Friday, 28 October 2011

I Agree with #OccupyLSX

Astonishingly, I find myself in agreement with a two-bit, half-arsed, pre-dominantly socialist, hard-left, minority protest group, currently residing in tents outside St. Paul's Cathedral, complaining about capitalism, playing bongo drums and no doubt exploring their 'inner selves'.

The aforementioned bongo-playing #OccupyLSX movement are mostly pre-occupied with protesting against the spending cuts (even though they're necessary, and they're not really cuts, given that public spending has actually risen under the Coalition), ranting about how evil capitalism is (whilst drinking Starbucks coffee and tweeting from their iPads - irony klaxons sounding loudly at this point) and preaching that socialism is the panacea solution to all our woes (although every example of large-scale socialism has failed utterly and actually made things worse, e.g. Soviet Russia, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam - need I go on?).

OK, I don't agree with them on that bollocks. But in the demands that Guido has published, I do agree with them - they are demanding the disestablishment of the City of London Corporation.

Coat of Arms of the City of London Corporation

The Corporation is a political body. It has more devolved power than the Scottish Parliament. It has its own police force and its own permanent lobbyist in the House of Commons. It's officials are elected by the residents and representatives of the companies working in the City of London. Not exactly what I would describe as democratic.

They are calling for its disestablishment and reform. Can't say I disagree with them on that one. They have a point.

The Corporation can keep its police force. But it should submit itself to the exclusive authority of the residents of the City, not the companies that work there. It should have no lobbyists in Parliament - political representation should be undertaken by voters.

So, Murphy's Law has it again - every now and again, even a bunch of pot-smoking numpties will occasionally come across a glimmer of sense. Much like monkeys eventually bashing out the complete works of Shakespeare. Doesn't stop them being numpties, though. Just correct - on this point only.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Engagement with Politics

I have heard many complaints from many different people about the nature of politics, mainly there is virtually no difference between the main political parties in terms of policy. The Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the Greens, all of them tend to a view of authoritarian social democracy.

And they're right. There isn't that much difference. Oh, sure, the Tories are cutting £1billion a year more than Labour would've, but it's less than 1% of the deficit. A tiny difference. The Liberal Democrats secured the abolition of ID cards, but the anti-terror laws still remain. You can still be convicted without a jury.

The only thing that has changed if the colour of tie that the social democrats are wearing. Labour tribalists now bay and hoot measures which are alarmingly close to ones passed by the previous Government, but they were waived through without so much as a whimper. The Coalition still trumpet 'public spending and investment' which they derided as waste while in opposition.

Our democracy is truly in a sorry state.

However, the people that complain do just that. Complain. And I have to admit, I'm guilty of it too. This blog mainly consists of rants against things I disagree with. Why don't we stop complaining, and actually get up off our arses, and do something about it?

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Cold Callers

Transcript of a telephone conversation I just had:


Me: Hello...? (pregnant pause) Hello... HELLO?

Phone (broad foreign accent): Ah, good evening sir (FYI, it's now 10.00 in the morning), how are you today?

Me: Bloody marvellous. What do you want?

Phone: Excellent, excellent. My name is Ahmed and I am phoning on behalf of [some fucking market research company] to conduct a survey to assess consumer habits in your...

Me: (interrupting) I'm not really interested, thanks.

Phone: Oh, but sir, this will only take a few minutes of...

Me: (interrupting) Didn't you hear me? I said I'm not interested.

Phone: It will only take a few minutes...

Me: No, I'm really sorry, but I couldn't give a BLOODY FUCK about your GOD DAMNED CUNTING SURVEY. You've phoned me up OUT OF THE CUNTING BLUE on a fucking SATURDAY MORNING, I can barely understand a word you're saying and the fucking phone connection to BLOODY BANGLADESH or wherever the FUCK YOU ARE is so utterly PISS-POOR THAT MY OWN VOICE IS ECHOING BACK AT ME. I AM ACTUALLY BOLLOCKING MYSELF AT THIS POINT.

