Not bad Deloitte, Nice Job!

Sometimes it takes an expensive management consultancy company to show Eurosceptic Tories and deluded kippers where Britain’s real problems are:

This may be news to you, but the UK government is nowhere near bringing the UK’s £ 1.4 trillion pound debt down as promised. All they managed in the last three years, is to marginally slow down, the rate by which the UK indebtness increases!

Source Deloitte

Source Deloitte

Deloitte’s “The State of the State 2014-15″ report also brings into perspective that Britain’s contribution to the EU budget, even with the £ 1.7 Billion surcharge for good performance, is paltry when compared to the government’s own daily expenses, particularly how much it costs to service the UK’s national debt. Yes that’s right…….!

The State of the State in numbers

  • £1.6 billion: The value to the public purse of every one per cent of public sector staff time saved through a productivity measure.
  • £1 billion a week: What the UK state already spends on debt interest – more than it spends on education.
  • 2044: The year the UK’s spending on servicing debt will overtake spending on public services – if it fails to eliminate the deficit.
  • £1.63 trillion: The state’s net liability at last count (2012-13) – an increase of £283 billion year on year, and the biggest rise since the start of public sector-wide accounts in 2009-10.

Simpleton #ukip activists, even smart people like  Dr Richard A E North in his fleXit pamphlet, love to quote the Norway example as a country that does quite well outside of the EU. North goes as far as mentioning Norway 146 times, without spotting a huge elephant in the room. This allways reminds me of the greatest political put down in history when Lloyd Bentsen puts down Dan Quayle with the words: You ain’t no Jack Kennedy!

Lloyd Bentsen puts down Dan Quayle

Lloyd Bentsen puts down Dan Quayle

To watch:

Let me tell you #ukip: UK ain’t no Norway!

To illustrate the point open the national debt clocks of UK and Norway side by side

debt counter

Posted in #brexit, EU, UKIP | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Open letter to François Hollande, President of France and why the EU needs Britain

Cher President de la Republique,

With apologies for writing this post in English, my French is just not good enough to express the disgust I feel with French bureaucracy just now. Statista informs me that over the last 10 years the government expenditure in France amounted to about 56 percent of their gross domestic product. That’s a full 12% more than Britain!

Just looking at a small area of government competency is illustrative of the way the French government squanders away hard earned tax revenues by employing incompetent civil servants, whose sole goal in life seems to be to say “Non!”

Loft insulation the French way and the British way

All European governments signed up to a challenging target to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by 2020. One of the most efficient ways to achieve this is to improve the insulation of your national housing stock. Britain introduced an enormously popular and successful campaign whereby the state subsidised the rolls of insulation material in big DIY stores so in fact you could buy a roll for just over £3.- instead of the usual £30

This resulted in a massive hausse in DIY enthusiasts tackling their drafty lofts. Even if some UK subsidised rolls disappeared in white vans across the channel, one could argue this is an acceptable loss mainly serving cold British pensioners in northern France – the ones who lost their winter fuel allowance because of a mean spirited recent move by David Cameron.

Realise that in France the price of the same material is around €47 a roll, which is strange considering us consumers do all the work recycling our bottles to make this stuff in the first place! France’s DIY stores charge extortionate prices for everything and need competition from British traders!


Towards the end of last year copious amounts of France’s precious state budget money was spent on radio advertising for the so called Prime « Rénovation énergétique » worth 1350€. Applying for it couldn’t be simpler: Just go on the web and fill in the form PREC1 found on If only it was that simple?

Instead of getting on with the job, the applicant then has to print this partly completed form and then faces the challenge of finding a local registered qualified artisan to complete a four page questionnaire and give you a quote or ‘devis’. I tried, they all run a mile!
You need a physics degree to study all the relevant insulation norms. I had paperwork returned to me four times, because a right number was entered in the wrong box, or a wrong number in the right box. How many would have given up by then? Nevertheless I persevered! I even bought my artisan a rubber stamp, because some pen licking bureaucrat in Caen insisted on one!

