40 days ago
I start with a few words on vegetables here at the Welsh hovel. Then onto today’s election in France, and finally, the £16.60 pub burger in Wales: what is happening and what does it all mean?
102 days ago
Goaded by a couple of readers, I try to articulate how I feel about the video of West Ham’s highest paid player, Kurt Zouma, kicking his own cat around the house. In short: not good at all.
179 days ago
It is especially when you see the smiling face of a little kid who drowned yesterday in the channel that your heart melts. Or it should. Some of those on twitter appear to have no hearts while, for others, the important matter at hand seems to be weaponizing the deaths and playing the blame game. It is the fault of the Tories, or Labour or the Frogs and little Macron.
432 days ago
The graph below is pretty clear. Having lockdowns as a way to fight covid does not work. It looks at age adjusted excess deaths per million. You will see that Sweden, no lockdown, does pretty well, far better than the UK with a draconian lockdown. Florida with a very lax lockdown does marginally worse that California with a very tight lockdown, but not that much worse. Lockdown jihadists, mainly from the “tolerant” left, have repeatedly warned that Republican run Florida was heading for Armageddon. Many of those fanatics lived in New York with a far more draconian lockdown. Look how it fared…
515 days ago
Gosh, the tree and its oak barrel container are heavy but a friend and I somehow got it inside for its 16 days of warmth. Then it will be back to the garden where it has lived for the past year, gaining about two and a half inches. I reckon it is now just under five foot nine tall.
569 days ago
I have, in the past, viewed President Emmanuel Macron as a poseur in the mould of Tony Blair. He was, I thought, Europe’s equivalent to the ridiculous Justin Trudeau. His views on the rights of French fisherman to plunder British waters and his “helpful” interventions in the process of Brexit have not endeared the child husband to me. But maybe I was wrong.
581 days ago
Yesterday, there were vast protests across France against the beheading of French teacher Samuel Paty by an Islamist butcher. His “crime”, you will remember, was to show cartoons of the prophet Muhammad to his students in a class on free speech. French Teaching Unions have, as one, condemned the murder and spoken out on the importance of free speech. They are clear: they support liberty and say #JeSuisProfesseur.
650 days ago
We all know that if you are seeking asylum then you must do so in the first safe territory you come to. When I seek sanctuary in the land of the free, I shall thus fly direct to Moscow to kiss the hand of President Putin.
1325 days ago
I do not think for a second that the French hard right leader Marine Le Pen is insane. She may well be bad and dangerous, I tend to think that she is, but she is not mad. But right now the French and European elites are doing their best to rebuild her career and make her a martyr by suggesting she is clinically insane and to try and lock her up. To recap..
1503 days ago
As I write civilian airlines have been told to get out of Syrian airspace for the next 72 hours. The very real fear is that the USA and possibly Britain and France will launch air strikes against President Assad's regime. The justification -the alleged chemical attack on Douma. If the West blunders in, it does not do so in my name.
1517 days ago
Aged nine, Mirielle Knoll somehow managed to evade the SS and their, depressingly enthusiastic, French collaborators as they rounded up 13,000 Parisian Jews and took them to the Vel' d'Hiv cycling track from where they were sent on a one way trip to Auschwitz. Mirielle survived the war.
1712 days ago
This has to be one of the sillier ideas of the Mrs. Instead of politically correct nursery rhymes or sing and sign, which is even more PC, my son and heir and I are off to French lessons for babies.
1756 days ago
We are, this week, remembering one of the bloodiest battles of 1917, Passchendaele. Rightly we remember the brave men of both sides who gave their lives for their country. They deserve our respect and should be honoured. But once again many endeavour to rewrite history and pretend that World War One was not utterly pointless.
1851 days ago
Following the first round of the French Elections the liberal press was quick to spin the line" the results are a a vote against the establishment, against the elites". The spin here was that both Marine Le Pen and Tony Blair clone Emmanuel Macron were outsiders, anti establishment candidates while the traditional parties of Government had been beaten badly. This was spin. It was fake news designed to assist Macron. Marine Le Pen's job before the second round is to demolish that idea and so far she is doing a fairly good job of doing just that.
1858 days ago
In the US election I flagged up the phenomenon of the "shy" Trump supporter. I reckoned that 3-4% of voters were prepared to back Donald but would not fess up to pollsters and that is why I predicted the Donald would win the swing states just as the corrupt liberal media and pollsters assured us that crooked Hillary would win. So are there shy Le Pen voters in France? You bet there are.
