A Driving Instructor's Blog

Brexit

Original article – 3 October 2016.


So there we go. After selective reporting by the media, only saying anything when the GBP goes up against the US Dollar (USD), today it has hit a new 31-year low.

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As I write this, it stands at $1.286 – and it’s still trending down. The BBC has been careful not to mention this new record, instead rattling on about the FTSE – which, incidentally, is only increasing because the GBP is falling, since many FTSE listed companies who sell in $s can report better figures in £s, thus encouraging share dealing.

This is what the mere stench of Brexit has done. Just wait until we start to taste it as well!


It fell to $1.272 at the end of 4 October – 14.2% below what it was at before the Referendum.


On 6 October it was at $1.260 – that’s over 15% below its pre-Referendum value.


On the morning of 7 October the GBP appeared to enter freefall again. Laughingly, this is being blamed on an “Asian flash crash”, as the UK media frantically seeks to blame it on someone outside the UK, and on events which are non-Brexit related. They even declared that the GBP “recovered immediately”.

Let’s get something straight. It didn’t “recover”. It momentarily dropped to about $1.14 and then rose again – but not to the original value. Throughout the day it only recovered half of what it lost in the “flash”, and then progressively lost half of that gain again. It is barely holding $1.24, and even the slight rise at the close of trading was due to the USD weakening on disappointing unemployment figures (it is absolutely not because the GBP strengthened). It was at $1.260 yesterday, $1.272 two days before that, and $1.286 on 3 October. It has therefore lost almost 5 cents – nearly 4% of its value – in consecutive stages in around four days. Whatever happened last night was – and remains – real.

Performance against the EUR is almost identical.

There is only one reason this happened. And that reason is Brexit.


Late afternoon of 10 October and the Forex rate is below $1.24. The media – particularly the BBC – is still trying to talk things up and avoid the obvious. They point out that many airports are now offering less than €1 to the GBP, adding that:

You can find better currency rates almost anywhere other than at an airport.

Well, yes. M&S is offering €1.08 – and so is Asda. John Lewis is offering €1.09. Tesco is offering €1.10. There is a transaction fee which pulls the actual rate down by a few cents in each case. For all practical purposes, the rate is €1.08, and airports ALWAYS give lower rates. They always have.

The fact is that the GBP has fallen so much that the €1 threshold is painfully apparent.


I’m dying to see them talk this one up. By the end of 11 October (the first trading day after the weekend) it had hit as low as $1.21 and finished at around $1.22. Early on 12 October it has risen to almost £1.23.

However, since its highest level post-referendum, it has dropped by the virtually the same number of cents that it lost the day after the referendum! In other words, it lost 14 cents as a direct result of the referendum, and it has fallen 13 cents since early September. It is around 26 cents lower than it was the day before the referendum (or nearly 18% down).

But I bet you they start talking about how it is 2% up on yesterday’s low.

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It’s amazing that these people were even allowed to vote, let alone vote on something as important as EU membership. A selection of comments from people with serious mental problems on the BBC Have Your Say pages:

Elizabeth Kirkby

There is absolutely no need to wait any longer before triggering Article 50, nor any excuse for doing so. The sooner the process is started, the better. I do not see any need for complicated negotiations either. I just hope the “remainers” do not use delaying tactics or throw a spanner in the works out of spite.

Davey Tusker

I don’t know what these remainers are bleating about. They lost the vote – surely they should try and help their country rather than just throwing their hands in the air and calling everyone who voted out stupid. Maybe they could leave the country and go somewhere else where people appreciate cowardice.

Kevin

Stop stalling, dithering and pussy-footing around.

Get a move-on with the Brexit.

Peter Charles

Complete & utter waste of money. The EU should sort out the numerous bankrupt nations its Euro has created & start to fund its own defence rather than relying on the USA, Canada & UK. Europe is in massive decline & wants to prop itself up with this figment that, as a continent as one it matters. The EU is finished, Europe is irrelevant and the English speaking nations will take the world forward.

Alfresco

I’m not normally a religious man but i THANK GOD that we have taken our country back and rejected the right-wing Germanic dictatorship of the EU.

