Mobi breaks his vow!

11 Months, 11 Days, still Sober

Mobi-Babble.

The roads to hell, along with most of us travellers, are always filled with the best of good intentions, but as they say, sometimes even the best laid plans….

For those who know me of old, you will understand that this much flawed reprobate doesn’t always live up to his avowed aims. This can be anything from quitting the booze, to taking more exercise or merely becoming involved in some new worthwhile activity.

Our minds are willing but sometimes our hearts are weak – or is it the other way round? Anyway, I am not ashamed to admit that sometimes the Mobi-will power is a little lacking.

On Friday, I had a lunch appointment with my investment adviser who came down from Bangkok to meet with me. After we had discussed the deplorable state of the world’s finances, the worrying political state of affairs in Thailand, and the even more worrying state of Mobi’s finances, we concluded an unsatisfactory meeting but a nice lunch.

So being at a somewhat loose end, temptation got the better of me, and I ended up in one of my favourite ‘Gentlemen’s establishments’ in suburban Jomtien.

It was a completely ‘spur of the moment’ decision, as I had not even come dressed for the occasion – wearing jeans, rather than the obligatory ‘loose shorts’ which are usually ‘de rigour’ for such places.

I’m not going to beat myself up too much over this rash decision, as this was my first foray into any such place for several weeks, and I suppose, deep in my heart, when I resolved that my life as a whore-monger was over, I always knew there would be the occasional lapse. Why not?

Anyway, I confess I had a pretty good time. One of my favourite, very sexy young ladies was there to greet me, and before long I had no less than three of the most gorgeous young ladies, all clad in figure hugging, low cut, deep red mini-dresses that barely covered their scanty knickers, sitting with me, around me and almost in to me.

They were a bit put out by my ‘formal’ attire, but it wasn’t long before they found a satisfactory to the solution the problem, as long as I didn’t suddenly stand  up from my bar stool , which might have proved embarrassing. (Note, I said ‘might’ as these days it takes a lot to embarrass Mobi – or indeed the young ladies who work at these establishments).

Anyway it was great fun, and as ever, the customers at nearby tables just couldn’t believe what they were witnessing; many, no doubt, were eating their hearts out. In all, I was probably there a couple of hours and by the time I departed, there weren’t too many girls there who hadn’t come over to ‘sample’ the Mobi-goods. It must be very boring when I’m not there to provide an afternoon’s entertainment!

I nearly went home, but at the last minute, I diverted to another one of my favourite haunts – this time, east of Suk. The place was devoid of customers, but all my ‘old flames’ were there – in particular three young ladies, of 21, 25 and 31 years of age respectively.

I was welcomed like a long lost ‘brother’ and it wasn’t too long before I was replicating the pleasures I had just reluctantly left back in the Jomtien club. It is quite ridiculous how much pleasure a gentleman of a certain age can derive from sitting with three young ladies, almost a third of his age, and indulging in a little slap and tickle and a fun-filled session of light hearted repartee.

I was back home by 6.30 pm where little Noo who was waiting patiently to prepare my evening meal. She had also been out for the afternoon to see her friends and do a bit of shopping, so I didn’t feel too bad about my own activities.

Apart from going on the occasional shopping trips and meals with Noo, I hadn’t really been out of the house for weeks and I really believe it did me good to have a bit of a ‘break out’.

I did feel guilty enough to take her out for an evening meal, which we both enjoyed and after which, we reaffirmed our love for each other – as if that was necessary…

My trip schedule to Bangkok and Nong Khai is all finalised. We will go to Bangkok next Sunday and stay a couple of nights, during which time I will see my specialists at Bumrungrad.

On Tuesday, we will head off for Nong Khai and I have booked a room in a nice little guest house overlooking the Mekong River for three nights. We shall catch up with Noo’s family, and do a bit of sight-seeing, which will also include a trip over the Friendship Bridge and into a Laos for a day trip.

I am actually looking forward to it, and plan to do a bit of blogging en route – time permitting. The folks at the guest house have suggested that I extend my stay till Christmas as they will be having a big party, so I’m a considering this; it might be good fun. I will decide on this after we arrive there.

Today we are all feeling the ‘cold’. It actually dropped to about 22 C last night, and right now it is about 24C and I am sitting at my desk with a shirt on and no fan. Noo is walking around with a jacket on, and any moment I expect her to start lighting fires to keep her hands warm. If it gets any colder it will start to feel like an English summer.

The on-going Euro fiasco

So many millions of words have been written on this subject, particularly from the British aspect, that quite frankly, you can ‘pays your money and takes your choice’ from the so-called experts with as many wide ranging views and opinions as they are days in the year.

We are in uncharted territory, and no one can really say for sure where this is all going to lead.

For my part, I have blogged on several occasions that I had always been totally against the UK joining the Euro, right back to the time when the whole of the British financial community was convinced it was the only way to go. I knew it wouldn’t work, for all the reasons that have now become apparent and I derive no great pleasure from being  proved right.

But where are all those learned and famous people who told me, and others like me, that we didn’t know what we were talking about? Where are they now?

Have they apologised or in any way admitted they got it wrong? Not a bit of it. Most so-called public figures are too full of their own hubris to ever admit to being wrong.

And it seems to me that this has happened to the entire Liberal Democrat Party who has been vehemently flogging the ‘Euro’ dream for so many years, that they simply cannot find in themselves the courage and honesty to admit they may have been wrong. They would rather stick to a manifestly misguided and unpopular policy and see the British economy collapse, than re-think their now discredited policies.

