One Morning In The Office Take 5

One Morning In The Office

@realdonaldtrump

"Vlad?"
"Don! How are you? Sacked any more Directors yet?"
"Give me time."
"I've told you time is of the essence don't give them time to think,
change continuously."
"I know, I know... Is that why you sent me the guide?"
"Yes I've updated from last year Kim Sung made some amendments."
"I admire him for one so young."
"He had good training, like Assad, you really should meet up."
"I can't with Assad I just bombed his base."
"I know still nothing damaged and you did warn us first so
I could tell him."
"Shhhh the FBI may be listening?"
"So what you have dealt with them now."
"No, not quite the temporary one is being nasty about me in congress
implying I was wrong."
"Then fire him too, or really terminate - its what the rest of us do."
"That reminds me, on page two of the guide it says
I should assassinate some journalists after I have removed the heads
of police."
"Yes you need to adapt for your own terminology but get rid
of a few journo's and the rest come into line."
"I noticed and Erdogan recommended the same."
"He's following the same programme, we'll soon have it all sorted."
"Shame about Marie."
"Yes and after the Dutch fiasco."
"The hack was too late."
"I've had the head of the team shot for the timing."
"If only I had your control."
"Back to the FBI, send them in armed and have accidental
shooting with terrorism connections always works.
Schools, cinemas, underground stations, all works and adds up."
"I know you are right. What's next on the agenda."
"Germany."
"Is she the short fat one?"
"Yes, but don't worry about her we still have the Stasi files."
"What did she do?"
"Nothing you have to worry about Don. Not as bad as the hotel..."
"You said you would not mention those again."
"Ha Ha just winding you up old friend. Xi says Hi by the way."
"I owe him a call need to coordinate message when
Kim does his next test."
"Will it fail?"
"We have not agreed yet. Now South Korea is coming on line
maybe we should postpone."
"No don't do that we need to keep the tension up.
I wish Kim had agreed to that limited strike idea."
"He needs to learn from Assad too.
Got to keep some world opinion on side."
"You are too soft Don, I'll get Ivanka to give you a rub down."
"Will she?"
"Anything for you Don you know that but
ease off on Twitter it makes you look silly."
"OK Vlad and thanks for the guide."

Drugs, Brexit Divorce Bill, Elections and Musings

I had not realised that it has been over a month since my last wittering. Many of you will be thankful for the silence especially my own son who’s has managed to embed himself into a political party and start campaigning in the UK’s latest election. I’ll get to that in a moment first lets talk NHS and drugs!

NHS

In the never ending debate about NHS spending in the UK – read across to other countries – let’s get a fact out from http://www.nhshistory.net/parlymoney.pdf

In 1950/51 spending amounted to £11.7 billion in 2010/11 prices, or 3.5% of
GDP. By 2010/11, spending had increased more than tenfold in real terms to reach £121bn, or 8.2% of GDP.
Although it has risen consistently over the period, spending has accelerated in recent years.
Between 1999/00 and 2009/10, real-terms expenditure rose by 92%

The Kings Fund has this for NHS in England in dismissing yet another politicians claim of how big an increase the NHS had received each year

Graph showing annual percentage change in real NHS spending

i.e. there has been a real terms increase in NHS spending in England since the 70s with 3 exceptions – so much for NHS cuts. The counter to that argument is that NHS costs have also increased ahead of regular inflation during this period and that is true in particular costs for new treatments i.e. drugs and they are treating more patients due to larger population size, but this is a pot % of a bigger pot as GDP has grown in the same period. There are within the numbers huge variations of what the money has been spent on – a new hospital, pay for cleaners, more doctors and nurses, radiographers, LGBT diagnosis, car parking executives, etc? But lets stick to Drugs.

