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Democrats to pursue death wish strategy 20/01/2010

Posted by chrisdshaw in Politics, Uncategorized, United States.
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Conversations between Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank and some of hits constituents hint at a Democratic strategy to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that they are the most incompetent political machine in the Western World. President Obama, you certainly have your work cut out.

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US politics grinds to a halt- oh joy 20/01/2010

Posted by chrisdshaw in Politics, United States.
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It has been difficult to concentrate today as the sense of impending doom I thought I had left behind in November 2008 has returned. I was awoken by the 7am Radio 4 news bulletin announcing that Republican candidate, and former Penthouse centerfold, Scott Brown had won race for Senator in the Massachusetts Special Election, following Ted Kennedy’s death last year. The seat was considered to be a rock solid Democratic seat and has started a huge political earthquake in Washington D.C. If translated to a general election the Democrats would be virtually wiped out. Fortunately we have to wait until November this year before something like that has a chance of happening.

What makes this election victory by the GOP even more significant is that it is almost certain to derail healthcare reform, an issue very close to the former senator’s heart. On top of this, any chance of meaningful climate change legislation is off the cards, as is pretty much anything else the Obama administration advocates. The GOP have managed to sabotage anything the administration proposes, such is its singlemindedness in destroying a presidency that voted in on a promise of change. The US faces a serious political crisis, entirely the fault of a lunatic right-wing GOP- one that would make Reagan turn in his grave- and a Democratic party that never ceases to amaze by its ineptitude. At possibly one of the most critical periods in American history the country is being plunged into  yet another stretch of political paralysis, with no serious attempt is made to address its deep structural problems in the US economy and society and a fasting US leadership in the world at precisely the time that America needs to safeguard its influence with the rise of China and other emerging regional superpowers. And perhaps the most worrying thing of all, virtually no chance of any climate change leadership in a decade which most scientific opinion is convinced is crucial for the future of the planet.

This is a deeply depressing time. It is not yet 9 years since September 11th. How America can have lost its way so quickly is simply staggering.

Dangerous times for the euro 19/10/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Economics, FX, Politics, Uncategorized.
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BNY Mellon’s Simon Derrick tells the FT why the Indonesian Rupiah is his favourite currency, the AUD is his favourite G10 currency, why the US dollar will continue to decline, that the GBP may be reaching a bottom as political considerations may warn the Labour government away from parity against the EUR, and why the Eurozone may be facing some difficult days ahead if its currency keeps attracting foreign reserves.

Grown-up politics reaches the UK- support for Sterling? 06/10/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Economics, FX, Politics.
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One of the more depressing themes to have emerged in recent months has been the inability of the main political parties to address the growing fiscal problem in the UK. Despite numerous warnings by credit rating agencies, concerns expressed by the IMF and growing murmurs among the investment community about the need for a new era of fiscal austerity, neither of the two political parties until recently had spelt out precisely what they would do. Indeed, Gordon Brown demonstrated new lows in his ability to be straight with the British people, insisting until very recently that Labour would continue to increase spending (“investing”) in real terms over the next few years, in contrast to the Conservatives’ ideologically motivated cuts. This attempt to put clear blue water between himself and his opponents looked ham-fisted and disingeneous. The lack of credibility in Brown’s statements added to his already diminishing authority in government and the country. It also inhibited serious debate between the two parties about the tough choices the government will have to make after the election.

However, as Brown’s position has been undermined by Treasury figures, briefing by cabinet members and the entire investment community, grown-up politics has finally prevailed, with the Prime Minister finally admitting that in the unlikely event of his party winning the next election he would in fact make cuts. This has now allowed the Chancellor to outline Labour policies, including freezing public sector pay. The  Conservatives, meanwhile, have begun to announce their own plans. A more mature and honest debate was long overdue, particularly with the British people. A recent Ipsos MORI poll revealed that only 24% think spending on public services needs to be cut to improve the public finances. One of the many factors weighing on Sterling has been the political inactivity over addressing the fiscal deficit. The latest developments are welcome and provide investors one less reason to sell sterling. All else being equal, the new political environment should be mildly positive.

