Thursday, 1 March 2018
Snowflakes? And Resilience Kent and USA etc? It gets worse.
A Sun editorial on Kent panic buying for milk, and fighting in the aisles in sleepy Lenham before the police restored order and no doubt a good ticking-off concerning.
Proof again if it were needed of just 3 meals from chaos without effective Resilience.
The Royal Marines rightly something of a scapegoat after the shoddy RM and RN response to Caribbean storms - late ships, broken beach equipment and forgetting their guns it was more of a badly organised stag do than Resilience response - last Summer (the storms will happen again Royal Marines don’t forget to write it in your diary even without the Commonwealth Summit!).
The Royal Navy invariably effective only when run as privateers or by the Army.
All the more concerning as RM was right to bang the table about the loss of HMS Ocean amphibious landing ship - again a shoddy trade for the vanity project of aircraft carriers.
Perhaps the Royal Marines rot set in with leaving Deal in Kent for the clotted cream and caviar luxury of Devon. Or even earlier with the Army commandos rather than Navy running the show.
The loss of 70% of Afghanistan to the Taliban or until recently the loss of all Iraq to ISIS also suggests something is wrong in Resilience and Reconstruction of those nations.
And when the soldiers come marching home with their legs in their rucksacks they’d rightly be concerned at not just the lack of medical support but in the lack of explanation of the generational task of years rather than beer and medals and home for Xmas with not a shot fired.
Syria and Libya facing the same destruction and no doubt lack of Resilience and Reconstruction plans.
Certainly though it’s to be hoped the US Coastguard are put on point to coordinate all Caribbean resilience activity from their Texas hurricane activity and support of the Cajun Navy. And to coordinate sensible shipbuilding plans with the shipyards of Norfolk (Virginia) and UK.
The dodgy One Essex Court fraud throwing up Judge Suitcase Smithy briefly, who made some interesting points on Jacky Fisher RN and his rigorous scrapping of dozens of pre-WW1 ships as a waste of steel and men. Do we really fund the Royal Navy for 40 Admirals for 20 main warships?
The snow days highlighting not just the excellent work of Kent gritters and snow ploughs and binmen (recycling though far too weak given Germany has 90% recycling compared to UK’s 40%) for weeks now but also the need for lavish amounts of medevac air ambulances and cargo helicopters and planes for snowed-in roads and car crashes and medicine deliveries.
The US military albeit with a new $700BN budget already with 300 Chinooks – UK failing to provide even one to Afghanistan and that failing to dustoff because it was dusty.
How you like them pricey military apples? A shocking MOD scandal and of UK aviation that surely the new USA Boeing HQ in Sheffield and EU Airbus HQ in Toulouse must be working on?
As with TB vaccine etc supplies such medevac helicopters could easily be rotated through Africa and India too. And of far more use than F35 fighter jets already surpassed by drones.
My brief thoughts on the Defence review:
Food for thought.
Much as Sir Martin Donnelly of DIT trade points out that Brexit means exchanging a 3 course meal for a packet of crisps. And Liam Fox Trade Minister rightly pointing out that Brexit is proving more complicated than a packet of Walkers crisps - possibly like Leicester's Keith Vaz as with Liverpool’s Louise Ellman and Brighton’s Caroline Lucas - long a friend of Kent he's a supporter of Gary Lineker and the Siamese Foxes.
Dr Fox, suckled on the udder of the tax milch cow of the NHS (dentistry though long the rotten tooth in the smile of the NHS), has made superb efforts on trade (former PM David Cameron right to urge every UK embassy to be car showrooms etc) rather than excessive overduplication of UN and NGO’s on human rights etc.
While even Lord Bridges of Bridges couldn’t rescuscitate Boris’ Channel Bridge or Garden Bridge. And the grain of sense in Boris Airport at Sea lost in the wider Heathrow debate and delay.
While the excellent The Sun City pages now extended to a daily must-read highlights the UK could miss its 2020 31TN export target. 81% of SME's in the dark over export support and no doubt under siege form the Big Energy companies. Tracey Boles' City column citing Growth Street's Greg Carter that SME businesses are key to such export increases beyond the usual faces of Rolls Royce etc or the corporate welfare of arms deals of BAE etc.
