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.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

France at war

Well, that didn't take long. Earlier today two or three muslims entered a Catholic church in Normandy and butchered an 84-year-old priest in a Halal-compliant manner (basically, throat cut while chanting Allahu akbar.) 

The French president visited the area and said quite explicitly - France is at war. So that's official then.

How they will pursue the war is not obvious. They do have their aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaule in the Gulf attacking ISIS strongholds in Syria and Iraq, but how do they conduct the war on French soil?

During WW2 'aliens' were interned, for example the USA rounded up all Japanese people in the States, including those with US nationality, and kept them in camps for the duration of the war. Individually they may have done nothing wrong, but collectively they could not be trusted. And to be fair, America experienced almost no attacks from Japanese in the continental United States. The policy worked.

Does France have the will to intern its muslim population? They already live in distinct areas called banlieux, roughly "suburbs". At the moment inhabitants are given free rein to travel in the rest of France - that would have to change. Most likely President Hollande does not have what it takes to make that happen. But there are elections next year and a certain Madame Le Pen would have - and the more these attacks keep happening the closer she gets to the Elysee Palace.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Now bordering on open warfare

Islamic terrorism is coming thick and fast, and mainly in Germany, which is not surprising since Merkel invited in a million "refugees". 

In recent weeks we have had:

At some point we are going to have to acknowledge that this is now an open war. We have known the war was coming for years (see posts on this blog going back to 2008) but now it seems to have come.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Boris Johnson is Foreign Secretary

How amazing is that? Just to recap, that Gove cove who was running Boris's campaign for the leadership of the Conservatives quits and says he is running himself and Boris, instead of batting Gove off like the no-hope political mosquito he is and soldiering on, comes back with: Oh no, I'm out, I'll support Theresa May instead.

Next thing you know Boris, who has never held any sort of government job before, however menial, is Foreign Secretary. Spooky, almost like there was some sort of a deal.

His appointment is actually inspired though. He gets the plushest office in Whitehall; his life will be constant first class travelling, wining and dining and glad-handing foreign Johnnies. The job calls for no talent whatsoever so he will struggle to mess it up. 

And best of all, he will probably not be allowed to keep his weekly column in the Daily Telegraph so Theresa May has just handed him a £250,000pa pay cut.

Boris: Woe is me, I'm so poor!

There is just one little downside: the buffoon is now in charge of both MI6 and GCHQ!