So they told you that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit would be ‘just fine’! Think again!

How difficult will it be to establish new trade with non-EU countries after a hard Brexit?

If you think that there is an easy solution with a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, and that as Jacob Rees Mogg and others have claimed, that it is only a question of some new trade deals to replace what we lose with the EU, then please read this article.

It makes it abundantly clear that trade with other world economic powers will go nowhere near replacing what we stand to lose with the EU and that the impacts on the British economy will be enormous.

The UK’s trade with the EU and the other countries with which the EU has trade agreements and which will be lost to the UK post Brexit, is so large (69%) that the UK will find it very difficult to find new trade deals to compensate for the fall in EU-related trade that results from Brexit.

It will be particularly difficult to compensate for any lost trade in intermediate goods with the EU. It will also be difficult to land any new trade deals with other countries quickly, except perhaps the rolling over of existing EU trade agreements with smaller countries.

To illustrate the scale of the trade challenge facing the UK, only 7% of UK exports go to the BRICS (Brazil, India, Russia and China) while 44% go to the EU. This means that a modest 5% drop in trade with the EU as a result of Brexit would require a 31% increase in trade with the BRICS, just to stand still.

It is not just a matter of arithmetic. It is a lot easier for the UK to trade with neighbouring European countries than other countries. Distance is the biggest and most obvious barrier to trade but it is not the only barrier. For example, in developing (and some developed) countries, there are often bureaucratic or political hurdles to overcome, which can include onerous customs requirements, cultural differences, language barriers, legal uncertainty and discriminatory tax. In some countries, negotiation of trade deals may involve risks of bribery and corruption. It can also be a challenge just to get paid on time: credit risk is often higher.

It is also a question of the UK’s relative competitive strength in trade. Those markets which are attractive to the UK are likely to be attractive to other countries and trading blocs. China and India are attractive because of their scale, but the UK has been losing market share in India to Germany and France; in China, Germany does 4 to 5 times more trade than the UK. Similarly, the UK’s stated target countries may find other partners more attractive. For example, Australia has demonstrated that its first priority in Europe is a trade deal with the EU27 trading bloc.

The attractiveness of overseas markets to the UK depends on a combination of factors including size of trade, proximity and comparability of legal system, language, culture and, of course, historic ties. Taking these factors into account, the FT analysed future market potential for 2050 using detailed trade analysis from a specialist trade consultancy, Ciuriak Consulting, and long-term economic forecasts from PwC. The FT concluded:

The EU27, US, China, India and Canada are the most attractive markets for the UK today and remain so in 2050.

The top five risers, which are expected to be more attractive in 2050, are Russia, Nigeria, Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia.

The top five fallers, which are expected to be less attractive in 2050, are Saudi Arabia, Japan, Australia, Brazil and South Korea.

The government’s own impact assessment says that the economic impact of UK trade deals with other countries would be SMALL compared to the benefits of EU membership. A trade deal with the US would only benefit GDP by about 0.2% in the long term. Trade deals with other non-EU countries and blocs, such as China, India, Australia, the Gulf states and Southeast Asia would add, in total, a further 0.1- 0.4% to GDP.

The US is the UK’s main trading partner outside the EU, however a trade deal with the US seems very unlikely. In May 2018, an authoritative study published in association with Harvard Business School explained why in careful detail. The study concludes:

“We discuss the key potential upsides, possible risks and principal negotiating issues from both US and UK perspectives. We conclude that it is highly unlikely that a free trade deal between the US and the UK will be secured in the near term and that the likely potential benefits for British businesses are less than often suggested.”

Source: FT, The post-Brexit trade deals that Britain needs to prioritise, 3 January 2018
Ciuriak, Dan and Siauw-Soegiarto, Fanny and Sun, Sharon Zhengyang, Quantifying the UK’s Post-Brexit Export Potential: A Gravity Model Analysis (April 22, 2017). Available at SSRN.
PwC, The World in 2050, February 2017
EU Exit Analysis, Cross-Whitehall Briefing, January 2018 (published March 2018)
On the Rebound: Prospects for a US-UK Free Trade Agreement, Peter Sands, Ed Balls, Mehek Sethi, Eleanor Hallam, Sebastian Leape, Nyasha Weinberg, May 2018

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Tough life and huge challenges – my story these last 3 to 4 months – no pride, just shame!

Tough life and huge challenges – my story these last 3 to 4 months – no pride, just shame!

Life has been pretty tough for me just as for maybe many other persons in the last 3 to 4 months.
My own fault and with no sense of pride, just shame I think my achievements could well go into the Guinness Book of Records.
I will document the process later with the strategic details, so maybe others can avoid committing the stupidities I managed with great blindness and little skill. If I could kick myself I would have done so a long time ago. But try it, it ain’t easy.

