Friday, 9 December 2011


In the December 8 edition of The Times, page 34, Anatole Kaletsky writes:

“Germany, France, Italy and the other countries will have to merge into a single European State, from which Britain, of its own volition, is certain to be excluded.”

We were right, then, to retain the single currency and we are right, now, to have exercised our veto.

Much is being talked about us now being on the outside, not able to exert influence, that it will even adversely affect our position as a global power. No, I think not. I believe passionately in Europe. But we have demonstrated that we are still an independent people, both politically and geographically. We are a large island and group of islands comprising four nations and with an island mentality. We fare well, albeit under great hardship, when a great cause is put before us, or when our sovereignty is threatened.

Are we seeing the break up of the Euro? It is too early to tell. But here is a glimpse of a lunchtime meeting on 16 November 2004, 7 years ago, to which I had been invited when I was in the legal profession. It was a rather small group, just twelve, gathered together to hear a presentation by Professor Patrick Minford. Because our hosts were accountants and I was a probate lawyer I had niaively assumed we would be look at accounting as it affected our work on a daily basis. In fact, the twelve of us found ourselves listening very attentively to an exposition of global markets, the future of currency worldwide and, to my shock, the speaker’s quiet and categoric statement that we would in time leave Europe and before then would never enter a single currency.

It is interesting to see how things work out. And it is times like these that I am glad I retain my notes.

Lunch Presentation

100 Old Hall Street Liverpool

Tuesday 16th November 2004

I had the pleasure of representing the Partners earlier today at a luncheon on the tenth floor of Rensburg’s suite of offices overlooking the Mersey and Sea. There were twelve of us in all, and I am pleased that we were included on Renbsurg’s list as there were no other legal firms represented. I am grateful for being given the opportunity to prepare this brief.

Professor Minford provides regular reviews and audits to both public and private sector clients but perhaps more importantly to Central Government.

His review was general – aimed at an overview of financial policy, both domestic and foreign.

Salient Points

1. We have never had such a period of growth and we have been able to sustain a recession free economy now for 12 years – unprecedented in our history.
2. Behind the scenes Central Government acknowledges that it inherited a strong economy.
3. The next election will undoubtedly see the government returned but there is a strong indication that the Conservatives will recover much lost ground.
4. However, they are not going to be in a strong enough position to assume government again until probably the election after that
5. Our history shows a tendency by the population to swing the pendulum about every 12 years – and this is probably healthy because the present government will have become ‘tired’ and unable to introduce radical new policies that will capture the electorate’s imagination
6. On the international scene, China is going all out to buy US dollars to secure its own economy. By doing this, it ensures that the dollar remains high and therefore allows its own products to be sold very cheaply – and the UK is taking huge advantage of this at present.
7. We have more Chinese Students in our Universities now than at any previous time in our history.
8. On Europe, there are some rough times ahead. We joined the EEC as a manufacturing economy – the other EEC countries also being manufacturing economies. It was akin to joining a club of like-minded people where we would all feel warm together and protected.
9. Unfortunately, successive governments until Mrs Thatcher failed to spot that the EEC was changing us from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. The upshot of it can be likened to being asked to pay £1,500 per annum golf membership when you don’t play golf. For the first year you might well think it is good. But the novelty wears off when your wife asks, but what are we getting out of this?
10. The economic prediction is that the electorate will eventually realise this and be confident enough to insist on leaving the European Union and aligning itself once again with United States and the Commonwealth of Nations.
11. One should not underestimate the behind the scenes influence of the Commonwealth in international affairs – central government, including the United States, have a tacit agreement to downplay this for public relations purposes but to fully support its very influential position in world affairs.
12. The nation is once again becoming very confident and the government too is confident – and this is due largely to the success of Mr Brown. He is widely recognised as the most successful Chancellor this country has had
13. How the next government will fare will depend on the Blair-Brown factor.
14. It is difficult to gauge what a Brown Premiership would bring about but one thing is quite certain behind the scenes at Cabinet level – a deep suspicion of Europe and evidenced by the Chancellor’s very effective and confident stance over the five tests for joining the Euro currency. Only a very strong and stable government could have taken such a stance.
15. Europe is very worried about the close relationship that has once again been established between the United States and Great Britain.
16. In Liverpool we see the return of container ships and lorries – even five years ago this was not envisaged.
17. People are beginning to wake up to the fact that we ARE a manufacturing nation – but the question is whether we have the expertise to rebuild and recapture that manufacturing economy.
18. The Unions had a crippling effect on our economy in the 1960s and 1970s. This government has had no problems at all in continuing the conservative policy of keeping the unions at arms length. However, we are faced with the problem that the European Parliament will now cause unions to regain that power under the European Constitution and which will be rigorously enforced by the European Judiciary. That judiciary will be similar to the United States Judiciary, able to have considerable influence over governments and heads of government.
19. During the last decade government took the view that if enough money was thrown at a project, then a solution would be found e.g. the railways. This proved to be disastrous. When the government attempted a similar initiative with the NHS, they ran into very strong opposition across the board from a highly intelligent electorate that knew that such a policy does not work.
20. So there is a pendulum swing back to privatisation and with it the charge that New Labour is Old Conservative in disguise! Neither should it be forgotten that the first official visitor summoned to Ten Downing Street the day after the prime minister was first elected was Baroness Thatcher, which many at the time regarded as an act of betrayal. And behind the scenes she has often advised the PM at his request.
21. Pensions – this is a very volatile market. There is a feeling amongst younger people that there is no point in pension planning. Spend now and sort the mess out later. It is our responsibility to educate young people into continuing to make pension provision. Yes, we acknowledged that the pensions market is a fiasco and all predictions pf the 1970s have failed. But until we find a way of dealing with the matter efficiently, we should still plan pensions and encourage the younger generation to do so too.

