‘Real George Osborne’ comedy series debuts


9:45 am - November 24th 2011

by Newswire    


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Chancellor George Osborne is being re-imagined in a new internet comedy series starring Rufus Jones (Holy Flying Circus) which premiered this week.

The Real George Osborne follows George and his long-suffering advisor, Vicki, as he tries to raise his political profile in a bid to become the next Prime Minister.

Filmed in 14 parts and airing between now and Christmas, it sees him undertake a number of ill-advised PR stunts in order to compete with Boris Johnson as the most recognised Tory and unseat David Cameron.

Watch the first episode

The comedy series has been created for The World Development Movement to focus on food speculation.

WDM say George Osborne, backed by the City of London, is doing all he can to stop EU proposals for regulation of food speculation from being implemented.

They’d like people to take action and put pressure on the government to stop food speculation.

Episode Two is here.

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Reader comments


1. Ciaran Osborne

That’s a bit hammy.

Bring back Spitting Image. The programme really works best with a Tory Government.

From the letter they want you to send to George:

“Excessive speculation on food by financial institutions has pushed up food prices, adding £260 to the average UK household’s food bill ”

That’s just a flat out lie.

Tim Worstall – thanks for getting the story back on message.

You assert the World Development Movement is Lying.

I will check the data behind their claim that Bankers speculation is driving up food prices by an average of £260 in the UK per household,

In the meantime can you please provide me with your evidence that their assertion incorrect, and that they intended to deceive people with this?

I second David Hodd – Tim, what’s your evidence? Other than that’s lots of money? It’s not when you consider the average annual food shop, but I’m going to have a look into their assertions anyway.

You forgot to link to the comedy video.

“I will check the data behind their claim that Bankers speculation is driving up food prices by an average of £260 in the UK per household,

In the meantime can you please provide me with your evidence that their assertion incorrect, and that they intended to deceive people with this?”

Nope. They make the claim. It is for them to prove, not me to disprove.

I say they’re lying shits for their assertion.

Tim Worstall

– To summarise your view:

“I think someone is a shit.

I have no evidence that they are shits, but don’t feel I need evidence. Until they prove themselves otherwise, I think it reasonable for me to go around saying they are shits.”

If only you really knew how stupid your position will come across to anyone reading it.

for those more interested in the facts (or a critical analysis of it) rather than baseless assertion, the paper on Food Speculation is here

http://www.wdm.org.uk/sites/default/files/Broken-markets.pdf

– the link to £260 per household is on page 11.

The analysis of causes behind the 6.9% inflation rate on food in the UK this represents form section 5 and 6 of the report. Five deals with market speculation, and six with other causes of rising food prices.

for those more insterested in facts (or a critical analysis) than baseless assertion, this is the report behind the World Development Movements campaign:

http://www.wdm.org.uk/sites/default/files/Broken-markets.pdf

page 11 is the section behind the £260 per household assertion
Section 5 is an analysis of the impact of global food price speculation. Section 6 an analysis of other factors driving food price change.

The WDM report:

“The US economist Paul Krugman argued that “A
futures contract is a bet about the future price. It
has no, zero, nada direct effect on the spot (physical)
price”.86 Others, including research papers for the
OECD87 and the UK Government,88 have all argued
that financial speculators could only affect the
physical price if they took physical delivery and
held these supplies off the market, thereby
changing the supply of the commodity.”

Everyone serious tells us that we’re entirely wrong but we don’t care, we’re going to do on saying it anyway.

“This view is based on the economic theory that the
pricing of commodities is led only by the supply and
demand relationship of the physical commodity.89
If this theory were correct recent changes in food
prices would be driven by clear and corresponding
changes in the fundamentals of supply and demand.
However this is not the case. Taking data from
the US Department of Agriculture on global
supply and demand for wheat and maize, there
is no significant shortfall of supply or excessive
demand associated with the sharp price spikes
seen in these markets in recent years.”

