The death of capitalism

Politicians are frequently criticised for having pre-packaged opinions on every subject under the sun, so it’s a refreshing change to take stick for not having expressed a view on a current issue.
A recipient of my newsletter is upset that I haven’t written about the global financial crisis.  More than that: he insists that I should drop everything to campaign on the issue.  I should write articles, call public meetings, go out on the street.  This is an interesting idea, but what would I actually say at such public meetings?  My failure to act, he says, is proof that I don’t take it seriously.  But of course I do indeed have opinions on the issue.  I believe that the financial crisis is a very serious threat to our prosperity.  I think the US administration is right to consider a substantial bail-out, but I also think that House Republicans are right to urge that other solutions, including an insurance guarantee scheme, should at least be considered.
I believe that US public opinion is wrong to regard the proposed bail-out as a tax-payers’ bung to rich bankers, or a freebie for Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.  If the US economy goes pear-shaped, Main Street will suffer most as jobs are lost and banks fail.
The media are stuffed with news reports and opinion pieces on the subject, and while of course I have my own opinions, I don’t believe I have much that is new or original to add to the debate, which is why I haven’t written about it (until now).  Some are saying it is the end of capitalism.  That of course is nonsense.  As long as people instinctively believe in their natural right to own property, and a consequent right to trade property, there will be capitalism.  As Winston Churchill didn’t quite say, capitalism is the worst way we know of organising an economy — apart from all the other ways.  Over the last century, we’ve seen all the other ways tried out, and they manifestly lead to greater disasters than our current problems.
Others are calling for Draconian new regulation of the banks.  This advice should be approached with caution.  We are all too familiar with the dangers of knee-jerk reactions.  We have seen the dangerous dogs act and the post-Dunblane gun laws.  Closer to the financial world, we have seen in America the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation of 2002.  This was a well-meant attempt to clean up Corporate America, but it is widely seen not only to have failed, but to have done huge damage to the US, and indeed to have driven capital markets off-shore — to the great advantage of London.  Excessive bank regulation could damage the City of London, could make it much less attractive to invest in the UK, and much more difficult for UK companies and citizens to borrow the money they need.  We should also apportion blame to Gordon Brown’s show-case reorganisation of financial oversight, between the Treasury, the Bank of England and the FSA.  His initiative has failed at the first serious challenge, and it can be credibly argued that if the Bank of England had retained full responsibility for banking supervision, it would have acted earlier over suspect mortgages and derivatives.
Of course we need to look at bonuses in the financial sector, so that they incentivise long-term prosperity, not short-term deals (and note that Richard Fuld, the Chairman of the failed bank Lehman Brothers, actually lost much of his personal fortune which was tied up in the bank’s shares and share options).  We also need to look at the capital ratios and lending practices of banks.  These are issues that shareholders are likely to address anyway, without new regulation.
Looking more broadly at threats to our prosperity, I personally believe that serious as the financial crisis is, there is an even greater threat to Britain, and that is the question of energy security.  On current energy policies, and especially with the Labour government’s over-reliance on wind power, we could see rolling black-outs in a few years’ time.  We could see the lights go out.  This is an issue where I do indeed feel that I have something important to add to the debate, which is why I have written articles, organised public meetings, and published a DVD about it.  I prefer to concentrate on issues which are not only important, but where I have a genuine contribution to make.  For a copy of my DVD, "Straight Talking on Climate Change", send a pre-addressed A5 envelope to me at 9 Prospect Court, Courteenhall Road, Blisworth, Northamptonshire, NN7 3DG.

Roger Helmer MEP

Another one bites the dust

Robert Peston’s crystal ball was spot on again when he predicted the impending nationalisation of Bradford and Bingley.

So Government (or us the taxpayer) owns Northern Rock, owns Bradford and Bingley and own the Post Office. Hmmm.. Interesting… very interesting….


RapidSwitch announces best quarter yet!

Maidenhead, England (18th September, 2008)

Leading provider of dedicated servers, RapidSwitch, today announces the results of the first quarter of the 2008/9 financial year, showing excellent and continued growth at the company.

Revenue was up by 87% compared to the same quarter in the previous year, showing the growing groundswell of support that RapidSwitch is receiving from the decision-makers buying dedicated servers. With most industry reports estimating the sector is growing 30% year-on-year, RapidSwitch is vastly outperforming its peers.

Over the past 12 months RapidSwitch has introduced some key differentiators and benefits for its clients. These range from a unique "Recovery and Reinstall" service through to protected Intellectual Property that allows clients unique control and visibility over their network presence with RapidSwitch. The services are delivered from RapidSwitch’s own bespoke control panel which is developed around a joined-up philosophy, with all parts of the service interacting with each other.

