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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted -  28/04/2011  :  07:37
Political comment is a high risk activity on the site these days so I thought I'd try again to give those who are interested in politics a safe haven!


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk
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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 16/11/2011 : 10:52
Plan B anyone?

http://labourlist.org/2011/11/balls-vs-brillo-on-the-economy/

Brillo doing what he does best


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 16/11/2011 : 14:45
Mr Clegg seemed to be full of himself at deputy PMQ's today. Certainly using parliamentary priveledge to decry all the cash for amendments paid for out of Union funds for MP's on the opposition benches.

Some of the blogs are also hinting at voting irregularities for the public sector union ballots, though the investigation seems to be somewhat premlinary.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 17/11/2011 : 05:17
As predicted inflation figures were slightly lower due to technical reasons but this will be no comfort to families having to cope with the higher inflation on essentials.

Unemployment figures are dire and remember these are based on out of date figures. Minister's response was that 90,000 jobs a day are passing through Job Centres. No analysis of what these jobs do for income or upwards progress in the labour market. Concentration (quite rightly) is on Youth unemployment, over 1 million out of work, but the history of unemployment teaches us that the most important figure in the long run is long term unemployment and that is rising as well.

Mervyn King warns that what he describes as a flat-lining economy will persist until at least late 2012. This prediction is based on historic data and doesn't take into account any deterioration in European economy which is looking dodgy to say the least. I note that my warning about France yesterday was in front of the curve, evidence is emerging that the French banks' exposure to dodgy government bonds may be larger than expected. Some reliable commentators are saying that an unemployment total of over 3 million is a possibility next year.Anyone relying on the news focus could be forgiven for assuming that the Mediterranean debt crisis was over, in fact it is worse than ever, bond rates are rising daily and the politicians have no answer. Talk of treaty re-negotiation is totally useless. This would take years. The market is demanding a proper bail-out fund in the ECB but this is no nearer to reality than it was two months ago.

An interesting snippet popped out in an interview with an MP yesterday. He said that in the much vaunted 'apprentice scheme' only 10% of the jobs go to the 16 to 18 year old sector. Can this be true?

I have been saying for a while that the 20% cut in government spending on public services was wrongly targeted and nowhere near enough, all it did was slow down the rate of increase in overall government spending. If there is a 'Plan B' it should be to take the axe to to government spending overall. If necessary by legislation to attack all existing contracts. This would cause mayhem in the capital holders whose take on Plan B is to reduce tax, relax employment law to make it easier to fire staff and generally de-regulate their activities. Interesting that this a rerun of what happened twenty years ago under a Tory government accompanied by the  scale of unemployment we see today. Difference is that the government then had the benefit of North Sea Oil revenues, no such cushion now. This is why the cost of unemployment is much more serious now than it was then.

Five years ago all the talk was of the 'New Economy' and we know where that got us. What we need now is a genuine new economy that addresses the problems and not outdated right wing monetarist dogma. Interesting that Vince Cable said almost the same thing yesterday. He may be gaffe-prone but his head is working on the right lines.

One last thing. Interesting fight developing between the EU and UK over the proposed finance tax. Of course UK is fighting to defend the sector that produces 30% of national revenue. What this highlights is the broken policy of relying on a non-productive financial services sector to support the economy instead of old fashioned manufacturing industry. Germany went down the value added route and has an economy that is basically more sound than ours.  This argument will be another deal-breaker and adds to the global perception that Europe is beginning to look like a failed project. Notice that President Obama is in Australia looking towards the East, they have made their mind up about which horse to back.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 17/11/2011 : 15:37
Anyone listen to Victoria Derbyshire on 5live?

A phone in with Mr Balls summing up one caller she said:

What Lee is saying is you, Ed Balls, are toxic

Wonder if he'll be doing that again?


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 17/11/2011 : 15:40
The crystallised loss for the tax payer on Northern Rock's sale to Virgin (at least £400 million) should start sending some chills through the bones of those on the opposition benches because it is the first visual sign that the huge debts ramped up by the "financial crisis" may not have all been the banks.


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 17/11/2011 : 15:51
The UK now has the highest inflation rate of the whole EU according to some of the figures just produced, but are still at a fraction of China's.

