Thursday, 24 November 2016

Mrs May Won't Help So Help Yourself

Independent assessments of yesterdays Autumn statement suggest very strongly that living standards will be squeezed. No doubt about that. One thing the government is right about is that UK productivity needs to improve and what little investment they've made is aimed to help that. It may prove too little too late, but it is actually more sensible than giving it away as welfare.

Mrs May's fine words when she took unelected office were of course baloney. She embraced Brexit because it made political sense in a selfish sense, whatever happens next she made it to the top job, bully for her.

Many of those who voted for Brexit were the worst off and the disillusioned, it is the 30% who are the least well off who will feel the pain most. Unfortunately the sixteen million, one hundred and forty one thousand, two hundred and forty one people who aren't to blame will feel it too. Not only that but their voices are being ignored. A substantial minority if ever there was one.

Labour refuse to admit to the glaring errors of the Blair Brown years and Brexit voters will be loath to blame their error for their suffering, it's human nature, it's always someone else's fault. Productivity is a key, so get creative if you want to help, here is one way you can do something for yourself rather than making sacrifices such as giving up your hobbies.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Whisper It And Shudder

Philip Hammond delivered his autumn statement today, long speculated about it was an admission of failure. He delivered it with gravitas and a degree of humour and as politicians do with the odd lie thrown in, such as calling the continuing freeze on fuel duty increases, a cut in taxation.

Politicians behave like idiots in the house, we saw that again today, and treat us like idiots with much of what they say; the lack of an increase is not a cut and although in their eyes it is, that still doesn't excuse it. Actually it is illuminating about the mindset of those who would govern rather than serve.

Mrs May, not my Prime Minister, has made much about what she calls JAMs, the just about managing, and reducing the taper on 'in work benefits' so you now lose just 63p per extra pound you earn, if 'just' is the right word, rather than 65p, is a move which will doubtless see the JAMs celebrating wildly in the streets.

The rising personal allowance, creeping up annually to above £12,000 ultimately is an excellent idea, one I've long argued for and which I discussed with Nick Clegg a very long time back. After all, who can house themselves, clothe themselves, feed themselves, pay utility bills and have any kind of life or security in modern Britain on less than a thousand pounds a month?

Taxing people before they've earned enough to live, then giving it back in benefits is mad, wasteful and insulting. The rising personal threshold isn't a new announcement and it was a Liberal idea not a Tory idea.

There were announcements about investing in productivity, technology and infrastructure. All to the good, but as a proportion of our gross domestic product still pathetically low. The reasons for that are uncertainty and debt, not necessarily in that order.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell made much of the figures amounting to an admission of failure and gave a moving and eloquent blast of hot air about the JAMs and the health service. The idea that he and Labour, spending incontinents that they are, could save our economy is laughable.

The national debt looks highly likely to rise to two trillion pounds by the end of the decade, whisper it and shudder. It was slightly less than one trillion when the Tories took over from Gordon blow it all Brown, but the die was cast. Such huge debts are a lead weight pulling us down, we need an annual surplus to reduce it not an annual deficit and when will that happen? Labour of course want to increase borrowing, increase the deficit and accelerate the rate at which the debt grows. They call that caring about people.

The Tory target to begin paying it down with a small annual surplus was 2015, then it was put back to 2020, now it's just 'as soon as possible', not good enough. Growth forecasts have been revised downwards, well, I'm no fan of forecasts, but given negotiations, if you can call them that, will start with our neighbours next year reducing growth forecasts to 1.4 and 1.7% does look pretty sensible on the face of it. Millions voted for it, it's only the millions who voted the other way who no longer have a voice.

What have we got to negotiate with? Sure our market is important to a point, but our spending power is greatly reduced and we want access to twenty seven other markets, no, it is they who hold the cards and that will come home to people when, and only when, it's too damn late to change course.

Take note, US and German productivity is 30% better than ours. For all their workers rights and holidays French productivity is 20% better than ours, Italian productivity is 8% better than ours and last time I looked Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Ferrari were Italian owned. British owned car companies anyone? Rolls Royce, Bentley, Jaguar, MG perhaps, Mini no.

Interest rates are at a record low, helps some hinders others, like the responsible savers and so a new bond has been announced, you can invest a whole £3000, tie it up for three years and get a whopping 2.2%, that, I imagine, will have the savers hanging out the bunting with the Brexiteers, anyone who's trying to save now remember paying 17% on their mortgage?

Better Hammond than McDonnell although a drowning man struggling to survive might do better to let death come and that appears to be the choice.

Spend now for tomorrow it'll be gone!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Of Frying Pans And Fires

Mrs May, not my prime minister, has spoken to the CBI (Confederation Of British Industry) and told them what she thinks they want to hear, no workers on company boards and replacing investment in technology and research when we leave the EU, not that she knows where the money will come from.

Due to the weak pound exports are up and everyone says the scare was all wrong. Mrs May can tell the CBI about her plans for Brexit, although she hasn't really said that much, but what no one, not the media, not the British people seem to have grasped is just how limited her options are. We are the little guy now, twenty seven other countries hold the cards. What they decide about Brexit will be what Brexit is.

Furthermore the knock on effects of the weaker pound take longer to filter through, the cost of raw materials for example and all the food we import. If you voted for chaos, well done, enjoy it, because it will last a while. According to Mrs May change is in the air, she's damn right about that, no mention of frying pans and fires though.

The new Chancellor Mr Hammond has talked about the eye-watering national debt, for once he's right. His autumn statement will be interesting to hear. Already there are petitions demanding no cuts in welfare. The opposition have said they want to spend and spend big to get us back on track. They don't call it spending, they call it investment and they're such experts.

Any investor knows the basic idea is to buy cheap and sell high, shame Gordon Brown didn't get it when he gave away the nation's gold and spent the proceeds, sorry, invested them for the bright future we're enjoying now. Even now politicians take advantage of the fact that so many people do not understand the difference between deficit and debt, sometimes I wonder if they do. The debt cannot rise for ever and ever, there will be a reckoning.

Have fun while you can, make some money and enjoy Christmas!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Not My Foreign Minister, Not My Prime Minister Come To That

In the last few days Britain's most senior 'diplomat' Boris Johnson has offended the Italians, the Germans and the Czechs. The Italians are right they may lose some sales in one market, we lose sales in twenty seven. So just twenty four more nations to offend then Boris. This is what happens when you appoint an opportunist liar to a position of responsibility. Mrs May you do not represent me nor millions of Britons #notmyprimeminister.

At least Christmas is coming.