Covid-19 and Airnergy+ Active Oxygen

Covid-19 is presenting challenges to healthcare, the most significant of which is the supply of ventilators to help people for whom coronavirus has attacked their lungs making it difficult for them to breath. We now hear that Imperial College, London are working with Mercedes Formula1 racing in Northampton to produce a device that can attach to a source of medical oxygen and deliver the required oxygen through a facemask. But Mercedes Forumula1 can only produce 1,000 units per day and you still need 1,000 hospital beds with an oxygen supply, and the care staff.

But there is an established German technology, only known to the astute few in the UK, but widely used throughout Europe by the like of elite sports people and Formula1 racing drivers that can extract this valuable active oxygen, the life support system of every major organ in the body, from the air we breath and without the need to be attached to it for more than one hour each day if Covid-19 positive. For general preventative maintenance no more than 2-sessions of 20-minutes per day. Which means a family can use one device in the comfort of their own home without any medical supervision.

As you would expect the medical grade version of this technology is not cheap, but significantly cheaper than the alternatives. And it is easy to use. So, what is the science that makes this so valuable at this time?

All cellular metabolic processes in the human body are dependent on oxygen. As every child knows no human being can live for more than a few minutes without oxygen before taking another breath – or dying. Life begins with our first breath and ends with our last. But, as was found with the space program in the 1960s, pure oxygen can make you sick. The Americans used pure oxygen for the atmosphere within space vehicles which made astronauts sick after just a few days whereas the Russians secretly realised that they needed to emulate an atmosphere corresponding to the ideal atmosphere on earth. So, what is the difference?

We do not breathe air, we breath atmosphere which consists of air and at least one variable, the water content – the very essence of life. This water content is measured as relative humidity and temperature. The combination of these two variables determines how comfortable we feel but, more importantly, how healthy we feel.

Water defies all universal laws of physics on earth, but there is no life without it. Years of research, and no less than 3 Nobel prizes has taught us that the water in the air we breath is fundamental to our well-being. However, mankind has noted that the more industrialised we become, the more pollution in the air we breathe, the more respiratory illnesses. As the elementary presence of water in the atmosphere becomes contaminated the mucous membranes in the nose dry out slowly losing their natural filtering function allowing fine dust, pollen, viruses and bacteria to penetrate our bodies. As a result, the bronchi clog, reducing their capacity to cough fine dust. The lack of elemental water in the air we breath and the fine dust invading our lungs, the alveoli, whose natural purpose is gas exchange, lose their membrane function. Gas exchange in the lungs decreases, vital oxygen required by all organs of the body is not transferred to the blood, and CO2 is not adequately disposed. The dysfunctional oxygen transportation via our lungs into the blood results in illness and ageing, and the primary responsibility for this is the lack of elemental water in the air we breathe and the indispensable catalyst in the alveoli.

The respiratory epithelium is a layer of specialised epithelial cells that line most of the respiratory tract but is not required for gas exchange but for cleansing the respiratory tract and is dependent upon the water content of the respiratory air. Gas exchange occurs in the alveoli. So, the function of our lungs drives our well-being but is not solely reliant upon oxygen, but also upon the water in the air we breathe with its energetic qualities.

This energised water is created in nature by turbulence in water such as streams and rivers and by infrared radiation of the sun in connection with chlorophyll, the green pigment of leaves and plants in nature. Scientists have proven the existence of a special form of water molecule in the atmosphere under natural conditions which plays a dominant role as energy sources in all known biological processes including the driving force behind gas exchange in the lungs. This energy source is called Active Oxygen.

Today technology can convert the low-energy, polluted ambient atmosphere in which most of us live into clean, high-energy breathing air that will re-energise our lungs and provide the natural organs of our body with the Active Oxygen they need to function well. One such patented technology is Airnergy+ and which has been used now for some years, primarily in elite sports, and is referred to as Spirovital Therapy. I found the need for this technology after recent heart surgery where an over-zealous surgeon tightly sutured so much of my soft tissue that my left lung was barely functional for some 7-months. Amongst the numerous resulting health issues, I noticed my eyesight had significantly deteriorated so, in December 2019, went for my annual eye test. My regular optometrist was shocked at the deterioration, especially the presence of intermediate macular degeneration. I went to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London only to be told there was no known treatment (in the UK) for AMD. As a former scientist, I scanned the world looking for answers. I came across much work on Active Oxygen, including the Nobel prizes for the detection of this special Active Oxygen in our atmosphere and its fundament relevance to human well-being. I quickly realised that I had suffered oxygen starvation throughout my body because of the significant reduction in my lung capacity. I eventually managed to tear the scar tissue to rid me of this impediment but needed to turbocharge the Active Oxygen in my blood to see if I could reverse any of the damage.

I was surprised to find that the eyes are the most significant user of Active Oxygen of any organ in the body. Optometrists now tell me that they have long suspected that degradation of eyesight, and especially macular degeneration (AMD), has something to do with oxygen supply in the blood. After much research of clinical trials over some years I opted to try the medical grade Airnergy+ Pro Plus which at some £4,600 is no mean investment for a retired individual (lesser active models available). After just five weeks of two session of 20 minutes per day I went to a specialist optometrist in Harley Street, armed with the data from Moorfields Eye Hospital and my pre-surgery eye test, to be told that my sight had almost restored to pre-surgery levels. Her word was ‘remarkable’ and wanted to know more.

Unfortunately, that trip into London exposed me to Covid-19. I increased my use of Airnergy+ to 3 x 20 minutes per day preventing coronavirus any ability to attach itself to my lungs. Eight days later and 5kg lighter I am now through Covid-19. I encouraged a very special medical friend in Switzerland who suffers from asthma to try this therapy to protect him. After just two weeks his asthma, and general well-being has significantly improved. The evidence of the efficacy of this technology is clear and should be deployed in the fight against Covid-19 as a relatively cheap and most certainly effective protection.

Airnergy+ info at:

UK: www.biolifesolutions.co.uk

Other: www.airnergy.com

Should you use the Airnergy equipment I would be really interested in your feedback why you used it and the impact you feel attributed to this technology.

Should we bear the Responsibility for our Ancestors?

Two seemingly unconnected news stories last week found their one minute of airing amongst the sensational reporting from the G7 Summit, the continuing saga of the EU vs BREXIT, and the burning of the Brazilian rain forest. Although my readers would probably expect me to comment on the suspension of Parliament, I think these two stories have a chilling connectivity worthy of debate.