To understand the "apprenticeship" schemes you have to go and study them. The old meaning of starting from school is no more, and why in this day and age should people not be able to retrain to gain more skills, no matter what age they are?

I have always said that the debts needed to be paid now, by whatever means that meant, because there is no fairness in passing this debt onto future generations when the people who have benefitted will continue to receive.

There is no fairness in making my children work until they are probably 70 to receive a pension (my daughter included) when their contemporaries are still allowed to retire at 60.

I also think that Vince Cable should be allowed into a sound proofed room with a whole group of SpAds, and not allowed out until there is a coherent strategy. Then not allowed to deliver anything outside that message. I often wonder if his current behaviour is simply because he has already decided to stand down at the next election.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 18/11/2011 : 05:52
Ossie says that Norther Rock ioss is 'the best deal obtainable'. Question is, why the pressure to sell? Does he have a pessimistic view of NR viablity? If a £400million loss is the best deal what does it say about the underlying state of the banking sector?


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 18/11/2011 : 10:25
More importantly what does it say about the billions poured into HBos (now Lloyds) and RBS?

By getting off the UK Finance books it should mean that Northern Rock starts paying Corporation tax again.


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 18/11/2011 : 10:32
Local Politics:

At the Town Council General Purpose meeting on Wednesday there was another strop from Cllr Whipp, and he chairs this one. Becoming quite a regular occurance.

Looks like about £7500 will be spent on an A4 booklet to be distributed to promote Barnoldwick (20,000 copies).

Very good presentation from the man from Pendle about the Core Strategy and the new roles of Town Council's with regard to Neighbourhood Development Plans that become Law in April/May next year. Suffice to say the Town Council hasn't decided whether or not to do one yet, but I'd say that time would be pressing considering the hoops they have to jump through to make it legally binding.


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Whyperion
Regular Member


122 Posts
Posted - 20/11/2011 : 23:06
What in Barnoldswick is being promoted ? ( Consumers to come shopping - at least with the tesco plans we get a 136 space car park , otherwise the current CoOp and rainhall road car parks could get busy ). New manufacturing firms to set up here - there are a couple of vacant plots around for this. Is there actually going to be a reasonable return on the £7500 expenditure?

 

Apprenticeships - What about the 19-25 age range , which is also important , particulary at the A Level completed range - or are sixth formers into work counted as 18 year olds. Also older 25+ persons can train/retain via the apprenticeship route. V Cable I think is due to announce that the next lot of re-launch of apprenticeships are going to be targeted at 16-18 age range. ( Useful as the NVQ2 that is normally packaged in the apprenticeship programmes is A level equivalence ).

 

If Northern Rock is going to Virgin dont expect any UK corporation tax to be seen from that source. I guess if £400m cash into UK coffers saves around 4% on govt debt interest , would be better )or the same as ) than say only a 2% net money in from the £800m invested otherwise by Govt in NR. ( ie its still costing NR more than it is earning from its investments and fees ) If not then I am really hard pushed to figure out that the sale to Virgin is the best present value for treasury unless government is looking to headline either that it can sell assets - at any price - or looking to headline a good reduction in government borrowings.


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 21/11/2011 : 10:22
I think the Northern Rock debate has been muddied by the "leak" from the Treasury of the deadline date to sell enforced by the treasury.

The fact that Mr Darling hasn't popped up to gainsay it probably means that it is accurate.

the sale is thus the "best" that might be achieved when you know you have to get rid of, and the terminus is in sight.

the more worrying would therefore be if the same regime is actually in place over RBS and HBOS/Lloyds.

I also note that the Treasury has retained a sizeable chunk of Northern Rock's loan book, which might yet produce a profit too.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 22/11/2011 : 06:33
I can't help being reminded of the 'Phoney War' in 1939/45, the lull before the storm. Everyone has gone very quiet as the EU problems simmer quietly away with no evidence of any meaningful remedial measures. The bald fact is that the 'Big Bazooka' that was advocated doesn't exist and is an impossibly large sum. The train wreck is still proceeding in slow motion.

