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Showing posts from March, 2010

The 325 basis points question

The link is to the FT Alphaville blog today. This looks at the range of interest being charged on particular sovereign debt in the Eurozone. Greece is now paying 5.9% interest on its new 7 year debt. Germany pays 3.25% less than that. Italy is only paying 0.45% more than Germany, Spain 0.61% and Portugal 1.14%.

UK Gilts are currently yielding 3.64%. That compares to Germany's 2.65%, Italy's 3.1%, Spain's 3.26% and Portugals 3.79%.

The yield is particularly important when there is a really big and growing deficit as this adds to the payments required.

Obviously sovereign debt in different currencies has two aspects. Firstly, an assumption as to inflation and secondly an assumption as to the risk of default.

However, it is clear that we are not in the greek territory. We have, however, a worse position than Germany, Italy and Spain, but better than Portugal.

Figures from Bloomberg.

Election Results 25th March 2010

Mid Suffolk DC, Haughley and Wetherden
Green 444 (61.0; +45.4)
Con 176 (24.2; -20.9)
LD Chris Vecchi 51 (7.0; -32.4)
Lab 32 (4.4; +4.4)
UKIP 25 (3.4; +3.4)
Majority 268
Turnout 41.57%
Green gain from Con
Percentage change is since May 2007.

Bracknell TC, Old Bracknell Town
Lab 380 (41.9)
Con 370 (40.8)
LD Darren Bridgman 107 (11.8)
Green 49 (5.4)
Majority 10
Turnout 22.4%
Lab gain from Con

Colwyn Bay TC, Glyn
Lab 150 (31.8)
PC 121 (25.6)
LD Keith Forecast 78 (16.5)
Ind 62 (13.1)
BNP 35 (7.4)
Ind 26 (5.5)
Majority 29
Turnout 15.5%
Lab gain from Ind

Nailsworth TC
Ind 661 (40.6)
LD Miles Robinson 531 (32.6)
Ind 436 (26.8)
Majorities 225 / 95
Turnout 21.2%

Parties defending seats: 1 x Con. Resignation. 1 x Unknown. Resignation.

GDP Uncertainty

The GDP calculation underpins the budget. This image from the Bank of England website:

Demonstrates the level of current uncertainty (actually February uncertainty). I have saved it on my computer and if the image disappears I can put it up somewhere else.

The problem about the budget is that this component drives the aggregate financial position.

The Budget - Table B4

The big uncertainty in the budget is how accurate the predictions in Table B4 turn out to be. The growth from 2000 - 2007 averated 2 3/4. The government is predicting 1-1.5% for this year, 3-3.5% for 2011 and 3 1/4-3 3/4 for 2012.

If those figures are too high then that has a negative feedback on the rest of the budget. They rely on 1% of business investment in 2012 (and 3/4 in 2011), for example, when the average for 2000-7 is 1/4%.

A fraction of a percent has a big effect on the forecast deficit. The difficulty as usual is not having access to the treasury economic model.

By-Election Results: Thursday 18th March 2010.

Broadland DC, Taverham North
LD Nich Starling 630 (54.5; +24.3)
Con 471 (40.8; -3.0)
Green 54 (4.7; +4.7)
[Other (0.0; -26.0)]
Majority 159
Turnout 31%
LD gain from Con
Percentage change is since May 2007.

Gravesham BC, Meopham South and Vigo
Con 515 (59.5; -4.4)
UKIP 122 (14.1; +14.1)
LD Ann O'Brien 114 (13.2; +13.2)
Lab 114 (13.2; -2.5)
[Others (0.0; -6.2)]
[Green (0.0; -14.2)]
Majority 393
Turnout 25.3%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007.

AD and OD v the United Kingdom

This is a European Case where another child with a genetic problem was thought to have been a victim of child abuse.

This is an important point that is normally ignored by the system.
At the hearing, Dr R., the consultant paediatrician who had overseen O.D.'s care at Bristol stated her opposition to the care plan; she considered that O.D. had a close relationship with his family and removal would cause emotional trauma equivalent to bereavement.

I think the system has got a lot worse since this case. I know of cases in Bury that are much worse.

