Alistair’s “Random Rambles” (9)
By Kathy Martin…
Written February 2014
Having mentioned recently that Barclays, (or indeed any bank) were “fined” (for whatever reason) it begs the question – why? Not that a bank should not be penalised, but a bank does not “have” money, not in the same sense that a driver fined for speeding has money.
No, the only money that a bank has to pay a fine is the money that is placed in its trust by the shareholders, investors and savers. So, by using someone else’s money to pay a fine for the misdemeanours of its own staff, the only people who suffer are the above mentioned shareholders, investors and savers by decreasing the return on investments or savings.
As the interest payable on savings accounts, in the UK, are now so ludicrously low, “little” savers in the UK (as I used to be) have no reason to save, or more pertinently, use the interest to live off, or supplement income in retirement! So, rather than fining a bank £58 billion which would have gone straight to the treasury, surely it would have made more sense (at least to its customers) to force the bank to use this money to pay higher interest payments on savings accounts, which would also have the added benefit of stimulating the economy!
I can say this with some authority, as when we came here to live the interest rate on a savings account was in the region of 20% APR. The monthly interest payments (then our only income) enabled us to live reasonably well without depleting our somewhat modest capital. The local shops, garages, cafes and restaurants benefitted from our occasional visits. However, when the interest rates dropped to 6 or 7% we limited our “going out” to one beer a week each at a local restaurant, while we tried to complete the weekly crossword in the local English language newspaper.
While on the subject of income and money, I understand that the government is raising the cost of “everything”! In this case, “everything“, is government or Civil Service related items and services: work permits, driving licences, road tax etc. Regular readers will know that I love to take the Mickey out of any government or other authority. However, in this instance, I have to be partly on the side of the government. Worldwide, the cost of “everything” is rising, sparked by the rise in fuel costs.
Recently we watched the latest James Bond film, “Skyfall”, starring Daniel Craig as Bond. In the final scenes there is an elderly Scottish butler/gamekeeper. I wonder if Sean Connery (my Bond from the 1960’s) was ever considered for the part. I think that he would have enjoyed the role!
Written March 2014
In last week’s ramble, I mentioned the devastating and long lasting floods that have taken place in Southern England. What I didn’t mention was that we, on the island of Cyprus, have had one of the driest winters “on record” and should be facing drought conditions in the summer.
I say ‘we’ on the island of Cyprus because nature (rather marvellously) doesn’t recognise the political, religious or cultural borders that are erected by humankind throughout the world. As such South Cyprus has also suffered embargos by having had precious little rainfall. However, this summer neither side of the “Green Line” should be badly affected by water shortages.
In the South there are de-salination plants that don’t (quite) cope with the demand for water, so water will be imported from Greece in tanker ships. WOW, think of the expense of importing gallons or tons of water by this means! Also, as I don’t think there is a suitable product in South Cyprus to be exported on these vessels for the return trip, double WOW about the expense!
Meanwhile, in the North, we can (hopefully) be rather smug in that we will have abundant water supplies available. Theoretically, the “Project of the Century” will be completed in June or July this year. For readers unfamiliar with this project, it is a 95 (ish) km/60 (ish) mile undersea pipeline from Turkey that will be used to supply unlimited fresh water to Kibris. Once the infrastructure is in place, the running costs (pumping and routine maintenance) will be minimal.
Although South Cyprus may have the luxury of having proven off-shore hydro-carbon reserves, we will have readily available (on tap in fact!) a commodity that is absolutely essential to the existence of life!
In Marion Stuart’s Musings, in “KibKom Times”, under the heading “Enjoy” she said that when her grandson first wrapped his little fist around her finger she became completely hooked!
In 1977 I was fortunate to be present at the birth of our daughter. Some of our parent’s more conservative friends thought that this was disgusting, bordering on the obscene, and very avant-garde! At the event, I was positioned at the “non-working” end, holding my wife’s hand, while she swore (very fluently) at me for causing her so much pain!
When our daughter (then only a few minutes old) was presented to me she seemed to have both eyes firmly screwed shut. However, she reached out and grasped her fist around one of my fingers, the four fingers of her fist barely covering the distance between my two knuckles. I have searched both my heart and mind but cannot find a more emotive moment. Thank you for reminding me of this, Marion!
Recently on mainland Turkey a law has been passed that will allow the government to ban/censor internet and social websites. This law has been introduced because seemingly the government and (especially) President Erdoĝan are being brought into disrepute because of alleged involvement in corruption.
I am not going to comment on the grounds or validity (if any) of these charges. I only want to remind readers that a week ago in a ramble I mentioned that the film “Unlawful Killing” (of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayad) which implies that the British royal family and establishment were pro-actively involved. This is the probable cause of it being banned in Britain. In my opinion, should any organisation or person with power want something banned or censored, it implies that they definitely have something to hide.