Tory Whips increasingly confident that May’s EU deal will pass.

It appears that Theresa May may in fact get her Brexit deal through the commons after developments in recent days, which suggest the EU may be softening its stance on the deal. Particularly as the EU looks at the terminology on the backstop, the principle of a hard border would still be avoided under the deal, but Michel Barnier has spoken of ‘operational checks’, to get the DUP on side.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, despite continuing unwillingness to compromise on the core principles of the deal, is looking at some of the deal to see if there’s anything they can do without compromising the principles. (Long-winded, we know.) Though significant opposition to the backstop still remains, there are positive signs emerging, for example a softening tone from Hard Brexiteers.

John McDonnell called the Chancellor of the exchequer ‘gutless’, as he refused to come off the fence and rule out a no-deal Brexit. This is despite the Chancellor warning that a no-deal would be extremely damaging for the U.K. economy, with GDP estimated to shrink by 11%-15% over 15 years.

Analysis by Deputy Editor in Chief – Seb Chromiak

Who would have thought? There are still significant hurdles and challenges ahead for Theresa May, but Tory whips have an increasingly positive outlook towards the possibility of the prime ministers deal getting through parliament. Those Tory and Labour MP’s looking at a closer relationship between the U.K. and EU will look to the negotiation phase to ensure as close economic ties as possible.

Moderate MP’s have in recent days secured concessions on keeping the U.K. as closely aligned to the EU legislative agenda as possible, including on worker and environmental rights, along with several other promises.

Several commentators have noted that party is often prioritised over country, and if the PM gets this deal through, it will ring true once again. Not only would this save the Tories from a general election but also from further political embarrassment.

CFD Trading: Choosing the Right Platform in today’s global socio-economic and geopolitical conditions

As the age-old Chinese statement says: we “live in exciting times.” And, this is probably the understatement of the century. Regional conflicts keep on popping up, the Brexit deal has not yet been resolved, the US migrant crisis and Donald Trump’s response to it make the daily headlines, and the US/China trade war is also ongoing.

According to Nasser Saidi, “public debt in advanced economies rose by more than 30 percentage points of GDP, with total global debt reaching some $250tn by the second quarter of 2018.” Furthermore, the US Fed raised the interest rate another quarter-point rate to 2.25 per cent at the end of September 2018. This is the eighth hike in the past two years. Thus, it looks as though another global financial crisis is pending.

Trading in turbulent geopolitical and socio-economic conditions

It is useful to remember that CFD traders can trade profitably on both rising and falling global financial markets. This is because they trade on the financial market asset price movements. They do not buy and sell the asset itself.

Therefore, the question that begs is not whether traders should trade in volatile conditions, it is what CFD trading platform they should use to trade on.

Here are some tips to help you, as a trader, determine which broker offers the best online trading platform that will allow you to trade profitably:

Technical analysis tools

The question that needs to be asked is what statistical analysis tools are available on the trading platform. There should be a large number of technical indicators and oscillators available for traders to use to study asset price movement trends.

These tools can include candlestick charts, moving average convergence-divergence index (MACD), relative strength index (RSI), Bollinger bands, Stochastic oscillator, on-balance volume, and Aroon oscillator.

As mentioned above, the main aim when using these indicators and oscillators is to study historical price movement patterns, and breakouts to determine a trend. Once this trend has been found, then it is possible to decide on a trading strategy.

Finally, traders will open a trading position, and set-stop loss and take-profit points. And, it is also essential to set the moving average point to let the trade run and not close out too early.

Economic Calendar

Fundamental analysis; ergo, the study of global socio-economic events that have the potential to impact the price of an asset, is a vital part of the overall investigation that a trader has to do to determine a profitable trading strategy.

Most of these events are listed in the Economic Calendar according to the month and day they are due to happen. For example, the date the US Jobs numbers are released, and the quarterly Fed meeting to determine whether US interest rates will be increased, remain the same, or decreased is also recorded on the Economic Calendar.

Therefore, a robust CFD trading platform will include an Economic Calendar; thus, alerting traders to these events before they take place.

Real-time asset price movements

This aspect is crucial to the trader’s profit or loss statistics. If the trading platform reports price moments a few minutes after they have happened, then the trader will make wrong trading decisions because the technical tools he uses will not be 100% accurate. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that the online trading platform of your choice reports real-time asset price movements.

Security

It is vital that the CFD trading platform that you choose follows Internet Security best practices and implements the latest security updates as they are released. Otherwise, there is a risk of the platform being hacked and trader investments and private information stolen.

