Predictions for 2012



Fireworks
Originally uploaded by bayasaa

After my disastrous predictions for 2011, here are my predictions for 2012:

  1. The referendum on Scottish independence won’t take place yet.
  2. SF will leave the Danish government.
  3. It will again become possible to get a Danish passport in Scotland.
  4. The euro will not collapse – all current members will remain inside the Eurozone.
  5. The British inflation rate (measured by CPI) will not fall below 4%.
  6. UEFA 2012 will be won by the Netherlands.
  7. After a year with record-breaking levels of rain, Scotland will enjoy its second-warmest year ever.
  8. The Icelandic volcano Katla will erupt and cause a new flight ban over Europe.
  9. The Russian government will be forced to step down and call fresh elections.
  10. The Eurovision Song Contest will be won by Georgia.

My predictions for 2011 :-(



Sad Face Cone Head Bath
Originally uploaded by Edgar Sousa

I’m afraid that my predictions for 2011 weren’t that great:

  1. There will be a general election in Denmark. The Social Democrats and SF will form a minority government, which will quickly get into serious trouble trying to carry out their legislative programme. Wrong: After the election, the Social Liberals entered the government, too, and so far they’re managing to govern.
  2. There won’t be a general election in the UK, but the LibDems will get more and more worried about their lack of support in the opinion polls. Not right: Of course there was no election, but the LibDems seem quite relaxed.
  3. In Scotland, Labour will win the election but will be unable to find a coalition partner, so they’ll form a minority government. Wrong: The SNP won a landslide victory and formed a majority government. (I’m actually quite happy about being wrong here!)
  4. The outcome of the AV referendum will be Yes (but it’ll be a narrow victory). Wrong: The outcome was a resounding No.
  5. There’ll be snow on the ground in Scotland for most of the time until the end of March. We’ll then have a warm and sunny early summer, but late summer and autumn will be cold and wet, and we’ll have another white Christmas. Almost right: I got most of the year right, but Christmas wasn’t white.
  6. Facebook will get serious competition, but they won’t be overtaken yet as the default social networking site. Right: Google+ got off to a good start, but didn’t manage to chuck Facebook off the throne.
  7. The best-selling tablet computer towards the end of 2011 won’t be the iPad. Wrong: Although there are more and more competitors, the iPad still rules the tablet market.
  8. Economically, Germany will start pulling the Eurozone out of the slump, but there’ll be more bad news from the US. There won’t be any sovereign defaults (yet). Wrong-ish: Germany was doing OK initially, but then ground to a halt again. The Eurozone is doing worse than a year ago. News from the US are mixed. But at least I was right about the sovereign defaults.
  9. Petrol prices will reach £1.50 per litre. Wrong: I think they got as high as £1.45, but prices then fell back a bit again.
  10. Neither Denmark nor Scotland will qualify for the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship. Wrong: Denmark managed to qualify, although Scotland didn’t.

I think a lesson to learn from this is not to put so many different predictions into each item – it’s too likely to get half of it right, which makes it pretty hard to assess later.

Nuisance calls



[29/35] Robot phone man
Originally uploaded by B. Tse

We had started getting an increasing number of nuisance calls, mainly recordings being played to us several times a day.

So on the 30th of November, I signed up for a free service to avoid nuisance calls, the Telephone Preference Service.

The website wrote that it could take up to 28 days to become effective, but we’ve hardly had any such calls for the past fortnight.

I strongly recommend signing up!

Slut med pasudstedelse på konsulaterne

Man har hidtil kunnet forny sit danske pas på ambassader og konsulater i udlandet. For eksempel fornyede jeg før jul mit pas og fik første danske pas til Anna og Amaia på konsulatet i Bishopbriggs nord for Glasgow.

Desværre ser det ud til, at de nye skrappere krav til danske pas betyder, at man i de fleste lande skal til nærmeste ambassade for at forny sit pas, da der skal bruges en elektronisk fingeraftrykslæser og andet avanceret udstyr. (Her er listen over steder, der har udstyret, og her er den sorteret efter land.)

Hvis man bor i Storbritannien skal man altså til London, og det er en lang tur, hvis man bor i det nordlige Skotland. (Hidtil har man kunnet få nyt pas på alle konsulater, i Storbritannien altså Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford/Leeds, Bristol , Cardiff, Dover, Dundee, Edinburgh, Gibraltar, Glasgow, Goole, Grimsby, Harwich, Hull, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle upon Tyne, Plymouth/Dartmouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Stornoway, Whitehaven og Wick.)

