Moody Cuts UK Credit Rating [armstrongeconomics]


If anyone doubts we are in a serious Sovereign Debt Crisis, then explain why even the Credit Agencies are cutting the credit ratings of sovereign nations. There was France, and now there is the UK. Moody’s cuts the UK Credit Rating to Aa1 from Aaa, citing weakness in the nation’s medium-term growth outlook that it now expects to extend for a number of years. Europe should put in a NEGATIVE growth rate in GDP for 2013. We are in absolute denial that the world around us is crumbling. Only those who are on point and think outside of the box will even survive. The rest as usual will see their futures stripped from them. This will be the most important event in our lifetimes.

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Tony Blair widens his web via the stock markets [telegraph]

His investment unit, headed by a former senior banker at Barclays, reflects the former prime minister’s growing business empire, worth tens of millions of pounds.

Five members of his staff are registered with the Financial Services Authority and trading screens have been installed at Mr Blair’s offices, in Grosvenor Square in central London.

Mr Blair has established a complex web of companies, designed, according to accountants, to hide just how much money he makes and from where his money comes.

He has denied being “super rich”, but having built up a property portfolio of several homes and two multimillion-pound businesses, it is expected that he will enter the rich-lists for the first time this year with a fortune of somewhere between £35 million and £60 million.

Details of his trading desk have been pieced together by The Sunday Telegraph, which has conducted a series of investigations into Mr Blair’s finances since he left office in 2007.

Stock market trading desk installed at Tony Blair's headquarters

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Sterling crisis looms as UK current account deficit balloons [Telegraph]

It’s the sort of problem you might have thought disappeared with the 1970s, but as the Coalition renews its wedding vows, that’s the unsettling possibility raised by economists at both HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland. With fears of a eurozone break-up, a calamitous fiscal contraction in the US, and a hard landing in China now fast receding, it is possible financial markets will refocus their attentions on more conventional concerns. The failings of the UK economy might be prime among them.

Some of the reasons for this need little explanation. Low growth has undermined attempts to reduce the fiscal deficit, which remains one of the highest in the OECD. This in turn is likely to lead to the loss of Britain’s prized triple A credit rating this year, making the UK comparatively less attractive to overseas investors. What’s more, capital flows from the eurozone to perceived “safe havens” such as the UK are slowing as the crisis eases. There is also evidence of elevated concern among investors about Bank of England money printing.

But some of the other reasons are less well appreciated, possibly because we’ve become so accustomed to them. Almost unbelievably, Britain has not enjoyed a trade surplus in goods since 1981, or more than 30 years ago. This long-standing weakness has been partially compensated for by a relatively large surplus on services, and on overseas income, but even so, Britain has been in overall current account deficit ever since the mid-1980s.

Large stack of £50 British bank notes with toxic skull symbol on money ties

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Britain – Land of the Defenceless Victim [LewRockwell]

My American cousins must at least concede that the natural right to keep and bear arms was recognized long before their forebears did – in the English Common Law and in the 1688 Bill of Rights. For what it is worth, that document is still part of British constitutional law and states: “subjects… may have arms for their defence…”

While Americans should concede that point, my fellow countrymen should also concede that King George’s invading army deserved exactly what they got from the American citizen militia, leading up to that pivotal year of 1776.

Of course, Britain’s Christian background meant that belief in the God-given right of arming oneself to defend person and property went back much further – and not just to the Old Testament: In the New, Jesus did emphasise mercy and restraint, but also instructed his disciples to sell their coats if necessary to buy a sword; his illustrated teachings included armed land owners and home owners (ref: here) resisting robbers; and he himself used a whip when driving out moneychangers from his “Father’s house”.

These and other ideas were consolidated into the precedent of Common Law, as expounded upon by Blackstone, and distilled into common speech through terms like: “An Englishman’s home is his castle”.

However, if the English did to some extent pass on to the early Americans a belief in the right to keep and bear arms, unfortunately it seems to have been because they were not intending to use it any more.

Especially since the early 1900’s, many of the rights and liberties of Englishmen have gradually dwindled away. How the mighty have fallen: The income tax for example, early on was well below ten percent but rose to 90% or more in the 50s and 60s. Today, according to a recent mainstream media documentary, the overall total of government spending is bigger than the private economy.

