UK

She might be the 2nd but by far the worst

Theresa May will resign. Finally. Utter disaster in the top job. No conviction. No moral authority. No judgment. Little support from her colleagues. No respect for the referendum. Destroyer of the Conservatives. Duplicitous EU supporter. Prepared to propose a deal to submit the British people which might as well have been an unconditional surrender to Brussels. No-one will miss her vacuous leadership. Probably the worst PM in UK history.

She may like to think that she was “the second female prime minister, but certainly not the last” but what has gender got to do with it? 17.4mn Brits would have been happy to have a transgender PM if ze could have executed Brexit. Identity politics was the last thing on their minds.

When the next female PM graces 10 Downing St it is likely she’ll seek inspiration from Maggie not May.

Keep calm and move along.

Go woke, go broke

Yet another example of why CM has cancelled his FT subscription. Where is the critical reporting? This article by Pilita Clark doesn’t critique the ridiculous movement by corporates to virtue signal but falls in line with the stupidity.

Maybe the best metaphor for the woke corporation is parsley. It often looks nice as a garnish but 99.9% of us push it to the side of the plate and leave it to be thrown away.

Corporate hypocrisy is everywhere.

Take Josh Bayliss, CEO of Virgin Group. He says,

“It’s definitely true that right now every one of us should think hard about whether or not we need to take a flight.”

Why doesn’t he close down the airlines in the portfolio? Instead of waiting for his customers to grow a conscience and do the right thing why not force their choice? The obvious answer is that it’s hypocritical.

Airlines operate on about 70% capacity load factor break even so if Virgin flights end up being half full he’ll only end up spewing more or less the same CO2 per flight and go out of business. British Airways, EasyJet and Ryanair will welcome Virgin’s virtue signaling. Go woke, go broke.

Qantas has the world’s largest carbon offset program yet only 2% of passengers elect to pay. That’s the extent of the belief in global warming.

Blackrock’s chief Larry Fink said his asset manager needs to do more than just make money yet it only backed 10% of the climate related shareholder proposals. Why? Supposedly because they would crush profits. All talk, little walk.

BP surprisingly helped prevent a carbon tax it openly launched support for. A fossil fuel company trying to undermine a carbon tax? Wow. Who’d a thunk?

UK shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said Labour would seek to delist companies from the London Stock Exchange that didn’t meet their climate change commitments. In order to meet that, will that mean a child daycare company will be burnt at the stake for not brainwashing kindergarten kids? Will there be a minimum pot plant to child ratio?

How would regulations impact the myriad of different businesses that would trigger being dumped from the LSE? What standard would be applied? CM is betting corporates jus need to “file” a governance statement on climate change which no one will read. As long as 100% of companies file, nothing will happen.

Pretty easy to avoid too. Companies could list on Nasdaq or the Singapore exchange to avoid the regulations and still raise capital. Did you think of that Mr McDonnell? No because it is all about being woke and there are plenty of alternatives to dodge stupid policy. Capital is global.

Pilita Clark closes her article by saying,

“Yet the climate debate is shifting and I am willing to bet that companies failing to match their green claims with solid action face far greater risks than they ever have before.”

Like much of the climate religion, few hard facts are ever presented except the date we are all supposed to die. Even then that is an ever-shifting goal post. We can be assured that when 2028 arrives all of a sudden we’ll have another 12 years to do something. A bit like the joke where a patient asks his doctor how long he has to live and is given an extension so he can pay his bill.

The ever-growing tide of the “woke” corporation is going to thwart ingenuity and entrepreneurship. It is corporate suicide to pander to this nonsense. It is not for companies to bang on about their wonderful commitments. Customers and shareholders can decide for themselves. Maybe if companies listened to both groups they would find profits go up. People are growing sick and tired of being told what to do. How to think.

The world is littered with corporate wokeness backfiring. The irony is much of it is self-inflicted. By trying to create false images of virtue, the results have been disastrous.