And the Daily Mail City pages on 21st February citing the largest one day fall in Walmart shares by 10%. the lead article by Hannah Uttley detailing points on Walmart underinvesting in UK, online competition from Amazon and WholeFoods and Ocado cited as a possible purchase by Kroger or Walmart.
With 11,700 stores worldwide including 642 UK Asda stores – 2 in East Kent – 2.3M staff and 270M customers weekly it’s hard not to paraphrase POTUS Harding that what’s good for Walmart is good for UK and East Kent and the good folks of Ramsgate Asda.
Much as key East Kent companies such as Saga cruise ships, Pfizer, Bakkavor and Givaudin and Eurotunnel, amongst several, have long been neglected by a too-centralised and too bureaucratic and public sector focused KCC. Closing tourism offices and Brussel offices amidst the brief blip of Kent UKIPism especially foolish. Especially with a revitalised Eire trade and tourism offices and the Welsh government trade offices expanding the wider UK and Commonwealth trade footprint.
Dr Fox though wouldn’t be wrong - like me - to sit at the knee of USA's Farm Minister Sonny "Big Buddy" Perdue who knows one end of a cow, and the US farm industry, from the other, and write a prescription on how UK and USA especially the Kent Big Apple can expand trade and nutrition. Kent's sister-state in Virginia under Terry and Dorothy Macauliffe already active on healthy school eating that would be relevant for Lanarkshire Councils new holiday eating programmes. Scotland long neglected in UK trade activity and an over-reliance on whisky.
The Virginia Breakfast Club not just an 80's movie with the debate on SNAP meals and Farm Boxes. Britain’s malnourished children might want to raid the scurvy Royal Navy’s store of limes. So might the thousands of dead and dying Mediterranean refugees failed by Europe’s navies.
Ramsgate's Great British American Asda Walmart active in its support not just big brands - and who knew Greggs has more stores than McDonalds or, whisper it quietly, even Starbucks - but Americana foods such as the craft beers of Maine, and hopefully Virginia, and roots recipes such as Louisiana lime perfect for us limeys and already not a lemon as The Grocer gold award winner.
Certainly the good folks of Starbucks iconic in the brio and brioche of an expanding UK coffee culture. Caribbean Resilience faltering for USA in Puerto Rico recently and Haiti for even longer. While the Cold War antagonism of USA and Cuba – crickets or sonic war in Havana? - surely calls for the UK’s #AnotherGringo strategy to review the Cuban economy rusting under sanctions and a reliance on sunset industries such as sugar and tobacco.
Much as the Sandinista regime of Nicaragua not just a difficult the Clash album – World Clash Day a marvellous thing too as Kent’s Rolling Stones tune up get back on the road with the No Filter tour - but an American distraction from coffee culture as foundation and Fairtrade industries as with steel in UK.
And South Carolina's Nikki Haley in Honduras to reinforce the no coups rule of the bad old days of military rule in Latin America, and a cocaine focus that with FARC ceasefire must surely end cocaine production in South America and Caribbean islands to concentrate it in Central America and Mexico?
Are UK-funded judges and QC’s really ideal for a Kazakhstan commercial court given the Borat failures of the High Court. Surely fumigating the rats nest of One Essex Court or the Bar Inns more relevant and certainly taking on a few rape cases or organised crimes cases rather than designing their own pretty judicial robes? On the Kazakh rates or UK rates?
This week's BBC4 documentary on the Naples to Sicily Ndraghenta mafia organised crime astonishing as it is horrifying centred on Italy's largest container port xxxxx - the Dover of Italy, here in Frontline Kent. And even tunnels through the Calabrian towns for drug smuggling - shades of Vietnam's Cu Chi tunnels and surely requiring US Army Europe support for Italy and Spain with UK and EU on organised crime?
