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On the 15th December 2016, VCL published its monthly note. This included the publication of VCL's CEO, Martin Wood's monthly comment, this month's five resource stocks of interest, as well as a topical cartoon which can be seen on the Short Note page.

"Twitter issued its data this week on the “Top Ten UK 'Events' of the Year”.

'What was number one?' I hear you scream.

In this tumultuous year, there are so many candidates.

Was it the election of Trump, or Brexit, or Russian bombing of civilians in Aleppo, or hurricanes in Haiti, or 'Black lives matter' riots across the USA?

No. It was England being knocked out the Euros by Iceland.

What this tells me is that most people are more interested in 'Bread and Games' than global events. No surprise there. But why?

Look at the wave of populism sweeping the western economies. First Brexit, then Trump, now Italy, (until a couple of weeks ago, I could have included the majestic march of Ed Balls to victory at Strictly Come Dancing)

They all share a common trait - popular disgust with the status quo.

We have seen this for decades in South America where roughly every ten years, one or all of the South American states succumbs to populism and debt and default. But why is it now stalking the corridors of the west?

Simples - globalization has led to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer - a rise of the JAM's as Teresa so neatly put it. Trickle down has not trickled down.

The 'haves' are very happy, but in the minority and the 'have nots' in the majority, are lazy and easily distracted by bread and games, until the divide becomes so yawning that even these lumpen masses rise up and vote for change, any change. We are at that point. The chasm is too gapping, the masses have spotted that they live in shit while the elites eat quail eggs while sitting astride goose feather pillows.

This is all very obvious, and yet the 'haves' continue to refuse to accept this and are still trying to hijack the Brexit vote - working to nullify the symptom, ignoring the disease. At too many Islington dinner parties I am hearing the ladies use words to the effect of 'let them eat cake'. It worries me. Roll on 2017 - more populism, more denial from the elites, more strife and a few steps closer to cataclysm. Now, where did I leave that Tin Hat?


Martin