Drugs

The drug market has recently been in the news with the perceived failure (in economic terms against improved life expectancy) of the UK’s National Cancer Fund. This was set up with the best intentions of funding nationally treatment that local health authorities could not afford. Thus transferring large amounts of money for very expensive drugs produced by pharmaceutical companies. Not surprisingly the results have not been as good collectively as everyone hoped. Some individuals have had very successful treatment, unfortunately most have not. This brings us to the bigger picture of drug companies, cures and such issues of the slow failure of antibiotics (due to over prescription and misuse).

Drug companies are not investing in research to replace antibiotics because there is no money in it for them. There is no money in any drug that produces a cure. What drug companies want is a population that is kept well enough to earn a living thus to pay for drugs that do not cure but keep the customer well. There is no cure for diabetes just a lifetime of insulin injections, blood tests and monitoring. Vaccines cure or prevent treatment is designed not to cure. The only answer to this problem is to either persuade leopards to change spots i.e. drug companies to work for the interests of the patient rather than shareholders or Government to be socially responsible. I have quoted before one terrorism incident provokes millions of tax money spent. Thousands of antibiotic deaths and risks of death provokes barely a whisper.

Brexit

Just a brief word on Brexit divorce bill for my European colleagues. Yes there will be a cost for commitments beyond Brexit date. the liabilities, but there is also a share of assets. Therefore, I presume the UK will be paid its percentage share of buildings, systems, IPR, stored wine, butter, grain, computer systems etc. Of course it appears that the rest of the EU want the UK to pay maintenance for the rest of the EU countries lives, like a distraught spouse who wants to stay in the family house and not work for a living.

UK Election

Both the elements above are key UK election issues. I know my pleads will land on deaf ears (or blind readers) but can we have proper facts. If a cut is claimed (See NHS) above please have the Oxford English Dictionary refine what the word cut actually means. I thought after Trump alternative facts might go on the back seat but no such luck. To add to NHS lets look at Education

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SE.XPD.TOTL.GD.ZS?locations=GB

The graph on that link shows a less than 1% reduction in Education spending as % of GDP between 2010 and 2015 since reversed and trending back upwards. This is in turn with a growing GDP i.e. higher % of higher total pot. Again internal inflation may reduce value of increase but it is not a cut. Spending per pupil – another measure may be down overall but that is because we have far more pupils than before due to net population increase, thanks to birth rates, lower death rates and better health care. Immigration may also have an impact but where more children come from is less important than the fact that there are more children living longer – I have covered this before. Normally we talk about age and long life pushing the population numbers up but higher birth rates and lower infant mortality do the same then 70+ years later add to the aging population. Just one example not in my local area and not a hotbed of immigration (unlike London), Somerset County Council had an increase in pupil numbers of 0.8% just between 2014 and 2015. This amounted to 521 pupils i.e. a decent sized primary school capacity needed. Have you noticed all the new schools being built, and the sewage systems, the roads the hospitals the…. You get my drift

I could also hope that people not actually standing in the election but in political parties might shut up for ten seconds so we can view the actual candidates – already a forlorn hope. Farage, Blair, Osbourne, Sturgeon I mean you. We then have the endless comments about voting for May, Crobyn, Farrow etc (other candidates are available) We do not have a presidency. For any one of these they first have to get elected by their area’s constituents. None of these people are standing where I live so I cannot vote for any of them. I can only vote for candidates standing in the area I am registered to vote. I continue to see commentators, media and the general public asked who they will vote for with the answer one of the leaders. All of these discussions are not in the the respective constituencies. Why is this question even asked?

Once elected as an MP, then ,if they manage to be the current leader of the largest political party (or other grouping), in the UK’s parliament, you may be asked by the monarch to form a government. If the numbers do not add up (326 MPS) you may still be asked if with other partners you can form a government as happened from 2010-2015. Sorry regional governments that’s why you still have national elections not regional ones Ms Sturgeon please take note, if you want a say on UK politics please stand as an MP and be accountable to your constituents to the UK Parliament otherwise please stick to running the bits of Scotland devolved to the Scottish Parliament. This specifically does not include foreign affairs, defence, security etc.

