Crisis? What do to about the crisis?

So, Gordon is lauded as the saviour of our economy, his fortune in the popularity polls has staged a dramatic comeback and he must be feeling a little smug that the Conservatives lost their deposit in Glenrothes.   Not that the latter was really ever in doubt and, I suspect, he is more pleased that the SNP rennaisance seems to have temporarily stalled.

But the big issue amidst all this economic drama has to be the big picture of what to do.   There is no panacea, quick win or low hanging fruit – they are as ephemeral as their titles suggest.   In todays immediate must have world the risk is that as a consequence of our impatience for action, we do the wrong thing.

This crash gives us – in fact requires us – to make some deeper long term decisions about our economy and its’ place in the world.

The truth is that in pure terms of productivity we are quite insignificant.   We have built success on the back of global financial markets which until recently performed well.   Despite all the criticism of the fat cat bankers, remember that without the global liquidity they provided it would have been well night impossible to get a loan for car, never mind a house.   The catastrophic failures in Banks are a direct consequnce of a combination of a collapse in asset values more fundamentally driven be a collapse in confidence.

The restructuring in Britain needs to take into account our new position in the world.   US domination is not finished, but it will have to learn to get on better with India and China.   We need to look to new partners and settle down to a decade – I mean it – of real financial prudence, rather than the wholly dishonest version Gordy was selling us over the last decade.

There is much talk in the press of what the government needs to do to ‘kick start’ the economy.   Again we are lead to expect a easy and immediate remedy which is unrealistic.   There are a range of things we need to do:

We need to lower business taxes.   In the short term this will be hard to do, but it will make us more attractive for investors and this, coupled with the dramatic fall in the value of Sterling, will make us a great place to do business.   We should also resist any temptation to tax the very rich any more.  They are immensely mobile and will simply go elsewhere when we need their acumen and capital the most.

We need to reduce public spending.   Again hard because it will have an effect on the economy, but the reason we must not continue to spend is because we will have to borrow and that, with a weakening currency will be catastrophic.

We need to reduce the cost and bureacracy of government.   Far too much money is wasted here.   We all know it and government growth spawns legislation.   This goverments record of new laws is outrageous and more people than ever seem to be growing tired of the control freak approach.

We need to improve and increase education.   That does not mean spending lots more money, but it does mean keeping children at school for longer.   They may not like it, but we have to reduce the amount of feral and useless young in this country.

We need to encourage individual accountablity and responsibility and reverse the entitlement culture.   Social handouts must be on an as needed basis, not an as of right basis.   The culture of ‘entitlement’ has to be changed: it’s cancerous and any and all handouts must be given in exchange for some contribution to society.   This is the most dramatic shift in our endemic parasitic dependent culture.   If folks have to ‘work’ for their Giro, they might decide to work in a real job and contribute.

We need to be patient and positive.   On the plus side, companies who have taken big write downs and cut costs dramatically over the last few months will be better poised to be competitive and return to profitability more quickly.   They are more likely to start hiring and growing as they have been forced in the downturn to become more efficient and to get rid of some economic baggage that held them back.

We need a more common sense approach to justice that is more equitable.   No more hoody hugging and no more Asbo’s awards.   Proper consequences for crime.   Could we force the young unemployed into the Forces?   Maybe – we’d need to fund it and I don’t expect the Army relishes the challenge of cleaning up so of today’s yoof; but then again maybe not….

So, that’s my tuppence worth.   I could be wrong, I could be right.   But we need to take positive action and somehow convince the public to be patient.   It will require a great and popular leader to implement.

If only we had one.

A Squirrel’s Tale

Some of you may have seen this before


The squirrel works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building and improving his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the squirrel is warm and well fed.

The shivering grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies, out in the cold.

THE END …but read on…


The squirrel works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the squirrel is warm and well fed.

A social worker finds the shivering grasshopper, calls a press conference and demands to know why the squirrel should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others less fortunate, like the grasshopper, are cold and starving.

The BBC shows up to provide live coverage of the shivering grasshopper; with cuts to a video of the squirrel in his comfortable warm home with a table laden with food.

The British press inform people that they should be ashamed that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so, while others have plenty. The Labour Party, Greenpeace, Animal Rights and The Grasshopper Council of GB demonstrate in front of the squirrel’s house.

Ken Livingstone rants in an interview with Trevor McDonald that the squirrel got rich off the backs of grasshoppers, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the squirrel to make him pay his “fair share” and increases the charge for squirrels to enter inner London .

In response to pressure from the media, the Government drafts the Economic Equity and Grasshopper Anti Discrimination Act, retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The squirrel’s taxes are reassessed.

He is taken to court and fined for failing to hire grasshoppers as builders for the work he was doing on his home and an additional fine for contempt when he told the court the grasshopper did not want to work.

The grasshopper is provided with a council house, financial aid to furnish it and an account with a local taxi firm to ensure he can be socially mobile. The squirrel’s food is seized and re distributed to the more needy members of society, in this case the grasshopper.

Without enough money to buy more food, to pay the fine and his newly imposed retroactive taxes, the squirrel has to downsize and start building a new home.

The local authority takes over his old home and utilises it as a temporary home for asylum seeking cats who had hijacked a plane to get to Britain as they had to share their country of origin with mice. On arrival they tried to blow up the airport because of Britain ‘s apparent love of dogs.

