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Everything posted by VacantPossession

  1. Peter Schiff still seems to be the only person ever invited on US or UK media that stays on the ground rather than underneath it or floating in the fantasy world of US economists. It is extraordinary that after all this time Schiff is STILL regarded as an idiot maverick, yet his record speaks for itself. He was almost alone in challenging the stupid nincompoops of the US financial establishment that over-reliance on house sales to create a bogus economy was disastrous. He was proved to be 100% correct. Now he is exposing the money printing antics of not just his own government but also those in the rest of the world who cling to the continuing disney dream of reflating economies by pretending they can create a buffer by pumping cash into no-hope enterprise, and still he is being resisted and criticised. He appears to be the only person with influence capable of telling the truth. What is so depressing is that we've all been here before. The denial of the current US regime is every bit as stupid as the last. Schiff should be given a Nobel Prize in financial honesty. It is staggering how in denial both the USA and UK is about the depth and breadth of two economies that have been based on nothing but fluff for approaching two decades. When are they going to learn? Property is somewhere you live. It never has been and never will be a substitute for real wealth, which is created by productiivity and work, not by gambling on the value of a fixed object.
  2. At last - the voice of reason regarding RICS pundits posing as having "professional" insights. Forgive me for wretching slightly having read the OP's opening comments. RICS is of course the very organisation which throughout the early noughties positioned its members as the sensible arm of the vested interests club of Great Britain, while at the same time shamelessly ramping up housing prices as keenly as any property porn programme on Channel 4 or BBC. The idea that one surveyor, chartered or not, has any particular insight into anything is of course nonsense. They are simply playing the same game as their friends in the world of banking and finance. The OP might have private views which concur with others here, but there is nothing special about trawling round London looking for work with a B&Q damp meter in hand and pretending that you have knowledge that others lack. Forgive me, OP, but what you describe as "some people using this thread that are very angry with life" are not as you suppose. Actually, they are hardened cynics (with total justification) who have witnessed for years the very ramping that many (though not all) RICS members spent the last ten years indulging in, and which contributed to the mess of 2008-2009. The problem is that those ever optimistic gamblers in housing would have us believe that we are slowly on the road to recovery. How their memories and experiences have taught them nothing! By the way, The (Royal) Institute of Chartered Surveyors was brought into existence by a certain Mr. Clutton in the late nineteenth century as a cosy club of surveyors who wanted (like the law society) to attract dignity and respect to its rabble of tape measure wielding operatives (hence its motto "Est modus in rebus" - "There is measure in all things" ) To be fair, the "Institute" branched out and does do quite useful things, but its public persona was always seen by the media as one to be relied upon to deliver views on "the market" with a certain pseudo gravitas. If you look at the evidence of the last 5 years you'll see that RICS was always lazy in seeing the writing on the wall, and was still ramping property after everyone here had rumbled the Casino years before. For that reason, I have no respect whatsoever for ANYTHING any surveyor says about which way the market is going, whether up, down or staying as it is. And like all professions of its type, the surveyors' corner of vested interest clubs for the boys is absolutely riddled with conflicts of interests, with a large proportion of house surveyors and valuers directly in league with Estate Agents, Financial Advisors, Home-loan bankers, Builders and hangers-on (see backhanders cases from a few years back), and often actually part of EA's themselves (Clutton himself founding one of the largest EA's in the UK). How anyone could possibly rely on any valuation in these circumstances is beyond me, and that was comprehensively proven by the ludicrous notional values alloted to half the properties in the UK which crashed months later. So, Mr. Chartered Surveyor, what you see as people "angry with life" are not angry with life at all, but they are extremely pissed off with professions that hastened the ruination of the entire banking system, hyped property to an unsustainable level and encouraged the buying of houses for gambling rather than shelter. I hope you understand that, but I fear your profession is bent on a new wave of ramping, on the back of tax payers' subsidy, of a whole industry which should have been left to rot in its own bile back in 2008.
