Beyond Trump’s EU climate gambit

Will US President Donald John Trump’s taking America out of the Paris Climate Agreement cause wider problems for European Union elites?

Beyond Trump's EU climate gambit

As you’ve doubtless already heard, Trump announced yesterday that the US is pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord: Something in the Matrix just changed, and big-time.

To anyone paying attention, Trump’s cuts to the US Environmental Protection Agency budget, announced in March, gave an advance signal of the skeptical President’s disdain for the climate change lobby. He particularly didn’t appreciate its crippling implications for US jobs and industry.

So whether or not you like the Donald, this is a HUGE game-changer in world geopolitics. And this is only the start.

Indeed, newly elected, Vichy-style French President Emmanuel Macron reacted swiftly to the announcement by inviting pro-warming scientists to seek exile in France. Whether “97% of all scientists” in the US will leave for France’s budding caliphate is yet to be seen. Continue reading

Brassed Off with Terror

Respecting victims of a terror attack by performing music is a lovely gesture, but is it enough after a declaration of war?

Pioneering journalism by Russell Cavanagh!

There was a brass band concert in Manchester on Saturday where the ensemble played a hymn dedicated to victims of last Monday’s terrorist atrocity in the city.

The hymn was, appropriately, called Manchester, It was played at the end of a previously scheduled performance held at the Royal Northern College of Music, itself based in the city. The idea was, according to the All4Brass.com website, to pay “tribute to all those caught up in the events, and raise money for the victims’ foundation”.

As everyone knows by now, the attack targeted very young girls who were watching a pop idol perform live. So far, 22 of those girls, and some family members, have died, with many remaining critically injured in hospital. ISIS later claimed responsibility.

The banding community is a particularly close one, despite fierce rivalries when contesting. It often pulls together right across Britain (and sometimes beyond) to help causes for individuals suffering extreme ill-health as well as various charities. These are kind folks with big, harmonious hearts, and RNCM produces many of the movement’s finest young players.

There will have been many in the audience at that concert, as well as sat on the stand, who felt poignancy at a hymn to the fallen being played in the wake of such horror. (Perhaps no coincidence that brass bands play regularly right across the country in large cities and small villages every Armistice Day. Banding really does come with a conscience.)

However, is it ever enough merely to pay tribute to the victims of terror? For example, what difference does it really make lighting a candle, or changing an avatar on one’s social media account, other than signal that one cares – even if feeling helpless, or perhaps reluctant, to do much more about a matter involving an ongoing slaughter of innocents? Continue reading

This Irradiated Dystopia

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.

this-irradiated-dystopia

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

Huge Self-Employment Surge

The number of people opting to work for themselves increased by almost a quarter across the past decade.

Does increased self-employment match unemployment rates?

According to data analysis released today by business insurance provider Direct Line for Business, Britain saw a 23 per cent increase in self-employment from just before the start of the credit crunch until now. Figures rose from 3.8 million to nearly 4.7 million.

One in seven UK employees (15 per cent) are currently self-employed consultants or other forms of contractor. According to the research, 91 per cent of UK businesses hire outside help.

Disability benefits aside, is it not better to encourage people into self-employment rather than squander their potential, and probably that of their offspring, on state handouts?

Small businesses still form the backbone of the UK’s economy. Many grow to employ others.

Positive Money?

Positive Money is a national campaign for banking and monetary reform in the UK enjoying a deal of support.

It is an organisation that highlights social and economic injustices, offering remedial arguments for solutions based on a Keynesian model of economic theory.

“At Positive Money we believe the best course of action would be for the BoE to cooperate with the Treasury in order to finance a fiscal stimulus with newly created money.” – From the Positive Money website.

Below is an insightful audio interview with members of the Sheffield branch covering fractional reserve banking and much more. The interviewees are clearly passionate, and their campaign certainly deserves respect for consistency.

I can find common ground with many of the problems that Positive Money identifies, but definitely disagree with the solutions on offer (e.g., printing money).

