Monthly Archives: May 2017

YouGov poll nine days before election predicts hung parliament

The survey of voters, commissioned by the Times, predicts that the Conservatives could fall short of winning an overall majority of seats on June 8.

In contrast to signs from a string of opinion polls that have suggested May’s Conservatives will increase their majority, the new constituency-by-constituency modelling by YouGov showed it might lose 20 of the 330 seats it holds and the opposition Labour Party could gain nearly 30 seats, The Times said.

The result has sent Sterling in a steep decline. In 2010, when the Liberal Democrats held the balance of power, markets also reacted to the uncertainty by selling sterling. This time round the choice is likely to be even less clear, with the Liberal Democrats greatly reduced in number and the pro-EU Scottish National Party likely to have more influence.

The Conservative ‘hard’ position on Brexit and, to a lesser extent other domestic issues like austerity, makes it unlikely that it could find a willing coalition partner in those circumstances, making a Labour-led government the most likely outcome from a hung parliament.

J.P. Morgan analyst Paul Meggyesi said that contrary to the 2010 experience, and despite this uncertainty, such an outcome could well see sterling rise: “A hung parliament would in more normal circumstances be viewed as quite a negative for sterling. But in the post-referendum world, all political developments need to be viewed through a Brexit prism and an argument can be made that a hung parliament which delivered or held out the prospect of a softer-Brexit coalition of the left-of-center parties … might actually be GBP positive.”

The sharp drop in Sterling today is probably a buying opportunity.

The Economics of the Colonial Cringe

Following on James Fallows famous article The Economics of the Colonial Cringe‘, Nathan Robinson calls for the death of The Economist quoting Fallows’ famous line …. American intellectuals hold a disproportionate amount of respect for The Economist’s judgment and reporting, even though the magazine is produced by imperious 20-something Oxbridge graduates who generally know little about the subjects on which they so confidently opine’.

He writes ‘…. thanks to its reflexive belief in the superiority of free markets, it is an unreliable guide to the subjects on which it reports. Because its writers will bend the truth in order to defend capitalism, you can’t actually trust what you read in The Economist. And since journalism you can’t trust is worthless, The Economist is worthless.’ Read Robinson’s article here.

I think a group of economists should club together and launch a class-action suit for contravening trading standards to strip the magazine of its name. It would be better renamed ‘The Bullingdon Bollox (sic.)’

Macron’s arrival was intended to save the EURO. But let’s review why money isn’t understood

Macron, backed by the German liberal empire, has taken over France to save the Euro by imposing austerity and changing French labour laws (whether he can do that remains to be seen). In 2013 we were reminded by Victoria Chick at a Positive Money conference that the Quantity Theory of Money as revived by Friedman’s ‘… monetarism’ was the basis of the construction of Euro,… and this determines the way the ECB is doomed to function’. ‘Can’t be very good then can it?…’, added Chick as an aside.

But it’s the way bankers ‘see’ money – as a ‘quantity’, or ‘commodity’, or ‘balance’ if you like, which requires debt deflation (austerity) to increase the value of money assets, wilfully forgetting that it is – in double entry bookkeeping terms – at the same time a debt, and that it is in the interest of debtors to inflate. Brexiting Britain is in fact going in that direction by intentionally devaluing sterling. But, going back to basics, money is almost always in origin a debt (or loan) which the debtor (or borrower) recycles through  the banking system via the ‘deposits’ of other recipients and suppliers, to provide the wealth of the financial system.

Hyperinflation is bad, like anything extreme is bad. Even Keynes (in 1919 in The Economic Consequences of the Peace) told us that monetary depreciation is a sure ‘means of overturning the existing basis of society’. Monetary depreciation happens if inflation gets out of control. But central banks continually push out the shibboleth that inflation is an unambiguous cost, borne equally by all members of society, and they see their role as minimising (rather than optimising) this cost. However, it is clear that on balance moderate inflation is good and creates wealth, where deflation and austerity merely maintains wealth that has already been created.

That’s the problem that France and the Southern belt of European countries face as financial neo-colonies of Germany.

Respect Mohamed Morsi’s human rights


Dr. Mohamed Morsi, the President of Egypt, who is being detained without clear charge, is forbidden from seeing his wife, children, grandchildren and lawyers. It must be clear that this injustice is not permissible. Both his human rights and his prisoners’ rights must be respected in accordance with international conventions.

د.محمد مرسي الرئيس المعزول ممنوع من رؤية زوجته وأولاده وأحفاده ومحاميه، ونؤكد أن هذا ظلم ولايجوز، فيجب احترام حقوق الإنسان وحقوق السجين طبقا للمواثيق العالمية


Seeking the founts of extremism

Peter Maas [who went to Harvard-Westlake School] writes:

‘Where do America’s far-right leaders come from? [Julia] Hahn and [Alex] Marlow [editor-in-chief of Breitbart], who grew up 5 miles apart [and both went to Harvard-Westlake School pictured above], are clues to an intriguing fact of political epidemiology. A surprising number of alt-right leaders come from a single wealthy liberal enclave: the west side of Los Angeles.

Andrew Breitbart, who founded the site that bears his name, was raised in Brentwood, at the center of the west side, and was living there when he died in 2012. [Steve] Bannon, before becoming famous as the chairman of Breitbart and then Trump’s ideologue, was a Hollywood producer who sent his daughters to a private school in Brentwood. Stephen Miller, the 31-year-old presidential adviser who has been wildly provocative on immigration issues, was raised in neighboring Santa Monica, also known as the People’s Republic of Santa Monica because of its liberal politics. Read full article here.

Grinding towards peace in the Middle East

As I wrote in February the Middle Eastern powers (Russia, Turkey, and Iran) are setting the terms for Middle Eastern peace at Astana, with the US, the effective cause of the calamities over the past thirty years, acting as an observer.

Today’s meetings between Lavrov and Tillerson will provide the formal US agreement over 4 safe zones. This is important because obviously the US have forces on the ground in Syria (N.B. the cautious US statement at the end of video ref. Iran).

Vital to all of this has been Turkey’s containment of the Syrian rebels, who have been deeply troubled (it seems like the US) by the fact that Iran is a co-guarantor. Although this led Mohamed Alloush to leave the negotiating table, he is now back, Turkey having convinced his followers that Iran’s role here is vital for the very reason that it is distrusted by them. It is a learning curve for the rebels.

The four safe zones to be established in Syria will be closed for flights by US-led coalition warplanesREAD MORE:

Posted by RT Play on Friday, 5 May 2017

In the midst of the bloodshed in Sinai – a corner of peace

Not far away from this ancient olive grove, fighters whose families were displaced from northern Sinai towns on the Israeli border razed to the ground, assaulted St Catherine’s Monastery. This happened only two weeks ago. It was supposedly an attack by “ISIS” and so justification for continued burning, looting, raping and killing by Egyptian militias now specially formed by junta leader Sisi for the purpose. The Egyptian army itself has lost the appetite for the level of destruction meted on the Sinai tribes. But like the Yemeni tribes, the people of Sinai have even greater appetite for resistance than their psychopathic aggressors.