France

Of course by the time the UK goes to its national poll (we have local elections before that) France will have a new President. On current polls (can we believe any of them?) the likely winner on 7th May will be Emmanuel Macron and not Marine Le Pen. Here unlike UK they are voting for an individual. The whole EU leadership seems to be behind Macron as he is seen as pro-EU and business. Of course I am certain that no EU funds have been used to support any of the candidates apart from the funding all candidates in France receive from the EU – what you did not know that the EU funds political parties?

http://www.welcomeurope.com/european-funds/funding-of-political-parties-foundations-european-level-180+80.html#tab=onglet_details

It Almost Makes Sense

In the UK there are major restrictions on funding of political parties, hence potential prosecutions over expenses in the 2015 election, meanwhile the EU funds all sorts of groups and clearly the UK currently pays (via its net contributions) for this. Perhaps this is the real reason the EU wants funding to continue post Brexit. All those political parties and institutions are dependent on it just like a drug company wanting unwell patients that are never cured.

One Morning In The Office Take 4

One Morning In The Office

@realdonaldtrump

"Morning Mr. President"
"Morning Sean"
"Here's the list Rex sent"
"What list?"
"The one you asked for with the countries you haven't insulted or accused yet."
"But there's only one sheet of paper and there's only two countries listed that's if Burkina Faso is a country?"
"I'm told it is Sir."
"Who by?"
"The State Department."
"And you believed them, you sure their not making it up?"
"I checked with Andrew Napolitano at Fox, he say's he's heard of it. South America he thinks."
"We didn't campaign there."
"No Mr. President, South America the continent not south of the USA even though it is, south of the USA I mean."
"Are you trying to hoodwink me?"
"No Sir, I do need to check because I thought it was in Africa."
"You mean we don't know where the country is, what sort of state did Obama let this country get into.
Find it out immediately we can't just lose the location of a country!"
"I don't think it's moved at all."
"Why not? It can move if I want it too. I'm President, Vlad moves bits of countries all the time."
"He does not move them Sir he just annexes bits of territory. In Georgia and the Ukraine."
"He can't have Georgia we have the Masters there."
"The nation Sir not the US State."
"There's a difference?"
"Sir?"
"Never mind, so what do we do with this Faso?"
"We can accuse them of harbouring a GCHQ listening post that was used to bug Trump Tower, maybe expel some diplomats."
"Sounds good, get to it."
"I can't I mean we can't Sir."
"Why not?"
"We promised the Brits we would not mention GCHQ again or accuse them of spying on you, you told Theresa May you would not nor the NSA."
"Remind me, is Theresa the one I met this week the short dumpy one who spoke a foreign language?"
"No Sir, that was Angela Merkel the German Chancellor, she wanted to hold your hand like Theresa did."
"But she was foreign and somehow she got in the country despite my Immigration order."
"Germany is not on the order Sir."
"But she is foreign?"
"Most people are Sir."
"Not Americans."
"We best not get into that."
"Now Sir I have your daily security briefing, do you want the one from the NSA or your usual one from Fox News."
"Can't believe the NSA one its all fake news and tell them I'm upset by them failing to confirm Andrew's story."
"I have Sir."
"Good, I'll look at it after Sesame Street, who is left on the list? What's the USSR?"
"Oh that's just Vlad, he suggested he bring back the old name, a traditional branding opportunity his marketing folk have said."
"Clever, I like it so we don't have to insult the USSR."
"No Sir, we do not Russia but the USSR that justifies us increasing defence spending."
"BUt if the USSR doesn't exist we're insulting no one?"
"Exactly Sir."
"How are we gonna pay for it all, I mean we don't get enough in tax."
"No Sir some people have not paid tax in decades."
"It's the American way Sean, I'm not stupid."
"No Sir, very clever. I may have a way out."
"What?"
"Well according to the State Department Briefing Burkina Faso get some US Aid, we can withdraw it."
"Great and we have an excuse as they have been spying on us, we can call it unnamed agencies used the
place to coordinate spying activity. That won't upset the Angela."
"That's Theresa and very good Sir."
"What can we spend the money on instead."
"A missile."
"How many?"
"Just one Sir a Hellfire I think. we only gave them a couple of million last year."
"Too much, I paid more than that in tax."
"No you didn't Sir."
"That's because I'm clever."
"Yes you are Sir."