P&G had to write off billions from its Gillette brand for the toxic masculinity campaign. Before the campaign Gillette was ranked 7th out of 45 health and grooming brands. After, rock bottom.

There is almost a wave of corporate fear twisted by a minority of social activists like Sleeping Giants which create false narratives about public perceptions of evil companies. There is a flip side.

Chick-fil-A was established by Southern Baptists. They don’t ram their Christian beliefs at all in the restaurants. Activists tried to boycott the fast food outlet because one of the directors personally didn’t support same-sex marriage. Guess what, store numbers have doubled and revenues tripled over the last decade.

Chick-fil-A states it’s mission is, “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”

Chick-fil-A is notable by its closure on Sundays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. So people are well aware ofthis corporate backing its religious beliefs.

There is a difference between founding a company on certain beliefs and concocting them to ride a wave of hijacking social movements. Customers are aware of the difference.

Virgin Group can wax lyrical about its concerns in trying to save the planet but the only woke thing would be to shut down. Pushing the guilt back on its customers shows how hypocritical the airline is.

To be honest it gets tiring waiting in corporate lobbies watching flat panel TVs advertising all of the wonderful community things they do. 99% of the transaction with any corporate will be driven by the ability to deliver goods and services, not supporting tree planting. It is not to diminish charity or good intentions, rather to cut back on acting as though they’re angels to avoid being put on an imaginary naughty step that doesn’t exist.

Perhaps CM should recommend a portfolio of non-compliant ESG companies. When the market sells off, all the passive money in ESG compliant names should well underperform those that don’t. Perhaps an asset manager should establish an ETF with a basket of companies that just provide product or service rather than garnish it with lashings of corporate virtue. Here is betting it would be a contrarian winner.

Brexit Party’s want to change politics for good

Doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, housewives, fishers etc. Ordinary people fed up with the duplicitous House of Commons which has failed to deliver on Brexit. Very sensible campaign and is there any wonder why in the space of a few months, the Brexit Party is polling at more than Labour and the Tories combined. Forget incumbency. If only Australia had a credible third option to shake the orthodoxy. It will eventually come because neither party has got the people at heart.

Actually, vote on the political emergency

No surprise to see The Guardian parrot on about a climate emergency. The editorial completely misses out on the political emergency we face. The economic climate is a massive issue facing Australia. When Bill Shorten tells us that he “will change the nation forever” we shouldn’t view that positively. It is probably the honest thing he has said. Labor’s policy suite is the worst possible collection one could assemble to tackle what economic headwinds lie ahead. Our complacency is deeply disconcerting.

First let’s debunk the climate noise in The Guardian.

The math on the climate emergency is simple. Australia contributes 0.0000156% of global carbon emissions. No matter what we do our impact is zip. If we sell it as 560 million tonnes it sounds huge but the percentage term is all that is relevant. Even Dr Finkel, our climate science guru, agrees. What that number means is that Australia could emit 65,000x what it does now in order to get to a 1% global impact. So even if our emissions rise at a diminishing rate with the population, they remain minuscule.

Bill Shorten often tells us the cost of doing nothing on climate change is immeasurable. He’s right, only in that “it is too insignificant” should be the words he’s searching for.

Perhaps the saddest part of the Guardian editorial was to say that the Green New Deal proposed by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez was gaining traction in the US. It has been such a catastrophic failure that she lost an unsolicited vote on the Senate floor 57-0 because Democrats were too embarrassed to show up and support it. Nancy Pelosi dismissed it as a “green dream.” At $97 trillion to implement, no wonder AOC says feelings are more important than facts.

With the 12-year time limit to act before we reach the moving feast known as the tipping point, it gets confusing for climate sceptics. Extinction Rebellion wants things done in only 6 years. The UK House of Commons still can’t get a Brexit deal done inside 3 years but can act instantaneously to call a “climate emergency” after meeting a brainwashed teenager from Sweden. It speaks volumes of the desperation and lack of execution to have to search for political distractions like this.

