Friday, 24 June 2016

Brexit and the lessons from history

In what remains a delicious essay, the eminent (and dead) Economic Historian Carlo Cippola, a man who earned his spurs contributing to our understanding of change over looooong periods of time, postulated there were 5 basic laws of human stupidity. Brexit makes his case perfectly.

Go read the essay, seriously, it’s great and when you do think about law 1 “Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.”. Yep, a majority of sensible adults didn’t actually think England and Wales would be stupid enough to vote for Brexit.

Law 2 is kinda dull, but law 3 states  “A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.

Yep in spades. In the UK, Wales probably benefits the most from EU grants and funding than any other part of the not going to be United for much longer Kingdom; and yet a majority of failed Englishmen voted for Brexit, a thing that will cost us all plenty over the next few years.

Or there are the rural areas that proved disproportionately likely to vote for Brexit; do farmers actually think the UK will subsidise them to the extent the EU does or that France, that nation of sheep burning road blockaders, will let them have the same access to European markets they currently enjoy? Face facts farmer barleymo it ain’t just Welsh hill farmers hopped up on sheep dip that’ll be blowing their brains out over the next few years.

Law 4 says “Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.

See above, see kinda anything to do with Brexit basically or read some fool tweeting in his best I read the Daily Express voice, about how this means his vacuum cleaner will no longer be subject to EU laws and think does this plammff not realise yes it will otherwise it won’t be acceptable in any EU markets?

Then there’s law 5 “A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.” – Yep. Brexit proves that in spades the way it’s taken us back to death of Princess Diana territory, that other time in living memory when a cretinous mob drunk on it’s own self-rightous bile, ignorant indignation and fury at its limp impotence sought to remake our nation in it’s own, ghastly image. Except, this time they actually have.

S’funny. In the run up to the FIRST Scottish referendum, lots of Northern English people chatted about wanting Scotland to take them in. Well, here’s one, updated, Scottish response, nah, fuck off ya nasty wee xenophobic pricks. Don’t want your sort in here, cos we’re better than that (and you).

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Andy Hornby vs The Great British Public (2- Nil)

Andy Hornby is famous for a couple of things, one – thank you an obviously aggressively policed Wikipedia entry – is graduating first out of 800 students when he got his Harvard Business School MBA. Woooooooo, nice. 

The other is being the CEO who fucked HBoS so hard the taxpayer had to eventually step in with billions of bailout pounds. So that was Andy Hornby one, the British public nil. But wait, there’s more. …

A recent Guardian expose lifts the lid on Boots the chemist and how it’s hard driving staff in ways that put the health of people getting prescriptions at risk and also milks the taxpayer by effectively setting sales targets for medicine use reviews (or MURs), which the taxpayer pays for.

The article dates the start of this back to Boots being acquired by a private equity house. And who did the private equity bod in charge appoint as CEO? Yup, Andy Hornby, so two nil Andy, but it’s OK, cos he left in 2011 and is now CEO of Coral, the bookies.

But, lets pause for a second and reflect on the great service Andy Hornby has given us, the British public, given taxpayer money has been so integral to the Andy Hornby 'business model'  ... (when doing so forget about all the big company directorships and chairmanships this moral titan will soon be vying for).

There, have you had a pause and some thoughts? So whaddya think  about this scion of industry and his apparent immunity to the very real, very material consequences of his decision-making and leadership have had and say about today’s ruling class, how they get to be there and what they’re willing to do to employees, the public and taxpayers to make a quick buck.

Anyhoo, that he’s currently the Coral CEO , a big wheel in an industry that fuels as it profits from  the flames of however many tens of thousands of gambling addicts is by the by I guess, because Andy Hornby is a true leader and an utter  ____  (you fill in the blanks).  

And the way things work in today’s Britain, that’s just dandy it appears.

Guess the business fail

Picture the scene, a long established British business that’s seen better days gets taken over by a  new management team that’s bought it for a derisory sum and even received some multi-million pound sweeteners in the process from it’s former owner.

The new team doesn’t have a business plan worth a damn or access to the funding needed to finance it or basically anything remotely credible. But, as proud owners of this long established concern, they do have the authority to extract millions of pounds for themselves in management fees before things go ‘kerphut’.

Even better, having been politically expedient when they bought the company, the new folks can be blamed when it all goes wrong and 1,000s of people start losing their jobs, leaving the state i.e. us, to pick up the tab, give or take some MPs huffing and puffing.

So, you decide, what company am I talking about, Rover, subject to a multi-million pound state enquiry from which lessons should presumably have been learned, or BHS?