Welcome to Britain Watch

All the signs are that the governance of Britain is spiralling out of control: record trade and budget deficits; a swollen bureaucracy; an inadequate but costly education system; a government incapable of providing for our future energy needs; record emigration of native Britons, unprecedented levels of immigration; a mind-set putting the non-citizen ahead of the British citizen.

Britain Watch has been set up to highlight key examples of these trends and to promote practical reforms to reverse the incompetence and loss of national self belief they engender. All readers are invited to participate.

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Short News

Don't Miss Brexit Book by Stephen Bush
This illuminating study can be bought from Amazon UK for £6.99. Reviews available on site.  It’s an invaluable guide to understanding Britain’s position in negotiations on Brexit. [more »]

Exporters need to price their goods in local currencies and speak their languages
The latest 3-month trade figures indicate once again the habitual British practice of pricing their goods in sterling rather than the currency of the country they are trying to sell to. Thus the 2016 export figures for food and drink at £20 billion which Mrs Leadsom, the environment minister, revealed on 21st February, are larger than those of 2015, but actually the same as those in 2011-2013. If the exporters had priced in Euros, or dollars for goods they sold to the EU and USA, the last quarter of 2016, should have shown a 7-15% jump in value depending on product group (at constant volume) not the miserable 3-4% actually recorded. Actually the profit from the devalued pound sterling has gone mostly to agents in the customer countries which some UK exporters habitually use. [more »]

Any complaint will do, so long as it's against British feelings
Last week a National Health Service hospital manager at the Bristol Royal Infirmary told its 12 security guards that they must take off a 2 x 1½ inches Union Jack badge next to the NHS sign on their anti-stab vests, because a single hospital worker (unidentified) has made a complaint about them. It is a pathetic complaint, but what is really pathetic is the management’s craven response. This conformed to what may be termed “the law of offence”, whereby a single individual will have his/her wishes taken notice of, even when any number of people would, if asked, disagree. Probably in this case 99% of visitors to the hospital are pleased to see our national emblem on display in a quiet and decent way. [more »]

The Establishment - What is it?
When journalists talk about the Brexit vote on 23rd June 2016 and the US Presidential Election on 8th November 2016 being against the Establishment, two fingers etc., what do they mean by the Establishment, or believe those they refer to as “ordinary people” mean? The answer I believe is that there is not one single Establishment, sharing a home counties accent, or particular form of dress, taste in holidays, etc. [more »]

More Madness from the Climate Change Committee (CCC)
This shadowy body is a relic of the misbegotten Climate Change Act (2008) which, as a response to the EU (2003) Directive, saddled Britain with a raft of emissions reduction targets which will have no measurable impact on our climate. The CCC’s official role is to advise the government of the day on climate change matters. Its latest advice is even madder than usual. They want to start trials of using hydrogen to replace natural gas (methane) as the heating fuel for domestic housing. The “logic” appears to be that when hydrogen is burned with oxygen in the air, it releases heat and emits just water. [more »]

Top

They still don’t get it

Here is a gem of intellectual sleight of hand from a self-proclaimed economics “expert”.

Dame Nemet (Minouche) Shafik, an American lady of Egyptian origin[1], who retired on February 28th from being Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, (one of four such) to take up the influential post of Director of the London School of Economics (LSE) where she obtained an MSc (Economics) in 1986. Being responsible for “banks and markets” she served just over 2 years in her post at the Bank of England, barely time to learn their names and what they do. Nonetheless after this short time Shafik felt able to share her thoughts about the public’s view of “experts” as exposed she thought in the Brexit referendum.

Valedictory Speech by Minouche Shafik at the Oxford Union 27th February 2017

This was entitled “in experts we trust?” (www.bankofengland.co.uk/speeches). Shafik sets out the case for listening to experts, which she defines as “those who have invested time to develop a deep knowledge of a particular subject, usually with credentials and on-going professional development to maintain their skills”. Not a bad definition provided the “particular subject of study” actually has relevance and credibility to the field it is deployed in.

Some expertises are well-founded, others are not

Experts are rightly credited by Shafik with the increases in life expectancy, but these are due to advances in water engineering, sanitation engineering and healthcare in poor countries, designed by engineers and doctors – not economists. In parallel, and as a consequence of these improvements, average incomes in these countries have risen 20 times since the end of the Second World War. …[more»]