Cameron is out there alone and good on him. Even now, so few people realise that the Franco/German axis is out to get us, determined to cut us down size and try to destroy our financial services industry which accounts for about 9% of Britain’s GDP and countless millions of jobs, both directly and indirectly.

Make no mistake, if we had signed up to the deals this week, it would be the beginning of the end of Britain as an influential world economic power. The French would like nothing better as they have always hated us, and I suspect the Germans have never forgiven us for refusing to join the Euro in the first place, and probably for the World Cup… and the Second war….

EU regulations have been stifling British businesses for decades and it been forever getting worse, with crazy restrictions on how many hours an employee is permitted to work and even the latest assault on agency /or contract workers, the use of which has made o9ur companies more versatile and has been highly beneficial for businesses and workers alike.

If we became free of all this EU bureaucratic crap, but still being able to access the European markets, (after all there is such a thing as WTO agreements), I truly believe our entrepreneurial and hard-working Anglo Saxon ideas and inventive culture will make this nation prosper like it hasn’t in a very long time.

I only hope that Cameron has the courage to stick with it; and while I understand his reluctance to hold referendums in the middle of all the recent negotiations, I say bring them on – sooner rather than later. I am totally convinced he will get a strong mandate from the British public to move further and further away from this increasingly monolithic European malaise.

And we all know what happened last time Gerry hatched a little European conspiracy… (see below)

American Factoid

Did you know that 80% of students in American colleges who study Maths and computer science degrees are foreigners, and once qualified, they return to their home countries.

They do not stay in the USA because, due to Al Qaida mania, they cannot get visas to stay, so they go back home, and join companies that compete with American companies.

Thousands of American businesses are unable to develop and expand due to lack of Americans holding computer science and maths degrees.

The increasing government regulation on the American business environment is probably far greater than it is even within the EU. Even the Germans know how to free up their business from too much bureaucracy, (hence being the most successful manufacturing nation in the west), and recognise the need to import much needed ‘third world’ scientific skills, without too many silly visa restrictions.

The great American Dream was built by immigrants. WTF happened?

Taking care of illegal, non-productive, Hispanic families has a far higher priority.

Until they all go broke….

‘Conspiracy’ and ‘Countdown to Zero’

I watched two very different, but in their own ways, two very disturbing movies recently.

Conspiracy, (2001) is a ‘made for TV’ movie by the BBC in conjunction with HBO –and is a re-enactment of the 1942 ‘Wannsee Conference’ in Germany where the ‘Final Solution’ phase of the holocaust was devised.

The story is based on notes recovered of the actual conference and all the characters taking part and the views they convey are historically accurate.

In some ways an impartial, uninformed viewer might wonder why a bunch of Germans sitting around a table dispassionately discussing an aspect of their war strategy could provide interesting viewing. At first, this could well be the case, but as soon as the whole purpose of the meeting becomes clear – the question of how to ‘deal’ with millions of Jews in Europe – then what initially appears to be a boring ‘business’ meeting’, transforms itself into an evil plan to ‘dispose’ of an entire race of people.

Yet the discussions take place in an atmosphere of apparent civility and politeness, as though they were merely debating the pros and cons of a new sales campaign rather that the annihilation of millions of fellow human beings.

One of the few major disagreements is over whether or not any regulations need to be amended in respect of non-Jews who married Jews or in the disposal of the offspring of such marriages. This seems to create far more argument than the central point of the conference, which is how to kill and dispose of the Jewish people in the most efficient manner.

The characters are played by a power house of British acting, with the notable exception of the American actor, Stanley Tucci , who plays the affable but very evil Adolph Eikmann, who was subsequently put in charge of the ‘Final Solution’.

Top British Shakespearean actor, Kenneth Branagh, plays General Reynard Heidrich, who was in charge of the conference and ultimately persuaded the attendees to agree to his ‘solution’, which was, in effect the transportation of Jews throughout Europe to specially constructed concentration camps which had been fitted with the ‘death’ gas chambers.

The entire ensemble cast are brilliant in portraying what appear to be ordinary, loyal, hard-working Germans; some from the military branches: army, Gestapo, SS, and others from the Civil Service, all going about their daily business in a perfectly normal, matter of fact manner.

Yet over the weekend of the conference, they finalised a plan which resulted in the killing of over 6 million people; one of the most appallingly chilling events in the entire history of the human race.

Countdown to Zero (2010), is actually a movie-length documentary about the ever escalating and proliferating nuclear arms race and the increasing likelihood that one day, we all might disappear in a puff of radioactive dust.

I won’t go into details, except to say that I would recommend this film to all who are interested in world affairs and I can certainly say that I learnt quite a lot about the history of nuclear arms, and the alarming number of authenticated ‘close calls’ that have occurred over the past fifty years.

I also was interested to learn how alarmingly simple it is to make a basic nuclear bomb – not particularly efficient, but powerful enough to flatten a large city the size of New York. No sophisticated missiles or warheads are required – in fact with a chunk of enriched uranium, no larger than the size of a briefcase, and some materials that can obtained in the hardware stores of virtually any city in the world, just such a bomb could be made and ignited.

And we have to thank a certain Pakistani gentleman who goes by the name of Abdul Qadeer Khan, for not only providing nuclear technology but also nuclear materials to North Korea and Iran to name but two, nuclear hungry ‘rogue’ states. He is still fêted as a ‘hero’ in his own country.

Back in the 1960’s John F Kennedy said: “Every man woman and child, lives under a nuclear ‘Sword of Damocles’, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment, by accident, or miscalculation, or by madness.”

This statement is clearly the underlying thesis of the film and there are fascinating insights by such luminaries as former CIA agent Valerie Plume, Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter, Tony Blair, and Robert McNamara, which all add the credence of this well researched and chilling documentary.

Download it and watch it if you can. The next bomb, if and when it happens, could outdo the atrocities committed on the Jewish race back in the 1940’s.

BUTT…BUTT…BUTT…BUTT…I don’t give a hoot!…

 

mmmmmm….

In pics: Khao Kheow open zoo and Lake Mabprachan at sunset…

9 Months 15 Days, still sober.

Mobi- Babble

I’ve been enjoying a nice little interlude with my ‘new’ family over the past week.

Noo’s son, Tui, really is a delight to have around. He is polite, obedient and is more than willing to help his mother with the daily housework and cooking. He is a lovely looking kid, with a shy but endearing smile and the bond between mother and son is clearly very strong and very loving. They adore each other.

Last Tuesday, Noo demonstrated yet more of her many hidden skills by taking a quick trip to the lake and coming back with two long bamboo sticks, which she spent the evening whittling and fashioning into two very impressive fishing rods, complete with floats , lines and bait hooks.

So on Wednesday afternoon, the pair went fishing for a couple of hours.  They didn’t say much, but I don’t think they caught anything, as they didn’t return with anything fish-like for supper.

With the seemingly never-ending torrential rainstorms, the lake is as full as I have ever seen it. I don’t think there is any imminent danger of it bursting it’s banks, and flooding ovet onto the road, but the water level is very high and the elevated water level has submerged much of the grassy area that used to border the lake. Many of the new trees, which have been planted over the past few years to landscape the lake side area, are now several feet under water.

So whether this increase in water has caused the fish to disappear, I know not. I know nothing about fishing and fish so cannot comment, but there is certainly no lack of budding Thai fishermen who drive down to the lake every evening in search of a bit of recreation and presumably nice fish supper. Most of the fishing is done after sunset so maybe the fish only come out at night?

A Day at the Zoo

Thursday had the all the appearances of a day when if it did any rain, it would be minimal, so I made the bold decision to take Noo and Tui to Khao Kheo open Zoo, near Sri Racha.

I am not a huge fan of zoos, especially in countries like Thailand where there is always the suspicion that the animals are not always treated as well as we like them to be. There have been many horror stories, including undercover journalism accounts through the years recounting some terrible mistreatment of animals in Thailand, from elephants, to tigers and even to common dogs. Personally, I have witnessed behaviour towards animals in Thailand that has ranged from outrageous cruelty, to caring behaviour which has reflected  an obvious and deep love for animals.

I think this was my third trip to the Open Zoo through the years, and I have to say that as zoos go, it is one of the better ones I have been to, anywhere. It occupies a huge area and is very well laid out with masses of space for the animals, and from what I can see, great care and no expense has been spared to try and create realistic, comfortable habitats for the inmates. The place is very clean and you just get the feeling that the zoo operators/owners do seem to care about the welfare of their animals – although of course there is no way I can be sure about this.

The admission fees are not exorbitant (as they are in many Pattaya tourist attractions, such as Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens) and it cost me just 205 Baht for the three of us, including 50 Baht fee to take the car in. I think this was very reasonable.

The thing I really like about Khao Kheo Zoo is that you can drive around in your own transport as every ‘animal compound ’ has a parking area where you can park up and then walk a short distance to watch the animals in their large open enclosures.

Thus you can drive from area to area and you don’t start to wilt in the hot sun, trying to do it on foot. They even have golf-type electric vehicles which you can hire for a small fee if you come in a coach party, and then drive around under your own steam, as it were.

The workers seem to be very friendly and helpful and there is little evidence of overt money grabbing commercialism. I was actually amazed when a friendly lady who sold us some ice creams actually asked us very nicely to put our ice cream wrappers in the bin provided. It was quite an eye opener to find a Thai who cared about litter. In fact, I noticed the zoo was very clean.

It seemed as though quite a lot of Thai families had the same idea that I had and while the zoo was by no means packed, there was a good crowd of friendly Thai folk of all ages, all enjoying a brief respite from the weeks of rain.

It was noticeable that most of the visitors were all driving decent looking vehicles, were dressed nicely, and behaved well. I could have been anywhere in the west, except that I actually think that the kids were better behaved in that zoo than they would be at most places in the west. Thailand is truly changing for the better.

It is what I have always found in Thailand. If you get away from tourist places like down-town Pattaya, and even many parts of  Bangkok and you will see Thais in a totally different light.

Anyway, by way of a change from posting photos of scantily clad beauties, here are some of the pics that I took during our day out at the zoo.

Here they come…two more  ex mother-in laws…..

Complaining as usual……

What a mouth! what a mouth! what a North and South! Blimey what a mouth she’s got!….

A bored sugar cane seller….

Two binturongs – Malay ‘bear cats’

Yet another Ma-in-law, (well I did have 5 wives), getting herself into a little paddy, stamping her feet…

This was a long zoom shot

Ostriches in the shade

A long shot of two pretty little birdies…

and two little duckies

show off…

Remember the ‘ugly duckling’ song?

