thinking and writing

At THOUGHTS & JOTTINGS our desire is to create a place for discussion.

We want to read your opinions and be able to agree or disagree, as may be the case, in a civil manner.

Freedom of speech and your right to express yourself had, in the late 20th Century, become fundamental to our "western" society but in the new millennium this is progressively being eroded, not by legislation, but by behavior.

There seems to be a lack of understanding of the principals of discussion and debate, the ability to disagree but still respect another person's view even when they are different from yours. A tendancy to get your view across by shouting louder, being more abusive, more disrespectful, ignoring and discounting anything that does not fit your mantra and lying copiously, maybe with the belief that a lie told often enough becomes a fact.

Social media has provided a platform for conspiracy theorists, fake information and people hell bent on influencing others, be it for good or bad. Social media has not become a place for talk, discussion, dialogue or debate but rather a platform for creating discourse and disruption.

The pressing desire to cancel and eliminate history ignores the fact "what people did in the past that was, at the time, acceptable and legal". Now because it does not fit with current standards many people think it should be scrubbed from history thus eliminating future genarations to learn from the actions and mistakes of their forefathers..

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Can someone please tell me what is racist about this?

Could we possibly consider that Ms Fulani is playing this fiddle for all it is worth?

Lady SH: “Where are you from?” Ms Fulani: “Sistah Space.” FAIR ANSWER

SH: “No where do you come from?


A GOOD ANSWER COULD HAVE BEEN "Oh you mean me not the charity. I am from Hackney, where I was born, my parents were migrants from the Caribbean. I dress like this to celebrate my African heritage"


Ms Fulani: “We’re based in Hackney.”

SH: “No, what part of Africa are YOU from?”



Ms Fulani: “I don’t know, they didn’t leave any records.”


SH: “Well, you must know where you’re from, I spent time in France. Where are you from?” Ms Fulani: “Here, UK” SH: “No, but what Nationality are you?” Ms Fulani: “I am born here and am British.” SH: “No, but where do you really come from, where do your people come from?” Ms Fulani: “‘My people’, lady, what is this?” SH: “Oh I can see I am going to have a challenge getting you to say where you’re from. When did you first come here?” Ms Fulani: “Lady! I am a British national, my parents came here in the 50’s when…” SH: “Oh, I knew we’d get there in the end, you’re Caribbean!” Ms Fulani: “No lady, I am of African heritage, Caribbean descent and British nationality.” SH: “Oh so you’re from….”

published this on 3rd December 2022
# 0102


Facebook says "What's on your mind Roli?" WOW and do I have a lot going on!

People who know, the Intelligence agencies and the think tanks, the people that Politicians choose to ignore, will tell you that at the time of Russia's attack on Ukraine it had no desire to launch any territorial grab on a NATO country and to this day would be of the same demeanour. If you look up Ukraine in Wikipedia it will give you some understanding of Putin's reasoning, but that is not relevant to my thoughts.

My thoughts are why the fuck did the European countries led by the nose (yet again) follow the knee jerk reaction to "save Ukraine"? Again people who know (NOT POLITICIANS!) would tell you that by supporting Ukraine with weapons will not save Ukraine it will merely prolong their war with Russia. Sanctions against Russia are ineffective and turned was was always a tenuous relationship between Russia and the "West" into acrimony.

The other, equally useless but less harmful, option would have been to protest most strongly in the UN, to withdraw some diplomats and express or indignant disapproval. This of course would have had no effect of Moscow's ambitions. But a weakly armed Ukraine would have rapidly succumbed and tens of thousands of lives would have been saved, it would not have been nice but a lot better than it is now or the future prospects.

Why do we give a damn about Ukraine, do you think they give a damn about us? Coming back to the politicians who disregard advise and wanted to look good by fawning at Zelensky's feet and bowing to him when rather than thank them he he criticises them for not giving enough.

We have an economy shaken to the core by their mismanagement of the Covid pandemic so in their wisdom they say "lets screw with a major trading partner and supplier of the majority of our energy needs, surely electorate will understand the high moral ground we stand on!"

Although my business has taken a downturn because of all that is going on we are still fortunate enough to enjoy a good standard of living and can afford, albeit reluctantly, to pay our household energy bills. Here is Vienna we prepay our energy bills based on the previous years readings and assessment. We have just received our new bill for Oct 2022- Oct 2023 and our quarterly payments will be 1801 EUR versus 459 EUR last year!

This is NOT Putin's fault, the blame lays fairly and squarely with the inept arseholes we elected "TO REPRESENT OUR INTERESTS!"

Charity starts at home! Guess they do not know that!

published this on 31st October 2022
# 0101


This is maybe a bit of a saga but it is Thoughts and Jottings where I can vent my frustration.

A couple of weeks ago I felt tenderness and light pain in my right breast this led to an Ultrasound examination. The finding was that I have a small area of gynecomastia, the asked if I had high blood pressure? I do!

Now comes my research and I find out that the drug Spironolactone can cause hormonal changes leading to gynecomastia, enlarged prostate, feeling light headed, erectile dysfunction and loss of libido. I have been on this drug for nearly 10 years!

I have all the above symptoms but the most frustrating aspect is ED and loss of Libido. Since my teens I have enjoyed a very active sex life, likely more active than many, so to progressively loose interest has been very sad. My beautiful wife who is 16 years my junior has been feeling neglected and I have been unable to respond in a manner that would make her happy. She thinks it is her and I do not find her attractive any more although nothing could be further from the truth. I have talked to urologists and cardiologists but they have failed to address the issue - almost like they are awkward discussing it with a man over 70! Frustratingly they all know what medications I am taking - don't they know the side effects?

I was getting to the point of putting it down to "old age". There seemed to be no other explanation but the pain in my breast has changed all that. I feel like a huge weight has been taken off my shoulders and I can now go forward and find a solution.

Apparently the effects of Spironolactone do reverse if you stop taking it. There is an alternate albeit more expensive drug in the same "family" called Eplerenone. This works the same way but has a lower affinity of eplerenone for progesterone, androgen, and glucocorticoid receptors. In simple language it will not cause the problems associated with the drug I have been taking.


I do not know yet if the Austrian Health system will pay for this so I have been researching the price and it is available at retail price of about 50 EUR per month, compared to $395 pm for uninsured Americans!

In summary I feel much better knowing that the problem has a specific cause and it's not just me loosing interest -but it would have been truly wonderful to have had this knowledge 10 years ago!

I have a new Cardiologist and have my first appointment next Monday. I am hoping this will begin the reversal of my hormone imbalance and subsequently put a big smile on my wife.

published this on 13th October 2022
# 0100


A chilling set of observations

London Crier published this on 26th September 2022
# 0099


The New York Times published a piece today about how the then Prince of Wales turned the Duchy of Cornwall into a multi billion pound business. Indeed he did turn around a rather poor and mismanaged inheritance, if he were a business man he would be praised. They also point out that while the Duchy gets richer people are eating in soup kitchens. As if this is related and it's his fault.

They fail to mention the increased revenue from the Duchy has been directed toward his charities, in fact the Prince of Wales Trust has helped close to a million young people find work and food. The increase in rhe Duchy was not for his gain, it did not change his lifestyle one iota but it did change hugely what he could do.

The NYT just doesn't get it. Yes the wealth of the Royal family (and thousands of other British and American families) comes from different times when values were also different. This does not make the 20th and 21st century members of these families bad people. They did not colonise and plunder as their forebears did.

There is so much hypocrisy where some are criticised but the ones that would be in "inconvenient" get a free pass! Daimler Benz, Krupps, BMW, Siemens etc all used slave labour and that is within living memory! I do not notice woke social consciousness boycotting products from these corporations. In contrast they are quick.of the mark to damn slave owners of the past who used their fortunes to benefit and educate the poor with schools and housing.

It would be so nice if people could recognise the past as history, it cannot be changed and NEVER cancelled. Live for the present and work for the future learning from the good and bad of history.

Get a fucking life and stop complaining!

The First published this on 14th September 2022
# 0098

Too right!

London Crier commented on 15th September 2022


Apparently not very, maybe the question is how British am I? to which the answer would be very British.

My family name (Surname/Last Name) is Saxon so predates the final Viking conquest in 1066. Since my name has been carried father to son for 40 to 60 generations I had always assumed I was very English but a DNA test proved me wrong.

I am 48% Ireland and Scotland which makes sense since my maternal family were Ulster Protestants and as such would have originally hailed from Scotland. The next 43% is England, Wales and North-western Europe, that too makes sense since the Saxons came from North-western Europe and since may paternal family has been in England for 15 centuries or so. The comes 6% Norway maybe some Viking impregnation there. Finally European Jewish 3%, that one I do not know about. I can trace my family tree all in Yorkshire or Derbyshire borders back to 1526 but no Jewish connections in that period.

Ultimately I am not an Englishman but 91% of my DNA is English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish. How much more British could I be?

The First published this on 10th September 2022
# 0097


It flashed up on my handy that the Queen had died. I turned to my wife and found I was tearing up as I struggled to say "My Queen is dead!"

So surprised at being overwhelmed, after all I have not lived in Britain for the last 43 years but I am a Yorkshireman and you cannot take the Englishman out of those genes. In the past 43 years I have lived in many countries that do not have a monarchy and those that were part of Britain's colonial past, in all those places around the world the two words "THE QUEEN" only meant one person, without doubt it was Queen Elizabeth of Britain.

I like probably 100 million other people in the world thought of her as "my" queen, of course she was your queen as well, she was our queen just as we were her subjects. To be born into a life over which you have no control of what you will be when you grow is difficult to understand and must be a life that is not easy to live.

As a constitutional monarch (an oxymoron in a country void of a constitution) she had no say in the ruling of the country, that was done by the government. She had huge wealth passed down from the centuries of dubious deeds of her ancestors which was likely some sort of burden. As a monarch she was elevated to a position away from the people but over her reign she worked hard to close the gap while still retaining her regal status.

She did no harm to any of her subjects, she was kind, caring and gracious. She met millions of people in her role as queen, she worked incredibly hard with hundreds of meetings and events every year, a work load that most people would cringe at. In our world the higher up the pole you get in your career the more you can delegate, no such luxury for her.

Her position required her to perform duties of state such as hosting official state visits and many times, particularly 3 years ago, suffering fools with politeness and graciousness - something we do not have to do. That unwavering graciousness, her calming words at times of crisis, her deep love of the nation and it's people and her absolute unwavering dedication earned her our respect. Ultimately we respected her because of the way she was not because of who she was. The rail Unions have called off their strikes, as they said out of respect, I would suspect that respect is more for Elizabeth York rather than for the late Monarch.

Ultimately it comes down to the fact that she was a steady and constant fixture of our lives and in all the chaos of the world she was our stabilising influence.

She will be missed, even by us ex-patriots, a hard act to follow!

The First published this on 9th September 2022
# 0096

Nice thoughts. Despite the pot shots The Royal Family get from the lefty republicans in the U.K. , the past 48 hours have shown it’s not going to disappear anytime soon.

London Crier commented on 10th September 2022


As a student of history one would be aware of the ingredients that were needed to create the dictators of the past.

Start with the first wave of supporters, these need to be disadvantaged with a feeling of being left out, ignored by upper class and those more fortunate than them, also they are likely to be living either side of the poverty line. People with poor education and social skills are a big part of the mix for the base supporters. To get the ball rolling the aspirant dictator needs to identify what grieves these people and forcefully identify with them explaining that although he is of privilege he is one with them and he will make changes that will improve their lives, he will become their voice and people will listen to him.

The next stage is having secured enough grass root support to become politically significant is to bring existing politicians onto his team. This is more difficult because they will be inclined to reject him, but a few, although not agreeing with his policies, will see an opportunity for themselves to advance their political career and will take the risk of joining with him.

Having gained more credibility and with a growing mass of supporters he will gain elected office. Although he will fail dismally in doing what he promised he will tell his followers he is succeeding in everything and that their lives are better under him than ever before. Not only is he believed his supporters now become adoring followers believing all that he says.

At this point many more people start to support him because it appears that his influence is so strong that by not being on his side their own careers are at risk.

For the final stage the aspirant dictator must be in a country where top law enforcement positions are filled by election and judiciary is appointed (thus political). This means that these positions can be filled by loyal supporters. With a judiciary that is politically biased the safety checks on corrupt activity are progressively weakened.

