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  1. Welcome to Scotland. I moved from Glasgow to Edinburgh last year and they joke there are more English in Edinburgh than Scots. Over 80% of my family live in England and my son for his sins supports the English and not the Scottish football team.I am not a fan of Salmond and many of his supporters are clearly Anti-English. I have no time for any of them and fired one of my senior staff who exhibited an bad attitude to English customers. Please remember that for every 1 Scot who may be a scumbag there are 2 or 3 pleasant Scots who would like nothing more than 10,000s of English turning up in Scotland.
  2. Is it not a little hypocritical to talk about the fact that there is no such thing as a nation state and then call all Scots scum bags? I was talking with my Swiss girlfriend last night about nations and her perception is that whilst the rest of the world likes the Scots they mostly find the English arrogant and dont like them. If I was English I would not spend my time attacking others but trying to build friendships. Their PR is horrible but they dont seem to care. I guess the Millwall mentality of the English is what will really break up the union.
  3. I am not sure who dismays me more the insular English, the crazy CyberNats or the incompetent civil servants. This thread was not started by a Scot but a retiring English civil servant who seems to be clueless about Scotland. Here in bonny Scotland there is no big enthusiasm for independence, no hoards on the streets waving Scottish flags, no burning of English businesses and we still participate in all the big British events. There will be many Olympic medals won by Scots. The UK faces probably one of its greatest economic challenges for decades next year. The City of London is in a mature market and will need to downsize fast. Many of the strengths of Scotland will be in high demand. Our natural resouces are not just oil. We have fish, wind, fresh water and trees. Our tourism industry has unique strengths and is behind only London in the UK. We have whisky, we make buses and have a strong presence in oil services across the world. We still have some manufacturing left despite the attempt of Labour to finish the sector off (by neglect not intentionally I think). If we compare Scotland to Wales, Northern Ireland and the North of England it is clear that we are the most valuable part of the UK outside the South East. Scotland has many problems. Poor education, too much drink, a harsh climate and weak transportation links. The population is falling and we are losing our best people to the South of England. If Cameron cannot make Scotland work within the UK then my belief is that the whole country is gone. People sitting in London who think that the best option for them is as a standalone offshore City state may need to reflect how they will be able to stand up to the EU and the world on their own.
  4. My company, after a year of keeping prices the same has started to lift them in sectors where the competition is principally international. There is a huge opportunity to deflate the cost of recruitment agency margins, legal fees and payments to IFAs but when it comes to hard goods such as cars, TVs and the medical devices (we manufacture) prices are going up.
  5. The best way to think about it is that the banks lent out large amounts of money they did not have to people for mortgages. There were 2 ways to solve the problem. Either force the banks to get their money back creating a massive asset crash or print money and give it to the banks. This second idea is QE. The main downside to QE is you are debasing the currency. The second problem is you are creating a massive transfer of wealth from people who save to those who borrow. The Government has added a second leg to supporting the house prices by running a massive public deficit and spending it on wages. As a result there are a large number of people being overpaid. These inflated salaries can be used to get overinflated mortgages. The mood change in the country is not good for house prices. The cutting of binmen salaries in Leeds is just the start of a wage deflation movement. At the same time we are likely to see the cost of living rising with our currency continuing to fall. People will have less money to spend on rents and mortgages. The best we can hope for is stagnation for many years.
  6. As a STR and a SME owner I watch the market like a hawk. I have a few points to add to the existing discussion. 1) FTBs will be in trouble for a long time. Salaries for students if they can get a job are less now than my first salary 20 years ago. In addition they have student debt to pay off. We hired a Cambridge grad with a science 2.1 for £15k a year at Xmas and he is still with us. 2) There is a general assumption that we do not have enough housing in the UK. I am not convinced fully on this. My immediate family has 5 couples and 6 kids and own / rent 25 bedrooms in total. This is not atypical. I dont think anyone really knows how much spare property is being held as an investment which could come on the market. 3) There are only 4 things you can tax to get big money; salaries, spending, profits and property. I cannot see any government taxing salaries more at the moment, VAT is already going up to 20% but this will not close the gap fully, and profits are the easiest to avoid. I cannot see how either Labour or the Tories can avoid taxing property more. For Labour they will do it through council tax as then they can blame the Tory councils and for the Tories I expect it to come via stamp duty. I have no idea where house prices are going but I hate to buy into a rigged market. This is a shame as I would like to buy a nice 2 bed flat in London.