One story was the admission from the University of Glasgow that it took contributions in the form of gifts and behests towards the construction its Gilmorehill Campus between 1866 and 1880; probably derived from the slave trade. Although these announced reparations of £20 million are not being distributed to individual descendants of slaves it sets a disturbing precedent.

The second story relates to the significant rise in white supremacy/nationalism throughout the Western World in the past two years. These people have moved from the shadows of internet activity to violence on the streets including mass shootings. And their numbers are growing at an alarming rate.

There are now so many ethnic and religious lobby groups trying to rekindle the past in a blame game euphemistically aimed at some moral admission of wrongdoing, but with the ultimate intent on financial reparations for events that occurred generations ago. I take the view that I am not responsible for anything my father did without my involvement or consent, and I do not expect my children to be held responsible for anything I do without their support or consent. Therefore, why are we tolerating lobby groups looking for reparations on activities that occurred so many generations ago that it is only recently that online genealogy allows us to remotely track such ancestry? When do these people realise that nasty activities such as slavery have existed since the dawn of mankind, and still exist today in various parts of the world. The great historic monuments of the past relied on slaves to construct them. We can take a social view today that slavery should be eradicated, but we cannot go back in time and legislate for the past.

I’ve debated with someone from the Indian subcontinent about the need for the British to pay considerable reparations for activities throughout the 18th and 18th centuries – the days of the British Empire. I suggested that India thrives today on both the constitutional Government and the railway system left by the British. Without the extensive rail network built in the time of British occupation India would suffer the transport problems that we see in countries today such as Brazil. China is building a massive rail network because it needs it to thrive. What would happen in India if our Health and Safety Regulations were applied throughout the Indian rail network? The country and its economy would come to a standstill. Very often it’s mentioned that Cuba sits in a 1920’s time warp but India also lives in such a time warp, but the quality of the British engineering still prevails, as in Portugal.

As for contributions to the University of Glasgow what about contributions from the tobacco and sugar trade? Both of these goods are now considered detrimental to human health so what about the people who suffered harvesting such goods, and then the consumers whose health may have suffered? Indeed, the City of Glasgow was built on these trades so do we demolish Glasgow as an unacceptable relic of our so-called terrible past as with the desire by a radical few to demolish statues of large benefactors to other universities and institutions where their wealth was derived from such activities. What about if Facebook put up the £20 million being sought, but in 100 years from now Facebook is considered a scourge on society and everything connected with it should be deemed poison?

By far the most damaging problem caused by these ill-considered lobby groups is the fuelling of racism. This card has now been so overplayed that white people are afraid to use large parts of the English vocabulary lest someone interprets such language as racist. And politicians seeking any votes possible to pander to their need for power have even legislated against such language without serious debate about the consequences. We have coloured minorities playing the victim card in their attempt to seek some ideology of equality, or even supremacy. I would argue that white people have had enough of being made to feel guilty for the activities of their ancestors and the continual pressure of the racism card which together with political correctness have overstressed tolerance. And this leads me to the connectivity to the rise of white supremacy and nationalism. White people are being eroded of their identity, their culture, and their heritage. Fodder for groups who are at the extremes.

My view is that Governments and Universities need to slam on the brakes regarding ethnic and religious lobby groups; take a break from any further antagonistic legislation or reparations touted in the name of equality; and study the impact of existing legislation on the indigenous population. Has the University of Glasgow attempted to determine if any descendant of a slave has prospered from a degree from their august hallows? Statistically this is highly probable as some slaves where transported back to Glasgow. Whilst there remains a suggestion that people today bear some historical responsibility for the activities of their ancestors, we have a cauldron that feeds extreme supremacy and nationalism.

Has Democracy As A System of Government Run Its Course?

 

In a speech in the House of Commons on 11 November 1947, Winston Churchill said: No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. Since then democracy has shown itself as a far from perfect system in that the inherent assumptions are that every voter has the capability to understand the issues, and the people elected to deal with the issues have the appropriate experience and wisdom to conduct the majority view of the people. Recent elections throughout the World demonstrate that neither assumption is reasonable. The result is a range of governments derived from populist to unwitting authoritarian.

My attention was drawn to the breakdown in democracy in Europe during the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, and later the Lisbon and Nice treaties, where various EU member Governments were unable to achieve ratification of these treaties on a free vote but were instructed by the Brussels apparatchik to continue to poll until they achieved the required result, i.e. undemocratic attrition.

In the UK we have two clear examples. The BREXIT referendum attracted the largest turnout of any election in recent times by percentage of votes, and numbers who voted, thus should be deemed to be compliant with the fundamental principle of democracy. Using the fundamental principles of democracy the outcome should be accepted by all, and the Parliament of the day thus mandated by the people to conclude the exit process. Yet the remainers, or remoaners as I prefer to call them, are so vehemently opposed to the democratic result that they continue to attempt to thwart the BREXIT process without any consideration of the damage that they inflict on achieving a good divorce settlement for both the UK and the EU. To these people I say that you have no regard for democracy, the history and future of the UK, and the turnout for this important vote, but are instead far too consumed with blinkered argument with little concern regarding the damaging consequences for the people who voted, and subsequently respected the outcome of the referendum. I can assure these people that if this referendum were to rerun the vote would be more overwhelming.

Who are these people who cannot accept a democratic majority, and why do they think that they can abandon the principles of democracy in favour of a minority? I noted during the Andrew Marr show last Sunday that Labour MP, Chuka Umunna, was stating that BREXIT is so important that it should ride above party politics or personal ambition of Government members but every sentence he uttered was both party political and promotion of his own ambitions. During this week he has furthered both by stating that Parliament should have a legally binding vote on the BREXIT deal before it can be ratified – yet another attempt to thwart the process, and thus the will of the people. What a hypocrite. For balance I can also identify a Conservative MP, Anna Soubry who caused eyes to roll on the Conservative benches in the House of Commons this past Monday when she continued to vent her vehement attack on BREXIT and her party leaders. If she does not understand the principles of democracy why is she in Government?

Then we have the devastating miscalculation of the recent General Election. Short-sighted and blinkered arrogance in the extreme.  My thoughts on reading the Conservative Party (latterly described as Presidential) Election Manifesto are already published. Why did no one with political clout in the Conservative Party face down Teresa May and alert her to the inevitable consequences of such a poorly considered manifesto? I can suggest that study of the ‘Art of War’ by Sun Tzu is required study by her in future campaigns.

