As the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) keeps opposing Brexit, it’s worth looking at why the business lobby group is tainted.
Brexit Minister David Davis is today meeting top business leaders in an effort to deal with unrealistic demands from the CBI that the government delays indefinitely “departure from the Single Market and the Customs Union”.
Although the CBI claims to speak for over 190,000 UK businesses in its role advising and lobbying government, and is even incorporated by Royal Charter, it continually opposes Britain’s democratic decision of 23 June 2016 to leave the European Union.
Agreeing to stay in the single market and customs union whilst leaving the EU is a nonsense akin to cancelling one’s Netflix subscription but agreeing to keep paying £7.49 each month to receive their films.
Perhaps the CBI’s desire to remain in the EU customs union and single market is influenced by over £1 million it received from Brussels. There’s certainly much to explain. Continue reading
Coffee chain Starbucks saw large profit increases across its European, Middle Eastern and African divisions in 2016 but UK and US sales declined this year.
A report in the Telegraph last week said: “Profits rose by nearly 75pc in Starbucks’s European, Middle Eastern and African division last year as the coffee giant continued its expansion into new markets.”
Although the figure applies to the business year up to 2 October 2016, the company announced its intentions to develop worldwide markets only last July.
However, profits fell 60 percent in the UK in exactly the same period, with the company blaming Brexit for the collapse. It paid only £6.7 million due to experiencing “an economic slowdown”.
It’s certainly true that Starbucks’ record of paying minimal tax has been a contentious issue for several years in Britain. (See my video interviews with hard-left activists and disaffected Liberal Democrats occupying Starbucks shops below.)
Additionally, a heartfelt declaration in January 2017 to concentrate on hiring refugees in the United States proved instead to be a marketing miscalculation. The resulting storm on social media hit US sales by four percent and wounded the brand internationally.
It remains to be seen if Starbucks struck preferential tax deals for its new activities in Turkey, South Africa, Slovenia and Italy. Whether it continues to gain an upper hand or instead shoots itself in the foot one more time will certainly be worth watching.
Is news that Britain’s new Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier runs outdated computer software in fact a social engineering exercise by the Secret Intelligence Service?
Media sites across the web carried the news yesterday that the £3.5 billion vessel, fresh out of dock for sea trials, apparently relies on Microsoft’s 16-year-old XP operating system.
Measuring 280 metres long and 70 metres wide, the ship can carry 36 state of the art F-35B fighter jets, and hosts modern military technology. Yet reporters from both the Times and the Guardian newspapers who were invited onboard claimed yesterday to have seen a Windows XP machine employed in the ship’s control room.
The Ministry of Defence does not deny this:
27 June 2017
The Ministry of Defence told WIRED that it doesn’t comment on the “specific systems” its ships use but says it has “absolute confidence in the security we have in place” for the HMS Queen Elizabeth. The MoD has, however, previously commented on reports the ship is using XP.
So exactly why did these stories emerge about the Queen Elizabeth running an obsolete computer program?
Here are sketches of my thoughts:
- Making it known that an outdated operating system is in use can only tempt hackers and cyber criminals.
- Windows XP users across the world, whether private citizens or public bodies, are still being targeted by the WannaCry ransomeware attack. WannaCry has proven to be one of the largest and most successful cyber attacks of all time, hitting significant commercial and infrastructure projects as well as government interests in many countries.
- The UK government pledged last November to spend £1.9 billion on cyber defence.
- The Queen Elizabeth story is basic #101 social engineering (deception) initiated by the Secret Intelligence Service. They want it to get out, in as convincing a way as possible, that the nation’s defence has vulnerabilities and that the Queen Elizabeth is a plum target. (The media is playing along nicely!)
- There will be exploitable back doors to the ship’s XP system. They will be designed to be realistic but will be sand-boxed (i.e., appear live and functioning but ultimately remain isolated behind firewalls, unable to cause real harm).
- Most importantly, this honey trap will attract existing and new enemies. The spooks will then try to figure what harm is out there, perhaps identify some of the clumsy ones, and learn from how they choose to operate.
Naturally, the Secret Intelligence Service will not tell me if I’m close to target in my analysis. But I do ask “the Organisation” to offer me a reasonably well-paid intelligence job in the event I’m right.
I reported a while back on a petition that I judged to be a clever hoax. It seems I was wrong and that the campaign was, instead, just plainly insane.
The petition was raised against an alliance between Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party and the UK Conservatives after the June 8 general election.
I deduced in a previous post that it was an ingenious trolling exercise designed to take the piss out of the Left.
My rationale went as follows:
- Petition started by one “Winston Churchill” (i.e., a dead politician) and so could be dismissed by Parliament’s petitions committee;
- The unsavoury attributions to the DUP accurately fit any criticism of Islam and Sharia law (so unquestioningly supported by leftists);
- The Labour Party itself sought a coalition deal with the DUP in 2010 under then leader Gordon Brown.
“What a bloody clever trolling,” I thought. But I was wrong. “Winston Churchill” has now altered his name on the petition to reveal his identity as one Stuart Veaney.
Mr Veaney appears from his Twitter feed to be a staunch supporter of Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, a characteristic that seems somewhat at odds with his “Proud supporter of honest politics” Twitter bio statement.
