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TB-infected beef sold back into UK food chain by DeFRA

30 Jun

cow2JPGAccording to the Sunday Times today, DeFRA – The UK government’s Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs – has been selling diseased cattle meat to caterers who supply hospitals, schools and the armed forces.

They have bought the carcasses of cattle infected with bovine tuberculosis and sold them back into the food chain.

Despite concerns by several agencies, Defra sees no wrong in its actions.

“We are the UK government department responsible for policy and regulations on environmental, food and rural issues. Our priorities are to grow the rural economy, improve the environment and safeguard animal and plant health.”

The above quote is from their website.

DeFRA recently charred its already dirty reputation with most Brits by shrugging off the scandal of horse meat appearing in beef products. When the news broke in Europe, DeFRA’s head of public affairs legged it over to France for an ‘important meeting’ and laid low. As the full extent of corruption in the food chain was revealed over following weeks, DeFRA seemed curiously detached from the situation.

Is it not puzzling that a Ministerial Department responsible for regulating and monitoring the food supply chain in the UK should

*decline to take leadership in a contamination crisis?

*generate approximately $14m revenue by purchasing and selling diseased cattle meat into the human food chain?

*not mention anything in its mission statement (above) about human welfare – any duty to citizens and consumers?

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Perhaps, their point is that their priority is to maintain the wealth and prosperity of those who own the fields and the cows. That they are not concerned with any consequential issues. Not concerned with issues relating to health and the possible spread of disease – however small.

But in a political era where the UK government has fostered exaggerated fears of terrorism, economic uncertainty, financial insecurity and invasion of privacy among its citizens, is it not strange that one of its own departments intentionally sells tens of thousands of tons of meat from diseased cattle into its own country’s food chain?

It does not take a conspiracy theorist to notice that DeFRA have again expressed not one single concern at their wildly indefensible actions while the Press and public are again outraged. Once more, actions that are highly likely to cause distress and concern among the public have come from…a government department. 

Can DeFRA’s actions really have been the result of ignorance and innocence as to the risks being taken with the public’s health and wellbeing?

The Sunday Times quotes DeFRA’s chief scientist Ian Boyd warning that bTB (bovine Tuberculosis) could “spill over” to pets and “potentially to humans”.

M bovis, the bacterium that causes bTB can survive cooking up to 60C. – source: Sunday Times, 30th June 2013

cows4cows5

If all our news were truthful, questions would be illegal…wouldn’t they?

9 Apr

I have started an argument with an online news editor.

I could have done a thousand other things but the voice inside my head said: “Go for it! Speak up NOW!”

This is the same voice that once advised me to accuse a policeman of lying on oath while I was standing in the dock and had already managed to annoy the judge.

This voice also advised me to confront two street robbers who held very long knives and were in the process of throwing a mini cab driver onto a railway line.

This voice gets me into trouble but it also saves my soul. It allows me to confront and to question when the easy way out is to ignore or withdraw.

The online news editor – we shall call him by his acronym ‘ONE’ , is a reasonable, educated and good – natured soul. I know this for a fact because of ONE’s replies so far.

ONE has enough to do already without needing to waste time engaged in spurious debates with strangers. ONE’s replies to my criticism have been in the form of questions. ONE moves the debate between us onward with intelligence and good humour and I try to respond in the same way.

I hope I succeed because if I do not, I know that ONE will spot the crack in my armour and a spear will dispatch me in an instant. I am certain that I would do the same if I get the chance.

Now, I am going to reveal what I am arguing with ONE about. Perhaps, you will suddenly see me in a different way.

We are arguing over the use of the question mark.

*?*

For a  journalist, the question mark is sacred. It drives their world, their identity and their reason for turning up for work each day. They ask questions.

For a reader, the question mark is an outrage. A reader seeks answers. We only read because we already have a question mark in our head. We are trying to remove the damned thing.

ONE writes headlines with a question mark at the end.

I don’t like this. I tell ONE that it is not the job of a journalist. Journalists should not write headlines that end in a question mark.

ONE replies to me:

“Why??????”

I instantly adore ONE’s answer and I want to frame it. Behind a sheet of slate.