Of course, Jeremy Corbyn understood such consequences and saw an opportunity to seize power. He used the rise of a populist vote, especially with younger voters more consumed in their smart phones than in the real world. He promised them anything for their vote even though it was clear from the outset that none of these promises were remotely deliverable, as per populist socialist governments in South America and Africa. His was a particularly exaggerated socialist agenda that had none of the subtle argument proposed by the likes of Tony Blair. This was blatant abuse of process with the certain outcome of bankrupting UK plc. But why did these voters not see the inevitable outcome?

Today Jeremy Corbyn sees himself as the socialist saviour and although verbally supporting the BREXIT outcome he is using it as a party-political football in an attempt to unseat the Conservatives to seize power for himself. For the remoaners who think that BREXIT will be bad for the UK economy I ask them to consider the devastating consequences of a Corbyn led Government. The centre left government under Tony Blair left the Treasury coffers empty (as with all previous Labour Governments since WWII) – but this will be nothing compared with bankruptcy as Corbyn pursues a left socialist agenda. Perhaps his followers should consider the irony in my past blog ‘General Election 2015 – A Sorry Tale’.

The BREXIT campaign was bruising but, from my dialogue with people, they understood why they wanted to vote as they did irrespective of the blindingly aggressive rhetoric from both sides. My view is that the politicians were so outrageous that their words became an incoherent noise. The doom-and-gloom merchants such as David Cameron and George Osborne hid behind rigged outpourings from the likes of OECD and IMF clearly geared to frighten voters, but subsequently found to be completely false and unfounded. The UK economy has prospered post-BREXIT, and the EU is beginning to understand that THE UK is not about to bail out Europe for the third time in the past one hundred years. Teresa May has offered what the International Court of Arbitration would likely deem as legally obligated under the Lisbon Treaty. Any more requires valuable reciprocity from the EU. The second largest contributor to the EU is obviously a real loss to them, but they had the opportunity to address the needs of the UK people, but chose in their blind arrogance, to ignore such needs. Now they want to put valuable trade for both parties at risk to continue to prop up a failed system which is blatantly undemocratic. My instinct tells me that there will be substantial turmoil within the EU countries if trade is not maintained with the UK. The interview with the Foreign Minister of Spain, Alphonso Dastis, by Andrew Marr last Sunday was very revealing as he clearly stated that the close relationship between the UK and Spain pre-dates the EU. He argued that seventeen million UK visitors to Spain each year plus some 750k of UK citizens choosing to retire in Spain is not something they intend to put at risk.

So, what does all this say about our current form of democracy. We have politicians who choose the ignore the majority will of the people. We now have far too many career politicians who clearly lack the experience and wisdom needed to execute their office. We have an unelected powerhouse in Brussels who have no regard for the will of the people when it does not concur with their agenda. We have multiparty systems in many countries that govern by painful compromise (rather than strong leadership). We have too many politicians who have little regard for the ability of people to think for themselves and thus govern by fear tactics. And we have an electorate who feel disconnected from the process and thus disinterested. Instead of democratically thinking about an issue in the interest of all, they concern themselves with what matters only to themselves. Is democracy about to implode, and what phoenix will rise from the ashes?

 

 

2-weeks post-BREXIT. Where are we?

univest2-weeks post-BREXIT. Where are we?

The EU Referendum has raised a number of issues that show why this referendum was needed. During recent years politics has become too elite and detached from the people it is there to serve. A good shakeout is necessary, as is happening in the USA. BREXIT has triggered this process in Europe, and especially the EU. So where are we post-BREXIT?

Scare Story: The UK will suffer unprecedented political turmoil

This is true, but more in the EU than the UK. The reaction at the quickly convened emergency meeting of the European Parliament on the Monday following BREXIT resembled more a Third World bun fight than a rational First World debate. The exchange of insults and rebuke was extraordinary.

The UK political turmoil has shown that David Cameron lacks the qualities of a true leader. Having consented to a referendum on the basis of a reformed EU, which he did not achieve, a strategically capable leader would have returned from Brussels to announce his frustration with Brussels, and then overseen the referendum debate without expressing his own view, or that of the Government, ready to implement the decision of the people (democracy) thus providing the political leadership and continuity post-BREXIT that is currently so lacking. We have a political vacuum until we have a new leader – not good for confidence around the world.

This political vacuum has fuelled an anti-democratic minority to challenge the outcome of the EU Referendum result. It is interesting to note that these whingers obviously have the view that a democracy can only be democratic when the vote result concurs with their view. And these whingers include people like Richard Branson who, reportedly, saw some 30% wiped off his Virgin empire. The people have spoken and, with a larger turnout than your average General Election, the clear majority voted for BREXIT. In a democracy every citizen has the obligation to make themselves aware of the issue requiring a vote of the people, and to cast their vote accordingly. In this digital age there is no excuse for lack of information. The result is clear, so to the whingers – move on; we will flourish.

The positive result of this turmoil as we approach political summer recess is that the UK Civil Service has time to consider the optimal exit terms for negotiation with the EU, and a period of reflection by the EU machine. As I refine this blog I found an article in yesterday’s London Evening Standard written by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German Foreign Minister, in which he acknowledges that the EU elite have been indifferent to the voices of the people, causing great unrest. His solution – even faster political and economic integration. Will they ever listen?

Scare Story: The UK markets will collapse with pensions and quality of life in decline, and London will lose its status as the Global Financial Centre

Since the casino players, looking purely to make money from the volatility surrounding the referendum vote, have gone to sleep (when will the G7 address this global destabilising problem) the UK stock markets have stabilised, and indeed risen some 15% – a vote of confidence by investors, and good for pension funds. Adjustments will occur as the UK realigns itself; albeit the attack on commercial property funds is bizarre. Furthermore all talk of the capital markets moving within the EU has evaporated – the underlying covert motive by both the USA and Germany having been neutralised.

Our EU partners have not been so fortunate in that the BREXIT vote has caused much instability within the EU forcing markets down by as much as 15%. Although they have recovered some of these losses there is little evidence of full recovery any time soon. Italy is on the brink of a banking crisis, and there is much discontent within the EU. We have the USA regulators stating that both Deutsche Bank and Banco de Santander fail their stress tests and thus must increase capital if they wish to continue to trade US dollars. And of course VW are looking at considerably more substantial fines around the world. There is also reported a vote of no confidence for the EU to settle Euro transactions.

The doomsayers claim that the 10% fall in sterling against the US dollar is a major disaster for the UK. On the contrary sterling has been over-valued for some time damaging the ability of the UK to sell its goods overseas. As I write this blog sterling has recovered to 1.29. It would be better for the UK economy if this rate fell below 1.26 for a few months before the US Presidential elections will likely deflate the US dollar, pushing the value of sterling up again. I would remind the whingers that when Germany pushed for the introduction of the Euro the result for Germany was an effective significant devaluation of the Deutschemark which was much needed by the German economy to trade themselves out of the grossly underestimated cost of reunification – but at a real cost to all other Eurozone members.