St Patricks Day Parade 2010 Birmingham

I prepared well for today's St Patrick's parade by getting the chords written down. Sadly when it came to the parade I had the chords in G and everyone else was playing in C. I had a bit of a rush because on Saturday evening I was doing the piano at the Lib Dem Conference in Birmingham at which I finished playing at 1.30am. I had to clear my equipment this morning as I was too tired (and "emotional") last night. I then found two strings broken on my guitar. This resulted in me restringing the guitar completely in a big rush and hence I was slightly late for the parade. However, I was no more delayed than the parade itself hence there was no problem.

The parade seemed bigger this year. We had a much wider range of drum groups and also a new walking jazz band as well as a chinese section. The traditional sikh Dhol group was there as well.

Sadly the Tipperary County Association (see below for photos) was squeezed between the jazz band and a pipe band which made ou…

Election Results 11th March 2010

Dacorum BC, Adeyfield West
Con 486 (32.8; -8.6)
Lab 429 (29.0; -13.3)
LD Steve Wilson 362 (24.5; +8.1)
BNP 203 (13.7; +13.7)
Majority 57
Turnout 35.83%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Wellingborough BC, Redwell West
Con 570 (57.2; -20.3)
Lab 186 (18.7; -3.9)
BNP 84 (8.4; +8.4)
LD Penny Wilkins 72 (7.2; +7.2)
English Democrats 62 (6.2; +6.2)
Green 23 (2.3; +2.3)
Majority 384
Turnout 37.7%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007

Brandon and Byshottles PC, West
LD John Kelly 477 (55.7)
Lab 380 (44.3)
Majority 97
Turnout not known
LD hold

Lawley and Overdale PC, Central
LD Deborah Crane 381 (62.7)
Lab 227 (37.3)
Majority 154
Turnout 17%
LD gain from Lab

Refugee Weblogs

Angela Wileman who is in Ireland has started a weblog. Her story is about how she and her children have been persecuted by the state because she was a victim of Domestic Violence.

Sam Hallimond who is in Spain also has a weblog.

The Cootes family who are also in spain have a facebook group

Science blog posted

I have written a post for the science campaign which is linked. On one of the issues we are still taking gas out of Medium Range storage and exporting some of it.

This is a really risky thing to do, but on the other hand if the weather gets warmer the UK will be OK.

Election Results 4th March 2010

Fenland DC, The Mills
Con 301 (45.9; -11.2)
LD Chris Howes 264 (40.2; -2.7)
UKIP 58 (8.8; +8.8)
Lab 33 (5.0; +5.0)
Majority 37
Turnout 31.8%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2007.

Chatteris TC, The Mills
2 Seats up. Causes: 1 x Death (Con), 1 x Resignation (Party not yet ascertained).

Con 340 (28.8)
LD Diane Baldry 324 (27.5)
Con 255 (21.6)
UKIP 151 (12.8)
Lab 109 (9.2)
Majority (of elected Conservative over Liberal Democrat) 16
Turnout 31.7%

Winsford TC, Wharton
LD Alfred Beverley Theron 201 (36.2)
Con 182 (32.7)
Lab 173 (31.1)
Majority 19
Turnout 15.5%
LD gain from Con

Reporting Parliament and Contempt of Court

It has been quite difficult to find any material in respect of the reporting of parliament. It is well known that reports of parliamentary proceedings cannot result in a defamation case.

It is also clear from the case that I will cite later that reporting parliamentary proceedings cannot be contempt of court.

This deals with the issue of the super injunction. In essence the work of John Wilkes in the 18th Century gave the right to report parliament save when expressly refused by parliament.

The key case is Attorney-General v Times Newspapers Ltd. Court of Appeal
16 February 1973 17 November 1972 [1972 H. No. 8335]
[1973] Q.B. 710 Lord Denning M.R. , Phillimore and Scarman L.JJ.
Lord Widgery C.J. , Melford Stevenson and Brabin JJ.
1973 Jan. 30, 31; Feb. 1, 2; 16
1972 Nov. 7, 8, 9; 17

The law
It is undoubted law that, when litigation is pending and actively in suit before the court, no one shall comment on it in such a way that there is a real and substantial danger of prejudice to the trial…