  3. I don't agree with that definition but it makes a good point. I once met a woman in Islington who, probably rather justly, chided me for a stereotypical statement about Chavs, but then ruined her argument by stating that all Chavs are in fact socially and financially deprived, which is somewhat patronising as an assessment. In my area this is patently not so, but perhaps my definition of Chav is different from hers. Most Chavs I know (if they are chavs) are far richer than me, or maybe it's that they have more credit than I wish to burden myself with. Either way they do not seem, on the whole, to lack material goods. But what I do notice is that they don't seem to find books desirable objects, while at the same accumulating many DVDs. I think that could be the key, or as good as any other definition.
  4. This case represents a trinity of lies, deceit and national chauvanism on the part of three separate governments. Moreover the press reporting has been utterly lamentable, whether from Fox News, or the BBC or almost all newspapers. The fact is that the evidence to convict was extremely threadbare and most of it was based on mis-identification, desperation to convict anyone available and political pressure from many sources. It is crystal clear that the Scottish courts and prosecutors knew without a shadow of a doubt that if the appeal had got to court their original case would have been not only torn apart but that there would have been an inevitable expose of all the maneouvring, evidence tampering, witness pressure and other entirely unconsitutional actions which held them in an extremely bad light. How the press fails to state this obvious fact is beyond belief. The prisoner was not released just because he is terminally ill, but because he was morally blackmailed into accepting release with a few weeks perhaps to live, or no release and the appeal going ahead with, given past performance, an uncertain outcome. It was the APPEAL that triggered his release, NOT his illness. An FBI agent or director has NO business stating private or any other opinion and doing so breaches a fundamental principle of separation of powers. But this is not confined to the US....only last week we had an senior English policeman lecturing the UK public about when and how they are allowed to demostrate, citing police "expense" as a flimsy reason. Likewise, it is NONE of his business and his job is to police, not to direct policy as to what qualifies as a reason for a demonstration. Americans who are falling for all of this with their typical knee jerk reactions are depressingly demonstrating that they are not interested in TRUTH. No one wants such an act of appalling murder to go unsolved, but just because it is difficult to solve it doesn't justify picking on anyone available and directing international hate in his direction. It doesn't matter whether someone murdered 1 person or several hundred....the rule of law and due process MUST take place and if the evidence is not adequate then you cannot convict. What the Americans want to do is ignore all that and hit out at any convenient suspect, and it is exactly that kind of pressure that has led in the first place to a fundamentally unsound case.
  5. So there weren't any secrets about property at all. Yes, a bright eight year old could have told you that. So a couple of hundred thousand adults, attracted by the game of roulette, become lambs to slaughter at the slightest tweak of their greed antennae. Serves 'em right. Spivtastic result. Telling us they were merely an"information" service doesn't mitigate them.
  6. What an absurd "calculator". Where is the BEFORE and NOW calculation? How can you work out anybody's inflation unless you know what they paid for stuff a year ago and what they pay now. I just tried entering the most extreme values, both large and small, as well as actual, and each time I get silly results. My personal inflation is at least 10% and probably higher. The official rate must be ridiculously weighted to include stuff that people buy only occasionally while under-weighting daily costs: food, transport, power, fuel etc etc all of which have risen by a great deal more than a couple of percent.
  7. Does it matter what they are? It's still an obscene sum for one person.
  8. Modern Vespas are much more stable nowadays, at least on tarmac. Mine is very stable and arguably as chuckable as most standard bikes, with no low speed wobbles. I think it is a myth that small wheels equals poor cornering. Have a look at this YouTube clip of tiny scooters being flicked around a track: Coming off anything in just shorts and sandals is going to be nasty. Best to don the same gear you would for any bike, but I concede hard to do in very hot weather.
  9. Yep, but don't y'know...these people are "talented" and "special" and the cogs of industry "needs" their hard work and their unmatched ability to run corporations. It's nothing to do with power or control, or positioning. These people are genuinely unique and society needs to reward them in order to retain their rare skills and brilliance. Ha! It's obscene.