Scare Story: The UK will require years to negotiate new trade deals with the Single Market and the World

There are a number of countries, including the USA and Germany, who want to be first to sign trade deals with the UK. There is much confusion being hoisted by the whingers about the single market. The UK does not need to be part of the single market for the same reasons that are frustrating the trade deal between the EU and the USA (who already trade more with the EU than does the UK). What we need is tariff-free trade deals with each of the member states who wish to engage with us. If Germany can do this then why not all other member states? The EU is fragmenting, and will need significant reform if it is to survive – including trade relationships. Regardless of the political rhetoric Germany will not risk the loss of its significant exports to the UK, and France will follow.

Scare Story: UK citizens will lose the right to freely travel, work and live in the EU countries

Today UK citizens need a passport to travel into the EU member States, and to return from them. Travelling freely within the EU countries is defined by the Schengen Agreement between member States and thus does not change anything for UK citizens. Moving to an EU member State may change, but looking at the number of EU citizens living in the UK reciprocity is the likely outcome.

Scare Story: The UK is too small and insignificant to go it alone

The UK coughed on the 23rd June, and the whole world sneezed, and is still sneezing. The UK has always punched well above its weight, and always will. London is the most important global financial centre in the world, and thanks to BREXIT, will retain this status. The EU loses one of its two permanent seats at the UN Security Council, and loses the global diplomatic reach enjoyed by the UK. As the fifth largest economy in the world the UK will find its feet over the coming months, and then flourish. The EU may not be so lucky.

 

A few days ago I listened to an interesting discussion regarding the total breakdown of the former USSR. The original discussions with Gorbachev revolved around the satellite states adjoining the eastern borders of Western Europe. However, as the Berlin Wall fell practically all members of the USSR declared their own freedom from Moscow. The view was that Moscow thought it could impose a homogeneous citizen unity across the USSR without any regard for the diverse nature and cultures of each nation state. Thus laws and regulations formulated in Moscow intended to create a homogeneous USSR caused resentment and unrest in these States – the response being typical Roman-type repression by Moscow, and ultimately downfall. Even the Romans knew better when they built their empire. What could the EU learn from this? Brussels relentlessly moves towards a United States of Europe without the consent of the people. Whether they use brute force, or financial pain they attempt to impose their will over each member State. The majority of people in the UK have said ‘NO’, and I fully expect others to follow.

A few weeks before the referendum vote I listened to an interesting debate by university students regarding the EU Referendum. They did not have guest speakers, rather relying on four students on each side of the debate to put their respective cases. The debate was surprisingly articulate. The audience was an estimated 100 students who, after the debate, overwhelmingly voted for BREXIT. This tallies with the young vote of some 25% of 18 – 24 year-olds. The triangle of knowledge for 16 – 24 year-olds (post-university) consists of students who have both the intellect and knowledge to analyse issues, students who have the knowledge but not enough intellect to fully appreciate the issues, and the remainder who prefer to go to the pub and watch football. The proportion of students who have both the intellect and knowledge average around 23%. Thus most of the 25% who voted for BREXIT are likely to have understood why. The other two sectors are likely to take the safe option to stay with what they know, or not vote. Therefore, I do not accept that the older (wiser) voters in any way let the young down. This is why the social engineering of the Blair/Brown Government sending 50% of the young to university was ridiculous, a waste of money, and did nothing for those who leave lesser universities with a degree and considerable debt but with no prospect of the suitable job that was implied was available for them.

I have also heard from the young that they wanted to remain in the EU to take advantage of the Erasmus program to study in Europe not realising that this program has little to do with the EU, but formulated as an exchange program between the universities, and includes universities in the USA. There is no possibility that this will end as a result of BREXIT, not least because of the significant number of European students who want to take advantage of the far superior red brick and CAT universities in the UK.

Just as a footnote, I chose to assess the views of the more canny Scottish voters regarding the post-BREXIT opportunist actions of Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister in Scotland, as I did before the Scottish Independence Referendum. The result then was a resounding vote to stay in the UK. A vote today between the UK and the EU would yield the same result. So Nicola, don’t waste your time as the people do not want your pathway, and I cannot imagine the EU entertaining yet another country joining on a net beneficiary basis in any event. The EU Referendum was on behalf of the whole of the UK, and the people spoke. Let it be. There is a bright tomorrow for the UK, so let us focus on the future together.

A View on post-BREXIT not yet discussed

univestA View on post-BREXIT not yet discussed

In general I tend to agree that the economic data banded around from both sides of the EU Referendum argument to be irrelevant, not least because such data will be skewed by undeclared terms of reference, and vested interests. However, there are referendum issues not being addressed, and a likely outcome scenario not even discussed.

We invariably hear both Cameron and Corbyn declare that we should remain in a REFORMED EU, but has any political commentator asked what they mean by REFORMED, and how they intend to achieve such reform? Not to my knowledge. This is a very important point as I would suggest that the deal that Cameron produced at the start of the referendum is little better in the medium to long-term than the agreement waved at the people by Chamberlain just before WWII.

As a seasoned player in real-world geo-politics and geo-economics for over 35 years I would like to suggest a likely outcome of a BREXIT vote. Certainly there will be much hostile media posturing by EU mandarins, not least to try to prevent a rush to the exit by other member States. However, behind closed doors the mood will be far more sober as Germany almost certainly cannot sustain the EU without the UK. It is reasonably certain that free trade will continue as the German Government could not sustain the wrath of its corporate giants who export much to the UK, and we are well versed in the way that French farmers will bring the French Government into line. What I expect to happen is a call between Berlin (not Brussels) and London to determine what reforms would change the view of the British people. Thus the period following BREXIT would more likely be Treaty reform to put to the UK to keep the UK in. The UK Referendum result is not legally binding on the UK Government so a vote in the House of Commons to accept a revised (reformed) EU Treaty with a General Election in sight would likely keep us in the EU. The BREXIT would merely accelerate the reforms that are generally accepted as needed throughout most member States, with the full support of most member States. Thus a BREXIT vote could see us as a good citizen of Europe.

