How Long is “Long Term”?

The news that a banker is being prosecuted in London for manipulating the LIBOR rate will be welcome by those who think that the banks have got off their criminal and fraudulent behaviour rather lightly. However we have to look at the root causes of why bankers manipulate FOREX and LIBOR rates. Greed is always a factor but there is, I believe, a structural problem with the way that we organise our capitalism.  Continue reading

The Cost of Public Healthcare

Greece is not a wealthy country. Having been ambitiously lured into joining the Euro which its economy could never support, it is now being pressed to repay money it borrowed to support its ambition by its creditors. Continue reading

A Lesson in Dagenham

Yesterday was Pentecost, the fiftieth day and when I went in the morning out the light and the temperature, and perhaps the smells of Spring brought a memory of long ago to my mind, so clearly and so sweetly. It was Whitsun 1965 and I stayed with a friend in Dagenham. On Whit Sunday we sold ice cream each without own cart, knocking the suburb doors. Continue reading

Who should be on the new £20 note?

The Bank of England is asking my opinion (and the opinion of some 65 million other people) as to whose face should be on the new £20 note. I vote for the artist George Morland, not because he was a great artist (he was) or relatively unrecognised (he was) but because at the end of his dissolute life he signed his name to forgeries of his own work in order to raise money for his needs and desires, thus being the only artist I can think of who forged his own paintings, thus making him and his work (whether forged or not) ideal subjects for the new Bank of England Note where its substance is much less important than its form.

The Importance of Punctuation

When Ancient Greeks consulted the oracle at Delphi they received, like a modern electorate, ambiguous answers to simple questions.  A soldier’s question “Shall I die in battle” was once answered “You go, you return, not die in battle.” or so the questioner thought. In fact his mind misplaced a comma in the phrase (so the Oracle claimed) and he died in battle, not only proving the importance of punctuation but also showing the folk believe what they want to believe and will, like a politician, misplace punctuation to prove that what they want to believe is true.

Let Us Hope They Are Wrong

The Antarctic has seemed to be an anomaly in terms of climate change. Scientists always believed that the effects of rapid climate change would be most noticeable at the extremes of the planet. The Arctic and the equatorial regions of the planet showed these changes quite dramatically but the Antarctic seemed to stubbornly show no significant evidence of climate change. All however was not as it appeared, or so it appears. Continue reading

On Being Unsurprised and Surprised

I am not surprised to learn that Citigroup, JP Morgan, Barclays, UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland formed a cartel and manipulated the foreign exchange markets cheating and defrauding people and businesses out of billions of dollars. I am not surprised to see that together these banks will face penalties for this criminal action in the order of  $6bn. I am not surprised to learn that the fixing of Forex went in for seven years from 2007 when these banks were doing deals with authorities to mitigate the effect of their behaviour in other criminal activities, such as interest rate Swaps and PPI and interst rate manipulation. I am not surprised that the Financial Conduct Authority imposed a fine of £284m million on Barclays Bank. Continue reading

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