The End of Brown 03/06/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Politics.
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Today’s Guardian editorial puts the boot in. Surely, it is now a question of when not if he resigns. With the botched revelation that Jacqui Smith is to go as well as a number of other junior ministers, White House concern over any change in Foreign Secretary so close to a general election, and open pleas by other minister to stay at their posts and a series of descriptions of backbench Labour MPs’ morale as being at ‘rock bottom’ tomorrow’s European election results could very well start the leadership ball rolling. Another year of a Brown premiership is surely inconceivable.

Back in its normal place 23/04/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Economics, Politics, Society.
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The New Labour project is over. Back to the ideological lines of tax the rich v. stuff the poor

The UK budget announced today that next year’s borrowing requirement will be 11.9% of GDP- an amount higher than the ENTIRE amount of debt  raised since 1694. Labour’s reputation for fiscal prudence is finished. UK politics has gone back 30 years.  The Labour government expects it will take 10 years to get out of this fiscal crisis- and this is assuming fantastical levels of economic growth, 3.5% in 2010- way higher than the most optimistic independent forecast.

Well everyone, it was fun while it lasted. Fun being that rich, cocky and slightly trashy nation for the last 15 years. Back to the land of Rising Damp.

At least Northern Ireland is OK budget-wise…..the Brits wouldn’t DARE!

Gordon’s Magical Mystery Tour 26/03/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Politics.
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Don’t know if any of you have been following as closely as I have my Prime Minister’s hapless trip to drum up support for agreement on fiscal stimulus at the G20 meeting. It is not exactly going according to plan. 

First Stop- Strasbourg. Address to the EU parliament- disaster. Addresses a chamber two thirds empty and gets jeered. (He is a traditional Eurosceptic and has reveled in the past in his contempt for EU institutions). In particular, a UK MEP absolutely destroys him. Check this out. 

Second Stop- New York. Tries to smooth over a rift between him and the Bank of England Governor Mervyn King concerning the UK’s ability to raise more debt. King appears to be vindicated this morning when a UK government bond (gilt) auction fails– the first time in 7 years. Brown attempts to downplay this and the disagreement at a business breakfast in Wall Street in which he accuses his banker audience of acting outside everyday human principles and values, and in the process making friends and influencing everyone! What a clever politician

Third stop- Brazil. Arriving today. What next? Heaven only knows although I can’t see him fitting in there either.

This is as excruciating as watching Geithner- in any situation (difference being I like the Treasury secretary and want him to succeed)

The Devalued Prime Minister 25/03/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Economics, Politics.
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A scathing attack on Gordon Brown at yesterday’s European Parliament. The best yet.

Geithner comments leads to temporary dollar collapse 25/03/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Economics, FX, Politics.
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I was about to post technical targets for the main currency pairs- as per yesterday- but these have been blown out of the water by Tim Geithner who, about 30 minutes ago, made comments suggesting that suggestions for the US was “quite open” to China’s suggestion of expanding Special Drawing Rights at the IMF, essentially diluting the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. EURUSD and GBPUSD spiked up about 200 pips within a couple of minutes of the comments, which have since been clarified to the point of being withdrawn and both currency pairs have settled down but are both still 80 pips up. 

The markets are extremely nervous about the prospect of a weak dollar, honing in on any loose comments from officials, especially the US Treasury Secretary. Expect a lot of Strong Dollar talk over the next few days…..

Irish-Americans finally get it 18/03/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Northern Ireland, Politics, Society.
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A St Paddy’s Day message from Chris Matthews- US political commentator and good bellweather for Irish American sentiment.

“Not British, not Irish, but Northern Irish. A term that unites rather than divides.”

Who would have thought it? Quite unbelievable.