Would You Credit It? – Yet Again!

Would You Credit It? Yet Again!
The Credit Crunch – Ten Years on
On the 10th Anniversary of the start of the 2008
Credit Crunch former PM Gordon Brown has issued a dire warning
of the prospect of another one.

We’ve lost those days of easy spending
Supported by our banker’s lending
Good-bye to wine, blooms by the bunch
Thanks to the wretched credit crunch

How has this happened, what has gone wrong?
Failed to save for far too long?
Or in our dealings with the bank
Not always been entirely frank

The truth it seems is more elusive
The money men are quite evasive
You might have thought they would be frank
Helping us to trust our bank

Unknown to us behind the scenes
Our cash obscured by complex screens
Was sweetened up like golden honey
But ended up as “funny money”

In former days banks held deposits
And lent from deep within their closet
But now-a-days that’s not enough
Competition’s far too tough

So out into the money market
Like Mother Hubbard with her basket
To multiply her store of cash
Nothing ever seemed too rash

To profit from this increased store
The banks got ready to explore
Lending out to whomsovever
Re-inventing the “never-never “

It mattered not how you would pay,
Or from the contract you might stray
The banks were there to do a deal
No matter how that made you feel

If soon you found you’re out of luck
Re-payment made you come unstuck
Instead of payments made on time
You very soon became “sub-prime”

The US bankers took the lead
Meeting every borrower’s need
But very soon the world at large
Ensured they too had joined the charge

A new regime came into place
To grant huge loans and win the race
Thus none of us need ever wait
To meet our needs however great

Every banker now must sell
To prudence they all said farewell
But every spender really happy
Credit granted very snappy

But then it all became unstuck
Spenders seemed to lose their luck
As they began to hit the red
Bankers could not sleep in bed

Suddenly their glorious plan
Amazingly “had hit the fan”
Borrowers gathered at the dole
Bankers seemed to lose control

This enterprise had somehow stumbled
As one by one the moguls crumbled
Thus had begun what seemed quite viral
Disease around the world did spiral

Quite suddenly as if by stealth
The end of our financial health
No longer ever in ascension
Our house, our shares, indeed the pension

Well is there any consolation
Word of comfort for the nation
Perhaps it’s this – why do we trust
In things so quickly turned to dust?

A post script to these earlier verses
Shows that in banking not much reverses
In latter days we’ve seen PPI, Libor, and small firms squeezed
By mighty bankers who prefer themselves to please

Ken Fisher

 

Utility

Utility

I wonder if in this modern world
Worth’s only measure is Utility
Unless we can calibrate the gain
It holds little plausibility

In dark days of war and long thereafter
Essentially production was restricted
Utility the hallmark for everything
Lest by waste we were afflicted

Of course the aim of most artifacts
Is to serve our human need
Objects are therefore produced
As the market has decreed

Classical economists propounded
An action is right if happiness it brings
Utilitarianism promotes this belief
Joy the measure of all things

But surely in this wondrous world
Exist things some consider useless
But lacking these elements of our life
Mere production rendered fruitless

We cannot simply stamp a utility mark
On our regard for one another
Art, music, and faith’s eternal quest
Dominant functionality cannot smother

The treasures which flow from the Aladdin’s cave
Of our modern supermarkets
Help to meet our insatiable desire
Our boundless pleasure is their target

But ‘things’ and ‘stuff’ however much
Might try our hearts to please
Yet in our souls we seek for more
To set our minds at ease

And thus we continue in pursuit
Of that whose only function
Is to lift us from mere usefulness
And grant emotion’s unction

Ask not only what something does
What purpose can it serve?
Rather how it might life enhance
And thus our praise deserve

Ken Fisher

Is Normal Life Sustainable If We Always Tell The Truth?

Is Normal Life Sustainable If We Always Tell the Truth?

 

A recent TV programme* advanced the proposition
That to sustain daily life we must resort to deception
Apparently social intercourse forces us to lie
To uphold concord the truth we must deny

Of course there is some debate on the nature of a lie
To condemn all false words or actions is to oversimplify
There is a difference surely between a fib or small white lie
And a monstrous whopper which you can rarely justify

Proclaiming the whole truth may well result in hurt
When we make no effort to soften a harsh word
We speak with veracity but how will it be received?
Surely the hearer is bound to feel aggrieved

Research has claimed we shrink from boldly stating
The stark truth to others when we ought to be berating
Afraid of offending  their feelings or causing alienation
We meekly soften the blow, espouse prevarication

We lie most commonly to our own kith and kin
Perhaps we consider that is less a sin
Or perhaps we are too afraid to disturb the uneasy peace
Recognising reality would family discord increase

But in business too we often use fabrication
Describing our products using much exaggeration
Trade descriptions legislation is meant this to prevent
But unhappy customer reports are still widely evident

Another aspect of untruthfulness is the deliberate omission
Thus it is what we fail to say that merits admonition
We sanitise awkward facts and situations
Thus producing false hopes and expectations

