Friday, 28 November 2014

Kicking Balls

At the time of the London Olympics there were some who  claimed that the figures did not add up.  Also that the promised legacy may have serious costs to be added to the claimed figure.

Ross Clark in the Spectator spells out the gruesome reality of what is going on at the Olympic Stadium.  He asserts that West Ham United is getting at least a £175 million subsidy to use it as a home ground.

If it is lucky this amounts to 25 to 30 home games a year each of 90 minutes with a small amount of added time and on rare occasions extra time and penalty shoot outs.

What is deeply worrying is that this kind of financial thinking is not simply a minor set of errors it is endemic almost across the board in public finances.

To the cost of all of us.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Follow Anything But The Money

In the economic turmoil of the last few years, this blog, along with others, has suggested that those economists involved may not have been quite right, indeed a good many may have been quite wrong.

This article on economic modelling appears to agree with this, if I understand the complex wording correctly.  It is not long but intriguing.  The conclusions are:


Our methodology points out the lack of proper modelling of financial and labour markets in the representative macroeconomic model during the financial crisis, which may help shed light on Ng and Wright’s (2013) results, and suggests that additional work to include more labour and asset market frictions in the models would be especially useful.

Our empirical findings confirm the conventional wisdom that appears in much of the existing literature, indicating that model mis-specification cannot be ignored in policy analyses.

Furthermore, our techniques might prove to be useful more generally to guide researchers in improving their models.


To put it crudely, essentially our financial systems seem to have been based on thinking which claims that the best way to win the lottery is to put in the winning numbers from last week.

In the meantime the blog Financial Crimes on Tuesday 25 November suggests that the National Lottery and Euromillions these days could be a superior way of investing.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

From Here To Eternity

Further to my previous post on Mrs. Thatcher, born Roberts.  A comment suggests that her present role is incorrect and that her spirit is contracted to another.  It is possible that many people today are unaware of the changes to Eternity Resources that have occurred recently, albeit with little or no mention.

Essentially, a reverse takeover has occurred and now Eternity is one operation designed to cut costs and increase efficiency in soul handling and management. Funded by a group of Private Equity firms and Limited Liability Partnerships backed by HSBC, Goldman Sachs and others Heaven is now only a brand name for certain specialist marketing functions.

In fact soul security equities are handled by Deutsche Bank and its trusts using them as a basis for Collateral Deposit Obligations and derivative activity across the trading markets in the ether.  Satan And Familiars Inc of the Cayman Islands are now the controlling financial base for all local universe Eternity activity.

The Devil is now both Devil and God, and the former God is tasked with increasing market penetration in Alternative Universes in partnership with Virgin Space.  This is a challenging project which is breaking new ground and takes all his time.

I hope this makes it clear.  The implication for Earth souls is that we are all going to hell, subject to terms and conditions.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Tribune Of The Plebians

Margaret Hilda Roberts, otherwise Thatcher, now drafted in to help manage the Great Organising Deity's diary; it is very busy these days, must be having a quiet chuckle.  Her boss has decided that enough is enough for the Scottish Labour Party and it is now as dust.

If any group made it their business to demonise her, it was them.  During the 1980's and beyond they dominated affairs in Scotland and oblivious to the challenges and rapidity of economic and other change attempted to create a New East Germany on Scots soil.

It is undeniable that she was a first.  The first woman to be Prime Minister, the first research scientist to do so and there is something else.  The "posh" voice and appearance are deceptive.  Apart from Ramsay Macdonald she is arguably the most Plebian of our Prime Ministers in origins, although it is a close call with Jim Callaghan.

What is surprising is how English she was.  As you step back from generation to generation and the numbers in each increase you expect to see variations occurring in terms of origins, religion and class.  Sometimes more, sometimes less, also, there was mobility in many ways that gave rise to some variations that could be astonishing.