“Because I believe that the essence of reportage is to provide answers, not debate uncertainty”

ONE replies to me:

“Agreed, reports should probably explain rather than pose questions, but surely Twitter is not reportage?????????”

I chew over my relationship with Twitter before suggesting to him:

“It evolves as we use it, changing from look-at-me platform to echo-platform to breaking-newsroom. Hot news at its best, period.”

ONE has better things to do and goes off and does them.

I use the time to write this post on my WordPress blog and clarify my battle plans. Have I won my point? I doubt it.

ONE has asked the Big Question.

Is Twitter reportage?

The word reportage is defined as the means of reporting news.

ONE is making an important point here.

ONE is suggesting that Twitter does not itself report news but is instead, something other. Twitter is a ‘platform’, a soap-box on which we can all stand and shout.

ONE is suggesting that Twitter is the means by which we link to news. It is not the news report itself.

ONE is pointing out that by capturing our attention with a question mark, we will follow the link to the report and read the story. ONE is selling the story on Twitter and not reporting it.

Now, this is a wonderful day for me and ONE to be slugging this argument out. Why? Because yesterday morning, Margaret Thatcher died of a stroke. Thatcher was once a famous and powerful British Prime Minister.

Margaret Thatcher’s death is just a simple and natural occurrence. We get old and we die. It happens to us all.

But Thatcher’s death has unleashed a huge news battle across the internet and the lives of those in Britain. Some welcome her death and others mourn it.

Those that welcome her death do so because the secrets that she hid from the world when she was a powerful leader are now one step closer to being released for the press to report. Many of these secret documents can only be released after her death.

Those that mourn her death are the ones who broadly benefit from those secrets staying locked away.

The most powerful interests are held by the press who wish to maintain her image as a force for good.

The weakest footing is held by those who cannot argue their case until all the documents she hid away are revealed to the world and become common knowledge for the first time.

You see, Thatcher used her power to suppress facts from being reported that might harm her power to rule or cause unrest among the already angry sections of  Britain’s population.

Those among us who personally witnessed the gross censorship and distortion of news under her rule are powerless to speak out because our evidence is locked away in dusty vaults.

We purse our lips as her powerful friends weep Hollywood tears at her passing so that they gain a better seat at her funeral wake.

We wait until we can question what actually went on in secret and get an answer. We cannot do this yet because the facts are still withheld from the journalists who will reveal them. Some files are locked away for seventy years.

One day they will come out. One day, the news will be more truthful than it is today.

ONE is right.

Twitter is just a railway station where trains carrying truth arrive and depart. We get on them if we choose and we are transported to where we want to be. ONE is just a guard with a flag, shouting the destinations and helping people get on board. You want to go here? Get on this carriage. You want to go there? Next train.

But Twitter has one unique element.

It is not owned by the wealthy and influential news groups who have an interest in pitching a certain version of the truth.

Twitter is the place where truth, lies and fantasy are all available and we are allowed to choose. Where the process of news starts and where it is advertised once it is ready for us to read it.

In between us and our news is a man or a woman who has to ask questions on our behalf.

And ONE has to occasionally ask us questions to make sure that we are listening.

And a truth unspoken is a lie that sleeps.

Is your new car watching over you?

14 Feb

001newcars

In the 1980’s, if Britain or the United States governments had declared that every citizen must report their personal whereabouts and also to whom they spoke, there would have been an understandable mass revolt and rioting in the streets.

Instead, we citizens were sold the mobile or ‘cell’ phone.

Lured by the promise of entertainment, technology and kudos, we rushed out and bought phones for ourselves and our children.

We bought the phones willingly. The needs of government were met.

It was all about information – being connected and being in communication. Being the first to know, the first to hear.

Twenty years later, we now understand how our cellphones pinpoint our position and our conversations and texts are widely and routinely intercepted and analysed ‘in the interests of National Security’.

Our billing information has been sold and resold a hundred times. British Police forces have sold personal details of car crash victims to ambulance-chasing insurance firms. Apparently, that is okay by us. Absolutely fine.

Since we are anxious to be seen as law-abiding citizens, we trade in our privacy in a way that was utterly unthinkable, even as recently as 1990. We ignore the outrageous  invasion of our privacy by Google, Microsoft and a million life insurance and healthcare agents who now own copies of all our private details.