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/17/white-house-will-not-be-repeat-claims-gchq-spied-trump-

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2017/mar/17/donald-trump-angela-merkel-no-handshake-video

http://us-foreign-aid.insidegov.com/q/26/1590/How-much-money-does-the-U-S-give-to-Burkina-Faso

One Morning In The Office Take 3

One Morning In The Office

@realdonaldtrump

"Mr. President great news."
"What's happened?"
"A judge ruled in our favour."
"About time, so the new Exec order is OK then."
"Not quite, there's one problem."
"What now?"
"It's the same judge."
"The same one?"
"Yeah the one you called an idiot and anti-democratic."
"Did I say that?"
"You did."
"Was I on oath?"
"Nope"
"Shame I could deny it then, the AG did."
"We're working on the statement now."
"Try - we're always supportive of the legal process."
"But that's not true."
"And your point is?"

 

One Morning In The Office Take 2

Aside

One Morning In The Office

@realdonaldtrump

"Sean"
"Mr President."
"Good press conference"
"I thought so to."
"Why no questions though?"
"That would have been difficult."
""Why?"
"Well Sir I followed your instructions about fake news."
"Good so you banned all the organisations that have written a story that was not true."
"Yes Sir."
"And..."
"There's no one left."
"No one?"
"No one?"
"So how are the American people going to hear about all the great things I've been doing?"
"I've lined up some replacements they'll be here in the morning if we can get them an exemption."
"Oh good, what exemption?"
"They're due in school so we need permission to take them out of class and bring them in."
"Understandable which college, Yale, Standford?"
"No Mr President we have representatives from Washington Kindergarten Grade 1."
"Will they be positive?"
"As long as they have a choice of colours with the crayons they have asked us to supply."

 

One Morning In The Office

Shamelessly carried over from a Goodreads forum but wanted a bit more visibility.

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/18458920-one-morning-in-the-office—a-satire