1983 days ago
Today is the annual Christmas party held by the Mrs for her mad lefty friends, a Godless bunch who regard Christmas as having nothing to do with Christ. The normal score is that I do the cooking then, to avoid being emboldened by a few glasses of wine into pointing out that whatever they are saying is patent nonsense, I feign illness and go to bed. Let them believe
2082 days ago
Mr Arnold Mballe Sub, his Mrs and eight kids moved from France to Luton in 2012 so that he could study to be a mental health nurse at the University of Bedforshire with the NHS picking up the £27,000 fee for the course. Neither Arnold or his Mrs work, they are currently housed in a three bedroom house. Before that they clocked up a bill of £38,400 staying in a hotel for four months. Actually it was worse. The family ordered hotel meals of £21,000 and then refused to pay leaving the Council to foot that bill as well. Chuck in benefits and this lot have cost the taxpayer £103,000 in the past year. It gets worse.
The family want a larger house which, natch, will be paid for by the State. They have been offered several five bed houses which might see some of the brats having to share but they are young so that should be okay. But apparently that would not have enough
2126 days ago
Today's European Islamist atrocity is in France sees two Moslem attackers storm a church in St Etienne shout the usual words about Allah, cut off the head of an 86 year old priest who was performing mass and then take some nuns and worshippers hostage. After four attacks in Germany and now two in France in just 12 days, just about everyone in a now terrified Europe now accepts that there is a problem. Everyone except our State broadcasters and political elite that is.
2137 days ago
As the bodies are prepared for burial the war of words as to who is to blame for the outrage in Nice is underway. Fresh from calling for a ban on guns in America after Dallas, the liberals are now calling for a ban on lorries in Europe. Okay they are not. No-one ever accused the liberal left of being consistent in its prejudices or thought processes. But if you wander around the Internet you can see more or less everyone gets blamed somewhere.
At this point I'd just remind you of the words of two former Prime Minsters and I start with the war criminal Tony Blair.
2150 days ago
As the earnest young people, mostly loathsome students, gather in London today they claim that they march for Europe. it sounds good to be an internationalist showing solidarity with a whole continent. MarchfortheEU does not sound quite so good. The EU is after all, as even its supporters in the remain campaign admitted, inefficient, corrupt and far from perfect. Moreover it is loathed across the continent.
Switzerland has just withdrawn its application to join. In France, Austria, Greece, Italy, Holland, Sweden and Denmark there are growing calls for their own referendum and signs that in many of those countries folks will vote to leave. For what these young people fail to see is that across Europe there is a widespread feeling that the EU serves an business, bankster, media and political establishment very well but for the ordinary Joe, for the 99% it sucks.
Here in Greece, youth unemployment is 60%. It would be far higher
2165 days ago
Struggling to think what to say, the Mrs suggests that I tell you how wonderful she is. That is surely self evident. I then move onto Carolyn Fairbairn the head of the CBI who is not wonderful. She is in fact truly ghastly as I explain. Then it is onto the grim warnings from George Soros, amazing poll data from France and how we should reposition our portfolios accordingly.
2191 days ago
I wrote this article pre postal votes. I have updated it to reflect the fact that they altered the result. EU boss Martin Schulz warned the Austrians not to do it but I guess that they stopped obeying orders from the Germans some time around 1945 and so have almost just elected an extreme right winger as their President. Norbert Hofer denies he is a fascist or a Nazi but he, and his Freedom Party founded by , are pretty right wing. Excluding postal voted Norbert won, overall he lost narrowly. Who is to blame for the rise of the far right? No doubt David Cameron is already blaming Brexit while his new best buddy President Erdogan of Turkey is blaming the Kurds.
In a sense nobody is "to blame".
2334 days ago
Each day until New Year's Day, we are showing a photo taken through the window of a ShareProphets reader. Today's snap is by Adrian Demaid, watching the potato harvest in La Rocque, northwestern France
2990 days ago
I told God that I did not mind West Ham losing as long as Ireland won in Paris yesterday and so won the Six Nations Championship. And God played ball. West Ham were stuffed at Stoke and Ireland scraped home. My stomach was in knots for the whole game, it was agony but in the end Brian O’Driscoll went out as he deserved with a win.