Another important factor in this debate is the supremacy of English Law, especially in trade and finance. The reason that the City of London is the financial centre of the world is the global confidence in English Law over all others relating to trade, capital markets, and insurance. If this is diluted by EU supremacy then the resulting instability will be felt globally, as well as UK GDP. During my career Frankfurt has attempted on two occasions to steal part of this valuable asset, and France continues to dream of doing the same. Retaining the supremacy of English Law in this EU arena is vital to UK prosperity.

As for the global impact of BREXIT there is no doubt that there will be a short period of volatility but I would suggest that such volatility will pale against the global impact of the recent adjustment in China and its continued economic slowdown, and a Trump victory in November. Unfortunately, we live in times of a new breed of unscrupulous large blocks of wealth that avariciously feed on volatility purely for greed, and they have the wealth to exaggerate such volatility to maximise their profit. When will the G7 address this global instability?

Is Putin really orchestrating the disintegration of Europe?

univestIs Putin really orchestrating the disintegration of Europe?

I have just finished reading a report on Bloomberg News titled ‘From Rape Claim to Brexit, Putin Machine Tears at Europe’s Seams’ by Arne Delfs and Henry Meyer citing incidents such as the ‘Lisa Affair’ in Germany as evidence that Putin is orchestrating the disintegration of Europe. This claim is worth a little exploration.

There is no doubt that the paranoia that is Putin sees a strong Europe as a direct threat to Russia, especially along its borders – Ukraine being a prime example. As Russia is not in a position to rapidly grow in spite of its energy reserves then his strategy must be to weaken his perceived enemy – classic Sun Tzu. We have also witnessed his desire to be seen as a major influence in the World with his intervention in Syria. So can he manipulate the disintegration of Europe?

The evidence presented in the Bloomberg report would suggest that he can, and indeed, is exploiting the weakness in the EU system. But is he a primary mover, or just having a little mischievous fun exploiting the clear fault lines in the EU model as retaliation for the embargo imposed on Russia for past mischief?

For anyone to exploit a large system such as the EU in this way there must be inherent weaknesses that can be exploited. We saw during the Ukraine crisis that the response by the West had to be tempered because of the overwhelming reliance on energy supplies from Russia by Germany (some 84% against the UK 4%). Why would a so-called major economy allow itself to engage in an energy policy which left them so vulnerable? Why should the West allow such an economy to influence its response?

What I have observed over many years is that every time a closed system tries to impose itself on other systems the oppressor fails, e.g. Germany on Europe, Russia on USSR. Even the Romans, during their expansionism, knew that that had to befriend the conquered and only impose changes regarding the needs of Rome in exchange for protection. They knew that they could not possibly hold the line of their empire if they tried to completely impose their will over the oppressed. Indeed, they used a philosophy that made it an honour to elevate the compliant to the status of a Roman citizen – probably the first peoples honours system.

Putin appears to be exploiting the clear divisions in the EU regarding the attempted imposition of the German way, albeit under the Brussels umbrella, on the other EU members. Of course, as with all such closed States, they believe that they have a successful model which they would like to share (impose) on others to allow them to indulge in the prosperity of their system. I have argued in previous blogs that there are inherently fatal flaws in the incestuous German closed system akin to Japan in the 1980’s and thus will ultimately fail. The nearest closed system to that of Germany within the EU is France albeit that the closed system in France consists of nationalised industries and banks – the topical example being EdF – and France is technically bankrupt.

But Germany has shown itself to be flawed, notably in its handling of the refugee crisis. Their double-edged sword of appearing to act with compassion as a cover for their desperate need for some one million skilled people to replace the erosion of its own workforce since 2012 through emigration to the likes of the UK, Switzerland, the USA, and Australia, has backfired. The Lisa Affair appears to be a ploy to further add to the woes of Angela Merkel as she loses popularity as the usually compliant German population now regularly take to the streets in defiance.

So, assuming Putin is playing games, should we be concerned? Politicians play games most of the time. Look at the upcoming intervention of the USA in the BREXIT debate. Is the USA really concerned about the UK, or their own influence in the EU for which they use the UK as their gateway? Would the USA ever consider surrendering any form of sovereignty to another nation to engage with it? I fully understand both the short-term geo-political and geo-economic consequences of a BREXIT – and it is not good. But everyone appears to be asking the UK to sacrifice itself for the sake of global stability. Why don’t these interlopers focus their concerns towards the mandarins in Brussels, and who could still save the day if vital EU reform is agreed? How many more times in history do the British people have to sacrifice themselves to save the World? If Putin wants to play games with Germany to accelerate realisation then so be it. If he is successful, the unintended consequences (on his part) might be the tonic that Europe so desperately needs.

BREXIT will not isolate the UK in Europe

univestBREXIT will not isolate the UK in Europe

I have received a number of comments suggesting that BREXIT will isolate the UK in Europe. As I have absolutely no interest in isolating the UK from Europe I would like to address these comments.

If you look back to the various blogs about the EU I generated in 2013 it should be clear that I consider that the UK should be at the very heart of Europe. If we look back at the two configurations suggested by Winston Churchill we essentially see one option where the UK would act as broker between the then OEEC (Organisation for European Economic Co-operation) and, primarily, the USA – a role we still perform in part today. The other option was to create a United States of Europe where the UK was the dominant player at the very heart of Europe. Never, in his wildest dreams, would he consider a role as a marginalised player in the autocratic EU of today.

So where is the confusion? Fundamentally BREXIT is about leaving the political system that is the EU – not Europe. Furthermore, BREXIT would lead the way for others member states, who cannot wield the power of the UK, but of similar mind, to follow. Other EU members who do not favour or qualify to join the German-Franco dominated Eurozone, could also combine with the UK to seek a new arrangement. This is where the UK, after the experience of BREXIT, would be ideally placed to take the lead role. A new grouping, under UK leadership, would be based on free trade with the Eurozone core (not the nonsense contributory scaremonger version), and on mutual interests elsewhere in the world – not least the Commonwealth countries. The new form of cooperation would be between independent sovereign European Nations and absolutely free of compulsion towards economic convergence or political integration.

Thereafter survival of the remaining EU ultimately depends on the fiscal union of those who use it. Fiscal union, defacto, demands political union. So the EU can only survive for as long as the remaining rich countries are prepared to transfer a proportion of their wealth to the poorer ones, and those poorer ones are prepared to endure the stark conditions of austerity the rich countries impose on them for receiving it. But the imposition of political union on the 19 nations that use it, (let alone the other 9 who do not, and may join the UK) no longer looks like a realistic option. As with the failure of the Schengen agreement on open borders, common sense suggests that we must have a fully integrated United States of Europe model for the Eurozone to survive. The reality is that there is little appetite to integrate 28 nations with disparate economies, different backgrounds, culture and languages under an undemocratic autocracy. Therefore, we need to find another way.