We are FREE again, Free to celebrate only BRITISH culture and to once again RULE THE WORLD

This next one is special – inasmuch as the author clearly seems to have special needs:

AuntieLeft

YES!!

The sooner we get out of this EU madhouse the better

Did not see the report in the FT about the UK getting part of the 42,000 bottles of wine and 1,000 bottles of spirits on Brexit deal on the BBC

Junker must be devastated

All with OUR money and it wont be Aldi wine that is for sure

The Eurocrats really do extract the urine from us plebs

OUT – ASAP

Leave the madhouse to the insane

And this one’s not far behind:

Project Fear Phase 2 – Project Tantrum

Wasn’t it by January 3 months ago? What’s all this stalling for, the people have voted so stop playing games and trigger it already Sharia May, it’s going to take 2 years after that, tons of time to plan and negotiate, so stop giving the anti-democratic EU marxists a chance to form a coup against it and for the EU, who we are still paying vast cash to, to take a fat turd on the UK in the meantime.

Now try and work out what this prat is going on about:

Jon

Let’s hope we can drop these EU employment laws which are killing business – no more softy lefty nonsense – lets man up and get people doing a hard weeks work. The French don’t work anymore and they can’t raise the taxes as the rich have moved to London

This one doesn’t seem to be aware that zero-hours contracts are actually illegal in many European states. It’s the UK – which hasn’t banned them – which is at fault all by itself:

edinthesouth

@1414 so why does your beloved EU not ban ‘zero hour contracts’ across the 28 EU States? does not suit their neoliberal agenda to destroy working classes and replace with “immigrants”?

There are hundreds more. I just repeat again: why on earth were these people allowed to vote?

None of them is capable of understanding the complexities of removing the last third of the 20th century from UK Law and finances, and think it can be done just like that. Most of them are operating purely on the flag-waving level. Several are clearly wrong on key issues, and yet cast their votes based on that. And others are simply a few olives short of a pizza.

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Theresa May – who has quickly learned that the only purpose of her job is to look after Theresa May – has announced that she will trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017. This would mean the UK is no longer part of the EU by the middle of 2019.Killer Whale hunting fish in shoal

Actually, she hasn’t really said anything we didn’t already suspect. But even so, one piece of advice I would give her before she gets too wound up in her ego is that she remembers that the slightly-less-than 52% who voted to leave the EU were not all Tory voters in the first place, and once the inevitable downturn in the economy kicks in, even less of them will be. In effect, Brexit will cost her her job – just as it did David Cameron before her.

Cameron f–ked up the country by allowing the Referendum in the first place. May is simply f—king up the still-twitching corpse he left behind.

Theresa May still has time to see sense and stop Brexit, but I don’t think she will because she is simply playing a political game which she believes is to her own advantage. She is incapable of seeing that it is not to anyone else’s advantage beyond being seen to comply with some ridiculous definition of the word “democracy”.

I still live in hope that someone else will come up with a way of preventing Brexit happening. If it goes ahead, I can say with absolute certainty that it has effectively screwed up the rest of my life. I can also be quite sure that it has damaged or screwed up the lives of this generation’s children, and probably those of at least another two or three generations beyond that. And that assumes that the world remains as it is today, and that some insane despot doesn’t appear on the horizon.

Leaving the EU is the WRONG DECISION. Holding a referendum was the WRONG DECISION. Everyone with even the smallest amount of intelligence – including Theresa May, who was against Brexit – knows it.


At close of play on Friday, GBP stood at $1.297 – that’s 12.6% below what it was before the Referendum. It is only about 0.5% higher than its lowest post-Referendum price, and 3.5% below the highest it has been post-Referendum.

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Somewhere in my posts about the disastrous decision to leave the EU I mentioned that it wouldn’t be long before some prat started going on about bringing back Imperial units of measure. Well, although I said it over 3 months ago, here’s confirmation that I was right.Pre-decimal coinage

The leading jackass for the movement, Warwick Cairns, claims:

…imperial measurements are not only easily understandable but inherently popular.

“There is something about feet and inches that feel part of our identity and culture,” he says. “They make sense on a human scale, they make sense on a cultural scale. It is part of us.”