The cats had been arrested for the international offence of hijacking and attempted bombing but were immediately released because the police fed them pilchards instead of salmon whilst in custody.

Initial moves to then return them to their own country were abandoned because it was feared they would face death by the mice. The cats devise and start a scam to obtain money from people’s credit cards.

A Panorama special shows the grasshopper finishing up the last of the squirrel’s food, though spring is still months away, while the council house he is in, crumbles around him because he hasn’t bothered to maintain the house.

He is shown to be taking drugs. Inadequate government funding is blamed for the grasshopper’s drug ‘illness’.

The cats seek recompense in the British courts for their treatment since arrival in UK .

The grasshopper gets arrested for stabbing an old dog during a burglary to get money for his drugs habit. He is imprisoned but released immediately because he has been in custody for a few weeks.

He is placed in the care of the probation service to monitor and supervise him. Within a few weeks he has killed a guinea pig in a botched robbery.

A commission of enquiry, that will eventually cost £10,000,000 and state the obvious, is set up.

Additional money is put into funding a drug rehabilitation scheme for grasshoppers and legal aid for lawyers representing asylum seekers is increased.

The asylum-seeking cats are praised by the government for enriching Britain ‘s multicultural diversity and dogs are criticised by the government for failing to befriend the cats.

The grasshopper dies of a drug overdose. The usual sections of the press blame it on the obvious failure of government to address the root causes of despair arising from social inequity and his traumatic experience of prison.

They call for the resignation of a minister.

The cats are paid a million pounds each because their rights were infringed when the government failed to inform them there were mice in the United Kingdom .

The squirrel, the dogs and the victims of the hijacking, the bombing, the burglaries and robberies have to pay an additional percentage on their credit cards to cover losses, their taxes are increased to pay for law and order and they are told that they will have to work beyond 65 because of a shortfall in government funds.


Fleet Management

The time has come to effect a little fleet management I fear.   The current car count stands at 7 and whilst all work, only 6 are road registered and legal.   The seventh sinner is a interesting beast; a 1991 Range Rover, ex Police vehicle.   Purchased from the previous owner of our house its intended use was to tow the flail mower and generally be a workhorse around the place.   In reality I use the Discovery and have had little need of it.

We’ve run the car a few times and while the steering is rather woolly and the brakes quite desperate, after I put a freshly charged battery in on Monday she started first turn of the key.   What a wonderful sound that 3.9 litre Rover V8 makes.  Big Mike and I gave her a quick clean up and at least I was impressed.

So, what to do?   Mike suggested contacting a club interested in ex Police vehicles which is a sound plan and as you can see from the pic below the car still sports some of the bespoke cop kit – and there’s even more in the boot.

Not sure if I’ll have any takers… if not I’ll just have to restore her myself.   I can just see myself tootling round the lanes in a police liveried Rangie…or perhaps I can park opposite our drive and use the car as a warning to that damn motorcylist who seems to enjoy hurtling down our lane at an unfeasible and unsafe speed.   We’ll see.

Bank Holidays

Obviously there should be more of them.   Especially more like this weekend.   Wonderful weather and a houseful of family and friends enjoying a bit more outdoor living.

Anyway, the main point of this post is to wax lyrical about local produce.   It is nice that we are lowering our carbon footprint by eating local lamb and veg from our garden although, as Big Mike pointed out, as soon as he starts his Rolls to head back to the Smoke, we’re busted.

So the best thing about local produce is that it is fresh and tastes so much better.   The latter point is of course moot, but I’ll stick my neck out.

This weekend was full of home grown pumpkin, corn, corgettes and lamb from our fields roasted with our own garlic.  We also feasted on local crayfish and fresh caught brown trout, with home made mayonnaise from our own chickens.

Sound like the good life?   Sure.   And back to work on Tuesday morning with a big bump.   C’est La Vie.

The Bottle of Wine

Many thanks to reader Tim for sending me this little gem, which is for all of us who are married, were married, wish we were married or wish we weren’t married, this is something to smile about next time you see a bottle of wine:

Sally was driving home from one of her business trips in Northern Arizona when she saw an elderly Navajo woman walking on the side of the road.    As the car trip was long and a quiet one she stopped the car and asked the Navajo woman if she wanted a ride.  With a silent nod of thanks the woman got into the car.

Resuming the journey Sally tried to make a bit of small talk with the Navajo woman.   The old woman just sat silently looking intently at everything she saw until she noticed a brown bag on the seat next to Sally.

‘What in bag?’ asked the old woman.

Sally looked down at the brown bag and said, ‘It’s a bottle of wine.   I got it for my husband.’

The Navajo woman was silent for a moment or two.  Then, speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder she said:

‘Good trade….’

Harry Potter – worth all the fuss?

Well, is it?   They hype, the fuss, the late night book sales?
Is the story worthy of all this drama?
Does the plot and character development warrant all the media attention?


And how do I know?   I have only read the last chapter at about 1 a.m., but the smile on Ash’s face when she saw her copy, purchased from Tesco in Trowbridge just after midnight by big Mike, said it all.

When she’s finished I might even get to read the rest.

Career advice

I have to share this note recieved via e-mail last week……who knows if it is true.   I hope so…

Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

I particularly like, 2, 4 and 8.   Much of the yoof of today would be well advised to listed.   However, like us, they will make their own mistakes.

Good advice.    More of the yoof of today should take it.