BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF BRITISH NAVAL AVIATION

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“One Hundred Years of British Naval Aviation”
Nighthawk Publishing, Available November 2008,
eBook, £9.99, ISBN 1-84280-118-X

The British Government has selected 2009 as the Official Centenary of the Fleet Air Arm. This is an arbitrary date that can be justified on the basis that the Naval Estimates for 1909 included funds for the construction of the ill-fated HM Airship No 1 “Mayfly”.

The real story of British naval aviation starts with papers written by the colourful Admiral Cochrane while still a Napoleonic War frigate captain. Later, RN observers during the American Civil War experienced balloon flight. By the close of the Nineteenth Century naval gunnery officers were regularly using Army balloons as observation platforms, spotting for naval guns landed in South Africa.

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Propaganda and Reality

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As a new Great Depression threatens, Governments should be concentrating on mitigating the effects and being honest with their citizens.

Fat Chance!!!!

Governments around the world have been trying very hard to pin blame on bankers, while claiming that now is not the time to be placing blame. The tactic is very simple, a favourite of propagandists, although it requires some verbal skill. The trick is to implant the idea that bankers are the only people to blame while the overt message is that it is a time for actions and not recriminations. The very real danger is that the ‘actions’ are being taken not to solve an identified problem, but to give greater credence to the propaganda.

The basic difficulty is that no one really knows exactly what is going to happen during the coming months. The only recent example to draw from is the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that caused so much hardship in the early 1930s and contributed to the 1939-1945 War. That is only a partial example because so much is very different today. Instant global communication allows information, true and false to circulate in minutes. Most of the world population is exposed to many very different views from ‘experts’ at the same time. Panic and false hope are equally easy to instill.

The basis of the current problems goes back to the Clinton Presidency when it was realized that relaxing controls on banking would create a bubble to help win elections. Those lessons were taken onboard by Blair and Brown in Britain and later adopted by President Bush when he followed the Clintons into power. Politicians rapidly became addicted to economic growth and the electoral advantages. As a result, they failed to respond to a series of warnings during the last eight years.

When times are good, money flows into land and property in many economies, causing a bubble to develop. That has happened most dramatically in the US and the UK, although other countries have also been affected. Eventually, that market corrects itself. If it is allowed to develop and self-correct, as in the US and the UK, the correction is the bursting of the bubble. It is inevitably a very painful process that could have been avoided by light intervention early on. Then one or more minor corrections would have taken the heat out of the situation and the experience might have been uncomfortable for some, but not very painful.

Bankers have simply taken advantage of ineffective government controls, particularly in the UK, as the Blair Brown Regime introduced new and seriously defective industry regulation.

When domestic property prices are rising rapidly, and apparently for ever, home owners feel very much richer than they are and borrow heavily against the value of their home. Unfortunately, a home really has no value unless the home owner is intending to sell a current home and buy a smaller cheaper property. In that case, the value of the home is the money left over from the sale of the old home, after the cost of the new home, and the costs of relocating, have been deducted. When times are good, many homeowners fail to recognize the dangers of borrowing against the asset value of the home. When times are hard it is too late. Higher value properties often lose value faster than lower value properties, the housing market collapses and the only way to satisfy the lender is to hand over the home against the personal debt. The home owner still needs somewhere to live and very real hardship can be suffered. The situation is made even worse because the lender is really not that interested in obtaining best price for repossessed properties and is only interested in removing a bad debt from the books. That often means that the home owner loses his or her home, has to rent alternative property at much more than it is worth, and still owes the lender money.

In Britain the situation was made far worse because Gordon Brown has spent more than ten years loudly claiming that his brilliance has abolished Boom and Bust for Ever and that under his inspired economic leadership only continuing growth is possible. Unfortuantely he is now claiming that his experience is the only skill able to save the world from disaster while admitting that the Brown experience is one of a series of mistakes.

Property and stock bubbles periodically grow and burst. The South Sea Bubble was a stock bubble that impoverished many Britons in the Eighteenth Century. Earlier in the Seventeenth Century there was the Tulip Bubble when many Dutch citizens were impoverished from a manic investment in tulips. The Union of Parliaments in the early Eighteenth Century when Scotland and England were administratively joined was prompted by Scots who had been impoverished by rash investment in Central America, the Belize Bubble. Less well recorded bubbles have occurred through history.