The ultimate irony in the recent celebration of no coal-fired power in the UK for one week was fossil fuel power substituted all of it – 93% to be exact. Despite the energy market operator telling Brits that zero carbon emissions were possible by 2025 (40% of the current generation capacity is fossil fuel), it forgot that 85% of British homes heat with gas. Presumably, they’d need to pop on down to Dixon’s or Curry’s to buy new electric heaters which would then rely on a grid which will junk 40% of its reliable power…good luck sorting that out without sending prices sky high. Why become beholden to other countries to provide the back-up? It is irrational.

Are people aware that the German electricity regulator noted that 330,000 households (not people) were living in energy poverty? At 2 people per household, that is 1% of the population having their electricity supply cut off because they can’t afford to pay it. That’s what expensive renewables do. If the 330,000 could elect cheap electricity to warm their homes or go without for the sake of the climate, which would they choose? 100% cheap, reliable power. Yet Shorten’s plan can only push more into climate poverty which currently stands at 42,000 homes. This is before the economy has started to tank!

If one looks across Europe, it is no surprise to see the countries with the highest level of fossil fuel power generation (Hungary, Lithuania & Bulgaria) have the lowest electricity prices. Those with more renewables (Denmark, Germany & Belgium), the highest. That is Australia’s experience too. South Australia and Victoria have already revealed their awful track record with going renewable. Why did Coca-Cola and other industries move out of SA after decades? They couldn’t make money with such an unreliable

Ahh, but we must protect our children and grandchildren’s futures. So low have the left’s tactics sunk that using kids as human shields in the fight for climate change wards off conservatives calling out the truth because it is not cool to bully brainwashed kids. We should close all our universities. As the father of two teenagers, CM knows they know everything already so there is little requirement for tertiary education!

The Guardian mentioned, “But in Australia, the Coalition appears deaf to the rising clamour from the electorate [on climate change].” Really?

CM has often held that human consumption patterns dictate true feelings about climate change. Climate alarmist Independent candidate Zali Steggall drives a large SUV and has no solar panels on her roof! Her battleground in the wealthy seat of Warringah is probably 70%+ SUV so slapping a Zali bumper sticker does nothing but add to the hypocrisy.

Why do we ignore IATA forecasts that project air travel will double by 2030? Qantas has the largest carbon offset program in the world yet only 2% elect to pay the self-imposed tax. Isn’t that telling? That is the problem. So many climate alarmists expect others to do the heavy lifting.

SUVs make up 43% of all new car sales in Australia. In 2007 it was 19%. Hardly the activity of a population fretting about rising sea levels. In Warringah, waterfront property sales remain buoyant and any bank that feared waves lapping the rooves of Burran Avenue would not take such portfolio risk, much less an insurance company.

Shorten’s EV plan is such a dud that there is a reason he can’t cost it. Following Norway is great in theory but the costs of installing EV infrastructure is prohibitively expensive. It will be NBN Mark II. Will we spend millions to trench 480V connectors along the Stuart Highway?

Norway state enterprise, Enova, said it would install fast chargers every 50km of 7,500km worth of main road/highway. Australia has 234,820km of highways/main roads. Fast chargers at every 50km like the Norwegians would require a minimum of 4,700 charging stations across Australia. Norway commits to a minimum of 2 fast chargers and 2 standard chargers per station.

The problem is our plan for 570,000 cars per annum is 10x the number of EVs sold in Norway, requiring 10x the infrastructure. That would cost closer to $14bn, or the equivalent of half the education budget.

The Guardian griped that “Scott Morrison’s dismissive response to a UN report finding that the world is sleepwalking towards an extinction crisis, and his parliamentary stunt of fondling a lump of coal”

Well, he might doubt the UN which has been embroiled in more scandals related to climate change than can be counted. Most won’t be aware that an internal UN survey revealed the dismay of unqualified people being asked for input for the sake of diversity and inclusion as opposed to choosing those with proper scientific qualifications. The UN has climbed down from most of its alarmist predictions, often citing no or little confidence of the original scare.

Yet this election is truly about the cost of living, not climate or immigration. The biggest emergency is to prepare for the numbers we can properly set policy against.

We have household debt at a record 180% of GDP. We have had 27 years of untrammelled economic growth. Unfortunately, we have traded ourselves into a position of too much complacency. Our major 4 banks are headed for a lot of trouble. Forget meaningless stress tests. APRA is too busy twiddling its thumbs over climate change compliance. While the Royal Commission may reign in loose lending, a slowing global economy with multiple asset bubbles including houses will come crumbling down. These banks rely 40% on wholesale markets to fund growth. A sharp slowdown will mean a weaker dollar which will only exacerbate the problem.

We have yet to see bond markets price risk correctly. Our banks are horribly exposed. They have too little equity and a mortgage debt problem that dwarfs Japan in the late 1980s. Part/whole nationalization is a reality. The leverage is worse than US banks at the time of the Lehman collapse.

We have yet to see 10% unemployment rates. We managed to escape GFC with a peak of 6% but this time we don’t have a buoyant China to rescue us. Consumers are tapped out and any upward pressure on rates (to account for risk) will pop the housing bubble. Not to worry, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen assures people not to panic if their home falls into negative equity! This is the level of economic nous on the catastrophe that awaits. It is insanely out of touch.

Are our politicians aware that the US has to refinance US$8.4 trillion in US Treasuries in the next 3 years? That amount of money will crowd out a corporate bond market which has more than 50% of companies rated BBB or less. This will be compounded by the sharp rise in inventories we are witnessing on top of the sharp slowdown in trade (that isn’t just related to the trade war) which is at GFC lows. The 3.2% US economic growth last quarter was dominated by “intellectual property”, not consumption or durable goods.

China car sales have been on a steep double-digit decline trajectory for the last 9 months. China smartphone shipments dwindle at 6 year lows. In just the first four months of 2019, Chinese companies defaulted on $5.8 billion of domestic bonds, c.3.4x the total for the same period of 2018. The pace is over triple that of 2016.

Europe is in the dumps. Germany has had some of the worst industrial production numbers since 2008. German GDP is set to hit 0.5% for 2019. France 1.25% and Italy 0.25%. Note that in 2007, there were 78mn Europeans living in poverty. In the following decade, it hit 118mn or 23.5% of the population.

Global bellwether Parker Hannifin, which is one of the best lead indicators of global industrial growth, reported weaker orders and a soft outlook which suggests the outlook for global growth is not promising.

This election on Saturday is a choice between the lesser of two evils. The LNP has hardly made a strong case for reelection given the shambolic leadership changes. Take it to the bank that neither will be able to achieve surpluses with the backdrop we are headed into. Yet when it comes to economic stewardship, it is clear Labor are out of their depth in this election. Costings are wildly inaccurate but they are based on optimistic growth scenarios that simply don’t exist. We cannot tax our way to prosperity when global growth dives.

Hiking taxes, robbing self-managed super fund retirees and slamming the property market might play well with the classes of envy but they will be the biggest victims of any slowdown. Australia has run out of runway to keep economic growth on a positive footing.

We will do well to learn from our arrogance which has spurned foreign investment like Adani. We miscalculate the damage done to the national brand. Adani has been 8 years in the making. We have tied the deal up in so much onerous red tape, that we have done nothing more than treating our foreign investors with contempt. Those memories will not be forgotten.

There will come a point in years to come where we end up begging for foreigners to invest at home but we will only have ourselves to blame.

The editorial closes with,

However you choose to exercise your democratic decision-making on Saturday, please consider your candidate’s position on climate and the rapidly shrinking timeframe for action. We have endured mindless scare campaigns and half-baked policy for too many decades. We don’t have three more years to waste.

This is the only sensible quote in the entire article. The time for action is rapidly shrinking. However, that only applies to the political and economic climate. One can be absolutely sure that when the slowdown hits, saving the planet will be furthest removed from Aussie voters’ minds.

UK’s utterly mad electricity operator

The defunct Rugeley power station in Staffordshire

The National Grid Electricity System Operator (NGESO) has said the UK has not used coal-fired power for a week, the first time since 1882. Hooray! High fives all round! NGESO director, Fintan Slye, believes that UK electricity generation could be zero carbon by 2025. What you will read points to the utter madness and inadequate planning that will crush the grid in winter if zero carbon happens. He clearly doesn’t believe in energy poverty, something 331,000 Germans suffered from in 2017.

Let’s look at the latest UK energy mix published by OFGEM.

Coal: 4.8%

Gas: 32.8%

Nuclear: 13.2%

Hydro: 1.95%

Wind/Solar: 15.16%

Biomass: 7.68%

There is an irony to hear the UK government will phase out coal by 2025. It is hardly a goal to phase out 1% per year. How is it possible to zero carbon by 2025 with a junking of 37.6% of the grid? Crank up nuke? Biomass, which is more environmentally unfriendly than coal?

Maybe Mr Slye should read its own endorsed reports?

The Summer Outlook 2019 notes,

Gas Demand – during the summer gas-fired electricity generation becomes a more significant component of GB demand, unlike winter when domestic heating dominates. We are expecting increased volumes of LNG supply, which affects flows of gas across GB.

This OFGEM report calculated the % of the 26.3mn homes that use gas heating in the UK during winter as follows.

England: 85%

Scotland: 78%

Wales: 79%

So what happens when fossil fuels get phased out for a zero carbon world by 2025? Perhaps they need to rely on electricity generated heat onto a grid that plans to knock out c.40% of its fossil fuel baseload. OFGEM notes,

In Great Britain, 25% of flats use electric heating compared to only 4% of houses.

Homes with electric heating systems tend to have a lower energy efficiency rating, partly reflecting the higher running costs of using electric heating. In England, 2% of dwellings with mains gas heating are ‘F’ or ‘G’ rated, compared to 14% of dwellings with storage heating systems, and 57% of dwellings with direct-acting heating.

Storage heating systems can be found disproportionately in private-rented and social housing while direct-acting heating systems can be found disproportionately in the private-rented sector. Households living in these properties are more likely to be:

of lower income. In England, around a third fall in the lowest income quintile, with incomes of less than about £14,500.

fuel poor. In Scotland for example, 48% of households with storage heating systems and 68% of households with direct-acting electric heating are in fuel poverty, compared to 31% of households that use mains gas.

-single adult households and households with no children. There is generally no significantly increased likelihood of householders having a long-term illness or disability (with the exception of storage heating households in Scotland).

So essentially in the quest to virtue signal, policymakers risk pushing more into energy poverty. The only outcome here is far higher prices. Given the UK wants to go full EV by 2040, throw more on the bonfire of stupidity.

Has the NGESO calculated the extra impact to the grid that transferring heating gas to the grid to get zero emissions by 2025 will cause?

BAF95477-0EDA-42CB-B205-A699D939585D.jpeg

Now that former Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull has chimed in applauding the UK’s week of non coal power generation alongside the embattled UK PM Theresa May, it confirms this energy policy is a dead cert dud.

How to predict market bubble tops?

TFC-Rocket-MY20-1366x768-image10.jpg

Triumph Motorcycle is about to launch the 750 unit limited edition Rocket 3 TFC. The bike will sport the largest engine ever fitted to a production motorcycle – a 2,500cc 3-cylinder behemoth. 170ps power and 221Nm of torque. Triumph has really got its act together with its motorcycle line up. In 2012 the UK maker sold 49,000 units. In 2018 that topped 60,697. There must be customers who wish to tow caravans. The bike is sure to annoy every environmentalist.

Although there is something of a pattern with “limited edition specials” and economic cycle tops. Honda released a homologation special 3000-unit RC-30 in 1987 ahead of the stock market crash. At the height of the tech bubble in 2000, Ducati sold a 2000-unit limited edition MH900e replica on the internet for 15,000 euro ahead of market collapse. CM bought one. Ducati sold the 1,500-unit US$72,500 limited edition Desmosedici RR in 2007/8 right ahead of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Triumph’s Rocket 3 TFC will retail for US$36,000. Has Triumph signalled the top?

