Friday, 16 September 2016

African corruption violates our Human Rights - Guardian

Africans are the most corrupt peoples on Earth, claim Oxfam and the African Development Bank. Anton du Plessis, writing in the Guardian, also claims the global corporates are complicit in helping cream-off revenue, up to 65% of transactions, to bent politicians and officials. Some £14bn a year disappears into corrupt offshore bank accounts. 

This results both in a surge of poor African migrants scrabbling at our door, desperate for a share of our wealth, and feeds anti-Western terrorism. Both outcomes cost us a vast amount of time and money to counter - tax that could be spent on the NHS, or reducing VAT. And because African corruption affects us all in this negative way, argues du Plessis, it violates our Human Rights. 

So next time you see an African dictator with a watermelon grin and belly fat as butter, his wives with Cartier handbags and Hermes bling bought with stolen aid and wealth, the bugger is directly violating you. And should be dragged screaming and kicking into an international tribunal, says du Plessis. 

Well, I'm a little surprised to find such sound common sense in the Grauniad, but good-oh.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Globalisation pushes back

Allister Heath in the Telegraph repeats today the pushback nonsense from the globalisation apologists. Feel free to read his specious rubbish, but here's the generic arguments in a nutshell.

1. Watch out for the old 'EU' and 'Europe' substitution trick; just as critics of the EU are told how wonderful Europe is, critics of globalisation are told how wonderful capitalism is. Yes, we know. Most of us are keen supporters of capitalism, free markets and open competition. Unfortunately, these are not the dis-virtues of oligopoly, restricted competition and closed markets that are the hallmarks of the global corporates. 

2. Next, the phenomenal wealth growth of the top 1% must be ignored, we are told, as these figures distort what's really going on. In fact, the globalisation apologists have seemingly drafted in some climate change scientists to draw oodles of new graphs to prove why we should ignore these obscene and fast growing disparities in wealth between the super rich and the rest of us. 

3. Next, they will point out that some middle class people are doing very well out of globalisation; young, urban, professional, graduate, public sector or media, political or new-tech employed have enjoyed income increases of 5% in the past few years. Although the other half of the country that doesn't benefit from globalisation has seen zero income growth, the average is 2.5%, which proves that globalisation benefits everyone. 

4. Finally, apologists will completely skate over the fact that anti-globalists are also those who value national and social cultures that have beneficially evolved over millennia, who value identity and belonging, who value control and democracy, who value governments that govern for the good of their people and not for the benefit of shareholders of the global corporates. For these are all the inconvenient characteristics that the globalists need to destroy to gain even greater wealth and power. 

(NB I am expecting comments to be split 50:50 to reflect our division of opinions on this - please feel free to be as robust in your criticism as you like..) 

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

EU starts to realise how much Brexit will cost it

An excellent piece in Der Spiegel on the costs of Brexit to the EU sets out what we already knew in terms of the UK budget contribution. The loss of a net 12.7bn€ a year will mean Germany will in future have to pay 25% of the EU's budget - with the other 26 states sharing the remaining 75% cost. With the costs of resettling a million migrants and the country's basic infrastructure now tired to the point of collapse and in desperate need of investment, this will put some strain on Europe's wealthiest nation. 

However, it gets worse. I never knew much about the EIB and the UK's stake in it. It seems we have some 40bn€ in share capital - 16%. The EIB can lend 2.5x its share capital. They're worried that if we take our 40bn€ back, the bank's loan ceiling reduces by 100bn€. Of course the UK has some outstanding loans - but we've made the least use of any EU member of the facility, and despite having 16% of the share capital have only 8% of the loans. Again, all eyes will be on Germany to make up the shortfall. 

Of course, the EU could slash its budget - taking the UK's 13bn€ contribution from the CAP would still leave 42bn€ in place, for example. But the French, who hog the lion's share of the CAP, would never agree to a 24% cut. 

With the Eurozone economy still pretty much flatlining, don't expect Mrs May to be popular in Europe, and in particular Germany, in the near future.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Dilettante ex-PM resigns to spend more time with his ego

Being a loser wasn't the legacy that Cameron wanted. He basked in his reputation for effortless success, of never doing anything as vulgar as trying but always winning. And whereas he saw his loyalty to his chums as Etonian honour, the rest of us saw it as crooked and corrupt favouritism. 

Unlike Blair, an insecure little man avaricious for wealth to prop his insecurity, for Cameron it's never been about money. He swims in a milieu of multi millionaires and takes money, privilege and exclusivity for granted. It was always power and respect and the trappings of office - the red boxes, bon-mots swapped with the Sovereign,  armoured limos, the State aircraft and the red carpets and doors always being opened for him. As he returned to Parliament an abject and almost anonymous back-bencher with his old-man's bag amongst a scrum of SPADs and secretaries and having to open his own doors and walk from the car park it was clear that this was more than he could endure. 

Cameron was always a dilettante politician, a glib persuasive PR man with qualities of leadership but with one fatal flaw - what used to be termed LMF. Lack of Moral Fibre. We're well rid of him.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Jobs for the stupid and useless

Charles Moore asks in his Telegraph opinion piece today "In Theresa May's meritocracy, what will become of the stupid and useless? I am reminded of an anecdote I heard many years ago recounting the advice the dying Frederick the Great gave to his son.

"You will find those who make up the State fall into four categories. The clever and lazy will form the top echelons of the army, the treasury, government and the judiciary. The clever and industrious will fill the ranks of the second and third tiers, and are to be valued. The stupid and lazy are also to be valued, for these will form the vast bulk of all those who serve the State. They can be managed, manipulated, directed and utilised to overall benefit.

But my son, wherever you find one who is both stupid and industrious, you must eliminate them as if they carried plague, for left in place they will cause irreparable damage and undo all the good done by the others".

Sunday, 11 September 2016

BBC Behemoth becoming accountable to its funders

Those of you in the UK torn between Poldark and Victoria must wonder why the BBC, which needs no advertising revenue, for whom ratings are irrelevant, have quite deliberately attempted to sabotage ITV's big, quality, commercial offering. Actually, I suspect you already know why. 

The debate this morning on R4's BH over the new requirement for the BBC to disclose all salary earners with a wedge of over £150k revealed with a startling honestly exactly who the BBC is working for - and the answer is itself. The sole argument made against the high earnings disclosure was that it would be 'unfair' to the BBC as ITV and Sky could offer the top earners more money and poach them. 

Bugger the BBC. The people who watch TV really couldn't give a monkey's fart which channel their fave slebs appear on - why should we protect the BBC? In fact if the BBC uses its compulsory tax funding to find and nurture talent and then to pass it on to the commercial channels is actually the best solution for everyone; the BBC doesn't waste tax money, the commercial channels are more attractive to advertisers, make more revenue, and can therefore afford to pay the talent more AND to commission more quality TV such as Victoria. Everyone's a winner - except the non-productive dags at the beeb who justify their own leech-like salaries by the amount their talent earns. The overall effect will be to reduce waste, duplication and redundancy at the BBC. 

With the new Charter now written, and to be published this week, we will see what else is in store for the bloated Behemoth. But the reason of course that the BBC is using our tax money to sabotage a commercial company is that it is scared - for so long it has trumpeted that only the BBC can make quality drama, and that this is therefore the major justification for its cost, that if ITV's ratings give this the lie, they will truly have something to worry about.