My thoughts as the match dragged on were of a game in Rome a few years ago. Ireland thumped Italy but knowing that the Championship would be decided on points tried for that extra score and Italy got a freak try. We then sat down to watch France vs. Scotland and with last gasp points France did enough to deprive Ireland of the Championship. It was agony. No doubt as the England team and supporters watched events unfold yesterday they felt the same agony.
2995 days ago
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has once again shown himself an utter moron with his plan to levy an extra tax on bankers’ bonuses and curb tax relief on pensions for higher earners to “end youth unemployment.” He is a moron because his plans will not work but he is at least playing well to the crowd.
In today’s Britain bankers are hated. So saying that you will tax them more heavily will win votes. Balls should go further and announce plans for windfall taxes on other groups who are almost universally despised, such as paedophiles, Piers Morgan or members of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary party. It would win votes but like his bankers tax plan such schemes would not work.
Why will it not work? Firstly bankers will find ways around it to move either their bonuses or indeed themselves offshore. If a Government interferes with market forces by penalising one section of society of whom it disapproves what next? A super-tax on accountants or lawyers working for Pinsent Masons (I quite like that one)? Mess with market forces and in a mobile global market you will lose out. Just look at what has happened in France
So the take on that will be less than Balls expects
3011 days ago
Whatever one things about the sheep shaggers, and as I explained on Friday I have mixed feelings, an evening match at the Millennium Stadium has a world beating atmosphere. It was a wonderful night. Wales played well, France were abject. I returned to Bristol rather worse for wear on the last train.
Worse was to come with Ireland against the Old Enemy. I really do loathe the swagger of English rugby with a passion. I loathed it when I wore the green jersey of London Irish
3013 days ago
Naturally my sporting thoughts this weekend will be in London. Can West Ham, in our last game before the return of Horseface, defeat Southampton at Upton Park to go into the top half of the table? More importantly can Ireland defeat the Old Enemy at Twickenham to lift the Triple Crown. Oh Lord, as I prepare for sleep tinight I pray of you that you may give your faithful servant BOD this one last triumph. As a merciful, fair and kind Lord I know that you cannot be an England supporter, so how about it?
But a nice man from North Wales has just offered me a ticket to see the Sheep Shaggers take on the Froggies in Cardiff on Friday night. It is but a short trip over from Bristol and so I have accepted. But who to support?
If I think of Big Nose, the Welsh speaking mother of my daughter Olivia and how insufferable she and her countrymen are when Wales win I am naturally inclined to support the Froggies. But then I chatted to Olivia tonight. For some reason she was not keen to discuss the Ireland game ( I cannot think why) but she says that she hopes Wales defeat the French and …it gets better…that what really matters is that Wales go on to beat England. That’s my girl!
And so for Olivia’s sake I am decided. I shall show solidarity with our Celtic Cousins. C’mon the sheep shaggers.
3021 days ago
Kitosh came to me as a kitten and had a varied life in Islington, Shoreditch, France and finally in the Isle of Man. I remember well the Paris to Douglas train, taxi, train, train, ferry and taxi journey we made together. His sudden death in Douglas a few years ago was a real blow. His ashes have travelled with me since then but have remained for almost two years in a wooden urn hidden at Real Man Pizza in Clerkenwell. Now his final journey begins.
Born on a council estate in Walthamstow he would not have imagined that he would have been so well travelled. But the travelling is now over.
Now that I have a sense of permanence, the Mrs and I have agreed that Kitosh’s urn can be buried in our garden underneath the fig tree. We are not sentimental enough to contemplate some grand ceremony. It will just be the Mrs watching as I dig a deep hole and in goes the urn. The tree marks the spot.
During some years of upheaval for me Kitosh was the one constant in my life and a portrait of him already hangs in the new house as a reminder of that. I am not sure the Mrs is that impressed but she has let it go. So this weekend it is the final farewell, RIP Kitosh my good friend.
3059 days ago
As I am off to London tomorrow and as our Christmas tree is a good two foot taller than the Mrs it must come down tonight, 24 hours early. A sense of guilt now descends as I prepare to lug the bare tree onto the Street where it will next week be collected by the Council and head off to meet its maker.
When I was a boy my father planted a tree in the garden. Each December it would be uprooted and find its way in a few days before Christmas. It would be dressed and watered and looked after. And on January 6th it would return – feeling rather tired and over-heated as it sat in a room with an open fire – to its real home in the garden. By the end of the spring it had shed its dead leaves from its Yuletide horror and by the next December it was a bit taller and ready to go again.