The beginning of the end of a free democracy is when the "would be dictator" is facing criminal investigation and a judge APPOINTED BY HIM makes, a legally extremely tenuous, judgement in his favour.

Ultimately a dictator justifies himself because what he does is "legal". His support at high levels comes from those that fear both him and fear the adoring masses who blindly support him. Not to be part of the dictators team means they will not get re-elected thus loose there position in society.

To survive a dictator needs the support of people who, like him, are self serving and primarily more concerned about themselves than the electorate.

Is any of this familiar?

The First published this on 6th September 2022
# 0094


I am one of a multitude who would love to witness the fall of Donald Trump.

Although he created a cult of followers who slavishly digest every lie as if it were words of a prophet these people are less in number than the multitude I belong to. Trump's success is surely because "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" and this has proven to be true until now but quietly leading his team in DOJ without fanfare or press conferences has been a good man, Merrick Brian Garland, who is prepared to do something.

He is a balanced and fair man with an impeccable reputation as a jurist who takes his job to enforce the laws of the country very seriously, he recognises that criminal acts have the same consequences regardless of whom the perpetrator is. He will arrest and charge Donald Trump if there has been a crime committed.

This brings me to my thoughts about the price of future stability. Undoubtably the arrest of Trump will be incredibly divisive and destabilising. We already know that people will take up arms and die for him, they have already, but this will be far more serious. I truly believe that government institutions and personnel will become targets of violence. The USA combined military has about 1.4 million active personnel and 0.8 million reserves and many are Trump supporters. If only one percent fell into the cult of Trump that is 22,000 armed people who could become a problem. Add to this the considerable support he has from law enforcement (0.75 million total) and a potential for 5% cult of Trump officers that adds another 35,000 armed people to the potential rebellion.

I don't like being the naysayer but I am more and more convinced that Trumpism will put the rest of the USA to the test and in that scenario the "good men" will react and do something. It is not going to be pretty but there is a strong underswell that will eventually have to explode. Will it be civil war? I think it will be a rebellion that will be crushed at considerable cost.

Only after this will the USA be able to take a step backward to pre Newt Gingrich times where differences were handled with civility and the other side of the aisle was populated by the opposition not your enemies!

That's my gloomy two cents for the day!

The First published this on 14th August 2022
# 0093


The ECB had an emergency meeting last week to discuss the European sovereign bond market chaos. The risk of the euro area falling apart is rising as the interest rates on government debt surge and the differences between German and weaker nations’ interest rates surge too. The ECB considers it a part of its mandate to save the euro from falling apart. And the real question now is which mandate is more important – inflation or keeping sovereign debt in Greece and Italy affordable for those governments. Because the ECB, like the Bank of Japan, is being forced to choose. If you’re not sure what the choice will be, consider that the ECB will likely cease to exist if the euro does

London Crier published this on 18th July 2022
# 0092

How long is a piece of string? What is the price of stability? For those of us that can remember in January 1986 the countries of Iberia bought the EU membership and a year later the goal of free trade and open borders was finally realised by the 12 members. This was the golden period for the EU for the next four years until the collapse of the USSR, the introduction of the Euro and the welcome mat for impoverished corrupt ex soviet satellites along with the equally impoverished Greece. From then it was downhill pouring trillions into the "east" much of which ended up in the offshore bank accounts of the new politicians (rebounded communists). The wealth of the UK, Germany and France is distributed to the poorer members. There is some merit in supporting Italy which, although poor, is an industrial power house and has overall value to the EU, similarly helping the 2 newest members Spain and Portugal had similar merit. As far as the rest are concerned this is nothing but misplaced "feel good" charity.

The EU with 12 members was, at that point, maybe a wonderful concept that had been fulfilled. It would have been so much better if they has kept the whole cake!

The First commented on 19th July 2022


Several weeks ago I met a young 30 year old American, a Bentley driving student here in Vienna. He suggested we get together for a coffee, which we did yesterday.

We had a pleasant conversation, he is from old money white Tennessee stock, enjoys the culture of Vienna, particularly the classical music that is so readily available. He appeared to be both intelligent and quite a sophisticate so I said "What do you think of Trump?"

He lit up like a ray of sunshine had struck him and said "He is the most successful and brilliant businessman the world has ever known, the best and most honest President we have ever had and has done wonderful things for our country and the world!"

I responded "You are joking and pulling my leg?" - "NO" he said "I really believe in him". This he said as if he was referring to god. He then proceeded to tell me all the wonderful things that Trump had achieved. This started with (all this I quote) the many hundreds of building in the world with his name on them, the over 50 world class golf courses he has built. He elaborated on his success as President with emphasis on the huge wall he had built to stop "criminal Mexicans" coming into the USA where they ran drug dens and raped and stole from honest white Americans, he also said these people took jobs from Americans. He also talked about how Trump had bought back jobs in the steel belt on the East Coast.

I said that I had never met anyone like him with his views and beliefs "Do you believe the election was stolen?" - "Totally" he said "There is evidence of massive mail in fraud and ballots being removed by the truck load in the middle of the night! All this evidence is being suppressed by the Biden administration". I asked if he had been watching the Jan 6 Congressional Enquiry. "No its all a set up charging good Republicans with crimes that did not exist -the defendants don't have a chance" he said. I pointed out that it was an enquiry and there were only witnesses no defendants.

He then regaled me with stories about the Biden campaign where apparently no people attended any of his rallies and he talked about how the Dominion Voting machines we owned by people who were pro Biden and that they were all rigged. I said to him that all he has said has been disproven in over 50 court cases and there was nothing suspicious abut the Dominion voting machines. His retort was "all the court cases were in Trumps favour but rigged and supressed by the Democrats/Biden administration.

In regard to the Dominion voting machines he said "I have proof, I know someone who has a friend in the Biden Administration who knows that they are supressing all the information!"

None of this was new to me I have heard it all before but I have never sat across a table from someone who is a "TRUE BELIEVER"! The almost religious zeal he displayed was candidly scary. There is NO room for discussion. It is so worrying to think that this deeply disillusioned individual is one of many millions.

I did tell him that I thought all he was saying was bullshit and he would spend his time better seeking true facts about Trump rather than pursuing another Masters degree. He said he respected my views - I told him I did not respect his.. I doubt I will be having coffee with him again.

The First published this on 14th July 2022
# 0091


The Russian Ruble is the strongest it has been in a decade, just months after being invading Ukraine and Russia being sanctioned.

The Russian Invasion of Ukraine is not a war I could ever condone on any level. However, my initial opinion on the effects of the war on Russia’s economy have changed. Western Sanctions which were quite comprehensive, have actually not destroyed the Russian economy, in fact these very sanctions have not even created a long term hinderance for the sale of Russian Energy Exports. In recent weeks Russia has actually begun to increase prices on its energy exports to both India and China as it sees no real need to offer the deep discounts it did at the beginning of the Ukraine Invasion. Since Russian exports are now purely being conducted in Ruble based transactions the currency has strengthened to levels not seen in a decade. The Russian Ruble is trading at 53 rubles per U.S. Dollar, it had dived to 139 Rubles briefly after the start of the war. Though many economists are discounting this development as being a false indicator of the economic health of Russia, these same economists are not evaluating the difficulties the rest of the world is enduring with raised price of oil, natural gas, and food commodities. The war in Ukraine is hurting the entire world, and hardly any currency has appreciated as much as the Russian Ruble. Western Companies abandoned their operations in Russia, and this infrastructure has fallen into the hands of Russian businesses at hardly any cost if these companies do not return. The idea has already been floated in Russia that all companies which leave Russia may well count their assets, real estate and technology as part and parcel of a nationalization. In all reality Russia has shown that the world which sanctions it also pays a cost, as without Russian exports the world sanctions itself from lower costs. It seems Russia did indeed have years to prepare for this outcome.

London Crier published this on 26th June 2022
# 0090


I am pretty engrossed in the Jan 6th committee public hearings. Impressed by a lot of sensible voices emerging from a sea of insanity.

For all those people who say that this is a Kangaroo court, witch hunt etc, all orchestrated by the Democrats as part of the big steal, take note that every witness speaking harsh truth against the previous president and his "team" are Republicans!

I hope that as these public hearings and revelations continue those people who have pledged to support Chump and the big lie will reconsider their position.

The First published this on 17th June 2022
# 0089


I abhor violence and abuse against people, children and animals but equally I dislike people who disagree with a jury.

Niether Depp or Heard are admirable people but they had their (many) days in court and the jury has passed their judgement based on far more information than we have also making their judgement on the legal basis of the case not the emotional.

I was, in times long past, a trained interrogator and Amber Heard exhibited all the characteristics we were taught to identify a person lying. Maybe the jury picked up on that.

Ultimately we really do not know if either of them were abusers or abused but the court ruled and that is the end!

The First published this on 7th June 2022
# 0088


The advantage of T&J is that I can post what I could not in other social media. Here goes!

I was by way of birth White, upper class, privately educated and privileged. I remain White and well educated, privileges I have now are a result of hard work and successful entrepreneurship I don't think class is of consequence anymore but I am given away by my "posh" accent.

I was financially disowned by my father when I was 17 because I had caused a pregnancy which my father assured me would bring disgrace to the family. I pointed out to him that would only happen if he told people, an observation he did not appreciate. Result I was found a "job" as a passage worker on a Blue Star cargo ship from Liverpool to Auckland. I was given 50 pounds by my father and paid one shilling by the Vestys.

Once in New Zealand I had to make my own way - something I have now been doing for the last 60 years. I have at times been extremely successful, tens of millions. I have also been bankrupted (the path of an entrepreneur) and known difficult times but, maybe because I do not accept defeat or stay still, not really been exposed to cost of living hardship that wage earners experience.

Most people I associate with, regardless of their beginnings, are successful and have financial stability. This group of people and their peers around the world will experience inconvenience because of increased prices but will not suffer. Personally my business revenue has been cut by 50% over last year because of all that is going on in the world, this means my income now puts me in the top 10% instead of the top 5% where I have been for many years. I can still eat in nice restaurants, go on vacations in 5 star hotels and drive my Bentley every day.

I read about government financial handouts and incentives to help people through these times but these are mere political tokens meted out by people who like me and many others like me have no actual concept of what life is like for these poor people. It is a terrible thing to say or admit, but it is the truth, that I have no idea what it would be like to be living from pay day to pay day with a hugely diminishing purchasing power.

When we go food shopping we pick what we want and pay at the register. I have never at any point in my life known the price of a loaf of bread, milk, vegetables etc. etc. because it has never been necessary. Sad but true!

A fact about recessions is that the people who suffer are those on the lower ends of the socio-economic scale, the worse it is the higher up the scale it goes but even in the worst depressions the top 60% are pretty unscathed. By way of example during the great depression my widowed great grandmother lived alternating between Browns Hotel in London and the Negresco Hotel in Nice.

WE all know something is wrong with the world and it is not getting better. I am too old to do anything expect put my thoughts "on paper" so as to speak. We now have politicians whose self interest and desire to be re-elected dominates their thinking so their ability to take the long view and do things for the future is totally compromised. Although I abhor communism East Germany was interesting, in spite of many faults such as the Stasi their politicians knew that re-election was automatic and could take the long view. Although the population did not have the luxuries and options of the "west" they had absolute stability and no stress for housing, heat, food and work and were, on the whole, rather happy and unstressed.

I am not sure where I went with this but I am trying to put my confusion into words. The summary is that I, and many others, seem to sit in an ivory. We are removed from the everyday reality of people who are less privileged, we do not thing of ourselves as being above them, we just have more than they do. When I read about paedophiles or wife beaters and what they do I am appalled, but it is so far removed from what I would or could do I cannot understand it, I cannot relate to it at all. No more than I can relate to the lives and circumstances of other people less fortunate.

The First published this on 28th May 2022
# 0087


In time of peace in the USA last year over 45000 people died from gunshot. In Ukraine, in a time of war, 4000 civilians have died in 3 months.

Why are we not seeing a flood of refugees fleeing the USA to find peace and safety.

While Russia's fearsome military might has proven to be neither, the American experiment in democracy started in 1776 has proven to be an abject failure. So many (too many) advocate and support the ownership of guns, sadly often linking this with the bible, this stupidity has led to peace time deaths in the US far exceeding all the US soldiers killed in combat.

