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Cogs

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Everything posted by Cogs

  1. There was a report on the TV the other day that claimed second hand prices were collapsing. Its never been easier to go to a dealer and demand a hefty discount, so the market for second hand cars is fading. This is more with the sort of brands who have dealers who trade on volume obviously (Ford, Vockies, don't know about BWM or Mercedes though). There is (possibly) an argument that car prices are falling ahead of house prices now MEWing doesn't look quite as attractive.
  2. Yes but some people clearly are. I have trouble understanding why this isn't picked up espeically when Certain Persons use the same template for practically every post meaning that their multiple account efforts are not exactly hard to spot either. Mentioning no names! Hope that helps anyway! Good luck!
  3. I think to a degree you do point something out there which is often overlooked by those "down south" as it were. Whilst its possible the numbers have been inflated somewhat, areas with a history of heavy industry do have, owing to the nature of that work, higher levels of disability than others. These are also areas of high unemployment anyway post-Thatcher but you can make too much of the correlation if you don't allow for that factor. Working in a mine is unpleasant and it is bad for your health. Its easy for people whose idea of a hard day's work is sitting behind a desk not understand that. I have family from a mining community I remember going to church as a kid when they were still open (but being closed) and you'd sit there straining to hear the vicar over the hacking coughs and the wheezing.
  4. Oh sure, I think I'm saying that it is widely seen as intimidatingly complex here (specifically) because we don't have a culture of being widely interested in it. I think all are in agreement really. SELL!!!!
  5. I think Silver Surfer does have a point. I think the culture is very different in say the US and Japan for that matter. Not that they can borrow money for speculation either but the man in the street (or in Japan the housewife as the stereotype has it) is very relaxed about stocks and shares whereas here they are seen as slightly more dodgy than the gee-gees but not as bad as roulette. My sociological punt would be that this is because participation in the stock market was associated with a certain social class (and so "not for us") for longer than was the case in other countries. And not that the US doesn't have its property speculators, obviously it does but in the UK there does seem to be an issue with EVERYONE piling into the same asset class with very little diversification.
  6. No, normally mortgages are cheaper. Traditionally you pay extra for the flexibility of renting, not having to do maintenance/pay for insurance etc., reduced liabilities and so on. You've never heard of the "rent trap"? Time was it was considered a pretty major social issue where people were "trapped" by high rents and couldn't save up enough money to gather a sufficient deposit so they could access a mortgage and thus live for less. Amongst the older generation this is really why they talk of the "property ladder" and they are fearful people will "miss their chance". Its also, to be fair to them, where the idea of "scrimping and saving to get a deposit" and much finger wagging comes from, although this was always with the expectation you'd immediately be repaid by having a higher disposable income when did have that mortgage. The opposite is true today which where there is some inter-generational confusion over the issue and the renting young can't understand why Gran is having palpatations over their "irresponsibility" in not getting that x7 income mortgage. This is where it comes from, try mixing with some oldies sometime.
  7. It was covered on Radio 4 this morning. Began with a bried statement from Liz at PricedOut. Disappointingly the author of the report gave the line that BTL was therefore of benefit in providing a required service while houses are so expensive. Apparently any relationship between people buying houses to rent them out and the increasing cost of houses escaped both the author of the report and the presenter. There was more than a hint of "let them eat cake" about it. Bearish but spun as bullish I'm afraid.
  8. The Government was urged last night to break its "deafening silence" on the dispute. The CWU accused ministers of "complete disinterest". Billy Hayes, the union's leader, said: "If this was Northern Rock they would be pouring money in. This is a company that they own and they seem to have no interest whatsoever." Not quite moral hazard as it is usually expressed but there is a genuine point there. The Royal Mail also received a loan to back their stumbling business model but the terms were very cruel compared to those enjoyed by Northern Rock's shareholders. Still when you compare a private company giving people loans they can't really afford to a national service delivering the post its clear a mortgage bank is far more deserving of the money in your pocket. Fully support the postal workers and its only a shame that the repressive laws of this country unjustly prevent the rest of us coming out in solidarity to support them more meaningfully. Was it Jack Dee(?) who said if you want to moan about the Royal Mail heres the price of a Mars bar back, take your letter up to Inverness yourself. You might talk about the cost of Government subsidy (it isn't "revenue neutral") but in an article in the Telegraph today it is claimed that even if Osborne's tax plans aren't really funded at all, two billion a year is chump change for the Treasury so it doesn't matter. In which case there is no point worrying about what the Royal Mail costs is there.