Some of us actually help out by uploading our private life and photo album details to Facebook.

Next on the agenda of big business and world government: our car.

“…all citizens shall declare their car  journeys, itineraries, speeds attained and addresses visited…”

We are sold ‘infotainment’ and connectivity packages for our new car. We buy them, using our own money.

Intel put it perfectly in their press release:

“…Cars are gradually transitioning from an information isolated island to a mobile information processing platform…”

The statement is almost benign in its apparent casualness.

However, be not fooled. The parking camera package that you bought because you are too stupid to park your own car can now record the license plate of the car behind and in front.

One click of a switch at “Headquarters” and every driving citizen becomes an unmarked Police cruiser, fitted with Automated Number Plate Recognition.

Your three year old car already tells tales on you to its manufacturer. When you send it in to the dealer to have it serviced, you naively believe that the big red box it gets plugged into tells the mechanic what is wrong.

It doesn’t. It uploads data to the manufacturer, who then tells the mechanic what is wrong. The manufacturer now knows if you hit the rev limiter…while in sixth gear. How often the ABS has been activated today.

028rwtrafficYou naughty thing, you! Let us hope that the manufacturer doesn’t tell the Police, or you’d be in deep trouble. Or your insurance company. Or your leasing company. Or your boss, who is considering you for promotion.

Perhaps, having read this far into my post, you are inclined to believe that I am being a little paranoid? Well, it only takes one click and your car uploads its data. The only question that remains is: to whom? 

Your car is already programmed to transmit your speed. Your sat-nav already does so.

Governments around the world are waiting for your opinion. They like opinions. It saves them having to ask.

When will the switch be ‘clicked’?

Well, that really depends on how we citizens feel about it. This is the ‘Big One’. All our other information is already accessed by the State in most Western countries but our car is the last frontier. It has always given us the feeling of freedom.

If we citizens realise that our car is now no longer a source of freedom but instead just expensive transportation, we may decide to take a taxi instead. We may rebel and refuse to buy our next car.

So the trick is to make us want to buy our next car.

It won’t be hard. Governments have progressively increased taxation on older cars and manufacturers have raised the prices of key spares to the point where it becomes uneconomical to keep them working.

As consumers, we take the hint. We buy a new car. Besides, the new one comes with an ‘Infotainment Package’…

Slam dunk.002bankrobber

The bank robber of the future will strip you, tie you up in the trunk of your car, drive to the bank and rob it in your name.

They will walk back to the car and plug in a second-hand ECU under the hood. They will dial a police crime line with your phone, drop it in the gutter and then drive you out to the woods.

There, you will be reunited with your clothes and shoes and given your keys back and told to drive off. As you gratefully sit behind the wheel, the robber will shoot you in the head, put the gun in your hand, close the door and then walk away.

According to the medical records that your doctor sold to your insurance company without your knowledge, you were taking anti-depressants.

According to the Police, always anxious to solve crime, there is an awful lot of even stronger evidence.

CCTV footage shows a person of your height and wearing your clothes and shoes, with a mask. Your phone and your car were tracked across town to the bank. Your phone is found, soaking wet – so no fingerprints there – but its call records are examined. Later that day, you are found behind the wheel of your car by a kid walking his dog.

Why you did it and where you hid the money will remain a mystery. Your life insurance company refuses to pay out to your family.

Isn’t technology wonderful?

Millions of new cars remain unsold. Join the dots…

8 Feb

DSC00283roadwax

As more than 10 MILLION brand new cars join the ever increasing backlog of unsold stock across the World – four million cars in Europe alone – factory closures are now to become a reality.

Well-hidden and secure compounds across Europe, Asia and America are the usual first home for newly-born cars awaiting shipping to dealers. But these are now so full that dealers themselves are having to store cars in their already-packed yards.

The backlog of stored new cars in Europe now runs to four million. US sources point to a similar figure for America and things are so bad in China that Mercedes Benz are offering as much as 30% discount on some new models (S-Class, anyone?) as an attempt to shift stock.

No matter how politicians of all persuasions in all car-making countries try to dress it up, the fact is that production lines and whole factories now stand to be closed as a means of reducing output to match the drop in demand.

