Monday, 27 February 2017

Golf Go Round





As the President Trump anguish goes on the latest agony is the news that Rory McIlroy, one of the world's leading golfers played a round of golf with him. Worse was that he suggested that The President was really quite useful for a man of his age who could spare little time for sharpening up his game on the course.

Lost in the fog of noise is the fact that The President is a business man who has had a major interest in building resorts, golf courses and such like. This is not at the cheap end of the market and can be a high risk investment. He needs to talk to people who know their business.

For Rory the years are passing and he has to look over his shoulder at the pack of fine golfers on the way up. There will come a time when something else has to pay the bills. He has done well in the USA and the rest of the world.

Recently, however, he had a go at US golf fans who barracked the UK team at the last Ryder Cup. Perhaps The President is virtue signalling that bad mouthing by spectators is to be deplored.

Golf is not just a game it is very big world business involving very many of the world's leading sponsors as well as governments to keep the show on the road or rather keep the golfers with money to spare, preferably a lot of money, coming to pay for all the investments.

So for Rory it makes sense to go into the golf business to make best use of his investments and talents. Also having been involved in investing in Northern Ireland and in supporting charities there are commitments that he wants to honour.

The President's mother was a Macleod Scot from the Western Isles; just across the water is the Ulster of Rory's family. So a couple of men of close geographic ancestry having a game of golf is by no means unusual. Especially if they have business interests in common.

But they may have things to worry about in common. Today, February 27, Martin D. Weiss says in an article in "Money And Markets" below:

Quote:

Lessons for President Trump and Investors

Lesson #1. Thanks to the Fed’s continuing efforts to slow things down, the initial period of rising interest rates may not pose an immediate threat to stocks or the economy. Consumers can continue to spend. GDP can continue to expand. And stock investors can make a lot of money.

Lesson #2. Looking ahead, however, there’s one sobering fact of life that must never be forgotten: The longer the Fed suppresses interest rates below normal levels, the greater the ultimate interest-rate explosion.

Lesson #3. The Fed’s efforts to hold down interest rates since 2008 — with the largest money printing binge in U.S. history — makes the Fed’s “easy money” of 1970s seem ultra-conservative by comparison.

Lesson #4. Likewise, the bond market bubble that the Fed created in the 1970s was minuscule in comparison to the speculative bubble in bonds today. The full consequences may not be known until it’s too late to turn back the clock.

Good luck and God bless!

Martin

Unquote.

Perhaps The President might have a word with Martin, over a shove halfpenny board?

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Speak And Ye Shall Be Heard





Long ago in a distant age, even before satellite TV, we had a few pleasant days in Wales at a very decent place. In the dining room and bar the Welsh voices speaking in Welsh and when in English with a soft lilt to the sound which was quiet and often unheard against the background sounds.

It was at The Mumbles down by Swansea. We are reminded of this by the many complaints about the sound on TV and the increasing difficulty in a range of programmes, but mostly drama etc. of hearing the voices or grasping what they are talking about.

These days, the sound engineers rate below screen directors and have to do as they are told. As the directors prefer for artistic reasons "natural sound" whatever that is, as well as the sound of voices all sorts of other things are on the sound track.The result is endless clatter, crash bang wallop, bump and grind, you name it the director will be running that not just behind but on top of the speech.

As for the voice, the cadences rise up and down, the frequencies vary wildly and all too often the acoustics are dreadful. Actors mutter and splutter, talk with their back to you and out of the side of their mouths.

Our response to this in recent years is after a few minutes of an item, it is not just drama, too many documentaries and other programmes suffer from it, we give up. Often we do not start because if the trailers tell us the sound is bad, then why bother.

The result is that we have gone back to the old days before multi-channel TV, when very often the two or three choices had nothing much to offer except the usual drivel. That was to listen to music that we liked on radio or discs.

These days, however, there is some TV that can act as a kind of wallpaper on screen as we enjoy our sound. Sport can be watched without the burden of the inane commentaries. Golf and winter sports are often scenic and restful. Even cycling, again without the commentary.

Last but not least out there is a treasure trove of old films and items now cheap to source. Many you have seen before but are still watchable. Some are ones you missed and now have the chance of catching up on. Some are ones you did not bother with at the time but now might find them interesting or worth a look.

However, with the modern drama etc. there is something else. You know there is going to be the compulsory sex and violence and these often allow the time to make a cup of tea or pour a drink or have a toilet break. The snag is that a lot of it can mean a lot of drink which in turn means a lot of toilet breaks.

So you "box" it to watch at a later date and with the remote control to hand you can zap through the bits you do not want and pause to take a break. It can mean advert' free TV and also whipping through something in half the time.

If this is the way TV goes then the conventional ideas of what an audience is will change radically. Add to this what is possible from the net and we are in a new world.

