Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Look, a seventeen-year-old

Is this fellow seventeen, or younger even?

Seriously?! Because that is what he is claiming. Facial recognition software says he's 38. And David Davis MP says he needs a tooth x-ray before we let him in.

This blog says, why are we letting in "refugees" of any age? They are as safe in France as they would be in the UK, and France has already tacitly admitted them because they have lived in the "Jungle" at Calais for years. They should stay in France. Pity the poor foster parents, signed up to give a home to a 10-year-old, who will have these refugees lodged with them. And to maintain the fiction he is going to have to go to school and sit next to actual seventeen-year-olds. The teachers are not going to be amused.

And if they were really children it would actually be worse. French cities are awash with immigrant children, generally mid-teens, that the police won't touch, because if they ever did arrest one they would never be able to locate the parents and so have to find a home for him or her. So these kids roam the streets, robbing with impunity.

In taking any at all, Prime Minister Theresa May has scored a 'fail'. Maybe David Davis would have made a better leader.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Pot, kettle, black

When your husband is a serial rapist and you have spent the last 30 years covering up for him it is not a good idea to call someone out on some crude 'locker room' banter.

Just sayin'....

Monday, 3 October 2016

Deutsche Bank in numbers

Deutsche Bank, market cap $18 bn has been hit with a fine for $14 bn from US Justice Dept for its role in the 2007/8 subprime financial crisis. This poses an existential threat to the bank and its share price has dropped from around €30 a year ago to €10 now.

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel was asked if the German government would bail out the bank she mumbled something inaudible.

Her problem is twofold: first, she is already massively unpopular for letting in a million refugees, she cannot afford the extra opprobrium flinging taxpayer cash at a bank would bring, and second, she does not have that kind of money anyway. Deutsche Bank has assets equivalent to 50% of German GDP but liabilities four times the German economy! Germany simply cannot save the bank with money.

All this makes Deutsche a way bigger deal than Lehman Brothers and therefore far too big to fail. This is good news for the bank and its 100,000 employees worldwide. The other piece of good news is that the Germans have the Yanks over a financial barrel - a few years ago the Germans asked for the few hundred tons of gold they were storing in Fort Knox back and the Americans were like, "Oh crap!"

The Germans wisely downplayed the situation which now gives them leverage: expect the $14 bn fine to evaporate like morning dew - already they are saying maybe we only meant $5 bn and easy payment terms can surely be arranged, and the fine can be offset against tax and before you know it - all gone.

Then as confidence returns the market cap shoots up and the whole situation begins to look quite minor really. Disaster averted!

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Jerermy Corbyn's constituency to be abolished

There is a most mysterious drift which causes people to relocate from Labour constituencies to Tory ones. And since constituencies are all supposed to have the same number of electors in them (75,000)  this means that from time to time the boundaries have to be redrawn by the completely apolitical Boundary Commission.

But for decades governments have been delaying the inevitable. Tony Blair didn't want to do it; nor did Gordon Brown, The Lib Dems blocked the 2010-2015 coalition government from doing it. Post-2015 David Cameron was on track to do it and Theresa May has continued that policy.

But with a 20 year backlog the redrawing required to equalize the districts is now quite extreme. The smallest area is Wirral West (Lab) with 54,000 voters and largest, at nearly double that, is the Isle of Wight (Con) with 105,000 voters.

That means the people of the Wirral have double the representation of the Islanders, which is hardly democratic.

Most amusingly, the proposed changes abolish Jeremy Corbyn's constituency of Islington North (68,000 voters.) In a typically brain dead socialist fashion JC intends to argue his constituency deserves to survive because the poor people who live there have "more complex needs." Why more complex needs justify over-representation he does not say.

If he fails to save Islington North one expects he'll find it quite easy to get another berth though. He has a lot of support on the ground.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

BBC spinning hard on trade talks with Oz

BBC reporters are all over the allegation that Australian trade minister Steve Ciobo is implying that Australia will put the UK to the back of the line for a trade deal - as Obama was persuaded to say, by PM Cameron five minutes prior to his Downing Street speech. This morning BBC Radio 4 ominously intoned that the Australians were planning to put the UK behind the EU when doing a deal.

Ciobo: "We'll do a deal or I'll slit my own throat."

But listen carefully to what the Oz minister actually said without the spin and it comes out as: the UK government has told me that they won't be in a position to sign a deal for about two and half years.

So the delay is not on the Oz side, it's all on the UK side. (And the timescale is correct: invoke Article 50 Q1 or Q2 next year then there's the infamous 2 year cooling off period - so it's true what he said.)

But the Beeb love to spin it as "Brexit bad!"|

Monday, 5 September 2016

Vaz going on?

In the past this blog has had occasion to revile Nigel Vaz MP (sometimes he likes to be called "Keith", other times "Big Jim - washing machine repair man") as he fails the "Savile test" - the instinctive feeling there is something wrong with a person but other people don't seem to notice it.

And now a sordid tale of washing machines, poppers, love nests and Romanian rent boys has come to light and Nigel is considering whether he is really the right man to be Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee; with all the telling off of top police officers and senior civil servants that entails. Now the curtain has been whisked away and a hypocrite is revealed for all to see.

Jimmy says: "Pop some poppers in my frog-like face!"

Ironically the last time this blog mentioned Vaz is when he visited Luton airport to check out immigrant Romanians (only one there; rather ropy old fella; should have used Grinder) and the time before that was when his mortgage outgoings were found to be seven times higher than his salary

There are also unanswered questions about his stewardship of the funds of a Diabetes charity and exactly where the money to buy the £400K flat and pay the male prostitutes came from.

Let us hope that we have now heard the last of Nige and he retires from public life. He is just an embarrassment to parliament and the country.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Base rate down by and to 0.25%

Unbelievable but true, the BoE has just reduced the base rate. The graph now looks like this...

If you saw that in a hospital you'd say that patient is definitely dead. And that's not all, the Bank of England has announced additional measures:

  • £60bn more QE taking the total to £435bn - so about a quarter of our two trillion national debt  is funded by 'printed' money.
  • Another 'funny' £10bn will be used to buy corporate bonds to pump money into the country's biggest companies.
  • There will be a $100bn funding scheme for banks which is conditional on them passing the base rate cut through to customers - ie, banks get bribed. This is like the old Funding for Lending Scheme only with extra conditions. The FLS is the main reason savers get such a bad deal - the banks don't need their money, the BoE is printing money and giving it to the commercial banks. (Alright, lending it, strictly speaking.)

The whole plan seems to be to pump up indebtedness even further. The plan relies on the premise that people will take on as much debt as they can afford so debt needs to be made more affordable to keep the economy moving.

The plan is of course massively inflationary, but the inflation will mainly occur in asset prices (stocks, bonds, houses) which are not counted in the indexes so the BoE will be able to claim low inflation has been maintained.

And this is only the second last cut. Mark Carney, guv'nor of the BoE reckons he can squeeze out another cut down to just above zero before he is done.

Which does raise the question: can they go negative? The answer is: probably not. In theory it is doable, there are countries with negative rates, but you also have to consider what the public will wear. Applying negative interest to bank deposits could trigger a bank run as people decide just to keep their cash at home. After Northern Rock no one in government has any appetite for that.

Read the inane words of Mark Carney here.