Our evidence is that we’ve seen big changes in price without there being big changes in supply or demand. Thus, something other than physical supply or demand must be changing prices.

Two pages later we are told this:

“The short run price elasticity of supply and demand
for agricultural commodities is also very low, in
other words supply and demand do not respond
quickly to changing prices.”

Low elasticity means that we will have large price movements as a result of only small changes in supply and or demand. That’s what it actually means.

WDM don’t even understand their own damn report!

So I’ll amend my above statement. Either they’re stunningly ignorant or they’re lying shits.

The very fact that people are allowed to bet on, and make money out of, basic items such as food is just morally wrong in my opinion. When prices go up, these spivs make money, but for those on the bottom in developing countries, this can often mean starvation and death.

Why is this even legal?

@ 12: so the greengrocer who sells you apples isn’t allowed to make a profit?

13:

A greengrocer is an honest job who provides an essential item for human survival: food. He is providing an honest service for people. I have no problem with individuals profiting in that way.

People in the City & Wall St., however, who bet on, and make millions out of price rises, all on computer screens, which in turn hits developing nations and often leads to starvation is neither needed for human survival, honest or moral.

It’s not the greengrocer who forces the basic price of wheat to go up, making it unattainable for the Earth’s poorest people. It is the speculators in the City who believe basic human needs should be subject to all market forces, who probably don’t give a fig about their actions leading to starvation, who are the parasites and charlatans here.

Do you believe, for example, that it is morally fine for speculators to push up the price of basic foodstuffs which often leads to famine and starvation? And if so, why do you think this is morally acceptable?

“It’s not the greengrocer who forces the basic price of wheat to go up, making it unattainable for the Earth’s poorest people. It is the speculators in the City who believe basic human needs should be subject to all market forces, who probably don’t give a fig about their actions leading to starvation, who are the parasites and charlatans here.”

No, the speculators are the ones who enable to farmers and the retailers to hedge their risks. That’s how futures work. The farmer gets to sell his wheat at a known price at some point in hte future. The baker gets to buy his wheat at a known price at a point in hte future. The speculators are thepeople in the middle who take the risks.

What problem do you have with farmers and bakers being able to ensure their prices?

What problem do you have with farmers and bakers being able to ensure their prices?

– no one can ever be sure of their prices in the long term

But the reality is that hedging funds only manage to ensure their prices for short periods, and when they get it wrong, the consequences – which innocent people have to deal with – are higher. You are presuming that the gamblers are right in making their assessments which sometimes they won’t be, which has much nastier consequences for the person who is creating wealth rather than the person recycling it. These will be the same gamblers who did not understand what was wrong with credit default swaps. Most greengrocers and farmers will prefer the vagueries of the weather, as they can do more about it. Oh and most greengrocers and farmers have a more accurate sense of their own market worth. Which is where another problem lies: if in the long term the speculating makes no difference to market prices, then the costs of the speculation have to come out, and that drains the market of some value in order that the gamblers can go and buy a Sunseeker.

You forget that food prices have different consequences to world Scandium markets, since most people don’t need scandium.

“But the reality is that hedging funds only manage to ensure their prices for short periods, and when they get it wrong, the consequences – which innocent people have to deal with – are higher.”

Well thank you for conclusively proving that you’ve no idea what you aretalking about. Agricultural futures and options are specifically and deliberately designed to give farmers long term (ie, crop planting to crop harvesting) security of prices.

“Most greengrocers and farmers will prefer the vagueries of the weather, as they can do more about it.”

You drivelling idiot! If they preferred the vagaries of the weather then they wouldn’t ever future sell their crops, nor future buy their inputs, so there would be no futures markets! The very fact that futures markets exist explodes your stupidity!

Every damn farmer has the ability not to use the futures markets. Every damn retailer, baker, chocolatier, has the ability not to use the futures markets.

