Category Archives: Uncategorized

Post Reality Politics with Matt Damon

Me in France 3Here is a wonderful clip involving Matt Damon and libertarian journalist at an education rally in the US. It perfectly summarises the issue with politics in the world right now. Truth, reason and reality have all been thrown out the window.

The key point of the exchange comes in the middle of the clip, where Matt Damon says this: Continue reading

Leaving – Via a Greek-Style Cliff Drop

Me in France 3Leave will lead you out the door, and over a cliff. It is incredulous that the leadership of the Leave campaign doesn’t grasp the most basic lessons of the Greek crisis.

And it’s not as if they haven’t been studying it. Throughout the referendum campaign, Leave repeatedly pointed to Greece as an example of how twisted the EU is. Citing the maltreatment of the Greek population through austerity as an example of how the EU doesn’t take care of its citizens.

But when the discussion switches to the UK, they imagine an entirely different circumstance. Continue reading

The UK Still Can and Should Remain

Me in France 3Over the weekend, whilst reeling from the shock news that the UK has voted to leave the EU, I was monitoring and consistently promoting an online petition to call for a repeat vote. Many people have signed it, but most insist that change is not on the cards. I disagree, and here I will explain why I believe the UK should reconsider its decision to leave the EU. Continue reading

Post Referendum – Letter to the UK

meDear Fellow Brits

The night of 23 June, I went to bed confident that I would wake up the next day as a member of the EU. For months the polls had been close, but I rested confident that polls are entirely unreliable. I had talked to many people and saw most of them grappling with the responsibility of their decision to vote on whether or not to leave the EU. I am sure most people I spoke to worked out that there was only one safe and sensible choice, to remain.

But now it seems that a large part of the Remain campaign brushed off the risk of a Leave vote, and with typical apathy left it up to others to take care of going to the polls. As a result, on 24 June, it was declared that the UK will leave the EU, thanks to a plebiscite that gained the support of less than 35% of the nation.

Shocking as this result was, it doesn’t seem to have overly troubled too many people at this early stage. But I would like to take a minute to explain what’s going on. Continue reading

Why You Should Vote Remain

meFresh from watching the Sky TV debates for and against leaving the EU, my view has shifted a bit. Previously, I took the position that the question is too difficult to be fully understood by the general public, that I personally would vote remain, but I wouldn’t blame anyone from abstaining because of the difficulty of the question.

After watching Michael Gove’s pitch to Leave, my position has moved. The decision to Leave is beyond the abilities of most people to fully analyse, myself included. But the decision to stay isn’t. And the Leave campaign is truly dangerous. Therefore, it is my responsibility to recommend anyone willing to listen to vote Remain.
Continue reading

Referendum Debate Continues

meI came across a very well written post on Facebook about voting leave. It’s well written so it took some time to spot the biases. Below I’ve added my replies to key points. Again, these are just my opinions, there are no hard fixed rules to this. But every vote counts and the media is making a mess of the discussion, so I hope that some honest thoughts can help. Continue reading

Why I Would Vote Remain

meOK, at the risk of alienating myself from all sides, I’m going to take a crack at the referendum nut. I don’t get to vote because I’ve lived outside the UK for too long. If I did, I’d vote “Remain” and then everyone would tell me that I’m just expressing my self-interest, because I live in continental Europe. And that’s an interesting place to start thinking about how to vote. Continue reading

Media Stupidity and the EU Referendum

Donald Tusk has just unveiled the proposals that EU members should agree before the UK votes on whether to remain in the EU or dissolve its membership. As usual I read them in the FT. But then I went to check some other headlines as a comparison. The quality of journalism remains torrid.
According to the FT, the proposals cover every area that was on the table, but there are some technical aspects yet to confirm. The tone is neutral, the content infers a positive process and potential for a smooth referendum supported by EU leaders and most UK politicians.
Continue reading

Things that Go Bump in the Night, 2016

meWhat keeps you awake at night?

Black swans, my finance-teaching friend is fond of saying, don’t exist. I entirely agree. Hollywood’s latest offering, “The Big Short” does a healthy job of disproving the theory of Nassim Taleb, which surged to notoriety as a result of being published in the midst of the worst financial crisis for generations.

Taleb is a smart chap, and a great contributor to financial theory. I am a great fan of his stance that there is no such thing as skill in the world of finance, just luck. Each year, out of many managers, a small group will get it right, among them a smaller group will get it right year-after-year. This doesn’t infer skill or talent. It infers a run of good luck, that may or may not hold out. The world is simply way too complicated for anyone to effectively analyse all the relevant parameters to predict the future consistently.

At any time, Taleb argues, there is any number of unforecastable events that might derail an otherwise sound investment thesis. In essence this is true. But in reality, the market brings together a broad plethora of opinions: one man’s black swan is another man’s profit driver. As the Big Short proved. So, this post is not about black swans. It is a more humble summary of what keeps me awake as we start 2016. Financial markets have just reported their worst start to the year on record, so there is obviously plenty to worry about, and as always, much of it is interlinked. Let’s dive in! Continue reading