Then after four months in September 2014 my application was finally accepted. However I had to fill in a second form PREC2 with 90% exactly the same questions, even though they had a copy of my bill/facture and the work was long ago completed back in May. How much does it cost the French state to administer such a crazy scheme with so much paperwork? What percentage of the total cost actually ends up with the households intended and how much is admin wasted? Compare this to the British way subsidising the actual material: Simple, direct, cheap, efficient!

I forget to mention, to comply you need to choose two types of energy saving projects from a menu. A popular second choice is installing a wood burning stove. The smart ass civil servant designing the form however made it mandatory for the efficiency of this stove to be higher than 80%. Guess what: The only stoves that meet that requirement cost around €4,500 (beyond most household budgets) and are ugly as hell to boot. All the popular ones costing around €500 have efficiency ratings of around 75% and therefor excluded. Was the author on a retainer from Leroy Merlin one wonders, as they about the only shop that sells the high efficiency ones? You would think that European rules and standards ensure that wood burners, insulation material etc. complies with the necessary EU standards anyway, so why do we need a French civil servant checking that we correctly copy EU technical information found on some obscure label at the back of an already EU approved product? Mr Hollande, why let your civil servants bark, if you pay someone in Brussels to do exactly the same? No worse than that: Why do you let them get away ‘gold plating’ norms that are set at an EU level and vendors like Brico Dépôt are already told to comply with before selling a product to a consumer?

Moral of the story

France and other EU countries have a lot to learn from the ‘can do’ pragmatic approach of the British. Even if the Brits no longer manufacture much, they are quite good at implementing services. Au contraire it really seems that many French civil servants seem to make jobs more complicated than they need be. All they seem to do is make more work for each other, passing files back and fro, rather than contemplating the most efficient way of executing a specific government policy (like combatting climate change with better loft insulation).

P.S Don’t even get me started on who took 3 years to change my address but fined me for not paying a bill I never received. Miraculously the demands and fine for late payment do arrive at the correct address, so they know damned well where I live!

And consider institute ‘Anah‘ responsible for ‘travaux d’amélioration de l’habitat’ in France. They will only consider subsidy requests for couples with a joint annual income of less than €15,000, while the costs of the works eligible for a 10% subsidy is often in the tens of thousands ( ergo no-one in that income bracket can afford the type of work they subsidise, so they really only exist in order to say  -‘ Non!‘-)

laine de verre

Posted in EU, Europe | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

London or Frankfurt , Boris knows too well!

London or Frankfurt, where will Europe's financial heart beat be loudest?

London or Frankfurt, where will Europe’s financial heart beat loudest?

This morning I had an epiphany! You know when you have been pondering a subject matter for a long time and you just can’t make head or tail of it. Then suddenly the ‘eureka’ moment. I am talking of course about what some call my obsession with Britain’s attitude towards Europe. Specifically the rise of Euroscepticism and Cameron’s pathetic response to try to placate his Tory backbenchers whose constituents are defecting in droves to the populist United Kingdom Independence Party.

In my previous blog post I lamented “what is your big idea on Europe David” ? But try as I might I certainly couldn’t find anything ‘big’ in Cameron’s long awaited Europe speech! Then it struck me that @Number10gov just might be doing another bit of ‘burying bad news’.  So I looked for clues between the lines, but it was there staring me in the face all along:

“Britain is not in the single currency, and we’re not going to be. But we all need the eurozone to have the right governance and structures to secure a successful currency for the long term.

And those of us outside the eurozone also need certain safeguards to ensure, for example, that our access to the single market is not in any way compromised”

Cameron is not looking for reforms at all! He is feeling the wrath of the City of London and the hot breath of Boris in his neck! London’s mayor has said all along:

“We can no longer blame Brussels. This is perhaps the most important point of all. If we left the EU, we would end this sterile debate, and we would have to recognise that most of our problems are not caused by “Bwussels”, but by chronic British short-termism, inadequate management, sloth, low skills, a culture of easy gratification and under-investment in both human and physical capital and infrastructure.”