Ring ring ring
"Please press 1 for current orders, two for new orders three for accounts and four for any other reason"
"Rex, is this a new order, I thought we tried to order this last week."
"The web site crashed."
"I better select two then."
Twenty minutes later....
"Customer Service, Blanche speaking how can I help you today we have special offers on roofing and nails for details please see..."
Five minutes later
"How can I help?"
"I'd like to order some bricks"
"No problem, Sir, we can do that or you can try on-line"
"I couldn't get the site to accept my order."
"Sorry about that Sir, I just need to go through a few details."
"Well I don't have much time."
"It won't take long. Have you ordered from us before."
"No, I don't think so."
"All our bricks are baked in America and conform to EPA standards."
"Good to see American jobs for American people for America let's make it great again."
"Quite. What are the bricks for?"
"A wall."
"Is that a supporting wall, a building wall or a garden wall?"
"There's a difference?"
"Oh yes they have different properties a building wall might be external facing or interior"
"I think it's closest to a garden wall a barrier really."
"I see, well we have some basic standard bricks they are 3 and 5/8 by 2 and 1/4 by 8 inches."
"Yeah I saw that on the web site."
"So how high is your wall going to be?"
"Twenty feet."
"Wow, that's a big garden wall."
"Yep, gonna keep them bad dudes out."
"Are you in a high crime area? Can I interest you in our razor wire or intrusion detection systems."
"Just the bricks for now."
"So you'll need at least 120 rows depending on foundations."
"Foundations?"
"Yes you'll need to dig down to make sure the wall has solid foundations. You can do that with concrete. It also prevents varmints digging under the wall."
"People can tunnel under?"
"Normally its raccoons or other pests."
"What about Mexicans?"
"Sir, no racist profiling please or I'll have to call my supervisor. A wall with good foundations can prevent some tunneling but how deep do you want to go?"
 Mumbled "Do it with mines or concrete."
"I think concrete would be a good idea. We can supply that as well."
"Stick to the bricks."
"So how long is your wall going to be?"
"1,900."
"Wow that is big. So we have 1900 feet which is 2850 bricks by 120 high which is 342,000 which is 684 pallets of 500 call it 700 for spares.
"Err..."
"Mr President..."
"Not now Rex."
"We discount orders over 50 pallets so I make that 700 at $200 bucks that would be $140,000 that would make my day Sir if you go ahead. I might be able to get an extra 5% off or free delivery. What's the delivery address?
"Er lets start in San Diego."
"OK do you have a zip?"
"Mr President it's 1900 miles not feet?"
"What did you say Rex?"
"Miles Sir not 1,900 feet."
"Oh, sorry Ma'am I got the length wrong it's 1900 miles."
"No problem I'll just stick that in the systems..."
Very long pause
"That's 15,048,000 bricks long by 120 high that's.."
"A lot."
"1,805,760,000 er I think you may be pulling my leg."
"No I'm serious I promised to build it and I'm going to."
"Sir the entire US Brick production last year was only about 2 billion bricks"
"Is that not enough? I always get confused between billions and millions." 
"That explains the tax returns."
"Shut up Rex."

 

 

 

Trump – Spot The Difference Competition

Spot the difference competition for all readers…

29906170001_5293742523001_5293734054001-vs navypromocertsignhitler-03

Hitler was democratically elected so was Trump – Hitler won 43.9% of popular vote in March 1933. Trump won 45.9% in November 2016

Hitler favoured edicts and decrees – so apparently does Trump based on evidence since inauguration – even ones that have a law for them e.g. No torture congressional law

I make no other comparison

Long Distance Travel

I thought I would ruminate on the /Cynicism On joy \Cynicism off, of the experience of long distance holidaying. This is one of those long-standing and building rants that has turned what used to be a mildly irritating, but ultimately fulfilling activity, into a nightmare of tiredness and bureaucracy. As an example I will use my recent experience of traveling to the lovely country of Thailand for a holiday.

For the purposes of this exercise I will also skip over the endless search through holiday company web sites for a suitable break meeting certain criteria although I am convinced that not one employee or web designer of these holiday sites has actually used the system for their own break.

I could wax lyrically about the joys of on-line check in and seat allocation on Emirates but I want the blog to be shorter than the actual holiday. Suffice to say that as per holiday shopping sites someone needs to be hired who actually knows how ordinary people use the system. So I can change my seat allocated (no choice at booking) up to an unknown time before for a fee, undisclosed. At on-line check-in 48 hrs before the flight I can then change my seat (and accompanying passengers on same booking) to whatever seats are available, zero in my case, because no one else has tried to change this. The system may be an improvement on first come first served at the airport check-in desk but ease of use is not obvious. We then have the boarding pass fiasco. Email, printed out, phone display if security have not stolen your phone, or all three then on baggage drop off – where you effectively check-in anyway, we got new seats and boarding passes. But I’m jumping ahead.

At this stage we have a holiday booked and have on-line checked in. Now we come to the great how do we get to the airport and what time do we go. Long-haul advice is 3 hours before. Presuming the M3 is not closed, (see way back) for the 18 months of roadworks, that have so far lasted 30 months and are still not finished. The airport, Heathrow is within driving distance, for taxi or car, we can set off. We live just over thirty miles from the airport so we had a taxi (cheaper than parking) or train – add 2 hrs plus need to get to train station.)