The great Asiatic bear

What a dear little chap…

the obligatory ‘chor chang’…

Hmm.. I maybe wrong, but I really don’t like the look of  this mahout with the baby chang…

pigs in shit…. springs to mind

animal rescue….

A very long shot

They really don’t look very happy…

Neither does he, does he?


A walk by the Lake

Upon our return from the zoo, the rain was still holding off so we decided to take the dogs for a walk around the lake. Even though the water level has risen substantially, the track across  the lakeside bank near our home was still more or less dry so around the lake we went to admire the beautiful and awesome sunset.

Here’s a couple of pics that I took.

A ‘water tree’….

The Gods look angry…

Of politics, politicians and elephants and pantomime clowns…..

Fox and a Friend…

It has been a reoccurring theme amongst political commentators to deplore the fact that so many politicians these days have had no previous experience in business or, indeed in the real life outside of politics.

So many of today’s politicians are what one can class as ‘career politicians’. Having decided at a young age that a life in politics was for them, once they complete their education, which for most, will mean some kind of university degree, they go straight into politics.

This will involve becoming a political activist in one of the major parties and after doing their time as canvassers and party workers, if their face fits, they will seek office in local government or in some full time position within the party.

Then, at an appropriate juncture, the best of them will become candidates for Westminster. If they stand in the right constituency, with luck, they will eventually become elected as members of parliament, having spent their entire adult lives in the rarefied atmosphere of party politics.

Their career then continues within parliament and after doing their stint on the back benches, the brighter ones will be given junior positions in government and depending upon their performance, the chosen few will eventually make their way up the political ladder to hold one of the great positions of state.

Nothing wrong with this per se, and there is no doubt that especially these days, we seem to be blessed with some very bright people who are leading our country.

The problem is that they are, first and foremost career politicians, and as such have nothing to fall back on should their political careers come to an untimely end, and secondly they have little or no experience of real life with all the attendant skills that can only be acquired in the real world; like how to run a business or even how to properly manage people or departments and when to make difficult, but necessary decisions.

In recent years we have seen this flaw in our country’s leaders again and again when they show their utter ignorance and incompetence when dealing with colleagues under their control, who – for want of a better word, – have screwed up and from the ‘screw ups’ themselves, who simply do not understand when it is time for them to go.

Instead of doing what any self-respecting leader would do in the real world – fire them – they let these ministers hang onto their jobs by their finger nails. Sometimes, after a minister has committed a major screw up in either his personal or public life, he is are allowed to hang onto his job for weeks or even months of agonising  indecision before eventually being put out of his misery and being obliged to resign, before he is pushed.

On some occasions, the errant minister never resigns and continues in office indefinitely, bringing shame upon himself and his government.

I did hope that the Tory / coalition administration would do better in this regards than its labour predecessors – but no such luck.

It is inconceivable that someone, such as the British Minister of Defence, one of the principal offices of State, and one which is always in the forefront of world events, could allow himself to become party to such mind boggling stupidity. How on God’s earth could he allow his so-called ‘friend’ to waltz around the world with him, when on government business, and to pass himself off as a member of the minister’s office and to do and say all the things we now know he has done, and not consider it an immediate resignation matter?

When I had first planned to write this piece today, Fox had not yet resigned; now, thankfully he has – but it took him several weeks to come to this conclusion.  Several weeks, during which time he has strenuously denied any wrong doing. Fox is either completely stupid or is living on a different planet to the rest of the world, or he is so desperate to hang onto his job, that he could allow himself to believe that he could ride this one out.

Either way, he was gravely misguided and has no business being in charge of the nation’s defences. But the problem is that Fox is just a career politician, and he has nowhere to go. He has no experience of the outside world and his political career is effectively over.

As for Cameron, I’m afraid he has dropped a long way in my estimation. The mark of a good leader is that he acts decisively and quickly when the situation demands it, and this was one situation that clearly demanded prompt action. As soon as this nonsense of Fox’s ‘friend’, Adam Werrity, came to light, he should have been shown the door. Cameron will get no brownie points for dithering and waiting for Fox to jump. He should have been pushed from day one.

Elephants & rooms…

And of course nobody has dared to whisper about the ‘elephant in the room’. This is an elephant that I am quite sure every politician and every British journalist is fully aware of.

What is this elephant? You may ask. Well I’ll give you a couple of clues. A number of years ago, it was suggested on more than one occasion that Fox may be of a certain sexual proclivity. This was denied with such vehemence and was followed up with legal threats that the press was obliged to  backed off in fear of a law suit.

Then five years ago, at the age of 45, Fox got married and guess who was his ‘best man’ -Adam Werrity of course, having previously lived with Fox in his flat, rent free, for a year before the special day. Since then, Werrity has rarely been out of Fox’s life, both at a personal and ‘business’ level, having accompanied Fox some on some 16 occasions on overseas government trips and even enjoyed many personal holidays with the Fox ‘Family’.

After ‘brer Fox’ comes ‘brer wabbit’…

Then we have this blithering idiot Oliver ‘wabbit’ Letwin! Our dear Oliver ‘wabbit’ is a Cabinet Minister, and like brer Fox, he is in a ‘wabbit’ world of his own. He seems to think it is great sport to take all his cabinet papers and parliamentary correspondence into the nice London park of a morning, and when he has read his fill, dump it all in the nice public park waste bins.

On at least one occasion he gave a sheaf of unwanted correspondence directly to a nice lady a park cleaner who happened to be passing and was carrying an empty bin bag.

