Monday, 22 February 2016

The UK's Three Way Split ?

How does the UK break down these days into those who are satisfied their lot as adults of working age ? That is to say  with their income relative to outgoings, their work-life balance and their prospects for things like personal fulfillment and family fortunes?

Going by a mixture of voting statistics over the years and pure wetted=thumb-in-the-air, I would say there is a three way split. This is not actually directly relational to over all household income or net wealth, but follows that bell curve quite well in general.  We could deduce that a third of society are thoroughly discontented, a third of society are very happy thank you while a third of society encompass those who would like to be in the top third, but are frustrated in their efforts or not quite wealthy enough yet.

The happy-thank-you is not mutually exclusive to low income or those who are just breaking even. Rather the opposite, some folk who can just about cut their cloth to suit their form, are content or in ignorant bliss. Yes many of the super rich are in there, but of course many just want to get richer and are paranoid about labour getting better off at their expense.

Happy with their lotters probably correspond with the low turn out for voting, until you put the Scottish Independence Referendum in front of them in Terrra Caledonia that is, when they are moved to keep the status quo ( like status quo the group, a worn out series of releases which are outdated and gathering dust while  a new generation seek indy) Or those in wealth or high position vote Tory to keep the old inverse Robin Hood government in power, and let the capitalist system keep on feeding them at the top at the expense of those at the bottom.

Those Wee Davey Cameron is really interested in is the middle lot who are aspiring. For that we can understand that it is of those people "who want to work hard and get on" who feel that they can best achieve growth in personal wealth by a combination of lower personal taxes and higher house prices. The New RIght had almost succeeded in ridding the country of the idea that Unions or politicians can deliver things like pay rises linked to inflation and not subjective productivity and bonuses based on financial performance of the whole corporate which never quite see the light of day or are piddling litte , a night at a Travel Lodge for the average family.  Or other things like mandatory overtime and anti social hours which politicians delivered, or a large public sector rental market which kept the heat off the housing market and helped middle class junior get their first starter flat before they were middle aged as the case will be now.

Such terrible, terrible things too as rent caps and higher rates on second properties are things which arent wanted by the top third because they have long since discovered that bricks and mortar in a land which does not allow too many new homes to be built, means a levered multiplier which is inflation proof and has survived even this 8 year slow down intact.

What they want you to think the Tories, is that your tax money is being wasted and the best way to personal family income growth is through tax cuts, not sordid union negotiations with employers, oh no. It's always easy to find some council or department or quango who are misusing money, but it is increasingly easy to find disabled people who are having a poorer quality of life due to 'austerity' and what the merchant bankers did to us all.  The Blue Meanies roll out more austerity and further tax cuts to the rich, plus a nice 10% pay rise to politicians. This all to stimulate the economy and make it more attractive to invest in Britain.

The Tories have lived off this mislead middle third for many years, with the top up to the solid vote in their heart lands and the swing vote in the midlands coming from the aspirants who basically have become snobs and hope to be rich enough soon to fund their klids through private schools and  universities and help them buy their first flat. They have been able to lever enough seats on only 37%-43% of the national vote for decades. They have captured a wandering ten percent of the vote, and relied on the lib dems to split the opposition vote.  Only the tories and that ten percent too are locked into the law of averages.

Average income, average pay growth and average house prices and average house price growth. By some level of default, these asipirant peoples are at around average income when single, in the band 22 /33 (by standard deviation guesstimate)  thousand a year, and in the family income of around 40 - 50 k per year, They are no longer the biggest tax cash cow as the rate for higher tax is up, and tax for the first third is removed. Most of them certainly cant rely on a Union negotiating them a pay rise, and are more linked to the career ladder, capital gains on houses and the promise of tax cuts.

There are also within this section many self employed folk, who often fall into being staunch Tory supporters and like having cheap, disposable staff in the new zero-hours, super flexible labour market which damns so many to renting and insecurity. Many of them though feel the breath of the inland revenue and pay their taxes dutifully, while they see trillion pound corporates export their profits and pay a paltry amount of their turn over. Think of the local coffee shop versus star bucks, or the local internet directory versus google. The small staffing agency versus Adecco. The small plumber versus the emerging super pipe bender firms which are emerging. All the time this, and the decline in their customers discretionary income as wages for below average workers stagnate, while the cost of living mysteriously feels a lot higher than the RPI.