The Messina bridge between Sicily and Italy long delayed due to Mafia involvement and with an Adriatic bridge/tunnel restricting the potential growth for UK allies such as Albania and Romania and Bulgaria and Turkey. Essentially a clear trade route from Palermo through Istanbul and Tehran to the markets of Mumbai. Kent's Canterbury univerisities and farms with the largest Romanian community outside of Bucharest.
While the Greek-Turkey border conflict as also in a divided Cyprus a neglected but more realistic conflict than any war with Russia. And a restraint on China's OBOR. Much as the Davos in the Desert could create a progressive and autonomous city state of Neom under Prince MP MBS - although surely that's Jordan's role?
And again hardly outrageously complicated for hispeed rail links through Cairo to Morocco (the hispeed link to Senegal and the cocoa and coffee markets of Ivory Coast and West Africa Commonwealth already begun) and a Berlin to Basra rail route again with a wider not deeper EU reforms and progress.
But if South Carolina and UN’s Nikki Haley is mercifully turning down the volume on Stevie Nicks and poodle rock of Britain’s Def Leppard and USA's Motley Crue. Surely harmonica player and VP candidate Tim Kaine must put some George Jones on the jukebox and hum along with Brand USA and UK/Commonwealth work with India - American tourists to India a key target for USA and India growth. India must surely be crying out for phased and increased tourism from USA and UK?
While UK's Rushanara Ali must surely be banging the Bangladeshi drum for better rail and resilience links through to India and Myanmar as the Himalayan snows start to melt? even the potential of Water Wars from the Tibetan plateau of the Ganges and Mekong etc.
And UK environment minister Govey is calling for gold standard UK farming standards amid rightful concerns over USA chlorine chickens etc - perhaps the KFC closures for lack of chicken (you had one job KFC) a positive. Anything served in a bucket can't be ideal. And certainly not much better than the repulsive slop of supersize pink goo or mechanically-rendered meat served up as tinned hotdogs etc.
While Lord O'Donnell rightly wary of drinking the Brexit snake oil - more and more excellent medicines key in East Kent with the echo chamber of Pfizer's Discovery park the largest USA inward investment in UK from the Marshall Plan after the chaos and carnage of WW2.
The Special relationship on sound footing with calls for Ambassador Woody Johnson not to be shy but to bang the drum and table for an outrageously lavish expansion of Johnson and Johnson and Janssen products in UK and Kent.
Chief Constable Pughsley of Kent Police, like me, is a keen user of J&J products and sends me his Resilience tips recommending a dab of talc in his underpants (Isaan silk?) to stop his truncheon rubbing. I recommend a dab of J&J baby lotion after shaving, although the Chief insists on Gucci aftershave before tucking into his traditional Kent blue serge breakfast of fried eggs, rice porridge and caviar. Vive la difference.
The Winter snow though surprising everyone, not just the Royal Marines, and no doubt emptying the NHS shelves of Flu vaccines.
I would urge Ambassador Woody (positive he's even changed his name in solidarity with US-UK cinema and Pixar and the Caroline Munro Doctrine - UK special effects powering many of the Hollywood blockbuster movies and games such as Star Wars) not just to jam his New York Yankees baseball cap firmly on his head to improve the NFL and USA sports in UK but consider a massive rollout of J&J and Pfizer et al with UK and USA universities research.
In Kent the Paramount theme park surely no Mickey Mouse project or a Mission Impossible. And why not an honorary knighthood for Great British American Tom Cruise for his sterling efforts on filming in London over the years. His recent broken ankle no doubt requiring more than a Band Aid or Tylenol from the NHS.
Shouldn’t every one of UK's 130 universities have links with USA universities as well as specific Cancer(s) - the Daily Mirror not shy in supporting UK Cancer Research - Diabetes, AMR and Dementia. All largely incurable at the moment with disparate research.
But a vigorous Times article yesterday by Patrick Kidd with Speaker Bercow's rare hissy fit described as worthy of a basketball player.
While even more unusually I completely agree with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on UK support needed for Prince Mo MBS of Saudi Arabia's progressive reforms - Chief Constable Pughsley laughingly urging caution over encouraging women drivers - exactly the sort of progressive and tolerant reforms that UK has long urged.