End of Paper

Let us see how things continue to pan out.

Ian Bradley Marshall

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


Superb summary and many thanks for bringing to the public attention David Testo's testimony which I fear has gone widely unnoticed in the UK Sports Press. It highlights the up hill fight but each, Justin, Anton and David all coming out is, behind the scenes, most surely resonating with, and helping, gay professional footballers to cope; not to mention players at every level whether or not professional.

It is good too to see the old fashioned attitudes vis a vis Sepp Blatter and others being spotlighted.

To the whole Justin Team I would say this. Don't lose heart or feel you're not doing enough. You are doing an amazing work. Based in Brighton, you are reaching out globally. THIS is the way forward.

Have no fear, other players will follow in due course, and of the level of profile that will be a clarion call to all, not just in football, but throughout all sport.

I am so proud of what you are all doing guys, girls. It's a brilliant team that you have. Be strong, be resolute and know that you ARE making the lives of many much better, behind the scenes, by giving hope where previously there was hopelessness.

Ian Bradley Marshall
6 December 2011

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


It is now 66 years since the end of World War II and there comes a time to move on.

Watching the brilliant Channel 4OD Series "Apocalypse" brings home the stark fact that regardless of who or what caused World War II, every family on every continent, in every country lost loved ones.

We must never forget what has happened, for that enables us all to keep that 'check and balance' on ourselves and prevent such a war ever happening again. But let us also be truly reconciled to each other, and move on.

Let us deal with the wars, insurrections and conflicts of today and the last 15 years. Sometimes I think, 'Should I dare say this?' But in that distant corner it is as if I hear the voices of yesterday speaking quite distinctly:

"Yes. Of course you should. That is precisely what you should be thinking. Remember the past but live in the present and build the future. Then you will prevent those terrible things recurring. Live and let live. Take care of each other across boundaries, religions and political divides. Embrace and work together to the common good of humankind."

I suspect I will come in for some criticism for writing this. But it is not out of disrespect. Not a day goes by without my recalling those in my own family who made that terrible sacrifice and we still keep in mind all those on all sides who died. But neither do I forget how my parents have taught me and my sisters the importance of this principle.

This, I confess, really did come home to me this last week upon learning from a German friend that his own Grandfather had been arrested by the Gestapo and then forced into exile from Germany and into two neighbouring countries, which, given that most of Europe was occupied by the Nazis must have made life dangerous in the extreme. And it is why I am so glad that when I wrote They Came in the Night (1) on January 13 this year, it was also a fitting tribute to the many people who, behind the scenes, made up the German Resistance Movement.

In statistical analysis, it has been reported this year that in any Cause it only takes ten per cent of a vociferous group, community, or nation to somehow induce the silent ninety per cent to presume that the majority view is that of the ten per cent minority.

We see this time and again when history lets the cat out of the bag, showing rather starkly that the vociferous minority arrogantly presuming itself to be the silent majority and acting accordingly, intimidating the silent majority into presuming that it was now just a vociferous minority and had therefore better quieten down and go with the others!