The First published this on 25th May 2022
# 0086

Difficult to find the words - incredulity maybe one?

London Crier commented on 26th May 2022


Articles like this are popping up everywhere- most condemning Russia for using economic warfare as unfair! I won’t argue with the sentiment- just ask the question what did we expect when the West started an economic war against Russia?

People have become familiar with the idea of a cost-of-living crisis, but that does not begin to capture the gravity of what may lie ahead. The war in Ukraine is battering a global food system weakened by covid-19, climate change and an energy shock. Ukraine’s exports of grain and oilseeds have mostly stopped and Russia’s are threatened. Wheat prices, up 53% since the start of the year, jumped a further 6% on May 16th, after India said it would suspend exports because of a heatwave. Together, Russia and Ukraine provide 28% of the globally traded supply of wheat, 29% of barley, 15% of maize and 75% of sunflower oil (see Briefing). Ukraine’s food exports normally feed 400m people worldwide. The high cost of staple foods has already raised the number of people who cannot be sure of getting enough to eat by 440m, to 1.6bn. Nearly 250m are on the brink of famine. If, as is likely, the war drags on and supplies from Russia and Ukraine are limited, hundreds of millions more people could fall into poverty. Political unrest will spread, children will be stunted and some people will starve.

London Crier published this on 20th May 2022
# 0085

It is not a pretty picture. Europeans have been very efficient at exploiting the sub continent for a few centuries, we have taken a lot and given back little in return. A history of cycles of famine made worse by events that are not of their making.

I remember as a child being scolded to finish all that was on my plate, appreciate what I had and to be grateful that I was not like the poor starving people in Africa. That was many decades ago - sadly it has never improved just worsened.

The First commented on 21st May 2022


When I moved from California to Adeliade, Australia in 1999 two things struck me in my first weeks there. It seemed everything was highly regulated and it was such a white community.

In the next 20 years I watched as the government, who know fuck all about anything, progressively stripped their citizens of the ability to think for themselves. Making regulations for pony rides so onerous that it forced them out if business, helmets for everyone on bicycles, nationwide ban on sun beds, endless radar traps. The inability of employers to fire someone for wrong doing until they have been warned 3 times. Forcing employers to pay Saturday work at double time, Sundays and holidays triple time, result many smaller hospitality venues don't open at weekends so rather than being protected the workers loose their jobs, then you get the weekend workers who get paid 5 days pay for 2 days work!

Maybe the ultimate affront to thinking for oneself is road work regulation in South Australia. If a pothole needs filling the person(s) doing the job must contract with a government approved road safety business who will supply a minimum of 3 "trained safety officers" each at $70 per hour (they are paid $20), they come with signs, witches hats, stop/go lollipops etc. A speed limit of 20kmh is imposed 300 meters before the road work. This is the bizarre bit if there is a median strip the other side of the road is also speed restricted.

The final straw was when we had to, with immense difficulty, get permission to leave the country in 2020. Of course we left.

Now living in Austria the difference is noticeable. Get stopped for doing 60 in a 50 in Australia and the policemen will be grumpy and lecture you on putting other peoples lives at risk you will be fined $100s and loose 3 points. Same happened to me here two days ago, the policemen smiles and says you must pay €30 on the spot, you pay, he smiles and wishes you a good the rest of your day. Bicycle with or without a helmet, your choice. Want to dig a hole in the road put up a couple of witches hats and leave people to make decisions about speed, navigating against oncoming traffic etc. Want your children to have fun, even if it is risky, that's your decision to be responsible for your own parenting. Solariums are two a penny and Austrians can take the decision to go once a day and get cancer or go less frequently and get a tan.

It would also appear that a society that is allowed to think for itself is far less paranoid. There is no line up of cars picking up and delivering kids to school, the children mainly find their own way.

The First published this on 19th May 2022
# 0084


Yesterday we parked by the Park Hyatt in Vienna, a very expensive 5 star hotel. There were 6 VERY expensive cars all belonging to "poor" Ukranian refugees who are living at the hotel.

In the best and most expensive districts of our city there are hundreds of large expensive Ukranian vehicles with their owners living in luxury apartments.

While I feel great empathy for the genuinely poor displaced Ukranians and their suffering it is hard to feel anything but disgust for these "refugees".

What we are witnessing is the visual proof of why Ukraine is rated the most corrupt country in Europe.

I just hope that when they can return to Ukraine they are treated like the Vichy French were.

The First published this on 15th May 2022
# 0083


With a third of U.K. “ fish and chip shops” due to close - how much more will the public take? Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has already affected the supply of whitefish — think cod and haddock, staples of the chip shop menu — with banking sanctions and paperwork adding friction and causing delays. Roughly 30 percent of the U.K.’s whitefish originates from Russia, which controls nearly 45 percent of the global supply.

Disruption to the flow of Ukrainian and Russian wheat looks set to also affect the batter and breadcrumbs used not only in chip shops but in frozen fish products such as fish fingers.

And with Ukraine standing as the largest global producer of sunflower oil, experts warn of severe disruption to market supply, price increases and challenges for businesses as they seek vegetable oil alternatives. This will impact everything from fish and chips to fish fingers and tinned mackerel and tuna.

While expressing caution about the difficulty of predicting the impact of the war, the seafood industry believes supply prices could rise by 20-30 percent, with costs likely to be passed onto consumers

London Crier published this on 15th May 2022
# 0082

As a Yorkshire man I shudder at the thought of such a staple becoming scarce and expensive. Maybe worse than the EU without oil and gas?

The First commented on 15th May 2022


Many UK problems can be traced to its top-down approach. No-one asked the academics who know about laws and rules whether they would work in this situation. Officials and politicians made those decisions on the basis of their own, often simplistic, beliefs. But rules are inflexible tools, which invite confrontation and dispute. How can anyone comply with a law that cannot differentiate between a party and a work-related gathering? The Swedish approach allowed citizens to think about applying broad public health messages to the circumstances of their own lives.

Sweden shows that there was another path not taken, that could have brought this country through the pandemic in far better shape, socially and economically. The inquiry must not be diverted into the minutiae of arguments about whether we should have locked down a week or two weeks earlier. It must be free to examine the whole strategy - in particular, why robust social science evidence on managing emergencies, and its contribution to pandemic planning since the early 2000s, was abandoned so precipitately

The First published this on 8th May 2022
# 0081

Another problem with “nanny states” is that we have a population that for years has been encouraged not to think for themselves but rely on the government. Unfortunately Thor thinking ability doesn’t now go far enough to work out why this has been a disaster!

London Crier commented on 9th May 2022


I’m starting to see a rash of reports from the medical world where the Scientific community is being allowed to criticise Pfizer and the government in the release of Covid vaccines. Overtime the general public will be made aware of this having been one of the largest pharmaceutical scandals perpetrated. What effect it will have on peoples view of the drug industry and government coercion - time will tell.

London Crier published this on 7th May 2022
# 0080

As you say time will tell. But, for me, there are much more fun things to do in the world and I am going to pursue them and put all this vaccine stuff on the back burner. Enjoy my life, enjoy the summer and all that goes with it.

The First commented on 7th May 2022


As the warm summer weather is now coming to Vienna my wife who is from South Australia (the driest state in the driest continent) is experiencing the season changes and it is quite novel for her, but for me it brings back memories of the first 3 decades of my life spent mostly in England.

The beautiful thing about living in deciduous zones is the seasons. The cold monotones of winter breaking into early spring with daffodils, snow drops and bluebells with the grass beginning to show life that transitions into a blush of green when you look at the trees then the blossom. The hundreds of gardeners employed by our city are planting yellow and purple tulips all on median strips, roundabouts and open spaces. Then as the last leaves unfurl and the trees are fully green the weather gets warm and the days long and sunny, for the next 5 months life will be conducted outside until the tress start changing colour as they fade into autumn and we begin to get a taste of the cold weather to come.

Having also lived in Canada where foliage is evergreens, in the tropics where everyday is the same and in Australia where the indigenous varieties of eucalypt (gum trees) never get lush green. Lots of sunny days with little change gets to be tedious, in White Mischief Sarah Miles' character walks out on a balcony in the early morning and says "Not another fucking beautiful day!"

In the deciduous zone the weather is not so predictable so not every day is a beautiful day so when you get one it is much more appreciated. There are few places in the world as beautiful as the English countryside on a beautiful summer's day it just makes all the shitty days that went before worth it.

This brings me to the topic heading "Weather Memories". I do remember the playing fields at school, the lovely smell of freshly mown lawns. I remember swimming in the Hampshire Avon in the Durnford Valley, the worst sunburn I ever had in my life was in Poole Harbour on an exeat weekend. I remember green, lush green, a million different shades of green, dappled shadows and cool spots under trees where we had afternoon tea. All this I remember but I do not remember the rainy days, leaving home in the dark and returning in the dark. I know it happened but it seems to be blocked out. I have two memories of snow, which back then we had for a few weeks every winter, one is as a child tobogganing in Cheshire. The other was getting stuck in a snow drift near Haslemere. 17 years old and been allowed to take my father's Bentley to go to a dance. On the way back at my date and I were stranded in the middle of nowhere for 6 hours, until we were rescued, we found intimate contact very warming and had a very enjoyable time.

The First published this on 7th May 2022
# 0079


Wow! I have such mixed feelings about Musk taking control of a major source of influence.

He is indisputably exceptionally smart in a multitude of things, but is he street smart? Does lack of street smarts make him potentially dangerous? Like many people with his sort of IQ he is inclined to speak and act before he thinks through the consequences, could this be a problem with control of Twitter?

On the other side he is, and always has been, very passionate and focused on doing good for humankind. His pursuit of electric vehicles and, over the past few years, creating storage packs for solar energy has most probably done more to reduce carbon emissions than any other entity on earth. With all the endless conferences, do good talk, pledges and promises, with all the "Greta Thunbergs" and her like protesting and pontificating this man has just gone and done it.

He wants to colonise Mars as a step to saving mankind from itself sort of mad-scientist stuff but well meaning. His Starlink has enabled communication to millions and millions who by reason of remoteness or war have been deprived of internet access.

He has most likely always, since childhood, been the "smartest" person in the room which most probably explains why he seems indifferent to being the richest person in the world, a point he disputes saying he is second only to Putin.

From what is published about him it would not appear that he is a bad man or a power hungry megalomaniac, he is a man who works very, very hard and is passionate about achieving his view of what is right for us.

Look back over the last 5 decades and see the inordinate amount of influence that Rupert Murdoch has had then think of how much more will be in one man's hands when he controls Twitter - maybe that is what worries me. In summary I just have an uneasy feeling.

The First published this on 1st May 2022
# 0078

I am not sure what Elon Musk has in mind for Twitter, but I am rather fond of this new breed of billionaires willing to create Foundations through which their often hard-earned funds can and are being, filtered to good causes.

Here in Australia we have Andrew Forrest of Fortescue Metals Group, having made his fortune digging up and selling iron ore to China, now planning to give away his fortune through the Mindaroo Foundation with a wide range of very good causes in place to receive it.

Then there's Mike Cannon-Brookes, one half of the Atlassian founders, who recently tried to take over AGL, Australia's largest gas supplier, in an effort to transform the company into a renewable energy supplier instead. Of course this was quashed by the Board of AGL, so now he is the largest shareholder and will continue to cause angst amongst the elite with his ambitious plans.

I would be remiss in not mentioning Bill and Melinda Gates, who probably (I can't verify) began this movement of giving away fortunes for worthy causes.

However, there is always a cost to philanthropy and that is the giver would like to see results, especially results the giver is expecting. This taints the process somewhat, but better the money being provided than not at all.

But back to Elon Musk and Twitter. Cause for concern, yes, when one considers the diabolical effects Facebook has wrecked across the world.

One only has to see how social media, via Facebook and YouTube is controlling the current election process in the Philippines. The country's people are so very poor. There is no electricity therefore no television in many villages or barrios of major cities, but everyone has a mobile phone. The is the only means of receiving news and Facebook is the news source. If data runs out Facebook provides free news services. And you don't need me to tell you just how corrupt that must be. The current frontrunner for the Presidency is Ferdinand Bong Bong Marcos Jnr. Yes, his son and his entire election strategy is through Facebook and YouTube. Print, television and other media are excluded. No interviews allowed!

