Europe 2013 – The Fifth Reich?

The idea of the Third Reich was something that we became expressly familiar with through the second quarter of the last century. The German Empire was established by a power hungry megalomaniac hell bent of World Domination and German Totalitarianism. A single nation, under the leadership of one party, for the good of one race of people, come hell or high water. The effect of this madness? A war that wiped out millions of people, flattened whole cities throughout Europe and damaged the economies and geopolitical landscape of the Euro Zone for decades to come.

Fast forward sixty years, and the current German Chancellor seems to have pulled off what the Nazi Dictator Adolf Hitler yearned to do without the shot of a single bullet, without the concentration camps, massive armies and widespread destruction of infrastructure, assets and the establishment. How? Simple, forget about using the dominance of force, and allow the folly of man’s greed play the power into your hands.

Europe 2013 is meant to be a United Zone of nations, brought together in a common interest, to give equality, diversity and collective prosperity to every member country right? Governed by a parliament, protected by a system of complex legal legislative directives, and operated for the preferential treatment of members through a variety of agreements and allowances that enable growth and development through trade, financial stability and equality.

In its simplest terms, the Euro Zone is an agreement which sort to unify Europe. In a world unbalanced by national policies designed to protect and ensure the stability of the national economy of a country, areas of global inequality in terms of workers rights and how the protection of these rights has lead to areas like the Euro Zone finding themselves incapable of competing against developing markets where labour is cheap and operating costs are low, the idea of a unified, equal and protected Europe was appealing to all.

Industrialised nations were only too happy to climb into bed with their lesser developed neighbours as they saw opportunities to secure markets for their skills, manufacturing industries and productivity. As prosperity grew, the union, flush with the proceeds of member nations keen on building equality to stimulate trade, grow internal markets and develop the region, was only too happy to distribute huge financial incentives in the forms of this grant or that loan to facilitate infrastructure projects which in turn lead to the stimulation of job creation, and promoted an internal demand for manufactured goods, skills and supply lines throughout the Euro Zone.

All well and good while the system is working. Everyone seems to be equals, there is a collective system of bringing concerns to the table, discussing them, and working together to resolve any issues. Legislation is worked out, debated and determined to the benefit of all the member states, bringing into effect a national style of identity across the board in all EU Member Nations. Employees suddenly have equal rights from Romania through to France. Members from any member nations enjoy freedom of travel/movement. Protections are in place to protect savings, business, trade, infrastructure, natural resources, the environment and the collective economies of every member of the union.

Courtesy - Derek Bacon - Getty Images

Courtesy – Derek Bacon – Getty Images

That is, until something goes wrong. Cue the global financial meltdown of the last five years. In these unprecedented financial times, it is clear to see the cracks in the system. Equality? What equality. For the first time in half a century, German dominance has once more taken centre stage as Angela Merkel shows time and time again over the last few years the reality of what equality means for Greek and now Cyprian citizens.

What truly beggars belief is the complete madness of fiscal policies that the Euro Zone seem willing to implement in nations on the edge of the system, places where it would seem to be of little consequence whether the idea is of sound and logical design, but drawn out more from a need to appease voters at home, than the equality or future reality for real, honest citizens of this United Europe. In a market desperate for stability, direction and a clear sense of responsibility, all we see are leaders rushing to dodge the bullet, pass the buck, and make sure at whatever cost that they are protecting their own national interests. Bugger the United Europe in this instance.

The worrying trend for me is the way in which at every turn along this torturous road it has been the German politicians that have really been calling the shots. Since the demise of the world money markets, we have seen any number of wealthy European Economies fall into fiscal woe. Ireland, Italy, Spain, Portugal to mention but a few. Yet in these cases billion dollar bail outs were handed out freely, without bringing a nation to its knees. Now however, when it comes to less important member states, economies perhaps not viewed as critical to the Euro stability, that we see the reality of what equality means to the German powerhouse. The sad thing is that when it comes down to it, no one within the Euro Zone has the financial muscle to stand up to Angela Merkel, and for this reason, she is able to bull headedly put the very future of Europe at risk to maintain credibility back home.

