Archive for February, 2015

Russia: Is She A Threat?

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

It depends how you look at it. Sir John Sawers, ex-head of MI6 said some very wise things in his interview with BBC Radio 4, which makes it all the more inexcusable for the blighted foreign office to have got it so wrong. Among Sir John’s comments were his disappointment that the West and Russia had not drawn together at the end of the Cold War. I have been saying exactly this for years, but the West made no real effort and made the fatal assumption that they should wait until Russia became a western style democracy. This was never going to happen.

Russia became a democracy for the first time in its history, but a democracy in its own style with a good deal of autocracy and state coercion in the mix. Russians, most of them anyway, do not see democracy as a road to political freedom; they see it as a route to a strong state which can provide reliable services, jobs and above all security from attack by enemies. There is a type of mysticism about Mother Russia and about being Russian which few other nations emulate or share. Its culture leans west and copies a lot that the west does, but it is not and never will be western.

As soon as the mob took to the streets in Kiev and overthrew the properly elected government by violent protest, having been encouraged and egged on by western politicians, Russia saw a serious threat to its security. It looked around the chaos caused by western military interventions and decided to give up on a bad job. From now on Russia will conduct itself as on its guard and a rival in the political arena of the world to what has become the tarnished leadership of the US and the German dominated diplomacy of Europe. It is engaged on a programme of updating its armed forces and of reminding the world that its nuclear forces are more than a match for those of the US. That we have blundered into this state of affairs at all is a signal defeat for whatever it is that diplomacy is supposed to do. It is every bit as much the fault of the West as Russia.

But it is not too late to talk and work out a settlement which will last. The common interests of Russia and the West far outmeasure the issues of disagreement. It is not too late but there is no time to waste. It should be a priority of any incoming government in May.

Public Investment Without Borrowing

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

Product DetailsPoliticians do not like to talk about the fragile nature of the UK’s Economic Recovery. Yet it remains rooted in borrowing, asset inflation, housing costs which are out of control and a housing shortage which continues to grow. It is consumption based in a country which no longer makes things for shoppers to buy, so jobs are exported and things are imported. Wages are at near historic lows, requiring subsidy and support from the government, even for those in work. The list goes on and on and you know it well. If you are a politician you never talk about it because you cannot see any other way forward. If you are in the top 10% you have never had it so good. If you are young and unemployed you are close to despair.

Yet it does not have to be like this. There is another way. Dynamic Quantitative Easing. It is only 2500 words in easy read format. To turn this original paper into a booklet, the January 2015 posts of this blog have been added. This bold new idea for economic growth will empower you with a greater understanding of what is happening in our economy and how we can change things for the better.

Download or Paperback from .99p

Tuition Fees: Has Labour Tripped Up?

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

This blog is mystified by the announcement that Labour is going to reduce tuition fees to students then pay for it by raising taxes on pensions. The two are not connected. Moreover money raised in taxes goes straight into Treasury coffers and can easily be grabbed for any number of alternatives.

In principle students do not like the idea of having to take on a debt, although many will probably never have to pay it back. But the policy has provided a proper income stream for universities and the quality of the courses on offer has improved. More students than at any time in the past are going to university and the numbers from poorer backgrounds is going up. So everything is working well for the first time in decades. Why screw it up?

The answer is it cannot be right to set young people up in debt even before they start to earn in a country over burdened by debt in every direction and by every measure. But to put that right all you need to do is change the student loan to a grant and introduce a graduate tax on higher earners to recover the costs. The policy would be cost neutral both to the public purse and to the students, universities would continue to be funded properly and the shadow of debt at the start of life would be lifted.

The Labour plan was attacked not only by their opponents but also by a host of neutral columnists and commentators when it was announced in a great fanfare yesterday. Then it turned out that the only ones who will actually benefit financially (rather than emotionally) are the better off graduates who become lawyers and bankers. But they were never going to vote Labour anyway.

At present this does not look like a vote winner. Milliband and co must hope it is not a vote loser. It just might be.

Thriller Downloads 99p Paperbacks From £4.99

Friday, February 27th, 2015


Download all five fast reading thrillers now! Offered at 99p or 99c. Or buy paperbacks from £4.99. Orders over £10 postage free.

