law to back up their means of collection, and thus we must pay said taxes whether we wish to use the services provided or not, our lords and masters force other providers out of the market—both through monopoly laws and through ensuring that no one has the money left over to pay competing providers anyway."

The problem with large numbers

A large number, possibly a majority, of people in this country are mathematically challenged, they don't really understand large numbers. A million, a billion, a trillion; they are all just big scary numbers. In my second plug for an old Etonian who is not in David Cameron's shadow cabinet, do take a read of Devil's Kitchen and his reporting of a Guardian Comment is Free comment on government spending. Here's a short extract:
"The NHS IT programme is a complete, utter fucking mess. It doesn't work and it never will work. It will eventually be scrapped, and if Liebour were still in power it would promptly be replaced by something even more useless and expensive.

It will end up costing the taxpayer twenty billion pounds. Do you understand what twenty billion pounds are? Let me help you:

On the day that Queen Victoria died, I put half a million pounds in used fivers in a suitcase, took it out into the woods, and burnt it in a bonfire. There wasn't any good reason for doing this—in much the same way as there isn't any good reason for much of Liebour's 'public spending'—but I did it anyway.

Then I did the same thing the next day. And the next. And the next. Every day of every week of every month of every year since the day that Queen Victoria died I have been burning half a million pounds in used fivers in a suitcase in a bonfire in the woods.

And I'm still not at twenty billion. I've still got nearly two years to go."
The amount of money this Labour government have wasted is hard to comprehend but is insignificant when compared to the money they have committed the country to spend on PFI scams.

David Miliband - Immature prat?

Amazingly David Miliband is proving to be a more inept Foreign Secretary than even the dire Robin Cook and the out of her depth Margaret Beckett. The latest rumour concerns David Miliband laughing during a Sky News interview when he gets the number of dead in the latest Islamic terrorism atrocity wrong. It is claimed that the pertinent piece of video has disappeared... I suggest keeping an eye on Guido in case the video surfaces...

They want control

The Publican reports that:
"Fears are growing that pubs across the country could be asked to take down their road signs to prevent drink-driving following action by a local authority.

The Highways Agency backed a move by Wiltshire County Council to block signs pointing drivers towards pubs – leading to concerns from trade chiefs that it could set a precedent.


Jacqui Ashman, local Highways Agency planning manager, said that the Black Dog’s sign was “potentially providing the temptation to drink and drive”.

She said: “No alcohol is allowed to be served or consumed in service stations on motorways as a matter of principle and we would wish to continue this principle by not encouraging drivers to break their journey in a public house.”"

They want control over every aspect of our lives and they will keep at it until they get it. Is it too late to fight back?

Saturday 20 September 2008

How surprising!

The Telegraph reports some most unsurprising news. Apparently:
"Half of a council's traffic wardens have quit their jobs or been sacked after management began carrying out immigration checks...

New contractors NCP Services took over on August 1 and immediately decided to run checks on the immigration status of their staff.

Many of the staff simply failed to show up to work, but several of the 48 brought in passports which turned out to be forgeries.

It is believed they were either illegal immigrants or "overstayers" who did not have the right to work in the UK.

Lambeth Council, are now set to investigate the way the former contractor recruited its staff."

What a surprise. It has long been obvious in many parts of London that the motoring transgression tax collectors (also known as traffic wardens) seem to be worthy of having their antecedents checked.

Dame Rowling of Hogwarts?

The BBC report that:
"Harry Potter author JK Rowling has donated £1m to the Labour Party, the party has announced.

Ms Rowling said she was motivated by Labour's record on child poverty and opposed a Conservative plan to give tax breaks to married couples.


Mr Brown said he was delighted to have the backing of "one of the world's greatest ever authors"."
That's a piece of nice and helpful news ahead of a potentially very difficult Labour conference. What might Ms Rowling's motivation for this donation be? One clue may be in the next line of the BBC's report:
"JK Rowling, whose fortune was estimated at £560 million in this year's Sunday Times Rich List, is known to be a personal friend of Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah."

The rest of the BBC article is the usual pro-Labour, anti-Conservative puff piece.

I wonder if Gordon Brown will remember his and his wife's friend in his resignation honours?

As an afterthought, does Gordon Brown really think J K Rowling is "one of the world's greatest ever authors"? I have never managed to read more than a few pages of the unimaginative rubbish spewed out by J K Rowling in her Harry Potter series of books. I think that I must have books by at least two dozen more talented authors on my bookshelves, maybe Gordon Brown confuses possession of money with talent.