Of course in life there are times when truth can’t be avoided
And these situations must never be exploited
Professionals giving advice from truth should not depart
Each in their own field should play an honest part

No matter the extent to which we feel we can be economical
With truth, we must n’er migrate to a world quite mythological
Rather we must seek to live our lives with true sincerity
Truth our moral compass, the bulwark of integrity

Ken Fisher

 

  • Horizon: A Week Without Lying – The Honesty Experiment

Money is the Sacrament of Moral Seriousness

Money is the Sacrament of Moral Seriousness 

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Wordsworth penned it long ago in these immortal words:

           ‘Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers”

And little seems to have changed down the decades
And now this quote from Giles Fraser (former Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s)

Money is the sacrament of moral seriousness’

Is money all that matters in our lives?
Well, of course, without it we ne’er can survive
So day-by-day we strive to earn our cash
Ignoring it is simply far too rash

So for most of us we have no other choice
In the courts of life money gives us voice
And getting it and spending it we can’t avoid
Thus our energies to that end deployed

But is money the measure of all things?
Despite the vital benefits it brings
Must we forever strive to garner more
To hold good credit balances in store?

Is the danger thus that wealth becomes our God?
Before its altar we bend ever awed
Thus money’s worship our new sacrament
Our life’s devotion thus bears testament

All that we have becomes all that we are
Possessions are our measure and our star
Seems little else our hearts can satisfy
Things alone our desire can gratify

But is there not another way to live?
Blessing gained when we learn to give
To share something of the bounty we have gained
Our selfishness no longer unconstrained

And perhaps there is another moral purpose
Which with generosity we can surely purchase
The fairer sharing of the world’s, and our own gains
A legacy for all from that which still remains

Ken Fisher

 

Results!

Results!

To-day for Scottish pupils spare a thought
Whose awakening may be somewhat fraught
As they receive that communication
Which may not meet their expectation

Because to-day’s the day results arrive
To avoid them they cannot contrive
In the past they only came by post
But now by e-mail or text from coast to coast

So by whatever means each candidate
Hears news determining their fate
No doubt filled with apprehension
As they wait in expectation

For some of course it will be great relief
If their hoped for grades have been achieved
For others there may be some surprise
And future plans they must revise

The media no doubt will show beaming faces
Of high fliers locked in warm embraces
With teachers and parents full of admiration
Let’s hope the less successful find consolation

Whatever the results help to predict
By no means the definitive verdict
Exam success is surely not alone
By which our future worth be known

Ken Fisher

Your Friendly Bean Counters!

Your Friendly Bean Counters

[A tribute to BN Associates – small accountancy Firm of the Year 2018]

 

Some claim that accountancy is really boring
And the subject is simply not worth exploring
But I would reject this view superficial
‘Cause accounting for business is most beneficial

Accounting can outline the state of our wealth
And strong cash flow is vital for health
If we find ourselves too deep in debt
Our creditors become a serious threat

So by keeping track of such vital numbers
Monetary issues should never encumber
And accurate accounting will show us the way
To monitor the business each working day

Enough of the system, it’s people that matter
And I don’t intend to unduly flatter
But I know of a squad who deserve all our praise
As they help their clients in so many ways

So today I offer warmest congratulations
To a firm now peerless within our great nation
So raise your glasses to Brett, David and team
As they tick every box and count every bean!

Ken Fisher
The Bard of Kelvindale

The Swiss Army Knife – Even More Useful

The Swiss Army Knife – Even More Useful

[This is a sequel to my previous poem – The Swiss Army Knife-
Published Jan 24, 2017]

The Swiss Army Knife is quite cutting edge
No limit to the uses to which it can stretch
This latest model has pen and shining flashlight
Features which surely will bring much delight

I crossed the boundaries of this innovative nation
Whose mechanical products deserve admiration
Their fame is well known for watches and clocks
But my joy is the penknives of Victorinox

Imagine my delight when I discovered a store
Whose shelves were laden with penknives galore
Some were enormous with unlimited functions
To deal with every problem or tricky malfunction

But my preference is for the smaller device
Not only because of its more reasonable price
So the one that I chose to add to my collection
A multi-tool, a pen, and a light, all which act with perfection

Ken Fisher

GDPR

GDPR

The latest challenge to face our British nation
Is the General Data Protection Regulation
Now we must comply with detailed rules
To help us, some guidelines are useful tools

Curiously it is Europe who commands we comply
And Brexit appears to offer no alibi
In the UK the Information Commission
Demands our complete and ready submission

It would appear all these changes come in the wake
Of frequent liberties that intruders may take
With our personal data which we let others hold
As in on-line processing we have entered so bold

Big Data is the feature that might fill us with fear
As facts known about us break every frontier
Thus personal data ascends to the cloud
And lands where we surely would not have allowed

So all these new rules have been devised
To ensure of our data use we keep appraised
Above all, our privacy must be secured
And of that fact let us all be assured