My generation, the baby boomers first babies or the war brides second brood, are the first who on average will have a lower standard of living and quite possibly a poorer quality of life than our parents did through working age (which is why I do not live in the UK anymore BTW) We will have less material wealth, all be that at a higher price, we will have longer working hours, we will have slower pay growth and we will work until we are older and many will have to work part time as pensioners in order to have those little luxuries through their 70s.

We have bought our first house age 37 versus a decade earlier for our parents. In part this reflects of course womens careers, but it is a damning indictment on 'a home owning people's democracy' when the majority of us have lived in other peoples houses for the first half of our working lives. This trend, as many of those above, will continue if poltics do not change. Our children will have older parents who need to use more of their capital to pay for themselves in old age. When will they on average be buying a first apartment? age 43? Age 45? Dont forget that the first standard deviation will be buying (like me actually) now into their forties and soon into their fifties with only a decade and a half to pay off the mortgage or have enouggh capital gain to come out even?

Also if we do not stop the trends with how employers treat us and expect us to behave, our children will work even longer for relatively less money in relation to the cost of housing in particular. Internships and work-practice are now becoming an insidious norm in many higher value industries and this will inevitably creep down into all echelons of society as employers simply can demand it because most people expect to do it and the law says nothign against it. This is another force which works against employees and leads to more ageism. As more youth work for free and then grab paid employment at lower rates to pay back that extra year (god help us maybe more( of work experience sans income, ) then they become more attractive than any ageing employees who are seen as less productive, wanting to get home to their families before bedtime and such uneconomic, anti competitive socialist desires. They will be more easy to sack, or more easy to employ on temporary contracts as this becomes the norm across all sectors where labour supply out strips demand.

People have to re-appraise what Capitalism actually does for the individual, and that it failed in the past to provide for the majority of families from cradle to grave. The inevitable extreme of market forces in a society hurtling towards a tertiary, service dominated economy is that you end up paying to go to work, and that is no joking matter.  You pay now to get into work through those months or year as an intern. You pay now by having work in areas where rents are high or rail commuting is ridiculously expensive. More and more of your income goes to capitalists you didnt vote for and have no control over. This is the same set of economics which evolved in the industrial capital age which led inexorably to the rise of organised labour and the movements of both communism, democratic socialism and the milder liberal social democractic centre position post war.

Amongst the aspirants, there are then a lot of baby boomers who now see darkness at the end of the tunnel as they enter their 60s and realise that they arent going to get any better off as employees, and as self employed business people, it is likely that their lot  in or out of the EU will not get that much better under austerity (outside the south of England). Then there are the baby boomers off spring born really in the 1970s and early 80s who are nearing forty, half way into their adult careers and realise they are never going to be as materially well off, or have as much leisure time as their parents. Where as the baby boomers enjoyed unionised work places and high wages in the public sector, their offspring are subjected to pay freezes, down sizing, unpaid over time and under employment in part time or non vocationally relevant jobs. Where as the baby boomers enjoyed a free college education and came out into a good labour market for their rare skills, and an honours degree in anything was a sign of endeavour, the current generation entering middle age have struggled outside the main professions to get a foothold in the market.

Then there are a lot of happy-with-their-lotters who have had it good, not been interested in politics and got by or thrived and tended to vote Tory to be on the safe side. Many of them in the public sector now will be under threat of unemployment or being out sourced or both. Many in manufacturing will be hit by the next round of 'fuck it, lets locate in China' even if their UK based, high tech companies are making profit, the margins will be higher in the peopl'es socialiist republic and the new growth market domestic. Bathed in small, weak government propoganda and unions-made-a-laughing-stock-of-us-in 1978 rhetoric, they still dont see that they can achieve a better standard of living through politics and organised labour.

Back then to looking at Capitalism and how by its own mechanisms, it can only provide from cradle to grave for those who rob enough from other people's living, breathing, waking hours of labour. Capital has organised itself well against organised labour, and tried to break the back of it in most western countries and most all developing countries. It is just out with living memory now, when police in the USA and nazi militia in germany gunned down trade union demonstrations with sub machine guns. Yes, people died for the right for organised labour to grab too much power and become a corrupt parody which bankrupted companies and put national budgets into inbalance. But now capital is able to move and organise where it wants to, exporting profits away from the tax man from wealth extraction countries like the UK, and buying production labour where it is cheapest and least bothered by human rights.