I fucking HATE cold calling, you got that? I fucking HATE the way that you phone up, just expecting that I can just DROP EVERYTHING to dedicate my time to GIVING YOU DUMB-FUCK ANSWERS to COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT QUESTIONS, or spending my HARD-EARNED CASH on SHIT I DON'T NEED, or even worse, assuming that I'm so fucking stupid that I will happily send my BANK DETAILS to some FUCKING ROBBING TERRORIST IN NIGERIA.

So I'm not going to answer your questions, and then MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, when people like you have had enough ABUSE, you'll realise that FUCKING PEOPLE OFF BY PESTERING THEM SENSELESS is not a VALID MARKETING STRATEGY.

Phone: But this survey will only take a few minutes...

Me: (interrupting) FUCK OFF.


Fuck the fuck off out of my fucking face.
 Ah, I feel better now. Coffee.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Why QE is Bad

So, the Bank of England has announced that it intends to print £75billion and spend it on an assortment of gilts and corporate bonds (IOUs from the Government and companies) to get the economy moving again.

I will explain why this is an absolutely contemptible idea.

The amount of money in the economy is not fixed. It goes up and down every day, with currency exchanges. Sterling can be bought and sold. The more people buy it, the more £s there are, and as such, they are worth less. The less people buy it, the less £s there are, and as such, they are worth more.

Quantitative Easing means that the Bank of England, instead of allowing the normal rules of supply and demand to govern the worth of our currency, will artificially create more of it, therefore making all of the existing currency worth less. This is inflation - the purchasing power of your money decreases.

Inflation is bad. You see, inflation erodes the value of hard currency - and the vast majority of people in this country hold most of their assets in that currency. Their pension funds are denominated in £. Their investments are. Their properties can only be exchanged for £. Their bank accounts hold £.

Tax is a method of transferring wealth from the people to the State. Inflation is far more insidious - it doesn't transfer wealth itself, but it transfers its value. Your wealth remains the same, but what you can actually buy with it doesn't.

The Bank of England. Raiding your assets since 2009.

Of course, you can hedge against inflation. You can invest in a variety of different assets and currencies, or purchase warrants and derivatives. But you need disposable capital to do that. In other words, you need to be rich.

Inflation: the State fucking the little guy over. Again, and again, and again.

What's the alternative? Uh, how about cutting tax? How about really getting public spending under control, instead of allowing it to actually increase in cash terms?

Thursday, 6 October 2011

What Cameron Should Have Said

This week, in Manchester, this party has shown the discipline, the unity, and the purpose that is the mark of a party of government. I’m proud of my team, I’m proud of our members, I’m proud to lead this party – but most of all, I’m proud of you.

Look at all we have achieved in office so far: civil liberties are being restored. A million people are being taken out of the tax system altogether. NHS spending is increasing. Educational reforms will equip a new generation with the skills needed for a new economy. Market confidence in the UK is restored. We have helped to depose the tyrant Gaddafi in Libya, in conjunction with our international allies. Our troops in Afghanistan now have the equipment they need to get the job done.

But, of course, there is still a long way to go. In the face of economic uncertainty, we are still perilously close to the edge. The situation in the Eurozone still affects us, and we are at risk of being dragged back into recession. Our own society still shows signs of rotten decay, illustrated by the summer riots. Our economy, struggling with the effects of our necessary spending cuts, and strangled by regulation, has yet to produce the strong growth we need. Everywhere, normal people up and down this country are feeling the pinch: in the rising cost of energy, fuel, food, tuition fees, mortgages. As a Government, we need to do more to help, and we need to show that we are listening.

But the fact is that this Government has its hands tied, by treaties and regulations and directives and diktats handed down to us from our real masters - I am talking about the European Union. The European Union, which would see us take liability for debts that aren't ours. The European Union, which dictates to us that we must give prisoners the vote. The European Union, which stops us from cutting taxes to stimulate growth. The European Union, which insists on regulations which hamper our economic recovery. The European Union, which demands we hand billions of pounds over to Brussels each year, which could be spent on paying down our debts.