It is clear Mark Zuckerberg has lost control of this monolith called Facebook. How then will Elon Musk control Twitter remains to be seen, but as you say about his intellect, I am hopeful that brain comes up with some left-of-centre, thought provoking ideas on truth and transparency. We desperately need it.

Sleeker commented on 6th May 2022


War? What war? After Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, it looked like its economy might collapse under the weight of sanctions. The rouble tanked; measures of inflation soared. But since then the economy has held up surprisingly well. So much so, in fact, that Russia’s central bank cut interest rates on Friday for the second time in a month, something that would have been unthinkable a few weeks ago.

The rouble has pretty much returned to its pre-war level. A bank run has completely stopped. So there is less need for high rates to attract capital. The real economy is holding up fairly well too: real GDP is about 4% above its pre-covid trend. With oil and gas sales still bringing in billions in foreign currency a month, Russia’s economy has plenty of juice. The recession that lies ahead may be surprisingly mild

London Crier published this on 30th April 2022
# 0077

Too true. But the "Fat Lady" has not sung yet. What will be be writing about on New Years Day 2023?

The First commented on 1st May 2022


Through my school years in in the 1950s we followed Grand Prix (F1) racing with passion. Being at an age when War Heroes were still relevant and very much part of our culture with movies like the Dam Busters fuelling our patriotism, who had not heard of Douglas Bader.

Car racing was dangerous and at the level of F1 exceptionally so. To us the drivers were like war heroes, they were daring and fearless risk takers, they were dashing and good looking. Sadly death and horrific injuries were part and parcel of the genre at the time. Most drivers would drive sports and grand prix cars. Mike Hawthorn, Jim Clark, Graham Hill competed very successfully in the British Touring card Championship. Hawthorn won the 24 hour Le Mans in 1955, the same year that saw nearly 100 spectators killed and a further 200 injured in the horrible Mercedes crash. Stirling Moss won the Mille Miglia. Jim Clark raced sports, touring, F1 and Indianapolis 500.

Half a century and more later Formula 1 has become so safe that the chances of an F1 driver being injured or killed are significantly less than the normal road user faces every day. New cars are faster F1 cars from the 1950s and 1960s could accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in about 4 seconds, and their estimated top speed was 290 km/h. Current F1 cars can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 2.6 seconds, and their estimated top speed is 360 km/h.

The present day F1 drivers are without question the most skilled racing drivers ever, in the old days the drivers dealt with a gear lever, 3 pedals and a steering wheel nowadays they are driving a computer and multi tasking all the time.

This is a bit of a ramble but it is thoughts and jottings so where am I going with this?

Throughout the history of racing it is, bar mishap, the best car that wins. This does not mean that the drivers are not very skilled and I think even more so now. When you see 1 or 2 seconds covering the first three cars at the end of a race I am inclined to draw the conclusion that it is the best car that wins.

I do not decry the unquestionable skills of Lewis Hamilton but I do question if he would have been so successful without having the best car. Verstapen is also very good but he also has a winning car. Had Vettel been in Hamilton's seat with MB in 2015 would he not have added another 5 World Champions to his existing 4?

We will never know, but have all the Champions reached that level because primarily they had the best machinery and had the skill to utilise it?

The First published this on 29th April 2022
# 0076


As more of the documentation from Pfizer re their MRNA vaccine is analysed (Documentation that Pfizer tried to suppress for 50 years and which a US federal judge overthrew); it is starting to show what an an appalling scandal has been perpetrated globally The BMJ published this article alluding to it

Quote from the BMJ: “The release into the public domain of previously confidential pharmaceutical industry documents has given the medical community valuable insight into the degree to which industry-sponsored clinical trials are misrepresented. Until this problem is corrected, evidence-based medicine will remain an illusion”

London Crier published this on 28th April 2022
# 0075

Isn't this just the dichotomy? Drug companies are corrupt, lie and mislead but also create considerable benefits.

Their lobbying power is greater than any other industry, they are generous with their "gifts and sponsorship" and many bureaucrats have jobs monitoring them.

I think that it will never change and we will just have to take the good and try and avoid the bad.

The First commented on 30th April 2022


The US Defence Secretary says they want to see the Russians weakened so they could not do the sort of things they have done in the Ukraine invasion.

So he wants to weaken Russia and back them into a corner. That would maybe be a very good tactic, but idiotic if you put them in a situation where their only way out is a nuclear option.

But maybe the fuckwit finds that a difficult thought to compute.

The First published this on 25th April 2022
# 0074

USA. continues its policy of weakening EU. Like all it’s other interventions it will stop interfering and leave EU to clear up its own mess

London Crier commented on 27th April 2022


Excellent article spelling out a lot more clearly what I have indicated and believed what we are in the midst of.

London Crier published this on 22nd April 2022
# 0073

Thank you for that. Brilliant analysis !

The First commented on 23rd April 2022


I am very curious and knowledge is a drug. During my life I have lived in cities that have a good newspaper to start the day with, starting from the 60s that would have been The Times of London, Toronto Globe and Mail, New York Times, Los Angeles Times. My years in Australia did not offer any good morning reads.

I now live in Vienna and enjoy many papers throughout the day - all online. I subscribe to London Times, Daily Telegraph (UK), Guardian, Washington Post, New York Times, The Local Austria and Der Standard. Way too many, and way too addictive.

It is very difficult to say which is the best but I would lean to the Washington Post on reporting, Guardian for Movie/TV reviews and London Times for publishing Jeremy Clarkson's musings. I tend to avoid opinion pieces in all because none have the courage to be non-woke!

Maybe the only advantage is the ability to get many reports on the same topic and form a reasonable judgement of the facts based on analysis. Also I appreciate the BBC Reality Check it is helpful and explains the checking process - logic I like!

I know this desire to vacuum up the news is a bit over the top, it also costs a fair bit. The problem is which to drop.

The First published this on 21st April 2022
# 0072

I’d agree it is getting more and more difficult to identify the truth

London Crier commented on 22nd April 2022


So many countries now dropping their vaccine requirements for entry. The booster frenzy has had no impact on cases and governments maybe starting to realise the “vaccines” don’t work for the majority of the population. Guess much the same will happen with sanctions against Russia which have had no impact apart from shooting Europe in the foot

London Crier published this on 21st April 2022
# 0071

Too true!

Here, in Austria all restrictions, except face masks on public transport, pharmacies and supermarkets, were dropped last week. Daily new cases down by 50% and ICU also 50%.

I agree the sanctions are self destructive. Apart from the fact that it is an arms industry bonanza I wonder why Ukraine is receiving so much aid. It is an extremely corrupt country, which is why the EU has not welcomed it. Seeing all the rich Ukrainians enjoying life in Vienna while their poorer countrymen suffer is appalling. As divisive as it is I am one of those people who believe in non-interference and a world not driven by the USA's self perception of real politik, a government that triumphantly declared on the collapse of the USSR that "Russia was returning to democracy" - that would be the serfs lives pre-revolution? - such ignorance!

The First commented on 21st April 2022


Flicking through Netflix I stumbled upon Bridgerton..!

I cannot help being WASP that's what I was born as, but in my 7 decades on this earth I have tried to keep up with changes, and there have been many.

I must confess to being more than confused with the WOKE desire to cancel history but rewriting it is surely a step too far!

While I accept that it is fiction that does not excuse the ridiculous premise.

The First published this on 20th April 2022
# 0070

The tragic thing is that a largely historically unread modern culture seems unable to distinguish between fantasy and fact

London Crier commented on 21st April 2022


La Pen says if she is elected she will align France with Russia. I wonder how this will play with the electorate.

I have French friends who are centrist, some right wing and a few who lean towards communism. What they all have in common is that they a fiercely French. Surely a Nationalist party tends more toward insular thinking and not creating alliances with other countries, also if she wants to make the "communists" happy that would need alliance with the USSR.

It seems a strange election ploy but is also worrying if it were to come to be.

The First published this on 15th April 2022
# 0069

I guess if you always treat a country as your enemy - then they do become one

London Crier commented on 21st April 2022


The UK has an energy crisis. The UK is hardly alone in this respect. Germany and much of Central and Eastern Europe face an even worse situation, with unpleasant geopolitical consequences. Their new energy dilemma is existential. Either Germany and its neighbours find a way to make peace with Russia, or their soaring energy costs will render their previously competitive export machine unprofitable.

That the most economically vibrant part of the EU is at risk of a severe negative energy shock is also an existential risk for the euro. Without an economically competitive Germany, who is going to carry the weaker, heavily-indebted and relatively uncompetitive members of the single-currency area?

The answer is: no one. If the German export machine grinds to a halt, the euro is doomed. And if the euro is doomed, the EU will not survive in its present form.

Brexit has been disruptive no doubt, and may continue to be so in various ways for some time. But while lowering lifeboats from the sinking Titanic might have disrupted an otherwise pleasant evening for the passengers, the alternative was far, far worse.

A series of unfortunate events, some self-inflicted, may have blown up the UK’s previous energy strategy, but Brexit is not to blame. The damage to the EU has been much worse. The amount of “nuclear fallout” on both sides of the Channel may be of historic proportions.

London Crier published this on 13th April 2022
# 0066


Ukranian troops say that a drone dropped something that made them feel unwell, no deaths or reports of bleeding from the eyes or coughing up blood, no reports of skin blotching.

Chemical weapons kill!

Call me a cynic.. but?

The First published this on 13th April 2022
# 0065

They tried that trick once before in Iraq I remember. The misinformation coming out of the West is reaching epic proportions. I imagine as sanctions prove to be - as usual - ineffective, misinformation will be all that’s left to resort to.

London Crier commented on 13th April 2022


No doubt the world’s movers and shakers are very surprised by what their Russian sanctions have triggered so far – an energy crisis, a food crisis, rationing, a recession signal, soaring petrol prices, the prospect of double-digit inflation, the risk of Russian bond payments going missing, rising trade flows outside the US dollar system, the electorate questioning net-zero commitments, and plenty more.

Western leaders had clearly hoped to cause chaos inside Russia. However, it seems their own electorates are the ones suffering.

The Russian rouble has recovered from its plunge, the Russian stock market is open (under certain restrictions), and nations are happily buying Russian energy exports…

To sum up, it seems to me that the sanctions effort has boomeranged, with Western political leaders realising it has missed Putin and is heading straight for them.

Boomerangs can be surprisingly painful for the thrower. But that’s nothing compared to what’s coming our way as a result of the sanctions recently imposed.

London Crier published this on 11th April 2022
# 0064

It seems to be human nature to "cut of your nose to spite your face".

I was living in a nice area of Beverly Hills at the time of the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, we watched it unfold as, rather than attack the bastions of (white) wealth, the angry coloured people destroyed their own neighbourhoods.

The First commented on 12th April 2022


The Chzeck are giving Ukraine their outdated Russian tanks. They will expect these to be replaced.

Thousands of incredibly expensive weapons have single use, but all that is being channeled to Ukraine will need replacement.

Many western armys will be glad of the opportunity it creates for newer a better equipment to replace it.

Bottom line is the weapons industry is facing boom times ahead!

The First published this on 9th April 2022
# 0063

They must be rubbing their hands together and praying Russia takes it’s time- just aweful

London Crier commented on 13th April 2022


Yesterday I went to Bentley Wien to have an adjustment on my car. I noticed a Ukranian registered Bentley outside. Inside a 50ish year old male with dyed hair and a 30ish female. Both in Fendi track suits with Leboutin sneakers.

I chatted with the manager and asked if many similar customers in the past month. He said they have done check ups and services on over 150 Bentleys, Lamborghinis and Bugattis from Ukraine. He commented that most were Russian speaking and under 60 and said "Obviously money buys you a pass from the law restricting males under 60 from leaving their country"

Maybe this blatant show of corruption is evidence of why the EU was never reaching out to Ukraine to become a member.

The First published this on 9th April 2022
# 0062

I imagine the tip of the iceberg

London Crier commented on 13th April 2022


So, the director general of the Cabinet Office’s COVID-19 Taskforce was fined for breaking Covid-19 lockdown rules. And the government's former ethics chief was fined for breaking them too. The person who wrote the Covid rules and the person in charge of ethics… hmmm.