And what was this ‘short term’ mistake, a mistake so obvious, yet no Tory would dare speak of ? ‘Not joining the Euro’ is where my bet would be. Not signing up for it, when the chance was there in 1995 at the Maastricht treaty. Instead securing an ‘opt-out’ for the British Pound Sterling. A coin #ukip types are so fond of they think it is a symbol of ‘Britishness'; they even have tacky ties and tie pins made of them.


“Now hang on a minute”, a lot of British Eurosceptics will butt in, ” isn’t the Euro supposed to be this huge disaster that our politicians saved us from?”

Well actually, the markets that these same types are so fond of tell a quite different story. They seem to be of the opinion that anything that doesn’t kill the Euro only makes it stronger! This is perhaps why WikiPedia reliably informs us

The euro is the second largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the world after the United States dollar.[6][7][8] As of November 2013, with more than €951 billion in circulation, the euro has the highest combined value of banknotes and coins in circulation in the world, having surpassed the U.S. dollar.[note 14] Based on International Monetary Fund estimates of 2008 GDP and purchasing power parity among the various currencies, the eurozone is the second largest economy in the world.[9]


The markets don’t seem to see the Euro as a disaster?


For any British politician to admit the country made a mistake not joining the Euro would of course be political suicide. That doesn’t hide their Prime Minister’s pain and anguish he feels now the core Eurozone countries are pulling closer together, in effect creating a two tier Europe. An EU where Britain is left out at important decision making meetings. This seems to be Cameron’s hopeless mission: Finding a way that “those of us outside the eurozone”  do not end up discovering we have shot ourselves massively in the foot, or in Britain’s case painfully in the middle of it’s important financial services industry and City heartland. So is it any wonder Major Boris Johnson is starting to plan for a City post #brexit and tries to put a brave face on it?

Will the Eurozone leaders take pity on David Cameron and throw him a bone? He is not going about creating sympathy and allies in a great way as succinctly pointed out by Rem Korteweg writing for the German Council on Foreign Relations. So ‘not stupid’ Boris has seen the writing on the wall and commissioned a report of his own with a distinct positive spin on life after #brexit to save his rear side. He knows only too well, that the big financial institutions that lease his London skyscrapers can pack their bags and move to Frankfurt at the flick of an internet router.

That is the risk you run if you destroy a country’s proud manufacturing industry and think the froth of the banker’s cappuccinos in the City is something anyone outside London really cares about.


Posted in #brexit, EU, UKIP, Uncategorized | Tagged | 4 Comments

Please Mr. Cameron, What’s your big idea on Europe?

I just listened to yet another ‘major’ policy speech on Europe this morning by @Number10Gov, and I can totally understand why the rest of Europe’s leaders plainly ignore David Cameron. In 37 Minutes of waffle there are no great new ideas. He still doesn’t mention a single power he wants to repatriate from Brussels to London. Quite frankly, the only thing I can detect and prevails throughout is a cold fear of being left behind in the big bad world and marginalised in a Euroland he declined to be part of.



In his latest speech Cameron would like us to think he addressed five big principles for a Europe his party would find acceptable. More of the following: 1. Competitiveness; 2. Flexibility; 3. Repatriation of Powers; 4. Democratic Accountability; 5. Fairness.


Competitiveness with whom? you might well ask. In his speech we are primed to look at the emerging markets of China, Brazil, Africa and India as a ‘threat’ from outside EU borders. The idea is planted in our head that ‘they’ are all out to take our wealth and comfortable life styles away from us. What is wrong with these economies crawling out of centuries of poverty? They are doing it on their own steam and, unlike the British empire, they are not stealing it with gun boats. They are doing it with toil and graft and trading with us the fruits of their hard labour. Where is the threat in that? All we are doing in the EU is evolving some sensible common tariff barriers to avoid surplus goods just being dumped on us. We don’t want to compete with low cost economies by building our own sweatshops in a desperate race to the bottom. Let them gently catch up with us and we can all have comfort and prosperity. Not those lucky few in the Western world.


