A golden pound for four pints

Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave…. O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

I’ve always been a little jealous of the Americans when they celebrate 4 July. It seems like such a great holiday and celebration of freedom.

But of course, for us Brits, it’d be a little strange for us to be celebrating it with them. It’d be like eurocrats celebrating the anniversary of Brexit Day…

But tomorrow will likely be the closest we’ll ever get to celebrating Independence Day (provided the UK doesn’t become the 51st state as part of “The Grand Reunion” but that’s a scenario for another letter).

I wonder how swamped the pubs are gonna be – I enquired at one nearby and was told I’d need to reserve a table well ahead of time for any shot at getting in, and that they were already booked out. Sounds like the only one that wants to act like an American.

Yesterday I asked you how it was possible to get four pints of bitter and fish and chips for a £1 coin with change to spare. My inbox was promptly overflowing with responses – it has to be one of the strongest responses to any question I’ve ever asked the readership!

Congratulations to David L, who got it right out of the gate – a gold sovereign has a face value of £1, though these days they’re going for over £370 a piece. You’d get four pints, fish and chips, and a hell of a lot of change for that. While David came first, many of you got it right – it’s great to hear so many of you know your gold coins. And an honourable mention must go to the reader who said that such a deal was available at a bar in the House of Commons.

Several of you provided some other, more inventive ways of achieving the task at hand…

Surely you could exchange your pound for a currency which has been devalued by its government money printing? Travel to that country and purchase said supplies!

A cunning solution… but how many socialist countries serve bitter?

Pay with an Edinburgh City design £1 coin.

This design is the only £1 coin with a mintage below one million – with 935,000 coins in circulation. Unmarked coins sell to collectors for around £95 … just about enough for four points and a portion of fish and chips.

I never did manage to get my hands on the “Edinburgh” pound coin before the new £1 coins were rolled out – nabbed a few of the other rare ones though. And once shops start accepting cash again, I’ll resume my search for one of the “mule” 20p’s, which due to a mistake at the Mint have no date on them…

To get my value from my £1, I’d brew my own beer, catch a fish in the local river, grow my own spuds and still have change!!! Self sufficiency is the answer ~ what do you think?

I think it’s a great answer!

Sadly, the joys of reading your responses was marred somewhat by a reader who accused me of “casual racism” for my use of the term “WuFlu”.

I’d like to clear the water here, because to call someone racist is a grave attack on their character, and should never been taken lightly.

I originally adopted the term WuFlu as it neatly combines the fact that the virus has flu-like symptoms and that the epicentre of the outbreak was in Wuhan. It’s pretty simple.

If you think that’s racist, I suggest you save us both the misfortune of interacting with each other and click the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of this email.

One of the reasons I insist on continuing to use the term “WuFlu” (other than the fact that it’s very catchy) is because Chinese state media were actually calling Covid-19 “the Wuhan Virus” at the early stages of the outbreak. But then they pulled a 180 and began branding people as xenophobic/racist etc for using the term as a distraction when they realised how bad the pandemic was making the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) look.

Chinese state news outlet The Global Times back in January

The hypocrisy of it all and the CCP’s Machiavellian use of identity politics and political correctness was perfectly described back by Christopher Balding. Balding, an American professor who used to teach in China for many years before leaving after losing his post and fearing for his safety when Chairman Xi Jinping came to power, now teaches in Vietnam.

What he had to say on China’s use of “information warfare” is important, as we’re only going to see more of it in the future, including in this country (the CCP’s reach is great indeed):

One of the things I think many people do not realize and understand is how information warfare plays out. Let’s take a recent news article. The [Washington Post] did a story on [National Security Adviser Matthew] Pottinger and I’ve seen some people decrying him as racist for emphasizing terms like the Wuhan Virus.

First, go back and look at Chinese state media. For a long time, they called it the Wuhan virus. That was THEIR name for it. This name was not concocted deep in the bowels of a Jared Kushner apartment slum. Chinese state media used this term for a long, long time.

Second, at some point, a memo went out to pivot the messaging away from anything having to do with China. Chinese state media then went on the rampage that anyone calling it Wuhan/China or anything China linked virus was a cold hearted racist. Again, go look it up.

Third, amazingly the social justice warriors who are typically anti-CCP but can never resist calling someone racist and because Trump et al., started calling any variation of it racist. When Chinese state media used the term, it wasn’t racist, [but] when the Global Times says its racist then the justice warriors call anyone calling [any link] to China virus as bigoted racists. Their adoption of Chinese state media terminology is rather mind boggling.

Fourth, frame this in the larger context that China actively wants to remove any link between the virus and China and is actively trying to paint the US and anyone else as the source of the virus. That is what is called information warfare. This leads to a couple of points about how information warfare behaves. First, antagonists don’t even need to win they just need to sow lots of discord, animosity, and distrust. That’s exactly what’s happening. Second, people many times do not even realize they are adopting CCP propaganda but ultimately do so. It wasn’t racist before but then the CCP over a weekend decides to change the narrative, starts saying it is and people who before had used the same exact term now go along and say it is racist. China knows the terminology they need to push to get you to buy in. Even if you aren’t buying into the CCP you can join their preferred narrative.

Third, scrubbing the link to China to something as anodyne as Covid1234 or whatever you want to call it is a win for the CCP. That’s their goal. It is the classic muddy the waters strategy so I tell people I want A but B is what I’m really shooting for. CCP doesn’t need it to be called USArmyvirus. They don’t want anything linking it to China. Surprisingly, lots of people happy to help them.

My personal opinion is this: calling it Wuhan virus is not racist because like many diseases it refers to the outbreak epicenter, but more importantly the CCP was fine with calling it Wuhan Virus until their PR people got in a room, realized it was bad messaging, and sent a memo out to call everyone who used it racist. That’s not racism. That’s a CCP propaganda strategy.

We’re only going to see more instances of this “information warfare” as anti-China sentiment rises, and the CCP attempts to shame and deplatform its critics with accusations of racism. “Sinophobia” is already being bandied about by the political correctness brigade as a bludgeon against those critical of the CCP.

An information war may not be as destructive as a real one, but that doesn’t mean investors don’t stand the risk of being blown up.

As the US readies sanctions against the CCP for its crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, and China hits back at BoJo for his citizenship offer to the Hong Kongers, it’s not a good time to be invested in companies that rely on trade and stability between China and the US’s allies.

But it’s an even worse time for those standing against the CCP within its borders – and the consequences for them are grave indeed. Take a look at this article and see if you can think of another historical instance where inmates had their heads shaved and their hair put to “productive use” before they were put in camps.

As the US celebrates its freedom, and we celebrate our pubs, I’ll be thinking of them this Independence Day.

Wishing you a good weekend,

Boaz Shoshan
Editor, Capital & Conflict

For charts and other financial/geopolitical content, follow me on Twitter: @FederalExcess.

Category: Geopolitics

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