Monday, 19 December 2011

Country Credit Ratings

I am no economist so perhaps someone out there can explain to me the beneficial uses of country and bank credit ratings.
It seems to me that some of them will be self-fulfilling prophecies as if  companies like Fitch downgrade a country then the cost of borrowing increases for that country putting it in a worse position than before.
Why do organisations and media talk down the world financial situation so much? We all know that the borrowing culture, by individuals, banks, countries has got out of hand and everyone needs to reign in their borrowing habit so why make the situation worse by spreading gloom and doom?
The UK situation looks brighter than we are led to believe. We are reducing our public spending in order to control borrowing. It does not take a genius to realise that this is the only course of action we can take as if taxation is increased then the public will borrow more, so reduction in spend is the only answer. Hopefully history will tell that we have a government that is putting the future of the country ahead of its own political fortunes.
Of course we will hear the usual political rhetoric from those who are on the other side, but that is what they do!! It has nothing to do with logic, reality or common sense.
It is a pity that we have political parties at all during this time as the pragmatic approach is the only one which will resolve the problems we currently have.
The coalition government will probably not have long enough to put in place all the actions we need to take and we will get a change of government too soon.
Remember, there are less than one million people in the membership of the parties that rule the country and more than 60 million people who are not members of any party, so we are governed by a tiny majority, although the current incumbents seem to be doing what the majority wish.
So let's get more positive, the media MUST curb their enthusiasm for bad news and their ill hidden joy at any thing which seems detrimental to us all.
The silent majority has the power to change the world if only they could be motivated to do so. Things can not be too bad yet or they would be uniting now. Small innefective groups such as "Occupy xxxxx" are distracting us from the solution.  It would be better if they used their enthusiasm to unite millions of others in a sensible course of action

Thursday, 15 December 2011

BBC Cost Cutting

How can anyone justify paying enormous salaries to the likes of David Dimbleby and contemplate cutting local celebrities from regional radio shows?
Dimbleby is reportedly getting £450000 per year for hosting Question Time ( increasingly badly in my view) and another £250000 for just being available and covering any other odd jobs.
BBC Devon Radio have already reduced a morning program hosted by local hero Gordon Sparks, and there are fears that he will be axed altogether. Local MP's Gary Streeter and Alison Seabeck have both written to Lort Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, to intervene.
Dimbleby appears as a shallow, self-opinionated , rude curmudgeon whereby Gordon Sparks ( known locally as Sparksy ) is passionate about local issues, local sport and has enormous support from councillors, MP's and the majority of the local public.
What sort of arrogance is there at the top of the BBC that can ignore the feelings of those that pay them their wages through licence fees?
We, the British Public, must not allow ourselves to be browbeatebn into submission over issues such as these. Write to your MP's, stop listening to the BBC national stations for a period to show the power of the silent majority.
Start a coordinated campaign to boycott the corporation until they submit or until there is a major change in their management.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Let's Change: Who needs Mary Portas

Let's Change: Who needs Mary Portas: It's not that I have anything against Mary Portas per se, but this trend for "gurus" ( used to be linked with transcendential meditation etc...

More Hidden Costs re Badger Cull

I do not like the idea of killing badgers to see if it will reduce the incidence of bovine TB, however I dislike even more the way that society allows minority groups the power and  ability to cost taxpayers money.
Our democratically elected government have taken it on themselves to allow a cull in order to try to reduce the extremely rapid increase ( approx 600 cases in 1990 and 25000 cases in 2010 ) of TB in cattle .
That is their prerogative and it is fair for people to express their concerns relating to this act but it is not fair in my opinion for a minority group to seek legal action against the government.
Any sort of legal action will cost the taxpayers extra money in the long term and it should not be possible for this burden to be passed to the working man.
We kill approximately 50000 badgers on the roads each year but I do not see any legal action to ban cars from the roads, therefore I believe this type of protest is not necessarily for the benefit of the poor badger, but is prompted by other motives.
We know the opposition will be against any decision made by the government, but that is what they do!!!
It should be accepted in this economic climate that public debate is fine, but additional cost to taxpayers must absolutely not be permitted.

Who needs Mary Portas

It's not that I have anything against Mary Portas per se, but this trend for "gurus" ( used to be linked with transcendential meditation etc,") who are so expert that they can tell us what we already know.
Almost the whole of the population knows what is wrong with our town centres and villages and cities. The small, interesting, customer friendly shops are disappearing from the centres in favour of out of town supermarkets because it has become increasingly difficult to compete. We are told that this is because it is what the consumer wants. It is not the case, it is more that this is what is thrust upon the consumer by the culture that has developed around shopping practice.
Quick, easy and cheap seem to be the drivers in this increasingly frantic society that we live in. While that may be the case for those in employment, and those who are juggling family with jobs, but is is not necessarily true for the increasing population of elderly people.
Many would prefer the small friendly shops - remember when you could find someone to talk to about the things you want to buy?
The major causes for the demise of smaller, local shops are parking fees ( free in supermarkets ), rents (far too high ) and business rates. There are other factors such as crime that will come into the equation but the first 3 I mention are all controllable.
Parking fees for shopping MUST be reduced or abolished as this creates unfair competition for the supermarkets. Rents need to be controlled, and if necessary, by commercial legislation to ensure that rents represent reasonable return on investment rather than the "going rate" which is hiked up by blatant profiteering. Business rates should be much more reasonably balanced with normal rates and not used in a punitive way to squeeze extra from the commercial sector, thereby relieving the burden on the voting public.
The silent majority could play a part in shifting the emphasis from the major chains to smaller establishments by voting with their feet, but they need to be educated in the dangers that are on the horizon for continuing their current the pattern of buying.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Panorama and the Supermarkets

Well done Panorama in highlighting what many of us new already. Never mind the Office of Fair Trading or consumer watchdogs, these issues can be resolved by you and me.
What has been reported is just a symptom of the "rip-off" disease rampant in our country. Groups that have been "occupying" London, Manchester, Exeter and many other cities are not really achieving very much other than annoying the general public.
Real results can be obtained with even less effort by the shoppers of Britain. It is not necessary to protest with placards, write letters, but far more effective to change the policies of the major supermarkets by negative actions.
It is well known that fruit and vegetables, for example, are cheaper in local markets, farmers markets and local grocers.
A well coordinated and planned campaign to boycott, for a period, fruit and veg from one or all the main supermarkets would certainly make them sit up and listen. If enough people took part then the power would shift from major organisations to us as individuals.
We have the power, but it is necessary to harness that power.
In later blogs I will explore how this can be applied to banking, utilities, international chains, but this power would have to be very carefully managed in case we put out of business organisations that we need.