18:00 Zulu or GMT – Taxi arrives

This arrived on time unlike last holiday. Due to the planets being aligned and a following wind it only took fifty minutes to travel the 30 miles despite 19 miles of 50 mph roadwork restrictions. I mean single lane roads have 60 why 50 in one way coned slightly narrower motorway with no one working – a regular occurrence which is why 18 month project has so far taken 30. Still at least motorway is open.

18:50 Z – Arrive Heathrow Terminal 3.

Baggage drop off is not open for our flight until 3 hrs before even though we are told to arrive 3 hours before! Still it’s only a few minutes to wait in the queue (line for Americans). We now have the check-in which is not a check-in but still checks passport and tickets. Get new boarding passes.

Go through airport security – main reason we are told it takes hours and to arrive early. Under five minutes (blimey I thought I was dreaming but I can strip and get Kindle, iPad and phone out of bag and into trays pretty quickly) including removing every metallic object on me (except fillings) including shoes, wallet, change, belt. Alarm still goes off – go through body-scanner and hand swipe. Redress

19:20 Z – Departure Hall

What used to be a series of seats is now the Heathrow duty free shopping experience. Every price is more than it cost to get delivered from Amazon. What used to be good deals on booze and fags is now some mecca to madness. We decide to get something to eat to wait the two hrs we have spare till boarding. Food ok drinks over-priced – so much for duty free. Sit around or browsing shops complaining about poor value for money. We can check Amazon whilst in shop as comparison.

21:25 Z – Gate

Go to gate – pass through gate but it’s not the gate – show passport and boarding cards. Go through to boarding lounge. Sit in gate waiting for boarding zone to be called. Emirates ground staff call zone. Ignored by passengers who all rush to board. Then thankfully they get told to wait till their zone is called but they still stand in way. Board plane show boarding pass again

22:00 Z – Scheduled flight time

Still boarding. Doors close 22:15 push back and take off at 22:30

04:30 Z – 08:30 Dubai or Delta time – Arrive Dubai

Disembark – Transit passengers go through security. We’ve just come off a plane for xxxx sake! Repeat process of security at Heathrow but add in pat down by bored security guard. Wait 3 hrs – more non-shopping look at these bargains before repeat of boarding process/fiasco as before. Push back engine start almost on time. Sit on tarmac for 1hr due to air display for Dubai National Day. Clearly not heard of air traffic control

16:00 Z – 23:00 Thailand or Gulf time – Arrive Thailand Phuket

18:30 Z – Leave airport.

Thai immigration – check passport – has 4 planes arrive yet puts only 3 immigration staff on but 3 supervisors who watch. 2 hrs in immigration queue. Get personal transfer car to resort. Pouring down with rain – this is supposed to be dry season! Stopped by Thai police who check our passports – again.

19:45 Z – 02:30 Thailand Time – Arrive in hotel room

Yes we are on holiday!

Fun, good food, lovely beaches, very nice people – not in immigration service. Half way through transfer hotels.img_0107p1030244 img_0165

On-line check-in – same problem with seats can’t print boarding passes over hotel Wi-Fi by pool.

22:00 Z – 05:00 Day of departure

Personal transfer pick up and leave for airport – told over one hour actual 45 mins on empty (except one street’s prostitutes) roads

22:45 Z – 05:45 Check in

Can’t as more than 3 hrs before but need to go through terminal baggage security first. Suitcases open for lots of passengers. Wife gets stuck other side as something in check-in baggage needs to be taken out, wait 15 minutes, seats allocated and baggage drop off by friendly staff.

Security passport and boarding cards – clothes off, scanned clothes back on – not a lot of shopping, have coffee in 28c heat – lovely – do we have to leave?

Wait till boarding same process / fiasco as before. Take-off 20 mins late

+ 6:30 hrs – Arrive Dubai – as above yes including passport and security check for transit – joys of internal train to different terminal.