Meanwhile in the US the committee set up to produce a plan for debt reduction has failed miserably. Sooner or later they are going to have to grasp the nettle of $15trillion of debt and the fact that the gap between the top 1% of welth and the rest has been increasing for over 30 years. Expect reaction from the debt rating agencies and the nuclear option of direct Presidential action.

Meanwhile. here at home, the lack of growth is biting and showing up in the borrowing figures. The Coalition is helpless, their savage public spending cuts have done exactly what I forecast, depressed consumption and growth, raised the benefit spend and hit tax reciepts. I see that a Scottish MP was calling for an injection of funds into public works to gain the benefit of the multiplier affect. I seem to remember advocating this in 2008 when the cash was thrown at the banks. There is no discernible light at the end of the tunnel. Tin hats on, this lull can't last much longer!


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 24/11/2011 : 05:05
Still watching the lightning flickering on the horizon and hearing low rumblings of thunder. One economist was discussing the failure of the German bond issue yesterday and said it was perhaps because the yield was so low, about 2%. However it raises the question of why a triple A bond was under subscribed. Spain bond rate is circa 7%. Estimates of the size of the 'Big Bazooka' relief fund needed have risen to €3trillion. No agreement on whether German central bank should be the lender of last resort. Merkel is dead against it but all the evidence is that this is the only route to some sort of stability. Meanwhile, efforts are being made to make the Eurozone members subject to central budget approval, in effect Federalism by the back door. Nothing is clear or settled.

Meanwhile, the biggest debtor of them all, the US, seems to be rooted in denial that there debt, 100% of GDP, must be addressed.

My reading is that the markets are frozen by fear that any concerted attack on debt-holders will trigger collapse of global trade and the existing system. Can't help remembering Marx saying that capitalism held within it the seeds of its own destruction. This could well be what we are looking at. 

What to do? The root cause of the present crisis is the refusal of politicians to accept responsibility for the problem. In the UK we have ya-boo politics in PMQs instead of concerted recognition that Ossie's plan is not only not working but is actually making the situation worse. What looked like sound monetarist policies six months ago is now a recipe for disaster. We need more cuts in expenditure, not directed at the easy targets of the poor but directed towards the cpital holders who, so far, have been relatively unscathed.

I never thought I would advocate means-testing, too many scars from memories of the way it was used in the Inter War years to cut the most essential benefits, but now I think we need more of it. Why should people with adequate incomes be in reciept of benefits originally intended to target the worst areas of poverty? Why should chief executives be allowed carte blanche to take obscene pay rises? Why should we be paying 'consultants' and 'advisers' to influence political decisions. Why should we be tied to cotracts that were a licence to print money? Why are we so frightened of borrowing money to stimulate the economy when interest rates have never been lower? Pol;itical dogmaand inter-party bickering must stop. This situation demands a National Government in intention if not in name. Problem is that the politcians can't admit that due to their ineptitude we are now in a situation equally dangerous to 1939. We are facing world war but not out of the barrel of a gun, it will come from the balance sheets of the markets as big capital tries to survive at the expense of the ordinary citizen.

Alarmist? Of course it is!  We need someone to hear the air raid syrens!


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 24/11/2011 : 11:04
Yet I hear from the business leaders of the SME's that business has picked up.

What is missing is the confidence of the consumer who still has a job.

They have the lowest mortgage rates on record, frozen council tax (increases were over 100% under Labour), increased personal allowances.

So those that have, from all the statistics, should have more money and can choose to spend it where they want. So why isn't this spending power creating jobs in the UK economy?


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belle
VIP Member


6502 Posts
Posted - 24/11/2011 : 15:06
Perhaps they are scared it is going to be taken off them so are hoarding it instead?
Heard on the radio news today..Angela is pushing Dave to take up the Euro and surrender his defence of the City... I know nothing of these things but it seems like the devil and the deep blue sea to me...taking up the Euro when it has failed so magnificently seems like suicide...turning our back on europe when our only major ally of longstanding ..the US ..is in a worse state doesn't seem great either..what about forming an alternative trade federation with all those countries in Europe who have not taken the Euro..?

Edited by - belle on 24/11/2011 3:08:10 PM


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