What does it tell us about the rules, then, when those who wrote them don’t follow them?

This combination of questionable rules and hypocrisy in not applying them is nothing new. The US Congress had its own bootlegger with storage on site during prohibition, after all. The Royal Navy quaffed French brandy while hunting down smugglers for bringing the same stuff to the UK during the Napoleonic Wars. JFK hoarded Cuban cigars before imposing the embargo against them.

The gaps between policy, reality, enforcement and hypocrisy are an inherent part of government.

But if the inability of politicians and civil servants to follow their own rules reveals something about the efficacy of those rules, which other rules might have been completely pointless too? Rules less likely to catch out politicians and civil servants than bans on parties.

How much of the damage done by Covid rules was unnecessary?

And why stop at Covid rules? What else is going on out there that we don’t know about?

I mean, if the head of ethics and the person who wrote the pandemic rules are supposedly risking their lives by breaking the rules in order to have some fun, what might other civil servants and policymakers be up to in less dramatic arenas?

It seems to me that governments are led and staffed by deeply incompetent, dishonest people who consider themselves to be above the law and well above us.

And yet, the people clamour for them to do more. More to keep us safe, healthy and solve our problems.

The clamour for the government to do more only gets louder as each of the government’s debacles unfold.

London Crier published this on 7th April 2022
# 0061

Your headliner is interesting but I think just the tip of the iceberg.

Dismally poor education with lack of parental guidance. Teachers who are not allowed to discipline children. Prospect of living their whole life in abject poverty. Lack of structure with no people to respect and no people respecting them. You are dealing with a group of people who have never been taught to think for themselves but rely on input from other people.

Add to this the influence of the Internet with the groups that might give these people a sense of belonging and meaning. Groups that prey on their weakness and vulnerability by promising better things.

This group, about 30% of most western countries, get behind politicians with right wing and nationalistic agendas. There are enough of these people to swing an election and give us the incompetent governments we now have.

These people have a blind loyalty, they don't bother about the lies coming out of Westminster or Wahington they just take them in their stride. The effect of this is that those inept lying politicians we are burdened with have no accountability.

Add to that the growing unification of the so called Christian right with the nationalistic movements in the USA.. but that is yet another topic.

The First commented on 8th April 2022


I’m regularly asked “What do I think about the Ukraine war”. My response is “that depends on whose narrative you believe.” The overt propaganda we are being fed in the West is understandable but does little to inspire confidence. A recent case in point is the simultaneous release of videos of Russian atrocities by Ukraine sources, that within minutes led to Western condemnation and the issuance of sanctions. You cannot verify videos in minutes- yet the sanctions response was also immediate, coordinated and widespread. What is going on ?

And what about these sanctions?

EU The EU has acknowledged that the money it continues to funnel to Russia in exchange for gas has dwarfed its aid for Ukraine even since the outbreak of the war by a ratio of almost 40 to one.

U.K. Labour’s shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy said: “The Government still needs to go faster and harder on sanctions against Putin’s barbaric regime. It is inexcusable that several of Liz Truss’ previous announcements still have not been implemented. “Weeks after both measures were promised, there is still no ban on the export of luxury goods or limits on Russians depositing money into UK bank accounts. There are still loopholes around trusts and ownership thresholds. Talking tough without delivering is unacceptable.”

London Crier published this on 7th April 2022
# 0059

"The first casualty of War is truth".

My wife said "It's terrible what the Russians have done!" My response was "it is terrible what the Ukranians say the Russians have done"

Even when this is all over the truth will still be a stranger. If there have been war crimes as alleged they must be systematically and responsibly investigated. I agree absolutely that the immediate knee jerk action to further punish Russians is wrong.

The First commented on 8th April 2022


Using Israeli Ministry of Health data on more than 1.2 million people 60 and over who were eligible for the fourth dose during the period when Omicron was the dominant variant, the study’s authors found that while a second booster of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine offered strong protection against severe infections for at least six weeks, the protection against all infections began to wane after four weeks and almost disappeared after eight. “Overall, these analyses provided evidence for the effectiveness of a fourth vaccine dose against severe illness caused by the Omicron variant, as compared with a third dose administered more than 4 months earlier,” the authors wrote. “For confirmed infection, a fourth dose appeared to provide only short-term protection and a modest absolute benefit.” Also from the study: After four weeks, people 60 and over who had only one booster were 3.5 times more likely to suffer severe illness than those who had the fourth dose. The comparative protection offered by the second booster was similar, if not slightly higher, in the sixth week. The likelihood of getting infected at all was another story. After four weeks, those with only one booster were twice as likely to get infected than those with a fourth dose, but that ratio fell to 1.1 times after eight weeks.

London Crier published this on 7th April 2022
# 0058


Concerns have grown that the dollar's dominance could be declining.

• Goldman Sachs has said the US dollar faces a number of risks, and could become a lesser currency like the UK pound.

• The US' tough sanctions on Russia have raised concerns that countries around the world could try to move away from the dollar.

• Goldman said the US' foreign debts mean that foreign investors may become reluctant to hold dollar assets.

Goldman Sachs has warned the US dollar faces risks that could erode its global dominance, saying it's dealing with some of the same challenges that the British pound faced in the early 1900s.

The move by the US and its allies to freeze Russia's central bank out of much of its foreign currency reserves has raised concerns that countries could start moving away from using the dollar, due to worries about the power the currency grants the US.

Goldman's research note, released Thursday, is a sign major investors are taking the risks to the dollar seriously.

The bank's analysts, including economist Cristina Tessari, said the dollar faces a number of challenges similar to those faced by the British pound before it declined. The pound was once the world's reserve currency, but was supplanted by the dollar in the middle of the 20th century.

Those challenges include the fact that the US has a relatively small share of global trade compared to the dominance of the dollar in global payments. That the country has a deteriorating "net foreign asset position", with rising foreign debts. And that it faces geopolitical problems, such as Russia's war in Ukraine.

Tessari and her colleague Zac Pandl said the US's big debts, stemming from the fact that it is a big importer of goods, could be a particular problem.

International investors became more and more reluctant to hold the British pound after the country racked up major debts in World War II, the Goldman analysts said.

"If a reserve currency issuers' debt is allowed to grow relative to GDP, eventually foreigners may grow reluctant to hold more of it," they wrote.

Gita Gopinath, deputy director at the International Monetary Fund, told the Financial Times this week that Western sanctions against Russia could create a more fragmented global system that could damage the dollar.

She also said increased use of other currencies in world trade would cause national central banks to diversify the foreign reserves that they hold, at the expense of the greenback.

However, many analysts argue the dollar's status as a global reserve currency is safe for the foreseeable future, given there's no viable alternative ready to step in, like the dollar did when it replaced the pound.

Goldman argued that the status of the dollar is largely in the US' hands. "Policies that allow unsustainable current account deficits to persist, lead to the accumulation of large external debts, and/or result in high US inflation, could contribute to substitution into other reserve currencies," the bank's analysts said.

London Crier published this on 6th April 2022
# 0057

There is an inevitability about this, the cycle of empires, lest we forget that China and India were the economic power houses of history.

Whatever will be, will be!

The First commented on 6th April 2022


"So here I am 62 years old and unemployed, not only that I am getting a bit pudgy. Having totally annihilated myself by my bad behaviour and a particular TV interview and not being endowed with great intellect I find my prospects depressing.

I enjoy an obscene level of privilege without a huge burden of responsibility, I did have my job as special representative for international trade and investment. Traveling the world, at tax payers expense, and meeting dictators, would be dictators, corrupt politicians and businessmen afforded me the wonderful opportunity to trade on my position for money and favours. The ability to sell my house at 3 million pounds over market value, getting a 2 million pound unsecured loan settled as a thank you for officially opening a bank branch, all these perks are things that leave lesser mortals than myself confused.

My loving ex-wife has encouraged and enabled a lot of my financial manipulations, indeed she has also sold her name and potential contacts for money. To be the son of one of the richest people in the world and being given a measly allowance that makes me, by far the poorest of all people in my social circle, is very difficult, after all a fellow cannot live on titles alone!

Anyway it is a dark period in my life all the military titles are gone and I am no longer a Highness. All I have left is the Dukedom, but even the citizens of the city for which I am named want me to give that up too. Sad days. At least my family have stepped up to pay my legal debts and to see that I am not starving.

Among all these maudlin thoughts I am reminded that 40 years ago was the time of the Falklands War. This was the very best time of my life I was doing something good, I was putting my life at risk and proving that I was a somebody not just a night clubbing prince. Good days indeed, happy days for me.

It then occurred to me to use my ex-wife's Instagram account so I can send a message to the world reminding them how good and brave I was. Brilliant idea!

So I write my little self promotion and I am feeling so good about myself that I sign it with HRH so that people can see the redeemed me. Like many thing in my life that backfired very quickly and the post had to be removed. All very confusing, but I have since learnt that if I had used for my self adulation I would not have had to delete it - I could have edited it. I hear that it is so easy it takes no sweat at all - not that I sweat, I have a condition that means I cannot!"

The First published this on 5th April 2022
# 0056


Today we removed a participant and all their posts.

Although the policy is firmly stated and they agreed to by bound by the Terms and Conditions of Thoughts & Jottings they persisted in promoting their anti-vaxxer ideology and were not prepared to enter into or listen to any discussion.

This breach is the reason for removal.

MANAGEMENT TEAM published this on 5th April 2022
# 0055


I have spent a huge amount of time investigating so many of the anti-vaxxer theories, alleged facts and the arguments that are put up. Endless cross referencing and fact checking shows most to be groundless. BUT, and this is significant, historically vaccines have prevented people from catching a disease and people expected the efficacy of Polio, small pox, measles and many other vaccines which do and did stop people getting the disease. The undeniable fact is that the vaccines for the current pandemic do not work in preventing people from catching the disease!

I believe that naming these injections as vaccines has been the fundamental problem since it created the perception that they would prevent disease - they don't!

Billions of people get a flu "jab" every year with the knowledge that it will not always stop them getting flu but it will stop them from getting ill with flu. Had the 'powers that be' presented these vaccines as a "jab like the flu jab" expectations would have been different and there would have been less controversy.

If we refer to the vaccines as jabs and then reference Chicago reporting an age-adjusted death rate peaking at 14 per 100,000 for the un-jabbed around Jan. 22 compared to about 1 per 100,000 for the triple jabbed it seems to substantiate the effectiveness of getting jabbed.

Finally for people who do not really grasp how statistics are used, and can be manipulated, it is very easy to be influenced. A statement that "80% of people getting infected are vaccinated" could well be true and jumped upon as a reason that getting vaccinated makes you more likely to be infected.

BUT if 80% of the population is vaccinated and all people are equally susceptible to catching a disease, vaccinated or not, then out of those who get the infection 80% will be vaccinated and 20% not! - that does not mean that the disease favours the vaccinated, it treats all equally, it's just that there are more vaccinated. The statistic that should be looked at is what happens after infection to the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated.

The First published this on 2nd April 2022
# 0054

Well reasoned. One wonders whether governments will ever be held to account for calling an injection a vaccine when patently it isn’t. Retaining the legal position as “experimental “ to avoid future litigation. Using behavioral scientists to create fear in the population. Initiating lockdowns that have been shown to be ineffective. Lastly, what appears to be the deliberate suppression of side effects of these injections.

London Crier commented on 2nd April 2022


I love this news report. China continues to adhere to Sun Tzu … “ If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Speaking at a virtual summit with EU leaders on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian blamed the US for initiating the invasion. “As the culprit and leading instigator of the Ukraine crisis, the US has led NATO to engage in five rounds of eastward expansion in the last two decades after 1999,” he said. Nato’s membership has grown from 16 to 30 countries which has pushed “Russia to the wall step by step” and Beijing would not be forced to “choose a side or adopt a simplistic friend-or-foe approach,” he said. “We should, in particular, resist the Cold War thinking and bloc confrontation,” he added.

London Crier published this on 2nd April 2022
# 0053


A growing number of big investors, including bosses at BlackRock, Oaktree Capital Management and Allianz Global Investors, have gone public with predictions that the war in Ukraine will prove an inflection point in the global economy. “The Russian invasion of Ukraine has put an end to the globalisation we have experienced over the last three decades,” wrote Larry Fink, chief executive of the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, in his annual letter to shareholders last week. The isolation of Russia from capital markets will promote a trend everywhere towards national independence and hasten the development of rival economic blocs led by the US and China. A world in which cheap offshore manufacturing and smooth global supply chains hold costs down will be replaced by “a large-scale reorientation of supply chains”, and that will be inflationary, says Fink. That implies lower growth and lower returns for investors.