Here Cameron is merely regurgitating the first point. The only ‘hard’ example he can come up with, is that he wants the freedom to work NHS Junior Doctors in the ground with excessive hours that, I am sure, only will harm patients when doctors nearly collapse from fatigue and start making mistakes in diagnosis and prescriptions.

Repatriate powers

It has been said before, but what are these mythical powers that Brussels now have, but would blossom better when exercised in London, Paris or Amsterdam? Because it sure ain’t the environment that would benefit from repatriation! I thought most common sense people at least agreed, that the environment is the one thing that can’t be stopped at our borders. It blows right over the channel after all! And even if you don’t believe in climate change; if a strong united Europe can convince a USA and China to play by the same set of climate change rules; what is wrong with that? How does it disadvantage Britain or Europe in any way, aiming for durability and sustainability? Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels that by definition will at one point run out, even if climate isn’t affected as claimed by some?

Democratic Accountability

I thought Cameron was going to mention the #Juncker word again. I thought seeing Juncker, Verhofstadt, Keller, Schulz and Tsipras debate it out on TV was a wonderful step in the right direction. But no…  what it seems David is afraid of, is the Euro-parliament stealing the lime light and making the Westminster circus look exactly that.
A freak show of no importance. Well most Brits I know, couldn’t give a rat’s arse in any case. Kippers think all British political leaders are spineless paedophiles anyway. Let them debate their duck house allowances and leave the big decisions to a democratically elected and accountable Euro Parliament is what I say. Also less chance of Britain engaging in senseless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that way?


It is hard to remember anything David said of note in this section.  I only made a small note of the words “we weren’t asked”.  David laments loosing ‘our powers of veto’ and mentioning more and more things that are decided by ‘qualified Majority voting’.
Well David, welcome to the new brave world, where if you want to achieve things you do things together and no! you can’t be head-boy like you were at Eton or the Bullington club. Sometimes other people get to sit at the head of the table, so just get over it.

In Conclusion:

There are no ‘big ideas’ coming from David Cameron. He is simply playing for time trying to appease his Euro-sceptic back-benchers, who are getting more and more frustrated. They see a crack of a door opened  with the ukip foot of Nigel Farage firmly wedged in it. @number10Gov hopes ukip and other right wing fringe parties will turn out to be ‘one day flies’ and just go away. He hopes that the public mood gradually will shift back to the sensible #whyIamIn #EU position and he can force back the lid on Pandora’s box which he inadvertently opened by mentioning the word ‘referendum’.

But what drives a politician to constantly put himself in harms way by picking fights he can’t possibly hope to win?  My take: Like many other Brits, even kippers!,  he is feeling terribly insecure about one thing under all this bravado. Secretly Brits admire the way the euro adopting EU members have kept their currency afloat in the biggest of storms. In public they have to keep calling the Euro a disaster  but the Euro has weathered many a storm! And as the saying goes, if a crisis doesn’t kill the Euro, it only serves to make it stronger! That’s why the Euro is now the world’s favourite reserve currency after the Dollar and not so the Pound! That’s why in the City more transactions are done in Euros than in any other currency. Britain is in Euroland hook line and sinker, but of course when it comes to Euroland policy making they are excluded and that makes some people in Britain like Cameron and Farage very nervous indeed: What if they got it wrong?????

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Renewable Energy project Haute Vienne (F)

This is an off-topic post about a possible Renewable Energy project in Haute Vienne (F) for a student of hydro power engineering. If you are still looking for a project to do your thesis on or have any useful feedback, contact me or add comments below.

Project description

Renewable energy is one of the most important problems to solve for the 21st century. Clean energy is likely to come from a number of sources, solar, wind and water. In time this will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels that are rapidly running out and suspected to have an adverse effect on our climate.
In rural France there are hundreds of derelict water mills crying out to be restored and to be given a new lease of life producing clean energy.
The ‘Moulin de Guenant’ on the Gartempe River in the Haute-Vienne is a perfect example. Here are the remains of the old mill structure with the diagonal weir and he run of the mill intact. Millions of gallons of water are rushing through it every day, from which energy could be harvested and fed to the nearby EDF network cable traversing the river and supplying electricity to local communities.

