Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Britain Blues

This country is pretty shit. Come on, let's admit it. The only reason we're all still here is because we were born here, our friends are here and our shitty education system failed in teaching us different languages. Our British stoicism and sense of humour in the face of constant assaults of bad service, bad behaviour and bad weather are all that keep us from complete social breakdown.

To add insult to injury we get the unpleasant results of quality of life polls that give our neighbours even more of a reason to laugh at us. Yesterday's was from the Economist which placed Ireland as the best country in the world to live in. I've never been there so can't really comment, but Britain was placed as 29th. Does it really deserve the prefix of 'Great' these days?

All but one in the top ten were European countries, though not all from the EU, but this got me thinking. We clearly are unable to run our health service in an efficient, useful or even clean manner. Our schools are now just long exam revision classes. Our police spend all their time doing paperwork whilst gun-toting youths rampage through inner city estates (©Daily Mail). Our transport infrastructure is the worst I've seen in Western Europe. And no one trusts any of our politicians or anyone senior in charge of anything to do with public sector services.

So, with all this hubbub about the EU Constitution taking away autonomy over such things (and yes, I know it doesn't really do that, but maybe could lead to more control from Brussels, yadda yadda yadda) why don't we just let the EU have a go at running our public services? Can they really fuck it up any worse than we have?

Hold the front page

This just in, we've obtained exclusive photos from Jane Buttersworth of Huddersfield that do not show the missing Madeleine McCann. This follows hot on the heels of earlier photos from Clive Jones of Bournemouth who, whilst holidaying in Tenerife, also took a photo without her in it. Reports that a pensioner took a photo that did not show the Loch Ness Monster cannot be substantiated at this time.

Seriously newspapers, get a new(s) story already.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Rock and Roll

Well it looks like all the Northern Rock depositors are having their savings underwritten by the government, which is nice, although I wasn't terribly worried about my £170 in an old ISA. Not so much joy for the shareholders though as the stock has plummeted quite impressively over the last few days. But that's what you get for investing in a risky company. Or is it?

I'm going to put my neck out here and say that very soon would be a good time to invest in Northern Rock again. There's nothing like picking up a bargain. Just ask Warren Buffet.

Now I know there are a few differences in the business models but there is also quite striking similarities between the Wells Fargo near-collapse and today's Northern Rock panic. The problem is fundamentally a lack of availability of short-term credit to Northern Rock, which it would normally obtain from other banks but which are now too nervous to lend. Yes, this is indirectly linked to the sub-prime problems in the US, but Northern Rock's lending has not been reckless. Mortgage arrears on their £100bn book are less than half the industry average, and over a third funded by deposits (of which only 8% has been withdrawn by scared Northern pensioners - see, I watch the news sometimes....).

Northern Rock will either be bought out, or wound down. It's asset book is worth about 180p per share according to some sources and this is the worst case scenario. If it's bought the price would likely go up again. So, if I had some money lying around to invest, I reckon I'd be waiting for the share price to hit this figure (probably some time tomorrow) and start buying.

Only time will tell if I'm right. Maybe I just like to invest in the same way I play poker - for the thrill rather than the gain?

Of course all bets are off if B&B, A&L and HBOS continue to plummet. These all share the same wholesale funding model which could see savers running to the traditional big banks and no one trusting anyone any more. Still, good news for us with debts though isn't it?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Mighty Boosh

Look, I just don't find it funny ok. Get over it.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


When did Saturday morning TV go from over-enthusiastic kids' shows to over-enthusiastic cookery shows?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Geek post

It's my blog and I can post what I want, so ha. This made me laugh extremely hard whilst at work today.

It's not easy to pretend not to laugh and pretend not to work at the same time.

Happy Birthday to me!

This blog is now 2 years old. Who'd have thought my attention span could last that long?
Here's a great old post filled with the joys of Kingsbury Rock Circus.


O2 2 go

Do you want to get out of your O2 contract? Now's the time.

Although based on a recent straw poll following an unfortunate mobile phone-wetting incident I don't think anyone in the world uses O2.

Facebook privacy

If you haven't played with your Facebook privacy settings to make sure non-friends can't see what you're getting up to, I would say now is a good time to do it.

I got this alert up when I logged in today, telling me that oh joy, soon someone will be able to find me from Google, Yahoo, etc. It's not something I'm keen on so thankfully you can opt out of this as well, which I've already done.

Last thing I want is for a prospective employer to see what I get up to in Cambridge of a night out.