London Crier published this on 1st April 2022
# 0052

This is most interesting and in many ways sound. I have been, and still am, involved in international trade for 50 years. In my case we produce our product in our own facilities in China and sell worldwide using DHL for our logistics, this does give us a competitive advantage. We could move production to North America (Mexico) and Europe (Croatia) but we cannot source our base material in either continent and would still need to source that from China. I can see economies turning inward and becoming more insular but in the case of large exporters such as India and China they need to build their internal per person GDP to a much higher level to create an internal market that could take over from exports.

I also think the bankers and investment managers analysis should be considered against that fact that many of us (millions and millions) just "love to trade" and that will not change.

The First commented on 2nd April 2022


On reading that Bruce Willis is withdrawing from acting because he has aphasia. An actor who cannot use words, but what a horrible disease for anyone.

Having lived close to 20 years in Santa Monica it was, for me, part of life to meet movie stars socially and I crossed paths with Bruce Willis at a birthday party in Holmby Hills in the mid 90's. He was very amusing and articulate, and in a industry city full of overblown egos and narcissism he was very self effacing, down to earth with no side to him.

The First published this on 1st April 2022
# 0051


In the past week Zelensky has said that if sanctions on Russia started before the invasion it would not have happened! Maybe all countries that think about something should be sanctioned?

He further said that the countries who are flooding him with weapons and aid are cowards for not supplying troops or planes for a no fly zone. It is his war not ours and good sense says do not get directly involved.

Zelensky is slow to thank and fast to criticise.

The First published this on 29th March 2022
# 0050

I can’t help but think that the West flooding Ukraine with weapons has created a longer and more bloody humanitarian crisis. I wonder if all this weaponry was free?

London Crier commented on 30th March 2022


A recent Denmark study confirmed by government data from Germany showing that vaccinated people are 8X more likely to develop Omicron than unvaccinated people. This is confirmed by a paper from Germany showed the same thing: the more you vaccinate, the worse it gets. Both studies conclude that after 90 days, the vaccine they gave you is going to make you MORE likely to get infected from Omicron, not less. The longer you stay on the vaccine treadmill, the harder to get off in the future and the easier you’ll make it for the virus.

The worrying conclusion is these vaccines may help you win the war against a variant that may soon be rare (Delta) but the price you pay is that you make your immunity to everything else worse.

London Crier published this on 28th March 2022
# 0049

The report you refer to had the figures wrong was corrected by the RKI on the 3rd of January. Also Omicron was too new to make scientific evaluation.

But using statistics can be interesting. It is now known that Omicron infects everyone so if you have 80% of your population vaccinated then clearly more vaccinated people will get it that non-vaccinated.

This website does ask you to "Fact Check" things before posting. This particular topic comes out as untruthful and discredited in all fact checkers.

The First commented on 30th March 2022

This comment is addressed to Richard. I believe that you are a person who is more inclined to focus on conspiracy viewpoints and as such I can see no reasonable way of discussion with you since your view will prevail regardless.

The First commented on 30th March 2022

Please quote sources you refer to.

The First commented on 29th March 2022


I follow an old friend who is a philosopher and often presents a “different” and sometimes interesting insights into the the why. Two recent examples are below:-

London Crier published this on 27th March 2022
# 0048

Thanks for the links - most interesting.

The First commented on 28th March 2022


I’m a great fan of F1 and so interested to see the reaction of the FIA to the missile attack on the oil terminal a few miles away. Hamilton before the event expressed his misgivings about racing in Saudi because of the human rights abuses that are endemic in that country. Hamilton also led the push to abandon the whole weekend. I have some sympathy. Ironic that the genocide practised against the Yemenis by the Saudis supported by Western arms is not a part of the news report.

London Crier published this on 27th March 2022
# 0047

Me too, just love F1 and it looks like an interesting season ahead. Hamilton talks a lot and it is good for his image but I am troubled by his lack of action. Sort of in context with what Elon Musk said. It is easy to give money away and look good doing it, it is much harder to give money away and know it is doing good.

The First commented on 27th March 2022


We now know that the West lied about the reasons to invade Iraq that caused tens of thousands of deaths. When no weapons of mass destruction were found the narrative changes to spreading democracy - it of course didn’t happen. The same democracy narrative was used to invade Afghanistan - of course democracy didn’t happen either. The same lying narrative was used to destroy Libya and Gaddafi - of course it didn’t happen and as with above the situations like is worse than before the West’s interference. The evidence is now piling up that we were fed a tissue of fear, misinformation and lies around Covid. And now Ukraine. Our governments expect people to somehow think they have done a u-turn and are now telling us the unvarnished truth and if you don’t except the West’s narrative you are a traitor. How many times do our governments have to lie before a majority start to question their credibility.

London Crier published this on 26th March 2022
# 0046

Totally agree. Responsible press has called the Governments out on these issues, but how many people select to read more erudite levels of information?

The First commented on 27th March 2022


An interesting opinion piece in the Washington Post "Free speech doesn’t mean hecklers get to shut down campus debate"

In summary it talks about students shouting down an invited speaker to a debating event because they disagree with their views and it is the students right under freedom of speech to behave this way.

In this new woke world where these people are totally over-sensitive to every little hint of something that does not fit their agenda, debate has gone.

There is a new generation totally missing out on what universities did. They used to be places where intense and heated discussion flourished, places where you learnt to hear another view point, a place where you could disagree and be respected for your opinion. Higher education was an environment where people would listen to you, evaluate your views, then agree or disagree, they would not shout you down claiming that it was their right.

I hope intelligent discussion and debate are still alive somewhere?

The First published this on 25th March 2022
# 0044

You are so right. Fortunately fashions do change and reverse. Let’s hope this snowflake generation is soon replaced by one with a greater of the real

London Crier commented on 26th March 2022


Guess not too many in the West. But these two brands are starting to supplant the reign’s of Nike and Adidas in China. I wonder how many Western brands whose share price is predicated on a global business will start to feel the pinch as the West and East divide gets wider?

London Crier published this on 25th March 2022
# 0043

On this topic I had heard that many western brands continued to flourish in China while local companies took up the expanding lower price end of the same market. I know my business colleagues in China will always buy western products as a first choice.

The First commented on 25th March 2022


Did our not so bright diplomats pick up on that energy and fertiliser are also in crisis, aside from being very closely tied to each other in the first place. The Australian Workers’ Union explained just how connected they are back in 2021, under the headline, “Why You Should Give a Sh*t about Gas and Fertiliser”: "Australian consumers could see their food bills jump and even face food shortages as soaring fuel prices push the price of farm fertiliser sky high. The problem stems from an international fuel shortage, with prices of the two main sources of energy used to produce fertiliser – natural gas and coal – going through the roof. In Europe, some natural gas price indexes have risen by up to 895 per cent and these higher costs are wreaking havoc with industry and households exposed to the rising cost." Did none of our bright sparks in government tell them about coal and gas being crucial parts of the food chain?

London Crier published this on 24th March 2022
# 0042


The First commented on 24th March 2022


Consumer protection laws are not doing there job as intended!

At the September 2020 I purchase a treadmill from a German vendor Sportstech, it was 1200 Eur. In March 2021 it failed with their inability to offer repair, because they did not have parts, after two months I purchase a Reebok treadmill and assigned the broken unit to the garage.

November 2021 I received the replacement parts to effect the repair - that is EIGHT months after it failed!

There are 8 clauses in the Consumer Protection laws that the vendor has breached so I filed a complaint with Commission. Today I from them that "The trader is not prepared to comply" - "Of course you are free to go to court (please consider the costs)"

Candidly if such laws do not have an enforcement arm then they are relatively weak and do not really help the consumer as much as the good intent behind the law. 

There should be a process, more akin to a ombudsman, that can review a complaint and make a determination that the buyers and vendors have to abide by.  As it is the court process favours the vendor, although I am a wealthy man I will not throw money at a court to 'maybe' obtain a judgement in my favour. The vendor is the silent victor.

Two years ago I purchased a Bentley from a dealer in Barcelona and on arrival in Vienna we found it would not pass inspection. We then had it examined by an engineer who found hidden faults to the value of over 20.000 Euro that needed to be fixed to bring the car up to inspection. In this case the Consumer laws offer great protection to me and I have spent 10.000 Euro to take them to court this May, but there again I am fortunate enough to be able to afford it and take advantage of these laws.

If you do not have the financial wherewithal to take unscrupulous merchants to court the law is not protecting you at all. It is just a law without teeth and of little help or consequence to those it is designed to protect.

Aside from my foregoing comments it is disappointing that a vendor has such appalling customer service. My company has a policy of reaching a "customer is happy" resolution for all customer instances withing 72 hours of initiation even if it looses us money. We do this because a happy customer and a good business reputation outweighs all other commercial considerations - we have a 98.9% customer satisfaction rating!  Also emphasise quality and customer service so we have only had 12 such customer instances from over 100.000 sales in the last 16 years.

The First published this on 24th March 2022
# 0041

It seems to me that as nations grow legislation of all types they at the same timereduce the budgets of those supposedly put in place to ensure it is complied with. On that basis new legislation is more about grandstanding than actually to protect people?

London Crier commented on 24th March 2022


You wonder when everyone knows that Russia and Ukraine account for 29% of global grain exports, why our diplomats didn’t try harder to broker and complete a deal back in 2014 with Russia and Ukraine?

But instead Russia is being sanctioned and Ukraine’s ports are blockaded by Russia, with 15 million tonnes of wheat, corn and barley waiting on the docks. The West continues to increase the human misery by continuing to send arms to Ukraine and making worse a global food crisis that will lead to deaths that will make the loss of life in Ukraine look like a blip.

London Crier published this on 24th March 2022
# 0040

The "west" has been arrogant and complacent by ignoring (avoiding) sitting down to reach a deal with Russia and Ukraine to secure stability.

No one really wanted Ukraine in the EU or NATO, after all it is one of the most corrupt countries in the world as per "British newspaper Daily Mail reported that Hungarian customs found $28 million and around €1.3 million in cash in the pockets of Anastasia Kotvitsky, wife of controversial Ukrainian MP Igor Kotvitsky."

Had the "West" relayed it's disinterest in Ukraine rather and sweeping it under the rug the current situation might well have been avoided.

As a footnote on the Ukrainian refugees from Vienna. Lots and lots of top end new SUVs Bentleys, Rolls-Royce, Range Rovers, Lamborghinis etc. plus lots of super car sports models all with Ukrainian plates. Seems that not all are suffering having fled to their second homes or 5 star hotels here in Austria. Corruption - make up your own mind!

The First commented on 24th March 2022


Following on from my last post I was made aware of this interesting discussion about what many feel will be the real consequences of this current war on Ukrainina soil. More interesting insight

London Crier published this on 21st March 2022
# 0039


Why does China maintain a trillion dollars as reserves?

One big reason is it needs to buy oil, to the tune of 11 million barrels a day.

At 50 dollars a barrel, that's 200 billion a year.

At 100 dollars a barrel, that's 400 billion a year.

A trillion in reserve doesn't sound excessive now does it? In fact, China's dollar holdings are low if we count the sum of imports settled in dollars.

The Chinese are now the biggest customer of the Saudis, buying a quarter of production. The Saudis breaking with the petrodollar and settling in yuan is a huge deal because it is a landmark development. The Chinese have managed to hack long term oil deals priced in yuan and euros with major oil producers such as Russia and Iran, but these are hardly considered mainstream suppliers. The Saudis coming on board is a golden seal of approval for the belt and road initiative, because the yuan must be useful in trade flow for it to be accepted as settlement.

In other words, commodities for development, connectivity and goods. A formula China has been repeating with success in many corners of the globe, armed with the rich experience of development-fueled growth back home.

Chipping away at the dependence on the petrodollar will allow China to reduce holdings of the dollar, which will help insulate the Chinese economy from a repeat of the GFC in 2008.