Helt galt bliver det andre steder i verden. Hvis man fx bor i New Zealand, skal man nu til Australien for at forny sit pas, og hvis man bor i Alaska, Texas eller Vestaustralien, bliver rejsen til ambassaden også ganske lang.

Hvis man som mig har børn (hvis pas jo kun er gyldige i to eller fem år, afhængigt af alder), skal man altså til ambassaden ganske ofte (sammen med de relevante børn).

Gad vidst, hvad der sker, hvis ens pas bliver stjålet, mens man fx er i New Zealand? Kan konsulatet i New Zealand udstede en form for pas, der gør det muligt at komme til Australien, eller sidder man fast i New Zealand på livstid?

Man kan også ansøge om nyt pas, hvis man tilfældigvis er i Danmark:

It is already possible today – and cheaper – to get a passport from a municipality (kommune) in Denmark. All Danish citizens can apply for a passport at the Civil Service Centre (Borgerservicecenter) in any municipality. It is not necessary for you to reside in or in other way be attached to the municipality. […] You may wish to call beforehand for information on opening hours, booking of appointment etc. and inform them that you reside abroad. The processing time for an ordinary passport is approximately 10-14 days. The Civil Service Centre can issue an express passport faster than 10-14 days and an extra fee will be charged.

We recommend that you apply for a passport during your stay in Denmark well ahead of your departure, in order to receive the new passport before you leave Denmark. Another option would be to try to make an agreement with the Civil Service Centre so that they will send your new passport via courier service to your address abroad.

Problemet er jo bare, at jeg sjældent er i Danmark i mere end en uge ad gangen, og jeg kunne forestille mig, at danske statsborgere i New Zealand eller Sydamerika måske ikke kommer forbi Danmark hvert år. Hvis det var normal procedure at sende det nye pas med anbefalet post, var det jo ikke så galt, men citatet ovenfor får mig til at tro, at Borgerservice godt kunne finde på at sige nej, når man beder om at få det tilsendt. Problemet findes også på ambassaderne: “You may enquire at the mission that will be issuing your passport whether it is possible to have the new passport sent to you, but you must be aware that the old passport must be handed in for cancellation, before the new passport can be delivered to you.” Potentielt skal man altså rejse fra New Zealand til Australien to gange med få ugers mellemrum.

Jeg tror, man måske har glemt, der er mange danske statsborgere, der ikke ofte er i Danmark og heller ikke ofte er tæt på en ambassade. Og der er altså økonomisk krise i store dele af verden, så mange danskere i udlandet kan altså ikke bare købe flybilletter, som om det var slikpapir.

Jeg kan forestille mig flg. muligheder for at gøre systemet mere fleksibelt:

  • Gør det til en ret at få tilsendt sit nye pas med posten, uanset om man får dem udstedt på en ambassade eller i Danmark, og giv denne service en fast pris.
  • Giv flere konsulater udstyret til at tage fingeraftryk etc. Det ville ikke være nær så slemt, hvis jeg skulle en tur til Edinburgh eller måske Manchester i stedet for London. I det mindste burde mindst ét konsulat få udstyret i hvert land.
  • Lav en pasbus, der kører rundt i Europa. Hvis jeg vidste, den fx var i Skotland hvert år i december og juni, ville det være fint nok.
  • Indfør en form for minipas (el. id-kort) uden fingeraftryk, der er gyldige i rejser i Europa, og som kan udstedes på konsulaterne.
  • Hvis fingeraftryk i pas er et EU-krav, kunne man så ikke dele udstyret med andre lande, så man kunne blive biometrisk opmålt på et hvilket som helst paskontor i EU, men få passet udstedt i det land, man er statsborger i?

Jeg håber meget, de danske politikere hurtigt får gjort noget ved dette store problem for danskere i udlandet!

Amaias sprog



Homemade bread and butter
Originally uploaded by PhylB

Amaia har nu i nogle måneder haft et ret udtryksfuldt sprog. Det er tydeligt baseret på engelsk (i meget højere grad end Annas), selvom hun naturligvis forstår dansk aldeles fremragende).