Complete bullshit. Imperial measurements are only “easier” for people who are not likely to need to worry about using them for many more years – because they won’t be around. The main protagonists in all this are old fossils who hate Johnny Foreigners, and who were brought up using the Imperial system. They represent the past, not the future. The woman in the picture below is the archetypal anti-metric idiot (apologies for the stereotyping, but some people make it just too easy).An anti-metric protester

I can assure you that, having been in the first generation involved when the switch to metric was made, doing maths using an antiquated multi-base system – and one where the bases were variously 4, 8, 12, 14, 16, 20, etc. – was no fun at all. Doing maths in base 10 was much easier, and it meant that instead of pissing about with over-complicated fundamentals, you could start learning serious stuff.

Why have a system where there are 12 inches to a foot, and three feet to a yard, and where the basic unit of the inch was split into halves, quarters, eighths, sixteenths, thirty-seconds, and so? You had thous, inches, feet, yards, chains, furlongs, miles, leagues, fathoms, cables, nautical miles, links, and rods.

Having a metre consisting of 100 centimetres makes much more sense. And splitting each centimetre into tenths (1 millimetre), hundredths, thousandths, and so on makes calculations using the metric units inherently easier. And it extends naturally to volume and area.

It was the same with pounds (weight). The basic pound, or lb, consisted of 16 ounces (oz). But there were 14lbs to a stone (st). Then you had the hundredweight (cwt) – which is 112lbs or 8st in the UK, but 100lb in the US (so the names “short hundredweight” and “long hundredweight” have to be employed). The US doesn’t use stones. But the different cwt weights then mean that there are both long- and short-tons, since a ton in the UK is 2240lb, but in the US it’s 2000lb. And right down the bottom end you had grains and drachms. A grain was 1/7000th of a lb, a drachm was 1/256th lb, an ounce (oz) was 1/16th lb, there were 14lbs to a st, 28lbs to a quarter, 112lbs in a cwt, and then the ton.

For liquids, you have even greater differences between the UK and US measures. A UK pint is 34.7 cubic inches, but a US pint is 28.9 cubic inches. Therefore, a US gallon is 231.2 cubic inches, whereas the UK gallon is 277.4 cubic inches. Then you had gills, quarts, and pecks. And minims, scruples, and drachms, Let’s not even go into dry measures, with bushels.

Historically, many countries have used some or all of these units, but even in the UK the actual definition has changed several times. Indeed, many American definitions are older historical ones that would have applied in the UK at one time or another. It seems that just about every king we ever had filled up his favourite barrel and then decreed that it was the standard unit for something or other. Even when it was just about to be scrapped, the Imperial system had the Imperial pound, the a Avoirdupois pound, and the Troy pound. There were some others used by merchants, too.

Several Imperial measurements had various kinks and corrections that had to be applied somewhere (e.g. the fathom, which was regarded as being 6 feet, when it was in fact 1/1000 of a nautical mile – so actually 6.08 feet).

The Imperial system was – and still is – a God-awful mess and it’s place is on the scrapheap of history. It was nothing like the panacea being suggested by these out of date idiots.

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The Brexit campaign has officially dumped its pre-referendum claim that leaving the EU would immediately free up £350,000,000 for the NHS. Irrespective of retrospective semantics, that’s what they were telling the monkey-with-the-vote on the run up.

Ironically – or perhaps not – this comes on the same day the NHS announced that it is at “tipping point” as far as funding goes.

Meanwhile, the GBP remains 10% down on its pre-referendum level (notwithstanding a handful of biased news reports announcing its “recovery” every time it goes up by a few tenths of a US cent, even though those are invariably followed by a similar fall).

You will recall (unless you were one of the prats taken in by it) that this £350m which was used to pay for our EU membership would immediately be freed up and channelled into the NHS instead if you voted Brexit. This, along with the implied promise of ritual bonfires containing millions of immigrants, was enough to secure your vote.

How cheaply that was bought in the end, eh? Both claims were totally wrong, and you fell for it.

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This news report on the BBC website reports that he government is to “guarantee post-EU funds”. People shouldn’t get too excited, though that is naturally going to be very difficult for the average Brexiter, who will probably orgasm when they read it.EU funding sign

It turns out that the EU is funding somewhere close to £4.5bn per year in  the UK.