Speed

A lagging online trading platform will have a negative impact on the trader’s ability to place profitable trades. Therefore, it is best to avoid signing up with a brokerage that offers a trading platform that is sluggish and slow to respond to mouse clicks.

Final thoughts

It is reasonable to assume that a broker’s CFD trading platform is the most critical part of its online presence. Thus, it is vital to open a trading account with a broker that prioritises the upkeep of its online trading platform.

Andrew Neil epitomize’s everything wrong with the BBC, why he must go

If you have seen the film, ‘Brexit: An uncivil war’, you will share the frustrations of the director of the Remain campaign when he phones the BBC, livid with their reporting. I will not repeat the age-old arguments, but the way the organisation has disintegrated will bring a tear to any eye.

Andrew Neil’s behaviour yesterday marked a strikingly different tone to the usual delirium on BBC Politics programmes. No longer are the most concerning arguments about how the BBC confuses impartiality with balance, but are now about suppression of debate. When Owen Jones presses Andrew Neil on the role the Spectator has played in inciting violence against minorities in the U.K., Andrew talks over him, he is visibly flustered. He says that he won’t allow Owen to hijack the programme and starts to raise his voice. See for yourselves below.

‘I won’t let your smears and lies about me are not going to be dealt with tonight.’

These are the articles Owen is referring to.

How does the Chairman of such organisations come to present flagship politics programmes on the BBC? There has been a systematic decay in principles and processes at the BBC, and Andrew, being self-employed, does not have to abide by impartiality rules on social media and in his public-life that otherwise governs employees. Yet, he has continually undermined everything the BBC is supposed to stand for.

When he called Carole Cadwalladr a ‘Crazy Cat Woman’, not only did he fail to apologise, but when the BBC investigated after several referrals from Senior Female Officials at the BBC, the Director General – Tony Hall later commented that he had apologised. Had he? Of course not.

The ill culture that exists within the BBC is evidenced in other senior figures such as Rob Burley, the Editor of BBC Live Political Programmes. Recently he tweeted the following, ‘Just a reminder, once again, that people you disagree with will sometimes be on TV.’ Editors battling with the public over social media, as they fling criticism into the long-grass is now commonplace, and is evidence of the BBC’s inability to implement valid feedback. Its inability to assess its failings is questionable at best, completely inadequate at worst.

Editors continually miss the point – lots of people still watch the BBC and whether Sebastian Gorka has an opinion on Donald Trump as he had links to his campaign is irrelevant. How can a former Breitbart director be given a platform to speak on British National Television, where’s the rationale? Similarly, when Arron Banks was interviewed on the Marr show, even if you agree that he was rigorously questioned on live television, it gives Mr Banks a platform to spew complete nonsense. The BBC fails to realise, even if its presenters can disregard many of the things coming out of these people’s mouths, that people at home often do not apply the same rigour. They take Arron’s words as facts and use them on social media, worse still they allow it to influence how they vote.

Either the BBC have misunderstood their role to inform the public, or they have an agenda. I would tend to side with the latter. There is complete disregard for any notion of principle, and there is now a culture of misinformation that is becoming accepted with the BBC and by its viewers. The organisation is on the brink, and rightly so. I have on many occasion stood up for the need to have such an institution as it is a part of British culture, but this… this deserves to fail; only then will their be reform.

Government backs amendment on Brexit, that would see U.K. align with EU’s Environment and Employment law.

In what seems to be a final hour U-Turn from the Government, Greg Clark has announced that they will back an ammendment from 3 MP’s, John Mann (Lab), Caroline Flint (Lab), Lisa Nandy (Lab), that will see the U.K. permanently align with the EU’s environment and employment laws.

This will be seen as a major blow to the far-right ideologues that exist in the Conservative party, that are seeing their vision of a no-deal Brexit that would pave the way for the eradication of human rights and environmental rollbacks, that the neoliberals dream of.

All eyes are now on the numbers, this will be seen as a major concession, that is unlikely to win the support from any of the extremist’s in the Tory party, nor will the DUP be anymore pleased, but it may just force the hand of some Labour MP’s. Fears that the U.K. would align with the U.S. in many legislative practises has been a major source of worry for opposition MP’s. A victory next week in the commons on her EU deal, would likely save the PM’s premiership, but it will most certainly not see the end of the debate on our relationship with Europe.

It comes on a day, where EuroTunnel have announced that the Chris Grayling’s No-Deal preperations are illegal, and are in breach of competition laws. They have said that they want a similar contract as was awarded to shipping companies in the case of a No-Deal Brexit, or they will launch legal action against the transport department.

