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blankster

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Everything posted by blankster

  1. I think the skids are under one of the newsagent chains which has been closing shops and kiosks in order to stay profitable. (not W.H. Smith)
  2. I was a property bear for a long time. But I've come to the conclusion that if there was going to be a real crash in house prices, it would have happened by now. As I've just said in another post, we might see a downward drift, or maybe an upward one over the next few months. What we won't see is a change in the 'order of magnitude' in house prices, like the general 60% drops some ultrabears were forecasting at the start of the recession. One flat in Leeds losing 70% of it's value doesn't make a full-blown property crash. What there has been, for a lot of people, is a mortgage interest pr
  3. My feeling is that if the housing market in the UK was going to plummet, it would have done so by now. There has been a slide in prices since 2007, but apart from a few cases, not a crash in asking / selling prices. Where the crash has occurred is in overall cost of buying, including mortgage repayments, because mortgage interest has come down a lot for most people. That reduction has probably absorbed some of the 'deflation' that would otherwise have reduced up-front selling prices. The only way interest rates are likely to go from now on is upwards again. Although house prices are unli
  4. Anyone got any idea what caused the surge in the housebuilder shares over the last few days? People in the property sector seem to be pretty upbeat about the future all of a sudden.
  5. Property bulls are back from holiday. The big housebuilders and other property vested interests will always be able to pull another rabbit out of the hat. They're a bit like farmers - even if the harvest is obliterated by a storm, the combine gets burnt out, there's been an epidemic of bubonic spontaneous combustion sheep-plague and they're getting paid 0.0000000001p per litre of milk by the big supermarkets, there's still somehow cash for a new Mercedes in the drive.
  6. They only bought it because it had a French sounding name Is there any obligation on De La Rue to print UK banknotes? If not, perhaps the new owners might choose not to print sterling. Then where would we be?
  7. Until Asda or Tesco gets in on the act ...and "why not?", I say!
  8. Most high street shops don't specialise in local produce (perhaps they should) and a bar of Galaxy from a town centre newsagent's is the same quality as a similar product sold for less in a supermarket. All the supermarkets started off as high street shop chains - Sainsbury's used to just sell dairy products and cold meats, if I remember right, from quaint old-fashioned shops with two long counters and tiled walls. Tescos were small high street self-service shops.
  9. I'm one person who dares to say that supermarkets are much better than high street shops. Better parking, better choice, lower prices, all under one roof. I can't think of one single advantage for shoppers if we went back to small high street shops. High street shops often sell the same products you can get cheaper in supermarkets. And many of the 'traditional' high street names were large chains anyway - like Boots, Woolworths, Stead & Simpson, W.H Smith etc. Why have high street shops died? Because the public have deserted them in favour of supermarkets, which are better. The onl
  10. He might just be right. Just because so much of what Brown did was wrong, we can't discount the possibility that he could be right occasionally. China and India are rising industrial powers, with growing internal prosperity. There will come a time when the rest of the world will no longer need to trade with the West. This could mean less oil, and gas being available to the west, as the producers choose to sell elsewhere. The decline of Britain as a world power and as a manufacturing nation over the last 50 years is a model for what could happen to the West as a whole.
  11. It seems now that a couple of good statistics or headlines get people shouting about a recovery, the next week a couple of bad statistics and we're back heading into the second dip. Anyone else notice this - two weeks ago the media were all gloom and doom again, now they've gone all bullish again?
  12. There's still a lot of people people doing well and they probably don't pay any attention to the housing market trends, only to what sort of house they can afford now.
  13. Gordon Brown was the worst prime minister we've had in modern times. He took over that trophy from Margaret Thatcher about half-way through his term as PM, with the mishandling of the banking crisis, turning socialism on its head by robbing the taxpayer to bail out the rich capitalists.
  14. A lot of old people who have ended up living in big houses have very little money and no income apart from state pension. If they'be worked hard all their lives to pay for a big house, why should they be expected to move?