But almost all of it is essentially commercial. That means advert's and without effective advertising then the money stream dries up.

Something must happen soon but what? I hope they can tell us clearly and without mumbling.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Looking Back A Little





This is a retrospective from 23 January 2013, looking forward to 2017 titled "Europe The Great Begins And Snowballs In Hell". You win a few and you lose a few.

Quote:

There are times when certain people might be taken aside by some wise person familiar with the ways of the wider world and have things said quietly to them.  Preferably, the person concerned will have a command of language and ability to reduce things to brutal simplicities so there can be no misunderstanding.

David Cameron, increasingly our Boy of Tears (see Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus”) ought to be told to lay off the history and concentrate on the future.  One good reason is that so much of history is fiercely debated and open to differing interpretations.  Another is that he invariably gets it badly wrong.

Cranmer in his blog talks of the speech yesterday on Europe as nailing 95 theses to the doors of Brussels when it might be more like leaving what is left of a bakers dozen of humbugs behind the settee.  The worst insult to think of is that it is the sort of speech I might have drafted to get a politician into deep trouble.

By 2017 we may not have Cameron as a Prime Minister but at say HSBC, Clegg might have become a senior figure at Goldman Sachs, unless Tony Blair finds him a place at JP Morgan, but then Ed Miliband might have a word with Barclays on his behalf.

But by then Ed Balls and Harriet Harman may have fixed it for David Miliband to be Prime Minister.  Also, there might not be a United Kingdom in which to hold a referendum but other entities in a monster muddle with whoever then will be in charge of Europe, a Graeco-Hispanic alliance perhaps?

Another is Prince Harry, officer in The Royals of the Household Cavalry.  Someone might explain to him how the media works and the wonders that crafty editing can achieve in putting together features.  Any camera following anyone for a few days can finish up with the choice of hero or villain, savant or idiot.

In the last couple of weeks, the elegant and intelligent Lucy Worsley has been telling us about the period of The Regency, 1811 to 1820 when King George III was finally allowed to have a quiet life because of his illness, but his eldest son, another bad advertisement for male succession, became Regent to fulfill the role of monarch.

Her coverage of Europe was very limited but to her credit did spell out the dire effects of the 1815 Mount Tambora eruption across the world and Europe.  In the last episode it dealt with the political instability and problems of the period that ensued after this and the wars.

This was one where Britain did have a part in dealing with Europe with less than happy results.  Restoring the monarchy in France turned out badly, Spain went into major decline, Russia into manic autocracy and Austria thought the Holy Roman Empire had been restored.  So there was nothing but trouble afterwards.

In the UK the revolting masses wanted substantial change challenging the control and ideologies of the ruling elite.  A key demand was manhood suffrage, one man (not women alas) one vote and equal representation.  Another was annual Parliaments to make sure the rulers were held to continuing account.

Also fair taxation, freedom of speech and information and a number of other things were on the agenda.  They were reviled as liberals and democrats, terms of insult then.  This might be why our present Liberal Democrats are against the notion of equal representation, want an elite of a long serving House of Lords, do not want freedom of speech and have given up any idea of fair taxation.

Where was Cameron’s speech made?  It was not the House of Commons; that once might be the obvious place.  Nor was it somewhere like the Manchester Free Trade Hall, Liverpool St. Georges Hall or Glasgow or even Deacon Brodie’s in Edinburgh.

Nor was it at a Conservative Party moot at the Blackpool Winter Gardens or Scarborough Spa or even Westminster Central Hall.

It was at Bloomberg, the media financial outfit who broadcast to satellite, 502 on Sky.  This really says it all about his vision of government and Europe.

He was very lucky to avoid having a mid speech break of several minutes for advertisements for gambling firms, washing powders and male perfumes.

Unquote.

So; did I get Cameron right?

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Spare A Copper




The appointment of Ms. Cressida Dick as head of the Metropolitan Police, aka the London Fuzz, is heralded in the media as a new era. This is on the grounds that she is female and all will change etc.. However, our neo-Liberal feminists seem to be a little quiet on the subject.

Possibly, that is because they can hear the ghosts of the past who during demonstrations, protest rallies and the rest were given to nipping down to Trafalgar Square and along Whitehall and would wail a song to the effect that police officers were born to parents who shunned marital status.

In fact Ms. Dick is far from new and heir to a long tradition in the Met'. Not only is it based at Scotland Yard but I can recall a time before she was born when a high proportion of London police officers were from North of the Border. A common crowd cry sixty years ago was to tell them to go back to Glasgow.

The reason for my interest in this matter which may seem of little importance is because above the desk is a picture of my grandfather and grandmother on their wedding day. She is of the same height, build and features as Cressida and the same surname.

