Sunday, 30 September 2012

Goodwill = bad valuations= big rewards for failure?

'Goodwill' is supposed to represent the increased value of a business arising from its brands, reputation etc etc  over & above what it is actually worth and is supposed to justify the higher price that you paid. The Financial Times reports that  Europe's 600 biggest companies wrote off 76bn Euros of goodwill last year. Over the last four years* these companies spent 1.6tn Euros and wrote off 219bn. This represents massive overpayment for duff acquisitions. It's probably worse than this because it takes time for the error to emerge. But these guys still reckon they are worth their massive remuneration packages ! Why bother training to do anything useful like surgery or engineering or whatever where an error can result in losing your job or even prison. 
*calculation by Houlihan Lokey

Israels posturing over Iran has done its people no favours

Following on from my previous post it appears that Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has stepped back from threats of an imminent attack on Iran. In a speech to the UN General Assembly he has identified an Iranian 'Red Line'  as being likely next summer when, he believes, Iran will have amassed enough enriched Uranium to make one bomb. Western meddling in the Middle East & the wider Muslim world, especially in the last decade, has (with the possible exception of Libya) been an unmitigated disaster. A Syrian rebel spokesman was bewailing lack of western help. Because of Western bungling we are constantly vilified and, aided by Russian & Chinese posturing, it is time to say enough is enough. The Syrian problem must be solved by the governments of the Arab world, both secular and religious, by themselves.  The USA, and especially the UK, must NOT sign up to Israel's  new Red Line. Any military attack on Iran is unacceptable, especially  whilst  Israel retains its own huge nuclear arsenal. Western priorities must be the containment of Israel, isolating & protecting it from both external threats and its own belligerence, and to continue to seek a diplomatic solution with Iran. Netanyahu's posturing over Iran has done his people no favours.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Red Line approaches? I hope not

This post is going to look very strange alongside my last one of Sept 5th & I can already hear the shouts of 'hypocrite' & other less flattering comments. But some issues are SO big that all ones determination to fight on from the inside eventually evaporates. I do not read the Daily Mail, or the Mail on Sunday. I would find it hard to believe those organs of the print media over anything. Nor do I know what Sir Nick Harvey thinks or why he left the MoD. The 'Mails' report  that Nick was sacked from MoD because of outspoken opposition to a military adventure in Iran. Of course no one wants Iran to have a nuclear weapon but with the State of Israel having a large number of them, which it denies, and with Israels dreadful behaviour over some 40yrs if I was an Iranian I'd most certainly want my own bomb. Whatever the solution, a military strike on Iran is not it and if Israel goes ahead unilaterally it must NOT be supported. Consequently, if the Coalition supports any military action by anybody over this issue with the LibDems doing anything but total opposition that will be the end of my nearly 60yrs support for the Liberal Party & its successors

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Dont't go - stay & FIGHT

It is a great shame that so many LibDems are so disillusioned that they are quitting the party. They have every right to be profoundly upset. The political ineptitude and betrayal, particularly by the Conservative part of the coalition, is little short of breathtaking. OK so immediately I have provoked a howl 'tuition fees' & 'betrayal' by the LibDems (the only so called betrayal that seems to count). But actually 'the howl' makes my point. Despite the £9000 figure the new structure is a much better deal for students than the old one - as those students who have studied it carefully are now beginning to realise. It was the way in which it was allowed to be misrepresented that was the huge ineptitude. Like wise the 'Granny-Tax' that is not a tax at all. And why on earth did we go ahead with the AV referendum. Leaving aside that Cameron betrayed the LibDems by campaigning against it, it was a lousy proposal in the first place. And look how Lords reform has been botched - does it really make any sense to have 815 peers? There was nothing in the Coalition Agreement about fouling up the health service - Tory betrayal again and handled so badly that, if it were not for the LibDems, who knows what the outcome might have been. Then the Murdoch thing & Jeremy Hunt promoted. Hunt, apparently, has the sublime ability to set aside his personal views & judge the issue fairly - something Cable allegedly could not do. Believe that you'll believe the moon is made of Cheese (Wallace & Gromit for PM & Chancellor anyone?). It was ALWAYS the Tory intention to give Murdoch BSkyB & Cable was in the way because he WAS doing it by the book. Now, thanks to Local Government 'Reform' ( better known as screw up) we have got the 'Bed Tax'. One woman, whose 17yr old daughter is a fully fledged Private in the Army, & who lives in 'social' housing is being clobbered for extra money because she wants to keep her daughter's room available for when she comes home on leave. Where is the kid supposed to sleep? In the bath?. LibDems please don't leave. There is nowhere else for you to go. The need to stay on the inside I fight like never before has never been greater. Labour are bigger hypocrites than the Tories & that really IS some achievement.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Always read the small print

Liz & I were booked into the Brambletye Hotel in Forest Row, Sussex, for the night of 1st September but regretfully had to cancel. I 'phoned the hotel at about 09.00 on the morning of 31st August to cancel & was told I still had to pay for the room as their cancellation policy was three days. I booked through Laterooms & indeed it does say that cancellation is 72hrs on Laterooms site. Serves me right for not checking. However I thought there was a good chance that they could let the room so I rang again on the morning of the 1st and was told they were indeed fully booked for that coming night. It therefore seemed reasonable for me to see if the cancellation fee could be waived. Later that day, after we had got home, there was message from the hotel so I 'phoned them. I was told that the room had not been sold and that the receptionist to whom I spoke in the morning was not aware that the room was simply being held for someone else pending their confirmation which had not been received so I would still have to pay. In several decades of staying in hotels I had not before come across the idea of asking for a room to be held pending confirmation. It is a neat way of avoiding a cancellation fee and my previous experience has always been that you are asked to commit, with a credit card, on the spot. According to the hotel's own website “ Cancellation & pre-payment policies vary according to room type. Please enter the date of your stay and check the conditions for your required room”. Interestingly the hotel has no vacancies for any Saturday night during September so I was very unlucky that they could not re-let my room. You learn a new business practice every day. In future I shall look VERY carefully at a hotel's cancellation terms and just not stay there if they want more than 24hrs notice.