Now that we have a garden of sorts we plan (okay I plan but the Mrs has not objected) to do the same thing. And so this 2013 will be the last year of wasting a Christmas tree in this way. Come the early spring I shall plant a five foot tree in the garden hoping that by Christmas we have something on which to hang my global decorations.
Luckily the Mrs was not big on Christmas trees and so this is one area that in merging possessions it is just a straight takeover. I have always picked up a little something from wherever I have been to add to what goes on the tree as well as a bit of tinsel and the normal baubles. And so there are two, three legged Isle of Man Christmas decorations, ornate elephants and also stars from India, a small soldier with moving legs, some red and also white wooden stars and a mouse from France, a couple of stars from Israel, there is a tortoise from Ecuador and from Greece a small picture of Christ. Next year’s travels? A trip to the USA in April is planned and I shall return with something else for the tree.
3193 days ago
Sent to me by a correspondent in Greece. Ever wonder what happens when you forget history or are nationally arrogant?
JFK'S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60's when De Gaulle decided to pull out of NATO. De Gaulle said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible.
Rusk responded "Does that include those who are buried here?"
3338 days ago
Cyprus is a small island and it was easy to ignore or play down events at first but the situation is now out of control. We live in a new world order, the post Cyprus order and you need to wake up to the reality of that fast.
The Euro was never an economic project. It was a political one. And as such the “believers” brushed aside any economic objections and sought to ensure that everyone joined the club. Some countries were not fit to join (Portugal, Eire Spain, Italy, France, Greece, and Cyprus) but that mattered little. The leaders of those countries and the ECB agreed to lie in order to gain entry.
This was a concerted lie by the political elites across Europe – a class distinct from the folks they nominally represent. And so today as the Euro collapses the political elites of Poland, Rumania and elsewhere are still applying to sign up. Hey, I know the Titanic is going down but is there any chance of me jumping off a floating currency lifeboat and getting on board your fine vessel? Madness.
And one reason that it is madness is that we have no idea how Cyprus will play out. The initial plans for state bank robbery have been shelved and so if you have less than 100,000 Euros in your bank account that money is, pro tem, safe. But it is impossible to withdraw it in more than small tranches. If you have more you will lose some of it. Perhaps 40% or 60% or potentially all of it. The idea that bondholders should lose everything if a bank fails seems fair to me. The idea that depositors should lose cash is just obscene.
What will be the effects?
For one you will see a growing scandal of how the political elite looked after its own and its friends.
3366 days ago
The answer to the 1998 financial crisis was to slash borrowing costs across the globe so that we all over-leverages and misallocated our capital. On that occasion it was junk dotcom investments and property. In 2008 another crises and the same solution. The fact is that the world has been misallocating capital for decades, led by Governments freed from prudence by the abandonment of the gold standard in 1971.
With each crisis that crops up, the solution is simply to print more money and to get folks to take on even more debt. You owe too much – heck borrow some more. And so capital is misallocated and bubbles grow ever bigger. But at some stage the party ends. It will. The current set up is simply unsustainable.
And so what will be the black swan event that causes the mother of all reality checks? If offer four runners and riders. Inevitably if one occurs it will trigger the others. And it will probably be a fifth black swan that no-one has thought much about that starts the party. But here goes.
1. The Chinese property bubble. I have written before on numerous occassions about just how mammoth this is and how it really can knock the Chinese (and thus the worlds) economy for six. The answer of the authorities to the slowdown in the PRC in 2012 was to pump more hot air into this bubble. It has to be my top black swan bet. Read this piece out yesterday on Zero Hedge if you doubt me.
My major work from September 2012 on China, the misallocation, fraud an inevitably of a crash is HERE
2. A market refusal to buy US T Bonds in an auction. The US Government is three years away from having a balance sheet like that of Greece just before the crisis. An economically illiterate President and, to show balance, a spineless Republican party in Congress just cannot get to grips with what is happening. The US today is like sick Britain at the end of WW1. But it will take the US far less time than we took to see its currency tank. At some stage folks will refuse to stump up cash for a debt that yields sod all and is clearly unrepayable and unsupportable.