That they do use them shows that they desire to use them.

Tell me, can you fart and chew gum at the same time or are you just a Guardian reader?

is abuse your best choice of argument? I was talking about the long term, not the short term.

Tim – I have now calmed down from your abusive tirade. Your post 17 stripped of abuse, bile and condescension reads

“Agricultural futures and options are specifically and deliberately designed to give farmers long term (ie, crop planting to crop harvesting) security of prices.

If they preferred the vagaries of the weather then they wouldn’t ever future sell their crops, nor future buy their inputs, so there would be no futures markets!

Every farmer has the ability not to use the futures markets. Every retailer, baker, chocolatier, has the ability not to use the futures markets.

That they do use them shows that they desire to use them.”

So to respond:

I know about 30 farmers pretty well Without asking them specifically, I am clear in my mind none of them use the futures and options markets. This is because:

1) They do not trust bankers at all
2) They do not have money to spare to speculate on the futures market
3) They understand what vagaries of weather will bring, and know how to work with this most of the time
4) Single Farm Payment is a significant part of their income. (I also know of no farmers speculating on euro / pound exchange rates to be sure they are not vulnerable to exchange rate fluctuations, since CAP payments come to RPA in Euros).

There are likely some big cereal boys in East Anglia who will be playing the futures and options markets. Perhaps they are also speculating on exchange rate changes too in order to secure more SFP. But these will be the same businesses who are beginning to find that there is little or nothing left to the peat soils they have cropped intensely for decades. And the underlying clay is crap for grain crop yields.

Neither they nor the futures speculators predicted this – but a few old farming hands will have done. Now read the section in WDM’s report on herding behaviour.

@19.

That’s lovely. You know a few farmers who don’t use the futures markets. Excellent, well done. I also know a few people who don’t go to pubs. I wouldsn’t set the policy for pubs by the opinions of those who don’ty go to them and nor should futures markets policies be determined by those who don’t use them.

And then you want to blame futures markets for soil degredation?

Is there nothing they cannot do?

Tim – ah yes, sarcasm, your other form of internet conversation.

You seem to hate anyone scrutinising your line of argument. Which is a pity, as there is a huge gap between your confidence in your world view, and the logical consistency of assertions.

“And then you want to blame futures markets for soil degredation?”
– you need to read what I said, which was futures markets have not been predicting this.

I really hope you are not as unpleasant in your personal relationships as you are on the internet.

““And then you want to blame futures markets for soil degredation?”
– you need to read what I said, which was futures markets have not been predicting this.”

So? Futures markets haven’t been predicting the colour of my roses this year either. What on earth has that got to do with it?

Futures markets are not designed to predict soil degradation, they’re not used to try and predict it so complaining that they don’t predict it like complaining that your motor scooter doesn’t make a good cup of tea. So what? It’s not supposed to, is it?

“You seem to hate anyone scrutinising your line of argument. ”

Au contraire, I welcome it. But I do reserve the right to call idiot stupidity just that, idiot stupidity.

So far all you’ve said is that it’s naughty that people make money out of food and that you know a few farmers.

That’s not really a great advance in trying to understand the effects of futures and options markets on food prices.

Yo Tim, I heard that a large American bank is setting up a new ETF based on scandium. Apparently there’s a large client who wants to take a $2 billion position in the metal. Maybe you could help set it up? Obviously it won’t effect the price.

“Yo Tim, I heard that a large American bank is setting up a new ETF based on scandium. Apparently there’s a large client who wants to take a $2 billion position in the metal. Maybe you could help set it up? Obviously it won’t effect the price.”

Spoofs need to be a little closer to reality than that to work. Global trade in Sc is in the $10-$20 million a year range.

My client is indifferent to the size of your market. They want synthetic exposure immediately, for purposes of diversification. Make it happen.

Hmm yes, I just wonder how long you’d hold onto your theory of zero price impact if someone actually did come in and create an ETF

Synthetic exposure?