(Vive la difference.) 😎

Is Universal Basic Income a Good Idea?

Earlier this year the World Economic Forum called for a Universal Basic Income payable almost unconditionally to citizens. Is this a realistic aspiration?

The idea had been discussed at Davos and the WEF dutifully promoted the idea:

World Economic Forum
Scott Santens, 15 January 2017

Consider for a moment that from this day forward, on the first day of every month, around $1,000 is deposited into your bank account – because you are a citizen. This income is independent of every other source of income and guarantees you a monthly starting salary above the poverty line for the rest of your life.

READ MORE …

The idea of providing citizens with a livable, basic income certainly has its attractions and might render welfare benefits obsolete if implemented as a simple addition to any actual earnings. Continue reading

Labour’s Proposed £10 Minimum Wage

The Labour Party just announced proposals to increase the UK minimum wage to £10 per hour.

Of course, Labour has many blind spots when it comes to economics. The “party of the workers” doesn’t understand that smaller businesses will stop hiring and will instead bring in automation where possible – and many firms may even go bust.

Nor does Labour understand that those businesses able to continue trading will merely increase prices of their services and goods to consumers. Think too about care home staff, many on minimum wage and overworked due to cutbacks from existing wage legislation.

Anyone who knows simple arithmetic (let alone economics) realises that a company with, say, ten low-skilled employees will have to make £100 an hour to cover their wages – and much more than that in order to cover business overheads such as renting premises, business rates, stock purchase, etc, etc.

None of this should come as any surprise. UK Labour’s Leader Jeremy Corbyn has never held down a job outside of politics let alone run a business. Indeed, he did not even complete his higher education course.

Click on the image below to read the Evening Standard story.

Quality economics and money journalism from Russell Cavanagh.

Millennials Staying Home Longer

Impoverished millennials are staying with their parents into their 30s on average and 40% of parents worry their children will never be able to buy a home.

High house prices, an increase in take-up of tertiary education and other economic factors are all forcing young people to live with their parents across Britain.

A recent Gocompare.com survey found that:

  • Many parents expect their offspring may reach 32 years of age before they will be able to consider buying their own property;
  • A fifth say their children are more likely to inherit a home than buy one;
  • Just under one in ten (9%) said they would encourage their kids to emigrate and buy a home abroad.

On average, the research found that most parents pegged the expected age of leaving at 25. Continue reading

Ban the BBC!

TV Licensing, that strong-arm tool of the BBC, reminds us today that the yearly cost of a television licence just rose to £147.

Quite why there’s any need for publicly funded media in this internet age is beyond me. Numerous studies from both the US and UK show that television audiences currently average well over 55-years-old and continue to age year on year as younger generations stay online for their news and entertainment.

Of course, many irrational souls still bleat on nostalgically about “Aunty Beeb” and try to justify its existence as a very British institution. These are people whose childhoods consisted of just two (later three) TV channels and weekends spent over the comics sections of their fathers’ newspapers. They now wear sandals and live with two or more cats. Continue reading

RadioShack and Tandy Nostalgia

Fox Business reported today developments in the sad case of declining tech company RadioShack.

FOX BUSINESS
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

Small Business Backbone – Video Documentary

Almost five years ago I produced a short documentary about local food producers in South Yorkshire, England.

Filming started in March 2012 and after its release in June that year the video attracted several tens of thousands of views across a number of specialist documentary websites and online platforms.

Unfortunately, the original video file was lost. However, a third-generation edit is up on Youtube.

The story is one of two food producers bucking the trend of austerity so prevalent across the UK at that time. The dairy farm was losing money and the bee-keeper had lost his IT career.

Given the populism manifesting in Europe right now and taking into account the fact that any nation’s economy is highly dependent on small businesses, I thought I’d share it again, this time on this blog:

There’s also a cut-down edit that features only the dairy farm story and you can find that here.