What I have always insisted is that the UK must have an alternate plan for Europe post-BREXIT that provides for the unity of the countries of Europe, but without the political integration. It would even be possible to keep the Eurozone for those member States that feel it beneficial (remembering that fiscal union means political union), albeit with a democratic oversight.

I am still firmly of the opinion that BREXIT will be the beginning of the end of the EU in its current form. The EU blind determination to continue its drive for ever closer union is in fact driving it rapidly towards the rocks of disintegration. If the EU were to recognise the impending disaster in time to materially change course before the June referendum, then it might be in the UK’s interests to stay in and participate in the process of reconstruction. But this is the only positive argument that can be made for staying in. As we saw with the Cameron negotiations the EU hierarchy seem so obstinately oblivious of the impending danger, that the case for us to leave is compelling. Remaining in without major reform would consign Britain to being a second-tier state in a United States of Europe controlled by the German-Franco-led Eurozone – which is totally unacceptable.

I was lucky enough over the past weekend to gain access to a paper ‘The Referendum – a step towards a Democratic, Prosperous and Safe Europe’ jointly written by Walter Reid, formerly Professor of Accounting and Financial Control at the London Business School, and Chairman MDA Training Ltd, and D.R. Myddelton, Emeritus Professor of Finance and Accounting at Cranfield School of Management. Rather than me summarise a lengthy paper I will provide an extract that speaks volumes of a proper English approach to the referendum:

Quote:

The paper proposes the establishment of a European Multi Currency Union [EMCU] to operate alongside the Eurozone.  Unless the Eurozone and the Brussels Commission come to realise that some such change is essential to hold the EU together – which seems unlikely – it will be necessary for it to be set up by a new Treaty outside the EU by member-states wishing to be free of the current Mission.  A parallel structure between the EU and the EMCU will enable Europe to present a common position in areas such as defence and internal security and any other areas where it is in the mutual interests of both parties to work together.

Britain has an important role to play in helping to set up this new democratic Europe.  It could provide a way for both Britain and our fellow-member-states who also want to escape the oppressive actions of the Eurozone to protect their national interests and build together a democratic and prosperous Europe.

To help achieve this crucial aim, David Cameron should adopt an approach that would mitigate further acrimonious and divisive argument between the Remain and the Leave groups – which could split his party and indeed the country. This would involve agreeing that his recent negotiations achieved much less than the ‘fundamental and far reaching change’ he sought in his Bloomburg speech and that the concessions gained are being challenged.  Further, they are causing serious divisions across Europe as other countries seek similar exemptions.

End Quote

The last paragraph indicates a needed change in position by David Cameron which would also stop all of the adverse speculation in the markets, which in itself is unnecessarily damaging the UK. I would hope that this paper becomes readily available in the public domain.

To Be, or Not to Be (in the EU)? That is the question

img1To Be, or Not to Be (in the EU)? That is the question

At last we have a definitive timeline to determine our future. Do we want to be ruled by a Germanic invasion of Europe for the third attempt in a hundred years, or do we rely on our historic past and save Europe from a model that was broke the day the Euro was introduced?

Having not yet analysed in full the proposed deal agreed by David Cameron last week, I can only comment on what he says he has achieved, having twice listened to his claims. The first alarm bell was the excessive use of Aristotle pathos during the Andrew Marr interview Sunday morning. Invariably a sign of a weak argument.

Let us quickly deal with benefits as this is only window dressing at just £30m or thereabouts per year. The UK net membership contribution is some five times this amount per week – some £2 per head of every man, woman and child in the UK. And what about the money sent to support families in places such as Africa, India and Pakistan every year. Add to this people from places such as Switzerland who come here to retire to take advantage of our NHS, our subsidised travel costs for pensioners, and our substantially lower cost of living – what have they contributed to our country? I would argue that child credits should be paid to every worker at the same level assuming they are paying UK taxes. The fact that their children are in another country should be seen as a saving as they receive their education and healthcare outside of our system. If these children lived in the UK then they would not only receive child credit but also incur costs for education and healthcare. This would amount to considerably more Government support than £21 per week. People who come here only to sponge on our benefits system, or even our NHS, should most certainly be refused entry.

His scaremongering essentially revolves around trade and defence. I found it bizarre that he puts our membership of the EU on the same context as our membership to the UN, NATO, G7, etc. This is comparing apples and bananas. We sit at the top table at the UN, NATO, G7, etc whereas we are a secondary player in the EU, tolerated primarily because of our historic influence in the world, and our substantial contribution in membership fees (without which the EU is likely to collapse). Last week the German Foreign Minister, speaking on Radio 4, clearly stated that the UK leaving will substantially reduce the influence of the EU in the world. He recognised that the UK is a primary driver in global influence of the EU, and we would most certainly retain our influence. We are the fifth largest economy in the world, and we benefit from an historic trans-global approach to the world. I find the EU extremely introspective. Ask someone in China where is Brussels, and then where is London – the easiest example to support my argument.

As for trade, we constantly hear from politicians wishing to stay within the EU that the EU is our largest trading partner, and indeed some claim that the EU is the largest trading bloc in the world. Rubbish and rubbish. We import some £300 billion per annum in goods and services from the EU – about two months worth of our overall trade. We sell considerably less to the EU. Our largest investment market is the USA, and we would be far better served in exports by nurturing our Commonwealth nations who constitute some 1.85 billion people as against some 340 million people in the EU. Politicians in the EU would impose trade barriers against the UK at their peril – of their own corporate leaders. Ask the USA, whose corporates are still trying to recover from the ill-considered trade barriers set by the USA in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Our finance sector is another scaremonger tactic. I found the statement, purportedly from HSBC, that should the UK leave the EU then they will have to establish investment banking activities in Paris as ludicrous as moving their headquarters back to Hong Kong. They might decide, as is normal practice in banking, to establish themselves within a market – but Paris? I also do not expect Deutschebank to reduce its presence in the City of London any time soon as the EU will need the capital raising capability of the City.

What Cameron did not achieve is any real movement in our sovereignty, as it is referred to, and the primary reason declared for Boris Johnson electing for the out of Europe campaign. Our legal system is considered as one of the best in the world, especially for trade and finance – and thus the dominance of the City of London. Its strength is that it grew with the market, and continues to rapidly evolve as is required to meet new challenges – and it is trusted. The continuing imposition of EU law can only impede our ability to retain this dominant position, and thus the dominance of the City – as has been attempted twice during my life as a banker. Germany has never been trans-global in its finance policy, and is invariably behind the curve on matters economic. For example, they dithered for some 3 years about quantitative easing meaning everyone within the Euro suffered.