There is an argument that says Cyprus has become a safe haven for Russian Billionaires who use it as an off shore centre of storing large deposits of dirty money, and for this reason, why should German tax payers foot the bill to bail out the Cyprian government in their hour of need. I would love to see this argument used in Switzerland should heaven forbid, it ever need a financial bailout. Regardless of who has banked their money in a nations financial banking system, how does this translate to fairness when a fiscal demand attached to a bailout offer sees consideration given to taxation of ordinary savers who have placed their hard earned money into accounts throughout a nations banking system.

Stop for a single moment and consider what savings are. I have listened to numerous financial experts who freely wag their chins on Radio and National Television suggesting that savers should be exposed to the same type of risk as anyone investing their money in any type of investment based on the expectation of a payment of interest on their savings. For the vast majority of people, savings are exactly what they would suggest. Deposits made into what is perceived to be a safe and secure domain to prepare for a capital purchase at some time in the future. Why do we use bank? If it were safer to keep my money stored under my bed do you not think I would do this? The only reason we place our hard earned capital into a bank account is based on the idea that for the 95% of the population that are not wealthy, the bank is the only safe institution where we can store our money while we go through the motion of saving up for that deposit on a house, a new car, a family, education, business idea.

If we perceived a savings account as a financial risk, would we use it as a way of keeping our money safe? If we were told openly and honestly that in real terms, this is NOT a savings account, but a vehicle of investment, a loan in effect to the bank, and there was no guarantee that we would get out of it as much as we put in at the start, would honest, hard working, average people be at all interested in depositing any sum of money into a savings account?

Quite honestly, if this was the truth they were forced to print in the literature of a savings accounts terms and conditions, I could see the sales of home safes going through the roof in the next five years. If you are looking for a fairly good stock market investment right now, Chubb would be a pretty good bet!

All jokes aside, it is astounding to me, or any lay person, that anyone with access to the top financial economists money can buy, would even consider the proposal we currently see on the table in Cyprus. A tax on savings is ludicrous. Do you WANT to start a run on the banks? Are you seriously looking to destabilise the rest of Europe? I mean come on, can you honestly tell me that no one considered that a possible result of such a proposal would be that savers in every European Country in financial difficulties right now, would not look at the proposal in Cyprus, put two and two together, and realise that, just maybe, their own savings could now be at risk?

I am no economist. I do not work for any government, nor do I confer or speak daily to financial experts, and even I can figure out that this is a potential risk. Why? Simple. I am a saver, with funds in a large British Banking institution who is wondering if my savings could ever be pounced on if the UK gets into choppy waters. We’ve already been downgraded by one financial institution, indicating that they are expecting us to have difficulties in repaying our debt. What can I draw from this? At some point in the future, it is likely if not certain that the UK will default on its payments. When this might happen, who knows. It is even possible it will never happen, however, for someone out there, it is a very real possibility, and for that reason, it is a very real concern to me.

So what do I do? Rush down to the bank and draw out my savings? How many other people throughout Europe are asking themselves the exact same question right now? How do we now AVOID a run on the banks?

For many people, this is quite simply a fore runner of a tax on wealth. This means that for 5% of the worlds population, they are really itchy about having to pay more on their vast sums of money, so they would prefer to see 95% of the worlds population suffer to foot the bill so they can continue to live in the lap of luxury.

Fair? Where is the equality in that? No, I am sorry this is not balanced Europe. This is not a place where it does not matter what you bring to the table. When it comes down to the crunch, it is the people with the power, in this instance our good friends the Germans’ that are calling the shots. If it is not in their interest to offer a bail out plan, then to hell with it, they will bring the EU to its knees before they see any more of their taxes paid out to help their neighbours in the Euro Zone. So that concept of equality, openness  fairness? Yes well, it works when it is in our interest to see it work, but when risk is put before us, and you expect us to come to the rescue, expect your lives to become a living hell while we do it.