Ryder Cup flags

Just a quick question, the Ryder Cup is played between teams from the USA and Europe. Why is the team representing Europe playing under the flag of the EU? Are the Europe team representing the EU, is the EU now a country with its own flag? The EU flag is really irritating me and stopping me from wholeheartedly supporting the GB & Europe team.

Hole in the Wall

The BBC have decided that the best way to spend our licence fee is on a remake of a Japanese game show of the type that a few years ago we would have laughed at the ridiculousness of.

Here is a clip of the Japanese original...

Meanwhile in Italy the same show has young female contestants in bikinis...

In the UK the show has to feature "celebrities" and as such will be hosted by Dale Winton with Strictly Come Dancing favourite Anton Du Beke and cricket legend Darren Gough as team captains.

Licence fee money well spent I think you will agree... Maybe keep away from BBC 1 on Saturday afternoons.

The Ryder Cup

GB and Europe losing 5.5 to 2.5 after day one. Not a huge surprise to me, the best thing that happened to the USA was having Tiger Woods that great Ryder Cup disappointment drop out and then having six rookies in the team, their rookies are hungry for success. Conversely Nick Faldo's team is handicapped by not having Darren Clarke and Monty in the team. The other problem is that the UK press does not like Nick Faldo, successful sportsman being boring, and have been happily "disssin'" his management style for months.

Friday 19 September 2008

Holiday music

Mrs NotaSheep and myself were away on holiday recently, here is an incredibly obtuse clue as to where we were...

Maggie Reilly singing Mike Oldfield's Moonlight Shadow; oddly both Mrs NotaSheep and myself thought that it was Sally Oldfield singing, we were wrong.

"The last that ever she saw him
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
He passed on worried and warning
Carried away by a moonlight shadow.
Lost in a river last saturday night
Far away on the other side.
He was caught in the middle of a desperate fight
And she couldn't find how to push through
The trees that whisper in the evening
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
Sing a song of sorrow and grieving
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
All she saw was a silhouette of a gun
Far away on the other side.
He was shot six times by a man on the run
And she couldn't find how to push through
I stay
I pray
I see you in heaven far away
I stay
I pray
I see you in heaven one day
Four am in the morning
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
I watched your vision forming
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
Star was glowing in a silvery night
Far away on the other side
Will you come to talk to me this night
But she couldn't find how to push through
I stay
I pray
I see you in heaven far away
I stay
I pray
I see you in heaven one day
Far away on the other side.
Caught in the middle of a hundred and five
The night was heavy but the air was alive
But she couldn't find how to push through
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
Far away on the other side"

And here's a rather good live version from Berlin with a scarf-wearing Mike Oldfield

The Gordon Brown Calculator

Thanks to The Taxpayers Alliance, here is the Gordon Brown calculator, just see how crap a Chancellor he really was.

James Purnell

Chicken Yoghurt has an excellent post about the collapse in the Labour vote between the 1997 election and the 2005 election and James Purnell's recent comments that people have slightly turned away from the Labour party.

Some video for the start of the Ryder Cup at Valhalla Golf Club

Fred Astaire's famous golf ball dance from the 1938 movie "Carefree" with Ginger Rogers.

Guess the party (part xx)

KVOA news report that:
"TUCSON, AZ - The son of a U.S. Congressman from was arrested in Willcox Sunday, charged with human smuggling. According to court documents John F. Boyd son of Florida Congressman Allen Boyd, attempted to drive through a Border Patrol checkpoint in Willcox on Sunday with five illegal immigrants, including a 6-year-old girl.

In a statement sent Tuesday, Congressman Allen Boyd said, "On September 14, 2008, my 30-year-old son, John Boyd, was arrested in Arizona, and at a preliminary hearing yesterday, he was charged with alien smuggling."

"This is a family matter that my family and I will be dealing with privately. John is a grown man and must face the consequences for his actions, but he has the love and support of his family," says the elder Boyd.

A criminal complaint states, "At the primary inspection area, a Border Patrol K-9 alerted to the possible presence of illegal aliens in the bed of the truck. A primary inspection agent approached the truck and saw an individual hiding under a piece of plywood in the bed of the truck."

According to court documents the illegal immigrants said they were to pay Boyd $3,000 each to be smuggled into the United States and transported to their final destination.