And that Trevor Wilmott Archbishop of Dover -who runs Canterbury Cathedral while the Archbishop of Canterbury is down the pub has urged - from the CofE’s privileged position. Kent a beacon of tolerance with mosques, Greek Orthodox celebration's in Margate (near Kent's Winter Gardens not Margate Beach convention centre in South Carolina), Jehovah Witnesses in Ramsgate and so on. Moses Montefiore a Jewish icon long celebrated in Ramsgate too - Israel as a startup nation must surely want to capitalise on links? - and the small Buddhist chapel in Canterbury long overdue larger premises.
While a #50brandsin50states would galvanise UK-USA trade rather than meaningless and forever-and-a-day-mega-trade deals that butter no parsnips. Brexit yielding in theory no trade deals at all with the EU which forms 50% of UK exports. The dynamic Julie Bishop Australian Minister rightly urging expanded UK-Oz links (Oz lamb and wool to replace NZ lamb with the Manston Infratil extradition delays?) but those far smaller and more distant than EU.
The Six Companies and Bechtel inspiring in the building of the Hoover dam and UK failing to bang the drum not just on Kent's Chunnel but also Crossrail Europe’s largest construction project – a BBC documentary inspiring on the former US female paratrooper bouncing out of bed to start digging - or even Balfour Beatty and LAX airport rail that would help fuel the furnaces of Welsh and Rotherham steel. And kickstart the development USA’s crumbling infrastructure highlighted in the POTUS trump SOTU speech or of graphene - still no products emerging from the lavishly-funded labs given the stuff has been invented? Any of those Clash fans or the 101ers might heed London Calling not just with the wheat growing thin but, living by the river, the desalination possibilities and needs of rising tides of Climate Change.
It's worth citing the excellent Pulitzer Freedom Forge book by Arthur Herman on the vast potential of USA manufacturing that in 1944 only 70% of the USA economy was focused on wartime production yet:
“American factories were building a plane…and 150 tons of steel every minute. Shipyards were launching 8 aircraft carriers a month…and 50 merchant ships a day.”
Clearly Climate Change poses no problems in producing solar panels or Resilience and cargo helicopters even recycling and renewing airplanes faster. A 20 year old BA jumbo jet flying to India? Planes littering the Arizona desert rather than say recycled through shipping down San Diego and the western seaboard to Chile?
But why not HSBC as one POTUS Trump's #Davos15Friends working with USA and Kent's excellent new Metro Bank expansion in UK to reduce the empty noodling on graphene? The City Mail’s Mr Deedes under the Walmart article also highlighting HSBC Chair Jeremy Flint paid £500k not to work and the banks handing the ammo to Jeremy Corbyn for tighter regulation after the LIBOR fraud pittance.
Prince Mo must surely be banging the Saudi Arabian drum not just for HSBC and UK graphene desalination but with Neom better Port Sudan and Jeddah links to Kuwait.
The Arabian and Sahara deserts could bloom beyond the narrow strip around the Nile with Agritech soil sensors (UN and Kasetsart and Govey highlighting just a few topsoil harvests left – Dustbowl again without trees and hedgerows?) and desalination and solar panels. The work of moments for #Davos15 such as Siemens (are they coming back to Ramsgate with Vattenfall?) and HSBC.
And Sudan the last gap in the Cape2Cairo rail link that would benefit from a China and India facing trade and on through to Europe.
While Kent’s Royal Engineers and Ghurkas already active in Sudan and Afghanistan and no doubt keen on an expansion of Sudan and Somalia and Nepal Resilience. As with Haiti and Puerto Rico not much done from the Nepal earthquake years ago. Sudan as the world's nation with the fewest roads benefiting not just from Royal Engineer Bailey bridges and UN peacekeepers but coordination with UK's JCB and USA's Caterpillar on road and rail links and Resilience airstrips.
As the snowflakes subside in Kent - did Chatham’s ski and snowboard centre really close due to snow? No wonder just 5 UK Winter Olympics medals - Johnson and Johnson might even shift some suncream and aftersun lotion in Arabia and Asia. Do J&J make suncream? They must do, they can make anything.
Time for Change