The squeeze is tangible, particularly on the white collar new workers who range from the lowliest of call centre operatives up to some highly educated city executives. As an employee you are either made more and more into a commodity by the supply from Universities, or you are treated more and more like an expendible commodity rather than a resource, because that is the lowest common denominator, That is how low capitalism can go in reducing costs and reducing the risk of having too many employees on its bank roll, with too high a cost of sacking when the new financial year or even quarter comes.

The Tories and the New Right across western countries are still able to of course rely on Organised Captial to help them and they are part and parcel of it, while they can buy the share of voice in the traditional medias for now, and social media soon, in order to get their anti left propaganda across. Coupled to this are all the moral issue but also the aspirant appeal, the American Dream, where the promise of lower taxes and higher property values. This is a linked leverage. In the old days of wage rises, a 1 % rate rise in wages lead to a 3% rise in property value because the average worker could lever three times single income. Now people can lever 5 times family income given they have some seed capital, so a 2% tax cut and a measly sub RPI 1% pay rise, can lead to a 9% rise in property value. Rentals are even better because people without capital or with wages lower than entry level property in a metropolitan area, can pay a far higher portion of their income than owners have to. More well heeled middle to older age workers can move into property and use their time managing flats for rental, with the ability to pay capital and release gains into further investment. Surgeons, dentists  and engineers just give up sweating all day for a living and buy a chain of flats in former slum areas, move out the slum tennants, a lick of paint and some chinese white wares and now it is 'what the market will bare' with the Google Bus or walking distance to the Tube in the former ghetto.

Of course there was a time when I wanted to be one of those well heeled new gentry, but I qualified about three years too late with all and sundry of masters graduates to compete with, rather than a feather in my cap, I was over qualified for the positiion in the ladder I had come on. So really I have rationalised away my mediocre income relative to responsibility and hours travelling or writing meeting reports or strategies, and pissed off abroad where I can work an 8 hour day and no one bats an eyelid, plus I get over time or time in lieu if I work more. Of course all those niceties are under threat across Europe, Canada and Australia now too as we are asked to compete.

Compete with what? We are primary-tertiary economies with a thin layer of high tech which is only there because of government spending on medicare, pharma and defence. On the primary side, we see how Aus , Canada, Norway and the UK are hit by slumps in prices and demand. However there will be uptimes too, where commodities like oil are economic to extract and no one cares if workers make a decent living out of them again. The tertiary economy then, just what are we competing with ?

In the service economy you have many sub sectors where you just cannot really deliver from a lower cost country. Energy for example. Despite new interconnectors, the majority of energy in most EU/EEA countries is produced and  consumed domestically. Interconnectors just have capacity for selling the excess energy when prices are high. Think of this, you cannot sell a burger to a hungry man in Birmingham from Shanghai. There are many more complex consumer and business to business transactions which cannot happen elsewhere, and despite tourism and the internet, a large amount of money circulates within national or regional economies due to physical and cultural ring fences. However these industries are those with the lowest wages and worst working conditions where profits are very often most exported. These are the industries most used to part time labour, avoiding any over time, using zero hours contracts and sacking people at time served or age related thresholds for higher 'on costs'.

We are living in tertiary economies where there is an illusion of the need to compete globally and the propaganda in the media against the ills of unionisation and stronger labour laws which favour full time work, permanent contracts and wages people can live on as active and aspirant members of society with. Taxation is the big stick to hit the electorate with, with the wasteful left wing bearing the brunt while pharma companies extract huge prices for new chronic treatments, while neglecting to invest in new life saving antibiotics. Increasingly, the government pays for the secondary economy, manufacturing and construction, while allowing it too to offer poorer and poorer pay and conditions to workers, relative to the real cost of living.

Capitalism is the only economic system so far which has worked for more than five years in a row, and many capitalist enterprises have failed such as the UK railways before the big 4 monopolisation act. The canals before that. Marconni after all this. The various internet bubble companies. Clive Sinclair, Rover Cars. Woolworths. When capitalism organises itself and then organises government and media to its own ends, then in fact fewer people are taken cradle to grave in a degree of security related to working effort. More people are locked out of being house owners. Fewer people have access to healthcare. Most of all, fewer people actually have ability to earn more money in relation to the cost of living, even when they are self employed. Capitalism accumulates wealth upwards into those who own more at the expense of those who sell their labour, that is an inavoidable truism which Marx, Thacher, Clement Atlee and Donald Trump can agree on. It has found the leverage mechanism to keep that thin third layer in the middle happy most of the time by tax cuts levered to the property market, but now in the west capital is looking to a future where far fewer people own homes and far more are dependent on capiital to provide for them.

In then a bizarre through-the-looking-glass paradox, capitalism offers to be a system to bet on from your cradle to your grave, which will reward your hard work with material gains only that they will be rented to you and provided by nanny capitalism. This view then goes further to mirror the failures of socialism, because increasingly capitalism needs more and more of your income and denies you more and more discretionary spending in order to feed itself as a system of greed and actually build those houses you will rent. It goes so far as of course needing to locate businesses in areas to increase demand for rented property, a planned economy as we see with co-investment in the USA. Also of course it owns more utilities which you have to use, and squeezes more money out of you via these because in order to attract capitalisation on the stock exchange, the 'competing' utilities have to pay-to-play with price parity and high profits, otherwise they dont have enough capital to lever investment in infrastructure.

With small and large employers alike, the owners or 'made man' managers can basically get something cheap or for free in the same way people expected second pairs of glasses on the NHS, or above inflation pay rises from the 'bad old days'. They can expect workers to do interns, or state subsidised work experience. They can offer zero hours contracts, or cut hours without warning. They can demand unpaid overtime as part of the job. When they do all this it goes out over the work force personally, and the state picks up the tab in unemployment and family income support - " work should always pay " is a mantra of both Brown and Cameron, rather than in fact forcing employers to take the responsibility and risk. The nanny state steps in to help prop up weak employers who dont want to risk having too many full time, permanent employees. Corporate welfare by the back door and front.

The state comes and bails them all out these days. Wallmart in the US, get cheap workers bailed out with welfare cheques. Big pharma in the US stil get preferential negotiatioins against the main government private insurance system because it has lobbied it into a cocked hat. The rail companies in the UK get their infrastructure paid for with state bail outs to keep the track safe and open new capacity, and even they get their new rolling stock bought by the state. They get their monopoly routes and over inflation fare rises rubber stamped by a Tory party still desperate to make a success of the mess they made of privatisation without competition. And of course the biggest bail out of them all, they first get national governments and state banks to borrow squillions totally irresponsibly and quite like with wide scale corruption dressed up as economic development. They also demand less control, less restriction, looser laws and the resulting increase in state sponsored, corrupt loans and anarchy in the financial vehicle markets crashes nearly the entirre western economy. Only they get a bail out from the casino they built, the nanny state gives them corporate welfare to protect society from themselves, and then uses the capitalist media to tell citizens that their last (left wing usually) governments were so irresponsible in their borrowing and are the real cause of the ills of society. Capital has organised itself to be ultimately powerful and ultimately legally corrupt.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Drachma and United States of Europe....

The late seventies'  'great lie' the media calles it. Jim Callaghan, the then PMOUK, announced to the public that the pound would be devalued, in order for exports to be more competitive, with the alleged lie being "of course this doesn't mean the pound in your pocket will be worth any less". Labour was derided at the time, and the post empire UK labelled 'the sick man of Europe'.

We had the concepts of being competitive on a high value pound and being told to accept the fate of not being able to be as productive in the UK as the far east. While many commodoties and compoonents fell relatively in price, the strong pound helped the finance industry lever itself up the international ladder while manufacturing ebbed away. We swallowed the new lie that capitalism would take better care of us, from cradle to grave in return only for honest, hard work.

However 'Callaghan's great labour lie ' is probably the best cure today for Greece, but unfortunately they dont have the option without even more pain. If Europe's oldest democracy had retained their own currency, the Drachma, then they could have been enjoying the biggest upswing in their economy since their poat war hey days of oil tanker fleets and the jet set tourist. In the european order of worker poor, owner rich with flat wages and real term errosion of discretionary income, the chance of a cheap-as-chips holiday would mean that there would be growth in tourist numbers which would eclipse the numbers of refugees landing on their shores.