The only applause to Cameron is for forcing the EU to agree a new deal in time for the referendum to occur whilst Angela Merkel is still in her final weeks of office. Politically well played – that is until Merkel’s response to the refugee crisis went sour. Had Merkel not lost her support within Germany she would have done whatever necessary to avoid the EU collapsing on her watch. There are now whispers that two other net contributor countries are considering following our lead out of the EU. Will the unelected grey suits in Brussels get the message? Today my vote is for Rule Britannia.

More to follow as the detail evolves.

German Domination of Europe – When will they learn that there is a better way

German Domination of Europe – When will they learn that there is a better way

The poignant D Day events of last Friday reminded me that this year is also the centenary since the start of the First World War, or the Great War as it is more commonly known. Although I have many good friends in Germany, and hold absolutely no prejudice against the German people of today, it occurred to me that, for 100 years, the elite of Germany have attempted to mould Europe in their own image, initially through two catastrophic world wars, and currently through self-serving political and economic influence within the European Union.

It cannot be disputed that the engine-room behind the introduction of the Euro was Germany, and in spite of the so-called stringent rules of entry into the Euro, Germany allowed such rules to be significantly relaxed to allow countries to participate where compliance with the entry rules would result in such countries otherwise unlikely to qualify for entry for years to come. It is no secret that Germany has significantly prospered under the Euro – at the expense of the other member nations. These nations now seek financial support, and the German Government have a hard time selling these bailouts to the already over-taxed German people, albeit a problem created by Germany in its self-serving quest for the domination of Europe.

Sometimes I reflect that Germany, having left Europe devastated in 1945, forgets that much of their subsequent prosperity was built on their substantial participation in the Marshall Plan (whereas the United Kingdom, as victor, did not qualify for any such support and has been required the swallow the cost of the wars, and rebuild using its own resources). As with the so-called super-model of Japanese prosperity in the 1980’s I do not subscribe to the German economic model of today, and certainly would strongly oppose this model being at the centre of the European Union. The current German economic model has a fundamental incestuous instability at its core, just like the proverbial pack of cards, and just as with Japan before its economy collapsed.

And this week the German elite are flexing their self-serving muscle again by instruction Angela Merkel to support a tame federalist like Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission president, a move that is counter to the fundamental reforms needed by all donor nations – except Germany.

I have just noticed a news headline  ‘German chancellor Angela Merkel has cautioned David Cameron not to use threats of a UK exit from the EU in his campaign to block a federalist candidate from taking the helm of the European Commission.

Without these reforms my view is that the UK should not threaten to leave the EU, but make it very clear to Germany through the promised referendum that the people of the UK do not see their future dominated by the German vision of Europe. Maybe then the UK will have to pick up the pieces of an imploded Europe for the third time.

A New Multilateralism – Realisable or Wishful Thinking?

univest

A New Multilateralism – Realisable or Wishful Thinking?

I listened to the Richard Dimbleby Lecture on Monday evening with expectation of some new thinking on the way forward. The lecture was called ‘A New Multilateralism for the 21st Century’ and was presented by Christine Lagarde, incumbent MD of the IMF. My initial reaction was that it presented some interesting ideas, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on the relevance of these ideas. So, on Tuesday, I printed off the transcript of her speech from the IMF website. Having now studied this speech in some detail I find it endorses my view that the multilateral institutions of which she leads the IMF are essentially out of touch with the real problems that we face in the 21st century.

Back in the 1970’s, during the oil boom, individuals in the Middle East were accumulating vast amounts of US Dollars in cash because Western banks did not want it. Indeed I remember Swiss banks charging up to 3% p.a. to take these deposits. I actually walked into a room in a palace and saw a pile of US Dollars, and was told that this pile amounted to USD 1 billion. In an attempt to give some visual impression of this pile I am reliably informed that a standard 40ft sea container will hold USD 1 billion in fresh print USD 100 denomination bills. This money was not participating in any economic benefit whatsoever, and there was no possibility that the owner could reasonably consume these funds in their lifetime. Yet just one mile away there were ordinary working people struggling to find the money for their next meal. It occurred to me that if these funds were deposited with SAMA, and used productively producing even a nominal return, such return could be used productively to provide food for these people without any degradation to the original money. Yet the owner had no interest in such a proposition, and was content to accumulate yet more piles to look at.

Unfortunately this sorry tale has since increased in propensity, and as we saw a few weeks ago, Oxfam calculated that the 85 richest people have the same wealth as the bottom half of the World’s population. Christine Lagarde added that the richest 1% in the USA captured 95% of all income gains since 2009, yet the number of people in the USA needing food parcels to survive is now reaching pandemic proportions. She further states that in India the net worth of the billionaire community increased 12 fold in the past 15 years, enough to eliminate the poverty of that country twice over. So why has she not rationalised this into the real threat to the World Order in the 21st century?

We have seen so many billionaires created out of emerging economies such as the former Soviet Union, China, and India, sapping vast amounts of sovereign assets. The rapid nature of such wealth creation should arouse suspicion. However the point that I make is that somehow a few own wealth beyond any reasonable expectation of spending throughout their life. Many will say that they invest much of their wealth, but this only increases their existing wealth. Having met a number of these oligarchs their primary objective is to continue to increase their wealth, usually at the expense of others.

What about if each billionaire set aside USD 1 billion for investment and applied just the income to relieving poverty.

In 2013 an investment return of 15%+ was easily achievable. This would provide in excess of USD 150 million from each billion invested. The billionaire has not lost their capital, but much could be achieved with the income stream. Of course a few of these billionaires are already philanthropic and names like Bill Gates easily come to mind, and who clearly understands that he does not need such vast wealth, so uses his business judgement to make every dollar count in his selected beneficial projects.

Having brushed along with the World Bank, the IMF, and the UN for over 30 years I would suggest that they are political institutions populated by political appointees and academics who have no idea about the real world. I have witnessed a number of World Bank projects which did no more for the recipient country than to provide work for a donor country corporate, create an inappropriate monster that, within 5 years, was derelict leaving the recipient with sovereign debt but with no value to show for it. I have also seen appropriate solutions costing a fraction of the price of the expensive inappropriate concrete alternative discarded because the amount of the appropriate solution did not warrant World Bank intervention. It is interesting that Christine Lagarde acknowledges that it was the fast response of the G20 that stopped the world descending into meltdown 5 years ago rather than the institutions such as the World Bank and IMF founded to deal with such events. I think that this is a good template to use in stating that the current multilateral institutions are not good at delivering effectively solutions.

