Opinion – London Laundromat – The Times – John Gelmini

The Times article understates the issue in my view. The UK needs to start paying its way with legitimate foreign exchange from exports. Since 1981, the UK has had a trade deficit of £3 billion GBP per month, which is a period of 37 years. This, as Dr Alf, who as a former financial director and chartered accountant bringing us this article and understands the implications of the deficit better than most, is a very serious matter and has led to the conditions which in turn led to austerity.

The austerity politics have gone on for more than 10 years, since the 2008 banking crisis, with no attempt to get directors to export, sell and deliver optimised shareholder value for their bumper pay packets, bonuses and “other emoluments”.

Within government and local authorities, this haughty disdain for the idea of delivering value for money in services has led to costs of delivering services being triple those of Singapore and Switzerland, and the UK being about 30th in the world, which also happens to reflect overall worker productivity, which is 19%, behind the average for the G7 and falling.

Boards have to start earning their keep and worker productivity needs to rise in short order and the public sector needs to reform.

As we speak Northamptonshire County Council is bankrupt, the first in the country to suffer that fate and taxpayers will have to foot the £1 billion GBP legacy created by gross financial incompetence and a failure to manage Adult Social Care, which now represents 55% of entire county council and unitary authority budgets. Ten other UK county councils are getting close to bankruptcy, including Lancashire and all other counties have police forces and fire commands which have given up all pretence of reform, or doing the jobs we are paying them to do.

Successive governments have seen fit to allow money of dubious provenance to prop up the banking system and keep the country afloat but if we are to retain our place in the Corruption Perception Index we have to find a way to earn our way out of trouble.

John Gelmini

Opinion – The Guardian view on Trump’s visit: not welcome Britain – Editorial

Trump’s historic visit to the UK – protestors & high-minded editorials from the UK’s Guardian newspaper should not forget the importance of ‘realpolitik‘, the chance to influence events in a practical way. Although I’m no fan of Mr Trump & Mrs May, they are democratically elected leaders. By calling the UK a ‘vassal state‘, the Guardian is also guilty of peddling fake news. With Germany completely marginalized, the UK has a real opportunity to influence US policy, especially since Boris Johnson‘s departure. ‘Realpolitik’s’ a system of politics or principles based on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations. Surely, this was the objective of Brexit?

There is another thread, we should learn from the relationship of Angela Merkel and Donald Trump. Angela Merkel has been one of Germany’s most effective leaders since WWII, yet she has been isolated by Trump on trade and defense. With Merkel struggling to deliver NATO’s required 2% defense spending in the years ahead, Trump is now demanding 4% – this is totally unacceptable to German voters and her fragile coalition. If we fast-forward to the likelihood of Britain’s first Far-Left government, led by Jeremy Corbyn, it’s worth reflecting on the parallels with Germany under Merkel. As highlighted by the Economist, it’s easy to see Jeremy Corbyn slashing defense spending and drive Britain out of NATO, and possibly making the UK a vassal state of Russia or China. Let’s face it, Jeremy Corbyn does not have Angela Merkel’s leadership skills – he’s a protest politician, the polar opposite of a practitioner of realpolitik. So are we to conclude that Theresa May is right to be pragmatic, leaning towards realpolitik, given her difficult hand?