The Anonymous Widower

How Leeds Bradford Airport Can Be Catalyst For Green Aviation

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Yorkshire Post.

The article was written by a geography student from Yorkshire, who is studying at Cambridge University.

He makes some interesting points.

  • Leeds Airport is not a good customer experience.
  • Manchester Airport will take passengers away from Leeds.
  • Leeds is the biggest financial centre in the UK outside London.
  • Leeds Airport should be improved to the highest environmental standards.
  • Aviation biofuels should be provided.
  • Short haul flights should be replaced by a train journey if possible.
  • By 2030, a lot of short haul flights will be replaced by electric aircraft.

I agree with a lot of what he says.

There will still be a need to fly and we must make it as environmentally-friendly as possible.

If we don’t find ways of making flying carbon-neutral, we’ll hurt the economy.



June 28, 2020 Posted by | Finance, Transport, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Did The Mind Of Buyers Cause The UK’s Surprise Manufacturing Rebound?

This article on the BBC is entitled Pound jumps as UK manufacturing activity rebounds.

This is the opening paragraphs.

The value of the pound has jumped after a survey indicated the UK’s manufacturing sector rebounded sharply in August.

The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the sector rose to 53.3 in August from July’s figure of 48.3. A figure above 50 indicates expansion.

The weakening of the pound following the Brexit vote boosted exports, the survey found.

I also think another factor comes into it – The buyers who are purchasing the goods.

My father’s business was ruined by a bent buyer, who was taking bribes all over the place. When this was discovered, all the suppliers were changed and three-quarters of my father’s orders for his specialist printing disappeared to the only other company locally, who could do it.

My father was not amused and he told me so, in no uncertain terms.

There is also the story of the UK department store chain, that cut the foreign travel budget for their buyers, who were sourcing goods to sell. One unexpected consequence was that they increased the proportion of UK-made goods.

I’ve heard so many tales of bent buyers, and suitcases filled of high-value notes, that I can afford to keep some back for later.

Now though, the UK could have a rather strange advantage because of Brexit.

Say you’re a German buyer of components for your company, that are made in the UK.

Could Brexit on the horizon mean that you’re worried that in a couple of years, doing business with the UK will be a lot harder?

So perhaps now is time to have a last business trip to the UK before it gets too difficult.

If the price is right, it’s also a lot easier to go to Birmingham than Shanghai!

Never underestimate buyers, who are always looking out for themselves.

You are probably a straight buyer, but your family will probably enjoy the UK more than China.


September 1, 2016 Posted by | Business, World | , , , | Leave a comment

The Leicester Effect

One of the readers of this blog, is a US-based Corporate Lawyer, who specialises in doing the legals for US companies, which are often hi-tech companies at the smaller end, who want to have a presence in Europe. Like me, he is widowed and in his sixties, so he started reading this site initially to satisfy his passion for European travel, as he felt we might have similar tastes and interests. Which after meeting a couple of times in London, I can confirm.

A couple of times, he’s asked me to look at particular places, as some of his clients are thinking of going there. I’ve also been sent profiles of some of his clients and asked to recommend a suitable place for them in the UK.

In one case, he asked me to suggest a place for a guy, who was a serious small-boat sailor, who wanted to set up a support office for about twenty, with good access to airports for the US and Europe. His wife was also a financial analyst for a US bank and was intending to work in the City. They felt they needed to be somewhere like Hampshire.

I suggested that they have a look at Ilford because.

  • The sailing in Essex is some of the best in the world.
  • Offices are plentiful and affordable.
  • You’re close to the City and the centre of London.
  • In a couple of years time, they’ll be a direct link to Heathrow.

The company now has a support base for Europe in a new office close to Ilford station.

The couple have bought a flat near the Olympic Park in Stratford.

The clincher on their choice, was they both like football and they have got season tickets for West Ham for next year.

I’ve met them a couple of times and don’t regret their decisions at all.

Last night, the US Corporate Lawyer sent me this e-mail.

I keep getting asked by companies about Leicester.

It’s all to do with the soccer and possibly the evil King found in a parking lot.

What do you know about Leicester?

Is it a good place to live and do business?

What are the transport connections to London like?


I shall go this week with my camera.

But who’d have thought a few years ago, that Leicester City would create inward investment into the city?

May 1, 2016 Posted by | Sport, World | , , | 2 Comments

Is The Greek Tragedy Approaching The Final Act?

According to this report on the BBC, Greece has now voted through the bailout conditions, so that they can get further money from its debtors.

But will this be the end of the tragedy?

I doubt it!

The Greeks voted for the end of austerity in the last General Election and they have now got Austerity Plus. But they do get to keep the euro!

That sounds like a recipe for trouble!

If there is a lesson in the story of Greece and the euro over the last few years, it is that you must not fiddle the books, bribe the electorate and you must above all keep the finances in order and hopefully balanced.

Did anybody tell the Greeks that euros don’t grow on trees in Brussels?

At least the sun won’t go on strike! This is the one light at the end of the tunnel.

July 16, 2015 Posted by | Finance, World | , , | Leave a comment

Is This A New Economic Indicator?

I have just read this article in Global Rail News, which states that the  rail freight section will recruit and train over 200 new drivers in the current year.

It would seem likely that the more freight moved by rail, the greater the economic activity.

I’ve chatted with a few drivers on trains and most seem happy with their jobs, even if some do moan about some of the cabs on certain freight locomotives.

