I've not said much on the continuing economic situation, this is for a number of reasons. Mainly because I am not an economist, to be honest the theory behind all this makes my brain hurt, I just do not understand the details.
Sometimes the fog clears and I have a moment of something approaching clarity, this afternoon I have had one of those moments. I've just been watching Sky News and apparently McBroon has said that the UK 'can and should be a beacon of light' in these troubled times.
Well, I'm sorry, I don't get it. You can stand there and point at a pile of shite saying it is a pile of golden coins sat on a silver platter until you are blue in the face, it does not alter the fact that it is a pile of shite.
From my simplistic point of view, we have this week seen Woolworth and MFI go to the wall. What the fuck? Are there two bigger names in the UK retail sector? Gone, winked out of existence. I know that MFI have a rep for producing furniture made out of cardboard that falls apart when you look at it, and Woolies is the place where you can get anything you want, unless you need to get something specific, but this is a serious indicator of something.
HBOS were on the brink, Northern Rock saved at the very last minute, a run on a bank, in what we are told is the 4th biggest economy in the world or somesuch.
We have Richard Branson, telling us that 'the economy is fucked.' I've never travelled on his trains, but I've been on his planes and shopped in his music shops, as far as I'm concerned, this guy has some idea what he's talking about.
We now have a government which as of the end of last month, borrowed £16bn. Does that amount of money even exist? If we added up all the coins and banknotes that the Bank of England issued would it add up to that? I don't think so, and if I understand it correctly, we are due to print more cash. Well what is that based on? Didn't Gordon sell a shit-load of our gold at the bottom of the market? What connects these banknotes to something tangible? I was told as a kid that if I took a fiver along to Threadneedle St, then a man in a pinstripe suit and bowler hat would have to give me £5 worth of gold if I demanded it. I've just looked at a £10 note it says 'I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of Ten Pounds' it's signed by some bloke called Andrew Bailey, the chief cashier.
Well, £10 of what? Fresh air? Printing more money? Isn't this what happened in inter-war Germany and just recently in Zimbabwe? Fucking Hellski, as DK would put it, I don't even own a wheelbarrow, should I buy one to move my valueless banknotes around in?
How the hell do we pay off £16bn? That's very nearly €350. And this is the problem, as the £ plummets against the €, we're told it is good for export? What are we exporting beyond stag parties to Riga who now faint at the cost of a Latvian pint? What do we make that people want? As far as I can make out, we have one chap selling imaginary money to another bloke, who pays the first chap with more imaginary money he got from a different imaginary source. How the hell that does work? What happens when (like now) no-one wants to buy our imaginary money any more?
And now we look towards those who are taking the piss, Tata, the Indian firm who are the owners of Jaguar want a £1bn bail out, but then fork out Lord knows how much to stick their name on the side of the Ferrari F1 car for next season (H/T to OH). I've been in a Tata truck, believe me, it is hard to imagine anything further removed from a Ferrari.
I understand that everyone across the globe has it tough, although I don't understand what event has brought this situation to a head, but as far as I can see we are not well placed to deal with it, we are well placed for a longer, harder time than most people anywhere else. I also understand that for the last ten years our prosperity has all been down to Gordon's prudent stewardship, except for the last year when it has been a global problem.
In prosperity we were in glorious isolation under the guidance of an economic genuis, in poverty it's nothing to do with him. When do we start blaming the Jews or the Romans as our former colonial masters? It was good enough for Hitler and Mugabe.
Me? I've got a €5 note in my wallet, I'm going to buy some land, some sheep and hire some Kiwi farmers and some Dutch weavers. It worked in the 16th Century and people will always need clothes and food. If no-one buys it, at least I won't be cold and hungry. . .