Suffice it to say through extreme gullibility on my part towards a door-to-door salesman of the very worst kind, I ended up with 2 duplicate suppliers of broadband plus TV, and also a direct subscription to a TV company called CMore, and the killer was all of these were for a “bindningsperiod of 2 years”, so extremely depressing as I had been hoping retirement would allow me to be lazy and enjoy life. But that was not to be! And it has stolen time from my preferred mission of fighting Brexit.

SOME WONDERFUL NEWS – OFF-TOPIC – ABOUT BREXIT
On that score I have every reason to believe there will be a magnificent speech from the Leader of the Lib-Dems, Sir Vance Cable. But am not at liberty to disclose anything as yet.

Some of the TV content from the broadband suppliers was also duplicated in the TV supplied from CMore.
How this happened I will document on a future occasion.
But now I am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel and can say I have been able to solve with some luck and the generosity of one of the broadband suppliers about 65% of the problems. Not home and dry yet but working hard on it.
Quite magnificent of them, have you ever heard of a supplier in the IT business in Sweden, saying OK we understand what has happened and are prepared to cancel our agreement with you at zero cost. People told me this is not possible, too much money at stake.


But the truth is it did happen. And later when I feel more in balance, I will reveal this, but am curious to get an understanding of who regular broadband and FB users in Sweden think which of the current major IT broadband and TV suppliers really care about their customers and would be capable of such a magnificent gesture and cancel a 2 year agreement and do what is obviously right for their customers.

Hopefully, something good could come out of this as a mini-survey on how we perceive the praxis of IT broadband and TV suppliers.

And finally, does anyone know if it is correct that as consumers we have the legal right to get a copy of the customer log a company has on us. I have not yet been able to identify this, any guidance would be much appreciated.

I have asked Cmore both in writing and over the phone for this, left messages for the so-called head of communications  JG at Cmore, (who does not appear to be capable of communication, maybe I am being unfair as silence is a means of communication, isn’t it) to get in touch with me regarding the customer log, as well as another unnamed individual Johan D (people don’t have names in this country)  who is connected with something called “kvalitetsutveckling” and despite explicitly stating in writing he would get in touch about 2 weeks ago has failed to do so. I believe they are just trying to tire me out. They won’t succeed.

Done Sept 18th 03.11

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Philosophy of Life – What could be better? Ha, ha!

Philosophy of Life – What could be better? Ha, ha!

Thinking about life the main purpose for me at all times is to try to do the very best I can. Pure selfishness because I am pretty sure this moment will never ever return. 

That is one of the very few things I am more or less absolutely sure of in this life. Perhaps it is different in other lives for other people!

Of course, like most humans I don’t always or indeed sometimes rarely live up to this, but that is another issue.

Who knows? Does anyone? After all these years, the only certainty I have is the present moment will never return.

Anyone willing to share their thoughts? Particularly if they believe they have been born again.

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Brexit and Chequers

I think the Chequers proposal is dead in the water. Neither remainers or leavers can accept it, if accepted UK will become a vassal state under the EU, and then where will we be?

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Inspiration from Tobias “Still in the Bank” and “Looking for Sensation”

Had the very good fortune to meet Tobias a couple of years ago at an IT Investment exhibition. Only later did I discover the journey he had made,  why he was “Still in the bank”, the title of the collection is “Looking for Sensation” and was started as part of his rehabilitation after suffering a stroke. I found his story so inspiring that I asked him to share it with others. And this is it, truly mesmerising and wonderful! Both the songs and the story. I believe it is available through Spotify, and from his domain name  based on reversing his Christian name, Tobias=Saibot so we have http://www.saibotmusic.se.  Enjoy!

Tobias’s article is hosted on my web site https://gobaug.org where you will see some of the issues I have been concerned with. Unlike Tobias I can’t sing a note, had suffered a serious car accident that put me in a wheelchair, but when the UK Government made its Brexit referendum decision, I got so angry, almost jumped out of the wheelchair, and set about fighting Brexit and raising my issues, covering quite a diverse area. Pure self-indulgence but with a semi-serious purpose.

Click here to hear a short sample of Tobias’s magic! Just 3mins 30 secs, but all available on Spotify!

(more…)

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Facebook – “NEVER EVER AGAIN” – the scandal continues to grow 24 March

First, an apology from FB after a few days! This raises some crucial questions. Why so long? Doesn’t FB know what its own system is doing?? Or did they know, but had to figure out what their “optimal” response could and should be? Either which way,  it does not look too good at all IMHO whichever way you look at it, even with the best will in the world!

