Category Archives: Views

Forget Brexit, debt is what is killing the British economy

The International Monetary Fund is worried. Yes, it’s true that it always is, but this time we should be, too — or at least, those of us living in Britain.

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Protect your friends, delete Facebook

Facebook’s troubles were to be expected. The company’s main ambition has always been to harvest, use and even, in some self-confessed instances, manipulate information about people based on finding out and studying their emotions. To achieve this, it would even turn down business from people who do not want to share their personal details with it.

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Trump’s protectionist measures could lead to higher interest rates

Remember when Donald Trump hinted that he would threaten to restructure the US debt to get better terms on it? His protectionist measures may “help” him to achieve some sort of restructuring, but not in a good way.

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Consumer price inflation still refuses to surge; here is why

The snow has melted and it’s time to make plans for the future again. And like every spring, those plans are likely to include what has become known as “reflation” — inflation increasing again to a level where it can eat away at the mountain of debt the world’s big economies have to deal with.

Will consumer price inflation, rather than inflation in asset prices like property and securities, finally take off? There have been two interesting points of view last week on this issue.

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A ‘Powell put’ is not guaranteed for the markets

Everybody is waiting for Jay Powell, the new Fed Chair, to set out his vision this week. The main question is: will there be a “Powell Put” just as there has been a Greenspan put, a Bernanke put and a Yellen put?

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Sell signal finally triggered, stock markets sell off

What a week last week was for stock markets, and especially for one particular indicator. The Bank of America Bull/Bear indicator, which the week before last came within a whisker of the Sell signal, last week went above it, for the first time in five years.

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Stock market sell signal almost triggered for the first time in five years

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Bull/Bear indicator last week hit the highest level since its last sell signal, just as U.S. President Donald Trump took credit, once again, for the surge in the stock market.

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The UK government must tackle housing, not Brexit in 2018

This year, the UK government must come up with solutions to the main crises that eat away at some ordinary Britons’ well-being. One of these is the housing crisis, which continues unabated despite the billions of pounds thrown at the problem.

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Will 2018 change the Brexit game?

As 2017 draws to a close, people in Britain are beginning to realise how seriously they were deceived by the Leave side promoters before the June 2016 EU referendum.

The catalyst of this realisation is the news that Britain will return to its “iconic” blue passport, a symbol of the country’s “sovereignty”, as Prime Minister Theresa May herself called it.

“The UK passport is an expression of our independence and sovereignty — symbolising our citizenship of a proud, great nation. That’s why we have announced that the iconic #bluepassport will return after we leave the European Union in 2019,” she said on Twitter.

This reply on Twitter is the essence of why I believe this to be a crucial moment when it comes to people realising how deceitful the Leave campaign was:

Many people took to Twitter to point out that their old passports were black, not blue, and rather dull-looking. Others wondered if the prize was worth the price, both figuratively and literally.

Here’s one example:

And another:

Some warned the British citizens that once out of the EU, it will not be the colour of the passport that will matter, but the doors it will open.

The blue passport saga is a symbol of everything that was wrong with the Brexit vote: The public debate was hijacked by a group of people who promoted narrow views with dishonest means.

People were lied to about what the EU’s relationship with Britain was, and were promised far more than what can realistically be achieved by leaving the EU.

Before the EU referendum in 2016, the Leave campaign said that nobody was threatening Britain’s place in the Single Market. They gave assurances that not only will Britain keep its Single Market access while getting rid of freedom of movement for EU citizens, but it will also be striking out new trade deals in no time.

The reality turns out to be quite different. So far, the EU has not even hinted at the possibility that Britain will keep its place in the Single Market, while other countries are still waiting to see what kind of relationship the UK will have with the EU before seriously starting trade talks.

The immigration genie is not back in the bottle; it has, in fact, been liberated by the Brexit vote, as the fast-growing emerging market countries with whom Britain tries to strike trade deals rightfully point out that relaxing immigration controls should be part of the negotiations.

The case of the blue passport is symbolic for another reason, as well. As with many things to do with Brexit, it has come to light that in fact the EU never forbade any country to choose whatever colour it wished for its passport.

As Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, pointed out, the burgundy- coloured passports are the result of a recommendation of the EU, but they are not compulsory. The UK could have chosen to ignore that recommendation, and it did not.

Finally, an ironic tweet seems to embed the essence of what the Brexit process will do to Britain, if it continues.

https://twitter.com/HansNiesund/status/945454868382273537?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

It looks increasingly like a second referendum on the final deal, with the option of voting to remain in the EU, should be put high on the agenda for 2018.

The European Union’s most corrupt countries

A study about corruption published in December puts forth an interesting, and troubling, conclusion: some countries in the European Union perceive themselves as less corrupt than they actually are.

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