China doesn't want to be victimized by American excesses and mistakes, in particular the ruinous monetary and fiscal policies that have dominated the 21st century, especially the last decade post GFC.

De-dollarization is a long term aim.

The yuan has demonstrated amazing stability and resilience amidst the first-world-driven boom-bust cycles this century. Disruptions driven by financial upheavals can often be fatal to long term development, so the yuan is a logical choice, given china's own development record.

London Crier published this on 20th March 2022
# 0038


Last night we were at a dinner party and the person next to me was an anesthesiologist. She said she has spent the last two years intubating patients. I asked about vaccine effect on mortality.

She said that since December 95% ofcall deaths are unvaccinated with the other 5% being people with potentially fatal illnesses that have been exacerbated by the Covid.

She did observe that it is ironical that these people who did not want to get vaccinated were pleading to be given unproven expremintal treatments. Such is human nature.

The First published this on 19th March 2022
# 0037


A plan is proposed to connect the Indian RuPay system with Russia’s MIR Card payment system. 

“Indian businesspeople said they expected a new rupee-rouble pact to be exercised through state-owned banks, such as the State Bank of India’s Russian unit in Moscow, Commercial Indo Bank, and Russia’s Sberbank, which has a branch in New Delhi.”

The system would allow bilateral trade between India and Russia. Meaning that Russian companies can use rupees to buy goods from India, while Indian companies can use rubles to pay for imports from Russia.

This isn’t the first time India has used alternative payments to circumvent western sanctions: 

“A rupee-rial mechanism by two Indian banks let Indian companies buy Iranian oil, bypassing Washington’s sanctions on Tehran.” India also had trading systems with the USSR during the cold war and even resorted to barter.

Additionally to this the …..

“Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and China agreed to design the mechanism for an independent international monetary and financial system. The EAEU consists of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Armenia, is establishing free trade deals with other Eurasian nations, and is progressively interconnecting with the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).”

“The Eurasian system will be based on “a new international currency,” most probably with the yuan as a reference, calculated as an index of the national currencies of the participating countries, as well as commodity prices. The first draft will be already discussed by the end of the month.”

If speculation is true that Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon will join, it will pose a serious threat to sanctions. Given the tenuous food security among these nations, there is little room for moral principles when confronted with the choice of starving or breaking sanctions.

London Crier published this on 19th March 2022
# 0036

Thank you for your posts they are, as always, very interesting. But I pose a question. Why cam we not expand the group?

The First commented on 19th March 2022


I made a post on the 3/3 about how key gold will become as a result of this vilification and sanctions against Russia. Have just listened to a translation of a recent speech by Putin who specifically refers to it as being one of the mechanisms to counter the West and the dollar. For this to be higlighted by a leader, I think, is very significant.

London Crier published this on 18th March 2022
# 0035


Back in the 70's OPEC was blamed for the oil crisis and consequent inflation. In fact OPEC was formed to deal with the destabilisation of the dollar following Bretton Woods and the decoupling of the dollar from the gold standard. Today central bank policy has ensured inflation was going to become a big problem. Fortunately, similarly, they can now blame Russia for the rise in inflation and energy prices.

It would not surprise me to hear governments tell their electorate that putting up with the pain of inflation is now their patriotic duty - as they have little left in their armoury to deal with inflation

London Crier published this on 18th March 2022
# 0034


Of course the subject header is an oxymoron - it is impossible for politicians to have one or even know it’s meaning. So Boris - having called the EU’s dependence on Russian Oil and Gas an addiction created by the Soviet “drug dealer” suggests the EU should start to go cold Turkey. To assist Boris is now visiting dubious regimes like Saudi ( the day after 81 executions) and UAE ( now becoming Moscow 11 so that elite Russians can continue their brand shopping now that Goum is empty) to increase production to help feed the EU’s addiction .(Suspect he will get short shrift). Suddenly the US announces that they are near a breakthrough on Iran’s nuclear refining so sanctions can be lifted and oil sales resume. At the same time - after 5 years U.K. has done a deal with Iran to get released Iranian detainees to help sweeten any deal. But all the above is ok as our Western governments have now decreed these countries are not as bad as Russia.

London Crier published this on 16th March 2022
# 0033


History is full of instances of what appeared to be the right thing to do, in hindsight - caused more problems than the first response tried to solve. THe US seems to have got its way in destabilising the EU, getting it to spend more on defense and potentially damage its economy by putting sanctioning Russian Oil on the agenda totally by 2030. It could but help me smile to read a headline in the past few days where the US has committed to supply all the EU's oil requirement by then and is now stepping up its fracking operations to produce more oil. The EU's dreams of being an economic block to be reckoned with seem to be fading as they head to being another US dependent vassal state/s. Also just read a report that Saudi Arabia is considering using the Yuann to sell Oil in the China Seas Region - mmmh! It wouldn't surprise me to see the US actions end up creating a new axis of China, Russia, Iran and othe Middle East States that would in turn like to destroy the dollar and US economy. Geopolitically the US may have created a bigger problem, than they think they have now, that will make the "Arab Spring" following the US's meddling look like a tea party.

London Crier published this on 16th March 2022
# 0032


Enjoy the war. The peace is really going to hurt.

London Crier published this on 12th March 2022
# 0031


Picked up this report which I found disturbing to say the least. “Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland said Tuesday that there are “biological research facilities” in Ukraine the US is concerned Russian forces might seize. She made the comments when asked by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) if Ukraine has chemical or biological weapons.

“Ukraine has biological research facilities which in fact we are quite concerned Russian troops, Russian forces, may be seeking to gain control of, so we are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach,” Nuland said.” Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised as the US position The Biological Weapon Convention is that “

London Crier published this on 11th March 2022
# 0030

When I went to school we had two different disciplines Biology and Chemistry which is which? because sure as hell they are not the same. The other responder to this Post seem to be very quick to believe Russian propaganda.

The USA along with other countries, the EU and WHO have long funded both biological and chemical institutes in most of the old soviet countries this has always very open and very public and the reasons and outcomes (results) are far from sinister.

I respectfully refer to this from BBC, same as fact checks of many from respected sources.

The First commented on 13th March 2022


Interesting article in NYT today about Russia's army. It says that although Russia will likely ultimately prevail because of overwhelming numbers the attack on Ukraine has exposed the weakness of the Russian military at many levels and shown that it is an army not to be so feared in a ground war.

They also point out that although there has been a huge budget to modernise the army much of that money has been converted to luxury yachts etc.

The First published this on 8th March 2022
# 0028


As a corollary to my thoughts on the impact gold may have on the West, it was interesting to see this article today in seeming support.

London Crier published this on 6th March 2022
# 0027


I enclose an unverifiable link to a view opposite to the rather naive and often transparent propaganda efforts of the West. It illustrates that trying to take an accurate view of what actually happens when bombarded by propaganda - is an act of faith snd which god of war you worship.

The latter part of the article on the economic affects of sanction on its originators is just the thin edge of a coming thick wedge. It illustrates a repeat of the government kneejerk reactions we all experienced during Covid - reactions that lead to more damage - the consequence of unthought out actions

London Crier published this on 6th March 2022
# 0026

I liked the article.

Another Chernobyl this will not be the technology and reactor type is totally different.

Cutting of your nose to spite your face would cover a lot of what is said in the article. Also since most of the Oligarchs hold most of their money outside Russia just think about how much more of Russia they can buy at a knocked down (Rubble) price.

The First commented on 7th March 2022


We are currently watching The "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and find it thoroughly entertaining at all levels. Its slick, fast paced, very New York, very Jewish wonderfully acted with great period sets and incredible costumes. A 5 star review with points.

One cannot fail to be aware that this show is big budget and it shows, you just get the feeling that they did not spare a dollar to get what they wanted and boy does it work!

Before this we were watching "Yellowstone". Same thing, a big budget production which just sucks you in with the incredible scenery and horsemanship that is stunning.

Even "Emily in Paris", an American soap fantasy of a totally unreal Paris, gets the viewers attention for the fact it is shot in Paris and the scenery is so good and the costuming over the top but brilliant in the context. This again screams that they have been spending the money to deliver the best they can.

Many other lower budget productions are very good, have good acting, good story lines and are nice to watch but they dont quite have the zing factor of the really good big budget shows.

The First published this on 6th March 2022
# 0025


CNBC just reported that elevated levels of radiation are being detected near the nuclear site in Ukraine. They do not say what those levels are if they are high or dangerous - just elevated levels, to bring fear.

However, the IAEA noted background radiation levels were normal. But who reads the good news!!!

The First published this on 5th March 2022
# 0024

It occurs to me that there 2 generations of Westerners who have never experienced a full blown propaganda war by both sides of this current conflict, in their lifetime, and after 2 years of Covid misinformation most are sittings ducks to be worked up by it. The government and media know this and so the stories will become more extreme with an electorate who have forgotten how to be sceptical.

London Crier commented on 6th March 2022


As a follow on from my last jotting, if you thought the West was unprepared for inflation – or indeed for Russia – wait and see just how unprepared it is for this bombshell. The sanctions on Russia and its removal from the Swift messaging system this week are perhaps the most dramatic example of all. Russian civilians have had their wealth decimated. China will be surely watching all of this, learning from Russia’s mistakes and thinking it needs to de-dollarise as swiftly and discreetly as possible. Both Russia and China have known they must de-dollarise for some considerable time, which is why both have been so steadily increasing their gold holdings. Russia, according to official figures at least, the fifth-largest gold owner in the world (The UK sits proudly in 17th position. Behind Kazakhstan, Turkey and Uzbekistan. Thank you Gordon Brown!). First, consider China’s US dollar holdings – over three trillion of them. That’s more than the UK’s annual GDP. Its US dollar holdings eclipse those of every other nation; China is not going to want those to go to zero – not yet, anyway. China has much more gold than it says it does. Since 2000, China has mined roughly 6,830 tonnes. Over half of Chinese gold production is state-owned – the China National Gold Group Corporation alone accounts for 20%. And China keeps the gold it mines – the export of domestic mine production is not allowed. Second, there is the fact that, as well as being the biggest producer, China is the world’s biggest importer. Gold imports via Switzerland and Dubai are not always declared, but we do know that via Hong Kong alone, over 6,700 tonnes have entered the country since 2000. Then we have to add gold held in China, whether as bullion or jewellery, before 2000. The World Gold Council estimates a figure of 2,500 tonnes in privately-held jewellery. Added to domestic mining and official reserves, you get a figure of around 4,000 tonnes. “Chinese Central Bank gold holdings have apparently been entirely unchanged since mid-2019 at 1,948 tonnes,” Ross Norman tells me. “But few of us believe that. Put an additional zero on the end (19,480 tonnes) and I should not be surprised if that is not much closer to their official holdings”.- Ross Norman There is no way China can declare such large holdings. Not yet anyway – it would cause an unwanted surge in both the yuan and the gold price. The government's $3.2trn of US dollar foreign exchange reserves would be devalued.

If China decides to weaponise money, as the US has done, all it has to do is declare its gold holdings, perhaps even partially back the yuan with them. Talk was, at one stage, its central bank digital currency (CBDC) would be partially gold backed. Unbacked Western money risks losing a great deal of its purchasing power in such an event. To back Western fiat even partially with gold would mean a dramatic upwards revaluation of gold – into the tens of thousands. But that is the card China now has with its 20 years of relentless accumulation. He who owns the gold, makes the rules. The West should be paying attention - this new lawn growth is well under way!

London Crier published this on 3rd March 2022
# 0023

I totally get what you are saying, likely a foretelling of the inevitable. Actions by the West that could minimize or negate this are unlikely to happen since decision making in our "democracies" is very political driven by the need to be re-elected rather than economics.

While I do not espouse dictatorship China as an autocracy has the freedom and ability to make massive decisions quickly. I have been manufacturing my products in China for the last 16 years with great success and the people I do business with are a pleasure, but they are not in government.

The risk for China backing the Yuan to a gold standard is pricing themselves out of their biggest markets.

There had been a consensus among economists that the Chinese currency has been undervalued in the 15% to 40% range for many years. But the IMF said in the summer of 2015 that the Chinese currency was no longer undervalued against the dollar, but that's a fair time ago.

The First commented on 4th March 2022


Happily Austria willing to admit Ukrainian refugees, despite our restrictive migrant policy.