As Jorn Madslien’s BBC article here points out, the 7 – 10% annual drop in European demand since the Banking crisis of 2008 is set to continue through 2013 according to industry analysts.

There is no evidence to suggest that this trending reduction in demand will halt. Unemployment, static wages and financial insecurity continue to keep potential customers away from showrooms.021roadwax

What many ordinary people have overlooked in the last three years is the part that national politicians have played in this unfolding catastrophe.

Anxious to deflect criticism of themselves from voters already outraged at the corruption within the financial industry that has wrecked economic prospects, many political leaders have persuaded car giants to keep production at a steady level to avoid redundancies.

In the last three years, American car-making states have seen the quite shocking sight of trains loaded with brand new cars leaving the factories bound for the deserts – where the cars are simply off-loaded and parked up – as an alternative to laying off workers or reducing pay-packets.

Now, this temporary vote-buying strategy has resulted in such high levels of surplus vehicles that the need to close whole factories has replaced the idea of cutting the odd work shift. There is now no other option left.

Discounting of new car prices at dealership level is now rising into thousands of dollars. Some makes and models are almost dead in the water, effectively having so few interested potential buyers that they may as well not be offered.

Chrysler, for example, has more than six months worth of 2013 Dodge Darts parked up right now, as the Wall Street Journal’s article here reveals.

Six months worth of Dodge Darts. At what point does a ‘new’ car technically become an ‘old’ new car? Can a car that has sat out in the open for most of a year still be described as ‘new’? One can easily imagine the challenges that car manufacturers now face.

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But showroom price discounting – especially up to amounts like 30% – can wreak havoc with the residual value of that car’s marque. The prices of ‘nearly-new’ second-hand versions plummet at auction and fleet clients and Hire Purchase customers can become saddled with a kind of negative equity on their own vehicles. Fleet News made this point six months ago in their article here.

Some commercial vehicle manufacturers have been hit really hard as savvy fleet operators have held onto their trucks for an extra year or two to avoid this depreciation risk. One major truck maker sold zero units of its product in the UK in 2011 as regular clients simply sat tight.

General Motors has only now struggled back into profit in the US after years in the red with an unloved product range. Desperate for small cars it didn’t have, it hastily re-badged Asian Daewoo products, slapping a ‘Chevrolet’ badge on them and shipping them into America.

Now, it is watching as its twin European badges – Vauxhall and Opel – fight a desperate war to survive. It is abundantly clear that 7-10% over-capacity plus some ageing and inefficiently designed production facilities cannot be propped up at all cost.

roadwaxJeep 101

In this situation, the cost will be production line workers. There are no deserts in Europe to hide millions of unwanted cars.

The emerging giant economy of China fueled the revival of hopes in 2009 for top marques like BMW, Cadillac and Rolls Royce. Dying on their feet as Europe and America struggled with a banking collapse, these big names spearheaded a rush to satisfy Chinese auto sales volume growth of 46% in that year.

But by 2010 that figure had dropped to 32% and in early 2011 it slumped to 2.5%.

We are not supposed to use the word ‘problem’. The fashionable and politically correct word today is ‘challenge’.

The ‘problem’ is over-production of depreciating consumer goods.

The ‘challenge’ for today’s politicians is to find unemployed workers jobs that can generate their family a surplus income. Enough to buy yet more depreciating consumer goods and certainly more than enough to live on.

If today’s politicians actually have a solution to this challenge, then they are keeping very quiet about it.

 

First UK motorist is taught to drive on snow and ice.

12 Jan
A typically devastating scene showing what can happen when snow falls on an English pub.

A typically devastating scene showing what can happen when snow falls on an English pub.

The BBC have released footage of a British driver secretly being taught how to drive on snow and ice. The footage lasts just a few seconds and is hidden within a normal news article.

This news has been greeted with horror by Britain’s biggest safety quango, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). Although its own website proudly claims to advise drivers on how to drive on snow, it is actually designed to discourage drivers from venturing out by simply re-posting the same dubious information that was printed in 1955.

RoSPA’s approach to the topic is simple. Load the driver down with so much cautionary advice on planning and multiple check-lists that they simply give up and stay indoors.