Now, just a reminder here, but apart from being able to set fire to anyone suspected of being an immigrant and ethnically cleansing the British Isles, the second major rallying call of the Brexit camp and its troglodyte supporters was that we would save £350m by not having to pay our annual membership subs to the EU. All of that money was allegedly going to go to the NHS.

This next part is completely beyond the understanding of any Brexiter, but £4.5bn is more than TEN TIMES BIGGER than £350m. And at no point did ANYONE (except me, who has mentioned it several times) even consider the loss of EU funding and its wider effects.

Since Brexit was unexpected, no contingency had been considered for the loss of funding, and it is only now that we come to it. The report says that the Treasury will cover all funding which has already been granted, and all agricultural funding up until 2020. Ironically, UK companies can still apply for EU funding while the UK is still a member, though any grants would not be covered by the Treasury if we subsequently left.

A few idiots – one of whom is the President of the Royal Society – have “welcomed” the plan, instead of opposing Brexit. Fortunately, Scotland is still playing with a full deck, and the Finance Secretary has said:

[the announcement]…”falls far short” of what is needed… A limited guarantee for some schemes for a few short years leaves Scotland hundreds of millions of pounds short of what we would receive as members of the EU.

Yes. And that applies to Northern Ireland, Wales, and England. Why can’t people see that unless we keep up the funding, it will be a disaster when it ends – and here’s another thing you heard from me first: when it ends, like it will have to, it may well be in the middle of a catastrophic recession borne out of Brexit.

Trying to pay grants and subsidies by pretending we’re still in the EU has a much better modus operandiSTAY IN THE EU FOR REAL.

While we’re on the subject, this is the closing GBP vs USD price this week.GBP vs USD - 13 August 2016

We’re at $1.29 – almost a new low – and unless the report above is designed to hold it steady and it works, when the markets open again on Monday the trend is clearly downwards. All those minor rises since Brexit have occurred as a result of various attempts to hold the GBP steady, and all have only worked for a short time because the overwhelming force is down.

I think we’ll see a slight recovery on Monday as a result of this announcement. But how long for is anyone’s guess.

WE ARE BETTER OFF IN THE EU THAN OUT OF IT.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Where is this extra £4.5bn going to come from? Who will suffer as a result?

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Story #1The Bank of England has cut interest rates to 0.25%. This is the first cut since 2009 (during the major recession) and the lowest ever rate. The Bank has also said rates could go lower still if the economy worsens.Interest rates

Remember that lower interest rates are all right if you owe money, but not if you are saving it. It means that a typical mortgage might be £25 cheaper per month, but the annual interest on saving of £10,000 would be £25 less. The theoretical purpose of the rate cut is that since saving money is not advantageous, people go out and spend it, thus stimulating the economy.

The GBP was immediately affected by this announcement, and fell 1.5% on the day (and it’s already a further 1% down the day after that).

Story #2A Survey has shown that recruitment was hit in July as a direct result of Brexit. Job application

Job placements in July fell more sharply than at any time since 2009. I’ll remind you again that 2009 was in the middle of the great recession. Those who took part in the data gathering exercise stated Brexit was to blame.

The Bank of England has already said it expects unemployment to rise to 5.5% over the next two years. It currently stands at 4.9%, and for all practical purposes has been falling each year since 2012.

Story #3Nissan says it is “reasonably optimistic” that things will be all right as a result of Brexit. This is roughly the same as being “reasonably optimistic” that you’re going to win the lottery this week. The hopeful lotto winner will have invested £2 on his or her numbers, and it would be foolish not to be optimistic, otherwise they may just as well have thrown that two quid in the river. Nissan, in comparison, has invested billions in Sunderland. So you can see the parallel – it is hardly going to openly flush that kind of money down the toilet. The CEO has virtually contradicted himself by warning:

…[further] Investment [in Sunderland] depends on the outcome of UK-EU talks on Brexit

You see, Sunderland is a European plant which happens to be based in the UK. Most of its exports are to Europe. And he added that:

…there was “no doubt” that prices for Renaults, and other cars made in Europe and sold in the UK, will rise due to falling value of sterling.