Her er hendes mest almindelige ord:

ai øje, øre eye
airin ørering eye + ring
?aisi vis mig det (typisk et billede) I see
?apu æble, appelsin, tomat, mandarin apple, appelsin
apu?d?ys drikkevare (vand, saftevand, mælk, kaffe) apple juice
a?st?k jeg sidder fast I stuck
au? jeg vil ud out
baibai farvel bye-bye
ba? bad bath
?beibi barn, dukke (op til ca. 11 år) baby
b? bus bus
?dadi far, mand daddy
?dadi dadi farfar (se også grofa) Großvater
dau ned, op (jvf. ?p) down
drai bil drive
??rofa farfar Großvater
hai hånd hand
he hår hair
(ba)?laða prinsesse (måske også ‘smuk’) ?
?meme havfrue mermaid
?m?mi mor, kvinde mummy
?m?mi ?dadi farmor (oversættelseslån)
nai(n) min, mig my, mine
nais flot (især i ?naisdrai “flot bil”) nice
nai? nai? godnat night, night
?nam?nam giv mig den (især, men ikke udelukkende, mad) nammenam
?mo a ?nam?nam giv mig mere more + nammenam
?napu (jeg har fyldt min) ble nappy + poo
o? o? i stykker oh-oh
on tage tøj på (især trøje, T-shirt etc., da bukser etc. er trausa) on
?p?mpa morfar, mormor Pumpa
si?u vi ses i morgen see you
?sosis pølse, frikadelle sausage
tai seng, dyne, pude tired?
?titi fjernsyn TV
?titiz slik sweeties
trausa bukser, nederdel, strømpebukser trousers
t?i smør, ost cheese
?p op, ned (jvf. dau) up, op
?wawa blomst flower
we?a?u hvor er… where are you

Typiske sætninger er fx Beibi we?a?u? “Hvor er min dukke?” og Nai tai! “Læg dig i min seng!”

Det danske parallelle univers

Måske er jeg ved at blive for præget af det dystre økonomiske billede, man præsenteres for overalt i Storbritannien i disse år, men jeg var lige ved at få kaffen galt i halsen, da jeg så dette indslag i Jyllands-Posten:

For det første ville det undre mig, om nogen britisk bank ville låne en husejer 80% af boligens værdi som afdragsfrit lån, når man må antage, at boligpriserne falder yderligere.

For det andet har aktierne ikke klaret sig ret godt i de senere år, så han kan bestemt ikke antage, investeringen (i aktier og obligationer) vil give et afkast på 8% om året.

For det tredie baserer hans kursgevinst sig på, at renten er steget kraftigt om tre år; hvis krisen fortsætter – hvilket mange regner med – vil renten nok være lige så lav, som den er nu.

Måske er jeg for pessimistisk, men jeg synes ikke, det klæder en mainstream-avis at lokke folk til investeringer, der lige så vel kan gå rent galt.

Hvis nu for eksempel aktierne falder i værdi i stedet for at stige 25% over tre år, kan investoren være ude af stand til at indfri realkreditlånet, og hvis boligpriserne er faldet i mellemtiden, kan 80%-lånet være blevet til et 105%-lån, og investoren trues nu af personlig konkurs.

Denne form for investeringsrådgivning var normal i boomårene, men jeg blev godt nok noget forundret over at finde dette indslag i dag, hvor avisoverskrifterne ellers udbasunerer, at “den dansk[e] krise [er] værre end ventet“.

The veto



Angielski punkt widzenia
Originally uploaded by eisenbahner

I’ve been wanting to blog about Cameron’s diplomatic disaster ever since it happened, but I’ve found it hard to write anything that hasn’t already been written better elsewhere. However, I don’t think this blog will be complete without at least one posting on this topic, so here’s my take on it…

It’s clear to me that his safeguards were just an excuse to get out of a treaty revision (which he probably rightly thought he couldn’t get his party to agree to). If he had been serious about wanting a treaty with safeguards, he would have built an alliance in advance rather than pulling the proposal out of his hat at the last moment.

Sadly, the consequences for the UK are likely to be immense. Although the new treaty will presumably be primarily about fixing the Eurozone, it’ll be tempting for the other countries to add other topics that the UK have been trying to block in the past. If they’re clever, they’ll even make it easier to make treaty revisions without requiring unanimity.

Furthermore, if the other countries get into the habit of meeting without Britain, it’s likely they will agree a position on lots of EU topics amongst themselves, and the UK will be presented with a fait accompli later.

I do think the most likely scenario is that the UK (if the British union survives that long) will regret deeply ten or twenty years from now, and they’ll be begging to be accepted back into the full EU. However, when that happens, they will probably be required to sign up for the whole package, including the euro and Schengen. I think there’s a possibility that historians in fifty years’ time will conclude that Cameron was a hapless politician who achieved the opposite of what he wanted to do and made European integration leap forward.

Anyway, for now this shows again that Scottish independence is badly needed – the UK is dominated by the English, who again are dominated by London, which is mainly focused on the City, and it’s simply not always in Scotland’s best interest to do whatever some multinational financial institutions in the City of London think would maximise their profits.