Of course the doughty park cleaning lady did what any self-respecting park cleaner would do in her situation; she gave the bin bag straight to the Daily Mirror, no doubt receiving some due recompense for her trouble.

There must be a case for arranging for the dear Oliver Wabbit to be sectioned in a lunatic asylum before he gets an urge to disperse State security secrets in one the large waste bins kindly  provided by a nearby MacDonald’s hamburger joint. That would be merry, wouldn’t it?

But what does our beloved dear leader, the estimable, ex-Eton Cameron do? Why, nothing of course. If Cameron doesn’t toughen up and learn to make the hard decisions, I really fear for him and his government. He obviously never beat his fags at Eaton….

Portly Pantomime Pickles

Then we have that perennial pantomime prankster, the estimable Eric ‘Portly’ Pickles. Portly Pickles is Mr Cameron’s Minister for Communities and Local Government.

On a recent TV news programme, David Dimbleby, one the  most respected and longest serving political commentators on the BBC, introduced Portly Pickles as the ‘Minister for Communities and Local government’

Not much wrong with that, you might think.

But Portly Pantomime Pickles was most upset, (bless his big Bradford boots) and was determined to put the legendary Dimbleby in his place.

‘Would you please ensure you that you show due respect to my office and introduce me by my proper title? I am NOT the Minister for Communities and Local government’. I am Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Communities and Local government.’

Dimbleby was at a loss for words and for a moment I really thought I was watching a pantomime.

For those who may have forgotten, this is the buffoon who was forced to repay 300 pounds of expenses he had claimed for cleaning during the expenses scandal; and the one who claimed a second residence in London as he asserted that his first home, some 37 miles away, in Brentwood Essex, was too far from London from which to commute. This, despite the fact that tens of thousands of Brentwood and other countless residents, much further away than Brentwood, commute to their London jobs every day without the benefit of a second London residence and succeed in getting home every night with little or no problems.

Cameron, please, sack this dangerously inept clown, before he does some serious damage.

BUTT…BUTT…BUTT…BUTT…I don’t give a hoot!

Is there anything still ‘Made in Britain’? The answer may surprise you.

9 Months, 12 days, still sober

Mobi-Babble

Noo’s nine year old son has been with us since last Sunday for the half term school break so she has been quite occupied during the past few days entertaining him.

He is a lovely, very well behaved kid and every morning he rises at the crack of dawn and cleans the house and garden, as instructed by his mum.

I took them both to Tesco on Tuesday and we stocked up on some food shopping and few clothes for him and then I drove them down to Tuk Com and bought him a Sony Play station. It took this old codger quite a while to figure out how to get it going, but once I finally succeeded in putting game up on the TV screen, he was up and away.

I’ll never understand how these kids seem to instinctively know how to play these games, as I can’t figure them out at all, and they are all in English – of which he can’t read a word. But I knew that he wouldn’t find it a problem and it now has the desired effect of keeping him occupied and nice and quiet for several hours of the day.

His mum has told him that he cannot take it back to Nong Kai with him as she is worried that he would spend too much time playing with it and neglect his homework. Sounds sensible to me.

Made in Britain

Over the last few days I have been watching a three part documentary made by the BBC for the Open University entitled ‘Made in Britain’, which was written and presented by Evan Davies, of the BBC’s Money programme.

I would recommend this documentary as compulsory viewing for anyone who seriously wishes to understand how national and world economics work, and how the economies of  countries like Britain have succeeded in the past, and what they need to be doing in the future, to effectively ‘pay their way’ in the world.

It was a bit of an eye opener, if I say it myself, for this reasonably well read commentator who has always tried to keep abreast of world economics.

Firstly, let’s take a look at a few facts about the history of Britain’s economy and where we are today, much of which was referred to during the course of the programme.

In the 18th century, the UK was the first country in the world to industrialise, and during the 19th century held a dominant role in the global economy.

From the late 19th century the United States and Germany presented an increasing challenge to Britain’s role as leader of the global economy.

The costs of fighting both the First World War and Second World War further weakened the relative economic position of the UK, and by 1945 Britain had been superseded by the United States as the world’s dominant economic power.

However the UK still maintains a significant role in the world economy

The UK is one of the world’s most globalised countries and London is the world’s largest financial centre alongside New York. As of December 2010 the UK had the third-largest stock of both inward and outward foreign direct investment.

The aerospace industry of the UK is the second- or third-largest national aerospace industry. The pharmaceutical industry plays an important role in the UK economy and the country has the third-highest share of global pharmaceutical R&D expenditures.

The UK is currently ranked fourth in the world (and first in Europe) in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ Index

The economy of the United Kingdom is the sixth-largest national economy in the world measured by nominal GDP and seventh-largest measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), and the third-largest in Europe measured by nominal GDP (after Germany and France) and second-largest measured by PPP (after Germany).

There has been a sharp decline in Britain’s  manufacturing output in the past 60 years, dropping from around 70% of its GDP in 1951 to 30% in 1971 and to around 12% of its GDP in 2011, with the UK’s so-called service sector now accounting for some 78% of GDP.

But, before we throw up our hands in horror, the plain fact is that Manufacturing, at 12%  of GDP in the UK, is little different from the share in other advanced economies, with the notable exception of Germany, where it is about 24pc. But in France, their manufacturing share of GDP is about the same as in the UK, and in the US it is actually lower.

All advanced countries have experienced the same phenomenon. Nor is this all about losing manufacturing to emerging economies in Asia and elsewhere, where costs are lower. The simple fact is that as people get richer they tend to want to spend a higher proportion of their incomes on services rather than on goods.