 

Analysis by Deputy-Editor – Seb Chromiak

It may be easier said than done, but reaching across the house for consensus on an issue is seeminly a thing of the past, until now. There are major political splits in this divided nation, but what many MP’s have been calling for, is agreement across the house on our future relationship with the EU. Theresa’s desperate appeals on the honours list, that some have labelled bribery is nothing short of embarassing, this could have been avoided.

As for Chris Grayling, he is likely one of the most incompetent politicians to have braced public office, in any other age, he would have been long gone, imbécile, comes to mind.

Labour has finally understood left-wing politics in Britain, Europe won’t be far behind.

All the indications are that left-wing politics is in crisis, there isn’t a week that goes by without the gloomy predictions from the continent on a party’s electoral chances.

We should think of politics in much the same vein as Capitalism, there are patterns to be observed, crisis and then prosperity.  Though this period of crisis for the left, where in just 5 countries in Europe the left have control of parliament, may be different. There is an emerging pattern, on economic policy, right wing parties however extreme are integrating left-wing policies into their campaign pledges, this is an encouraging sign, albeit in a non-traditional sense. Look for example domestically, where the Conservative party adopted many Labour manifesto promises, including increases in spending on healthcare an attempt to tackle the growing power of online corporations.

Across the channel, other right-wing governments are doing the same. the Italian government may be considered populist or nationalist, but are defying austerity and strict EU deficit rules on their budget. Gone are commitments to free markets, instead plans to introduce Universal Basic Income a policy that has long been pushed by the left. UBI is a policy that hopes to solve the problem of the 4th industrial revolution. What will happen to workers when full automation becomes a reality?

Europe is unique from Britain in that voting for right-wing governments is a sign of a rejection of inequality, a protest against elites and often nationalism. Where in the U.K. people tend to vote for the Conservative party, is to keep the elite in power, and secure your riches. Yet, Britain’s left is thriving.

In Europe as in the U.K the left has been lost, though there are signs of hope, ideas are central to everything, the fact that the far-right are adopting economically left-wing policies, is a sign of the changing times. What the left must realise is that they are trying to attract the same voters as the populists, because the voters are sufferring from the same symptoms that the left have the willingness to solve.

The left also has to adapt, as Capitalism does. I will repeat, these are changing times and although I disagree with closing borders and appealing to nationalism, many don’t share this view. I also realise that these concerns are unfounded, when you study the data, so this also needs to be communicated better. Crucially in the 21st century, voters can’t be put into traditional brackets of political alignment, largely due to the changes that have occurred because of Globalisation. Just because someone has a right-wing view of immigration, does not mean they have can’t be left-leaning economically. The perfect paradigm that used to define left and right wing politics is blurred, the sooner we realise that, the better.

The British economist and business professor Geoffrey Hodgson in his book “Wrong Turnings: How the Left Got Lost,” argues that, after making compromises with capitalism since the 1950’s, the socialist and labour parties have failed to offer a “persuasive, feasible and democratic alternative to capitalism” after the 2008 global financial crisis. 

In the U.K. the momentum is with Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour party, the fat cat campaign highlights this, where CEO’s earn what a normal worker does in 3 days. His muddled stance on the EU, but his unwavering support from his base is evidence of a party that has adapted, they understand the economic hardship that the Tories have forced upon the working class. Europe again, is slightly different, but reconnecting is crucial to any European parties electoral viability, the Momentum campaign and as a strategy to electoral victory is evidence of this.

The 2019 European elections may side with the populists in the news bulletins, but Europe’s left should not be all doom and gloom, they will be back.

DUP Double down on commitment to vote against May’s Brexit deal.

The DUP has doubled down on their commitment that they will not back Theresa May’s Brexit Deal in its current form. This comes as Theresa May’s team has been briefing journalists at the Times that they expect no further movement from the EU either.

It comes after Lord Hain and Lord Murphy who are both former Cabinet members, called on MP’s who are stopping Brexit to back Mrs May’s deal as a hard border risks returning to the “violence and murder which killed thousands of people” which was stopped by the Good Friday Agreement.

Journalists from the Times have reported that Theresa May is hoping that the threat of a No-Deal Brexit will be enough to convince politicians in the House to back her deal. A No-Deal Brexit by the Government’s forecasts would mean a 9.3% retraction in GDP over 15 years, many other economists have the figure at nearer 15%.