Why didn’t you say so? Sure, delighted. Come right on in. I’d actually find the existence of such very useful myself, as a physical trader. I’d be able to lay off some of my long term price risk, hedge, something I cannot do at present.

Tim Waster does not do criticism of his flat earth free market theories. He sits in his Ivory tower in Portugal handing down Adam Smith talking points as if the were fact. They are not, and neither is most of what he writes.

Indeed Tim, my client is very excited about getting in on the fledgling scandium futures market once it gets going. They’ve devoted 5% of their portfolio to exotic metals. They’re a very large fund, so that 5% might equate to a slightly larger trade than the new market is used to, but according to economists, that shouldn’t be a problem because apparently sellers of futures naturally emerge to take on the other side, with no unnatural disruption to price. Hedgers like yourself should be pleased – this fund will really help price discovery with this massive long position. I guess it’s best that we start referencing the physical transactions to this futures market – after all, my client knows the market better than you do no?

“Indeed Tim, my client is very excited about getting in on the fledgling scandium futures market once it gets going.”

There used to be one actually.

“They’re a very large fund, so that 5% might equate to a slightly larger trade than the new market is used to, but according to economists, that shouldn’t be a problem because apparently sellers of futures naturally emerge to take on the other side, with no unnatural disruption to price. Hedgers like yourself should be pleased – this fund will really help price discovery with this massive long position.”

That doesn’t actually make sense, not the way you’ve put it.

If you’re long only, in futures, then of course there will be sellers of short futures. Because you cannnot buy a long future without someone selling you a short future. QED.

Now, if you’re saying that your fund is going to long physically, well, that’s where we all agree: being long physically does change current spot prices.

This is the point I keep making about you WDM peeps. You simply do not understand what you are talking about. A futures fund getting interested in Sc? Sure, bring it on, I’ll make a fortune. Because I know more, as a physical trader, about Sc than any futures broker will.

But futures trading in Sc won’t change spot prices, just as they didn’t when there was a Sc futures market.

“If you’re long only, in futures, then of course there will be sellers of short futures. Because you cannnot buy a long future without someone selling you a short future. QED.”

I realise a future is a bilateral contract, but having worked as a derivatives broker in illiquid markets, I understand that sometimes when there is a large player that wants to go long in large size in shallow derivatives markets, they can’t get what they want without the price changing. So here comes my client, wishing to enter into that long position in the new scandium futures contracts. They’ve called me up and said, ‘Mr dealer, create for me this product that will give me exposure to Scandium prices, as expressed in the futures markets’. My only problem, is that their desired long position is so large, that the only way I can fill it (i.e. induce sellers to take the other side – this is how orders are filled) is by accepting higher prices. What is this process called again… um… oh yes, ‘market clearing’. Yes, derivatives markets are subject to the same forces that Adam Smith taught you about: Large indifferent buyer at current price not matched by large seller at current price, thus market price readjusts upwards until order is filled – degree of change directly related to depth of market.

How that affects your physical scandium market is up to debate. You might try arbitrage by selling futures and buying physical scandium to get the prices back in line… but wait, buying physical scandium does what again?

For the record, I’m not part of WDM

Tim Worstofall

“Because I know more, as a physical trader, about Sc than any futures broker will.”

– and a farmer also knows more as a physical trader that any futures broker will.

Except, for one particular Scandium physical trader, who knows exactly what is going one, which is why he is not busy making a mint cleaning up the markets, but trolling websites instead. And if you disagree, he will quote the opening scene to Pythons’ argument sketch, when Palin goes into the wrong room, just to show you.

“which is why he is not busy making a mint cleaning up the markets”

These marvellous markets for Sc…..where are they then?

Other than my little book of phone numbers that is?

32 Tim
Thank you. You have just said you know about Scandium but not enough about other markets, for example food price speculation.

quod erat demonstrandum.


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