Even at 12%, manufacturing still accounts for a surprisingly large amount of the British economy – a larger share than the UK’s much vaulted financial services sector, which stands at 9pc. People find this surprising, because they do not come across many UK-manufactured products in their daily lives.

By contrast, they cannot fail to notice the dominance of German and Chinese producers in many fields. The UK has quasi-dominant positions in only two large manufacturing sectors, namely pharmaceuticals and aerospace, but we have many niche producers spread over umpteen sectors which means that the UK is still the world’s sixth-largest producer of manufactured goods, measured by value of output.

In 2009, the UK manufacturing sector generated approximately £140 billion in gross value added and employed around 2.6 million people and of the £16 billion spent on R&D, approximately £12 billion was by manufacturing businesses.

In 2010, Britain’s exports amounted to £428 Billion and its imports were some 478 billion, producing a trade gap of some £50 Billion. In simplistic terms, In order to ‘bridge this gap’, i.e. pay for the shortfall in our imports over exports, we have to borrow on the world markets. It is the size of this borrowing, and our ability to repay it, which is a good, rough and ready guide to the country’s ability to pay its way in the world and to assess the overall health of its economy.

At present Britain still has a triple A rating from the credit agencies, unlike our cousins across the sea who have been down -graded to a double A, but there is no doubt that if we fail to do even better in bridging that gap – i.e increasing our exports, then we may eventually follow the USA in a downgrade of our credit rating.

But if you watch the programme, you will see that the direction of the British economy is by no means all doom and gloom, but that we will have to continue to get up early in the morning to keep ahead of the chasing pack.

The message that comes through loud and clear from the programme is that  an advanced economy must always adapt and change and can never afford to sit back on its laurels for one moment, and that by land large, despite a number of worrying setbacks over the past 60 years, Britain has succeed in doing just that.

The programme investigates a number of wide ranging business sectors, including low-tech garment manufacturing (in which we led the world 50 years ago) to hi-tech manufacturing industries such as aerospace, and super-fast-cars for the super-rich.

It traces the demise of traditional manufacturing, such as the garment industry and follows its resurgence in low labour cost countries such as China. Yet amazingly, the programme shows us  that even though we no longer manufacture clothes in the UK, some major UK clothing companies now make more money, relatively speaking, from their clothing businesses, including  exporting them across the world, to a higher value, than they did in the 1950’s.

This is because the low value end of the production is done in China at a cost we could never compete with; but this ‘Chinese cost’ ends up being a small percentage of the total cost of the product. The majority is all ‘added value’ and is retained by its British owners.

Furthermore, from clothing, to electrical consumer goods to almost anything made in cheap labour countries, the prices for the UK consumer are lower than they have ever been which means more are sold than ever before  and wherever the British have retained involvement in these products, they have made handsome profits.

Throughout our lives we have heard the universal screams of woe every time a high profile UK manufactured product leaves our shores to be made in a ‘cheap-labour’ country in the third world. Politicians try to intervene to stem the tide, but history has shown that they are never successful. Whenever they attempt to pump government money in to rescue some dying industry, or put restrictive measures in pace to protect such industries, they have always failed miserably.

Free markets will always triumph over the interference of ignorant governments and the world’s businessmen have long learned that you make your products at the place where it is the most economical.

So the low-value, labour intensive industries go to the developing, low labour-cost countries, and the high-value, low-labour industries spring up in the more developed economies.

It is the way of the word – adapt or die, and Britain seems to have done just that; whether it is producing hi-tech aerospace components, or producing the latest drugs in sophisticated factories where one man can now do the job of dozens, or to launching and running worldwide satellite navigation systems, or microchip technology – which is used in virtually every mobile phone and computer in the world – or the export of highly skilled services, (yes even our services are exported), to places like Dubai where Britain has earned billions in designing and project managing the massive development in that country , or to making specialised glass that is used in almost every skyscraper in the world, or to the financial services sector and the related ‘add-on’ services that generate massive foreign earnings, or to the tourist industry, which is effectively an export industry as it brings in foreign currency and even to the thousands of foreign fee paying students in our universities who contribute millions annually to the exchequer, (The UK is second in world, behind America, in attracting foreign, fee-paying students to its universities).

The foregoing are all British achievements and I could go on and on as the list is long and astonishing.

But as a nation we cannot afford to slow down. The rest of the word is only a few steps behind and we must continue to use our brains, our know-how developed in our world class universities, our renowned problem solving abilities, our entrepreneurial spirit and our work ethic to remain ahead of the pack and seek out new business and export horizons.

Obama would do well to watch this programme. I sincerely believe that he has absolutely no real concept of what really drives the world economy and in particular the American economy. He can’t have, or he wouldn’t keep banging on about losing American jobs overseas, accusing the Chinese and others of unfair trading practices and try to inject vast amounts of money into dying manufacturing industries in a desperate attempt to increase production and provide jobs for the unemployed.

He doesn’t understand that the American economy, like Britain’s, has to change to meet the challenges of the world in the 21st century. It cannot compete with the Chinese on low cost labour, low-value production and they must move on to produce high value things that the Chinese and other developing nations are currently unable to do.

Nothing demonstrates Obama’s total ignorance of what drives the world economy more than the recent Solyndra scandal. His administration insisted in ploughing over 500 million dollars into a manufacturer that could never compete with its Chinese competitors. The Chinese were able to produce wind turbines at a fraction of the cost that Solyndra was able to do. Simple research would have told them that, but politics got in the way.