Having looked at her paternal side to discover generations engaged in the East Midland Shoe Trade with others, I managed to track back her maternal side with the advanced systems.  There appeared the Holy Grail of ancestry.  A great grandfather listed as Ag. Lab., or Agricultural Labourer in the first half of the 19th Century deep in rural Lincolnshire.

But it is from this line that the "posh" might come along with the ferocious attention to detail that so upset both colleagues and civil servants.  It is fashionable to suggest this is the product of something going on the head that differs from ordinary mortals, but it may come from upbringing.

Because the Ag. Lab. put his children through elementary school before compulsory attendance, a son, grandfather to MHR, was good enough to be taken on as a regular railway employee, a desirable occupation at the time for many reasons, not least the chance of advancement by performance.

From my own experience of the old railways and working with men who joined as boys before the First World War, I have a good idea of what this entailed in the late 19th Century.  Things had to be right and you were accountable.

Also, you had to be clean and smart, polite and careful. You had to be able to deal with the travelling public, be clear in speech and know what you were doing.  The interesting thing about MHR's maternal grandfather is just who he was dealing with on a regular basis.

Burgh le Marsh Station is a relic now of a once busy Lincolnshire railway line.  But it was a short distance from Gunby Hall, now National Trust, home of one of the leading families of the day.  So through that station would be Society and others of importance coming and going, and their servants, horses and valuable luggage.

This is where grandfather started and then he moved down to Grantham.  Although essentially, a modest market town with some small industrial activity and a busy Main East Coast Line junction, when it came to the Railway Station's customers then it was in the big time.

There were the Brownlow's of Belton House, at Court and moving at the highest levels of society and the Manners family, Duke's of Rutland from Belvoir Castle.  For the fox hunting world Grantham was slap in the middle of the Belvoir country, prime territory and the Meet was sometimes in the town centre.

During the season there would be almost a procession of the good and the great going through the station and MHR's grandfather would be on the platforms, smart as paint, polite and efficient to deal with them and all their kit.

So this is the way her Mum was brought up and never forgot, and this is the way Margaret was trained not just by her mother but perhaps her grandmother who died in 1934, grandfather having died in 1917, aged 66 and still at work.

It wasn't only the needs and business of her father's shop work that was instilled into her, it was something else as well.

It might be the reason why she could always look people in the eye and politely and succinctly tell them where to go.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation

One of the joys of the internet it that it has become far easier to make connections that would not have been possible in the past or only by great effort or long research.

There are two items in the last couple of days which offer some interesting possibilities,  One is the cost of restoration at the Palace of Westminster and the other what to be done about certain of our incoming migrants who are less welcome than others.

The Mother of Parliaments is going to seed and will need not just cosmetic work but full scale surgery in detail.  It is priced at £3 billion, not including all those tasty secret expenses that its present occupiers will demand for their minor inconveniences if the work is done.  The 1941 picture above shows that much of it recent in any case.

In our modern, wired up and joined up age, do these people need to be in the middle of London at all?  Could a move hugely cut costs, provide more space and better facilities and go to a place where clear economic benefits will arise from a large injection of public funded activity offering a range of high paid and varied jobs?

Here is a good property which offers all the potential.  It ticks a number of boxes.  It is in the North and in a former mining district. The land is much cheaper, local property prices could do with a boost, etc. etc.  Also the buildings could be kept down to the large basic open plan sheds for much of the work with designated other areas for specific functions.

Think of it as a collection of cut price supermarkets cum trading floors with ancillary administrative and communal areas, plus basic motel style provision for overnight and short stays.  It would all do the job and be far more efficient than the existing set up.

It would set a striking example of UK consideration for its tax payers in contrast to the many and various over blown arrogant buildings recently put up elsewhere.  Also, it would end the British identity of the past of Empire and conquest seen in all the old films with their shots of Westminster as it was.

The site could be levelled and to put uses for a modern age that would reflect our new and global status and our rulers intention to be the servants of others rather than demanding service for ourselves.