Court documents also state that the vehicle contained, "two plastic bags that contained several rocks of crystal methamphetamine, four unopened syringes, a spoon with white residue and burn marks on the bottom, and three knives. A further search of the vehicle revealed a Beretta 22LR pistol loaded with eight rounds of ammunition and a spare magazine loaded with eight rounds of ammunition in a suitcase in the bed of the truck."

Boyd is expected in federal court on Wednesday."

Hmm no party affiliation is mentioned, I guess that means that he is a Democrat. Yes, this is yet another example of the media hiding the party affiliations of a Democratic politician, where they would not be so coy if it had been a Republican. It is the same in the UK with Conservative politicians having their party mentioned as early and as often as possible, whilst Labour politicians appear party-less.

Another pro-EU lie

The Irish Independent report that:
"Taoiseach Brian Cowen yesterday directly linked failure to pass the Lisbon Treaty referendum to the economic downturn.

He said the Government did not explain to people that rejection of the treaty could make the economic situation even worse.

Mr Cowen said the economy and Lisbon cannot be separated when the country looks at its place in Europe after the referendum. "It is increasingly obvious to me that our economic difficulties and the political dilemma posed by the Lisbon Treaty are linked,'' he said. "We failed to address people's genuinely held concerns and we failed to get the message through that a rejection of the treaty could exacerbate the already tough economic situation.""
Maybe someone could ask Brian Cowen to explain his remarks, because they make sod all sense to me.

Googling (update 20) - short selling spread betting ban - this blog is number 2 - short selling ban policing - this blog is at number 5 - Obama and Freddie mac, Fannie Mea exective contributions - this blog is at number 5

Thursday 18 September 2008

Question Time - Thursday 18 September

The panel tonight looks promising:

Harriet Harman - Labour deputy leader and possible candidate to replace Gordon Brown, with the added bonus of being oddly popular with the Labour party grass-roots and very unpopular with the general electorate. A Harriet Harman lead Labour party could drop below 15% in the polls. Bizarrely for the daughter of a Harley Street doctor who is also the niece of an Earl and who went to St Paul's girl school, she seems to want to return to the days of class warfare.

Alan Duncan - Conservative shadow secretary of state for business, enterprise and regulatory reform. Good on economics and strongly critical of Labour's record.

Lynne Featherstone - Liberal Democrat Spokesman for Youth and Equality Issues. An irrelevance from an increasingly irrelevant party.

Ian Hislop - The editor of Private Eye magazine and a very good satirist. He has been increasingly critical of Labour's record recently and if on form could destroy Harriet Harman.

Simon Wolfson - Chief Exec of Next, a donor to David Cameron's leadership campaign and was a board member of the "Vote No" campaign.

Do my eyes deceive me or are the right of centre in a majority tonight, presumably the audience and David Dimbleby will hep to redress the balance.

Line of the evening from Ian Hislop, something along the lines of "Gordon Brown said he'd abolish boom and bust, well he abolished boom".

And here is some video of Ian Hislop doing his stuff...

FSA to ban short-selling of financial stocks

It is being reported that the short-selling of financial stocks is to be banned in the United Kingdom from midnight tonight under new rules drawn up by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The ban will prevent investors from creating or adding to short positions in all publicly quoted financial companies. The ban will remain in force until January 16 2009 when the FSA will publish a comprehensive review of short-selling rules.

Interesting, very interesting and not good news for hedge-funds or spread betting, I wonder what Mike Smithson will make of this development.

North Korea update

I see in the Washington Post that:
"TOKYO, Sept. 16 -- North Korea has tested the engine mechanism for an intercontinental missile that might be able to hit major cities on the U.S. West Coast, according to an account published Tuesday in the South Korean press.

A previously unknown missile launch site on the west coast of North Korea was identified last week by Jane's Defense Weekly, which cited commercial satellite images. The facility has a mobile launch pad and a 10-story tower that would support the North's largest ballistic missiles, Jane's reported.

Appearing before a parliamentary committee in Seoul on Thursday, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee said the launch site is about 80 percent complete. His remarks added to the growing body of information about the site in recent media reports.

If accurate, the reports indicate that while North Korea has pursued on-again, off-again negotiations with the United States and four other countries on abandoning its nuclear weapons program, it has continued to work on developing a long-range ballistic missile and is diverting scarce resources from a collapsing economy that has brought about chronic food shortages."
So that's Iran and North Korea, who next? Meanwhile the United Nations restricts its activities to criticising Israel for being ... (well, just for being) and debating banning Islamophobia. Does "going to hell in a handcart" cover the world situation?