There’s three in a pair, right?

A while ago, I took a “10% off” voucher with me to Halfords. I bought an item with a marked price of £30.  At the checkout, I was served by a young man whose badge identified him as the Store Manager.  When I presented the voucher he excused himself to run up to his office to fetch a calculator to work out what to charge me. Continue reading

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Jeremy Corbyn tonight criticised Theresa May’s cuts to policing in the run up to last night’s London Bridge attacks in a strongly worded speech.  He said Labour would take “whatever action is necessary” to ensure the safety of citizens, adding: “You cannot protect the public on the cheap.” Continue reading

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The New Case for Gold

If global uncertainty has got you thinking about the increasing likelihood of another economic meltdown, you may be interested to read Jim Rickards’ The New Case for Gold (here’s the Amazon link).  Rickards, of course, is not alone in recommending that investors have at least some exposure to gold as a hedge against financial instability, but one of the key points he makes is that it’s worth considering how that exposure is achieved.   Continue reading

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Too many bells and whistles?

Last week saw the 50th anniversary of my driving licence (or, more accurately) the day I passed my driving test. In those days I used to view drivers who displayed the grille-badge of the Company of Veteran Motorists (founded in 1932) as a bunch of senile old dodderers. Continue reading

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Ten reasons to vote Leave

brexitI have waited a long time for this referendum, all the while hoping that one day we may escape the EU. The thing that has really pained me during the protracted run in to this week’s vote is being painted as some kind of ‘Little Englander’, a Daily Mail-reading xenophobe, or even racist.

To explain why I have voted (by post) the way I have, I can do no better than to repeat, verbatim and with his permission, the final shot fired by Dominic Frisby (MoneyWeek journalist and author of Life After The State and Bitcoin: The Future Of Money).

To me, these ten points address the fundamentals of the question, whereas most politicians have sought populist messages based on immigration and/or questionable projections about how much better (or worse) off we may (or may not) be next week/month/year/decade.  Before I get carried away, time to hand you over to Dominic. Continue reading

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Better business education

profitA friend, who’s the MD of a tech company, is in the good habit of engaging regularly with his staff.  In collecting feedback from a recent staff meeting, ready for the next, he saw that several senior engineers wanted to know what was meant by profit, and why did the company seem to care so much about it.

That they asked these questions was no surprise as most people don’t seem to know (and still less care) much about business.  What disturbed me more was that my friend felt that he had to answer the question indirectly.  The questions themselves reveal an ignorance of basic business reality, and his approach showed that he sensed that profit is a rather suspect motivation. Continue reading

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I’m writing a novel…

luiz de camoesThere. I’ve said it.  It feels like a confession at Alcoholics Anonymous.  I’ve often thought about writing a novel, and now I’m of retirement age I have a lifetime of experience upon which to draw, and more time to spend on personal projects.  But it’s slow going.  My prevarication techniques, aside from writing blog posts like this one, include reading ‘how to’ books and evaluating various tools (this is the 21st century – no-one uses just pen and paper any more, do they?) Continue reading

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How close are we to Molenbeek?

molenbeekTeun Voeten is a cultural anthropologist and war photographer who lived in Molenbeek for nine years until, in 2014, he could stand it no longer and left. The article he wrote after the Paris bombings in November last year is still more resonant after the events of last month.  Can we honestly say that the problems he describes are not present in many places here in the UK?  I believe they are, and that we should no longer be so complacent. Continue reading

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Forgiveness – a life lesson

tom tateSomeone could spend a year writing a novel to illustrate the life lesson that was encapsulated in an extraordinary obituary in The Times this week.  The subject was one Tom Tate, who died at the age of 98 on 19th January. Continue reading

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Use a good bike lock!

Left outside Halfords in Eastleigh for five minutesThe U-lock obviously did its job well, but perhaps it wasn’t wise to park outside Halfords in Eastleigh in the first place.  Fortunately, the tea leaves mustn’t have had a crank removal tool with them, otherwise it could have been a lot worse.

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