  15. That may well be the case, but that doesn't address the problem of a finite supply with known reserves for no more than a century at current usage rate. That puts the idea in the realms of cold fusion, over-unity magnetic generators, cars running on water and solar panels on the moon. Perhaps they'll build a tidal barrage across the River Severn to power a uranium extraction plant!
  16. One big thing that a lot of nuclear supporters miss is the uranium that is used as the heat source in nuclear reactors is a finite resource, just like oil, natural gas and coal. The known reserves of uranium would last about a century at current rates of usage, which puts the timeline for nuclear in the same order of magnitude as oil etc. It's true that seawater contains uranium at a very low concentration but that would take more energy to extract than you'd get back. Perhaps the subject would be less emotive if we just called coal-fired power stations, large oil fired ones and nuclear one
  17. A year ago I was saying the same - that vision had disappeared from politics and it was all about competence and pragmatism. Brown was pragmatic - it was very difficult to see any of what he did as left, or socialist, just 'firefighting'. He was pragmatic, but unfortunately he made bad misjudgements. Metaphorically, he threw water on a chip-pan fire because he thought that was the right thing to do. I wasn't talking about the Tories, I don't think they're fascist, I was talking about elements on HPC !!!!
  18. But in the 'good old days' lots of students studied the classics, comparative theology, medieval art, Shakespeare and stuff. Probably less useful than media studies! Except, of course, in those days university was all about 'cultivating the mind'. "I see old Fortescue-Pomeroy is an old Harrovian and has an upper second in Greek from Baliol. His old man was a guards officer. We could do with a classicist on the board, what!"
  19. He's not solely responsible then, because for most of the period in question Tony Blair was PM and could have sacked Brown if he thought he was doing things wrong. Saying Brown is solely responsible is a bit like saying Margaret Thatcher was solely responsible for the destruction of Britain's industrial manufacturing base, or that Red Robbo was solely responsible for the downfall of British Leyland. Brown only turned 'anti-banker' when he realised what a mess they'd got into. I don't remember New Labour being anti-banks.
  20. But I agree with that - I said the Brown era was a disaster, but Cameron is continuing the disaster by making us pay for Labour's mistake. OK, maybe there's no choice, there's no money available. But The Tories are in power now, they are the ones making the cuts, punishing future university students for Gordon stupidity.If Labour was in power now, with Brown as leader, they'd probably be making savage cuts too, but they're not in power and someone else has the axe. But Brown is gone from national politics now, Labour is licking its wounds and the Tories and Lib Dems are having a go at messi
  21. The Tories came close, though - they chose Michael Howard as leader for a while!
  22. Agreed. The Tories say what they want and the Lib Dems compromise. I accept they are the third party, and so are a junior partner in the coalition. They can't expect to be the tail wagging the dog, but they have to gain something from it in policy terms and I haven't seen anything yet. I think the time has come for them to question whether they should remain in the coalition.
  23. No, I own my own house outright actually. I worked hard and paid off my mortgage!HPC's neo-fascist 'might-is-right' tendency on this site loves to show show contempt for anyone who doesn't have the same right-wing views as themselves. But being a leftist is just as valid a viewpoint as being a rightist. Any sane person would agree that Gordon Brown's period of government was a disaster, but the main cause of the disaster was the bankers, and they're hardly part of a left-wing conspiracy, are they? Brown's mistake was to fail to see the problem until it was too late, misjudge what to do an
  24. I cannot see how the Lib Dems can go on propping up the Tories in power without seeing their own party wither away to nothing. Vince Cable has fired a dissident shot at the coalition by saying he might not vote for his own proposals re tuition fees, which themselves made a mockery of the Lib Dems manifesto commitments. If that's the case, then I guess there's a lot of anger within the party (the party I've always voted for up until now - but if there were an election tomorrow I'd vote Labour).
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