Rather than sitting on its laurels the staff at RapidSwitch are focussed on delivering some exciting and trend-setting features to the dedicated server market. There are several developments that will be announced before Christmas, which will be of significant benefit to clients.

For more details about RapidSwitch, please visit our website or call 0808 238 0033.

About RapidSwitch:

RapidSwitch is a leading server hosting company in the UK. We have installed over 5,000 servers for a wide range of clients, employ over twenty staff, and have a multi-million pound turnover. The company is privately held by its board of directors, is cash flow positive, and has posted a profit in every financial year to date.

East Midlands – the place to be!

I just wanted to share small piece of pleasing news with you. Yesterday I learned that I had been elected to the post of Deputy Chairman for the East Midlands region which is really pleasing. I will be concentrating on the political side of things which should be good fun – but hard work all the same.

The midlands is going to be a key battleground in the weeks and months before the next General Election, so I am very much looking forward to doing my bit to help return a Tory Government to power.

Classic Menu for Office 2007

Those who know me, know what a gadget freak I am. I have a couple of blackberries (with spare handsets for both) about 5 laptops, and my most recent purchase was an Iphone.

Recently I decided to upgrade my Office software from Office 2003 to Office 2007. I had heard about the new features that were available, and given I do a bit of writing and lots of presentation using Powerpoint I thought I should at least have the latest version.

For those who thought swapping to Vista was a pain, you ain’t seen nothing yet, when you compare it to upgrading your office version.

I suspect its when we get so used to the features of certain software, that when there seem to be quite drastic changes you find yourself feeling like a complete novice. For example, I think it took me about half an hour to find where you could find the “save as” function. Then of course there was the “past special” function which also took me another half hour to find.

In fact there are still old features in both word and powerpoint that I am still trying to find out where they have disappeared to. Where the hell has the wordcount tab gone? Under the review tab it seems!

How I wished for the old look of Office but with some of the new functions. Then I came across something  called Classic Menu for Microsoft Office.

One question I was particularly interested in was how to use the original keyboard shortcuts.

So is there any way that the alt keys for the top level menu can be activated? For example, pressing Alt-O-E would open the format cells dialog box in Excel 2007?

What you need to do is press Q, Q before the original shortcuts. For example, just press Alt-Q-Q-O-E, you will open the format cells dialog box in Excel 2007.

You can also browse toolbars and menus without remembering the shortcuts. For example, press Alt-Q-Q and the ‘All’ menu displays as following, now, press O-P you can change the Paragraph setting.

Anyway – why not just take a look yourself. You will be able to get the best out of Office 2007, with the familiarity of what you love about Office 2003.

Prepare for Government?

A year ago I was at party conference in Blackpool handing out Tory Radio CDs. The view was Brown could/would call an election and the smart money was that he would probably have pulled of an election victory.

Nick Robinson has whose blog really is a must read has an interesting piece on whether the party is the Government in waiting. Having attended the Labour conference in Manchester last week – it was clear Brown had to perform to save his skin.

Cameron has an equally tough challenge. The expectation for Brown were so low that anything half decent would and did suffice. The expectations for team Cameron are so high that the leader and his shadow cabinet now have to show they are really ready to return to power.

I have to say, this is one conference I am really looking forward to.

The Plan – A Review

As a devotee of their previous publication ’Direct Democracy’, it was with great anticipation that I awaited phase two which it turns out lives up to the high quality free thinking of it’s predecessor.
Since Direct Democracy there has been great changes both technologically and politically. Blogs and grassroots websites have taken on the mainstream media, and given the public thousands of sources of information where previously they were restricted to TV and Newspapers. Politically, the public are growing tired of a big unaccountable Government and it’s various agencies poking its nose into every aspect of their lives.
So how is The Plan different from Direct Democracy? Well for a start the title is a confliction for it conjures up images of Stalin and Brown with Tractor Production figures which couldn‘t be more different from its content.
Instead it extends previous ideas with adaptations and additions to deal with different conditions. In the book stays moves to make Councils self financing and election sheriffs to make local services properly accountable. The additions include action to make quangos, senior judges and ambassadors accountable, even more proposed devolution to counties and cities in much matters as social security, and a "Great Repeal Bill" to annul unnecessary and burdensome laws.
The topic I think will really be taken on quickly is the way the internet is changing politics. The old structures of the local Party and Branch, Trade Union’s ect are dwindling and a new internet based single issue politics is emerging. As the Authors predict, the political party that realises and "gets" the this will be the one that starts to do so called "digital politics" in Britain correctly.
In summary this is a radical, thought provoking book which sets out a truly democratic accountable Britain and is well worth a read.