 And what did Obama say when the company went bust? Words to the effect that the decision was correct ‘in principal’, and that there will always be some failures. I actually feel sorry for you guys over there.

Back in the UK, despite all the pessimism that has been propagated by countless so called economic experts over the years, to the effect that Britain is in terminal decline, that it has lost its manufacturing base and cannot survive on a service based economy, I say that they have completely misunderstood the changes that had to happen and failed to see what actually did happen to the British economy.

And further, I would ask them how on earth do they think that a population of some 60 million people have been able to enjoy such a relative high standard of living for decades if the Britain had been going downhill ever since its 19th and early 20th century industrial heartland started to vanish from the skyline?

Even now, in the midst of one of the biggest economic setbacks ever to befall this nation, nobody is starving, nobody is living rough (except by choice), there is still universal education and free access to health services, even the poorest still have central heating, televisions, DVD players, fridges and hot water in their home, and have money in their pocket to spend on small luxury items, have mobile phones in their pockets and have access to free sporting  and recreational activities, libraries and so forth.

Again, I could go on and on. Yes, the folk are upset, and with some justification, as the world’s bankers have a lot to answer for, but if you listen to their list of grievances, it is mostly along the lines of having to cancel their holidays abroad, having to cancel their kids private swimming or horse riding lessons, having to spend more time at home as they can’t afford to go out to the pub more than  once a week, having to keep their old car as they can’t afford to trade in for a new one, and so on and so forth.

In the year that I was born, the national health service was still two years away and the only benefit provided by the state was free schooling. We had none of the other social services that everyone now takes for granted as a right, including free health care, and I spent the first 12 years of my life in a dilapidated old house with no fridge, no TV, no central heating and no hot water, and believe me, I was by no means the only one.

When I was twelve years old, my family – my mother, father brother and sister  and me, Mobi – were thrown out onto the street by the court appointed bailiffs as my father had failed to pay his rent arrears. We were homeless and nobody in authority cared.

For the next two months the family was scattered to the far corners of the UK in different homes provided by our friends and relatives who were kind enough to take us in.

So I think you can probably see why I have little sympathy for the teachers and other workers who have been striking to protest cuts in their pension rights and other benefits.

A famous British Prime minister, Harold Macmillan, once said about his fellow countrymen in the early nineteen sixties: ‘Let’s be frank about it; most of our people have never had it so good’

How much more true is that today, despite all the recent economic setbacks?

Illegal Immigration

We all know that there is huge illegal immigration problem in countries such as the USA and the UK, as people from poorer, third world countries aspire to migrate to richer countries where benefits and opportunities are much greater than in the countries of their birth.

There was a time in the history of both countries when immigration was welcomed, but those days are long gone and there is general acknowledgement that enough is enough and that the tide of illegals must be stopped for once and all.

So just taking the USA for a moment, how about introducing laws along the following lines to stem the rising tide of illegal immigrants:

  • Make it a crime for an illegal immigrant to solicit work.
  • Make it a crime to knowingly transport or harbour an illegal immigrant.
  • Allow individuals, companies or government entities to file discrimination lawsuits against companies that dismiss legal workers while hiring illegal immigrants.
  • Require public schools to check the immigration status of students.
  • Allow authorities to hold suspected illegal immigrants without bond.
  • Ban state courts from enforcing contracts involving illegal immigrants.
  • Make it a felony for an illegal immigrant to get drivers licences or do business with the state.
  • Make it an offence for an illegal immigrant not to have immigration papers.
  • Ban illegal immigrants from attending public colleges and junior colleges.
  • Prohibit businesses from claiming tax deductions for wages paid to illegal immigrant employees.
  • Require federal verification of legal status in court proceedings.
  • Make it illegal for motorists to stop on streets or roads to hire temporary workers.

These kind of laws would surely create a climate whereby potential illegal immigrants would think twice before attempting to cross the borders in the future and would send a  chill fear of deportation amongst those who are already there.

Well folks, believe it or not, a set of such rules was recently introduced by the State of Alabama and similar rules have been enacted in neighbouring US States. But they are now being challenged in the courts by the federal government who insist these rules are discriminatory and encourage racial profiling, and in any event, State governments have no right to pass such laws, as all matters relating to immigration are a preserve of the Federal government in Washington.

Furthermore the US liberal lobby has now got into the act and have suggested that Hispanics, even those with with legal status or U.S. citizenship are moving from such  states. They claim that the immigrants believe that the hostile climate oppresses the entire Hispanic community? They say: Why stay when the government launches an assault that splits Latino families and opens the door to racial profiling?

The liberals further claim that there are ‘unintended consequences’ that The lawmakers failed to take into account, especially the contribution immigrant labour was making towards rebuilding areas devastated by this year’s storms. Contractors in Tuscaloosa say Hispanic workers have left and they can’t find replacements to repair the tornado damage.

Republican lawmakers assured sceptics that American workers would be only too happy to step in and take the jobs that immigrants left. Farmers in Alabama and Georgia are still waiting.

Georgia tried giving farm work to prison inmates, until they lost their appetite for backbreaking 10-hour workdays at minimum wage. If inmates were willing to work that hard, they wouldn’t be in prison to begin with.

According to Georgia farm officials, $140 million in crops has been lost because of the state’s labour shortages since the law began in July.

