Friday, 14 October 2016

The Privacy of Political Elites & Shares

Trump has responded to allegations of sexual assault by saying he's never made unwanted sexual advances to women. There again, he seems to be the kind of Neanderthal who would maintain all women are 'up for it' and therefore advances from him are welcomed.

The Moral Maze had a session the other night on people's right to privacy. I haven't listened to it yet, but in the case of politicians you are voting for them on trust. You need to be sure that such trust is not misplaced and their actual motives are not diametrically opposed to their espoused motives that are the basis of the vote. That presupposes their private lives and peccadillos should justifiably be under scrutiny. When to comes to actors and pop stars, etc., I don't need to take anything they say on trust (most of it is vacuous anyway) and as such they should have a right to privacy so long as they stick to their area of expertise and don't become involved wanting political office.

I can understand the attraction of Trump to American voters - they want to rid themselves of a self-perpetuating political elite, and Trump is seen the only way to do that. However, they should be careful of what they wish for as the law of unintended consequences may kick in. Better to wait for a qualified candidate than jump at the first one, however unsuitable he may be. One thing Trump doesn't eliminate is the involvement of plutocrats in politics.

I don't think we in the UK suffer so much from political elites - yes, there is the well trodden path of Eton and then PPE or journalism at Cambridge or Oxford and a position in some party's research department, but, in the main, the  vast majority of our politicians have had a real job. The Great British Public, on the other hand, seems to think not and I suspect that is why Brexit got such a high vote, as well as the view that the EU itself is a political elite.

Political elites are not necessarily a bad thing - they at least have experience of politics (I wouldn't want to undergo brain surgery by a novice), something a maverick doesn't have. The irony is that the monarchy is itself a self-perpetuating elite, but most Britons are pro monarchy. Perhaps it's because the monarchy has no real power.

Trump got a bit of a beating on Radio 4 yesterday morning when a retired British brigadier totally demolished Trump's argument for using strategic surprise in Mosul by just going in there mob-handed with no  warning. The brigadier, in a very calm and understated manner, pointed out that aid agencies  and civilians need warnings to clear out if they're not to become casualties of the conflict and that strategic surprise has only worked in very few instances. Asked whether Trump had a particular insight that the USA military did not, he said: "If Mr Trump has military advisors then he's clearly not listening to them."  A superb put-down and an example of the triumph of experience over political na├»vete.

Here we go - Unilever (an Anglo-Dutch conglomerate) is putting up its prices due to the fall in the pound. The bone of contention is raising the price of UK manufactured products, specifically Marmite, but Unilever does its accounting in Euros, so even if sales are steady, the value of those sales in Euros is decreasing. Allow that to continue and the revenues in Euros and share price will be adversely affected. Yes, Marmite exports from the UK will result in increased sales - but do continentals even understand Marmite, never mind about like it? The law of unintended consequences as a result of Brexit. Doubtless many things will generally become a lot more expensive in the future, Sadly most of them will be things we don't manufacture in the UK and so don't have an alternative,

Bit the bullet yesterday. Gave up hope of ever getting a Note 7 and went for an S7 Edge. Nice piece of kit, but I miss the stylus. Easy to transfer all my apps and data too.

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