So, as bubbles are not new, governments should recognize when one is developing and have a duty to at least warn their citizens of the growing danger. In Britain, the Blair Brown Regime has been characterized by its desire not to hear bad news and an even greater reluctance to pass on bad news to the electors until it is too late and the dangers are already public knowledge.

In Britain and the US, the blame should be shared by politicians, banks and borrowers. The current world financial crisis could not have happened without the participation of all three groups. The greatest mitigation goes to borrowers because many were directly mislead by bankers and politicians. Some mitigation goes to bankers because their primary objective is to make money and grow business. It has to be expected that they will seek to exploit every loophole in search of profit. As they deal primarily in numbers, it is perhaps unreasonable to expect a high ethical standard or any appreciation of the potential harm to others of their greed and incompetence. The group that has no mitigation is the politicians in government. They have all of the supportive expert mechanisms of Central Banks, Treasuries, Trade Ministries and other sources of economic skills. A failure of governance can mean that incompetence has resulted in economic warnings being ignored. Unfortunately and inexcusably, the British situation is that the Blair Brown Regime failed to accept the dangers for vested political interest.

The only bright light today is the knowledge that eventually the crisis will be spent and better times will come. The bad news is that a great many people will suffer personal pain in the meantime.

It is increasingly clear that countries, that have laughed of the Anglo-American crisis as an Anglo-Saxon problem, have been equally dishonest or incompetent. They have exploited the growth in the US and UK economies over the last 15 years to the advantage of their own citizens. As those economies collapse, the people who traded with them will also suffer and one of the major victims could be China which has enjoyed explosive growth from massive trade with the US and UK. The very low cost of Chinese products has also been a factor in concealing the true US and UK economic environments during the last five years.

BSD Newsdesk

Grimmond’s Law

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You owe your bank £100 – You have a problem

You owe your bank £1,000,000 – Your bank has a problem

Your bank owes £1,000,000,000 – Your Government has a problem

Your Government bails the banks to £1000,000,000,000 – You have a problem

 

BSD Newsdesk

G4S to support the UK Border Agency’s Mobile Detention Facility Pilot

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G4S employees with the mobile detention vehicle facility

G4S Care & Justices Services is today pleased to announce that its Detention & Escorting business is supporting the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) mobile detention facility pilot.

The pilot commenced on Monday 29th September 2008 and will run for a period of five weeks.

G4S has adapted one of its existing fleet vehicles, currently used for the UKBA’s national escorting contract and will also provide the detainee custody officers who will support the mobile detention facility’s day to day operations.

The aim of the pilot is to test the vehicle in different operational scenarios to see if it complements the existing fleet of vehicles used by the UKBA.

It will visit key transit hubs – service stations where the highest number of illegal migrants have been found by the UKBA to date – across the Midlands.

It will also support larger enforcement operations, where intelligence suggests the number of possible illegal migrants is expected to be large enough to require additional detention capability.

Stephen Wilson, Director of G4S Detention & Escorting said: “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to support this project, and as the main contracted supplier to the UKBA’s escorting and detention requirements, I am confident that G4S’s skills and expertise in this field will greatly assist in the success of this pilot.”

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EMH Newsletter No. 24

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The EMH Newsletter No. 24 is available and may be downloaded from the following address:

http://www.e-m-h.eu/newsletter/EMH24.pdf

As the world financial crisis deepens, all organizations come under pressure and the natural reaction is to cut costs rapidly and drastically. Usually, the first to suffer are heritage organizations which is very unfortunate because it can lead to loss of heritage that can never be regained.

This issue of the EMH Newsletter begins with an account of a working group meeting in Vigo and the efforts being made to expand active participation South of the River Rhine. There are some excellent articles from around Europe.

This organization has been achieving worthwhile contributions to maritime heritage through Europe and has steadily expanded, increasing its voice on behalf of those determined to preserve maritime heritage.