  9. Mew York, Mew York. ...so leveraged they paid for it twice. Rock Mewsic: Cacophonous sound of a Geordie one-man band pushed down several flights of stairs. Remewval Van: A form of transportation favoured by baliffs "In the Mewd": A popular dancehall favourite from the "big mortgage" era featuring boastful trumpeting. I'll get my coat.
  10. Yes. It was either before your time or you have a very short memory. If this comes as a surprise to you, I'll also add William Hague voted against.
  11. Yes, the Tories are going to rev up their own 15-year old interecine battle that has been tearing them apart for a generation just before an election. I don't think so somehow.
  12. He is a sort of Constitution fundamentalist. Thus where he said NO (or YES depending on the phrasing of the question) in some cases this is because he doesn't believe the Federal Government should have any influence on the matter, but rather it should be for the States to decide or individuals, again depending on the scope of the issue. His votes don't necessarily represent his personal opinion on the issues themselves. So be careful about reading too much into his votes until you consider the context in which he is voting. I don't agree with everything he has said but you have to respect his principled stance.
  13. Agree with you there. There was actually an article in the Observer about 6 months back where a local (to you and me) EA was commenting on the phenomenon as affecting his whole business (indeed, after that I know he sacrificed half his trad EA office and opened a larger letting office on a different site so it wasn't just hot air) so this backs up your observations. The EA's argument was people were waiting to see where the market was going although a less nuanced interpretation is this is the last ditch way in which people are being "sticky on price" as it were. Suits me, this influx into the market is keeping rents flat (indeed the short-term "forced" LLs are generally more desperate to get something rather than holding out for market rate), I don't care what the LL associations think they are seeing.
  14. Leaked Conservative party general election campaign materials: I think it was a reasonably competent performance from a PR man but he did nothing to reach those not already onboard. The best you can say of it is that perhaps fewer Tory voters will be defecting to Labour. Given the challenge he faces it wasn't enough mainly because it wasn't brave enough or radical enough IMHO. I still think Cameron/Osborne are not men enough for the job and I look forward to a time when there will be a sharp, muscular opposition capable of inpiring a national debate for all our sakes. This isn't it.
  15. Went into administration late August/early Sept if I recall correctly. Managed to save jobs in the wholesale division though. Not sure what conclusions you can draw really, the highstreet DVD pusher has had his chips really. More a business model thing than anything else I think; internet & supermarkets have stolen their market.
  16. I think Osborne should pop round to Maggie's place and see if she still has the address of her elocution teacher in the old rolodex. Less of a statesman, more a bee-gee. Still, it is nice to see a 14 year old with an interest in politics though, I take it he is following William Hague's old example in speaking at the conference shortly before taking up shaving.
  17. Again. Opposition parties can in the end make any vague promise they like but until they start filling in details it is mere kiteflying and won't survive contact with the civil service and the realities of governing. Are you a member of the Conservative party? It seems strange you are arguing for one man's vague promises to be so much superior to another man's vague promises. I do demand this level of proof from people who are spending my money or want to spend my money. Vague handwaving doesn't cut it I'm afraid. As I've already said, my argument is not with you (in the sense of being a saloon discussion), it is with them. David Cameron hasn't even got as far as saying he wants to close Quangos or cut "fat" from the DSS has he, thats you making that bit up!!! No, quite the opposite. As I've already said what I'd like to see is a bit of honest graft from them identifying what they are going to cut and how. That is a useful function this particularly weak shower of an opposition could actually fulfill for all the money the taxpayer gifts them with. As far as I can tell the parliamentary Tory party have spent the last 10 years not really trying very hard and enjoying the subsidised food in the House of Commons and racking up the non-executive directorships. If this requires taking an ideological position (e.g., we no longer pay childcare to single mothers, we're axing child trust funds, or we're kicking invalids into the street, whatever it is, your definition of "VITAL" may not be the same as mine) so much the better, we can actually have a political debate in this country once more. Any cut to services or expenditure would include "VITAL" cuts, it depends who you are which why they are cowardly in terms of making any firm statements because someone is going to hacked off wherever the money comes from. Even Quangos have stakeholders you know.