  10. I've met a few Ducati owners who are prepared to put up with dubious comfort levels for the sake of owning one and occasionally getting out into the countryside, but I agree it is very wierd to see commuters with their backsides in the air, their legs scrunched up and their aching wrists halfway to the ground. Maybe ok if you are twenty something but personally I'd find commuting on a thoroughbreed racing horse more comfortable. I sold my bikes a year ago and now have a 250 cc vespa which is the most fun I've ever had on two wheels, and a Suzuki Burgman 400 which more or less achieves everything my old V strom did, but I arrive at my destination relaxed (recently a 2000 mile trip), fresh and having had almost as much fun. I discovered that accelerating to 80 mph in 4 seconds got quite tedious after a while, since going faster tends to be dangerous on UK roads and licence threatening, so all you can do is slow down again. It wasn't worth the expense or aggro for the sake of a 3 or 4 second thrill. The bike industry should be promoting its wares as a practical alternative to commuting in a car, and also promote the idea that you don't have to go dangerously fast to enjoy the ride.
  11. I posted some time back that the motorcycle industry was in recession, but that didn't go down particularly well here, other posters quoting utter bull$hit from the biking press about bike sales "booming". You only have to look at the thinning pages of Motor Cycle News's advertising pull-out to see that the steady decline has been present for well over a year and a half. I also pointed out that part of the decline was not just the recession but the completely bonkers marketing strategy of most bike manufacturers who continue to sell increasingly ugly and ridiculously over-powered bikes that are fine on the track but woefully impractical for daily use. To some extent parts of the industry have sensibly seen a niche and have responded by making some more practical tourer or general use bikes that are actually comfortable to sit on for more than five minutes. But in the main, as I expressed before, the MC industry only has itself to blame. It has got itself into a circular logic about what bikes to make and promote, being led by what is actually a shrinking body of sport-bike enthusiasts who are nevertheless dictating most of the new design strategies, along with a ludicrous body of journalists who write-off any bike that hasn't got the above mentioned gizmos or doesn't achieve a power, typically, of over 120 hp. Translated to four wheels, that is the same as promoting Formula 1 cars as practical road transport. Before the sport-bike enthusiasts chime in, I have nothing per se against sports bikes, but they are still given over-weighted prominence which is of course to do with not wishing to be seen as behind "cutting edge" design. The result is that the UK biking world has polarised into brash, insanely fast bikes at one end, and entirely desirable but ignored innovations like hybrid and maxi scooters, practical two wheeled transport and fuel efficient engines on the other. Most bike engines are woefully lacking in fuel efficiency and the emphasis is on ever more accleration and speed rather than the visceral and highly pleasurable experience of simply being on any two wheeler. Most high powered bikes rarely have their throttles open more than a third, because there is so much power overhead it is simply not useable on the average British road. Thus, a huge opportunity has been missed, with car drivers increasingly irritated by bikers, sometimes with justification, police forces (especially in Wales) now actively and openly campaigning against bikers and the average non biker having the perception that two wheeled transport is the enemy. And this at the very time when bikes and scooters should be being promoted as a worthy answer to fuel price rises, congestion and pollution. This absurdly immature attitude by the UK biking world is in stark contrast to most of the rest of Europe, where you do not need to worry about your manhood by going to work on a decent commuter bike or scooter, and where thousands of men and women mount their Vespas and other scooters for an elegant and pleasurable ride to work. In the UK scooters are considered some kind of sub species by most bikers. In Milan, Rome, Granada, Madrid and Barcelona tens of thousands of riders don't possess this childish attitude. To some extent the increasingly large range of well made and inexpensive scooters and more modest transport are making a dent in the otherwise lamentable sales figures, but we have a long way to go. People will always want exotic transport, but they shouldn't drive the market or be over-represented in the biking press especially at a time when for example, entire areas of London and other Cities would have half their congestion problems solved overnight by eliminating millions of cars with ONE commuting person inside.
  12. Well if that's true then it must be in rare regions where rents are equal to monthly mortgages. But where? Almost everywhere I see has rents between two thirds and half of what it costs to buy, and that's with unprecedented low interest rates. It doesn't make sense.