Although I am clearly in support of the outcome of Bretton Woods, we should also remember that not enough people there were visionary enough to accept all of the ideas of Keynes, and which were subsequently quickly adopted as catastrophe loomed, e.g. removal of the gold standard. Other than those wearing rose tinted spectacles no-one would suggest that the institutions that emerged remotely fulfil their ambitious mandates. I have already mentioned the lack of effectiveness of the World Bank and the IMF, and the UN is little more than a toothless talking shop today – Bosnia being a classic failure.

Christine Legrande suggests that the multilateral outcome of Bretton Woods produced ‘unprecedented economic and financial stability …. Disease eradication, conflict diminished, child mortality reduced, life expectancy increased, and hundreds of millions lifted out of poverty’.

Do we not count Korea, Vietnam, Congo, Sudan, Yugoslavia, Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria …….etc as conflicts? All consumed the lives of many thousands of people including Western soldiers, left chaos and destruction in their wake, and they are still very much in our minds today. When was the last time that the USA was conclusively successful in any serious military conflict? Therefore Europe and the USA may have seen peace and prosperity since Bretton Woods but how many thousands of American and European soldiers and civilians have died in the name of preserving this peace?

To suggest that Europe has been conflict free is also short-sighted. In the past 6 years Europe has been involved in an economic war. Not too many people killed with bullets and bombs, but many have become disenfranchised, lost everything, displaced, and descended into poverty. Is this not symptomatic of a conventional war? When the vision of a European Union was first put to the people the rhetoric promised peace and prosperity for all citizens. I accept that the banking crisis made a bad situation worse, but how many European politicians in France, Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland and the UK breathed a sigh of relief that they could hide their failure to create a credible EU behind the banking crisis?

Let us examine the two reference dates that she used, i.e. 1914 and 1944. She suggests that prior to 1914 the birth of the modern industrial society brought about massive dislocation between protectionist nations, and inequality between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. Take away the country boundaries, essentially the impact of the digital age, and what is different today?

So where do I see the powder kegs of the 21st Century? Perhaps controversially I do not see the North-South Conflict as a major threat. An implosion within the Islamic community is more likely with primarily Sunni against Shi’a. If you think about it, most of the current conflicts involve the Islamic nations, and are driven by extreme religious division. The intervention by the West in some of these conflicts in the name of protecting the West has no logical outcome. These people have no regard for Western democratic values, or of secular tolerance.

At one end of the spectrum we have the blatant inequality of the distribution of wealth. We are experiencing 2 critical phenomena, both of which are counterproductive to a peaceful, all inclusive world. We have individuals and corporates accumulating vast wealth to the point where the resulting power exceeds that of some major nations. Albeit a few of these have taken a philanthropic stance we should note that such philanthropists are mostly from Western countries. Many of the new billionaires are from emerging or developing economies where democracy does not really mean very much, and a market society is the norm, i.e. everything has a price, even social and civic values. All we need is a charismatic megalomaniac, as depicted by the Carver character in the James Bond movie, ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’, to cause chaos and suffering for many throughout the world. Unfortunately Western civilisation has degraded over the past couple of decades towards a market society thus adding a significant sting to the ever increasing differential between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. For example diminish the rights of the ‘have nots’ to education, justice, political influence, and healthcare because they have no money and you have a significant pool of would-be terrorists for our megalomaniac to exploit because they have nothing else, and nothing to lose.

Then we have corporate greed. So what can the people see? During the past 6 years the people have become very aware that their corporate executives have suppressed the salaries of the workers (the value drivers) to below inflation levels whilst increasing their own already attractive remuneration by some 40% average, and which has been allowed by investors because dividends have been maintained to these investors. So the people at the top have handsomely profited whilst real income to the workers has diminished. So much for sharing the pain. In addition these executives are immune to any accountability should they fail. Have any of the avaricious people who profited from the banking crisis been prosecuted, or had their ill-gotten gains repossessed? The banks themselves are being penalised by regulators who should have been more alert to the problems in the first place, and some of these funds do go to Government coffers. But these large fines diminish the capital of the banks, and thus inhibit their capability to finance the very enterprise we need to re-energise the employment market, i.e. they inadvertently stifle recovery, increasing disenfranchised young entrepreneurs.

At a micro scale we can look at the fate of RBS under Fred Goodwin. He was a megalomaniac trying to build the biggest bank in the world. Everyone I spoke to in the City of London at the time leading up to the acquisition of ABN Amro agreed that the terms of that deal, at twice the price that anyone else was prepared to consider, was insane. Yet no-one stepped in to stop him. How much pain, and destroyed lives has RBS caused to many thousands of people. But Fred Goodwin is made for life financially; so well in fact that sticks and stones may break his bones, but he will not lose a night’s sleep over the names that he is called.

At the other end of the spectrum we have the demographic issue. We have already seen a growing view amongst the young generation of workers that their taxes should not be funding the pensions and healthcare of the graying generation. The younger generation see that they have to pay taxes to support the pensions of an ever increasing graying population, and being told that they also have to contribute a significant proportion of their disposable income to their own pension provisions as State pensions will slowly but surely phase out by the time they retire. All of this at a time when real incomes are diminishing in real purchase power terms. Rightly the graying population state that they have paid their taxes, in the form of a special National Insurance tax specifically for the right to a State pension and healthcare, throughout their working lives and thus their State pension is rightfully theirs. The problem is that successive Governments have not ring-fenced these contributions over the years, preferring to spend it in the hope that future generations with continue to fund the requirement; a little like a Ponzi scheme. Add to this the migration of young labour where they have no historic interest in the local graying population, and expect to be able to send money home to support their own aging family, and we have potential serious discourse and unrest. Bring both of the above phenomena together and we have a powder keg just looking for a fuse.

So from where can our fuse emerge? Our fuse already exists in the form of the global internet, social networking, and twitter. Christine Lagarde is right in that the Arab Spring was fuelled by the galvanising of the people through media such as Twitter and social media. But likewise these facilities can also be used to fuel discontent and confusion. Great philosophers such as Aristotle, Kent and Hume have all commented on the importance of gossip to the masses, and our lesser quality media thrives on this obsession. So the touch paper is a disenfranchised charismatic individual or group exploiting the power of gossip through Twitter and social networks. We have seen the impact of disenfranchised ‘have nots’ in riots in many cities over recent years. It is when all of these groups can be galvanised together that we need to be concerned.