Friday, November 03, 2006

Is this the last Merchant Venturer?

One of the great traditions of Britain, and England in particular was teh tradirtion of Merchant Venturers. As their suggests they drove forward Britain's trade with the rest of the world in a spirit of dogged courage and risk. It was from them that Britain foirst traded with, then dominated the world. We in the UK and the rest of the world owes their memory a great debt.

C. Robin Woodbine Parish must be built of similar stuff. Chairman of El Oro and Exploration Company and a player both in mining, and it appears brewing his latest company statement is a must read.

Having gone through the various business sectors in which the company has interests and supported the cause of proper brewers, he moves into marvellous invective mode.

"The Earth may appear to belong to Google, with their bid ‘to control the supply of knowledge to the World’ or momentarily to the Oligarchs, with their bidding hands held high, or busy destroying the classical harmony and beauty of St. Petersburg’s Palaces: for lesser mortals, the travails of the US Housing industry, indebtedness of the US citizen and increase in Individual Voluntary Arrangements within the United Kingdom allied to rising interest rates, are disturbing portents. The escalating intrusion of the State into the lives of its citizens, backed by an ever more onerous tax regime, threatens stability far more than its alternative. Furthermore, the take-off in cheap air travel is now seen as the prime polluter and source of all the ills of the world; needless to say, another tax is seen as the solution, especially by the Conservatives, who consign to a distant filing-cabinet the eminently sensible report on taxation produced by Lord Forsyth".

But then he really lets rip in his "personal views",

"Some may query the sanity of those fund equity managers who eschew the assets of ‘this sceptred isle, this precious stone set in a silver sea’, taking in exchange British or other bonds, issued by countries hopelessly indebted and with chronic budget deficits whilst P & O, AB Ports and others disappear into the maw of Private Equity or overseas traders. The Pension Funds reduce their exposure to UK equities – despite that being the only area that can sustain their clients over the longer term; a process accelerated by the present Chancellor and his predecessor’s reduction followed by removal of the Tax Credit; destroying possibly £150 billion from the Pensions of all but parliamentarians and Civil servants, whilst simultaneously proclaiming success at bringing ‘stability’ to the British economy. That stability is mainly apparent in the client list of West End Restaurants. Those citizens foolish or patriotic enough to believe their government’s promises, have been impoverished and the exposure of the British fund industry to its own economy has been diminished.
The 45,000 ‘Ghost’ workers in the Cameroons, costing that country £5 million per month, are sadly replicated many times over in Britain. The soft-sell Conservatives dare not whisper the Spending-cut word, even when the evidence of appalling profligacy and woeful underachievement is everywhere to be seen. Defra has become a byword for incompetence and overstaffing; the National Health, whilst admirable in its operatives, is sliding ever deeper into catastrophic insolvency, dragged down by a Computer system of unbelievable ineptitude and budget overrun; the public education system has proven itself incapable of providing literate and numerate graduates to stand on a par with overseas students. The Armed Forces, one of the few organisations retaining a smidgeon of efficiency and authority, is starved of resources and is now so small within the State sector as to be almost invisible; its Barracks and Hospitals, amongst the finest and historic Georgian buildings in the Land, like the similarly dispersed asylums, have been sold off for a pittance to form bijou apartments for the upwardly mobile and enrich a new generation of developers; the injured must take their chance in the lottery of the NHS.
For the tax-payers of our country to be told they must continue coughing up to bolster this profligate government is truly grotesque. Meanwhile, the ordinary Englishman, paying nearly 50% of his income in tax, is excluded from the London housing market, by the impossibility of competing with non-Domiciled purchasers paying an average of 5%. The citizens of the North-East may well be content with this state of affairs: it is unlikely that those of the South East will tolerate it indefinitely, especially when a Bank of the stature of HSBC admits to be reviewing the domicile of its Headquarters.
It is enough to drive one to drink, but not to cigarettes: that avenue now to be excluded from pubs and Restaurants: an aim but not an achievement of Adolf Hitler in the 1930’s, unlike General Pershing who regarded tobacco ‘as important as bullets.’ The effect on our pub investments is yet to be discovered, but unlikely to be good, as is the removal of soft drinks from schools, whilst simultaneously selling off their playing fields. The urge to intrude and restrain freedom is almost irresistible and infinite to any politician, where even Anthony Gormley’s Merseyside sculptures at Crosby are not deemed safe on the seashore; shame on you, pseudo-Conservatives.
We all now know that Regulations will not be reduced by any of the present or potential incumbents, that tax will get worse and the public finances more dissolute. We have no idea when the nettle-grasping will occur, as happen it must; in the meantime, our assets, spread through this proud land and amongst the more fecund and energetic areas of the world, will provide the wherewithal for the wait".

I call all good men and women to raise their glass and toast this man.

Hat tip, The Devil

No comments: