web analytics

Every little does ‘help’, apparently.

By Mike Cunningham On September 30th, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Reading the wash-up regarding the shock, and I do mean ‘shock’ of the latest and biggest Tesco scandal, I remembered something which I had forgotten about a long time back, which is that large suppliers of huge supermarket chains are routinely pressurised to kick-back huge sums of cash to the supermarket in order to keep their contracts to supply their goods, and remain on Tesco’s shelves; a system which is also routine. What many people also forget is that, in order to keep up their profit margins, the cost of the kick-back is added to the cost of the goods supplied, so you, the customer, pay for the supplier’s costs, kick-backs and promotions, so where does that leave the ‘promise’ of responsible marketing, with one eye at least on the cost to the consumer at the till?

But leaving behind, if you would, the whole slightly sleazy idea of making suppliers pay to have their produce and goods featured on the shelf-spaces of the largest Retailer in Great Britain, and let us concentrate instead on the truth behind firstly the profit statements, and then the profit warnings, all of which must have been known about by their auditors, namely one of the BigFour, PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The news that Tesco had virtually submitted a false prospectus, in terms of their Auditors giving the FTSE retailer a clean bill of health in May, and confirming that healthy statement by shouting out about the huge profits forecast  in late August; and then suddenly bringing out the bad news in September, seems to have been missed by just about all the financial commentators, excepting the Guardian’s Aditya Chakraborty. If the new Chief Executive is to be believed, a single whistleblower exposed the scheme; when it should have been painfully obvious to a large number of highly-paid financial people whose very jobs should have depended upon noticing what was, apparently, right in front of their bleeding noses.

Somebody should be facing Court proceedings, and those charged should include, not only senior Tesco people, but top tier people from PwC as well.

The Fragrant Harbour

By Mahons On September 30th, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Hong Kong has over 7 million people in it. They have a higher degree of personal freedom than those who live in China, but tight government control remains a fact of life for those places in the World that live under the shadow of communism. We should not forget this. The World is a dangerous place and there are those who do not know this. My support is for the people’s struggle against the People’s Republic.

Si vis pacem, para bellum

By Mike Cunningham On September 30th, 2014 at 10:44 am

“If you want peace, prepare for war”

In these frenetic days, when news runs and broadcasts on a 24-hour basis, where updates are available, from of course the viewpoint of the broadcaster concerned, as fast as you can change channels, it is sometimes difficult to remember what, exactly, were last week’s headlines, and how did the stories turn out. We are deluged, over the past fortnight, with reports of how Ed Milliband FORGOT to mention the economy, the huge deficit between actual income and expenditure, as well as Labour’s plans to keep the deficit growing. Following from Labour, we heard how the Tory conference was shanghaied by the defection of yet another MP to UKIP, as well as the strange and twisted story of a Minister who sent explicit photos of himself to a complete stranger. We are told, again and again, that our only hope for an EU in-or-out referendum is to vote for the Tories, but strangely enough, we are not told what comprises the famous ‘package of demands’ which Cameron will present to a grumbling EU as his price for us staying in!

But amidst all the chatter, and the penis images, along with all the other fluff, lies and concealed bribes so prevalent in the political parties jamboree sessions, not much notice is taken of the headlines of less than three weeks previously; headlines which presage a conflict far deadlier and more relevant to us here in the United Kingdom than in some Arabic religious conflict in lands where we, literally, have no real reason to be. We should be reading of the shells raining down on tanks and armoured vehicles in places where a cease-fire is supposed to rule, we should be reading of hidden troop movements, of manoeuvres designed to bring pressure to bear by a ruthless Russia against a poorly-equipped and badly-defended Ukraine.

The commentators write of the real result of the break-up of UK Armed Forces, and where we had thirty squadrons in 1991, today we only have seven, and two of those squadrons were only rescued from dismemberment because they came in pretty handy when we bombed Libya. We should be sending jets and supporting NATO in Lithuania, and in Poland, but instead we are frittering away fuel and time flying over the Islamic State barbarians, without even dropping any bombs, because the intelligence isn’t what it used to be either!

The Ukraine is being dismantled piecemeal, with a weak Government grasping at the straws of ‘compromise’ offered by a cynical Putin, backed up by a competent military and a ruthless KGB, and we here in the West do literally f**k-all about it.

at the twilight’s last gleaming?

By Mike Cunningham On September 30th, 2014 at 10:10 am

Seems as though some bloke called the cops because he feared that one of his neighbours was flying an Arabic flag.

