In the light of events in and around Catalonia I reached for George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia. It is a truly astonishing book (£6 on Amazon) in that Orwell was only 34 years or so old when he wrote it and here recounts his involvement on the Republican or socialist side in the appalling Spanish civil war which eventually saw Franco come out on top.
Normally I regard socialists as ineffectual wallies. But Orwell was anything but. Born 1903 he went on to Eton where he learnt the rudiments of the conduct of war. He then enjoyed a posting as a policeman in Burma, now of course Myanmar. So he had a sense of order and command – unlike his soldiers in Spain who typically came with no training and no weapons that worked. It was chaos.
Orwell’s good fortune was that the Fascists were equally untrained and incompetent and with equipment that simply did not function to any recognisable standard.
He recounts in graphic detail his close up encounters with the enemy. Orwell was not a coward. Readers will gasp.
I know I covered this a few weeks’ back but the objections that I have seen raised against the flotation in London of the giant Saudi oil operation Aramco strike me as trivial and self-serving.
To recap, it has always been a principle of a full listing on the London Stock Exchange that at least 25% of the issued capital should be in the hands of the public as free float since it has not been unknown in the past for a controlling shareholder to abuse his position in relation to minority shareholders here considered.
The difficulty with Aramco is that even 5% of the issue is a vast amount of money beyond which it would simply be impossible to get the issue away. Besides, the Saudis do not necessarily wish to sell more than 5%. Therefore the LSE has sought to amend the listing rules given the special challenges presented by Aramco. There is surely nothing wrong with that: nobody subscribing for new shares at the flotation could possibly claim to have been deceived.
However, the virtue signallers have started popping up. They yap in public to show that they are right on. Foremost among the names that I have noticed is Ashley Klaxon-Twaddle who specialises in corporate governance where such matters arise within her employer Royal London (Royal? – more like Republican Bunkum to me). She has had her approach refined by being selected for the job in part at least for her Scottish accent – it being recognised by any average behavioural psychotherapist that a Scottish voice more readily wins trust than any other in the British social spectrum.
So why is she so set upon being silly? And the answer is simple. By yapping in public she tries to give the impression that Royal London is so honest that it really cares and really looks after its savers’ money. Isn’t that sweet? As for the proper promotion of business in London, it is deceitfully mad.
ASOS (LON:ASC) reported this morning and now stand at £57. All I can say is that I have really got this one wrong. Therefore I shan’t say anything now. But, one day, I shall be vindicated. I think. I certainly hope so.
Finally, Bitcoin continues to roar on and now stands at $5,660. I can’t think of any reason to sell. If the stock market tanks there will be some loose holders who will rush for the exit and a spot of cash. But they’ll easily be accommodated.