What a different world we would be in if all of us had realised that a few decades ago!

Ian Bradley Marshall

(1) Meanderings published by Spiderwize ISBN 978-1-908328-31-7

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


I understand Libya’s desire to try Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in Libya. They want and need to prove their ability to exercise restraint, self-control and maturity as a fledgling democracy after 42 years of ruthless dictatorship.

Regardless of the crimes committed by Colonel Gaddafi, there was no right or justification to meet out to him the horrifying end to which he and his other son Mutassim Gaddafi were subjected.

In the western democracies it is incomprehensible to imagine the general public having the ability for a free for all at an airport to literally swamp the aircraft in which their captive is held, immediately it has landed.

No. Try as I might I cannot believe that Saif Gaddafi would not have been in grave danger had the country’s security not been able to contain the situation, a matter perhaps made slightly easier for them in achieving, knowing that the great democracies looked on and would not hesitate to express collective disapproval.

The right venue for the international charges laid before Saif Gaddafi is the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. This will not detract from Libya’s status as a young democracy.

The Libyan Government is resisting this. They have permitted an inspection by the ICC this week, and the ICC has made an earnest recommendation to be allowed to conduct proceedings in Libya.

In The Times today, 23 November, there is much speculation about the nature of the injury to Saif Gadaffi’s hand, heavily bandaged. On his capture, he was quoted by the captors as saying that the injury was from NATO bombing a month earlier. That may be so. But now we read that the injury is not necessarily consistent with bombing. Rather, the fingers appear to have been amputated. The article surmises whether Saif Gadaffi’s belligerence earlier in the year when he gesticulated repeatedly with those fingers as to what would happen to those in uprising, is nothing more than yet another example of Middle Eastern Peoples applying their own very literal and medieval form of justice.

The Guardian reported yesterday, 22 November, on a separate article about Syria, that Syrian children have been castrated, whilst others have had their fingernails removed.

All I know is this. The Middle Eastern Peoples have a very, very long way to go before they can stand alongside the great democracies on the matter of not applying “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”, which to apply literally in this 21st Century is an abhorrence.

Ian Bradley Marshall

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Life on the Wirral Peninsula! That little principality on the north west coast of Britain over the water from Liverpool, surrounded on three sides by water, and leaving the occupants with the idea, proudly, that whilst they are “in England they are not part of England”.

Liverpool and the Wirral are famous and infamous and this week we are fully in the latter with the pilot project centred upon a Primary School on the Wirral.

Six drivers caught for speeding outside the school by the police were given an option. Rather than receive fixed penalties and licence points, they could instead accept “appearing” before a “children’s court” comprising four 10-11 year olds selected by the head teacher.

It is wrong! And I will say it again. It is absolutely wrong! No matter how desperate the head teacher is in alerting an apathetic community to heed the warnings of the dangers of speeding outside the school.

It is sending out the wrong signal to these children – who, Liam Murphy reports in the Liverpool Daily Post today, 16 November, extraordinarily managed to reduce one driver to near tears. Reading that, as a former primary school governor, caused me to entertain but one thought – unless the head teacher could adequately explain himself he would not remain in his post for much longer.

What are these 10-11 year olds going to be like at 15? How will they react to adult correction at, say, university or in apprenticeship?

It reminds me of the terrifying Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia and vividly portrayed in the film The Killing Fields 1984 and which I suspect the head teacher, council road safety officer or the local councillor will know little of. But I lived through that time and watched the news each evening as the ‘killing fields’ unfolded. We did not believe the reports of ‘children’s courts’. This was where adults would be lined up each dawn, usually bound and kneeling, and then children aged 10-11 would systematically single out those to be beaten, those to be tortured, those to work and those to be executed. All part of the state’s anarchical return to ‘Year Zero’. Often, the adults were the parents or aunts and uncles or grandparents. It mattered not in Year Zero.

Yes, a very harsh comparison. But when we saw this scenario re-enacted in the film in 1984 it sent a chill through millions but which we all quickly dismissed with the comforting antidote, it would never happen here.

I fully understand the head teacher’s concerns about speeding and the danger of injury or even killing a pupil outside school. As a former police officer I know too well the horror of attending the scene of a fatal road traffic accident. As a retired probate lawyer I know too well the trauma to the family of administering an estate following a fatal RTA, more so an estate of a minor.

