What does $2.3million look like?

MoneyThe reports of the $2.3 million missing cash from the Wake County Register of Deeds office raise as many questions as answers. $2.3 million over nine years is an average of $21,000 a month which for some people could be yearly earnings.
Reports tell us the who, what and the how.
We do not know the why or where the money has gone.
As a former Bank Chief Inspector I would always look for motivation in gambling, drugs and extra marital dalliances. Where has all the money gone? It can’t all have gone on riotous lifestyles? Has it gone to family, colleagues or financing elections? It can’t all have been frittered away, can it?
For more details please see Charlotte Observer of August 28th

Retreat from Glory

Last week I blogged on the echoes from the 1930’s and the German position after the Versailles and Locarno treaties and the U.K. position and the E.U. at the present time.
The blog was based on the book Retreat from Glory by R.M. Bruce Lockhart.
The Retreat from Glory can be applied in the ironic sense to the EU as it negotiates Brexit. Here I am indebted to Guido Fawkes for the  chart.
Well, faced with €12 billion walking out of the door who would not be petulant.
What’s more interesting is that France with an economy and population comparable to ours makes a net contribution less than half of ours.
Why does Italy pay make a net contribution and Greece makes a net withdrawal?
There’s a Ph.D. project in the making as to the relationship of contributions to GNP, who comes out best and why.
But looking to the future there are two questions to be asked: What will we do with the money we no longer pay to Brussels and What will the EU do to fill the hole?

Flogging will continue …

Trogir – Oculus (Lust)

I have just finished reading “Retreat from Glory” by R.H. Bruce Lockhart.
It covers the period of his life from 1918 to 1932. Lockhart first achieved fame as British Vice Consul in Moscow in 1912 and is irretrievably connected with Sidney Reilly the “Ace of Spies”.
The book rambles a fair bit with details of trout fishing in far flung bournes and sight seeing.
Split he describes as a beautiful port and Diocletian as the first man to discover the peaceful solitude of this enchanting (Dalmatian) coast.
Trogir (he writes)  is another unspoilt relic of old Venice with the most glorious Venetian square hedged by a loggia, a magnificent cathedral, a palazzo and an old town hall. The dirt and the smell were over powering…
But the real gems in the book are the insights and conversations he has with politicians throughout Eastern Europe  in the aftermath of the Versailles Treaty and the determination of the French to ensure that Germany would never rise again to threaten them.
Lockhart recounts a converation with Gustav Stresemann the German politician and statesman who served as Chancellor in 1923 and Foreign Minister 1923–1929. He quotes Stresemann in 1929 as saying “… It is five years since we signed (the Treaty of) Locarno. If you had given me one concession, I could have carried my people. I could still do it today. But you have given nothing and the trifling concessions which you have made have always come too late.” Fast forward nearly ninety years and you could exchange the Locarno Treaty for the Lisbon Treaty, Stresemann’s position for that of David Cameron and the Allied Powers for that of the European Union. Nothing has been learned by the French, Germans and Luxembourgers  in fostering joint well being and instead they have entrenched the view that Britain  is better off out of a Europe whose motifs seem to include “Floggings will continue until morale improves”.

You Could Not Make it Up – Giving Professionals a Bad Name!

Texperthe new Bank of England deputy governor Charlotte Hogg has warned that Brexit remains a risk to the UK economy, saying it poses the “most significant challenge” to monetary policymakers and could have “upside or downside” effects.
Well, No Sh*t Sherlock!
There’s a blinding glimpse of the obvious!
Note the “Upside or downside” – no Mr In-between, no upside and downside, not a little bit of both just to keep everyone happy but a full a polarity choice.
Meanwhile Ms Hogg, who has not held a policymaking position with the Bank of England before but who has run the operations side of the Bank since 2013, claimed that not being an expert was an advantage. Andrew Tyrie, Tory chairman of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, said: “You haven’t got that [policy] experience.” Ms Hogg replied: “I don’t and I think that’s a plus.”
Meanwhile I shall keep my eyes open for the next Bank of England Sits-Vac advertisement –you never know when a lack of expertise will be a real qualification.

Budget Opportunity & Flytippers

seagullHappy New Year to all my readers.
The new year starts with me being like Private Frazer insofar as it seems that “we are all doomed”. I saw the news yesterday (Daily Mirror and Daily Mail) that councils will be using powers to issue fixed penalty notices of up to £400 and seize and destroy vehicles used by offenders as part of a “zero-tolerance” nationwide initiative on fly-tipping.
How long before a simple case of littering or perhaps a poorly closed dustbin will attract these new powers?
The cost of clearing up fly-tipping in England has reached almost £50m, with councils having to deal with almost 900,000 incidents a year Authorities indicate that, to date, only 40% have made use of powers given by the Government in May to issue on-the-spot fines.
So expect more fines and perhaps more draconian attitudes because fines can fill the holes in the budget. In 2007 Ipswich Borough Council fined a fourteen year old £50 for throwing a chip to a seagull. Despite the gull eating the evidence, the Council insisted upon its powers and even (I recall) pursued the child into his school in order to obtain his identity.

Peterborough Evictions

Foto: SMK Foto Statens Museum for Kunst Sølvgade 48-50 1307 København K  DANMARK e-mail: foto@smk.dk www.smk.dkOnce again local government proves that you do not need to be an imaginative writer to make up true but unbelievable stories.
Last month it was reported that Stef & Philips (a leading provider of social housing solutions in London and the Home Counties) had recently won a contract to provide  Peterborough Council with accommodation for people in need.
In order to create the space needed Stef & Philips are evicting 74 families so it can accommodate the homeless.
Six months down the road I can see a situation whereby a Council spokesperson will tell us that the strategy was successful but in the meantime the homeless numbers have increased and Stef & Philips’ contract will be renewed and extended because they have done such a good job!

Not only could you not make it up – but you don’t have to!

Meanwhile on Planet Babergh – Job Losses Loom

Park and RideThe EADT recently carried a report that Headlam Flooring planned to build a distribution centre on land adjacent to the Anglia Retail Park (on the A14 opposite Asda). Headlam are investing £15million and the new facility will include a 125,000 sq ft warehouse with loading and customer collection areas, offices and out-buildings.  The construction and fit-out period is expected to take around a year and the new facility should be up and running by 2018. The building be built on green space adjacent to the former Park and Ride site. The new facility will support the development of Headlam’s regional floorcovering business which includes the Hadleigh-based Faithfull’s Flooring. The existing  80 employees in Hadleigh will be relocated to the new premises. For  Headlam Flooring it all makes good sense – a purpose built facility with access to the A14. For Babergh it is a potential disaster. A significant business and 80 jobs move out of Hadleigh. Headlam had previously sought to build in Hadleigh on land alongside the Persimmon housing development off of Lady Lane. The problem with that proposal was that it was cheek by jowl with housing and the 24/7 operation was unsuitable for that location – on sloping ground with noise that could have been heard across half of Hadleigh. The question we must ask is how have Babergh allowed this development to slip through its fingers. There are plenty of former airfield sites ripe for development. There is even one in Raydon almost within sight of the A12. Ipswich has its own questions to ask. Why are there no existing sites (like the former Park and Rides) which might be suitable? Why isn’t Headlam taking space on the Ransome’s Europark? Once again, I fear Hadleigh is being let down by the people who should be serving it. If local government is not looking after the people it serves and those who pay their wages, who are they looking after?

http://www.eadt.co.uk/business/have_your_say_on_plans_to_build_a_distribution_centre_for_headlam_flooring_company_in_land_next_to_anglia_retail_park_1_4607239
http://www.headlam.com/investor-relations/investor-information/investment-proposition