Of course, report after report makes it clear that Brexit has screwed up the GBP, and what the Nissan CEO is really wondering is how the hell he is going to keep on explaining the UK’s death spiral as a reason to keep manufacturing in Sunderland.

I should also point out that they’re not very bright in Sunderland. They were the first vote in on referendum day and they voted to leave the EU by a large margin. I don’t think “irony” would be the right word to describe the situation if Nissan upped tents, particularly when you consider the existing unemployment situation in the North East.

But don’t worry, everyone. The Nissan guy is “optimistic” and I’m sure a multi-billion pound manufacturing plant and the associated multi-multi-billion pound bill Nissan would have if they needed to move it is completely irrelevant  as a source of his optimism. It more likely comes from the same source as that guy at the soup kitchen in Blackpool, who thinks that foreigners are preventing him from getting a job.

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Many of you will have heard the stories about dumb labels. It’s sometimes hard to work out which end of the chain is the dumbest – the designer or the user – but whatever the reason, it is deemed necessary to state the most obvious facts in the most patronising way possible on many things that you buy.Lidl nuts - in German

Actually, while I was looking for examples, I came across this website with some funny ones. I particularly like the veterinary tablets for someone’s dog, with the warning of drowsiness, and not to drink alcohol or operate heavy machinery after taking them. It’s obvious that they’re mostly American – we aren’t that bad. At least, I didn’t think so until today.

I’ve joked with my local Chinese takeaway before about how their menu warns that Chicken with Cashew Nuts “may contain traces of nuts”. And it is on the subject of nuts – peanuts in fact – that an alert appeared in my inbox today.

The Food Standards Agency announced that Lidl is recalling its Alesto brand of Honey Peanuts because peanuts are not mentioned in English on the packaging. I didn’t realise things had gotten so bad. I mean, Lidl is a German company and much of what it sells comes from non-UK sources. I thought everyone was aware of that. But going a step further, what on earth would someone with a life-threatening food allergy be doing buying something to eat without knowing what was in it? Come on. We’re talking about peanuts here – or “erdnüsse” – the number one killer of humans in the UK, if you believe the media on these things.

And as if this wasn’t bad enough, another warning came through advising that Lidl is recalling its Milbona brand of Fruit Yoghurt due to – wait for it – the presence of undeclared milk! Where the hell do people think yoghurt comes from? Bees?

Food manufacturers are living a nightmare if the number of FSA alerts I see is anything to go by. Not a day passes without recalls due to undeclared milk, eggs, soya, sesame, mustard, wheat, gluten, and so on. Asda even had to do a recall a couple of weeks ago to milk “as an allergen” being incorrectly worded – I’d have though that someone who was likely to explode if they consumed milk would be aware that the word they were looking for on the label was “milk”. But it seems that manufacturers have to provide an encyclopaedic description these days, or face an expensive recall.

Still, I suppose this Lidl thing is all leading nicely toward Brexit and the New British Nationalism (if it ever happens, and let’s hope it doesn’t).

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More “excellent” news resulting from the EU Referendum. Foxtons, a high-profile London estate agent, has announced a 43% fall in profits. It blames this on Brexit.Estate Agent signs

Of course, as any Brexiter knows full well, it simply is not possible for anything bad to come out of the vote to leave the EU, and the fact that Foxtons has seen its profits fall by 30% since the result must be down to some other reason. Possibly immigrants. Or Donald Trump.

The result of the referendum to leave Europe is likely to lead to a prolonged period of further uncertainty and we do not expect London residential property sales markets to show signs of recovery before the end of the year [said Foxtons CEO, Nic Budden]

…the UK’s biggest building society, the Nationwide, said that the Brexit effect on the property market and house prices could take months to become clear.

But remember. Britain may collapse economically. The pound may end up being worth less than a dollar. Unemployment may rise. Inflation may also rise. Fuel prices may rise. House prices may rise, or the markets fall. The evidence suggests these things are happening, and experts suggest that they will.

But everything will be all right. That guy from the soup kitchen in Blackpool said so.

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