  13. It never ceases to amaze me how seemingly intelligent people can be taken in by this kind of ramping. What it tells you is that despite unprecedented meltdowns, bankruptcies, money printing and a huge loss to the tax payer, plus a price crash that has barely even begun, a large proportion of the UK population STILL thinks property is an investment in the short term. This time there is simply no excuse to be taken in by this drivel. Anyone who buys in response to this kind of ramping fully deserves to lose a fortune and end up on a park bench with old copies of the FT to keep the chill away.
  14. It depends where you are and who you are dealing with. I moved from a rented flat after 4 years starting at £800 per month rising to £850. The new one is in a better part of the same area, bigger, better quality and is £700 per month. But I don't know if this a statistical norm. I can only say that it was dead easy to find and in fact the Landlord begged me to take it, knowing that I'm not going to let him down. A reliable tenant can, in my view, strike a good bargain.
  15. I studiously avoid the example of Singapore, though I concede that it is infinitely more efficient than the UK. Despite my damning indictment of my own country, which I stand by, I still wouldn't cite the fascist state of Singapore as a jewel encrusted example to go by. Too many liberties have been lost there for it to be a worthy comparison. I'm sure you can think of other examples which still manage to be reasonably tolerant of dissent. We don't have to go from one extreme to another.
  16. I really like your post. It avoids cliched assessments of the UK yet does identify a distinct dishonesty in the way that Britain constantly presents itself as being at the cutting edge of "service industry" excellence and claims superiority in almost every field, including education, sophistication, liberal tolerance, diversity of thinking etc, etc. The real picture is markedly different and to extend your theme about the heart of the UK being very different from the slick image it attempts to present to the rest of the world I offer a small example: Right now I happen to be sitting in a rather awful hotel in Devizes, Wiltshire, having been delayed by bad weather on a biking holiday. My hotel room is expensive, and costs far more than any equivalent room in the rest of Europe. It is damp, dingy and depressing. When arriving I asked whether it had a wi-fi connection so I could answer my e-mails on the go. I was assured it did. Three hours later, the missing pass code was eventually found on a dog-eared piece of paper the chef happened to find (the hotel owner was out playing a pool match, and that tells you everything you need to know). The connection is dismal, and on a par with dial up speeds three years ago. In some ways you could find this kind of appalling incompetence rather charming. But not only is it getting beyond a joke. It also reminds you of the chasm between what the UK claims to be and what it actually is. Beyond the sophistication of London, maybe Brighton, perhaps Leeds or Manchester, the vast majority of the UK is a backwater, devoid of any of the claimed excellence which it relentlessly promotes in its PR. That wouldn't matter except for the fact that it is fundamentally dishonest. We have to face this fact: Britain has for the last ten years projected an image of itself which is completely at odds with reality. And this is not restricted to hi tech considerations. It is in EVERY area of life that it fails with embarrassing regularity. Just take another example: Vegetable and Fruit markets. You can go to almost any town in the rest of Europe and they will have either permanent or twice weekly fruit and veg markets. They are alive with colour, choice, character and pleasure. The UK equivalent is a few tired old stalls, with tired old produce and sour faced market traders, devoid of enthusiasm and a million miles from the chirpy portrayals in films from the 1950's. We have a nation of builders and plumbers who, with a few noble exceptions, have made it a life's ambition to rip off everyone in sight, for the least effort and the most profit. We have solicitors who charge you £100 merely to walk through their door, let alone provide you with any meaningful or useful advice or service. Why is all this happening? One reason could be the breathtaking complacency of an entire nation that has simply got too used to making a quick buck, untaxed, out of speculation into property. It seems to me that the last decade of easy profits (at someone else's expense) had duped a whole country into believing it can deliver shoddy service, poor attention, excessively expensive work, and a host of other mediocre under-achievement masquerading as excellence, and get away with it. So, coming back to my miserable hotel room in Devizes. I am told that I should have perhaps booked into the "up market" hotel opposite. I popped over for a quick drink to suss it out. It is no better, but just has a slightly fancier name. All the same complacencies are there. The UK has priced the world out of its own market. It has relied for too long on reputation building PR which simply doesn't deliver. We actually give extremely poor value and lamentable service compared to the rest of the world, yet we behave as though we are somehow at the fore-front. This is palpable nonsense. We really need to wake up and just have a quick glance at everyone else who makes a far better job of what we claim as our "expertise".
