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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 Posted by Hari No comments Labels: , , , , , , ,
Chris and his wife lament the effect today's economic cuts will have on tomorrow's hopefuls

Monday, 28 March 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011 Posted by Hari No comments Labels: , ,
KJ and Fee debate Labour's stance in opposition to the coalition's economic policy

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011 Posted by Jake 5 comments Labels: , , , , , ,

Just because you aren’t rich doesn’t mean you aren’t rich-pickings. Just as in nature, so it is in the marketplace. The biggest of the beasts feed on the smallest morsels. The largest elephants munch on the delicate little leaves of trees, the biggest whales suck up microscopic plankton. One of the great secrets of Britain is though the rich have almost all the wealth, it is ordinary Britons from the moderately well off to the poor who have most of the cashflow. From the banks, insurance companies, and energy companies, with boards adorned by chivalrous knights, noble lords, and right honourable politicians, all the way across to the loan sharks, counterfeit market traders, and doorstepping shysters, they all pursue the cashflow – in the form of your average ripped-off Briton.


According to government statistics, although the poorest 50% have virtually no wealth,  they do 30% of the spending. Although the richest 10% have over 70% of the wealth, they only do 20% of the spending.




It is the biggest companies, with lovable adverts, catchy “da da da daah da daah da da da daah da daah” theme tunes, and high powered compliance-avoidance teams, that are the greatest villains. Those that understand their mutual interest gang up in associations and consortia to see off the regulators.  In it’s release in March 2011, OFGEM stated


The big players as a matter of informal policy show their contempt for regulators by simply ignoring them. They have learned that the penalties they face are a fraction of the profits they rake in. This has been learned from the rarefied heights of providing dubious tax-avoidance services to the high rollers down to ripping off single parents putting pound coins into their electricity meters.

Given as evidence to a US Congressional committee, revealing how fines are a fraction of earnings.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011 Posted by Hari No comments Labels: , ,
Chris and Fee think Osborne's plans for the British economy are running on empty.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011 Posted by Jake 3 comments Labels: , , , ,
London, New York, and Chicago are the World’s main financial centres. There was a time, only a decade or two ago, when this was principally because of the need to communicate.  The Lloyds Insurance Market’s lifeblood was the stream of insurance brokers walking along Lime Street to sit, in offices and restaurants, with the underwriters negotiating and administering insurance policies. Exchanges from stocks and shares to futures and options involved traders massed together in large open halls shouting deals at one another. The reason for these cities’ pre-eminence was the advantages that came from being at the centre of trading – which once could only be done by being physically there in person. Now your physical presence is no longer required to trade in person. Placing insurance and trading shares, futures, and options is done electronically. Where you are in the world doesn’t matter.

However, the falling importance of physical location has not undermined London, New York or Chicago. New York and Chicago remain locations of choice because they are at the centre of the World’s largest economy. London joins them at the top table because of the promise of pussy-ish regulation. From banking and trading all the way to personal taxation, regulation in London and to a lesser extent in the USA has been bent into a pretzel to be accommodating.

Financial services firms have long since learned that the most lucrative of all their investments is the money they pay in fines, without admitting wrong-doing, which allow them to carry on with their dodgy doings. They regard paying fines as a cost of doing business, just like paying their rent and their electricity bill.

In evidence taken by the US Senate in 2003, investigating dodgy tax evasion tactics, it was stated that a senior KPMG tax professional calculated just how excellent an investment paying fines is.



Saturday, 19 March 2011

The country and economy are on a knife-edge as George Osborne prepares to deliver his budget. What will its impact be?

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 Posted by Hari No comments Labels: , , ,
The gang check out the government guide on drinking alcohol

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011 Posted by Jake No comments Labels: , , , , , , , ,

The rotten secret hidden inside “The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations”:

Jesus’ reference (Mathew 23:27) to certain individuals as “whited sepulchres” compared them to white painted tombs – pristine on the outside and full of rotting decay inside. Among the whitest of legislative sepulchres is “The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008”. 

The foulest corpse in this graveyard of ‘fair practice’ is the reference to “the average consumer”. The legislation states that a practice is only “unfair” if it brings detriment to the “average consumer”. It is this camel-sized loophole that has given the banking, television, energy, lottery, train, insurance, and charity industries and just about any other economic actor free range to rip chunks off Britons to the fullest extent of their appetites.

It is this legislation that allows Ripped-Off Britons to be entirely legally ripped off. Subtle references to the “average consumer” by well compensated lawyers have kept up company profits and executive bonuses at the expense of the less than average consumer. The fact is, half the population falls into this ‘less than average’ category.

Is it an indictment of us Britons that half the population of the UK has a lower than average IQ?  Are schools failing because half of students have less than average literacy for their ages? And that half the population is less than average height? And that half of everything and everyone is less than average in just about every way? Because, that is what “average” means.  It broadly means the middle value, from which half are above and half below.  (***Mathematical pedants, please see note at the bottom of this post).

With “The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008” British legislators declared open season on half the population of Britain! An invitation few successful British corporations hesitate to pitilessly accept.

Defining the “average consumer”, the act states

Friday, 11 March 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011 Posted by Hari No comments Labels: , , , ,
There's one crucial difference...

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Sunday, March 06, 2011 Posted by Jake No comments Labels: ,
"Why are you so negative about everything in your blog?" said a little voice. "Say something nice before springtime". So I set myself the task of finding a benevolent salesman. The one I came across, the one that always works in the interests of the public, is the Estate Agent.


For those of us who own our homes, the value of our house probably forms the bulk of our personal wealth. Apart from living in it, we use it to borrow money cheaply by re-mortgaging, and we hope it will make a big contribution to funding our old age should we downsize to a cheaper home to release capital. The monetary value of our houses exists because of the liquid housing market, which in turn exists because of the much despised Estate Agent.


Why are Estate Agents regarded as being close to the bottom of the morality pile? Cushioned from the absolute pits only by used car salesmen and politicians? The truth is the Estate Agent’s reputation is entirely undeserved. Like mild mannered Clark Kent, Superman disguised as a reporter, estate agents are actually some of the best disguised heroes of our economy.


Most salesmen lie. Zero fat; high interest; free broadband; low repayments; extended warranty; stay slim and beautiful – fibs told by supermarkets, banks, telephone operators, credit merchants, electrical goods retailers, and resting celebrities. But all these salesmen are ranked above Estate Agents. Why? After all, these other salesmen are there to lie to us. Sure, the Estate Agent lies to us – but he also lies for us. He enables us private citizens a rare opportunity to dabble as perpetrators in the rip-off game by proxy, which is both exhilarating and a wee bit shameful.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Friday, March 04, 2011 Posted by Hari No comments Labels: , , , , ,
KJ and Fee sink to a new low

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Wednesday, March 02, 2011 Posted by Hari No comments Labels: , , , ,
Chris and Fee on Westminster's heavy-handed approach to homelessness

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