Old Moore’s Almanack: World Event Predictions 22nd March

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The second of the set of predictions for the month of March centre around the New Moon of the 22nd March.  Four events are suggested for the time period:

  • The government will embark on a major economic reform, intent on a radical break with the past
  • Buoyant financial figures, including a rise in private sector employment, encourage increased spending on technology and green initiatives.
  • International tension focuses on the Persian Gulf and we may see conflict between Iran and the Arab States
  • Argentina may test British defences of the Falkland Islands, although there is little danger of war this year.

Let us see how these predictions panned out:

  • The government will embark on a major economic reform, intent on a radical break with the past – Interestingly there was a UK Budget on the day before (21st March) but there was nothing in it that was a radical break from the past, in fact is more of the same with a (primarily) Conservative government giving tax breaks to the rich and bleeding the remainder.  The top rate of income tax (for those earning over £150,000/year – including if figures are to be believed the Chancellor himself) will be lowered from 50p to 45p in the pound.  Corporation tax to fall; fuel duty to rise 3p/litre; tobacco duty to rise to 5% above inflation (equivalent to 37p on a packet of cigarettes) and child benefit to be cut.  The tax threshold will be raised which is good for those on very low incomes.  The fail out on this budget is huge leaving the UK’s 4.4 million pensioners worse off and pie and pasty fans up in arms as you will now have to pay VAT (currently 20%) on hot pies and pasties (although not cold pies and pasties – and the definition is a little wooly as hot doesn’t mean heated it just means hotter than the ambient temperature.  So, on a warm day a pie at 25°C would not incur VAT but on a cold Winter’s day it would.
  • Buoyant financial figures, including a rise in private sector employment, encourage increased spending on technology and green initiatives – Not really.  The UK’s borrowing is above expectations although growth figures have jumped from 0.7% to a whopping 0.8% which is going to help with our dewbt mountain of £1 trillion!  That is about £40,000 per household or 500% of GDP.
  • International tension focuses on the Persian Gulf and we may see conflict between Iran and the Arab States – There is always international tension in the Persian Gulf and although Iran are usually in the thick or it (so to speak), I would say that it is Syria and its treatment of its civilains that the World’s attention is focused, including condemnation from other Arab States.
  • Argentina may test British defences of the Falkland Islands, although there is little danger of war this year – Cynically, one could say that this would be relatively easy to’ predict’.  The Falklands War started on Friday 2nd April 1982 so the 30th anniversary ties in nicely with this timeframe.  But let us give Old Moore a little credit because it has been making the news nearly every week with a lot of posturing from Argentina and what could be intrepretted as a provocative action by the UK with the Duke of Cambridge (second in line to the Throne) being posted to the Falkland Islands for a seven week stint.  Interesting timing with the entire story though was the fact that the Duke of Cambridge came back to the UK after completing his stint on 21st March, which stoked further interest in the situation.

To be honest, I am a little cynical with both the first story (the UK always tend to have a budget around the end of March) and the last story (the anniversary of a major war where one party still feel aggrieved) are not impossible to predict for those with a bit of wit about themselves, but maybe I am allowing my prejudice to influence the results.  Let me know what you think.

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Thursday 15th March 2012

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Welcome to the first Ides of the year that is not on the 13th of the month.  The Ides of March is undoubtedly the most famous of the Ides being the date in 44 B.C. that Julius Caesar was assassinated.  According to Plutarch, Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times by a group of conspirators (over 60 in number) lead by Marcus Junius Brutus (Et tu, Brute!) in the Roman Senate.  Also, according to Plutarch a seer had foretold that Caesar would be harmed no later than the Ides of March.  On his way to his death, Caesar met that seer and mocked ‘The Ides of March have come’ (only in Latin not English), to which the seer replied ‘Ay, Caesar; but not gone.’  This is immortalised in William Shakespear’s play Julius Caesar by the phrase ‘beware the Ides of March’.

So what happened on the Ides of March?  Well personally it wasn’t a great day.  I arrived home the night before and after putting the kids to bed starting feeling really woozy.  I took myself off to bed at just after eight pm feeling nauseous.  It wasn’t long before the feeling came to fruition.  So for me the Ides of March was a complete wash out.  It wasn’t until the late afternoon that I managed to get out of bed and then only to collapse on the sofa.  So I didn’t manage to take the customary photos nor really pay any attention to the news so the following is lifted retrospectively from the internet.

So what happened in the world (and forgive any omissions):

  • Argentina has begun intensifying its campaign to block oil development in the Falkland Islands.  This is the latest in the increasing war of words over the ownership of the Falkland Islands as the approaching 30th anniversary of the Falkland’s war looms.  This is bound to rumble on over the coming year and it will be interesting what  both sides will attempt to get out of the conflict.  I can’t see it ending in war but you never know.
  • This week David Cameron (the UK Prime Minister) has been on a State visit to the US.  The visit has been given favourable coverage in both countries but Dana Milbank one of the most senior and influential writers at the Washington Post has given David Cameron the moniker Obama’s Guard Dog.  I think it is a term that Downing street will quickly want to quash but I suppose it is better than George W Bush’s poodle that Tony Blair was haunted by.  However I think the fact that Obama is in the early stages of an election race and that he invited the Prime Minister to a basketball match in the swing state of Ohio they may be a grain of truth in the title.  Although it is slightly worrying that the President of the US needs David Cameron to be his Guard Dog.  The English readers of this blog will find that amusing.
  • Finally (and no coincidence intended), Yoda, the reigning world’s ugliest dog has passed away.  The 15 year old Chinese crested/ Chihuahua mix breed died in her sleep last Saturday but her death was only announced on the 15th.  She was 0.8kgs had short tuffs of hair, a protruding tongue and short skinny legs and her owner Terry Schumacher mistook her for a rat when she first saw her.  She will be missed.