Economics – it’s all Greek to me


Please bear with me here, as the thing will become clear:

  • An investment trust owns a £1 million corporation bond, issued by a private housing firm.
  • If there is a risk the private housing firm may default on repayments, the investment trust may buy a Credit Default Swap from a hedge fund. The CDS is worth £1 million.
  • The investment trust will pay an interest on this credit default swap of say 3%. This could involve payments of £30,000 a year for the duration of the contract.
  • If the private housing firm doesn’t default, the hedge fund gains the interest from the investment bank and pays nothing out. It is simple profit.
  • If the private housing firm does default, then the hedge fund has to pay compensation to the investment bank of £1 million – the value of the credit default swap.
  • Therefore the hedge fund takes on a larger risk and could end up paying £1million.
  • The higher the perceived risk of the bond, the higher the interest rate the hedge fund will require.

Seems like a perfectly straightforward transaction, except for a number of things:

Should prisoners have the vote?

polling-station-2-233x300Anna Racoon says, at Jailhouse Lawyer:

Prisoners incontrovertibly have an interest in who precisely is making the legislation that governs their stay at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, and I see no merit in the argument that part of their punishment should be further removing them from engagement in civic society.

No legislation without representation may well be their motto. That prisoners might not be best disposed towards the government responsible for the laws which currently see them incarcerated may account for the strange reluctance of this ‘Equality for all’ Government to implement the ECtHR recommendations.

I’m putting up a poll in the sidebar about it. This blog doesn’t have a huge success rate with polls but we’ll give it a go.

There is whisky … and then there is whisky

Can it be said that no two people will agree on whisky?

Appealing to women is an interesting dilemma. On the one hand, the overt masculinity of the advertising and culture of whisky can alienate female drinkers, but creating brands specifically for women is not generally seen as the answer.

Paul Godfrey is the group marketing manager, malt whisky portfolio global at William Grant & Sons. He says:

“Ironically, women like whisky because it’s masculine. Some of the brands failing have tried to appeal to women with a different product. For a lot of women the product is acceptable and the masculinity is an area of appeal; it is part of the approbation of male rituals. A year ago we were working toward a feminine whisky, but after research we decided it was a terrible idea. Women don’t want girls’ versions of the drink.”

To soothe the savage breast


Writing to his father from Paris (1778), Mozart described his fruitless attempts to teach composition to the Duc de Guines’ daughter (intriguingly, Mozart considered teaching music a “science”). His father suggested he persist patiently, adding, “. . . should Monsieur le Duc hear some little thing composed by his daughter, he will be beside himself with pleasure”.

Whispering campaigns and character assassination


Do you ever travel by plane?  Then this might be of interest:

On the Heathrow crash:

Peter Burkill praised his first officer John Coward after he glided a packed Boeing 777 on to the end of one of the airport’s runways following a power failure as it came in to land.  Coward fought with controls and cleared the airport perimeter fence by just 7ft – narrowly missing homes, a school and a petrol station as the plane fell without power at more than 100mph.

“Peter has been the victim of a whispering campaign. They were saying he chickened out. That was rubbish – he handled it brilliantly”.

There was considerable discussion:

BT Broadband – I can recommend it


There are plenty of negatives I’ve heard about BT and BT Broadband but this story is a bit different.

I lost all internet connection an hour and a half ago.  Once I saw that it did not seem to be Firefox or Safari, the next thought was Google, as their services have been quite sluggish, especially trying to revamp my reader, deleting and adding links.  However, it did seem to be internet connection and I dread calling BT.

I did find a number [wrong one] but it didn’t matter and for once their cursed Press 1 if you want, Press 2 if you want – it actually worked and after the usual inane “we are recording everything you’re doing so as to improve our service to you”, a gross insult to intelligence if ever there was one, I got to a representative within a few minutes.

From that moment on, it was Rolls Royce service.  He took me through everything, checked this, checked that, checked account, connections etc. and all with a rep actually there.  We switched off, then back on in 2 minutes, adjusted the hub, did this and that and slowly it came back.  All the while, the problem was being diagnosed.

Then I was registered by them into various BT accounts and so on.  I asked to speak with the man’s supervisor and was patched through.  He must have been shocked that someone wanted to heap praise on BT but it was deserved in this instance.