10th October: Reflections from the week:
Sorry about last weekâ€™s service. A vicious callous attack on YOUR weekly entertainment rights. A cyber-assault. We were painfully â€˜hackedâ€™. Who could possibly feel the need to attack such a harmless but valuable information source ? Well I am sure you, like me, will have your suspicions. On my list are the â€˜obviousâ€™. – the CIA, the Iranian Secret Service, the Bank of England, and Brian Cowan. All of them on the official â€˜Suspect Listâ€™. I did not realise that I had become such an aggravating thorn. So bad that they felt they needed to â€˜close me downâ€™. My response or feelings to this â€˜invasion of my spaceâ€™ travelled from disappointment that you were denied direct access (including about 2,000 people who donâ€™t get weekly reminders from me), then frustration with â€˜how to fixâ€™ the problem and finally I was overtaken by pride that somebody out there considers my weekly writings to be unacceptably challenging and needed to be â€˜closedâ€™. So whoever you are. WE are back live. With stronger â€˜protection codesâ€™.
Another attack this week involved a Civil Servant in the UK being prosecuted under British obscene publication laws. The case is being billed as having a more profound impact on British obscenity laws than the publication in 1960 of Lady Chatterleys Lover. Virtually all cases that have fallen foul of the laws since this famous book, have been of a â€˜visualâ€™ nature and not scripting. But not this time. So this overweight balding civil servant is now the subject of a case that may change the British legal system. So what has he done wrong. Well HE published a 12 page blog on what he would like to do to the members of the UK female pop group, Girls Aloud. Yeah like so many true-blooded lager-bellied Brits he â€˜had some bad thoughtsâ€™ of these size 10 stunners. So is this poor guy to be guillotined just because he committed his thoughts to print. Surely we can be fairer than to humiliate a hard working conscientious public servant in this way. Men will be men. But as I got to paragraph four of the article I suddenly found myself wondering why the obscenity laws were used at all. Surely there is a stronger law that could put this despicable creepy man away for a long long time. Because instead of wanting these girls in the â€˜normalâ€™ way, his 12 pages on the internet describe in lurid graphic detail how he wanted to kidnap, rape, mutilate and then murder each of the girls â€“ one by one. Wow !! I know there music is not great, but its not THAT bad. Is it ? I wonder which Department of the Civil Service he worked in. Probably the Revenue Commissioners. They are the only oneâ€™s who could be that â€˜strangeâ€™ and brutal.
One uplifting moment during the week was press suggestion that my football team, Everton, could be bought by one of the rich Middle Eastern Wealth Funds. What a relief, after a start to the season that would be as embarrassing as the priest taking his clothes off at Sunday church, maybe some heavenly intervention and compassion. Now while such a story would obviously give me some relief from the on-the-field-torture, I remain baffled as to why ANYBODY and particularly â€˜Wealth Fundsâ€™ have such a killing desire to waste money in such a reckless way. Like the saying goes, â€˜how do you become a millionaireâ€™ ? Well you start off as a billionaire and then buy a football team. Now I must send any new owner a â€˜new player wish listâ€™.
On the subject of football did any of you see, or should I say hear, the inaugural press conference given by Newcastle Unitedâ€™s new team manager. Well he might see himself in court with our friend from the Revenue Commissioners. During a 36 minute Press Conference, Mr Joseph Kinnear (do you remember his Wimbledon Crazy Gang) started by asking two press reporters to identify themselves. He then proceeded to use the â€˜Fâ€™ and â€˜Câ€™ words on no less than 67 occasions. Well he wanted to explain his anger (or should that read fury) for what they had written about him the previous day. And there is no more powerful words to explain the condition of extreme fur. And so Simon Bird from the Mirror and Niall Hickman from the Express were told to â€˜F offâ€™, that they were â€˜F-erâ€™sâ€™, that they had no â€˜Fâ€™nâ€™ clue about football etc. And so an astonished audience of press-corp frantically scribbled this interesting exchange, while Mr Kinnear set the basis of his intended relationship with the people who write the stories in our daily newspapers. In my world this is probably not the cleverest group of people to upset. But obviously Joe believes the risks of upsetting them, has compensations. I am not so sure, Joe.
Other people who feel a little embarrassed this week are the number of financial experts around the world who have predicted the end of the global financial crisis. Yours truly, included. But despite the jaw-dropping and stomach-churning gyrations of global equity markets, I do believe we are now at the bottom/worst. In a week that over $20 trillion was written off peoples wealth, it is hard to gain a â€˜buying confidenceâ€™. What is going to trigger a change in the current epidemic of fear and panic. In a world where nobody trusts their neighbour, money stops circulating and economies choke to a halt. And so expansion and growth plans of many corporateâ€™s and individuals get â€˜shelvedâ€™. This is a scary place to live. But I guess we have no option. I fear that this week one of Irelands banks will fail â€“ despite the Irish government deposit guarantee. The Celtic Tiger is truly dead and its carcass needs to be buried. And the country needs a â€˜new cubâ€™ that can be nurtured into a â€˜new animalâ€™ of which the country can be proud. But I fear even the intervention of St Patrick would find a solution difficult. It is little comfort that the rest of the world is suffering the same terminal malaise.
Even the â€˜cash heavyâ€™ Middle East is now suffering. As local equity bourses collapse faster than the price of petrol, the Arab world is starting to hand in their Ferrariâ€™s and going back to the camel. The Dubai Cityscape (annual property show) was unfortunately â€˜launchedâ€™ this week. In a predictably Arab solution to what would obviously have been a â€˜disastrous resultâ€™, the event organisers decided that NO DEVELOPER was permitted to sell any product at the show. Despite the enormous costs to Agents and Developers of having a stand at the show, they were â€˜not permittedâ€™ to sell anything. This â€˜ruleâ€™ would at least preserve the blushes. If you cannot sell, you will not have to report that sales were non-existent and hence undermine Regional property markets. The newspaper headlines during the week however were full of â€˜evidenceâ€™. With Regional stock markets in â€˜freefallâ€™, the wealth of those who would have fuelled the buying interest at Cityscape had vapourised. As I said earlier there is no place on the planet that is now a nice place to live.
I am under enormous time pressure this week ( a late night last evening) so I will â€˜cut outâ€™ early if you donâ€™t mind. I will make it up to you next week. But I have lots of meetings today that will even prevent me from going to the beach. Yeah, not a nice place to live at all !!!
Finally the new visa laws in the UAE are poorly constructed. They just will/do NOT achieve their intended objectives. As a businessman (yes I think I qualify) the new laws destroy entrepreneurship and will cause companies and businesses not to want to set up in Dubai/UAE. It is one thing to wish to eliminate the black economy and illegal workers, but to destroy the ability of legitimate businesses to access labour, is self destructive. Unfortunately there is nobody in government that will want to take on the task of correcting an obvious legislative error. I do wish that Sheikh Mohammad could be made aware of the problem. He is the only Saviour in the neighbourhood.
Finally finally in these more impoverished times it is difficult to see where Dubai (Abu Dhabi is probably ok) will get the funding to meet the enormous infrastructure investment costs. Desalination and energy plants are expected to exceed $17 billion â€“ on top of all the other projects. Real â€˜rubixâ€™ challenges.
Read the entire post at itâ€™s original location:
Author: David McGee, Home Thoughts from Dubai