Should FB’s apology be accepted and/or should there be some strong and effectively punitive, financial penalties that encourage FB to understand that user rights and use of user data should not be abused and violated? In his statement MZ said “The good news is that the most important actions to prevent this from happening again today we have already taken years ago”. Hardly confidence enhancing since if true, how come this has happened now?
Possibly financial sanctions should also be designed to ensure that if anything similar should ever happen again, FB knows what the outcome should, could,   and would be. And for that to happen, effective measures need to be taken now not at some indefinite time and place “tomorrow”.

Otherwise, repetitions will undoubtedly recur.Profits are too great for temptation to be resisted.

Just accepting a late and painless apology from FB does not seem to be a sufficient remedy. Substantial effort should be put into ensuring that FB plays by the rules such that income gained in any given country should be assessed for tax and paid as tax revenues in that country, and not merely be shifted to and declared in countries with the lowest possible corporate tax rates.
Real penalties are called for that could at least indirectly benefit users who have had their privacy violated in recent years.
In addition, if FB wishes to stay in business it should clarify and streamline its reporting systems so that users can monitor and “guide”  FB to do what is right. A couple of months ago I had to report a physically threatening post I received to FB, and received a cryptic response, without being able to get clarification from FB.
An apology alone is totally insufficient. It would mean we accept something like “We are terribly sorry we violated your privacy and did not follow our own terms and conditions. We did not mean to do this, we hope you will understand, our mission is to serve you to the best of our ability”. And not just to make enormous profits for our founders and shareholders. Or is FB, like some banks, too big to fail.
If it is close to that, then maybe that is all the more reason to make sanctions as punitive as possible.
So “NeverAgain” could be the buzz word to shout for a “call to effective action” before it is too late! And if this weakens FB, so be it, maybe it is worth the price even  though all some people may still think of FB as the world’s social media platform.

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Introduction To Dance

A wonderful sample of Tobias Welin singing, further info from Spotify or his website  http://www.saibotmusic.se 

Dance Dancing is generally considered an art because there are specific steps or foot movements that need to be observed and followed when one is dancing to a certain type of music. Grace as well as skill is essential for a professional dancer in their performances. Though not everyone is gifted with the elegance required in being a talented dancer, learning the basics in dancing is important since you never know when your terpsichorean competence is required. A number of people enjoy dancing as an outlet of releasing one’s tensions after a hard day’s work. There are individuals who go an extra mile in trying to learn a new dance step in order to be up-to-date with the latest dance crazes. Fortunately for those who want to learn, there are dance schools that offer formal as well as short courses in dancing. Everyday, new dance steps and choreography are being invented hence, the evolution of dancing continues.

Dancing can also be a form of exercise to burn unwanted fat away. Many exercise regimens today have incorporated dancing as part of their physical activities. The rationale behind such incorporation is that dancing utilizes almost all parts of the body leading to a healthy blood circulation within your body. By combining dancing with your daily exercise, you can enjoy yourself while keeping your body fit and trim.

 

Dance music refers to the musical compositions that accompany the performance of a dance. Music is an essential part of a dance as a dancer’s movement and steps are executed to suit the rhythm or tempo of the musical arrangement. Perfect harmony in dancing is achieved when the dancer flawlessly moves in synchronism to the music that is being played.

The dance music is normally monikered the dance for which it was named after. At present, you have the following dances – the bolero, the cancan, the cha-cha, the fox-trot, the jitterbug, the mambo, the meringue, the minuets, the polka, the tango, the salsa, the swing, the twist, the waltz, folk dances, rock and roll, modern dance, among others. Aside from the music that accompanies the dancer, each dance boasts of having their respective trademark steps and movements that symbolizes the particular dance. Thus, just by looking at the foot works and the hand movements, you can easily identify what type of dance is being performed.

Costumes are likewise essential parts of a dance especially if one is dancing as a profession or when one is engaged in a competition. One should comply in wearing the proper costumes since you would want to avoid an accident while dancing. For example, if you were the female dancer, you would not want to slip on your flowing dress when dancing the tango or the swing. Keep in mind that although your dress or costume accentuates your dancing, it is best to put on something that is comfortable and suitable. Shoes are another consideration when dancing. You must use appropriate shoes that ideally fits your feet and will not hamper your movements.

To dance is an expression of one’s individuality. There are many dance forms that you can try to your heart’s content.

Source by Michael Russell

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The Lib-Dems really do appreciate our support, and they need it, let’s give it ALL NOW. The last lap.

C

Brian – thank you so much!

We really appreciate your support for our campaign for an Exit from Brexit. This Government is a shambles – and they’re making an absolute hash of the Brexit negotiations.

That’s why we think you, the British people need the final say on any Brexit deal – and if it’s not right for you & your family, you should have the chance to reject it and stay in Europe.

