Archive for January, 2016

A Sad Nation

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

There is almost no one in the British nation who will not be shocked by the news of the death of Sir Terry Wogan. He was an institution, a national treasure and a friend to almost everybody. Millions will have so many memories, all of which will be happy, of a personality whose unique broadcasting style, both on radio and television can neither be imitated, nor equalled. His grieving family must take comfort in the knowledge that the whole country mourns with them.

Literacy Shock

Friday, January 29th, 2016

There is a report by the OECD that the level of literacy and numeracy skills among young people in Britain is almost the lowest of all the developed countries and way behind the likes of Holland, Finland and South Korea. And we are not talking about reading Tolstoy; evidently some are floored by the instructions on an aspirin bottle. This is terrible news, although perhaps we suspected that all was not well. Reports from employers that Poles speak and write better English was a warning.

I have some family connections to teaching and was once an additional governor parachuted into a school in Special Measures, so I have some pretty clear cut observations. The problem almost always stems from primary schools, because chronically weak teaching in too many of these just does not give the firm grounding on which to build, causing knock on effects when moving on to secondary school, college or university. This could be due to poorly qualified teachers but I believe it is more to do with the desire to meddle with teaching practice. There are certain basics like night and day which are not up for silly nostrums of the hour. Those include the idea that children should learn about problems with numbers before they have learned the numbers themselves (their tables) or that they should be encouraged to express themselves in writing before they have learned how to spell.

These daft ideas do not work. Learn that.

People’s Quantitative Easing: Learn More

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

QE in various forms is now very much part of the economic conversation, especially in connection with recent market turmoil. Dynamic Quantitative Easing (also called Peoples Quantitative Easing) remains under government, not bank, control and targets specific investment projects without borrowing, interest or repayments. It can reboot the economy, boost manufacturing and exports and enable sustained growth of real national wealth shared by all, rather than just asset inflation which is the downside of ordinary QE. If you want to find out more you can enjoy a lucid explanation of the original idea from the link below.

Download .99p  Paperback £2.99   Dynamic Quantitative Easing: An Idea For Growth

Russian Cut Backs

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

There are reports that Russia is now really feeling the pinch of both Western sanctions and the low oil price and is having to cut its budget. No doubt the anti Russian lobby will gloat. This tends to be the same people who believe that Britain should walk out of Europe and go it alone. If Britain does that (but even if it stays) it will still be necessary to sell goods to Europe. This will not happen if the EU itself is not prospering. Sanctions have hit the EU, Germany especially, almost as much as they have hit Russia.

The migrant crisis in full swing, the Syria civil war still raging, the enmity between Sunni and Shia, the spread of IS into both Libya and Afghanistan, these all are issues in which Russia will be a major player in the crafting of solutions. It is on the same side as the West, although its strategic interpretation may be prioritized differently. The West’s recent strategic record is so shambolic that this may well be a benefit.

What is clear to thinking people is the fact that a down at heal Russia is not only not a driver of Western prosperity, but it puts a break on it. Diplomacy is an art of give and take. Each country has a different vision of an ideal world. The trick is to find compromises which recognize the limitations of the real world. This is a trick the modern generation of rather indifferent Western politicians has yet to learn.


EU Referendum: Remain and Leave Unconvincing

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

As both campaigns, which seem splintered and multi headed, begin to open up their stalls, they reveal somewhat unconvincing wares, which can easily be criticised by the other side, whichever it is, but which has nothing more convincing to offer. We can only hope things will improve when Cameron declares his weird negotiations to be a success and his superficial improvements to be an historic triumph, worthy of an endorsement in the form of a vote to Remain.

The drivers of this decision are not detail but emotion. Emotionally you are either for Europe or against it. For some the emotion is rather feeble so they are open to persuasion that the other course is worth following, but nothing thus far said by anyone offers such a temptation. It may be because, as this Blog believes, that Europe is bigger than the sum of its parts or the list of its regulations. Or it could be because you believe that we Brits are an island people who like to stand alone, forging our way in the world where opportunity takes us, beholden to none but each other. In both contexts a tweak here or a change there is really not the point.

The odd thing is that the decision is actually not about Britain at all. It is about Europe. For it is beginning to dawn that those remaining together in the EU will be much more damaged by Britain walking off the set, than Britain itself. The project abandoned by its second largest contributor, its oldest democracy, the country where more EU citizens wish to migrate to work to than all the other member countries put together, and its foremost military power, makes that project look rickety and fragile, with a future which may not be certain. Indeed to survive at all it will have to fall in line behind the bidding of its internal economic superpower, Germany. Instead of Germany remaining part of Europe, Europe will become part of Germany.

Is that what you want?

Thatch Era Political Thriller: Download Now!