The vote is due to take place on the week beginning the 14th of January, just a week before the British legal deadline for having a deal in place expires. The party once known for security, is struggling to secure votes for the most important economic and political change in a lifetime.

Tories sneak out £85m cut to Public Health services.

In traditional Tory fashion and in a year where Philip Hammond announced that austerity was coming to an end, the Tories have published 12 ministerial statements on a day when most MP’s have already returned to their constituencies. One of them includes the announcement that there will be an £85 million cut to Public Health services.

A Labour press statement said the following:

“It’s the clearest evidence yet that ministerial promises on the NHS are entirely hollow.

“These swingeing cuts will fall on a number of vital community based health services such as those that support for mothers and babies, tackle obesity, help people stop smoking, sexual health services and specialist drug and alcohol treatments. Cutting them is short sighted and means more people becoming seriously ill who should have been supported placing wider significant pressures on the NHS.

To release bad news on the final day before parliamentary recess is not uncommon, but does not make it any less shameful.

Despite the rhetoric that the Tories provide on funding for the NHS, cuts such as these will undoubtedly increase the strain on the health service in other departments.

BREAKING: Liz Truss met with Koch Brothers funded Cato institute on taxpayer funded trip.

Unearthed’, yesterday broke the story that Liz Truss, the Secretary to the Treasury had discussions with think tanks that are linked to the Koch brothers during a trip to Washington DC. The trip was funded by taxpayers.

Crucially, Liz Truss met with the Cato Institute on the 17th of September, the Cato institute is a Libertarian think tank that lobbies for smaller government, environmental regulation rollback and advances the cause of the Capitalist class. To meet with an institute that is founded by an individual that favours amending a countries constitution in order to restrict the power of elected representatives should be deeply concerning, especially in the event of a No-Deal Brexit. Such constitutional reforms are common place in Europe, look at the case of Greece’s budget surplus…

A No-Deal Brexit, for the Libertarian faction of the Conservative party, for example Jacob Rees-Mogg presents an opportunity to utilise the ensuing crisis. Crises are a fundamental instrument of initiating neoliberal reforms, such as rolling back worker rights and eradicating progress on environment protections, or as neoliberals see them, barriers to profit.

I won’t bore you with the history of the Koch brothers and their quest to restrain the power of elected representatives, but I will direct you to the fantastic book, Democracy in Chains by Nancy Maclean. It was the inspiration for my maiden article for TPN and tracks the Koch brothers incessant push to punish the poor. Charles Koch asked the neoliberal economist James Buchanan to study Vladimir Lenin’s tactics of rule and apply it to the neoliberal cause.

The Koch brothers have spent Billions on political candidates, in order for them to advance their cause and ensure that the neoliberal ideology lives on. Their training of judges at Princeton University has meant that the Libertarian cause is now deeply embedded in American political and legal culture.

Liz Truss has links to several think-tanks in the U.K. that advance similar causes, if you value British democracy, for all its flaws, the links that Tory MP’s have with such think-tanks should worry you. Which is why the IEA and the TaxPayers’ Alliance, which Truss has regular contact with, view Brexit as an opportunity to slash regulations and cut taxes.

Shadow Treasury minister, Clive Lewis, told Unearthed that Truss’ meetings with “dark money” groups linked to the Koch brothers:

“tells you, if anyone was in any doubt, what the motivations of Brexit are for the vast majority, not all, of Conservative MP’s. When they say ‘take back control’ they’re talking about taking back control for a small group of wealthy individuals.”

“That ultimately is what Brexit is all about, Brexit is about understanding that Europe, as neoliberal as some people think it is, is actually a bulwark in many ways against deregulation and liberalisation.”

Analysis by Deputy Editor-in-Chief – Seb Chromiak

Liz Truss like her colleagues won’t be thinking of you on the 29th of March in the case of a No Deal Brexit, they will likely crack open the bottle of Don Perignon from the comfort for their over-sized homes and begin to celebrate. Fore they will have achieved what no-one could have imagined, and day by day they will start to repeal your worker rights, further inflict austerity on the poorest in our society and redistribute wealth to the top 0.1%.

This will have been years in the making, Rees-Mogg et al. present themselves as being on the side of the working person, this could not be further from the truth. If you’re angry reading this, you deserve to be. Consider whether it really matters if Jeremy Corbyn called Theresa May a stupid woman, in my eyes it could not make a single straw of difference, the Tory party truly are a party for the few. Though that realisation may come too late, for too many.

Monopolies are forming and it is increasing prices and profits but decreasing wages. Capitalism is broken.

