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Concert and Blues

Tallinn is full tonight... Big concerts on at the Song field The Weeknd and Bonnie Tyler (!). The place is buzzing and some sixty thousand concert goers have booked every bed for thirty miles around Tallinn. It should be a busy high summer, but it isn´t. Tourism is down sharply overall. Only 70 cruise ships calling this season, versus over 300 before Ukraine. Since no one goes to St Pete, demand has fallen, and of course people think that Estonia is not safe. We are tired. The economy is still under big pressure, and the fall of tourism is a significant part of that. The credit rating for Estonia has been downgraded as the government struggles with spending. The summer has been a little gloomy, and soon the long and slow autumn will drift into the dark of the year. Yesterday I met with more refugees: the usual horrible stories, the usual tears. I try to make myself immune, but I can´t. These people are wounded in spirit, carrying their grief in a terrible cradling. I try to project hop
Recent posts

One Year On

  Head vabariigi iseseisvuspäeva! Happy Estonian Independence Day! It is one year since I stood outside the Estonian Parliament for the traditional raising of the national flag from Tall Hermann tower. Looking at the young fraternities gathered with their flags, I was very sure that Estonia too would soon be facing the aggression of the criminal Russian regime. A tragic and dark day. 5 eyes intelligence had been clear: an all out invasion was going to happen, and Putin´s goals included- and still include- "restoration" of Russian imperial power across Europe, even to the Atlantic. Yet there was one Western intelligence failure: we all underestimated the guts of the Ukrainian armed forces, the ZSU, and its President and people. One year on, Estonia, and indeed all the front line states against Russia, knows that Ukraine saved us. Estonia used that time to prepare itself, should that "delayed" onslaught ever be unleashed, but equally the determination of Kaja Kallas,

A Hard Frost

  After a week of slush and damp, tonight there is a hard frost in Tallinn. The general election campaign has started with the parties submitting their lists of candidates and announcing their programs. The polls seem to show a polarization of views. Although the Liberal Reform party of PM Kaja Kallas is set to remain as the largest party in the 101 seat Riigikogu, the steady rise of the far right EKRE seems to place them firmly in second place, replacing the Social Liberal Centre Party, who seem set to lose several seats. In addition to the Conservative Isamaaliit and the Social Democrat SDE, there is a fair likelihood that a new party will join these in Parliament, namely the Business/Green minded Eesti 200. The Greens and the Libertarian "Right wingers" look like they will struggle to gain seats. A Moderate Reform/SDE/E200 coalition would be a good outcome, but the numbers will have to fall just so, otherwise there remains the chance of another Centre/Isamaa/EKRE coalition

KamiKwasi brings an end to the illusion of Tory economic competence

After a long time, Politics seems to be getting interesting again, so I thought it might be time to restart my blog. With regard to this weeks mini budget, as with all budgets, there are two aspects: the economic and the political. The economic rationale for this package is questionable at best. The problems of the UK economy are structural. Productivity and investment are weak, infrastructure is under-invested and decaying. Small businesses are going to the wall and despite entrepreneurship being relatively strong in Britain, self-employment is increasingly unattractive. Red tape since Brexit has led to a significant fall in exports and the damage has been disproportionately on small businesses. Literally none of these problems are being addressed by this package. Even if the package were to stimulate some kind of short term consumption-led growth boom, this is unlikely to be sustainable, not least because what is being added on the fiscal side will be need to be offset, to a great de

Media misdirection

In the small print of the UK budget we find that the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the British Finance Minister) has allocated a further 15 billion Pounds to the funding for the UK track and trace system. This means that the cost of the UK´s track and trace system is now 37 billion Pounds.  That is approximately €43 billion or US$51 billion, which is to say that it is amount of money greater than the national GDP of over 110 countries, or if you prefer, it is roughly the same number as the combined GDP of the 34 smallest economies of the planet.  As at December 2020, 70% of the contracts for the track and trace system were awarded by the Conservative government without a competitive tender being made . The program is overseen by Dido Harding , who is not only a Conservative Life Peer, but the wife of a Conservative MP, John Penrose, and a contemporary of David Cameron and Boris Johnson at Oxford. Many of these untendered contracts have been given to companies that seem to have no notewo

Winning Ugly

The Daily Heil and the Daily Excreta and rest of the off-shore and foreign owned British media are greeting the supposed Brexit day with made up drivel about new dawns and nonsense about splits in President Macron´s family , while -with no irony at all- Boris Johnson´s father applies for French citizenship . So Brexit Britain. As bitterly divided as ever and with the incompetent clique of Conservative journalists, PR bullshitters and other ne´er-do-wells who by a nasty fluke have ended up in power are costing the country millions every time they take another ill-judged or unfair decision. The latest nonsense is the series of U-turns on the second jab for elderly patients and the hokey-cokey on whether schools reopen next week.  The far right have got their victory.  They have Britain out of Europe and a clique of like minded inadequates in charge. They won. But they won ugly. They won by bare faced lies. They won with the support of dodgy foreign money.  They won with a corrupt and b


  The growing problem for the Conservatives now is that, while a no deal is likely to cause a pretty sharp economic contraction, even a "deal" cannot now avoid most of the same problems. The core of the cabinet has no business experience and their critical failure to understand that UK PLC needs time to plan and respond in order to avoid disruption is now leading the country to a major crisis. The infrastructure of customs and immigration simply does not exist and the utter incompetence of the Home Office starts with the useless and unpleasant Ms. Patel herself. I could go down the cabinet, but everyone, even Tory loyalists know: Johnson is NBG and most of the cabinet are worse. "Even the best of political leaders would struggle in the current crisis" is the get out clause the Tories are giving themselves, but in the country at large public opinion seems increasingly to believe that the Tories have caused the Brexit part of the crisis themselves and their handling o