As a simple worker, a person much like the majority of the sixty plus million people living in the UK, all I can see from where I stand is a super powerful Germany becoming a dictatorial leader within this Europe on our borders. When ludicrous fiscal policies are being put forward, debated, considered and insisted on by the weight of a financially powerful nation within a Union, I would suggest that the union is not quite a union. I cannot help but wonder if there are people behind the strings, hell bent on collapsing Europe. Plunging the world into an economic melt down like no other. Let us be quite clear. When the normal man is losing everything he owns, there are powerful institution’s, and hugely wealthy people making money as a result of the collapse. Is this what is really going on in the Euro Zone?

I cannot believe that the German’s do not know what they are doing. I am not able to believe that no one in a position of power has not been able to consider the very things that I have written about above, without considering the risks associated with these actions, and for this reason alone, I cannot help but wonder what the real reason behind it is. For a long time, people have talked about a single currency, a worldwide monetary system, the phasing out of dollars and cents, and the introduction of a financial monetary system for the digital age. Is this how they are going to do it? Force the collapse of one major economy? It is only logical that the collapse of one single national economy will start a chain reaction around the globe.

We are teetering on the edge of oblivion. In our life time, money, the way we buy and sell, our value system and how we trade will change. For this to happen certain things have to take place. Look for example at how the British people have resisted the Euro. The offer 20 years ago of a single currency, an inter dependence, a great new world was a bridge too far for simple people. The idea was shunned, and so back to the drawing board they went. So if you can’t get people to buy into an idea openly, how do you introduce the idea? You create a set of circumstances that demand that people have to adopt your idea to survive. Bring the world to the brink of a financial melt down, threaten peoples savings, lose people money in bank collapses, bankrupt a country or two along the way and what happens? You will cause a panic like never before. Introduce a solution, in a single currency, a digital trading system that does away with paper money and plastic credit cards, and means that you store your financial certainty in your body in the form of a chip or some such device, safe, secure and never again at threat from being lost in some scary international collapse, and every single person will buy into your idea without batting an eye lid.

How certain are you now that Germany are not behind some weird kind of world domination conspiracy? Didn’t the Third Reich want to own the world?

I am not one for a conspiracy theory if I am honest. There are too many ifs, buts, ands, etc. Questions without answers, and assumptions without evidence. I don’t like assumption. However what I am saying is that there is something more than meets the eye going on here, and if it looks like a dog, sounds like a dog and feels like a dog, then sorry it is a dog!

I don’t know exactly what is going on, but one thing I am certain about. We will see a very different world soon. It is going to happen in our life time, and not for the first time in my life, I am certain that these are the end of days as we know them. Something very different is coming and it is coming soon.


Why 2010 is not a New Year I Celebrated.

Well I’ve been dragged kicking and screaming into the new decade, the second tenth or first fifth of the second millennium, or is it really the third millennium? I mean if you think about it in practical sense, 0 to 999 was millennium one, 1000 to 1999 was millennium two and so surely 2000 onwards is millennium three? Argh its far too early in the year, day and time cycle to be asking such difficult questions. What alarmed me more than anything in that little rant was the amount of times I misspelt millennium trying to figure out what its correct spelling should be.

So what is the attraction of 2010, Or more over what is the hesitation that I feel entering into a whole new decade of the 21st century? To be totally honest I am really not sure. I think it is merely a culmination of things that leave uncertainty in the back of my mind that leave me wondering if 2010 is going to be the year that we are all hoping it should be.

The state of the economy is probably the most pressing issue that we all face as a nation. I think that there are those among us that couldn’t really give a damn about whether the system bucks all the trends and the recovery collapses under our feet. They are well off enough and secure enough to weather any kind of financial crisis, but I know by the number of people that I speak to that believe that this is an international plot to usher in a single monetary system worldwide. Rather alarmingly last year during many of the G8, G20, G111 and G whatever else they could think of we heard the likes of the Brazilian Prime Minister calling for a single currency. Yes it would be something that in the long term has to happen, but for me, that moment in time is the real mark of the end of time as we know it.