The huge unsung hero of western economies in the face of far east manufacturing, has been service engineering - mending and make do, refurbishment and routine maintenance on all those machines now built in the east, but designed in the west and
In need of a shorter down time than shipping back to their factory sites permits. Greece still has a maritime industry which could have become competitive overnight.

Alas Greece joined the Euro and in that went like a horse and cart with the sickdom of the tertiary economy, the debt orgy and meta democracy. Staying with the Drachma could have been a more natural barrier to the loans-feast whixch the state and national banks took part in. Leverage risk would have been reflected in currency transactions, and even in a an ERM where a fall out would have alerted the CEB, the IMF and the global banks to the trouble Greece may have been in.

Norway has retained its own currency and has the calamity of low oil prices to cope with now. The worst doom sayers predict that as much as a quarter of the workforce will be made unemployed, with a higher level of youth unemployment, wider scale under-employment and for the first time in two generations,  worker emmigration. However on the one side the 'oil fund' is being engaged to provide balance in the state budget and some may be used on much needed infrastucture projects. At the same time though, the government dont have the resources to float the currency at pre-2015 levels when the oil flowed over 100 USD per barrel, in order to sustain consumer spending power and cheap commodity import.

Neither do they want to. Other industries like fishing-aquaculture, IT and aluminium are suddenly 20% or more price competitive conpared to 2014 and can recruit the best engineers now. Commodity prices have fallen as general demand has waned, yet some markets are strong such as aluminium alloy wheels for higher value cars,  and now the phoenix of solar panel production can be competitive on a world stage.

The norsk krone has devalued between 20 and 30% against the major currencies within a year, and shows no signs of climbing. However retail price inflation is negligible. Much to the contrary of the Farming Industry PR about a future global food shortage, grain has never been cheaper relative to currency in modern times. Freed from the US dumping of subsidised grain on the African 'Aid' market, farmers in the third world can gain a market price on their grains. Norway is a net importer of calories , but has a large, semi protected market for meats and dairy and consumes more fish per capita than most any other EU-EEA country which is predominantly landed in the domestic ports.

Also the potential price increase on things like foriegn holidays is off balanced by falling demand and importer-retailers taking a similar margin hit in order to maintain top line in Krone and hold onto market share. So in fact within the new-world-interest-rate-order, the krone in your pocket really isn't worth that much less until you go abroad.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Tackling the FaceBook Pest Friend

Facebook is for me a wonderful means of both keeping informed in one place, and keeping in touch in a single directory. In fact it has become the main channel for just about everything on the electric internet for me, a prediction which many made years ago about how things would go, into channels rather than googled anarchy.

However of course, Facebook is also the worlds worst anti-social media. How do you cope with the sarcastic, the obtuse and the partonising friends you have gathered on FB whom you don't quite have the heart to de-friend or block ?

Luckily FB have a few new, subtle tricks up their sleaves. . .     which are not very publicised perhaps sothat they can offer advice in the background and the main defence is below the bully and face book clown's radar.

A Two Way Social Street Of Irritation

Amongst the new s stories, albums of UK freinds children's midterm holid ays, who likes for liberty, who likes for racism, etc there are my own posts which are both personal, political and ecle ctic by nature. I used to post very often and Like in a scrolling daily session, but that is the absolute turn key solution to having most folk set you on what used to be the rather bluntly called 'ignore'.

I don't know how ignore evolved into today's selective news-feed, where highly liked posts of mine obviously appear on folk who otherwise ignore me. FB is a two way street where you both expose your life events and opinions to an audience, while exposing yourself to the whit of old pals and outright bullying from people you maybe should be more selective about befriending.

Yes, Very Funny....How is the Divoce Going btw ?

Perhaps you have an eternal smart alec pal,  who likes to think they are cutting you down to size with their sarcy or slighly overly personal comments on your posts?  Or you have a purile freind who never got beyond the front bottoms and who may have shagged who innuendo phase? Or someone who is outright patronising and wants to belittle your interests in a greener future and better rights for refugees? How do you manage them away without telling them to, well, piss off?

There is then the place for my oldest pal, who behaves the same almost in social media as after a few beers at a party over his social standing. He is mildly put the most antisocial person I  am good friends status with. We follow each other with a brother like connection since 1972. Many good memories, those car crashes, the ambitious mountain tours and the 'went large' drinking sessions of the most formative years of our lives, shared in technicolor memories often best kept between the two of us.