AMAZON.COM                        AMAZON.UK


Satan's Disciple: Gothic Crime SeriesPower Corruption and LiesThe Hastings OptionWhilloe's First Case Hess Enigma: A Novel


Ukraine: It Depends How You See It.

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

You can look at an international situation in two ways; tribally or strategically. Tribally means you behave like a football supporter. Your team is always good and theirs is always bad. This is how the West presently handles Russia. Or you can take a strategic view. What are the issues? Who fears what? What is the impact on innocent civilians? How can accord be reached that creates common interests, but also respects individual fears? Where are the lines in the sand? The strategic approach can lead to better times, so long as it does not involve uneven concessions by one side or the other. The tribal approach leads to permanent tension and frequently war.

This is why this blog constantly criticizes the unimaginitive proclamations of the British government and its unconditional support for Kiev. The latest plan to send 75 troops to back up Kiev’s forces in a non-combat role is very disappointing as it reveals that nothing so far has been learned. Modern Russia is not the rigid structure of the old Soviet Empire. Putin’s counter of a deal with Cyprus to enable Russian Warships to use her ports is altogether more imaginative and a signal to Whitehall that if it wants to play this way it will have to up its game.

Check Out My Books!

Thursday, February 26th, 2015


Malcolm Blair-Robinson U.S          Malcolm Blair-Robinson U.K.

UK ELECTION: How Does It Look?

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

If we are talking about the length of the campaign the answer must depend on whether you like politics or not. If we are talking about the outcome, there is no way yet of predicting what that will be. A hung parliament looks certain, but it is not clear who will lead the resultant coalition and how many parties have to join in to provide a majority. Nor is it clear whether there will be a coalition or whether the largest party will try to govern without a majority on a confidence and supply basis.

Because of the ridiculous decision to keep first past the post when six credible parties are in contention for votes, tactical voting could deliver a significant majority to one party on a derisory minority of votes. And then there is Scotland, and how many Scot Nats win Westminster seats. Of course we cannot forget Wales and Ulster and how their nationalist MPs might choose to vote in confidence motions. And then there is this business of English votes for English laws.

Never in history has the electorate of this country faced such a potential muddle. The wonder will be if we get an effective government of any complexion. The mere fact that it can govern at all may be seen as a triumph.


Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Download Now for.99p

Rifkind And Straw.

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

At one level it is rather sad to see the political careers of two grandees in meltdown. At another it is shocking to suppose that this kind of thing still goes on and some of it is apparently within whatever rules these politicians have set up to police themselves.

Milliband, seeing a toxic brew steaming before him, has declared that all second jobs are to be banned from all Labour candidates standing for parliament in May. That is wise because voters have lost all patience with the political class whom they regard as both liars and on the make for themselves above all else. Cameron is less strident knowing that if he follows suit he will have no candidates left give or take a handful.

There is however a difference between a trade union official who is also a backbench MP, or a shareholder in a family business or some other activity which they have established themselves in before standing for parliament in the first place and about which those who elect them have full knowledge, and the practice of selling political favours for cash. It is no good having rules within which these favours my be sold. The practice must be stopped absolutely.

It is a form of corruption just like any other because it means that those who pay fees (they are different to bribes in their definition but are they in their effect?) to exert influence and change rules can gain commercial or personal advantage. As for the protestations of those caught red handed in a sting, that they have done nothing wrong; these are greeted with incredulity. It may be the case they have not broken any rules or indeed any laws, but it is certainly the case that few would describe what they were up to as right.

Politicians seem to think it is okay to sell the influence and knowledge they acquire as representatives of voters in parliament, for their own personal gain. Voters have many words to describe what they do. One description which I heard which seemed apt, was soft corruption. Another, more colourful, was political prostitution. But whatever you call it the time has come to stop it.

Good Value Thrillers

Monday, February 23rd, 2015


Download all five fast reading thrillers now! Offered at 99p or 99c. Or buy paperbacks from £4.99. Orders over £10 postage free.

AMAZON.COM                        AMAZON.UK


Satan's Disciple: Gothic Crime SeriesPower Corruption and LiesThe Hastings OptionWhilloe's First Case Hess Enigma: A Novel