The art work and statuary could either be sold off or put out to museums.  The archives could be shredded to remove the taints of our past, or sold off.  The stone would make good hard core for social housing.  After all, some of the present users of the building are familiar with hard core.

Among the many and various migration issues that now loom large in our politics there are radically diverse views about what should or should not be done.  At one end of the debate there are those who assert that all should be welcome and we must learn to enjoy the many and various contributions they might make.

Putting out the welcome mat is the theme of this article from the LSE website.  Anca Puska is saying we should give a cautious welcome to all the Roma peoples and argues that the UK is likely to fare much better by working with local support groups to ensure migrants are aware of their rights and opportunities.

The Chairman of the LSE Board is Peter Sutherland, who believes in open door migration, and Cherie Blair is a governor, again a believer in unrestricted movement, if only to boost the rentals of all the family properties.

If Labour win in 2015, it is unlikely that they will do much to restrict incoming peoples and may well see the Roma as becoming the standard bearers of our new proletariat.  The site in the middle of Westminster would be ideal as a welcome facility as many of the social and other services will be available.

There is a large park nearby, St. James, that could be earmarked for use as well as spaces for vehicles, the Square, Horseguards, Trafalgar Square etc.  Other large Crown or public properties in the vicinity also could be requisitioned.

And the Abbey could be stripped out of its old stuff and used for stabling.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Bashing More Than Metal

In the disputes about climate change it is often claimed that past social and economic collapses can be attributed to this.

As the science involved in much of the research is complex and continually evolving, fresh examinations can lead to revisions of both history and perspective.

One relatively recent population shock is the ending of the Bronze Age when the world turned and climate change in the same period appeared to be the major reason.

New recent studies at the University of Bradford, hat tip to Archaeologica, have led to a different view. It wasn't the weather, it was us, or rather our ancestors, that were the problem.


"According to Professor Armit, social and economic stress is more likely to be the cause of the sudden and widespread fall in numbers. Communities producing bronze needed to trade over very large distances to obtain copper and tin.

Control of these networks enabled the growth of complex, hierarchical societies dominated by a warrior elite. As iron production took over, these networks collapsed, leading to widespread conflict and social collapse.

It may be these unstable social conditions, rather than climate change, that led to the population collapse at the end of the Bronze Age."


There is something strangely familiar about all this.

Friday, 21 November 2014

White Vans Rule The Road

It is time to admit to a deep prejudice which causes me to make discriminatory and sometimes offensive remarks about my fellow men, mostly, few women are in this category.

It is people who drive white vans and cause me problems or worries.  The most common is those who drive a foot or two behind my back bumper and who flash lights and blast their horns.

My reason for obeying the road signs is not simply because my usual passenger offers directive advice on the subject but what happens if I get speeding tickets in terms of points on licence with the effect then on insurance charges or at worst loss of the use of my license.

There are other inconveniences they cause.  One is shooting the red at traffic lights, especially at junctions without clear vision of the other roads.

Another is  fast inside overtaking in complex traffic systems.  Yet another is parking on a narrow road in such a way as to cause long tailbacks or creating dangerous situations.

The most likely to incite a reaction is cutting up in busy traffic or weaving about the road when communicating on phones or checking satellite directions.

Yes, I know I should be tolerant and accept that these are the folkways and mores of a population group who are on our roads to promote economic growth and provide the services needed by our communities.

So when Emily Thornberry, busted from being Shadow Attorney General for Tweeting allegedly snobbish comments about this group, takes flak, there is a sneaking sympathy in spite of her being a senior figure in the Labour Party.  If she has been carved up a few times on the road I can understand her taking a shot.

What we seem to forget is that a good many white van drivers these days are in fact self employed and as such are under different forms of incentive and working conditions to many ordinary workers in distribution in the past.

The flying of the flags of the Cross of St. George at the driver's house pictured by Ms. Thornberry may be that he is a football supporter.  Perhaps she should do penance by turning up at Wembley now and again.

Now that really would teach her a lesson.