Saturday, October 11, 2008

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs....

There is one word that sums up the markets over the last week and that word is "panic". But as hard as it may be in the current climate, this is the time to keep a cool head.

1. The stock market, like the housing market has reached unrealistically high levels but it is now dropping to unrealistically low levels. The current situation has been triggered by too many who bought when the market was at its peak and who are now panic selling as the market hits rock bottom. But now is the perfect time to buy (if you can get a loan from your bank manager). Much is made of the fact that it took over two decades for the stock market to recover from 1929, but there is little mention made of the fact that half the losses were recovered in just five years.
2. The price of oil is falling which is weakening rogue states such as Russia, Venezuela and Iran, much of whose wealth depends on it.
3. The falling price of oil means cheaper petrol, and the end of fuel surcharges on flights.
4. The credit crunch has resulted in fewer car journeys, less traffic, less pollution and fewer road accidents.
5. House prices are started to return to realistic levels and people will start buying houses to live in rather than using them for an investment. Millions of first time buyers might have a chance of getting their foot on the housing ladder.
6. The credit crunch should make obsolete the discredited ideal that everyone should have a right to own their own property regardless of their credit status or salary level.
7. As the government and local councils are more and more strapped for cash, we should hopefully see realistic pay levels returning to the public sector.
8. Fewer Estate Agents should hopefully see Foxtons purged from our high streets!
9. Tighter credit will ensure that we live within our means, spending less and saving more.
10. Finally, banks will be a little more careful about who they lend to.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sir Ian Blair had to go

How ironic that Labour have condemned Sir Ian Blair's removal as "politically motivated" when his entire tenure at the Met was driven by "political motivations".

His behaviour whilst running the Met sums up everything that has gone wrong with public services in the UK. Under both Tory and Labour administrations, there has been an obsessive "target culture" that directs public servants to answer more and more to their masters at Westminster rather than serve the general public who they should ultimately be accountable to. Labour's introduction of directly elected Mayors was a positive step in the opposite direction. So when Boris Johnson used his powers to remove the police commissioner, Labour should not have been surprised. As Simon Jenkins has rightly observed, Boris Johnson is merely doing what he was elected to do. The Metropolitan police, the people of London and ultimately the Mayor lost confidence in their police chief. Sir Ian Blair had to go.

Quote of the week comes from Ray Mallon, the directly elected Mayor of Middlesborough, and formerly a Detective Inspector:
Sir Ian often used to talk about the number of different communities that the police in London had to serve. In fact, there are actually only two communities that the commissioner of the Met needs to bother about: the law-abiding community and the criminals.
Sir Ian Blair proves that having superior intellect does not preclude common sense.