November 12, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Miliband Forgets The Deficit

I suppose strictly speaking, it’s not his deficit, as it was stared by Blair/Brown, but I see Miliband’s omission of the deficit in his conference speech rather worrying.

I certainly wouldn’t vote for any politician, who omits to tell the full picture.

Miliband is certainly second-rate even compared to Gordon Brown, as he has shown in the last few weeks over the \scottish Referendum.

September 24, 2014 Posted by | Finance, World | , , | Leave a comment

Passport Delays

I renewed my passport in March this year and my new one came about a week or so after I gave the forms in for checking at my local Post Office. So there ewasn’t any delay then, at least as far as I was concerned.

My renewal wasn’t simple either, as my name was being changed from that on my birth certificate to that that I have on my credit cards, bank account and use on the Internet.

But it still was one of the fastest renewals I’ve ever had.

So how come, there are now severe delays in getting a new passport.

There has been one major change in the intervening period.

The economy has got a lot better and unemployment has got lower. So just how many people who are feeling optimistic have decided to take a holiday and as they haven’t been able to for a couple of years, have found that their passport has expired. Or perhaps, they’ve had an addition to the family, who needs a first passport.

So I don’t blame the Passport Office, but the upturn in the economy.

It will be interestring to see the figures for Ryanair and the other airlines and holiday companies that get published later in the year.

June 11, 2014 Posted by | Transport | | 3 Comments

Are Things Getting Better?

There has been a lot of discussion about whether things are getting better, with the government that things are on the up and Milliband saying they’re not. This article gives both views, with David Cameron being quoted in this way.

Most British workers have seen their take-home pay rise in real terms in the past year, the government claims.

It has produced figures showing all except the richest 10% saw their take-home wages rise by at least 2.5% once tax cuts were taken into account.

The article says this about Ed Milliband.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the figures were “dodgy” and ministers were out of touch with people’s lives.

I’m not going to take sides, but as I travel around the country, I see many things.

If I look at my situation, I think it has got marginally better compared to what it was twelve months ago.

I’m getting a slightly higher rate on my savings in Zopa, my energy is slightly cheaper since I moved my energy supplier to Ovo and running my household seems to be cheaper, as I’ve organised myself better. The latter is not down to the economy, but partly due to individuals and companies, launching new products and services.

One thing that hasn’t hit me, is the cost of motoring! Because I don’t!

I’ve just had February’s edition of Modern Railways and as in the last few months, there are quite a few articles about new stations and lines. There’s also been a few examples of new and refurbished trains being built or modified in the UK. But go to places like Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester and the transport infrastructure is much better than it was three or four years ago. Other places like Blackburn have got new stations. And there are quite a few new British-built buses too.

If the experience of the introduction into North London of the Overground, is anything to go by, where people have told me it has allowed them to get to new or better jobs, this new transport infrastructure can only be a good thing.

But if I go to places outside of London, it all seems much better. Surprisingly, there are quite a few bright, new shopping centres.

But then some politicians don’t want to be positive!

January 24, 2014 Posted by | News, Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Why We Need Plain Fag Packets!

My old and sadly departed mate, Brian, who was an innovative and reliable accountant, always used to joke he did his best work on the back of one of his fag packets.

He would have laughed at a reader comment in The Times describing the mess politicians have got into on the economy.

The arrival of plain fag packets can’t come too soon for this lot.

We need some sound sense, otherwise the next election will be a disaster for everyone.

The trouble is that if a few economic home truths were printed on fag packets instead of health warnings, they would be ignored, just the same.

January 18, 2014 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Miliband Has Another Crazy Idea!

After his idea of freezing energy prices, which I think, anybody with any knowledge of how the energy markets work, will think is a non-starter, he’s now had another idea, which although on the face of it looks good, will have far reaching negative consequences if it is implemented. It’s all reported here on the BBC and it is well summed up by the first paragraphs.

Firms would not be able to undercut wages by paying agency staff less than permanent staff under a Labour government, Ed Miliband has said.

Writing in the Independent on Sunday, the Labour leader said the party would close a loophole in the law that allowed for differing rates of pay.

Mr Miliband said he wanted to tighten the rules to “stop a race to the bottom with workers coming here from abroad”.

If you take an industry like farming, which relies heavily on bringing in agency workers to harvest fruit and vegetables, the resulting increase in price of the food, would probably mean we’d import more food from places like Kenya. Farmers would probably only grow food that could be harvested totally by machine.

Other industries would probably be similarly affected and their costs would go up, meaning more higher prices for consumers.

One point that he seems to ignore, is what happens in a company if agency workers and permanent staff are paid the same. A company would adjust the workforce to have the best one to meet its needs. So permanent staff might come under other pressures to perform as well as agency staff, be they from the UK or abroad.

It’ll be interesting to see how this argument develops.  I’d love to see a breakdown of where these agency workers are employed by industry and region. I suspect that we’ll find some important public services wouldn’t run without them.

You can’t bring in these sort of policies immediately.  You have to phase them in gradually over a period of time.  It’s like trying to ride a bicycle slowly, by only turning hard left and hard right, instead of by small movements on the handlebars.

My only worry about these unworkable pronouncements from Ed Miliband, is that enough people might believe him and vote for him in 2010. His deputy may be called Balls, but Miliband talks it in spades!

January 5, 2014 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment