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Friday, 30 December 2011

How to have a Happy New Year: two options – plus thoughts on Special Relationships and General Folly

If you follow politics in the same bemused way as I do you may find yourself chortling from time to time at how British politicians harp on about a special relationship between the U.S. and the U.K.

This certainly existed during World War 2, when a wonderful arrangement called Lend-Lease enabled us to stay afloat with the help of U.S. supplies that we eventually had to pay for - which pretty much ruined us.

Nowadays it seems to consist of British politicians a) competing to see which can lick the arse of the current president most vigorously – see Blair-Bush; and b) imitating the sillier ideas from over there.

Under the heading of General Folly who commands Major Disaster, Bush had a “Drugs Czar”. This is what they call gesture politics, and had about as much effect on drug taking as Prohibition had on boozing. So, ignoring a few more serious matters, Cameron has a Shopping Czar called Mary Portas. 

Her “mission” which she accepted with alacrity - think of the publicity, darlings! - is to Save the High Street. How fatuous is that? Is she going to ban online shopping and blow up all the supermarkets? And why isn’t she called a Czarina, by the way?

In the mad, mad world it seems by some mechanism I cannot comprehend that if people spend, spend, spend more on shopping the economy will be just fine. I can’t understand why pissing away money on rubbish is good for us all, but no worries: Bill Bonner in Money Week has just pointed out why this won’t happen.

It is because people don’t have the money. Or rather the wrong people have the money, to be more precise. 

In the last year, British CEOs increased their salaries, but certainly not their competence, by 49%. Ordinary workers got 2.6% more. That is less than they lost by inflation. In the U.S, one obscenely grasping CEO paid himself $145,266,190. 

(Of course, he was in the “health-care” or rip-off industry. Sickening, isn't it, how bad health is in the U.S. considering how much it costs? In the most comprehensive survey I know of, the U.S. came 37th out of 37 nations - though costs are more than double any other nation's.)

Sadly, though there is only so much money these egregious wretches can piss away on vulgar yachts and overpriced modern art. 

So the question you might like to ask before my next commercial is this: if ordinary people don’t have as much money to spend, how can you make sure you get more than your fair share? 

It's simple really. f you want to have any kind of decent New Year at all, you’d better get better at marketing. A lot better.

I have two suggestions for you - then I won’t bore you much more for at least 24 hours.

1.  Grab one of the last handful of seats at EADIM, saving yourself £600.    

2.   Keep your eyes open in the first week of January, when I shall offer you a full year of marketing advice.

This will include a description, in riveting detail, of How I Came Back From The Dead.

Hard to beat that, eh?

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