  18. Nah, this is about FTBs and a "raft" of tax cuts anyway. Point is I agree with you it is complex, however if they want us to take them seriously then I think it isn't unreasonable to ask for some costing. I'm not asking you for the costing, I want the people who think they can run a country to do it. It isn't wrong to think there might be some fat to trim but for politicians they need to be specific and not just employ rhetoric. To do that would what take some nerve, which is something missing from the political scene. I actually think at this stage it would be the best thing for the Tories to do, even if it risks putting some noses out of joint (as even cutting an obscure Quango would in fact do). At least they could have a debate about something substantive and force the government into an equally substantive reply. Trading spin (which this is) will get them nowhere and it hardly threatens the government. Lets say it is easy to cut Stamp Duty. In which case Gordon will, if it goes anywhere, promise to do the same thing. What they need to do is to force a genuine issue where they say yes and the government says no. The theory that Cameron can just lurk around keeping his nose clean waiting for the government to implode has, so far anyway, been wrong.
  19. According to VIs promoting the removal of stamp duty the opposite is the case: Richard Donnell, research director at property website Hometrack, said: 'For most people, it is cheaper to do a loft conversion than move house. 'Higher stamp duty, moving costs and people already being mortgaged up to their eyeballs are all factors. In many cases, it is cheaper to add £30,000 onto your mortgage and stay put than it is to move.' So Mr Osborne will need to cost not only the money lost from the Treasury but also the number of private businesses that will be damaged.
  20. If it is so easy to trim a bit of fat, will he give us accurate figures about where that fat is going to be trimmed? I very much doubt it. DSS is fine with me, whose benefits is he going to remove? How about QUANGOs, which ones? Name names and publish a spreadsheet. Until he says precisely where the money is coming from, and also states clearly that they are withdrawing their only concrete policy promise re: Labour's existing spending plans, this is all fiction. If it is true we can't afford public spending, thats fine with me as an empirical matter, and I'll stop taking the p155 and have a bit of respect for them when they grow a pair and say whose bonfire they are going to extinguish. Until that time its just the usual hot air. Labour did the same thing, the Tories did the same thing before that, we've had over 50 years of the same old story from opposition parties and I'm bored of it.
  21. Any details on how he is going to fund it given George Osborne is underwriting the Labour budget for the next three years (their only concrete policy promise so far) ? It is meanginless for opposition parties to promise any sort of tax cut until they have explained which services they will be cutting. Apparently we shall see a "raft" of tax cuts, so which hospitals, how many policemen off the beat, which regiments will be closed, how high will teacher/child ratios be pushed, etc. Or will Osborne in effect just increase borrowing (as many Tories are conviently forgetting they urged Gordon to do during his "prudence" phase). Now it is true every opposition party since the war has said they will fund tax cuts/expanded services through "efficiency savings" but given none of them have ever managed it. I think we should demand a bit of honesty.
  22. I find the Ayn Rand connection terrifying. I once read Atlas Shrugged after urging by American acquaintences. It is hard to describe just how terrible it is. Reading it is to witness a genocide against strawmen. The prose is very poor, there isn't a single scene or emotion that rings true and there is barely an idea expressed that isn't complete nosense. To give you an example, at one point there is a board meeting by a railway company going out of business. The owner of the company laments that, yes, they are going out of business but it would be unkind and immoral to try and compete with their competitors... This is how the owners of business think in social democracies apparently. You really have to question what sort of person would be moved in their views by that kind of tripe.
  23. Do you think this is really why Fort Knox hasn't had its gold counted? Because, contrary to the usual conspiracy theory that says it is all gone/given to aliens etc., there is actually as much there as there was in 1920... Theres a sensationalist paperback book in this I'm sure.
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