  7. "We are the people" is the phrase used by the Protestant Working Class in West of Scotland to describe themselves. It is heavily tied in with Unionism and the support of Rangers. It does not suggest reading the Daily Mail, acting POSH or supporting the SNP. It is a phrase worth knowing if you ever visit a pub in Bridgeton, Larkhall or Govan.
  8. When you start issuing personal inuslts then you have lost the argument. When no-one understands your insults then you have really lost the plot. If you were a real Scot then you would understand the term WATP and not make such a stupid comment.
  9. I was brought up in Aberdeen and when I was 14 I wrote a report discussing why Scotland needed to be independent. The reason for my anger was that the British Government had just decided to situate the offices of the new British Oil Corporation in London and not in Aberdeen where all the oil was. When a minister was asked why he gave the response "that it was too important a company to be based in a small place such as Aberdeen". I now run a company in Glasgow and I am a committed unionist but I understand the real grievances of many of the older generation in Scotland. There is a level of self loathing in Scotland which runs deep and made Trainspotting such a great movie. The Scots may hate the English but we hate ourselves much more. I passionately believe things are getting better. Our ambassadors such as Chris Hoy and Andy Murray typify everything that is good about the Scots. They are winners, bravehearts, individualists and proud to represent Britain. The youngsters no longer really care about the old Scottish / English rivalry. Business in the UK is very integrated. Our highstreets are full of Tescos, B&Q, Dixons, Costa Coffee, Esportas and Premier Inns. We even now have a Motorway that connects England to Scotland completed in 2008!! Note it was the English side that was 20 years late not the Scottish side. It is time to let this thread come to an end. Scotland is beautiful, full of natural resources, produces a lot of successful people and is as much part of Britain as London is.
  10. My brother is a doctor in Bucks who was planning to upgrade to a £1m house, down 20%, but the sale of his existing house just fallen through. Other brother is a tax inspector who is also looking to move to bigger house in Brighton but cant sell his own house. My sister is a teacher in Bradford who wants to move to better school catchment but is also having trouble selling. I work in the private sector sold in 2007, sitting on my money and renting at ever lower prices. I keep telling my family that the old game of a secure public sector job and big mortgages is coming to an end but they don't listen. Who is the mug, my family or me?
  11. Does anyone know how much the QE has impacted the gilt market? If the full £125bn of QE has been used to buy Gilts that equates to 25% of total issuance this year. If we exclude the purchases by the BOE cover would be only 1.4 and not 1.8? It seems to me that we are about to hit a wall. Gilts issuance is planned to rise even faster and the largest buyer the BOE has decided not to participate. The impact of this will be crowding out. As gilts yields rise the banks will stop trying to lend to housebuyers at 5% as they can get 4 or even 5% risk free by buying Gilts.
  12. The 0.5% rate is the spot rate while the 3.8% is on a 10 year note. You have a mismatch if you borrow short and lend long. Owners of 10 year gilts are nervous as before they could sell to the BOE but now they need to find someone else. The present QE strategy has been a transfer of wealth from the general population to owners of gilts. This is to allow the Government to borrow more money. The BOE has implicitly said it does not believe in this strategy. Who will lose from the change - banks, foreign investors and the Government who will pay more to borrow money. Who will win - you, me and everyone else with money (£) in the bank or a UK salary.
  13. The drop in £ since most of these gilts were bought would suggest that foreigners are prepared to realise their losses rather than wait about for things to get better. It also does not suggest that they are going to want to come back in and buy more gilts until the picture changes dramatically. If so the big question of the day is why has £ not fallen further? Would welcome someone who could describe a scenario for the £ to become stronger.
  14. After no increase for my staff (including me) for 18 months I am planning to impose a temporary 10% cut across the board until business recovers. As my company covers both manufacturing and services it is interesting to note that while manufacturing is doing OK services has taken a major dive. Prices are continuing to fall across the board from rent to couriers to supplies to professional services. The only area where costs are going up is taxes!!
  15. The basic case for Sterling going higher is as follows. The UK economy is more flexible than Europe. As such it will begin to adjust faster to the new reality and growth rates will be higher. This will lead to higher interest rates and a flood of foreign money. The basic case for Sterling going lower is as follows. The UK economy is in a hole as one of its main sources of income, financial services, is down for good. The economy is surviving based on the Government borrowing money from abroad through issuing Gilts. This is a short term measure which is just plugging the hole in the dam. Sonner or later the dam will burst, like Ireland, with a downgrading of our Gilts. Personally I think that the recent rally of Sterling is running out of steam.
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