Even under the specific section ‘Driving on snow and ice’ – it doesn’t reveal any actual advice on how to drive on snow and ice beyond what is stated in the Police Driver’s Handbook. There is not a single mention of winter tyres, traction control, accelerator technique or gearbox control over-ride.

It instead assumes that you are immediately going to get stuck. Their finest advice is reproduced below:

“…move your vehicle slowly backwards and forwards out of the rut using the highest gear you can. If this doesn’t work, you may have to ask a friendly passerby for a push or get your shovel out…”

and the all-time classic:

“…slow down in plenty of time before bends and corners…”

What can easily happen if you don't "reduce your speed in plenty of time" as RoSPA advise...

What can easily happen if you don’t “reduce your speed in plenty of time” as RoSPA advise…

Roadwax sent special reporter Elena Handcart to ask RoSPA why they are fifty years out of touch with modern techniques for driving on snow and ice. Brian Loadsworth, head of Driver Thinking explained:

“The average British chappie is a little bit of a nuisance when it comes to driving a motor car on snow. We find it is far safer to try and keep him at home, checking his battery charge level and walking around trying to find a shop that will sell him a cavalry tweed car blanket.

The more ordinary people we can leave completely in the dark about snow driving techniques, the more space there is on the roads for bus drivers to pull over and cancel their journey. One really shouldn’t encourage this sort of foolhardy attitude among the workers”.

Thomas Schneebinder from the Stockholm Institute for Common Sense disagrees:

“When I was just six years old, my parents gave me my first Volvo. Like all other normal Swedish drivers, I learned to race old Saabs over packed ice by the time I was twelve. I am surprised that this knowledge is forbidden in Britain. Well done to the BBC for leaking it.”

DSC00026.roadwaxsnowJPG

A post box completely cut off by more than four inches of snow – typical of what Britain may have to endure for up to several days

Does your Procter and Gamble washing powder destroy your will to live…?

5 Dec
Okay...its a box of  washing machine powder...but...

Okay…its a box of washing machine powder…but…

Procter & Gamble UK make a huge range of cleaning, grooming and beauty products. Beginning in the United States in 1837, they have always been pretty clever when it comes to selling stuff like washing powder or anything that involves mixing a few chemicals together to spread over yourself or your kitchen.

Trouble is, they can’t write good copy. I mean, they really have a problem with creative writing. A big problem. Scary big.

This is their household favourite, ‘Fairy Non-Bio’ washing powder:

...nothing suspicious here...everything appears to be quite normal...but...

…nothing suspicious here…everything appears to be quite normal…but…

And this is the same pack from another angle:

...there seems to be some kind of important message on the back...

…there seems to be some kind of important message on the back…

And this is what it says on the back:

oh dear...

oh dear…

I think P&G want mother to sing these words under her breath to the tune of:  ‘I’m a Little Teapot’ – that totally bonkers 1930’s hit song – while  smiling lovingly at her baby.

If you happen to be a baby who’s mother is currently smiling at you and singing these words, get out quick. Crawl towards the door and leave. Never look back.

“I’m a little toddler

Short, not stout,”

Okay, this has already gone wrong, hasn’t it? Babies are almost universally stout. Take a look at your own logo at the bottom right of the pack. ‘Stout’ appears to be very much in evidence. You got a problem with ‘stout’?

“Feel my jumper,

Soft, no doubt…”

Wooaaah…right, so this is already getting way out of line. Is this a call from P&G to encourage a a new trend in baby-fondling? Are babies supposed to be admired and assessed for the softness of their jumpers? Is this how we are?

“When I get all dirty,

Hear me shout:”

Ever heard a baby shout? Did that shout include any recognised words? Anything to do with mass-produced cleansing agents?

“Get the box of liquitabs out!”

Oh dear…oh dear…oh dear…

Where does one start?

Close your eyes and imagine a dirty baby shouting that line at you.

Scary Bad.

Imagine if Sesame Street  suddenly did an episode on bestiality. Or, suppose you saw Kermit theFrog with a needle stuck in his arm. See what I mean? The dream is forever shattered…

And as for suggesting that one should clean up a dirty baby by using a sachet of harsh chemicals, designed to be put in a washing machine…

Okay. Now, dear reader, (as fellow WordPress blogger Linda Vernon might say) we imagine that afternoon meeting in the Procter & Gamble marketing department when this copy was actually signed off.