  17. It depends on the circumstances. Some small businesses which are perfectly viable are going under not as a result of failing to get trade credit, or even failure to gather in money owed to them from normal trading, but in situations where cash owed to them is held in trust by for example e-commerce agents or affiliate sellers who are meant to be the temporary guardians of their rightful assets held in the same way that solicitors hold clients' cash in a client account, such cash or assets being strictly untouchable but ending up being used to bail out the trustee who is going through hard times.
  18. Yes, and I see that and kind of sympathise. But the trouble is that stories like his are picked up by others less wise and who see this as an encouragement to jump in JUST at the time when, had they not done so, they might have at last collectively gained real power to drive the market down much further. If you just want a roof over your head then it makes sense to hold back, not so you can make a killing, but to get housing at a decent price and be content.
  19. Sadly I have to tell you that you are a deluded person in need of education, proper research and a sense of history, but you obviously prefer the word of a ghastly spiv who happened to get lucky and whom now you seem to regard as being some guru despite the overwhelming evidence that tells even a six year old that this is nothing but a bull trap. But go ahead, buy buy buy.
  20. Looks to me as though Ms Flanders has finally capitulated to the BBC theme on property and the City. Bland questions, no challenges about the Government's failed strategy of printing money, and on other Beeb items she seems to have given up pretending to be an insightful, analytical journalist, leaving Paul Mason as the only journalist left in the BBC who has any clue at all about what is really going on. As for Peston - words fail.
  21. Yes there is one thing to add: The current statements that there is "pent-up" demand to buy is a pretty deceitful and dishonest spin on precisely the reverse circumstances. Even MORE than pent-up demand to purchase is a much GREATER "pent-up" desire to SELL on the part of those who are hanging on by their finger nails, praying that the market "recovers". Of course it won't and the current unsubstantiated rise, so-called, in values, based as it is on woefully inadequate samples, is as we know a classic bull trap. And this leads to another myth of shortage of supply, a tired old theme that now is re-emerging. There is no real shortage at all - it is just a temporary consequence of a few hundred thousand deluded sellers withdrawing from the market while hoping those mythical "green shoots" appear. When they realise there are no green shoots at all they will be forced to sell and the crash will continue at a more extreme rate than it did before. (see similar story after the 1990 crash started).
  22. Most big corporation anti virus software errs on the side of paranoia. I'm not saying this is a false alarm but on past performance most AV software constantly produces fresh scripts which contain plenty of mistakes and the potential for multiple false alarms, especially in software, but also on websites. Caution is of course advised, but on balance these scares are found to be unjustified.
  23. The OP begins by making what I thought would grow into a strong statement about the fact that many bears on this site are merely playing the same game as the bulls they criticise, but somehow it got lost by the end of his post. The notion of "bears" being the goodies and "bulls" being the baddies is something that lacks discussion here. As with the stock markets, many bears here are simply waiting for an opportunity to make a buck or two out of property and are effectively playing exactly the same game, except at different points in time, as the bulls. That might seem obvious, but particularly the market pros posting here are not, it seems, interested in any philosophical position about the desirability of reverting property back to its intended function, ie: as shelter, but simply waiting for the bottom of the market so they can start the whole boom bust process over again. For that reason I am neither a bull nor a bear. Both positions are vulture like, exploitative and a variation on the same game of roulette.
  24. Gill Tett did not, repeat not, predict the crash. She has confirmed this herself. Nor did Paul Mason. They've partially made up for it I suppose since then, but it still staggers me that about 2000 people predicted the crash on this website, including me, in 2005, and we are just ordinary people with no great access to the inner workings of the city. Yet the supposedly most insightful financial journalists are incapable of the same. A reasonably intelligent 6 year old, given the available information, could have quite easily and accurately also predicted the crash.
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