That is why I am now announcing Britain's immediate withdrawal from the EU. We are no longer prepared to fund the failed European project. We are no longer prepared to prop up socialist states who refuse to pay back what they have borrowed. And we refuse to kowtow to any more political interference.

Tough times call for tough measures. We are borrowing over £100billion a year just to make ends meet. Under these circumstances, we cannot afford to be giving money away to other countries, only for it to be abused by corrupt regimes. That is why I am also announcing the cancellation of the International Aid budget. Perhaps when we have restored order to our own finances, specific projects can be considered, but right now, we cannot afford it.

We are also spending nearly £100billion a year on out-of-work benefits. Only 60% of people of working age actually have a job. Immigrants come to Britain to do the jobs that the workshy refuse to do, and we pay them to stay at home. This is a contemptible situation. So, my Government will bring forward legislation to limit all benefits claims to 80% of the National Minimum Wage, so that you will always be better off in work.

We will raise the Income Tax threshold to £15,000, lifting millions more out of the tax system. We will move towards a flat rate of Income Tax, to incentivise, not punish, wealth creators. We will scrap high rates of tax which prohibit growth. We will slash the regulatory red tape which unjustifiably increases costs for businesses.

We will press ahead with equality - but real equality, equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. We'll give the poorest children in the country the chance to go to the best schools. We'll reform the education system so that excellence is rewarded. We'll legalise gay marriage. We'll push for more women to get onto the boards of Britain's biggest companies. But what we won't do is discriminate against anyone - and that includes men, and it includes whites. Let this be a country where talent and ability are the defining factors of someone's position, not which ethnic group they belong to, or what sexuality they have.

The mistakes made in the defence review will be undone. A Conservative Government will never again put the lives of our soldiers and the defence of our nation on the back burner. Defence spending will increase. We will invest in a new range of deployable weaponry and technology, making best use of remotely operated drones, which, although controversial, have been demonstrated to be effective by our American allies.

The issue of society is a difficult one. For too long, ours has incentivised laziness and fecklessness, and punished thrift and responsibility. It is a travesty of our times and a damning indictment of our justice system that criminals are let out early, if they are imprisoned at all, re-offending rates continue to rise, and that despite our failed banking system bringing our proud nation almost to the brink of collapse, that no banker or director of these ruined and toxic institutions has had charges brought to bear on them.

Never again.

Sentencing guidelines will be re-drawn. Charges will be brought where they are due. And prisons will be re-focused on deterring people from crime, and also educating them so that they do not re-offend.

But it is also true that our society is too small. And the reason for that is that the State is too big. For too long, Governments have pandered to the whims of a minority, nannying us into believing that we cannot survive without everything being handed to us, regulated and approved by the State. The State tells us what to eat, drink, how to behave, how to exercise, even mandating what opinions we can express.

Never again.

The State will roll back. Some people will fear this. Social housing will be privatised - the State has no business engaging in property speculation. The State's nationalised bank assets will be returned to private ownership as soon as possible, whilst ensuring no loss to the taxpayer. The public sector will be re-aligned and re-organised to provide maximum services for minimum cost. This happens in business every single day - there is no reason why we cannot do the same.

We haven't got everything right in office so far. And it would be easy to lay the blame on our coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats. But that wouldn't be honest. They're wrong on a lot of things. But we've not been entirely right. Now, we strive to be - to act in the best interests of the country. I invite them to support us on this new direction, but if they feel that they cannot, then I will have no choice but to call a General Election, and let the people decide what they want: more of the same failed socialism and sentimental thinking, or level-headed, pragmatic, fair and compassionate conservatism. Yes, compassionate, for looking after the most vulnerable in our society and affording the poorest the same opportunities as the other does not mean abandoning reason, or common sense, or prudence.

The time has come to continue the work of some of our greatest men. The time has come to forge ahead with the building of the New Jerusalem. The time has come to put aside petty sentimentality. The time has come to rebuild our nation, to make it once more the envy of the world, so that our people can speak with pride wherever they go, and say: 'I am a British Citizen.'

He'd have had my vote then.
 Maybe... in a tangent reality...