“Well done, team!…Really pushed the ball uphill on this one!…I think we’ve totally cracked the message we want to send to the world!…Fantastic effort all round!…This is really going to hit the target market hard!…So proud…you guys make me so damn proud…!”

“Team, I feel that our job here is done. Now, let’s move straight on to solving World Poverty. Any ideas come to mind…?”

Crazy Bad.

Oh, since you ask, that spoon on the draining board is mine. I got others as well, but that one is particularly damn sexy, ain’t it? My house is fitted with an alarm, by the way…

RoSPA shocked by how ordinary people actually live their lives.

24 Oct

I’ve got nine lives. You ain’t. Deal with it.

RoSPA has expressed shock and dismay that people drive while holding mobile phones.

The ninety year old veteran survivor of countless accidents and a couple of world wars was startled to discover that  people who drive cars through necessity often ignore common-sense advice on the use of mobile phones.

“It beggars belief!” said RoSPA, looking up from his newspaper while eating his breakfast and stroking the cat. “You’d think these people were quite unaware of the risks they were taking. I shall write an article about all this – you see if I don’t!”

Responding to Roadwax’s undercover reporter, RoSPA’s housekeeper and assistant, Verity Crash-Bangwallop, explained that RoSPA doesn’t get out much these days and is quite unaware that the practise has been going on for over twenty-five years.

“He normally gets upset when it comes up in the newspapers every now and then but he’s usually better by the time I bring him his lunch. Last Thursday, he became incandescent when I explained to him that bears are reluctant to use toilet facilities in woodland areas. I just locked myself in the Safety Room until he calmed down. He’s really very nice.”

The matter first came to light when RoSPA was informed by the local Community Support Officer that a youth had been spotted driving in the village while holding a mobile phone. RoSPA immediately wrote a letter to his local MP to highlight the shocking issue and asked the PCSO to keep him informed of any developments.

Local Independent MP Brian Loadsworth explained that RoSPA was quite unaware of the pressures upon normal members of society to receive and transmit data while driving.

“RoSPA is a nice old chap but his idea of driving is to gently ease into his old Mercedes 300TD and potter the half mile to the village shop to buy some matches for his Aga. He is quite unaware that some people spend many hours of the day driving while being pressurised by bosses and clients to provide them with time-sensitive information.”

“When I recently explained that some mothers need to contact child-minders to say that they were stuck in stationary traffic and would be late to pick up their child as a consequence, he was most resolute. He felt certain that this could be easily done while pulling over into a lay-by, switching the engine off and making the call whilst wearing a high visibility jacket at the side of the road. Fortunately, Verity brought us some lunch and the matter was dropped.”

With UK drivers currently being four times more likely to be involved in an accident when using a mobile phone while driving, pressure is on for the Police and also safety experts to find a solution.

A week long initiative by East Scrains Traffic Police to intercept drivers who were holding phones provided valuable results.

“We got our message across. You can’t drive with a mobile phone clamped to your ear. Not when one of our lads has just broken both your legs,” said Det. Insp Darren Shaft. “We usually get caught up in this nonsense debate about once a year. If we come down too hard then we lose the trust of the public. But we have to be seen to do something. We refer to it as “culling”. It ticks all the boxes and lets us get on with our real jobs.”

Dame Elizabeth Jobs-Agoodun from the road safety charity MENACE was more scathing.

“The threat of being sidelined by your boss for demanding that your car be supplied with the latest telecommunications equipment is no excuse. Working people should live within their means and ensure that they are perfectly educated in all aspects of the instruction manual provided with their leased vehicle. It really isn’t good enough.”

A simple and inexpensive campaign suggested by Roadwax to provide cheap Bluetooth hands-free kits to all motorists for the same price as a Cornish Pasty was launched today.

Det Insp Darren Shaft was not convinced.

“So, where did you get hold of all these then? Let’s ‘ave a look in the back of your van. Hands where I can see them…”

Lord Green, Minister for Trade and Investment: A Distinguished Career in Reverse.