Old Friends, Old Issues, New Media.....

Being dear old friends (my longest standing at over 40 years) aside, as from the very day I met him, he never fails to disappoint or irritate. He has always wanted to get one up on me, from the day he learnt he could turn on the hot tap, wash his hands first and leave me with scalding hot water to contend with. It took me two years to realise he was rushing to the hot water first  in order to pull this rather odd little  'I win!' trick.

On Face Book this one-upmanship continues from time to time.  He goes through phases of making sarcastic and/or lewd comments and innuendo on any of my posts., Sometimes all my posts over a whole week have some of his remarks which are just embarressing -I mean do I want to be associated with him and dragged down to the level of a smutty fifteen year old with attention deficiency?

If I deleted one of his more tasteless comments or outright porno-posting or tagging, i would get a PM "ooh, didn't like my comment, wee shame that" or another public comment. He got with that fad for posting really repugnant comments of which the first line  appeared in the warning bar, and i had to rush onto FB only to find an edited or deleted post in its place. I reciprocated as no harm was done.

A year or two ago it came to a head though,  with him posting more or less porn and anti cyclist (he is a mad motor cyclists who resents our tax free status!) onto my time line and making increasingly irritating and sarcastic comments on everything and getting into arguments with some of my couthed pals on FB. His messenger PMs became perverse, some promoting violence against women and even some questionably legal images popped up.  It was more than embarressing and irritating, it was infuriating and non stop. So not only did I de-friend him, I blocked him.

Going Nuclear - The Block

Blocking is very finiite. It is the FB equivalent of going ex directory and moving town, only in a virtual form which is of course very specific between two people. A kind of ersatz witness protectuiin button for Cyberia's main metropolis- FB.  It was the best answer given how far over the mark he stepped,  and life was blissfully quiet in th comment field sense. Posting with inpunity. Persona non grata.

Time passed and we skyped or something, his tail maybe slightly between his legs, but mostly he was curious and his ego was a bit bruised. I burried the hatchet while he had some sense of how irritating he had been yet how he miased having me on FB. I PM'ed him an 'unFuck You'  jpeg.

It struck me that all this brash and stupid posting and PMing had been around the time he was splitting up with his wife, and many of our old real life pals turned FB conacts chose her side. He was kind of lashing out at someone close to him as a form of keeping his ego goign while all around were sending him to the preverbial Coventry of socially not accepted for pushing your wife around.

So befriended we again and it was good to use FB and FB messernger to keep in touch and eventually plan a meet up in an old Stomping ground in Scotland when I took the family there. He had rented a dilapidated places with an astounding veiw and atmosphere by a beach with an island and a view over to Ulster on clearer days. It went great for the first 24 houurs, then he grew irriated at having us there and me being assertive with the both our kids.  Worse, he started trying to keep tabs on how much he was spending on the week he had, versuis maybe how little we were contributing. We bought dinner at the pub first night,  all the food and most of the drink for two days stay while he, credit rating 'nae chance pal' went empty for money.  He got irritated at having company and did his usual crap of ignoringnother people,s conversation and paying attention to rolling fags or collecting wood-  the only worth following being his own chosen topics and chances to either deliver opinion, or satisfy his curiousity.

After hols on my birthday, he posted a very unflattering piccie of me in my current fatness, and it was kind of a sign that yeah, thats what old pals do to each other, but on FB and actually staying under the same roof,  very small doses were what was required. 

How then  do you manage such a freind on FB? Keeping in touch, but on your own terms ? Reserving a large degree of privacy, maintainng dignity and standards on your own timw line, by avoiding them subtlwey yet not quite ostrecising them and maybe letting them

New Tools Hidden In FaceBook's Inner Account Workings

It is very similar to some teenage bullying situations where a 'pal' wants to bully you but will always humour you enough to keep you from going nuclear ' block' It is as I did, worth blocking if it goes over the mark and you  feel embarre ssed or even harrassed. Exclusion bullying could of cource continue because the block is reciprocal - you are evaouprated to each other from the ether o f th is duplicit media.