Capitalism is largely defined by its characteristic of competition – the notion of many competing firms battling against each other for business, and in the process driving down prices. Yet in the past 40 years, the market power of a small number of firms in many industries has been steadily increasing, and with it one of the supposed benefits of capitalism, diminishing. The effects of declining competition has led to a decrease in wages for workers as not only do consumers have less choice, so do employees.

The inclusion of different market structures is an essential component of introductory economics courses, hence under pure competition, there are no super normal profits, as exist today, The Economist magazine calculates that abnormal profits are currently at £660 bn. This points towards market failure, as dominant firms eliminate competition.

The Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) is a measure of market concentration, where the market share of each company in an industry is squared and added together. In the case of a pure monopoly, the index can reach 10,000. While being beneficial in giving us an overarching view of market concentration, such an index can also be deceiving. If we consider the market for cars, for example, we see that there are several competitors on the surface of things, yet lots of these companies come under the ownership of one company. Volkswagen has 12 brands under its umbrella. Coca-Cola has 100’s, arguably 1000’s, which the index does not take account of.

Companies could partially be excused from their practices to eliminate competition if it meant increasing wages, yet once again, this is not the case. Since the 1970’s wages as a % of GDP have decreased from around 51% to 43% in the latter stages of this decade, and they are now at their lowest percentage since 1929. The same pattern decline is evident in the U.K. Which begs the question do companies have a responsibility to increase wages when markets move to monopolies? Your classic Libertarian would argue not, and would likely present you with an argument that if a company can not find an employee to work at wage rate ‘X’ then they must raise the price until they find sufficient employees.

However, there is increased academic research that suggests workers may be more negatively affected by monopolies than consumers. The lack of choice for employees is leading to a decrease in wages. Data on the number of companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange shows that there has been a significant decline in the past 20 years. In Bentonville, AK, Walmart employs 101% of the population (meaning more people commute into the town than live there), similar trends are observed in Seattle where Amazon has half of all office space. Simply put, increased market concentration is depressing wages, but observing patterns that indicate the market is becoming more concentrated is not always easily observable. The Herfindahl index adjusted for common investor ownership was over 0.5 (with 1 being pure monopoly), but the standard index showed the figure to be at around 0.18.

One tenth of the economy is made up of industries in which four firms control more than two-thirds of the market. In a healthy economy you would expect profits to be competed down, but the free cashflow of companies is 76% above its 50-year average, relative to GDP.

Similar problems surrounding competition exist within the UKs train network, where companies are given contracts that exist as franchises to operate a certain route. Competition hardly exists, at least not in the traditional form. Take for example the London-Manchester route; Virgin Trains is the exclusive operator, as is the same with the Liverpool-Norwich route (and the list really does go on). Furthermore, where two companies operate on the same line, it is not the same speed, i.e. one may be an express and the other a commuter train.

Marx predicted as much. The need for accumulation to continue to make profits is one of the inherent flaws of capitalism and hence one of its crucial contradictions. There is also a tendency to move towards monopoly markets, hence driving up price and decreasing the power of consumers, which is undesirable to say the least.

Companies argue that by buying competitors they make efficiency savings, however, empirical evidence tells us otherwise as the savings are usually meagre, and the true intent of such companies is to eradicate competition. With increasing market power and finance, large companies such as Facebook can buy competitors at will, as was the case with Instagram in 2012. Instagram had just 30 million users and was purchased for a measly $1 Billion. The app may never have threatened Facebook, but why take the chance? Antitrust laws are no longer fit for purpose, acquisitions of small value go unnoticed and unchecked, which is why companies such as Facebook purchase at such early stages. Facebook’s market share in the U.K is near to 90%.

I won’t go as far as accusing large companies such as Coca-Cola of collusion but peculiarly bottles of 500ml Coca Cola, Lucozade and Oasis (etc.) are all similar or the same price.  Admittedly the Sugar Tax has complicated this, but before its introduction it was the same. Proponents of the system will argue that it is simply price-matching, but where is the incentive to under-cut your competitor if you’re owned by the same company? The answer is there is, none.

The reform of Capitalism is in the Capitalist’s best interests, but while profits soar, I see no stimulus for the ruling class, and as always with Capitalism no reforms will go far enough. Companies have ridden their luck for too long, regulators have been naïve, and inadequate governmental policy has led to today’s sorry state of affairs. The French riots are just another symptom of a broken system, revolt is near, businesses will wish they had listened to the masses. Marx once remarked that Capitalism would end up destroying itself, never has that statement rung so true.