I am left puzzled, sitting in the worst winter weather in 30 years for the UK, wondering how on earth we can be talking about global warming. True there is talk that globally the extremes of weather are impacted by the degree of impact that man is having on our planet, and I’d tend to agree with that to a certain degree, but I have a sneaky suspicion that mother nature knows a whole lot more about the earth’s climatic temperament that any scientist or world leader professes to know. I also tend to think that there are scaremongers among our esteemed elected politicians that would seize on any opportunity to worry the world into submission. No I am no scientist, but I for one am not bought off by the sudden rush to say that the world is suffering irreparable damage as a result of our carbon foot print on this world. It cannot be one person, one country, one continent that will make any difference whatsoever to the state of the carbon footprint if all the others carry on spilling out toxic fumes.

But I would pause for a moment to point out that once upon a time our planet was apparently a fiery ball of poisonous gasses, some far more toxic and destructive than any we see produced by man today. Over a period of millennia, yes admittedly a very long time, this came to change, the climate settled down and the world repaired itself into the wonderful oyster that we know and treasure today. So I would challenge anyone that suggests that nature is incapable of dealing with what is thrown at it, and our world is on a one way collision course with destruction. Nay, I think we need to be a lot more honest and look not at what man produces through manufacturing, but more over what man produces through reproduction.

I am more inclined to believe that we are heading for a famine of global significance, not because nature is going to strike us out with a curved ball, but because the population of mankind is spiralling out of control. Our world is a finite resource, and we can only plant and plough so much of the land. Of that crop only so much will eventually be used for food product, and only so much of that remains fresh and good to eat for so long. With man’s concentration on producing fuel crops today, I have to wonder how on earth the third world and countries that rely on purchasing surplus food stock that will no longer be available as we press more and more fuel from seed, are to survive. It is my honest belief the it is in mankind itself and the rate at which we multiply that our doomsday and head-on collision with nature exists.

Personally I look at the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan as a far more serious and unstable situation than anyone leads us to believe. For so many years we have watched the middle east, and the Israeli and Palestinian situation with so much concern that it would lead to a melting pot of Armageddon, that we have failed to notice and pay attention to other areas of key and critical concern that have come unstuck right under our noses. There is so much conflict and unease within the region as India, Pakistan and Afghanistan frequently rattle their sabres. The problem for us is that two of these nations have nuclear weapons, and I wouldn’t hesitate to believe that either would happily press the button if the situation deteriorated any further. Now with Al Qaeda in the mix, one has to wonder how long it will be before someone totally looses the plot and starts something I don’t think the world will stand back from. I mean we are already committing huge resources to the region to try keep a feeble and untenable peace. At last the world has woken up to the risk that was growing on our doorstep right up till we suddenly realised how dangerous this region has become.

2010 is the year of Africa’s entry into the halls of history as it hosts the very first African World Cup in football. Such a prestigious event has never before been contemplated in such a war torn and unstable continent, but it seems at last, one of the continents favourite competitions is coming to a city near you. Is it any wonder then that the organisers and the officials responsible for the event are sitting on their fingers with worry about the impact of a world of sporting fans descending on a country often regarded as the most violent place on the planet? The attack on the Togo team in Angola just reiterated the dangers of the African continent, and cut deep into the nervous system of the FIFA governing body as the kick off date looms near. True enough, terrorism knocks on ever door regardless of where or when an event is being held. I remember there was a time when the Sydney Olympic Games were considered to be under a real and credible threat from some act of terrorism. I do however worry not about the danger imposed from a terrorist atrocity, as I believe that the African nations have some of the finest intelligence operations in the world, nor do I worry about the fans being given the short end of the straw and falling prey to villains on the street. I worry about the millions of people that are going to be forcibly removed from areas of public interest and herded into places of vulnerability and hostility. We are all familiar with Xenocide and the crimes against humanity of the South African people. That I feel is far more worrying and dastardly than any effects felt by fans or the public enjoying the hype of the world cup.

