Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Monday 29 August 2011

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett's company Berkshire Hathaway invested $5billion buying shares in the Bank of America. Twenty four hours later he had made over $200 million as the shares moved upwards following the vote of confidence the investment generated.
Isn't this a graphic demonstration of all that is wrong with the system? Isn't this a palpable show of greed that underpins the whole capitalistic way the world currently finances itself?

What has Berkshire Hathaway manufactured (apart from profits)? Nothing! What service have they provided that attracts this sort of revenue? Nothing!
They have simply made money by taking it from other people under the guise of 'trading'. If Warren Buffett has made money it's because somebody else has lost it and the people who have lost it are most likely to be people who cannot afford to lose it, such as those relying on pension funds.

Friday 26 August 2011

Compassion in Scottish justice

Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of involvement in the Lockerbie bombing, was released by the Scottish Justice Minister, Kenny Macaskill two years ago on compassionate grounds.
The Libyan had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and had three months to live according to medical reports. Asked this week if he felt he'd made the wrong decision, MacAskill insisted that it was the right decision and followed a long Scottish tradition of showing compassion. The decision was taken along compassionate grounds and only compassionate grounds he maintained to make clear that British Prime Minister Brown had nothing to do with the process. Nor did Peter Mandelson, close friend of one of Gadaffi's sons or BP, the oil giant who were pushing for greater access to Libyan oil.

If compassion was the major factor in Ali al-Megrahi's release what long tradition of compassion do the Scots have for the HUNDREDS of victims and their families? Surely they were more important. MacAskill you were dreadfully wrong and deserve to be pilloried for the baseness of your judgement. You are a disgrace.
It's time British justice was aimed at giving succour to victims not the perpetrators of crimes.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Libya update 2

The rebels have entered Tripoli. Gaddafi seems to be confined in the small area around his compound and it is looking as if his regime will soon end. What then? Readers of this blog will know that I'm sceptical about the future as it being fashioned by Cameron and the other NATO countries. When Gaddafi is finally deposed, do they imagine that peace will break out all over the country? Do they imagine that all the different tribes will be reconciled and that the age-old custom of retribution will be swept under the carpet in the spirit of National unity.

When it's over the country will be awash with fighters who will have retained their weapons. They will want results for the all the stress of battle and I say it will be difficult for the new leaders of the Transitional Government to appease everyone. In the same way that Gaddafi assumed power with the strength of his character after King Idris was deposed forty odd years ago, the Country needs a new figurehead and what better than to reintroduce the Monarchy? In some ways it would be rather fitting, particularly as the Arab nations have a monarchistic tradition, as I mentioned in my blog of February 21st 2011.

Mohammed El Senussi, the 48 year old nephew of the old king is widely acknowledged to be the rightful head of the Royal House of Libya. Educated in the UK he has been vocal in support of the rebels, although he has been at pains to say that he would like to serve his country in any capacity it saw fit without promoting the idea of a constitutional Monarchy. Idris, his uncle, had no male heir which may or may not have contributed to Gaddafi's coup, occuring as it did on the day before the King was due to abdicate in favour of his brother, Mohammed El Senussi's father. Sadly, Mohammed also has no heir and this may again be a problem in establishing a new regime.

Monday 22 August 2011

Labour Party finances

The Labour Party is facing bankruptcy and seeks to use taxpayers money to pay its debts. Ed Miliband has proposed that Labour Councillors hand over their public allowances.

Why doesn't Ed Miliband seek to refinance the Party with the help of Lord Mandelson who clearly has money to spare having recently made an offer to buy a London mansion for £8m?

Monday 15 August 2011

Food critics

It is reported that the chef of the 'River Cafe', Brecon assaulted one of his staff following a bad report in the press from the food critic, AA Gill. He is said to have described the food as 'disgusting'.
Mr Gill is of course welcome to his opinions but should he give voice to his necessarily subjective thoughts in the press. It is almost certain that what he likes, I won't. I never use to read Michael Winner's reviews, or for that matter, the Hotel Inspector column in a National newspaper because their views count for very little but could have a disproportionate consequence for people who are often striving very hard in an industry that involves hard work in front of the general public over many hours a day, most days of the year.
I have worked in the catering and hotel industry and I can vouch for the strain of trying to do your best when tired beyond the point of pain to make a success of a business so dependent on public opinion. It isn't only the proprietor that suffers. Staff, relying on the work to pay a mortgage or rent, maybe disadvantaged because the food was not to a critic's liking.
I make no excuse for those who have no right to be professionally catering, producing unhygienic and unappetising food, but surely it is better to allow the business to fail through word of mouth of the public that test it on a daily basis.

While I'm having a moan about catering, there are two things I particularly dislike about modern restaurants. The first is uncooked vegetables. I loath the hard and crunchy carrots and broccoli being served up. If you are going to cook a vegetable and charge for it, do it properly. The second is serving meals in 'towers' with all the food piled up on one another. Ludicrous!! Serve it so that the diners can see all the dish without having to dismantle the damned thing.

