THE AGE OF PREDICTABILITY: Trump, the Japanese, and George Osborne


One of the reasons contemporary life is so interminably boring is the sheer predictability of it all, alongside frustration at the inability of the average elector to hear the truck as it careens down the road towards them.

Donald Trump yesterday told his disciples that “the UK and Europe are weak, and it is no longer safe to travel there”.

So this is how it works: the US foments six wars in a row for its own corrupt energy purposes. It creates 1.5 million migrants, and then passes a law in Congress saying it doesn’t want any of them. One of America’s allies Turkey then takes advantage of the situation to send the EU 350,000 young Islamic hoodlum males, and that makes the plight of refugees worse still. Somewhere along the line there are attacks in Paris and Belgium, so with the EU economy already flatlining (and both the ECB and Greece labouring under the unsustainable debt demands of largely US-born vulture fund managers) a Presidential candidate helps ruin the tourist economy by saying “Don’t travel to Europe, it’s unsafe”. The other candidate refuses to refute the statement, although as Secretary of State she was more responsible than most for the mess.

And that, my friends, is The Special Relationship. Worse still, in a quantitative research study last year, 73% of Brits said they thought the USA “by far our best ally”. With allies like these etc etc.

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And the tediously predictable continues. My father (who spent three years fighting the Japanese) always maintained they represented the oddest, most sado-masochistic and heartless cuture he’d ever come across. It’s a view with which the likes of Clive James and Russell Braddon concurred throughout their lives, having ‘enjoyed’ the Japanese experience whether they liked it or not. There’s also a clue to the Sons of Nippon in that Jeremy Rhyminge-Slang thinks they’re A1. Which, let’s face it, he would. I also have a delightful Filipino chumette who wouldn’t hurt a fly, but has never been known to utter a nice word about them…and this has been my experience with every non-Japanese Asiatic I’ve known.

The suspicion that the Japanese lean towards madness in various ways was for me finally borne out by the BoJ’s decision just before Christmas 2015 to adopt negative interest rates.

The idea of negative rates is insane no matter what the scenario; but in the context of Japan being by far the most indebted country in the world – and thus needing to borrow with new bonds all the time just to service the debts they’ve already run up, which is unreasonably bonkers in its own right – the decision could only ever spawn children madder than the offspring of Lizzie Borden* and Jack the Ripper.

In early January, I made two Page One points:

  1. If the Japanese consumer won’t spend with Zirp and QE in play, it’s clearly a matter of confidence, not affordability; and
  2. is anyone really mad enough to lend the most underwater nation on the planet money and also accept having to pay for such a great privilege?

Thus far, 1 above has been borne out. But as for 2, so bedazzled by monetarism is some of the daft money out there, the BoJ decision was obviously seen as a wise one, because these saps poured money into what was now the new safe haven.

So not only has Nip-Nirp not stimulated the Japanese consumer, it has strengthened the Yen – the diametric opposite of what was intended.

But now, we are but two working days away from April, and the math-heads at Bloomberg say 70% of all Japanese debt bonds will be issued in 2016 with a “negative return” – or what real folks call “a cost”.

Is it me? The question is not entirely rhetorical: if your wealth managers told you they were investing in a reduction of  your capital because it was ‘safe’, would you not ask “Safer than what….having it all confiscated?”

But therein lies another tale, and my point remains the same: once the mainstream, Mount Rushmore-nosed lenders are the ones being offered this option, my common sense dictates that they must say NO. The truth here – surely – is that none of the advantages of Nirp have materialised, and the downside is worse than the BoJ ever imagined…although not The Slog – a pesky amateur living on his wits and means in rural France: and that thought in itself is absolutely terrifying…not least to me. I keep praying that somebody out there knows whatTF they’re doing.

So now what? Various scenarios present themselves: rather than lose face, the BoJ starts printing frantically to manage the debt, and heads down the road towards hyperinflation; or it stays in denial, and sees the compound interest condemn it to default no matter what it does; or the entire lending sector goes tonto, the Yen collapses, suddenly you can buy the entirety of Hokkaido for 7p….and with one mighty bound, Japan becomes a cheaper place to live than Zimbabwe.

And if you believe that, you’ll believe etc etc

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 Finally, we must not forget the most predictable Dweeb in Camerlot after Jeremy Shunt. I refer of course to the Chancellor…who, experts in Budget-drilling now tell us, is lumbering more than six million workers with an NI stealth tax.

‘The new system, which will see millions of workers paying more tax through increased national insurance contributions, is expected to net the Treasury £5.5 billion a year’ the right wing Daily Telegraph revealed today.

It isn’t enough any more to think of Nobsore as “a piece of work”. He is a man determined to bring back the piece-work system that pertained among dockers in the 1930s…and made them so militant ever after. And this is of course a mere staging post (in his recreationally reorganised head) on the way towards we peasants being executed for poaching the King’s deer.

Rarely has any British politician been so out of touch with the electorate as this supremacist idiot – whose sole claim to supremacy is that he is the Supreme Leader of the Etonian economic model….38-22-34, with a vacuum between its ears.

* Lizzie Borden was an axe wielder who killed her Mum & Dad

Yesterday at The Slog: Why the EU is a war-magnet not a peacekeeper