Here’s a post I put together on 29 Sept. but left unpublished, wanting to add a bit more. However, in the meantime, the UK Daily Mail newspaper has just published a scathing attack on Ed Miliband’s (dead) father,and one wonders if it’s just coincidence that it came in the middle of the Tory Annual Conference… for those not in the UK, Ed Miliband is the UK Labour party leader.
Ed Miliband protested, and was given a chance to respond, but in publishing his response, the newspaper immediately published a fresh article alongside, and repeated the first article, adding more inflammatory comments, labelling Miliband senior “evil” as well.
Even ignoring the background (the Milibands are Jewish, the newspaper’s founder was close friends with pro-Nazi ringleader Moseley), there was no obvious reason for such a story out of the blue, with many people speculating that it was simply to stir up controversy for circulation purposes – not an unknown tactic. My point is, however, as mentioned below in this article: “Self-regulation is a waste of space. The only time self-regulation works is while it’s not needed.”
It’s not that long since the media in this country were pilloried for hacking private mobile phones (even that of missing schoolgirl Millie Dowler, later found murdered). One newspaper, News of the World, was forced to close down, but there really haven’t been strong enough measures taken to ensure a bit of decency among the media.
I repeat – wherever you live, don’t let anyone kid you that self-reg. or “light reg.”, whatever, is a good thing.
Here’s my original article:
A couple more tips come to mind:
- Don’t bother laying down vintage wines as an investment. You need a dark, cool cellar, no moving the bottles around, and you need a buyer. When times are hard, there are few buyers around, there are lots of sellers.
- Self-regulation is a waste of space. The only time self-regulation works is while it isn’t needed. Think banks, think newspapers.
I spent a few years managing our lending to the diamond cutters in the bank’s books. An interesting, somewhat romantic group of clients, with the links to de Beers, Kimberley and the historic Kimberley Club, where Cecil John Rhodes spent much of his time. If the beer tasted as good in those days as it does now, I don’t blame him. A real, old style gentleman’s’ club, which by the mid-nineties, still didn’t allow women to stay there. I’m sure that has changed by now, though. Hopefully the heating has improved too, I remember staying there once when I had a really bad cold in the middle of a cold winter, and having to keep a bath full of hot water to keep the room from freezing…
However, I digress. The point is, I learnt a lot about diamonds, cutters and diamonds as investment material. Investment-wise, things are simple. If you want a quick way of halving your money, buy diamond jewellery. You won’t get more than half of what you paid for it, if you try to sell it. Buy jewellery for your good lady, but don’t think about taking it back later, even if she would let you. Remember the advertising quote? Diamonds are forever… Genuine, sealed & certificated rocks will do better, but you have to hold them a long time to have a chance of appreciation. Don’t forget – de Beers has a long-term policy of keeping prices up and avoiding volatility, so you have that to contend with. de Beers is a force to be reckoned with, even with Russian efforts to get more of their stock out into the world markets.
One last tip, it set me off about writing this article. I was walking our dog this morning, when my mobile rang. It was someone from my service provider (I won’t mention the name, I don’t have anything against them), saying all the usual, “hi, you’re a good customer, how can we help you further, etc., etc.” Which, as we already know, means, “how can we get some more money out of you…”.
If they’re now hiring people instead of just sending texts to try harder to get into my pocket, what does that mean? Clearly, they aren’t doing that well, they need to bump up sales. So, do I buy their shares? No. Is this an isolated example, or are there others, in other industries? Actually, yes, I see this kind of thing quite often of late, in big and small businesses, in people’s spending patterns (the book trade is a prime example, book sales have been miserable for years), so what can one deduce from all that? Well, put it this way – George Osbourne’s bright, positive remarks about how well things are turning out in the economy may be a bit off the mark…
More later, but note how these clues turn up, even if it’s in the papers, which usually present financial developments too late for you to do anything about them. When it concerns major moves like the above, you often do have time to adjust your self-preservation first aid kit.
P.S: talking about clue-tracking the economy, here’s a news item today (2 Oct 2013): “Social media spam increased 355% in the first half of 2013”. More and more people are struggling to survive, and social media spam levels are another significant indicator.