3. Sovereign default across Europe accompanied by widespread Civil unrest. The only folks buying Spanish debt right now are the Spanish state pension funds. Oooh lucky Spanish state pensioners. But those funds are tapped out. Spain is bust and its economy is enjoying an EU austerity driven spanking session which Max Mosley could only dream of. It is not just Spain. Italy, Greece, Portugal are in the same mess. The Irish economy and society has been beaten to a pulp in the name of fiscal responsibility and yet could still collapse. France is heading the wrong way fast as is the UK. The collapse of the Euro as we know it has to be an odds on bet it is a matter of how it occurs.
4. The Arab spring moving to Saudi Arabia. A regime with no legitimacy is kleptocratic, autocratic and barbaric. It bribes the people with a fraction of the nation’s wealth and panders to radical Islam in a most unhealthy sort of way but it is unloved. One day it will fall. Revolution in the world’s largest oil producer could perhaps trigger unforeseen events elsewhere.
Hey, maybe we can all carry on spending beyond our means, leveraging up as individuals and as States for a good while yet. We have been kicking this can down the road for decades so maybe we can carry on for another few decades. Or maybe not. One day something will happen and we will find our noses against the wall at the end of the Cul-de-sac. That day may be sooner than we think.
For more thoughts from Tom Winnifrith follow him on twitter @tomwinnifrith
3477 days ago
Under its super crackpot socialist loon of a New President Frances Hollande France is going bust even more quickly than bankrupt Britain. As such, nothing the Froggies do should surprise you. In France government spending is already 56% of GDP (OECD average 46%) The debt to GDP ratio at the end of 2011 was 85.8% and with a whopping budget deficit it is rising fast. 90% is the point at which debt stifles growth – a point of no return. Pretty soon you get to 120% and you are Greece.
So faced with a country going bust and spending too much what does a Socialist do? Yes, of course. He spends more. And he pays for it by a) borrowing, while he can and b) by imposing new taxes. And this brings us to the great Nutella tax. According to France 24, the latest wheeze from the loons comes in the form of an attempt to hike taxes by 300 percent% on a key ingredient in Nutella. A bill to push through the tax was adopted by a Senate commission and heads to the National Assembly this week for review.
The key ingredient is palm oil which comprises about 20% of Nutella. So how do the Froggies justify this tax hike?
3496 days ago
My half hour taste of the BBC yesterday, via the Today programme, still hurts. The episode in question concerns the EU’s plan to increase its budget by 6.8% this year, David Cameron’s faux outrage, the lies told by an EU spokesman on the show and the dismal lack of balance provided by a biased BBC. I have discussed the matter with Christopher Booker and the whole business is a disgrace.
3590 days ago
This is a farce. Spain is bust. So too is Italy. France will be next. We have already forgotten about Greece and Cyprus. They are buster than bust. Yet the leaders of the Evil Empire and the IMF just arse about pretending it is all under control. “Don’t panic” shouts Corporal Jones. Das is Gut says Frau Merkel as she announces that she is off on holiday for a month. The Spanish are relaxed. Just ban short selling for 3 months and if we remove the evil speculators everything will come up smelling of roses. Well at least not like the streets of 10 Italian Cities where the trash is 10 foot high and the schools will not re-open in September because there is no money. But that in no way implies that Italy itself is bust, says whichever bloke is leading Italia this week. Yeah right. Of course not. So there you have it. It is all about dealing with evil speculators and we can rest easily. Bollocks.
3599 days ago
I gather that ADVFN has a large presence in France and a growing readership in a country I adore. So before I offend all you froggies out there may I wish you a very happy Bastille Day. Now for the offending. There is always stiff competition for the title of the worst and maddest leader in the EU. Like Eurovision, the Greeks traditionally make a strong showing as do those chaps from the former Yugoslav Republics. However, before your recent Presidential poll, I sensed that Francois Hollande would be a very strong contender indeed for this title and since his election he has not disappointed me. As each week has gone by he has shown himself to be even madder and stupider than anyone could have dreamed of. His reaction to news that Peugeot is to fire 8,000 employees was a master-class in self delusion.
Here are the facts. Peugeot is loss making. If it carries on as it has been then it will go bust. Its problem is that its cars are not very good and as such they are over-priced for what they offer. But Peugeot cannot afford to cut its prices because its cost base is too high. And its cost base is too high because it builds cars in France where it must pay high wages to staff who put in s short working week, demand long holidays, have a propensity to go on strike and overall do not have a great work ethic.