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The most dangerous moment so far 13/05/2020

Posted by chrisdshaw in Uncategorized.
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I’m old enough to remember when time progressed in a broadly linear fashion. It was pretty easy remember the day of the week, if not necessarily the day- the opposite applied once a year between Christmas and New Year. The spacetime continuum ruptured in mid March with the lockdown. Britain’s favourite manic depressive Stephen Fry was asked at the start of the lockdown what would be the greatest change people would notice. He said that time would take on a new dimension. He was absolutely right. Time has never been the same since. The last two weeks in March seemed like an eternity. April lasted three days.

It is incredible to think that it was less than two weeks ago when we looked on in horror at the prospect of many US states ending the lockdown without any significant fall in deaths or cases. What kind of death cult had taken over such a previously stable functioning democracy that would lead to governors willing to sacrifice the lives of their citizens to restart the economy or worse- a tweet of approval from Trump? I heard reports of a type of peer pressure one associates with school about being bold, strong and needing to shed paranoia about a virus everyone was sicking of hearing about.

Fast forward to to this week and the UK finds itself in a semi-lifting of a mild lockdown while death rates remain stubbornly high. Criminally confusing messages by Johnson on Sunday 10th May in an address to the nation, and then a statement in the Commons the following day was series of contradictory messages about easing, but with the main message: if you cannot work from home, you need to go to work. Shops are opening, business are back and while there is serious unease about the lack of clarity from the Government about what is permissible there is a palpable sense of relief that “we are all returning back to normal”. Reception year pupils are due to return to school on 1 June, and rightwing newspaper columnists are rounding on “lazy school teachers” voicing concerns about their public safety. You can feel the mood is a lot closer to the US mood of elation and frustration with people who were still acting like this was, oh I don’t know, the most terrifying public health emergency we have faced in a century. I am largely shielded from this, as my company has made clear that we will most likely be working from home for many months yet. Most of my friends are in the same boat. Our youngest daughter will not be returning to school under any circumstances until the next academic year and we will continue to shield ourselves, particular against an almost inevitable stronger and more deadly second wave in the next month or so. We are lucky to be in our socio-economic group. Many many others are not. An avoidable massacre looks like to take place, with the casualties disproportionately made up of the poorer and more vulnerable in society.

God bless the NHS 26/03/2020

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At 8pm this evening thousands of people across the UK stood outside their doors and clapped to show their support for NHS workers. This comes after over 500,000 people volunteered to act as a support for the NHS, in ancillary activities professionals do not have the resources to focus on, as hospitals are now facing a “tsunami” of COVID-19 cases in hospitals in London- about a week ahead of there rest of the country. Nicky stood outside applauding while I was finishing hearing Chapter’s 1 to 3 of Eva’s story she had written.

I am feeling a rollercoaster of emotions this week. Utter fear on Monday, followed by feeling upbeat on Tuesday, geopolitical despair yesterday with Trump’s attempted politicitsation of the pandemic yesterday. Today I am feeling more personally confident that I have a chance of missing contracting the virus, good news from our supermarket where panic buying seems to be subsiding (it still feels eery and uncomfortably tense there) and I have nice problems to deal with at work. This is mixed with a growing sense that our economy and society has been radically altered forever.

The impact on society, with not only a devastating economic impact on the vast percentage of the population. I have heard anecdotal reports of terrible personal psychological sacrifices and problems resulting from the lockdown. The idea that this will last for months, which it looks like it needs to, is scary in terms of its long term effect. Of chief concern is the United States, where an increasingly transparent psychopath as President is pushing his country towards a health suicide. I am not sure if the US will survive this- it looks like its President is prepared to take that risk in a gamble to seek reelection in November.

My girls are in good form, although when we told Eva during our daily walk that we couldn’t go to her favourite cafe, shouted in front of a number of people, “I hate this stupid virus, and want it to go away forever”. We are all with you, Eva

The End of the Beginning or the Beginning of the End? 23/02/2018

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Too much has happened in the space of time since my last post for a retrospective. There has been too much procrastination from me trying to account and analyse the cataclysmic events that have piled on top of each other in the last two years. I just need to get started again and provide a write a daily post on “the thing”- Brexit, Trump and the enormous and potentially terminal changes in world geopolitics and society.

As I write, Trump is addressing the CPAC convention in Washington- having suggested arming teachers in the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting. This comes in an atmosphere of utter poison in the US, with death threats being made on traumatised school students who dared to speak up for gun control. I have long believed that America has been heading for a civil war. Until now I thought this would largely be a “cold war”, largely fought on social media and segregation and sectarianism similar to Northern Ireland. I now realise that moment has been with us for a number of years and we could be about to enter an actual, violent civil war going forward, with a complete breakdown in government. Russia will be delighted- an astonished- by how successful its cyber campaign to teat America apart is going. There is much much more to write about this, but my prediction is that the US is now on an irretrievable path to destruction. And it breaks my heart.

Meanwhile in the UK, 20 months after the Brexit referendum, the Government has finally agreed its position on the relationship with the EU- to negotiate a free trade agreement similar to the EU-Canada deal, but then try to embellish it by securing better access to the single market for goods and services through close regulatory co-operation- in other words, have its cake and eat it. The UK is heading for disorderly No Deal Brexit and is providing strong competition with the US as country heading towards dystopia.

All of this ties in with the hugely disruptive, distorting and dangerous effects of social media and tech.

All in all it feels, in February 2018, to be a very dangerous time to be alive. I hope we make it- it seems like we’re going to need all the luck we can get.

Testing One, Two, Three 06/06/2013

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It’s been a long time. So much has happened in the last three years. Will be back up soon.

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.

Daily Read 16/12/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Daily Feeds, Uncategorized.
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Britain’s dismal choice: sharing the losses (Martin Wolf, FT)

Greece borrows privately as downgrade drives up yield (Bloomberg)

UK labour market shows signs of recovery (FT)

Moody’s warns of ‘social unrest’ as sovereign debt spirals (Daily Telegraph)

Sentiment on S&P 500 sinks to five month low (Bloomberg)

What are the chances…..? 06/12/2009

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Anticipating the next shock 06/12/2009

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US investors are increasingly protecting themselves against a jolt in the financial markets and hedging against a rise in the dollar

Daily Feeds 30/11/2009

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We must get ready for a weak-dollar world (FT)

Dubai World’s debt not guaranteed by government (Bloomberg)

Greece and expect no gifts from Brussels (Wolfgang Munchau, FT)

An empire at risk (Niall Ferguson, Newsweek)

The future of entertainment: middle class struggle (The Economist)

Every man an anchor on the goodship Palin (Julian Sanchez)

 

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.