Category : General

All aboard the stupidity bus

I recently sat at a restaurant table with a young South African couple, who I do not know, and listened to the gentleman justify the failure of South Africa to give the Dali Lama a visa on the grounds that we could not afford to upset China.  He was deeply offended when I suggested that a similar attitude allowed the Nats to apply apartheid for 46 years and enabled Mr Hitler to dictate European policy and ultimately destroy a generation as well as exterminate millions of innocents.

For South Africa to fight for its democracy for so many ears and then to abandon those who, not only stand for democracy and human rights, but actually supported our fight for our own, is an absolute disgrace.  Appeasement is a sin!

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15 Minutes of Gory

I am really not sure whether I am in a recession, repression, remission or depression! There is so much to think about and worry about, things are shrinking and sliding and that’s just the effects of the market! When will normality return, when can I fret about my waistline and lack of a 12 pack and not have to think about global issues such as the nuclear war ships and wind power. (By the way 6 packs are for children, us over 40’s have 12, 24 and 36 packs!)

Day in and day out I read stories that defy belief, stories that embarrass me in their incredulity and general ignorance. Please tell me how a bank can be saved from insolvency with 21bn of tax payer’s money and then £1bn is immediately used to pay incompetent manager’s bonuses?

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We were never being boring

I am a creature of habit. Sorry that is simply a fact and there is no escaping it, you can set your watch by me and I am probably the most boring individual you could ever meet.

Over the last few months, however, my life has been hell and I was even on tablets to calm me down, actually my beloved has just admitted they were mints, but they worked well for her as one of my many boring habits is eating too much garlic!

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Size Matters

With the latest moves of Mother Russia to secure itself additional holiday resorts on the Black Sea and the new denim clad Mr Putin marching with the old red army into South Ossetia, it is not surprising that it has caused many to stop, pause and consider just how fickle economic and financial assumptions can be. A rainy night in Georgia may just lead to storms elsewhere.

It may not be true that Marks and Spencer were about to expand across the whole ex soviet union as Marx and Engels, but many European and American companies do have billions invested and will be watching very carefully to see if the presumed stability they assumed, still exists.

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Life on Mars

Time and the passage of time are to some extent illusionary. We can at one moment feel that we have had the longest week in history but at the same time feel in August as though Christmas was only yesterday.

A TV programme called Life on Mars has shown me a UK in the 70’s that had long remained repressed in my mind, yet looking at the cars, clothes and attitudes it becomes incredibly real and very recent. It is actually the attitudes that are so brilliantly recreated and which shock you so much. The sets, products and styles are easily portrayed, but to capture the essence and attitude of an era is brilliant.

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Life Changes

They say that moving house is second only in stress value to getting divorced. Well I have just moved house and I can tell you that they are 100% correct, what a nightmare!

I just never knew that I had so much stuff, the little house I was leaving became for one day Dr Who’s Tardis, it is actually impossible that so much was in that place. Box after box, bag after bag, temper tantrum after temper tantrum all from and over that little home!

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Position, Position, Proposition

Since the 1980’s there has been a dramatic change in the regulation of companies involved in the promotion and administration, of financially related products. Wave after wave of legislation has been introduced to ensure that the companies, as well as their employees, are properly educated and trained. Compliance with these acts and regulation is an onerous part of being allowed the privilege to promote and sell to the general public.

As I sit here today I am authorized in five different jurisdictions, including my home South Africa, and I can assure you it is an expensive ongoing process of paying regulatory fees and the associated annual information submission.

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Smile and Wave

So you think you have it bad?  Well things must be a lot worse for the English or at least it must be pretty bad out there in the UK!

Figures just released show that last year 34,000 prisoners in the UK refused an offer to leave prison early! You can see it can’t you, Sorry guv not me, I am not wearing that girly electronic bracelet and going out there, falling house prices, petrol through the roof, food prices on the up and up,  in doors giving me grief every bloomin day, I’m staying ere wiv a warm cell and three hot meals a day!
Meanwhile back in SA we do not have the option of a luxury prison, you may just end up with an Arthur Brown one! No, we must push on and upwards, dealing with our own lives every day.

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Get off the Pedastal

As you get older you begin a process of becoming slightly more cynical. No longer do you jump out of frying pans into fires or run around with that stupid bull in a china shop, or was it in a shop in china?

No, we expect the unexpected and we laugh in the face of face value! So it comes as absolutely no surprise when the bastions, we held up on such high pedestals in our youth, crash down around our ears in a sickeningly normal, human and disappointingly ordinary way!

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Stay in the Market

Over the many, many years that I have been involved in the world’s stock exchanges many people have asked me what is the biggest investment danger of all?

In a simple and often repeated piece of advice, I repeat the words of a very wise and elderly broker for whom I worked back in the 198’s, he just said, the biggest danger of the stock market is not being in it!

Over the years I have seen people pull their money out of the markets and then lose their nerve about going back into it. It is as if by being out of the market they lost their investment nerve entirely. People pull money out of shares for the safer home of bonds and cash, but basically that is a mistake in the medium to long term.

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