The petition has reached over 750,000 signatures – though they will no doubt be worth verifying in order to weed out a good few thousand fakes.
However, the other two bullet points, both extraordinary in themselves, remain to be answered. Strangely, the Left remains silent on those.
Of course, Mr Veaney may just be a further development in the hoax.
(NOTE: Although details of a deal between the Conservatives and the DUP have been announced, the petitions committee has not been assembled at time of writing.)
Theresa May believes in promoting online censorship to fight terror and extremism. In doing so, she falls nicely in line with her EU counterparts.
During her first foreign trip since performing dismally in last week’s general election, PM May and French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday announced further crackdowns on extremist content online.
Of course, dealing with recent terrorist atrocities in both Britain and France were high on the agenda for May and Macron’s meeting, So they chose to counter those horrific by assaulting Facebook and Google.
Mrs May said at a joint press conference that the UK is already working with internet companies “to stop the spread of extremist material that is warping young minds”.
A joint statement with Macron further announced intentions to create a new legal obligation under which web firms would be fined if they didn’t “abide by their social responsibility to step up their efforts to remove harmful content”.
EU censorship project
However, there are ongoing concerns from independent media organisations and freedom advocates that such laws may instead be used to suppress critics of European Union policies, such as indiscriminate immigration from Middle East and North African countries. Continue reading
A petition started against a Conservative alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party is surely a magnificent piece of trolling. Here’s why!
Everyone knows the Conservatives failed to reach a majority with which to form a government after last Thursday’s national election. We also know that the Tories are pinning hopes on a deal with the DUP to benefit from their 10 MPs’ support.
In a petition destined for 10 Downing Street, an individual named Winston Churchill laid out the following concerns:
Here is a list of DUP stances, in case you need a reminder:
The DUP want to make it legal to discriminate against anyone from the LGBT community.
The DUP want children to be taught creationism as scientific fact.
The DUP want no woman to have access to any type of abortion, and furthermore criminalise anyone offering or seeking that service.
The DUP want to bring back the death penalty
Theresa May should RESIGN. This is a disgusting, desperate attempt to stay in power.
The petition has certainly brought excitement to the government’s opponents, primarily hailing from the defeated Left, and reached 721,674 signatures as of this morning. It needs only 100,000 to be considered for a parliamentary debate.
But three items of evidence suggest that instead of being a valid campaign against the new government, it is in fact a massive trolling of hypocrisy on the political Left: Continue reading
Did EU chief Juncker really advise UK Prime Minister May to hold a snap election because of brexit fears? Maybe, maybe not …
Toby Helm and Daniel Boffey wrote in yesterday’s Guardian/Observer newspaper that EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker had repeatedly advised Mrs. May to hold a snap election.
Buried in an article entitled ‘Drop hard Brexit plans’, leading Tory and Labour MPs tell May, Helm and Boffey wrote: “The Observer has learned that May took the fateful decision to call the election having been urged to do so by European Union commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.”
Juncker’s advice was allegedly due to a fear that the Conservative government’s then slim majority of 12 seats would make brexit negotiations difficult. We now, of course, know that the Conservatives lost that majority at last Thursday’s snap election.
But the Observer/Guardian journalists also wrote: “’During bilaterals, in the margins of summits, Juncker repeatedly told her he thought she should do it,’ one EU source said.”
Although several other UK titles picked up and ran the story, none have been able to name that elusive “EU source”. Continue reading
A tech-based dystopia is not coming, it’s already here.
The World Economic Forum is currently pushing for a world where property ownership is reduced and where ‘the cloud’ controls everyone’s vehicles remotely and centrally.
The “clean air” claim in the above tweet is particularly laughable when one considers how much RF radiation and other pollutants surround us each and every day.
Interview with US activist Amy O’Hair Continue reading
If you believe you are free, walk out your front door without any form of money in your pocket and see how far you get.
A while back I wrote a post about how a cashless society edges ever closer towards becoming a universal reality. In response, a reader asked, “So what’s really stopping them?”
That’s a very good, very simple question. In putting together an answer, I pondered the following: Continue reading
Fox Business reported today developments in the sad case of declining tech company RadioShack.
March 09, 2017
U.S. electronics chain RadioShack filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday for the second time in a little over two years, faced with a challenging retail environment and an unsatisfying partnership with wireless provider Sprint Corp.
READ MORE …
I bought a neat piece of spying equipment in the early 1990s, an analogue microphone that you licked before sticking it to your phone in order to tape conversations unobtrusively.
It came in handy for recording story sources when I was working as a print journalist, allowing me 100% accuracy in repeating whatever I was told. Continue reading
Cash is disappearing as contactless payments – cards, mobile devices, etc – become more popular with consumers. What are the implications for businesses?
“Think of those leisure days, perhaps out strolling across Prague’s Charles Bridge and waiting for the busker to …”
Cash has been under attack since American Express introduced the US to general purpose card payments in the 1950s. The ‘plastic’ revolution escalated when Barclaycard was introduced to Britain in 1966. The rest is history.
Approximately 80 per cent of transactions in Germany are still made using cash. However, this figure falls across EU member states.
But over in the US, four out of every five people use non-cash payments for their everyday purchases today, This figure leaps to 100% in the 18-24 age group. Continue reading