With a general election looming on the horizon in the UK, I am left as so very many of the British public at a complete loss of who really to vote for. No one party has come out fighting, no one leader has risen to the challenge and come out with rhetoric that is exciting and motivating. I really fail to understand British politics. It is like a lame man’s game. The quieter and more boring you are the more certain you are of getting into a position of power. I have lived in countries where men fight and die for a chance to campaign in a general election. I’ve visited countries where during a national election the whole country becomes infected by politics. I’ve watched a nation get caught up in the excitement and passion of a leader who was inspiring, clean cut, clever and steadfast in his desire to become leader. And then I come to my chosen nation of residence and wonder what the hell to do when I am called to make a vote come polling day. I wonder sometimes if I shouldn’t run as a complete outsider and shake up the status quo of Westminster. Someone needs to do it. David Cameron’s latest posters came out with the slogan on it, “We can’t carry on like this!” Too bloody right. Someone stick a fire cracker up his backside and hopefully we’ll actually get a leader with some fire in his belly.

Yes, I guess while other people have looked on 2010 as a year of new hope and opportunity, I have had a somewhat clouded entry into the year thus far. It is with some feeling of trepidation and caution that I carry on into the year, and I’ll most certainly be going with my eyes open and my ears close to the ground, as I have a feeling in my bones, that 2010 is not what we are all hoping it will be. May I well be wrong, and it would give me no more pleasure to sit down in December in hindsight and look back and say, “What on earth was I on about,” but at the same time, better prepared than blissfully ignorant in my opinion. Happy New year to you all and I hope that many blessings follow us all.

Stock Market Revival. Zimbabwe’s Hope.

A Symbol of Zimbabwe

A Symbol of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe proved to the world many years ago that the bottom of the barrel was a lot further down than anyone had every expected. The age old saying “It can’t get any worse”, was put to shame daily as Zimbabwe’s economy spiralled into free fall and inflation reached a staggering painful plateau in September last year. However since the formation of the GNU, the world have watched as Zimbabwe struggles to bring itself back from the brink, and slowly but surely we begin to see the signs of recovery and rebirth of a lot of the fundamental structures of a thriving and successful economy. Admittedly Zimbabwe is nowhere near what you could consider as a thriving economy, but there are little signs that escape from the beleaguered African country that give you hope that maybe, just maybe with a little help from abroad, we can kick start the economy back into the black zone. In a sign of economic recovery in Zimbabwe, share trade has surged to 1,3-million a day from 50 000 a day in March, signalling a return of foreign investors to a country still reeling from economic meltdown and political strife. Small progress, but progress none the less.

Brokerage Renaissance Capital says the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange is sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest by trading value. I was astounded to learn this. The country is on its knees and in the worst kind of economic crisis of a country not at war. Zimbabwe has set its own world records in inflationary percentage, free fall economy and length of time it took to destroy a vibrant and flourishing state, without firing a single shot. However it is still the third biggest trader on the Sub-Saharan stock exchange. Well put that in your pipe and smoke it Bill Gates. I think that is remarkable fact and while admittedly I shudder to think at the back of my mind if Zimbabwe in its abysmal state is the third largest trader, what condition must the rest of the countries in the region be like, and they don’t even live under a tyrant like Mugabe.

In his brilliance, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono ordered the house shut down in November, accusing some traders of fraud as President Robert Mugabe blamed pressure from western countries for pushing the economy towards collapse. Anyone living in the West is now well accustomed to being blamed for all ills in Zimbabwe. Be it a cholera outbreak, to the mismanagement of the land redistribution, Mugabe has always found his first port of call to hide behind colonialism and blame the white man and the west for Zimbabwe’s problems. It is somewhat of an irony when we discover that it is a White man, Billy Rotenbach and his good old best mate John Bredenkamp who manage and bank roll Mugabe. I am sure he’d be quick to deny this, but a rather interesting Channel 4 documentary followed the course of the men that “Bank Roll Mugabe.” I often wonder if Mugabe suffers from Dementia and can’t remember the difference. But anyway, back to the Zimbabwean economy. Inflation soared to nearly 500-billion percent in September, and Zimbabwe’s dollar plummeted to 12,6-trillion per US dollar.