Her father came down from The North in the same period as did Cressida's great grandfather. Mine was a stoker in the boiler rooms of ocean going ships; hers was a bank clerk in London. Which may explain some of the difference in our later family fortunes.

Cressida has her critics who might well suggest she goes back to Glasgow, given her family links to Bothwell in Lanarkshire in the mid 19th Century. If the name is familiar it was James, Earl of Bothwell in the 16th Century who got too close to Mary, Queen of Scots, and lost his head.

But just as mine came down from Greenock but were of origin in Ayr it is quite possible that hers is another branch of the large extended family of that surname based in and around Ayrshire. They were of standing in the Burgh of Ayr by reason of their senior positions in the Incorporations (guilds), notably among the Weavers and The Fleshers.

As this blog has mentioned before Robert Burns must have known who they were and what they were. I suspect he did not like them much. Also, I suspect they may not have liked him. This is ancient history and alien to the 21st Century but I wonder if Cressida is tempted to revive the Met's Burn's Night festivities. One of her family names is Wallace.

This is the song which might be sung along with the pipes when she is installed as Commissioner; Scots Wha Hae, if only as a tribute to all the sons and daughters of Scotland who served the Met' in the past.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Pie Squared





Forget Brexit, forget Trump, please please forget Bercow, Blair and others, let us pay attention to the important matters, those which most of us can understand and identify with. Football, of course.

Chewing over the implications of the TV coverage of the Sutton United v Arsenal FA Cup replay last night, there is to be a full investigation of the how's and why's of the United's reserve goalkeeper's decision to eat a pie while sitting on the bench.

Those of you who are mad enough to watch sport on TV will be aware from all the advert's, between parts of the games and around all the stadium, never mind the logo's on shirts, shorts, vests etc. that betting and gambling are integral to what is going on.

It is alleged that the urge to eat by the player wasn't because he was getting peckish as the night wore on but that odds were being offered as to whether he might tuck into something during the match and when. Well, I suppose it was better than the football.

He is, let us say, on the large size. Had he begun to choke on a bit of gristle I am glad I would not have to give him mouth to mouth resuscitation. But if someone did, I wonder what odds might have been offered for success or failure.

I might have had a bet on that one.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Voting And Boating





There is the by-election for Stoke Central on Thursday which is of current interest for all the wrong reasons. A few days ago BBC4 repeated the programme Love And Betrayal in India. The White Mughals about a Scotsman of the East India Company, James Kirkpatrick, becoming more Indian than Scots and Muslim in faith.

How might these connect is obscure. One reason is that contemporary with Kirkpatrick were men from the local Sneyd land owning family in Stoke and area, who were active in the Company military and connected at the highest levels to the Governors General in Calcutta.

More to the point was that they were involved with the Royal Asiatic Society and those with a real and close interest in the literature, languages and cultures of the sub Continent.

On Thursday in Stoke one major issue is which way the Muslim vote there might swing. There is a report that they are advised to vote Labour or face discipline from within their faith.

That Stoke, so long a stronghold for Labour, may now have to rely on that vote as opposed to what is left of the old working class, who are now voting for others is striking. It has lessons for the rest of the UK including Scotland, which is said to have a population of 5.3 million.

The SNP, hoping to have a win in the next referendum, at present has open doors policy. With an estimated 350 million people in the sub Continent being Muslim, if zero point two per cent of those see the social and welfare policies of Scotland being advantageous and move in whatever Scotland will be it will no longer be Scots, many of whom will have moved on.

If in England, the Labour party is shifting to a reliance on the Muslim vote in urban areas, this will reinforce those at present in favour of a UK open doors policy. But there are other faiths. So who might come? In India there are a billion and more. If many of them were to move will they join the Muslim vote, or would they vote for anything but Muslim?

We should add those from other continents, Africa, China, the Middle East where friendly bombing creates more friends to come, the Far East and other places.

If Australia gets much hotter and our cousins return where we will we fit them in?
  

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Wedding Daze





The institution of marriage is on the decline as recent generations make other arrangements they regard as more suited to their lifestyle. But we should not think it was all easy long ago.

The Find My Past website has picked out from Press Reports some choice specimens where things went wrong from day one.

Banns Blunder from the Hartlepool Daily Mail, 2 June 1936



 Bumbling Best Man from the Nottingham Evening Post, 28 May 1933


Extreme Safe Keeping from the Nottingham Evening Post 20 July 1904


 The Old Ball And Chain from the South Wales Daily News 8 July1895


 In It For The Long Stretch from the Western Daily Express 16 April 1930


 The Show Must Go On from the Merthyr Telegraph 21 February 1879


There must have been more, many more. The picture at the top is "Call To Arms" by Leighton.