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Set in the mid nineteen nineties, this fast moving thriller lifts the curtain on sex, sleaze and corruption in high places as the long reign of the government totters to an end, following the ousting of the iconic Margaret Thatcher. The novel catches the mood of those times with a host of fictional characters who engage in political intrigue, sex, money laundering and murder, pursued by an Irish investigative journalist and his girlfriend, the daughter of a cabinet minister found dead in a hotel room after bondage sex.


USA: Trumping The Presidency

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

To most Europeans Donald Trump has for long been a figure of fun. Rich certainly, but still a bit of a clown. It is now beginning to dawn upon them that the only thing standing between him and becoming President of United States is a lady; Hilary Clinton. For if the polls are to be believed, and experience here last May says they should not be, he is way out ahead for the Republican nomination. We will know soon enough. The first primaries start with the Iowa Caucus next month, after which a pattern will emerge. Americans may decide, Republicans that is, that the joke has gone far enough, and that it is time to back a candidate who looks like a credible President.  Um yes. Who exactly?

Here is the problem. Trump is popular because he is anti-Washington and anti-federal Government; put simply he is not a politician and he is ant-politics. And in America there is and always has been a significant antipathy to the notion of Federal Government. It erupted into the American Civil War, so strong does the antipathy run through America’s veins. The cause of that war was afterwards declared to be the ending of slavery and because slaves were freed, it followed that the schism was healed. But the cause of the war was not slavery, it was Secession from the Union and the dislike of Americans to being bossed around by far away Washington remains part of the culture and a much bigger part than most will admit.

It is therefore the case that Trump is no longer a funny. He is the one to beat. It may well be that one of the unknowns lined up for the Republican nomination will emerge; the only one known in Europe is Jeb Bush and he seems to be floundering about. Or it may be that the unthinkable happens and Trump gets nominated. If he does, then maybe it will be a Goldwater  moment, the ultra conservative right winger, who was beaten by Lyndon Johnson in a landslide. Or it could be President Trump. Then what? Celebrations in the Kremlin because Putin likes him quite a lot.


Browse My Books

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

BROWSE MY BOOKS WITH THESE LINKSAn image posted by the author.

Malcolm Blair-Robinson U.S        

Malcolm Blair-Robinson UK

Google Pays Up

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

It is positive news that Google has paid some more tax, although many feel the amount is far less than must truly be due. In fact whatever they had paid before was what was due; the fact that it was barely anything is a reflection upon the tax rules and systems, rather than the company which paid what it believed the law demanded.  Here is the problem. The taxation of corporations the world over is based upon the notion of profit and vast multinationals are able to organise a world company so that its profits emerge in the country with the most advantageous tax regime.

This story neatly dovetails with the recent announcement that Osborne’s budget forecast and those of the OBR are adrift in a negative direction, with borrowing by the government for the whole financial year now exceeded with over two months to go. The forecast now is that the net borrowing target will be missed. The slashers and burners will use this news as a signal to launch a fresh assault on benefit recipients, especially single parents, the disabled and the infirm. The suffering caused will advance the cause of deficit reduction not one jot, because the problem lies not any longer in spending which is cut to the bone, but in taxation income which is just not enough.

There are two reasons for this. The first, which will be self correcting if any political party has the guts to undertake essential rebalancing of the economic model, will improve as productivity (and therefore personal income) increases. Too many of that record number of jobs Cameron is always boasting about are low skill, low pay and low yield for the Treasury.

But the other area where not enough happens is from business, not because the rates are too low, but because the base, defined by profit, is too narrow and too portable. The solution is to abolish Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Stamp Duty and replace them with a Turnover Tax and a Capital Transaction Tax. The base would be much bigger, the rates much lower and avoidance impossible.

Modern global corporations operating 24/7 worldwide generate enormous revenues which are tax neutered by such devices as paying huge licence fees to a parent company offshore, which then emerges the profit in a tax haven. When our taxation structure was built, no such businesses existed. Tinkering with a structure which is no longer fit for purpose will get nowhere. We need a radical reform based upon simplicity of collection and unavoidable liability.

Hess Mystery: Download or Paperback from .99p

Friday, January 22nd, 2016


Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy and right hand man, flew to Scotland on a mysterious peace mission in 1941, which has never been convincingly explained, to meet unidentified politicians who wanted to end the war. The truth has been covered up for generations because to reveal it would somehow undermine the honour and constitutional fabric of the United Kingdom. Who was plotting against Churchill? What were the peace terms on offer? What happened to Hess? Was he killed in the War? Was the prisoner in Spandau a double?
There are many questions to which in the modern day one man, Saul Benedict has all the answers, because his parents were players in the drama involving Churchill, Hitler, leading politicians and an important Royal. Saul is an author and declares his intention to write a book to reveal all, but he is shot dead, apparently accidentally by a poacher. But was it an accident? Rick Coleman an investigative journalist determines to find out and in doing so to uncover the mystery.
Taking place in the modern day but with flashback chapters which gradually unfold the hidden secrets, the novel is a fast moving and compelling read based on the family knowledge of the author whose parents had connections to both Hess and Hitler and to British Intelligence.  

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