I remember our hotel being assessed by the AA for a star rating. We didn't particularly cater for motorists or passing trade so I wasn't really anxious but after a good look round the critic told me that some of the major carpets were looking a little 'tired'. Well I would have done if I'd been trodden on for twenty or more years but the point was I knew all this. He didn't tell me a thing I didn't know and given money would have corrected immediately. It was in the nineties and we were just coming out of recession and all our profits were needed to pay the ruddy banks.
Needless to say I didn't take the AA up on their offer but the carpets were eventually replaced when funds allowed.

Thursday 11 August 2011

Summer of Discontent 2

I believe that in many City centres we've seen the outward signs of Britain's underclass. A class of people with no discipline, poor education and no perception of what is needed to exist in a civilised world. It may be that they don't even recognise the difference between right and wrong.
I am sure that an underclass exists in many societies and cultures but I hazard a guess that not in many is the situation deteriorating, as it is in the UK.
In a so called civilised society, it is right that Government with the consent of the majority provides for these people. Water, food and shelter are provided, as is defence. In addition the secondary requirements of education and health service are free.
The trouble is, in this internet world of ipods, blackberry's etc, the youth of today doesn't have needs, it is not enough, they have 'wants' and they expect the rest to provide them for nothing as well as the above. You can almost hear them chanting:

What do we want?
Material things.
When do want them?

I understand that many youngsters and gang members have these very expensive goods, in some cases very expensive Mercedes cars, because they trade in drugs and this causes others to aspire to this level of 'cool'. However, this is an excuse and what we have witnessed should be seen for what it is; gratuitous criminality. I believe it is time to revert to more robust policing. Stop and search should be extended to stopping young men driving very expensive cars and asking for proof of payment. Zero tolerance was once a buzz word for the sort of policing introduced with some effect in the US. Human Rights lawyers put their oar in claiming infringement of basic rights and citing harassment as a tool of the oppressors. This Human Rights legislation given teeth by the last Socialist Government needs to be repealed and quickly. Most of the rioters have spent all or most of their lives under a Socialist Government, which has tried to obliterate the British culture (pursuit of 'muticulturism'), history (non teaching of British past triumphs in history) and tradition (Banning of hunting. Prohibition of sports that give rise to losers.) to satisfy their discredited ideology of flawed values. Every opportunity should be taken to take these people to task for their failures as Michael Goves recently did to Harriet Harman, the arch priestess of New Labour folly. Will the Socialists never learn that we are all different with varying hopes and aspirations and stop trying to drag the nation down to a status of mediocrity instead of celebrating and promoting elitism. The term 'we are all in this together' could be their rallying call as they, in their ivory towers, insist that all people are the same, like the Soviet masters told the Russian masses from their holiday homes, their dachas, on the Black Sea rivieras.

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Summer of Discontent

The rioting of mainly youths in London has spread to lawlessness in Bristol, Liverpool and Birmingham.

They original riots seem to have been triggered by the shooting of a man 'known' to the police in Tottenham but the contagion clearly owes more to simple criminality by an underclass of undisciplined, feral young men. They have no education, no sense of responsibility and no hope. This, however, should not be used as an excuse for criminal behaviour.

That they have no education is because of the flawed practices of schools that pay more heed to Human Rights than they do to preparing youngsters for the real world. Carol Vorderman, former Countdown presenter, and presenter of a report on the standard of mathematic's teaching has shown a very high proportion of those leaving school have no idea of percentages or fractions. Youngsters are leaving school with either meaningless qualifications or non at all. More important, because of the Human Right acts, they have no sense of discipline from both the school or the home. Bring back corporal punishment in schools. Shame those who disrupt school and those parents that interfere with proper discipline. If the parents won't do it, teach children responsibility.

Why don't the police use water cannon to disperse the crowds? The Home Secretary replies on TV this morning, that in the UK we prefer consensual policing with the support of local communities.
Consensual policing is not likely to impress those who have lost their businesses, their homes and their livelihoods. In any case, it's used elsewhere including Northern Ireland, so her argument is flawed.

Those caught will be brought before the courts and punished, said Theresa May, the Home Secretary.
650 arrests, already. More lovely legal aid for the legal profession who must be rubbing their hands with glee. More easy public money for defending the undefendable. What's more it's most unlikely that their offices will be torched.
With the prisons full, those brought before the courts will most likely be let off with a slap on the wrist and released to re-offend. Bring back the stocks and the birch. Shame and ridicule these people and their families. Get rid of the pernicious Human Right legislation that prevents real justice being exacted. It is not uncivilised to defend the innocent and give succour to victims; it is common sense. The world cannot support the current population. Cast out those who choose to disrupt the lives of their fellow citizens so that the innocent might flourish. I'm fed up to the back teeth of those apologists for the criminally inclined- those who never give up on trying to rehabilitate the unworthy. Remember, the criminals too have free will. They can say 'NO' to lawbreaking but choose not to.

