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Bing Bong, Karl Marx Calling!

An Inspector Calls? At least the kids are spared Kes. For now...
 
THIRTY YEARS is a long time for anyone, writes Adrian Ash at BullionVault.
 
Yet for English school kids, the world of literature has apparently stood still for more than twice as long. 
 
This year's GSCE set texts include An Inspector Calls...that damp squib of amateur dramatics written in the 1940s... 
 
...about the pre-Great War Edwardians of 1912... 
 
...forced on me in the 1980s... 
 
...just like my eldest is now having to learn quotes from the play again today! 
 
Still, at least today's teenagers are spared the misery of reading or watching Kes.
 
But even that small mercy could be undone if Jeremy Corbyn wins the Election this Thursday!
"You're squiffy...I speak as a hard-headed business man...Unsinkable, absolutely unsinksable..." 
Yes, the dusty old quotes from An Inspector Calls still reach out from ages past to bore a whole new generation to tears here in 2017. 
 
A wealthy, social-climbing factory-owner's family is shamed by the poor woman they abused or ignored to death...and all with the spectre of the Inspector standing in for the Socialism about to sweep Europe after the blood and toil of two world wars which only we, the audience, can see coming.
 
Cue lots more underlining and scribbling around the two key bits...
"Take my word for it, you youngsters...and I've learnt in the good hard school of experience...that a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own and..." 
 
Stage direction: "We hear the sharp ring of a front door bell." 
And at that front door waits the Inspector of the title...come to announce...in the end...that...
"We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other."
Bing-bong, Karl Marx calling! Or so the Conservative's Margaret Thatcher pretty much said 40 years after Priestley's play was first performed (in Soviet Leningrad of all places). 
 
Put another way, "The posh should care more" versus "You should get real and stop spending my money". The Tories and Labour have got their lines muddled up in recent years, but isn't this issue of responsibility – that either we should all care for each other, or we should all take charge of our own affairs first – what last year's Brexit shock has come to stand for, as well as this week's UK election?
 
Minus the war bit, perhaps. And with the NHS now standing in for the love and care which we used to give our ageing parents when they lived just around the corner? 
 
Politics aside, and no matter who wins, the British people will only grow older...and the cost of caring for them will only rise...as the dependency ratio worsens. 
 
Maybe a truly 21st Century An Inspector Calls would re-cast the detective as a debt collector...come to seize the house, furniture and cutlery before either the Birlings or their servants get a bite of dinner. 
 
Short-term meantime, we might get some fireworks in the financial markets this week if Theresa May wins anything less than a thumping majority. Most especially in the British Pound and London stock market.
 
No, political events rarely move gold directly. But the metal tends to react when other financial markets jump or take fright.
 
So based on #GE2017 here in the UK, gold prices will probably only rise in Dollar or Euro terms if the result gives no result at all and the world's 5th largest economy gets a hung parliament. Bullion will only soar if Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party manages to win. ( See here for asset-class analysis of the last 5 UK elections.)
 
That's currently priced at 7/1 against by the bookies. Such fat odds might sound worth a punt, but actually that offers terrible value given the huge market impact to Sterling, the FTSE and pretty much every other UK asset if Labour do win. 
 
Further ahead – and whichever rosette wins Thursday night's UK result – next week brings a crucial US Fed vote on Dollar interest rates. 
 
Everyone still expects the Fed will raise rates again. Which they probably will. But the early-2017 jump in inflation has dropped back on latest data, pulling longer-term interest rates down in the bond market. 
 
You might wonder if this slow, deflationary undertow in the global economy doesn't echo the pre-WWI world of huge wealth inequality, plus growing economic nationalism as the tide of free trade peaked and crested. 
 
Either way, lower bond yields and lower Fed rate forecasts "all means a reduced opportunity cost of holding gold and greater motivation for income funds to allocate something to it," as strategist Tom Kendall at ICBC Standard Bank says. 
 
Hence gold's latest attempt to reach and breach the 6-year downtrend starting at its 2011 all-time highs in Dollar terms. 
 
(Gold long ago broke higher in Euro and Sterling terms, and never really turned lower for many other currencies.)
 
Breaking through that line – now at around $1291-1295 in terms of the almighty US Dollar – would be a "game changer" according to technical analysts of chart patterns. 
 
Because what has stopped going down must go up. At least in financial markets, if not in the polls.

Adrian Ash is director of research at BullionVault, the physical gold and silver market for private investors online. Formerly head of editorial at London's top publisher of private-investment advice, he was City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning from 2003 to 2008, and is now a regular contributor to many leading analysis sites including Forbes and a regular guest on BBC national and international radio and television news. Adrian's views on the gold market have been sought by the Financial Times and Economist magazine in London; CNBC, Bloomberg and TheStreet.com in New York; Germany's Der Stern; Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore, and many other respected finance publications.

See the full archive of Adrian Ash articles on GoldNews.

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