Digue Mill waterflowLocation pictures and Flow in cubic meters per second per month
Source : Station hydrologique : Montmorillon
– calculated over 54 years-(1955-2008)

Why is this source of cheap and clean energy currently under-utilized and how your project could make a difference?

Water mills like this were used for a number of industrial processes like milling flour, breweries and tanneries in the region. Cheap energy and changing industrial policy meant industry like this migrated away from the river banks to new industrial areas and are now powered by cheap electricity from the EDF network. In some old riverside industrial complexes, the building housing the water turbine is the only one still functioning. Most mill owners do not have the financial means to transform their property in this way. Hence the mills become derelict and nature slowly takes over as can be seen on the photo above.

What’s different now and what is the economic opportunity?

Rising energy prices and the need to reduce carbon emissions under EU agreements mean that renewable energy today is a very attractive proposition. Yet most mill owners still lack the economic means and incentive to restore their riverside properties. Banks would be reluctant to lend the necessary funds, unless there was a feasibility study including an updated design and costs benefits analysis available in the form of a turn-key proposal with an X financial return over Y years. Government subsidies may be available to complement the business case or ensure safe passage of migrating fish and kayaking tourists . This is where your project comes in to complete the picture.

Your project in a nutshell

As a hydro power engineering student requiring a thesis project to complete your course degree, you would undertake to study the local topology of a typical watermill in France (Moulin de Guénant) and make a design to generate electricity using the latest advances in efficient turbine design. While out on field work, you will stay for free in our holiday accommodation and can expect to be fed and watered and be given any support you need locally. The report of all this work will be your final thesis to be agreed with your academic sponsor at your university.
In cooperation with a possible partner (another business studies student perhaps?) or the project sponsor (an actual business studies graduate) you will produce a number of documents (appendix A,B,C, etc.), that together with an environmental impact analysis, would satisfy the local planning authorities to give actual planning permission for the work. As a second step a financial investor (e.g. a bank) could be approached to finance actual engineering work to be undertaken. Note the goal is to build this thing for real and to make some money out of it! An ideal outcome of the project would be to make this project repeatable, creating real job opportunities for young engineers, while investing in a sustainable energy future for Europe and developing nations anywhere.
For further information contact:
“La Gimbretière”
87320 France

Phone : +33555 60 79 18
Mob France +33 645 276833


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Who would you believe: EU court of auditors or a smoked fish?

Who would you believe: EU court of auditors or a smoked fish?

How Kippers perpetuate the myth that the #EU accounts have not been signed off for 18 years. Believe #UKIP or #ECA ?


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Having your UKIP porky pie and eat it?

After severe food shortages during and after the last world war the EU instigated the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to ensure we had food security in Europe. Although reduced in size, it still is one of the most costly EU programme we all benefit from today taking up about 40% of the EU’s budget.

UKIP farmer with EU axe to grind

UKIP farmer with EU axe to grind

So how is #UKIP going to save £55 M. a day if their Agricultural spokesman Stuart Agnew MEP proposes to pay UK farmers roughly the same amount per acre as the current EU’s CAP Single Farm Payment, typically worth approximately £210 per hectare (£85 per acre), per annum?

Is this another case of having your #UKIP pie and eat it?


  • £80 per acre on lowland, pro-rata decrease on marginal and hill land, capped at £120,000 (1,500 lowland acres, pro rata higher acreage limits on other land)

  • See last paragraph: Is it worth it? current EU’s CAP Single Farm Payment £85 per acre

  • Leave the EU and save £55 million every day (p. 10)

  • CAP shareof EU budget has decreased very sharply over the past 25 years, from 73% in 1985 to 41% in 2012

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