To all those bleeding heart liberals, I say stop confusing the need for temporary, cheap labour with the need to stop illegal immigrants staying in your country and becoming a burden on the State.

If you really have a need for TEMPORARY foreign labour, then organise a visa system to accommodate this need.

If the rules, as enacted by Alabama, were in force then it would be a simple matter for the police and employers to check on the immigration status of temporary workers and allow them to stay until the expiry of their visas. Upon expiry they would be obliged to leave the country as the new so-called ‘hostile’ laws would soon catch up with them if they didn’t.

As for ‘unintended consequences‘ on the new State immigration laws – I reckon that the regular law-abiding  Americans should all be over the moon if all the Hispanics decide to take off.

Surely it is good riddance to them and their illegal families, friends and drug dealers, and can someone tell me why Hispanic families, who have nothing to hide and are 100% legal, should wish to leave? The simple answer is that they do indeed have something to hide – they are probably the centres for the aiding and abetting of illegal activities.

Any Hispanics who do decide to stay would be the legal, law abiding element, and as such could be welcomed into the community.

And if the Yanks haven’t the wit to organise a temporary visa system and can’t find enough white trash or convicted criminals to do the manual work then in this writer’s humble opinion, its tough shit!

It’s time for everyone to wake up and learn that the world doesn’t owe them a living – lazy bastards!!!

I doubt whether there is another country in the world where the government tries to stop the police from weeding out illegal aliens. The American immigration policies are completely insane!!!

In England, as you will see below, the Prime Minister is asking everyone to be a ‘whistle blower’ and turn all the illegals in. They are bleeding the country dry. Yet in the USA, they give them free education and social security and often give them greater rights than ordinary American citizens. Somewhere along the line they have completely lost track of reality…. no wonder the country is on its knees with nowhere to go but down.

Back in the UK, as mentioned above, David Cameron recently appealed for the public to “shop” illegal immigrants as he pledged to reclaim Britain’s borders.

The Prime Minister said he wanted the whole country to help the Government tackle the issue by reporting suspicious individuals.

Note, no ridiculous suggestions of racial profiling on this side of the pond…..

He also insisted that the citizenship test for legal incomers would be rewritten to include questions on British history and signalled a fresh crackdown on forced and bogus marriages.

The moves were revealed as Mr Cameron delivered a keynote speech setting out plans to control immigration.

In future, individuals applying to come to the UK for family reasons will have to show that they can speak English and have the financial means to support themselves as well as genuine family links in Britain.

Family migration made up almost a fifth of non-European Union (EU) immigration last year, but a survey suggested that more than 70% of UK-based family sponsors had an income of less than £20,000 after tax, creating “an obvious risk” that they may become dependent on welfare.

Mr Cameron said the Migration Advisory Committee would consider whether the minimum level of financial support should be higher and whether a “bond” from migrants could be demanded in some cases.

There will be closer checks on claimed relationships between spouses to weed out sham marriages for immigration reasons, including cases where couples divorce immediately after obtaining permission to stay and then make fresh applications relating to different partners.

“We will make migrants wait longer, to show they really are in a genuine relationship before they can get settlement,” Mr Cameron said.

“We’ll also impose stricter and clearer tests on the genuineness of a relationship, including the ability to speak the same language and to know each other’s circumstances.

“We will also end the ridiculous situation where a registrar who knows a marriage is a sham still has to perform the ceremony.”

He added that he wanted the coalition to “go further and be even tougher” on immigration.

“For our part in government, we are creating a new National Crime Agency with a dedicated border policing command which will have responsibility for safeguarding the security of our border,” he said.

“But I want everyone in the country to help, including by reporting suspected illegal immigrants to our Border Agency through the Crime stoppers phone line or through the Border Agency website.

“Together we will reclaim our borders and send illegal immigrants home.”

He said he would rewrite the exam for migrants wishing to take on UK citizenship to ensure that British history and culture – rather than EU institutions and the workings of the benefit system – are at the heart of the tests.

He said he recognised there was “discomfort and tension” in some communities over the arrival of large numbers of migrants and insisted that the Government was not “powerless” to deal with it.

He promised to deliver “fairness for people already living here, working here, contributing here, who worry about finding work, getting a good school for their children and affording a good house”.

“For too long, they have been overlooked in this debate. And it’s time to do right by them,” Mr Cameron said.

The PM also signalled that forcing someone to marry against their will could become a criminal offence.

He announced he was making it illegal to breach an order issued by the courts to prevent a forced marriage and has asked Home Secretary Theresa May to consult on whether the practice should be criminalised in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

So while I don’t pretend for one minute that the current immigration laws will stem the tide of illegal immigration in Britain, it is at least clear that the government is  trying very hard to do something about it, by make it increasingly difficult for people to circumvent the system and to send the illegals back to their countries of origin. There is an understanding that the ordinary British folk are very unhappy with the situation and their grievances deserve to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

But not so in the USA, where it seems to this observer that there is no will whatsoever by the Obama administration to stem the tide. The rights of illegal Hispanic immigrants seem to take precedence over the rights of long established Caucasian citizens who live in the border sates.

Why? Because the Democrats depend on the Hispanic vote to get them back into office whereas the vast majority of the unhappy Caucasian Americans in the most  affected areas will vote Republican.

BUTT…BUTT…BUTT…I don’t give a hoot…

 

 

It’s a walk on the Darkside, then ‘Au Revoir’ for a while.

Continue reading “It’s a walk on the Darkside, then ‘Au Revoir’ for a while.”