So the fuzz arrived, speedily, because you just never know if someone has dared to fly a Tricolour instead of the Union flag, or even worse, a flag which supported death, terror and destruction, like the one which Sinn Fein flies.

But what did the PSNI find when they arrived? Even worse than was suspected!


The World of Business is Superior to the World of Politics

By Phantom On September 30th, 2014 at 4:05 am


In the world of politics as practiced now, which here includes all those who consistently express any partisan point of view. or, God help us all, the world of blogs, a few harsh rules prevail.

Your side is correct, and the other side is wrong.

You are virtuous, and the other guy is a dunce or a crook, or both.

Compromise is the most dirty word. You bludgeon the poor dumb bastard into seeing things your way.If he fails to see the light, you say bad things about him. At no point can you or should you consider the possibility that he has a point, even a small one.

I negotiate for a living. In the world of business, which has nothing to do with the black and white netherworld of political hyper partisans.

I work in a specialized part of the financial services ( insurance ) industry. I create a bespoke series of contracts where, if everything goes to hell in an insured loss, companies in America, London, Bermuda and other places will lose up to $1 billion dollars. I stand between tough, smart, demanding corporate customers in the retail, mining, finance, chemical, media, and other sectors, some of the names all of you might know, and equally tough, smart, demanding, insurance companies. Everyone wants the deal to happen. I, and the companies I represent, want to pay a small amount of money, while the insurance companies want to charge more money. The deals are renewed every year. Some negotiations take nine months. For some complex risks, I think of where we will might be three years from now, and what we should all be doing then.

You know what I notice in this world of business negotiation?

In my business world, all parties generally respect the others. No one shouts. Every party states their case, and their arguments are always carefully considered by the others. No one thinks that they are entirely right, no one says that the other guy is wrong. It is really unusual to hear anyone say that the other party is dim, and I’ve never heard of anyone calling the counterparty a crook. And every last one of my deals ends in a compromise where no one gets everything that they wants.

The world of politics, including the purely political spins on say matters of taxation, economics, regulation, emigration, environmental things, including global warming, as these things are heard in the media, are a manichaean world whose proponents are certain that they are 100 percent in the right and where the other side is a moron who is completely in the wrong.

The hyper partisans among us should take a lesson from the world of business. Defend your position, but listen to the other party. And don’t be so sure that you’re 100 percent in the right – you almost certainly are not. The other person may actually have a point, if you can possibly consider that as a possibility.

Pet Sounds

By Mahons On September 30th, 2014 at 3:11 am

“Does your dog bite?” “No.” is not only the start of one of the great exchanges in the Pink Panther movies, but the answer to the bitten Clouseau’s query “But I you said your dog doesn’t bite!”, “That is not my dog.” has been an answer that until I had passed the half century mark that I could have said on any occasion with confidence.

As Clouseau also said about the priceless Steinway: “not any more.” My children ages 5, 6 and 6 have in a devious conspiracy with their mother and maternal grandfather caused a puppy to enter my home. The dog days of Autumn if you will.

I am not adverse to dogs. It was dog ownership I held out against, in vain of course, like the last Japanese soldier on a remote island in the Pacific after the Second World War. I like most dogs and most dog owners. But I always thought this cup (or bowl) would pass me by. It was not to be.

I love Lassie and her translation of Timmy’s cries from the bottom of the well, the glorious Rin Tin Tin and the fabulous Toto. I cried about Old Yeller and A Dog of Flanders named Patrsche. I dig Sounder, Buck, and The Tramp. Pee Wee, Snoopy, Underdog, Astro and Huckleberry Hound were part of my childhood. I knew real lovely dogs in my neighborhood who licked my hand (Louie, Taffy and Bella) despite fierce rotten vicious Hound-of-The-Baskerville canines (Thor, Baron and Killer) who scared the Bejesus out of me as a child chasing the young Mahons and his bike over hill and dale.

In short, dogs were on the plus side of the ledger in the Mahons’ book. I agree with Will Rogers who said if there are no dogs in Heaven he would rather go where they go. I love the observation that if you bring a dog food he will think you are a god and that if you bring a cat food the cat will think it is a god. But I had yet to join the ranks. An now I have. A 7 month old puppy who I am sure, I will walk, clean up after and care for while the kids love but offer the attention of a child. And I suspect I shall, when no one is looking, admit to the dog that its company is wonderful.

(Offered while ATW’s Master is on vacation).

An old problem returns.

By Mike Cunningham On September 29th, 2014 at 7:50 pm

I have often felt that the old adage ‘There is no fool like an old fool’, and the name ‘Jack Profumo’ ought to be cast in bronze, in letters approximately two feet high, and positioned above the desk of every male Member of Parliament within the House of Ccommons.

Times without number, we read of ‘stings’ perpetrated upon gullible clowns in Westminster, with monetary gain usually at the core for Labour, and sexual favours, of one sort or another, for the Tories. If it isn’t homosexual perverts trawling the bars (Tories), its the fools who wish to be consultants for (disguised) newspaper reporters acting as shills for companies supposedly wishing to gain ‘influence’ within Whitehall (Labour & LibDim)

But when an allegedly nubile young woman sends a balding middle-aged man a photo of herself, virtually unclothed; and asking in return for a ‘sexy’ photo, did the same balding, middle aged Minister not think it just a tiny bit strange that he was being targeted by this young Tory supporter whom he had never even met!

And, as I have maybe asked before, whats with this strange compulsion to send explicit photos of yourself to a perfect stranger?

Are they all thick, or is it that they all reckon that ‘It couldn’t happen to me’?



By Mike Cunningham On September 29th, 2014 at 12:42 pm

President of United States tells absolute truth………….


No one believes him, because they are so used to ‘spin’, lies and bullshit from the West Wing




By Pete Moore On September 28th, 2014 at 9:07 pm

You won’t often see those words in these here parts …

So Europe saw off the American challenge in the Ryder Cup. I’m not the greatest golf fan but the Ryder Cup is a must-watch for me. For sheer sporting theatre it matches any event on the calender. 2014 was no exception. Spectacular sport demands a spectacular setting, and golf courses don’t come any more spectacular than Gleneagles. Just look at it.


Europe were the pre-tournament favourites, which I thought was a bit off. I thought both teams were pretty well matched and it would be won by whichever team played the better golf, as simple as that. Europe did that to extend their excellent recent record. There’s something about the Ryder Cup which seems to really lift Europe’s players and bring out their best. Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy were simply untouchable at times this weekend. I don’t know why, but the US players just don’t seem to get that same galvanising effect.

It can’t be that they’re very wealthy because Europe’s players are just as wealthy. There’s no doubt they want to play for the US and are very proud to do so, but they seldom seem to get the same team spirit going. Tom Watson selecting you for the team must be a massive thing for an American golfer, but the lift in performance just doesn’t happen as it does with Europe’s players. It’s a mystery.

So well done to Paul McGinley and his team. Go to Minnesota in two year’s time and do it again.

So I asked, “Who is the clown in the advert?

By Mike Cunningham On September 28th, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Initially I was reading my Sunday newspaper, and I came across an item which spoke of Victoria Beckham, the ex-alleged-pop-singer, owner of the world’s most photographed pout; wife of the seventh most-famous man in the world; and also mother to four children. She was reported as giving a speech all about curing or beating AIDs in front of the United Nations, and how it was all so wonderful that a ‘fashion icon’ had associated herself with such a worthy cause. Now I am probably going to be called all sorts of reactionary this, and that; but I just do not see the point of some woman, who, incidentally, is probably perfectly nice, and sincere, and is also a good mother; pushing herself forward to speak about some dread disease which has no cure, and has only palliative care available to treat its many and varied symptoms. Especially when the mass of HIV and AIDs sufferers have no one to blame but themselves for their condition.

As with Mrs. Beckham, so with Angelina Jolie, to whom our former Foreign Secretary seemed to be joined at the hip, or elsewhere in their joint efforts to outlaw mass rape during war or conflict. The fashion, these days, is to have some ‘Celebrity’ front the campaign of the day, or the hour, and then everyone will rally round, and either give the campaign lots and lots of money, or else pressure their Government to ‘do the right thing’ and give more of our money to the appropriate scientists, or charity workers, or aome other hanger-on. We even saw the ghastly apparition of Leonardo DiCaprio lecturing some of the world’s governments on the importance of Climate Change, and helping the poor Marshall Islanders from destitution and flooding by, again, giving them all lots of our cash. Now Mr. DiCaprio might have been acclaimed by some as a serious film actor, but I remain to be convinced that some bloke whose job it is to portray another’s life in a film is really suitable to lecture some, if perhaps not all the world’s leaders on the merits, or not, of Global Warming; especially when nothing seems to have warmed up much in the past fifteen years except the e-mail accounts of Michael Mann.

I also half-watched this advert where this supposed ‘celebrity’ named ‘Peter’ who does some shopping in a Frozen Food Supermarket, and how he is recognised by all the other shoppers, and even when he gets on a bus, he is known immediately. Well, sorry, mate; but I don’t know you from Adam, and neither does my daughter!