The stock exchange resumed trade in US dollars on February 19, a week after a coalition government was sworn in under a power-sharing pact between Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Delta Corp, Zimbabwe’s largest beer and beverage maker, climbed 150% to 50c this year. Yes it’s a fact, the Zimbabweans love their beer almost as much as the British. Maybe that can’t afford it as freely and those living in the UK, but it is hearty to see that a Zimbabwean based business can still prosper. Econet Wireless Holdings, the biggest mobile phone operator, jumped 200% to 2,99. The two have been among the most heavily traded stocks. The market value of shares listed on the exchange reached Z$4,03bn yesterday, from February’s estimated Z$1bn, Renaissance Capital said. Its most bullish forecast, in April, was for Z$3,5bn by the end of the year. I bet as Gordon Brown reviews those figures of growth he turns green with envy wishing he could take that projection of growth to the commons to show his buddies. But I take heart in reading these figures as even I had written Zimbabwe off as being unable to come back from so far down the line. Ok lets be totally frank, yes I work hard to see Zimbabwe rebuilt, and volunteer my time to support charities working in the Zimbabwean theatre, but yes, I am not afraid to admit that privately even I had assumed that Zimbabwe was too far gone.

The International Monetary Fund said on July 2 there was evidence of a “nascent economic recovery”. And so I stand corrected, and thankfully so. It is a warm comfort to know that in small measures things are changing in Zimbabwe. While there are things that cause frustration and make us maybe loose hope, there are also indications that there is a revival taking place in the African country. China has agreed to lend Zimbabwe $950m, although what concessions they have been given in return for that injection of funding does concern me a little, but then again, maybe it is prudent to be dealing in such friendly terms with the new emerging world power. Who knows maybe in 2020 when the leadership of power has swung fully from the West to the East we will be well placed to develop and grow strongly. Let’s hope Mugabe is not still clinging on to power then, as he’ll be buggered when he can’t blame the West any more to his own evils. Could you imagine him trying to blame corruption, greed and the next cholera outbreak on Beijing!

I found an article published by the Patriot Alliance for the Refoundation of the Congo online a few days ago, and although it is in French I was prodded into slowly working my way through it, making use thankfully of an online French to English translation tool when I came across some really difficult text. The document is titled An Autopsy of the Congo Tragedy. As a bi partisan review of the melt down in the Congo in 1998, it is a document that does not hesitate to land its punches, and very clearly points its finger at those responsible for the second deadliest war in the history of mankind. 5.4 million people were killed as a result of the war and millions more were displaced from their homes. Congo to this day still bears the scars of that war as sections of it still fall under the governance of warlords that waded into the conflict seeing Congo’s massive mining rights as a method of payment for their support for the governments war on the rebels. Interestingly enough, I was not surprised while reading the document to see three names crop up. Mentioned as being in the Congo for no reason other than to lay claim to huge assets in diamond mining was none other than Robert Mugabe, Billy Rotenbach and John Bredenkamp. I was stunned to learn that since the end of the war in 1999 they have remained in the Congo, committing Zimbabwean troops to guarding their mining operations as they have dug huge quantities of diamonds out of the ground for sale on the international market. I had believed that the world would not deal in blood diamonds. Surely these are such? It beggars belief really. Imagine for a moment that those diamond mines were legitimised and given to the Zimbabwean government as a source of funding. Imagine they were traded on the stock market. Surely those mines alone would go a huge way in providing for and funding the Zimbabwean government in its job of running Zimbabwe. Just a thought, but if one’s greed was not so openly obvious then it would seem that Zimbabwe could be one of the most powerful and successful countries in Africa.