Socialism was introduced under a facade of Christian compassion in the United Kingdom. But the only reason it could get any foothold at all was the existence of a landless underclass kept in its place by the residual presence of feudalism.

The underclass were promised not freedom but better masters, and sold the idea that they themselves would be in ultimate control of the new masters through “democracy”. Earlier and better men had grown tired of both this servility and of elite feudalism, and had set out for greener pastures in the colonies.

What had originally begun there as free trade ended up as an empire – subjugating the local populations by denying their right to bear arms. But there must still have been something right about the Common Law and minimal administrative framework of those colonies…

Some went on to be listed among the richest and freest countries in the world – at least, relatively speaking: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Bahamas and some of the Caribbean islands. Others have not done so well of course: Jamaica has had the unwelcome distinction of the highest murder rate in the world – since introducing total gun control in the 1970’s.


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Tony Blair teaches Lord Mandelson how to profit from politics [Telegraph]


Tony Blair teaches Lord Mandelson how to profit from politics

Lord Mandelson warned Ed Miliband last week that he and the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, had yet to prove that they could be trusted on the economy. The former Labour cabinet minister and his mentor, Tony Blair, are, however, flourishing under the Conservative-led Government.

Mandrake can disclose that profits at one of Mandelson’s firms have risen by almost 60 per cent in the past year, while those at one of Blair’s have tripled.

Newly published accounts for Windrush Ventures Limited, part of a complex web of the former prime minister’s companies, show an increase in profits from £1.1million in 2011 to £3.6million last year.

Tony Blair says the profit “is being held in the company for re-investment in expanding the business”. A spokesman adds: “There is a total of £909,000 payable in corporation tax on the group profit.”

The company’s turnover increased by a third, from £12million to £16million, although, in the directors’ report, Catherine Rimmer, a former Number 10 aide, says only that the Windrush group has “traded satisfactorily”.


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George Osborne rocked by a £100bn budget black hole as senior Bank official declares financial crisis ‘as bad as a world war’ [dailymail]

Government borrowing will be nearly £100billion higher than expected over the next five years as economic growth remains ‘weak and inadequate’, according to business leaders.

The report published today by the British Chambers of Commerce warns that the Chancellor’s plans have been blown wildly off course, with weak economic growth meaning it will take far longer than planned to wipe out the record deficit racked up by Labour.

Added to which, senior Bank of England figure Andrew Haldane said this financial crisis would ravage family incomes for generations, with the costs still likely being paid by our grandchildren.

Andrew Haldane said people had every reason to 'feel upset'
George Osborne is prepare to unveil another round of cuts to Britain's bloated welfare bill

Andrew Haldane said people had every reason to ‘feel upset’, while Osborne prepares to cut welfare bill

Borrowing £bn


In his sober analysis if the turmoil inflicted by the 2008 crash, Mr Haldane – executive director for financial stability at the Bank – said: ‘If we are fortunate, the cost of the crisis will be paid for by our children. More likely it will still be being paid for by our grandchildren.

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Free-Market Thinking Advances in Britain [thedailybell]

Nigel Farage

UKIP is now the ‘second party of the North’ Farage declares as panicked Tories hire new guru who warns northern voters feel ‘ignored’ … The UK Independence Party is now the main challenger to Labour in the North of England, leader Nigel Farage declared after his party surged in three by-elections. Mr Farage hailed UKIP’s ‘best-ever by-election result’ after coming second in votes in Rotherham and Middlesborough, humiliating the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats who saw support collapse. – UK Daily Mail

Dominant Social Theme: We just won’t talk about this one, boys.

Free-Market Analysis: Despite the naysayers, free-market thinking continues to advance. In the US conservative libertarian congressman Ron Paul literally had the nomination removed from his grasp by GOP dirty tricks. And now in Britain, we see UKIP making great strides.

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What is UKIP? Here, from Wikipedia …

The UK Independence Party is a Eurosceptic right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. The party describes itself as a “democratic, libertarian party”.

UKIP has never won a seat in the House of Commons, but has three members in the unelected House of Lords, all of which are as a result of defections by Conservative peers. It also has 12 seats in the European Parliament, which is a reduction from 13 won in 2009 … UKIP currently holds one seat on the Northern Ireland Assembly due to a defection from former Ulster Unionist Party MLA David McNarry in October 2012.


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