+ 2:30 hrs – Board for Heathrow

As above, only more gates and called into first gate area by zone where we all then mix then called by zone again fighting past the passengers who ignore the 3 language announcement of which zone is boarding. Also not the one piece of hand luggage allowed. Instead carrying 2 carry-ons plus large handbag and large bag of shopping bargains who wants to board so they can steal all the overhead compartment space. Advice to airlines, get passengers to demonstrate overhead capability with carry-on luggage or just carried-on rather than wheeled across my feet weighing more than my checked-in bag

Push back on time engine start, sit wait 20 minutes, move forward to gate and shut down – sick passenger has to be off loaded. One hour later push back and take off.

21:15 Z – Land London

Passport and Immigration – wife’s new passport does not get through electronic scan so have to wait for her as she re-queues for manual check. My bag in baggage hall – wait 30 mins for wife’s bag.

Get into arrivals – where they filmed Love Actually scene – no taxi driver. – No message on phone. Call taxi firm get voicemail. Wait then note more drivers have arrived find taxi driver who has just got there. He grumpily leads way to car discussing on phone other job which continues in car. Does not appear to be regular taxi firm – outsourced?

Set off – M3 closed for bridge works on project so have to take alternate route – I mean, all they have been doing is supposedly allowing the hard shoulder (as per M42) to be used as peak times. This has saved cost of adding proper lanes according to Highways Agency. Still great project if and when it gets finished. Whilst on holiday they have started to close motorway every night so that can work without traffic – progress – none visible

23:10 Z – Arrive home – why did we go on holiday?

Following day – what time is it why am I so tired do I have to go to work?

Re-Moaners and Trump’eters

Another few weeks drift past and yet the same issues which seem to have been in the news all year, remain.

The US never-ending election still has over 3 weeks to run and just when you think the behaviour and approach of both camps can’t get any worse they manage to achieve it. If it’s not sexual abuse allegations it’s more leaked emails. I pity the American voter. I thought our choice this side of the Atlantic was pretty bad but the candidates there look appalling.

I watched the clip of Gary Johnson who is apparently also standing as a Libertarian Party candidate – I mean really? Over five years into a civil war in Syria and this man who wants to be President of the most powerful nation on earth does not know what Aleppo is?

At least Trump and Clinton have managed to answer some questions on the subject. It’s not unusual for foreign affairs (not the sexual kind) to play little part in a US election, but one might have expected that confrontations with Russia over Syria, Ukraine and Crimea, to have some impact. Likewise relations with China over the Spratley Islands rather than ridiculous notions of simplistic arguments over manufacturing jobs in the US should have some policy. It remains completely unreported what either candidate’s plans for North Korea are. Better not ask Trump but his rhetoric can’t be worse than the accusations from US Security services that NK was behind the Sony attack.

What still amazes many commentators is that Trump is still popular with large swathes of the US electorate despite all the gaffes. It demonstrates how unpopular Clinton is but more importantly how upset many American voters are with the established political class which Clinton embodies.  Here we have some of the parallels with the UK EU debate despite the referendum.

Although there is an element of the moaning bad loser side in some of the pronouncements from what was the remain side, many did set out the risks to the economy an no-vote would bring. Several senior economists have stated that the currency changes that we have seen since end of June were a long overdue correction to Sterling’s position just exasperated by the vote for exit and on-going uncertainty of what that means. In the percentages shown everything is referred to the currency position post 23rd June, failing as usual to mention that Sterling’s value had risen significantly in the lead up to the vote.

Euro over 5 years from here shows a different story than the headlines might have you believe on 19th Oct 2011 the exchange rate was 1.14 and it closed on 14th Oct 2016 at 1.11. In particular, the rise of the pound in 2015 and the lead up to the vote is dramatic. US Dollar to Sterling is a significant fall over the same period 1.57 to 1.21 and the comments on reserve currencies should be concerning, but at the same time interest rates have been signaled upwards in the US and stay the same or lower in the UK which does not help Sterling investors. By the way Euro to US Dollar has gone down from 1.37 to 1.11 in the same time period.