Vienna is but a 6 hour drive from the border between Hungary and Ukraine and we are very used to seeing UA license plates but in the last few days we are seeing many more. Cars where every is packed with possessions, always driven by women and usually with children.

It is so sad to see these people, without their men. I feel so sorry for them wondering what lies ahead for them and I cannot help thinking how lucky I am to never have been a refugee.

Could the extreme sanctions on Russia, their isolation from the world community and the huge losses that the Oligarchs will suffer lead to the downfall of Putin? One can only hope there is a light at the end of this horrible conflict.

The First published this on 3rd March 2022
# 0020

As in all wars the innocent suffer and Ukraine is no exception. The world as usual is pointing the finger in one direction and I am no apologist for Putin. My view is the current situation is a direct result of abject and dismal western diplomacy and strategy toward Russia and with a modicum of the foregoing this catastrophe could have been mitigated or avoided. For 8 years Russia has indicated it will do what we are witnessing if nothing was done about its concerns. The West has generally ignored them. From 2014 through to 2021 (figures relate to this period) Ukraine has waged a war on the inhabitants of Donetsk and Luhansk. During this period there have been 5,772 Russian separatists killed and 12,700–13,700 wounded and on the civilian front • 13,100–13,300 killed; 29,500–33,500 wounded overall • 414,798 Ukrainians internally displaced; 925,500 fled abroad How many in the West even know this has been transpired? One wrong does not justify another wrong but holding Ukraine (No 117th out of 180 countries in the global corruption league) as a shiny democratic and wronged nation is only presenting one side of this sordid narrative.

London Crier commented on 3rd March 2022


If you watch a lawn for a few days nothing much changes. Come back to an unmowed lawn after a Summer and it’s unrecognisable. Life is similar. I have lived long enough to see the disintegration of the British Empire from world maps at school which were mainly “pink”, euphemistically showing the extent of British colonies and protectorates. The pink has turned multicolour - the empire has disappeared, though you might not think so listening to our politicians! I have see the rise of the USA as a global hegemon. It feels it has the inalienable right to interfere in other countries affairs- invade and topple governments- all with the resultant chaos and massive loss of life we have seen in Vietnam, South America, North Africa, the Middle East etc. It is probably no coincidence that the current Ukrainian government owes its existence and support to the USA and if history repeats itself it will not end well. But the time for the USA as the global military political power has now passed -it faces China and its allies. But like the extinct British Empire, US politicians will struggle to recognise and adapt to this change. Unlikely I will be around to see this new lawn but after a long Summer, like the last, it will be unrecognisable.

London Crier published this on 2nd March 2022
# 0018

I too remember the pink world and the excuse to drink any time of the day because it's after noon in Bombay. I agree with your comments but you missed out our meddling and involvement in the post Tito conflicts in the Balkans.

The First commented on 3rd March 2022


War is appalling. Both sides are subjugated to their own narrative propaganda. Polemic and lies reign supreme and it’s almost impossible at the time to either sift out the truth or understand the reasons or motivations. Ukraine a case in point. So when I came across this conversation, which presented an insight into some of the causes which aren’t being covered in our news media it made me start to wonder ……….

London Crier published this on 27th February 2022
# 0015


Since starting this website I have done nothing to promote it. But with more and more dissatisfaction with Facebook hopefully now some people will not only use this site but also tell there friends.

The First published this on 27th February 2022
# 0014


To all our friends in Australia.

Please get vaccinated as soon as you can!

I read about what is happening with Covid 19 in Australia and end up confused. You have a lower rate of infection per 100,000 people than almost anywhere in the world but are in a constant state of flux, more like a seige state like North Korea (no one in, no one out).

For all the isolation the country has been successful in keeping Covid at bay, but you are not vaccinated enough to protect yourselves from the bubble that has now burst. In the UK new infection rates are almost as high as last September but hospitalisation is minimal and death likewise. Here in Austria we are also getting an increase in daily rates as our hospital rates and ICU rates drop each day.

Here there is a very simple rule. If you are going into a busy place you need 1. to prove that you have had Covid and recovered, 2 that you have a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours or 3 that you are vaccinated. This means that no one in that space is going to be passing Covid to other people.. Clubs, restaurants, pubs etc. Works very well and better than lockdown.

The First published this on 15th July 2021
# 0013


I follow Jeff Lawler who seems to find many interesting articles about Covid. Some you could almost classify as conspiracy theories, some espousing misinformation by the bucket load of BS and a few well grounded knowledgeable articles.

If you have the time and inclination to read the sensibly and rationally presented articles you would have little to fear about Covid other than your statistical established risk. If on the other hand you get your Covid information from the media, almost of any type, you will be confronted with doom and gloom.

Yesterday the media's scary story is that someone had 2 types of Covid and died, this presented in such a way as to further induce fear. The story has not been presented as being about a 90 year old, high risk, person who was not vaccinated, nor do they present it as the sole scientific anomaly it is. ONLY THE BITS TO SCARE YOU!

We are told the Delta variant is highly contagious but not how dangerous it is. People read contagious as dangerous, not so. While the Delta variant is being caught by thousands of people hospitalisation rates, ICU admissions and mortality is a mere fraction of what they were 6 months ago before this variant.

Clearly vaccinations are important not only in inhibiting the spread but cutting down the severity should you get it. The USA said there are zero Covid deaths of vaccinated people, and many other countries are reporting similar findings.

Although Covid will, like the Spanish flu, have to run its course the high levels of infection and mortality rates in many Western countries can be laid at the feet of the politicians who have been soft when they should have been much tougher. To do things that are unpopular is not a good way to get re-elected, personal self interest often outweighs the national interest.

When people scan information, and there is a lot of it, looking for highlights rather than in depth. They then publish the highlights that get repeated all over the media and become so scary people say " I am not going to be vaccinated because it is a huge risk". To the media I say you are irresponsible and to those who fear the vaccine that they better stay in bed for ever because their risk of dying if they do anything at all is possibly about 1000 times mor likely than if they get vaccinated.

Crazy times fuelled by misinformation, outright lies, half truths and the most incredibly irresponsible media.

The First published this on 15th July 2021
# 0012


For the last one and a half millennia Afghanistan has been invaded and conquered many times but never successfully occupied. In Victorian times with the might of the huge Indian army the British failed on several occasions, in the 20th century the Russians failed twice.

Even after witnessing the Russians give up in despair and after huge losses the US led NATO coalition invaded - like they are better than the rest?

So now we are witnessing the coalition give up like all before them. Loss of NATO and contractors lives at just under 10,000. Injuries, mostly devastating, well over 70,000. On the Afghan side 10s of thousands of dead and injured - mainly civilian.

So they leave with no glory, no victory, no changes having achieved absolutely nothing except kill and maim. They have hardened the hate for the west in the middle East and left thousands of families in the west damaged and in pain.

The stupidity of invading Afghanistan was akin to Hitler marching on Moscow with no regard to the failures of Sweden and Napoleon before him.

The saddest thing is that ALL intelligence agencies predicted this outcome and advised against it. Sadly the politicians needed some sword waving and killing to help their own careers.

Although the troops are leaving the damage will not and cannot be repaired. The legacy of stupidity will remain to be ignored by the next ones looking to conquer and change Afghanistan.

The First published this on 15th July 2021
# 0011


Taxing the super rich which is the new thing being talked about. I have some ideas.

How about not taxing true entrepreneurs who create wealth and jobs and taxpayers. In 2007 Microsoft-related activities were responsible for 14.7 million jobs, Amazon employs close to 1.5 million with many more multiples in indirect employment, Elon Musk is creating tens of thousands of jobs worldwide. There are many more entrepreneurs creating large work forces. They are all creating tax payers and all improving employment opportunities.

In contrast to the entrepreneurs there are super rich who gain wealth by money manipulation, investing for high return, but not exploiting their own ideas or creating jobs. Indeed in the case of quite a few funds they make money by asset stripping and creating job loss. These people should be taxed, maybe even penalised when they create unemployment!

A final thought concerns taxing older people who want to continue working. Why should a 70 year old who works and declines a pension or any government assistance have to pay tax at the maximum rate when they are already contributing what they are not taking?

The First published this on 15th July 2021
# 0010


The Independant says that the Bezos trip into space is proof that the super rich should be taxed. They sort of miss the point that his space company employs 3,500 paid out of his own (deep) pockets.

Many years ago a senate committee asked NASA how the could justify sending 3 billion dollars into space? The answer was "Senators we did not. The 3 billion dollars didn't leave earth it went into in the US economy advancing science and creating jobs. The result was sent to Mars.

It all a matter of perspective.

The First published this on 15th July 2021
# 0009


I bought a shade sail from these guys totally happy with the sail and their service.

Want a shade sail take a look at Sail Shade World

The First published this on 2nd December 2020
# 0007


Sometimes it is hard not to feel proud to be an Australian. In the last week our wonderful government, displaying their concern for the welfare of two year olds, has recommended that parents should ask permission of their two year olds to take their picture. It's nice to think that our two year olds are capable of having a discussion or thoughts about the merits of having their pictures taken.

Just now the start of our annual supercar race, the 500, was officially opened and blessed by the traditional owners of the land on which the race is run. Yet another wonderful example of our caring government doing what all the race fans want.

Much better to have the traditional owners dancing and playing traditional native music than a display of young children walking hand in hand with the drivers.

Not to mention the lack of highly paid, now unemployed, grid girls. All the audience in blue and red are now protected by our wonderful government from seeing these scantily clad girls, something that must have been objectionable to them.

Thank you Australia for doing the right thing and taking control of my decision making and control of what I can see. Also thank you for creating thousands of jobs for people putting up traffic warning signals and witches hats every several hundred metres to slow the flow of traffic.

The First published this on 24th February 2020
# 0006


If a juror shows or indicates any bias or preference that would influence their impartiality they are immediately disqualified.

The rules of Impeachment state that the Senators, the "jurors", should be impartial so why are not those Senators who have already declared how they will vote in the Impeachment proceedings denied the right to vote?

The checks and balances that were designed to control any misdeeds of any of the three branches of the US government become meaningless if everything is done party lines.

For generations of Americans bought up with the emphasis on Honest Abe, the President who never lied, and with a sense of security that government was well balanced and non partisan in matters that effected the good of the country these are indeed sad, sad days.

The First published this on 18th December 2019
# 0005


In a conversation yesterday the topic of Mrs Whitehouse came up, she was a campaigner against, as she put it "filth", on the BBC and elsewhere. She was the person responsible for Oz magazine being charged with blasphemy in the 1960s.

The thought of any publisher being charged with blasphemy in the UK or Australia in 2019 is laughable, although people back in the sixties were very seldom offended it now seems everyone is offended by something and little things become a big deal.

Last week Kerri-Anne Kennerley (Australian TV presenter) asked a co presenter if she was wearing pants in reference to a play suit the presenter was wearing. This was a jest in good fun but succeeded in offending (that word) thousands of viewers who said that she had slut shamed her colleague, official complaints to the TV station and eventually an apology from Kerri-Anne Kennerley.

Why is the world now governed by the FUN POLICE!

The First published this on 17th December 2019
# 0004


Time to toss in my two cents.

A wonderful outcome to the UK election with a huge majority the new government will be able to actually do something and release the people from this endless uncertainty.

I am a total Europhile with a home in Vienna, I even went to the length of calling on my Irish heritage to get an Irish passport so I can continue to be a citizen of the EU.

Having said that I have always respected the vote of the majority that gave us Brexit and now hope that it can be done so that the UK can maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with its biggest trading partner, albeit without being part of the EU.

Too much instability and waffling over the last three years. Hopefully this is now behind us.

The First published this on 15th December 2019
# 0003


Here is a tale about my wife's experience with a dentist in Adelaide.

In November (2018) they quoted over $4,000 for a full crown and two replacement fillings. They said this work should be done very soon to prevent any further disease or damage to the teeth.

Knowing we were coming to Europe and that very good inexpensive dentistry in Hungary is only a 50 minute drive from our home we thought we would wait.

In May I emailed the Adelaide dentist's quote to a dentist in Hungary who quoted just under $950 to do the same job. When we visited the dentist he examined my wife and took X Rays.

He said she needed NO dental work other than a clean, he was totally unwilling to do any work and make money from us!

Which dentist would you trust?

The First published this on 24th August 2019
# 0002