Because of the Human Rights and related legislation, Police fear the risk of criminal conviction more than they do physical harm to themselves. They are therefore constrained in what they can do in the face of the taunting of youths who know they can act with impunity. Repeal these acts so that the police can defend themselves and clear the streets of the vermin.

The effects of these troubles is felt in other ways. Tourism to the capital will be affected; sad news in the current economic climate. Local economies will be dealt a blow from which they may not recover.
Will victims receive compensation? Insurance companies will be perusing the small print of policies hoping to find ways of avoiding their responsibilities. Other businesses will be uninsured because of the high premiums charged. As businesses fold, staff will be made redundant, many too old to find other jobs. The point is that the arrested youths will be charged with arson or burglary without any thought to the wider implications of their actions. They will also have been responsible for changing people's lives for the worse; making people homeless and jobless. Who will pick up the tab for these injustices? The taxpayers, that's who and do you imagine that they will receive recognition for their benevolence? Not one bit because the politicians who should act in the interest of the vast majority of law abiding population are more interested in appeasing minorities and the Human Rights brigade.

What to do.
Put Carol Vorderman and Katharine Birbalsingh in charge of education under the coalition's best minister, Mr Goves.

Order magistrates and judges to put victims first.

Immediately repeal the Human Rights acts and introduce shaming punishments such as the stocks and public birchings for antisocial behaviour.

Slash legal aid and repeal the laws that allow the prosecution of public bodies such as the NHS and the police.

Sunday 7 August 2011

Oakeshott's answer.

On the BBC's Andrew Marr programme, Lord Oakeshott, a Liberal peer, told the watching audience that last Friday he'd taken advantage of the fall in the stock market to buy shares for himeself and his family. He seemed to take delight in making this statement.
Does he not realise that this attitude is part of the problem. For the shares to fall, someone has to lose money, perhaps catastrophically so. Not only single people but also pension funds. He seems to delight in taking advantage of people's distress by trying to make a profit without doing a stroke of work. Does Lord Oakeshott feel proud of this? He must do since he's been in the trade of UNEARNED income for thirty years. He should be ashamed.

When people buy shares, they become part owners of a company. Not that this gives them any say in the running of the company, but this is another issue. The motive for buying shares should be solely to earn money paid as dividends from the profits the company makes. This is to my mind ethical. To buy shares with the purpose of making money quickly by short term capital gains is playing with the livelihoods of many people including those who actually work for the company. Companies must be forced to pay dividends if they make sufficient profit, rather than withold them in the hope of raising the share price. Not only is this open to malpractice, it gives rise to a whole industry more akin to that of gambling. This should not be the basis of how we build industry and businesses that endure.

Company executives should be more accountable to smaller shareholders. Over time they form a cosy relationship with the non-executive remuneration directors and major shareholders such as fund managers so that there is a risk the Company's are eventually run as private fiefdoms of the very few at the top.
Why do Company's feel the need to keep on growing? There should be no compulsion for the Company to grow other than organically from increased sales of their core products. To keep share prices rising, that's why! Tesco's is a good case in point. They were a grocer. Why did they feel the need to diversify to selling TVs, insurance etc? To maintain and increase the share price that's why. They constantly need to add new products to satisfy the endless greed of people who want to make UNEARNED money regardless of the people made redundant as the local butchers and other tradespeople are put out of business.

Saturday 6 August 2011

English All Blacks?

Whoever decreed that the English Rugby Union team wears all black strip for matches should be sacked.

All black is worn by the New Zealand fifteen and all white is the colour of the English strip. It's what identifies the team. It's the colour to be followed in combat, a rallying point, and should never be changed, even for short term reasons other than conflict of colours. It's no wonder that when put under stress in the second half by a resurgent Welsh team, England were forced to hang on to secure a narrow win although losing the try count three to two.

England in all white strip please.

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Legal Profession- Why don't they get a proper job?

Sharon Shoesmith the woman dismissed in the aftermath of the baby P case in Haringey has been told that the Council cannot appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that they must pay her compensation thought to be in the order of a million pounds. It seems that the ruling was made on a technicality; that the council hadn't followed correct procedures in dismissing the woman after an intervention by Ed Balls. It's a pity that correct procedures weren't followed in the departments she was handsomely paid to run, but to the arrogant and greedy legal profession that small technicality mustn't come beteween them and the massive fees extracted from the taxpayer pockets by way of legal aid.

Somebody in Government needs to seriously examine the money earned by the parasitic leeches in the legal profession, a profession I remind you that neither makes or creates anything but lives on other peoples income, normally by simply finding loopholes in legislation, whether it's in the public interest or not. This time it's the poor rate payers of Haringey that are filling their coffers.