I have picked an arbitrary period but some of us can remember much better and worse Pound to Dollar rates. It reached a low of 1.05 in February 1985 after the ERM fiasco and was as high as 2.11 in November 2007 as sub-prime crashed the dollar

What do we learn from that brief history- currencies fluctuate – sometimes a lot – thousands of traders around the world make money doing that.

Final discussion for today is on Credit Rating Agencies and their comments – yes the same folks that branded those sub-prime investment funds as AAA, are doing all their warnings on where the pound might go next. All the discussion is based on what the UK might do as if what might happen in the Euro (How is Greece by the way and Italy, Portugal, Spain?) will have no impact. Remember Euro zone and other EU exports to the UK, exceed UK Exports to the EU – we both have a lot to lose if we are stupid and put in unnecessary tariffs.  World trade will be damaged if Trump introduced tariffs to protect American jobs and cancels NAFTA. Likewise what will be the impact on the dollar if Trump wins and implements that piece of rhetoric.

Guess what the pound might go up or down or sideways.  Can we moan about currency traders instead?

Evolution is Dead

I have been posing a question to myself, no one else talks to me so I might as well. Has Human evolution stopped? If you are a creationist or other similar believer please stop reading now.

The general scientific viewpoint is that the evolutionary process as described by Darwin and others is how all lifeforms on planet Earth (and anywhere else) evolved via genetic mutation based on survival of the fittest. To be blunt this means that only the strongest survive. In relatively modern times (given billions of year of Earth’s history) the study of this has had bad implications from Eugenics to the Nazi’s but have we as a species also caused our own problems.

Many of you will be aware of the Darwin Awards which describes anecdotal or sometimes real incidents where Darwin fights back against stupidity of human beings but I would like to widen the discussion into two areas. Health and Safety and Dentistry. The medical arguments would only cause anger and allegations of discrimination whilst missing the point.

Health and Safety

An example from the Olympics at the weekend. The leading rider crashed in the women’s race the day after 2 of the leading men’s race riders had done a similar thing. This prompted all and sundry to complain about the safety of the course. No one mentioned that the riders should have ridden slower to ensure they got around the bend(s). Likewise at work we have become accustomed to the H&S rules dictating everything from ladder positioning to what height out seat should be. All of this is taken care of now and policed by a range of rules and legislation. Thus preventing a range of actions that would have killed off sections of the public who seem to have lost the ability to think for themselves. i.e. crossing roads by looking both ways not whilst reading your phone with headphones in/on. Instead build more barriers and post warnings not to do this. So the stupid idiots who lack common sense are maintained in the gene pool to reproduce and create more idiots who will then have to be protected from their own stupidity. Of course if our ancient ancestors had not played with fire we would not have developed the means to use it. Playing with a busy road may not be the best way of progressing the brainpower of our species, although car brake engineering has come on leaps and bounds.

Dentistry

Sexual attraction (and consequent mating) is based on physical attractiveness our use of dentistry to improve looks is now hiding genetic failure. If you genetically have bad teeth a trip to the dentist will help, but your future mate would not know what’s hiding in the genes or jeans. This Dentistry is denying Darwin. Of course dentistry also improves health due to lack of cleaning teeth but thus bad teeth genetically continue. Darwin reversed or blocked. The same is true of course of other medical advances.

Countering My Own Argument

Of course the keeping of genetic mutations which might otherwise die out also means that the genetic spectrum is wider thus potentially more scope for greater and more diverse development. Then there is the impact of gene splicing or other genetic manipulation either before birth or via stem cells/medical implant to remove certain diseases or hereditary illnesses.

Who knows perhaps in 10,000 years we will all have perfect teeth at birth and live as long as we want.