I am very glad that I didnt have FB and snapchat and Whats app when I was a teeneager. I was on the fringes of most social groups and could be taken as being a bit weird, being crushed by shyness and a resulting teen social anxiety which crippled much of the young me until I blossomed at uni. I seemed to spend a fair time at uni avoiding one night stands later, which would have been able to FB me and stalk me today., However, Old I will grow on FB and I just dont like the idea of having to cut some people off altogether, while I cannot stand their attitudes in some respects.

When you have a pal who is a bit of an arse and yeah, maybe a bit of a bully who takes advantage of peoples better nature to irk and tease to their own ego's fulfillment, how can you tackle this without the de-friend or the atomic Block!? 

Facebook has luckily evolved a couple of very subtle settings and a listing which help you manage these rather tiring smutty, rude and obtuse pals. Firstly of course a common form of bullying is tagging and time line posting. It is pretty much a carte blanche for bullies,  or just having a lauigh at some ones expense on the lighter side. Here you can set both of these on review, which is more sub tle methodology than just switching it off, which lets the bully know you are vulnerable or the friend know that you are less social tghan they thouuoght and dont take a joke. To the friend posting or tagging, it looks like it has worked but in fact it is only the t wo of you, i believe,  who can see these until you approve them...or choose to leave them i n a  little private limbo.

Changing FB Mechanisms as Cyber Bullying Evolves

This of course doesn't stop a bully or irksome freind from commenting on your posts. In the old days you could divise lists or use "all but xxx' as an option which later would appear in the pull down option for privacy setting for new posts and indeed be default after first engaged if not swapping back. This feature was used though for an insidious type of bullying where of course the victim was excluded from say an embarresing or even naked photo of them. The fearure is away from my versions of FB app and web at least, probabkly due to this blind sided bullying. What left"

Well there is a very nice subtle feature which is a people-list  called 'restricted' (begrenset in norsk) When you place an FB contact into this list, they only see your public postings and posts which you are tagged in which also have public setting. For me this means that my tiresome pal, who is splitting up with his next live in girl friend now, cant harrange me and have his favourite hobby every smoking break of making stupid comments with a snigger under his breath. From his side, he probabbly thinks I have fallen off FB, perhaps he feels he has been successful in stopping me flood his news feed or even in bullying me off personalia and stuff on FB. The victory is all mine though.

Coupled to review posting to my time line and tagging he is in presumably ignorant bliss, while I am in sarcasm free space with the 'bad smell' freind both brushed off my social side on the internet. He doesnt get the satisfaction of being able to turn on his samsung FB in a fag break and finding some way of taunting, irritating or just making a stupid comment on my posts. Also of course I no longer have so many dumb like notices popping up red, and know that I no longer have to sidft thorugh his crap after a day awauy from looking at updates.

Real bullies are best blocked and a good off line friends should also be encouraged to evapourate them such that thwey feel the cold shoulder. Also they should not be let back into a circle of close friends on line again. However we all have people we want to kwep up with cia FB, yet would rather maybe not let into our complete lives we otherwise find joy in sharing with old freinds and family.

There are ex'es who looked us up and either hold a candle or just still think it is ok to have you on their list of digital aquaintances. Then there are of course also bosses, and prospective employers who are ideal for this type of 'look warm shoulder' treatment. You can nurture a more sober profile, keep family out , or make an outright professionalnpublic image towards this list of colleagues for example.

My mate has stopped commenting on even my public posts now, they are quite infrequent. It is pretty apparent that really I had become the focus of 90% of his FB activcity in a kind of obsession linked to being bruised in ego in other areas of life. I am the lsst person who bothers wit him when he has had a shouting match with his other-half and shes kicked him out. He kind of measured him self up against me, and in that very scottish way wanted to knock me off a perciweved high horse down into the shit with him. With his latest 'serious' , cohabitant GF  he had  to face the reality of his in the flesh bad , arrogant, self  centred and self righteous behaviour. Not that he tellls me what has happened- he retains an ounce of power against someone in his ever decereasing circle by that of course.

On balance living in the same house for more than a night, takin him to social events above his purile station and of course his intolerable crap on FB are all that is wring with being a mate with him. All three can be managed by me . now, so i restrict him to where the common ground lies which i am comfortable on with him.

He can sort out his bruised ego and cold shoulder from others off line, while I am in a new happy place - still freinds, still in touch, still apparently available but very much in the comfort zone on FB.