mining in North Manchester

Alex’s post on the sub-prime/ legal loansharking industry’s rental of the Conservative Party reminds me again of the odd cluster of payday loan cum pawnbroking storefronts in our local high street; four on a hundred yard frontage.

Now the thing is that Crumpsall ward has low numbers of absolutely workless households, but the highest number in Manchester of households earning below 60% of median income, the official poverty metric. Still, they have stuff in their houses, stuff that can be pawned, until it runs out. And they have an income: a low income, but one bad month for them allows you to crack into it and extract yourself a little value. And once you’ve extracted that value, you’ve created the need which enables you to crack into it again next month and the month after that. Some of this, of course, can be kicked upstairs for legislative protection. And so here is our growth sector with its own emerging lobby. Not Osborne’s magic export pixies but the working poor considered as an extractive industry.

human currency

The operation coincided exactly with Tony Blair's first visit to Libya. Two days after the fax was sent, Blair arrived to shake hands with Gaddafi, and said the two nations wanted to make "common cause" in counter-terrorism operations. It was also announced that Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell had signed a £550m gas exploration deal. Three days later Saadi and his family were put aboard a private Egyptian-registered jet and flown to Tripoli.

Associates of Saadi cannot understand why his capture and interrogation would hold any great intelligence value for the British authorities, and are speculating that he may have been a "gift" from the British to the Gaddafi regime.

He came with fugitives in his chain, and the two leaders met in a tent. Interesting the extent of Beijing's co-operation, too.


boutique conservative leftism

Mironov has headed the left-leaning Fair Russia party since its foundation in 2006. The party united pensioners, ecologists and trade union activists, but its political program is very close to the parliamentary majority United Russia party, and thus many analysts see Fair Russia as a project aimed at weakening the positions of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation rather than a genuine struggle for power.

Mr Fair Russia is currently griping about internet porn. This kind of offering must be very appealing to the people currently in charge of Egypt, for instance.

Crying All The Way To The Bank

Ireland’s Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is an optimistic man. He is also a persistent one. He is optimistic, since he clearly feels that his country’s 85 billion euro IMF/EU programme is going to work as planned, and he is persistent as he patently refuses to let sleeping dogs lie. The dogs in question here would be the bondholders of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society senior debt. The heir to these banks owes them some 3.8 billion euros, and the first repayment of 719 million euros of Anglo debt falls due on November 2.
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