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Crazy Gordon in Prospect

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A new Crazy Gordon is in Prospect following the shock tactic of Germany in joining those countries offering a full guarantee for savers of all savings without limit.

“Bottler” Brown has strongly resisted making such a guarantee for British savers who have savings in British banks. So far he has reluctantly raised the guarantee from £25,000 to £50,000. This modest increase exposes British taxpayers to billions of pounds in extra liability.

Ireland led the rush to restore confidence amongst savers by issuing a full guarantee of all savings in Irish Banks. This started a stampede of European savers to move their money to Irish banks. Greece also issued a similar guarantee.

So what happens if Bottler Brown executes yet another Crazy Gordon? We can already hear his propeller cavitating as he dithers over further action.

Guarantees of savers’ money is to an extent an academic concept. A British Government is unlikely to ever let a British bank crash with the loss of money in savings accounts. What is more likely is that bank stock holders will suffer from a crash with special arrangements being made to protect savers. We have already seen this in action recently. After much dithering, Bottler Brown allowed his Chancellor to nationalize the liabilities of Northern Rock after allowing profits to be privatized. HBOS was encouraged into a shotgun wedding with Lloyds TSB. Even more recently, the liabilities of Bradford and Bingley were nationalized while the profitable elements were sold off at a bargin basement price to a Spanish bank.

Then there is the prospect of self-protection. A British saver always has the option of opening a number of accounts with completely unconnected banks and paying money up to the current limit of £50,000 into each account. That would provide protection on savings for more than 90% of all citizens.

The main risk to the individual is where they are in the process of moving home and have just received a cheque for several hundred thousand pounds on the sale of their existing home. For a time, the whole sum will be potentially at risk until it is either paid over to buy the new home or is dispersed across several banks in lots of £50,000. Bottler Brown can already claim to have taken action to reduce this risk for Britons by making it extremely difficult to sell a house in Britain, dramatically reducing the number of citizens temporarily holding large sums of money.

Newsdesk

Rosa Kleb Twists the Knife

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Rosa Kleb look-alike Angela Merkel (far left above)

In the finest traditions of the European Union, the leaders of Germany, France and Britain met to agree a common policy in response to the Great Depression, and then went off to take different actions.

Merkel rushed off and issued a total guarantee for all German savers, having decried the action of Ireland and Greece in doing exactly that for their own citizens.

Once again, Bottler Brown will be forced to make a U-turn or suffer from the German actions.

The really strange thing is that economists have been studying the Great Depression of the 1930s for years and yet this new Depression is being approached in much the same way with countries rushing to look to their own perceived interests and beggar their neighbours.

BSD Newsdesk

“Bottler’s” Band of Forlorn Hope

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“Bottler” Brown, Scottish Prime Minister unelected, has woken to find Britain poised on the brink of a precipice due to his failed governance as Chancellor and then Prime Minister. He has decided to take a decisive step forward and reshuffled his Cabinet, bringing in a Band of Forlorn Hope.

During the Napoleonic Wars and earlier, the British Army employed suicide squads to force a way through enemy strong points. Thieves, deserters and other malefactors were given the opportunity to avoid punishment by joining the Band of Forlorn Hope. If they survived they were able to start afresh. Bottler has adopted a similar system by bringing back a collection of failed ex-ministers from the earlier years of the Blair Brown Regime. Some of this motley crew has been forced from office on more than one previous occasion.

For those who are mystified by this latest twist in the Blair Brown story, it might make more sense if it is viewed as a desperate attempt to spin their way to the next election rather than any serious attempt to address the rising economic disaster.

 

BSB Newsdesk

British SAR helicopter procurement

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The British Government is outsourcing supply of helicopters for Coast Guard, RAF and FAA SAR cover for the British Isles. This will be under a PFI scheme where the helicopters and support will be supplied on a lease contract, with a standard machine supplied for all three operators. This is a major change in SAR planning because the RAF and FAA SAR service has always been provided using standard military helicopters and primarily being provided for military SAR with civil SAR provided when machines are available. The Coast Guard SAR service has used commercial machines. At present it is unknown if the RAF and FAA will also acquire military machines to be used exclusively for downed pilot SAR and extraction services.

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