But he is wrong, absolutely wrong, to apply this as a way to tackle speeding. So too is Wirral Council. Oh, sorry. I mean Wirral Council Cabinet. Are we really to believe that this new concept of council cabinet carries the same gravitas, the same respect as that of ‘The Cabinet” in 10 Downing Street?

The road safety officer for Wirral Council reports that the scheme has proven successful and they hope to repeat it each year at different schools.

These three people have done this country an enormous amount of damage in the long term by ‘empowering’ eight 10-11 year olds with this misguided concept of acting as judge and jury over adults. Where a child can subject an adult to near tears, a very dangerous precedent has been set. I hope the head teacher will not take offence when he finds that these same jurors decide to ignore his role as head teacher when he has to bring them back into line when, as mere kids, they go temporarily off the rails!

At the very least this is a stupid exercise. Law enforcement lies with the police, not with misguided head teachers and town councillors. And where is the Chief Constable in all this? What is he and his chief officers playing at?

When you reverse the status quo you are heading for potential disaster. When you put children in charge of adults, you head for catastrophe. Today, increasingly, children question why they should not call their parents by their first name when their friends are permitted to do so. I just wonder what the mindset is now of those eight children that acted as so-called ‘jurors’. I wonder even more on the mindset of three misguided, ,albeit, very well-intentioned adults.

This, reader, is the flip side of my earlier dispatch, ‘Our Young People – Our Future’, and had I been told on 4 November that within 12 days I would be writing this article, I would have replied, “Don’t be so stupid. Get a grip. This is the UK.”

Ian Bradley Marshall

Thursday, 10 November 2011


The current political scene shows an alarming development. Create disharmony, spread malicious gossip, i.e. lies and distorted truth, and have two aims - bring down the government by concentrating on taking as many scalps as possible. Force resignations and with complete contempt for public conscience, play on that conscience to stoke up the fires and have another soap opera scene.

Politics has always been a very dirty business. Today it is downright foul.

A month ago the BBC aired a series about the private offices of Whitehall. It was interesting and I was amused to hear politicians bowled over by the loyalty and support they receive from their private office staffs. Yet where do all these leaked ministerial emails and memos come from? The secretary of state or minister under siege?

In Liverpool we had the spectacle of the Shadow Home Secretary giving her, so say, career raising speech to the party faithful. Watching it was like attending some prize-giving at the school's final year when "Miss Moneymarple", the class brat, gets up to give her speech beyond her years. At 17-18 yes it would be. It remains so despite Miss Moneymarple now being the shadow home secretary. Miss Moneymarple was still at her school prize-giving. As a retired police officer, her wooing of the police moved me not in the slightest. I do not like being patronised. None of us do.

And of course, reading today's i (8 November 2011) report by Nigel Morris, Deputy Political Editor, I see the Unions are at their worst again, concentrating not on furthering the interests of their members but intent on undermining central government.

Another Labour MP, on live interview today, showed clearly his one objective - to force the resignation of the Home Secretary. And how do we know this? Because the BBC newscaster dared to ask him that very question, a question he did not expect judging by the flicker of surprise on his face, but which, to his credit he at least did not deny.

No. Politics is a very dirty business. It is easy to wax lyrical about freedom and democracy but look closely at the politicians at all levels and it is not such a pleasant sight. But better this than a one party state or dictatorship.

Ian Bradley Marshall
8 November 2011

Friday, 4 November 2011


My generation and the senior generation can sometimes feel that everything is falling apart, and we have a real fear for the future. But that happens in every generation.

Young people have tremendous resilience and an excitement and thirst for life that we too experience. We must remember that they are demonstrating their capabilities no less than we did at the same age, and our parents before us, and our grandparents before them.

The media tends to concentrate on negative aspects of national and international life and, with social media enabling us to communicate in a way that even fifteen years ago was incomprehensible to most of us, it seems that the very fabric of society is falling apart.

Not so.

Go into any town or city and just look at the number of young people who are working in all of our stores, retail outlets and technological centres. Listen in to just some of the vibrant conversations amongst our students, the level at which they are speaking, the passion about matters confronting all of us, and the way in which they work to, what a few years ago we called, the common good. It sounds old-fashioned today, but it still underpins society, and is still very much part of young people's thinking and motivations.