12 Aug

The Lord moves in mysterious ways…

August 2012

Private Eye Magazine (UK) reporter Richard Brooks states that “London is at the centre of a web of embezzlement that steals from the world’s poorest while bankers and regulators look the other way.”                                                                                

August 2012

Lord Green, previously chief executive of HSBC  is now linked to money laundering investigation                                                                                                              

August 2012

Standard Chartered Bank (UK) is accused by US regulators of laundering Iranian money.

August 2012

Barclays Bank (UK) accused of “reckless mis-selling” of a business product.   

July 2012

Lord Green accused by US Senate of ‘failing to halt flow of drugs cash’

July 2012

HSBC (UK) is now the focus of a major tax fraud investigation by HMRC into its Swiss -owned subsidiary. Allegations include laundering Mexican drug money and being a haven for British tax evaders.                                                                                                                                                            

 July 2012.

25% of British Conservative Party donors come from the financial sector in the UK. Prominent Tory donors are linked both to firms that have successfully gained government contracts – and also the government decision-making panels that awarded the contracts. A clear conflict of interest.                                                                                                                  

July 2012.

Bob Diamond, UK chief executive of Barclays Bank resigns. Barclays blames ‘…senior Whitehall figures…’

July 2012.

Barclays Bank (UK) accused of fixing Libor exchange rate.                                                                                                                     

May 2012

LTSB (UK) banking chief Jessica Harper is accused by CPS of operating a £2.5m scam while working as the LTSB’s head of security and digital banking.                                                                                                                                                                               

May 2012

Santander (UK) and LTSB (UK) accused of failing to provide affordable loans to small businesses despite signing up to the £20 billion government scheme.

(it has been often said by those who know, that ‘a week is a long time in politics’. At this point in the time-line, Lord Green has now been in his position as Minister for Trade and Investment for over a year.)

January 2011

Lord Green is appointed by David Cameron as Minister of State for Trade and Investment.

November 2010

Stephen Green is given a life peerage by David Cameron and enters the House of Lords as Lord Green

October 2010

Stephen Green, ex director of HSBC Private Banking (Suisse), The Bank of Bermuda Ltd, HSBC (Mexico), Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, steps down and discusses joining the Conservative Party with David Cameron.

Standard Chartered and FSA stumble after NYSDFS and Jeffrey Robinson kick zimmer frames.

7 Aug

“Comatose”.

With this one word, American financial crime analyst Jeffrey Robinson described the  British Financial Services Authority on the BBC’s national radio news today.

Of course, being a writer, Jeffrey placed the word into a coherent sentence (you get more jobs that way) but his damning judgement rang out across Britain as a thousand pictures could never do.

The New York State Department of Financial Services is gunning for City of London -based Standard Chartered Bank. Standard Chartered was accused of breaking pretty much every rule that matters in an apparent attempt to launder Iranian money.

Standard Chartered shares dived by over 16% in value today as the news got out that the bank had ventured into the cross-hairs of one of the world’s most influential financial investigatory bodies.

Strange then, that Britain’s own FSA was not the one making the accusations or even raising a pair of opera glasses? Not really.

Although the FSA describes itself as the body that regulates the financial industry in the UK, it has an almost unbroken record of not regulating the financial industry in the UK. The FSA’s record is startling in both breadth of inertia and depth of failure.

The FSA has failed to step in on almost every single case relating to a British bank that is now facing charges of corruption, mis-selling, dishonesty or fraud. Almost every high-street bank in Britain is now facing legal action for one crime or another but none of those legal challenges was begun by the FSA.

The FSA appears to be run by people who share the interests of the fraudsters whom it is responsible for regulating and excluding from Financial Services. How else could it explain such a ridiculously poor performance? Has it been off work with a bad back since 2002?

And this is where Jeffrey Robinson comes in. While the American version of the British FSA is regulating British banks, the American version of our business analysts accuses the British FSA of being “comatose”.

You see, as the Americans have often pointed out, we British don’t know how to complain.

And if we do, we often find that doors close in front of us and promotions don’t appear as they used to. Our job positions are deleted in sudden cost-cutting exercises and we may be regarded as “no longer having the correct security credentials.”

Jeffrey Robinson doesn’t need a promotion to keep up with the mortgage on his apartment and he’s not scared of the greasy and corrupt men and women behind the scenes in the City of London. Many British commentators are afraid and with good reason.

Remember, Britain is a small island, easily fitting inside the footprint of some US states. David Kelly ended up committing suicide when he was hounded for leaking a few facts. Well, that’s the official explanation. Read the whole Wiki article before you reach a judgement. The undisputed facts of a very British death.

Just like in World War 2, The Americans may have dived in a little late but they do seem to be digging in rather nicely, making up for lost time. Once again, they’re fighting alongside the British people against a small band of wealthy elitists who threaten the democracy and stability of the west.

It is not quite clear whether Prime Minister Cameron and Chancellor Osborne are willing to ‘do a Rudolf Hess’ and extract themselves from the influence of their six Bullingdon Club friends and the dozens of Old Etonians who are now influential city bankers and financiers. It would be difficult for either of them to use the excuse: “We were only following orders.”

An out-of-touch and under-skilled Prime Minister gives the job of Chancellor to his close Bullingdon Club friend, despite that friend having no personal experience of business. Not a problem…if your city friends actually run the show from the shadows, is it?

Unless American institutions and American commentators start to speak up now, the bad guys could win for good this time.

Today’s war is not about Democracy versus Fascism, nor the failure to regulate. It is a war about Lawfulness versus the illegal and covert creation of supreme wealth and unimaginable power.

UK Traffic Police to declare war on Hipsters. Time to sell the VW.

15 Jul

In an attempt to deflect the rising public hostility towards bankers and politicians and traffic wardens, the UK government has announced a firm  strategy to eradicate Hipsters.

Recent research has revealed that, whereas it is almost impossible to punish those responsible for the economic collapse of western nations, it is a comparatively cheap fix to divert anger towards the relatively unprotected Hipster.

In Britain, it is still illegal to assault or abuse anyone who quotes Morrissey lyrics while wearing Vans trainers that are ironically untied or missing laces.

France plans to bring in a law soon to ban the resting of copies of ‘Brave New World’ on the table of any Starbucks cafe between 05:00hrs and 01:00hrs. However, British Hipsters are generally understood to be too incapable of understanding double-irony and a local solution has been sought.

Professor Brian Loadsworth, Senior Research Fellow at the Falmouth Research Institute into Ridiculous Posturing has worked with the Police and Civil Service to create a strategic response. In his research paper, he reveals the secret behind the planned campaign.

      “…In experiment P/51834, we discovered that Hipsters only have superficial knowledge of the subjects they espouse. We conditioned 6 male  and 6 female Hipsters to quote early Smiths lyrics in return for a reward of food being pushed through the bars of their cage. Sadly, the experiment had to be abandoned when they all died of starvation.

In experiment P/51835, we conditioned 12 more Hipsters to expect an electric shock if they dressed in both leather jackets and coloured leggings at the same time. The resultant electricity bill was exorbitant and the morgue had no room for further bodies. We realised we needed a change of approach.

We contacted the Driver Vehicle Licensing Authority and discovered that 98.73% of post – 1972 Volkswagen Beetles are owned by Hipsters. Hipsters are so desperate to be seen in one that they overlook the fact that these vehicles are neither Tax-Exempt (like the pre-1972 cars) nor economical to run. 

Further consultation with the Association of Chief Police Officers revealed that the necessary law was already in place. Indeed, ACPO made it clear that many Officers would be willing to work for free to implement what they referred to as ‘Operation Savage Dawn’….”

Below is the actual excerpt from the UK Government website. It explains how the Police deal with traffic crimes:

How the police deal with traffic crimes

The police have the right to stop a vehicle for any reason. Find out what your rights are if you are stopped by the police for a road traffic offence and what will happen next.

The photograph chosen by the government website makes it quite clear. A 1970’s Beetle with some fashionable cosmetic rust patches is depicted. The driver of this studiously hip VW is reminded that the police have the right to stop this vehicle for any reason.

Professor Brian Loadsworth has calculated that the Hipster will be consigned to history within 246 consecutive working days, or roughly a fortnight if both Strathclyde and Surrey Police chip in some overtime.

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