Support is growing every minute for our campaign, but we can’t let up. Here are a few things you can do right now to help:

1 – Share the campaign on Facebook

Your friends and family are much more likely to join our campaign if you ask them – it only takes a few seconds and you can make a massive difference! Share the campaign on Facebook today:

Share on Facebook

2 – Share the campaign on Twitter

Twitter is a great place for our campaign to get noticed – and by sharing it on Twitter, you’ll help make sure we get more supporters – and better media coverage as well. Share the campaign on Twitter today:

Share on Twitter

3 – Donate and help us spread the word

We’re also running adverts online to make sure as many people as possible join our campaign and every £5 you donate will mean 12,000 people see our campaign online. Will you donate today?

Donate now

Thank you again Brian. Together, we will take the fight to this Conservative Brexit Government and we stand a real chance of exiting from Brexit.

Vince

Vince Cable
Leader of the Liberal Democrats & MP for Twickenham

PS: You can also help by forwarding this email to your friends and asking them to sign the petition. Your friends can do that here: libdems.org.uk/exit-brexit


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Facebook, Cambridge Analytics and Academic World

The academic at the centre of the Facebook data scandal has said the social network is in full-on “PR crisis mode”.

Aleksandr Kogan’s remarks came as he faced a grilling over his role from MPs.

The social network was fully aware that its platform “was being mined by thousands of others”, he said.

He also rubbished Cambridge Analytica boss Alexander Nix’s initial claims that it had not received data from him.

“That is a fabrication,” he said.

In a later clarification, Cambridge Analytica did admit that it had licensed data from the firm set up by Dr Kogan, although denied that the information was used in the US elections.

At a press conference held after Dr Kogan’s appearance before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Cambridge Analytica spokesman Clarence Mitchell said the company was “no Bond villain”.

“Data analysis is commonly used for better targeting and is perfectly legitimate. It is not some Bond-like brainwashing as has been portrayed by some.”

Money-making exercise?

Dr Kogan was questioned by MPs about his role in the data harvesting row.

He revealed that he had signed a non-disclosure agreement with Facebook, which prevented him from revealing some details about his relationship with the tech giant to the MPs.

The Cambridge academic has become a central figure in the debate over whether the personal information of millions of Facebook users was used in US elections without their consent.

During the committee hearing, he explained that he was approached by SCL – the parent firm of Cambridge Analytica – in spring 2014 about monetising an app he had developed at the University of Cambridge’s Psychology Department.

He set up a commercial entity – Global Science Research – and later developed the personality quiz My Digital Life for SCL, using a market research firm to recruit 200,000 people to take part.

At the time, the social network’s terms and conditions – which have since been changed – allowed developers to cull the details of all of these people’s friends as well.

“Initially the conversations with SCL were about consulting services, survey designs and the interest in Facebook data grew out of that,” he said.

MPs grilled him on the relationship with business partner Joseph Chancellor, with whom he set up GSR and who is now employed by Facebook.

“Facebook has called your company a scam and a fraud. Is it not odd that they employ someone who by their admission has violated the platform’s policies?” asked committee chairman Damian Collins.

“I don’t believe that they actually believe this. They know that their platform is being mined left and right by thousands of others,” Dr Kogan replied.

“It is convenient to point the finger at my firm and call it a rogue agency,” he added.

He was asked whether the firm had been set up as a money-making exercise and replied that it had only received £230,000 in total.

Initial payments of between £600,000 and £800,000 from SCL were used to pay those who agreed to take the quiz, he said.

In written evidence presented ahead of the committee, Dr Kogan pointed out that the personality scores provided to Cambridge Analytica’s parent firm SCL were “highly inaccurate”.

“We estimate that we were right about all five traits for about 1% of the people.”

He added that the data would not have been useful for micro-targeting ads on Facebook.

Not brainwashing

Alexander Nix
Image captionCambridge Analytica’s suspended chief executive Alexander Nix has postponed another appearance before the DCMS committee

Following his appearance, Cambridge Analytica broke its silence on the row with a press conference held in London.

Spokesman Clarence Mitchell agreed that the data Dr Kogan had provided to the company had been “virtually useless”.

“It was only just above random guessing in statistical terms,” he said.

He reiterated that the data had not been used in the US presidential campaign and that while Cambridge Analytica had pitched for work to both Vote Leave and Remain, it had undertaken no work for either side in the EU referendum campaign.

He said the results of an independent inquiry into the company were due imminently.

When questioned about the notable absence of currently suspended Cambridge Analytica chief executive Alexander Nix, Mr Mitchell said he was “not here to speak for him”.

But he defended Mr Nix’s decision to “postpone” an appearance in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

“He is keen and willing to speak to the DCMS committee but has been advised that he should not do so while an independent inquiry is ongoing.”

On Thursday, Facebook’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, will be questioned by the committee.

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