The idea of buying one to annoy climate alarmists is desperately tempting.

Extinction Rebellion only accelerates lunacy

WIN!!! BREAKING: Environment and climate emergency unanimously declared in UK Parliament.

This is the first step in the government telling the truth about the climate and ecological emergency. Pressure on our politicians will now increase as nothing but decisive action will suffice.

This issue isn’t going away and neither will we. The International Rebellion will continue until all our demands are met.

This is the post put forward by the Extinction Rebellion (XR) today. There is some irony as to how a parliament that can’t vote the will of the people over three years, can unanimously find an immediate position on a “climate emergency” after being visited by a 16yo. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called the motion.

What exactly is a climate emergency? Wales, Scotland and cities like Bristol have declared it but not defined it. If we need any further evidence of how dysfunctional UK politics is, this confirms it. Not one dissenting voice? Virtue signaling to fix a problem that constantly gets debunked and worse no well thought out positions. Or will the government just ask Greta Thunberg for her manifesto?

If XR plan to have every demand met, will UK Parliament acquiesce them? Here are their demands

1. The Government must tell the truth about how deadly our situation is, it must reverse all policies not in alignment with that position and must work alongside the media to communicate the urgency for change including what individuals and communities need to do.

Tell the truth? Wow. If only we could legislate that. Shall we have a Ministry of Truth and Room 101 for heretics?

2. The Government must enact legally-binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025 and take further action to remove the excess from the atmosphere. It must cooperate internationally so that the global economy runs on no more than half a planets worth of resources.

Is zero carbon emissions by 2025 even feasible? Will we just ban petrol and diesel outright? Ban air travel?

Are governments comfortable turning the second most expensive household asset to effectively zero? Because phasing our fossil fuels and being zero carbon by 2025 means junking the economy.

Let’s look at the latest UK energy mix published by OFGEM.

Coal: 4.8%

Gas: 32.8%

Nuclear: 13.2%

Hydro: 1.95%

Wind/Solar: 15.16%

Biomass: 7.68%

How do the intelligent brains of XR plan to power homes in Britain when fossil fuels make up 38% and nuke (which doesn’t produce CO2) another 13% of the mix? Good luck getting agreement of all this mammoth investment to replace it all with renewables. Where will all these new plants go? New power plants are years, often decades in the planning, safety and construction.

Shall we regulate during this scrap and build program that odd numbers on your street can use power on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and alternate Sundays? And the even numbers the other days? Have they realized that Merkel’s green madness has made German power prices some of the highest in the world leaving 330,000 people with their electricity cut off for inability to pay? Maybe celebrate it being down on the previous year’s 331,000. Does XR see such things as an acceptable price to pay?

3. By necessity these demands mean an initiative similar to those enacted at times of war. We do not however, hand further power to our Government, we demand a Citizens Assembly to oversee the changes, as we rise from the wreckage, creating a democracy fit for purpose.

The Citizens Assembly will likely be chosen by apparatchiks. Not to worry, the education system is already in place.

The University is Bristol’s Dr Dann Mitchell, Lecturer in Climate Change said,

Climate science is now mature enough that we do not just count climate change in terms of degrees of additional warming, we count it in terms of human lives lost, biodiversity reduced, and land claimed by the oceans...The youth, championed by Greta Thunberg, and taken up by school children around the world, recognise this is an emergency, so it is of the upmost important that our leading institutes on climate change such as the University of Bristol recognise it too.

Lives lost? Land claimed by oceans? Huh? Well it’s ok because we only need to listen to a spoon-fed 16yo. No wonder she is depressed when she’s had her head filled with 5 years of indoctrination about how her life is doomed.

We should be worried how our elected leaders are so willing to roll over without standing for anything. It reminds CM of that scene in Monty Python’s ‘Holy Grail’ where townsfolk are trying to burn a witch. When Sir Bedivere debunks their witch hunt they come to their senses. But they burn her anyway.