And not just in our towns, cities and villages. It is our young people who are bearing the brunt of a vicious war and, bluntly, making that ultimate sacrifice, and they are representative of our young people generally who, if the occasion arose, would be just as resilient and ready to do the same.

We saw this in August. Let us not forget that the majority of people who responded to the riots by turning out all hours of the night and day to immediately clean up the mess, even as the riots were taking place, were not so much my generation, but the young generation. It is they who, by their very presence, spoke with one very defiant voice to the rioters and made it clear that their rioting was not going to be tolerated. I saw this for myself here in Liverpool and, as I've previously written on.

It's a pretty ambitious thing to say, but we probably live in the most exciting and far-reaching century in humankind's history. Tremendous demands are being placed upon us, and our young people are, as always, right there, in the vanguard. Sure, they wind us up, and cause a headache; sure, we lie there at night only half asleep because we're waiting to hear the door click, announcing their safe return home, albeit sometime a bit noisy, missing the last step on the stairs or just deciding they'll bed down in the hall by the upturned umbrella stand! But come on, we've all been there and done that when we were that age. Well I know I did!

In fact, living at home then, I remember returning home one night after 2am and really getting a severe ticking off from Dad (a police officer) about being out so late, irresponsibly leaving my car door wide open and even worse, the front door while I decided, on a whim, to go and post a letter (as you do!), and rather lamely replying, "But Dad! I'm sober and I'm a constable!" But Dad's Dad! And it wouldn't have made any difference had I even been the chief constable, not that that is possible at the tender age of 23! Many times do we all laugh on that little family story. And to this day Dad still touches the rudder occasionally, and quite honestly I love it!

Watch young people work together. See how they interact. See how they project all the good and great things you've taught them and which, for some reason, they annoyingly decide not to demonstrate at home, but which, amazingly, they lean heavily upon at work.

You see this none more so in the Apple Store Liverpool One. Being used to police and RAF command operations or control rooms, there is an exciting buzz in such places, so I sense this same buzz every time I go into the Apple Store. And I know that this is equally so in all the other stores that makes up Apple's front of house image.

Watch the interaction between the team of blue shirts and the occasional black business shirt as they work on literally hundreds of complex enquiries, many of them unscheduled footfall visits, an hour. See the manner in which they deal with every visitor. Watch the excitement with which they approach their work, the pride they have in their product, and the confidence they have in demonstrating to older people just what it is that we now have in the way of technology.

See how one person in one hour can be tasked to deal with up to half a dozen complex problems with technology, of which they have no prior warning, so must immediately analyse and throw that lifeline of reassurance to an often stressed-out customer who fears the loss of all their work. Listen to the very complex and searching questions that each member of the Apple Team has to field and answer correctly.

Note the calmness, the diplomacy, the quiet efficiency, and the friendliness. This doesn't just happen. It is taught and nurtured by managers who are bringing their teams together, orchestrating individual strengths. Talking of which, remember, that without exception, we all have weaknesses. But our strengths will always eventually outweigh our weaknesses.

Realise that here is the UK's future.

Without realising it, we ask much of our young people and give them a hard time.

Never begrudge a young person asking a question about something that, to us, is obvious. Be happy that you have exuded an air that gives them the confidence to ask that question at all. Don't belittle them. And when peers decide to do just that, quietly override, signal in some way that your confidence in their work, in their ability, in their standing, remains undiminished.

Every young person is priceless to family and to society. Each person is unique and has a definite contribution that she, he or they will make to the benefit of us all. These young people have undergone apprenticeships, degrees, masters and PhDs. Remember this the next time we're at the supermarket till point.

The Apple Store is becoming an essential meeting point throughout the UK as Apple Products become more popular with all of us. And don't be frightened at being taught something new by young people. All of us have something to contribute. I was talking to someone yesterday who spoke about the Vietnam War. It caused me to shift my focus from my area of thinking, namely, the excellent teaching I received at school on the Second World War, to a war we all followed daily as it became ever more violent in the 1960s. Here was a young man with a more up-to-date perspective of modern warfare.

That too served to touch the rudder.

To the managers at Apple Liverpool One, the Genius Team, the Customer Services Team, the Business Team, the Technical Support Team (the back room boys and girls), the administrators, I say thank you for all the work you are doing for us here in Liverpool and, indirectly, for the UK. I can assure you that many, many people are very proud of your achievements. You are a beacon light, and, a delight to the City Fathers.

Ian Bradley Marshall