Businesses, charities and all kinds of organisation
Will find they must meet their new obligation
To ensure that they comply with GDPR
Whose ramifications stretch both wide and far

One aspect of GDPR that surely will scare
Are the punishments if firms seem not to care
And it’s best that all submit to the ICO Regulator
Who is the ulitimate judge and arbitrator

So I hope all goes well in data protection
And miscreants will soon suffer detection
But don’t let all your links to others be lost
A price we may think is too high a cost

Ken Fisher

Heavy Lifting

Heavy Lifting

How often do you feel left to do it all?
The heavy lifting, I mean
Of course they all pretend to be concerned
But there is always a convenient get out

There are domestic heavy lifters
Caring 24/7 for ageing relatives
Single parents bowed down in their isolation
The partner of the unrepentant alcoholic

There are industrial heavy lifters
The factory fodder on the minimum wage
The wage slaves in flooded car-washes
Or seedy nail bars or all-night greasy spoon cafes

There are commercial heavy lifters
Keyboard slaves handling millions of transactions
Of which their share will be infinitesimal
Clerks waiting to be swallowed up by automation

Social heavy lifters propping up suffering humanity
Nurses on night shifts, social workers, paramedics
All these strain their muscles to uphold our burdens
But do we care? After all someone has to do it.

And higher up the tree there are others who know they
do the heavy lifting that we all fail to recognise
The loyal servants of companies and institutions
The office holders in churches, clubs and voluntary organisations

But do we really ever think of the injustice suffered
by the heavy lifters? Or do we just think – hard luck
Why don’t they just get over it?
If they all decided to give up one day – where would we be?

But we know they wont

Ken Fisher

Comforting Capsule

Comforting Capsule

The car door shuts with a reassuring clunk
Suddenly “the busy world is hushed”
All external clamour is stifled
I am at peace

Through the windows the quotidian frenzy
Perseveres unremittingly
But I am immune,
Cocooned in this comforting capsule

Don’t start the engine, don’t check the mirrors
Why go anywhere, enshrined in this calm oasis?
Luxuriate in this fleeting lacuna, life on hold
Baby-like, secure in mother’s womb

Why do they sell cars on their reputation for speed?
Or their brake-neck acceleration
Surely their motionless power to induce serenity
Not only saves fuel, but restores our sanity

No longer 0 – 60 in 5 seconds
But high doh down to low doh
Snuggly encapsulated
Simply chill

Ken Fisher

 

Algorithm

Algorithm

 

An algorithm is a concept of which we should take heed
A kind of diagram which shows us how to proceed
To solve a problem by breaking it down to small steps
Making decisions unambiguous is the main object

Primarily used to solve conundrums mathematical
It can be employed to cope with tasks quite practical
By considering the flow of information in a process
And the choices at each stage throughout its progress

Algorithms are the heart of most computer programs
Compiled as binary choices shown as in a diagram
A question is asked for which the answer is yes or no
And the response determines just how to go

Algorithms can be defined as a set of rules
Within a sequence of operations they form the tools
Whereby a computer can make ‘decisions’
According to a defined set of conditions

Thus by the use of algorithms joined together
Decisions are made on ‘greater or lesser’
Or the scale of a value or magnitude
And the measures such as latitude

The whole approach assumes that there is nothing
That cannot be defined as zero or one thing
Thus the binary system employed in its glory
The very heart of every algorithmic story

All these processes are performed at the speed of light
On huge chunks of data held by the megabyte
And computers do their work with such composure
The inner workings never revealed to external exposure

There is no doubt that the algorithm deserves our praise
As the performance of machines it continues to raise
But prophets of doom fear for our future employment
As robots will doubtless enforce our replacement

Because algorithms bring artificial intelligence
Clever machines designed with great elegance
To take over from humans the work that we do
An advance that in time we may well  rue

We can only hope that the mighty algorithm
Will nonetheless improve the human condition
And perhaps at some glorious future date
From drudgery it might all of us liberate

Ken Fisher

Tired and Emotional

Tired and Emotional

“Tired and Emotional” is a well-worn euphemism
Used by the press to highlight the effects of alcoholism
Demonstrated in some of our erstwhile politicians
When subjected to their Star Chamber style inquisitions

But it seems to me that to be tired and emotional
Can affect us all, even those most stoical
Fatigue is found endemic in busy modern life
With emotional turmoil as we face daily strife

So many spend their days constantly being driven
Slaves to a work regime, quite often unforgiving
Heightened emotion a feature of our interaction
Prompting passion instead of calm reaction

So is it any wonder that all this is so draining?
A challenge to ensure our composure still remaining
Being tired and emotional becomes our default disposition
And our earnest wish is to change this dire condition

So is there any cure for this grim state of affairs
Any nostrum, magic formula to rid us of our cares?
Perhaps that other aphorism “Keep Calm and Carry On”
Might yet prove useful for us to ruminate upon?

Ken Fisher