Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Why is Europe in this mess?

First monetary union, as implemented without political union, was a reckless gamble:

- single interest rate

- single exchange rate

- single inflation target

was meant to cement together 17 countries with utterly different economic performance!

Single interest rate

Some countries found that the cost of borrowing fell even when there was the risk of the economy overheating, but could do nothing about it. E.g Ireland when the 2009 boom was driven by reckless lending of banks.

Single exchange rate

Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, etc found that they could not match Germany's efficiency, and over time their exports became less and less competitive.

No way to deal with problems

The euro had no way to deal with different country's performance. There are three ways countries could handle this…

1 Unemployed workers move to where there are jobs. But language barriers and housing/social problems prevent this in Europe

2 Money can move to where the unemployed workers are. But sovereign states with no federal control didn't do this.

3 Workers take pay cuts until the goods they produce become competitive.

So number 3 was the only way out, and you can see the problems this is causing in cuts in living standards across Europe. Even UK is not unaffected.


Europe has no finance minister with tax and spending powers to move resources around. It needs to change the political and institutional structures towards a fiscal union. UK fears this as it would be on the outside… Also voters do not want this, but contradictorily they do not want the euro breakup.

So the policy makers have wasted 4 years kicking the can down the road.

Long term?

There are 27 members in the EU. Long term the only solution is for them ALL to adopt a common currency and have a common fiscal policy. Like the USA. History shows that monetary unions either develop into political unions or they collapse.

We have a fledgling European parliament, now is the time to focus on this at the expense of local parliaments. In UK Westminster HAS to turn its attention to Strasburg, and get more involved, even conceding more powers, quite the opposite of the current political feelings.

So what I advocate is a merger of the people in politics, the same people should be elected by us and sit in both Westminster AND Strasburg to develop a EU-wide governance.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The real Europe

Take note of this:

1 Only 7% of UK laws come from Europe, and most directives are just common sense.

2 We pay £9bn in tax to EU, but most of it comes back as agricultural support. We paid £10bn to the IMF to recycle to the Eurozone!

3 The EU is democratic. Commission decisions are taken by Council of Ministers, with UK present. MEPs are elected and have powers over regulations and laws. UK parliament needs to get more involved with EU decision making…

4 The CBI and multinationals have BIG lobbying presence in the EU and help to write the directives.

5 It is British judge's interpretations of the UK Human Rights Act that are in dispute, not the EU ECHR. The ECHR is anyway a Treaty so applies whether we are in or out of the EU.

6 We cannot survive by exporting to the world without the EU. The EU market is open to us, and worth £16tn

7 Even outside the EU we would have to follow their rules if we want to sell there.

8 The EU is not interested in Cameron's political problems. But every country has the same issues and wants to see a different EU, this is the name of the game for an active union.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Banbury Cross Players - next production

BCP Logo  heading

Event Details

  • Type:Production
  • Group: Banbury Cross Players


  • Address:
    Mill Arts Centre, Spiceball Park, Banbury

Contact Details

  • Contact:: Mill Arts Centre 01295 279 002,

Extra Information

  • Other Information: Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach adapted by David Wood Directed by Jane Young

    17-19 Nov 2011 7.45pm, 19 Nov 2011 2pm, 24-26 Nov 2011 7.45pm, 26 Nov 2011, 2pm £8.50 / £7.50 all performances

    Life is hard for orphan James until a mysterious stranger arrives with a bag of magical crystals... What happens next is for you to find out. Come and join James and his friends - Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybird, Earthworm and Spider - as they go on a juicy journey using their individual skills to save the giant peach from marauding sharks, a giant octopus and a very tricky landing in New York.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Needed - a data stream

We have had email for years, attachments for years. FTP data transfer for years. We have streaming music, and streaming video.

But I would like to suggest we need "pipes". A way of streaming data, from any app running on any machine to any app running 100miles away on another.

A kind of transparent unix pipe running over WiFi, ADSL, 3G. I call it DataStream, and like Apple's Airplay it has to be utterly simple to set-up and use.

So my computer friends, get to it.

The Simple Truth - Financial crisis

From the Guardian

Talking about a general trend and view of the world which has gone astray.

The point is, today everyone can see that the system is deeply unjust and careening out of control. Unfettered greed has trashed the global economy. And we are trashing the natural world. We are overfishing our oceans, polluting our water with fracking and deepwater drilling, turning to the dirtiest forms of energy on the planet, like the Alberta tar sands. The atmosphere can't absorb the amount of carbon we are putting into it, creating dangerous warming. The new normal is serial disasters: economic and ecological.

The task of our time is to turn this round: to challenge this false scarcity. To insist that we can afford to build a decent, inclusive society – while at the same time respect the real limits to what the earth can take.

Thursday, 6 October 2011


What can I say. I have admired Steve Jobs for as long as I have adopted and used Apple products, twenty years or so.

This one man changed everything and gave us computer and media products which were in every way better than anything known or conceived before.

Good Bye, Steve and thank you