Thursday, 31 August 2017

Britain in Texas and USA in UK - waving or drowning?

The details of the effects of Storm Harvey on Houston and Texas are horrifying. And the storm warnings now spreading as far as Louisiana.

And as with Storm Katrina and the deluge that afflicted New Orleans just a few years ago, it is astonishing to see a city, an American city, and Houston as the 4th largest American city yet again in a primeval life or death struggle.

That said, to have just two deaths in the first few days and as of now still only seven deaths is very fortunate indeed. Especially with Storm Harvey retreating, then attacking the American coast again.

With most households without insurance and at least 10% and upto 30% of America's oil refining affected, the economic storms - and blame game - will continue long after Harvey has disappeared. Moody's already place the storm damage at upto $50BN - something of an extraordinary guesstimate given the storm still rages.

Certainly Climate Change has yielded one of the strangest Summers - perhaps with La Nina an added and foreseeable factor - with blazing forest fires across California, Portugal, France, the Balkans and Australia. Floods of the same magnitude of Harvey have affected India and Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand several times this year with 1,200 dead in the latest stormburst.

And with the Arctic icecap at its lowest level and potentially a sea route, Climate Change is cutting no ice in the threat it poses and already a very real factor for Resilience beyond the Lone Star state and levees of Louisiana.

##The only negative on the Bank Holiday the worst UK motorway accident in decades with 8 dead in the sort of minibus and HGV and drinkdriving crash that is sadly all too routine in Thailand - the latest toll of over 8,000 dead so far this year now routinely cited in comparison to (4x) UK levels. The UK as a Sporting Superpower whether by Aston Martin or on the buses should certainly consider itself a Road Safety Superpower too.

And here in Kent the warmest Bank Holiday Monday on record is a relief but likely matched by more severe Autumn and Winter storms. A drop of rain though playing havoc with East Kent's broken sewers and blocked drains that would shame Houston and should shame Southern Water.

While Houston’s issue of building on flood plains and weak town planning is hardly unknown in UK given the rash of mega-towns planned with no more review than dividing the bloated annual housing target by each council.

The rising tide of excessive salaries and pensions for monopoly institutions such as councils has begun to be highlighted by Lord Adonis in readiness for Parliament returning, over university vicechacellors and academy schools.

And still there is no NHS update on last Winter's excess OAP deaths - the awful sight of Houston's La Vita Bella care home patients upto their waists in floodwater a real concern for UK too. While the damage to hospitals and pharmacies and their medical stocks will pose a medical threat beyond diabetes and defibrillators, or statins and tetanus.

While the strange Sussex toxic coastal haze - just down the sealanes from East Kent - with hundreds of sunbathers affected by a mysterious choking cloud has raised questions over shipping pollution, access to decontamination units and even wartime mines.

And if USA as the world's richest nation and plethora of State agencies from FEMA to DHS to National Guard to USCG to military reservists can be so badly affected by not one but two storms, then the warning light is blinking for the rest of the world.

Perhaps the Louisiana Delta should be added to the Bangladeshi and Mekong deltas - or even the Thames Barrier - as the UN regions most at risk of ongoing Climate Change.

And of particular concern is the closure of the UK's Texas consulate during the storm. Surely that's when it's most needed for UK and EU - and USA - residents and tourists and businesses? What worth is a fair weather friend when the storms blow?

It's possibly the worst UK effort on the American continent since Yorktown.

And a Trumpian wall has proved something of a liability given Mexico not hesitating in stepping forward with support for their Texan friends.

And what worth is the UK in the Caribbean if the Royal Navy is not on high alert during the storm seasons?

There's no vast meteorological expertise needed to know that the Caribbean and Pacific in Summer have the most damaging storms - some 90% of all natural disaster casualties. A navy that sails away from the guns and thunder is of little use.

Monserrat for example as a British Overseas Territory and Caribbean Commonwealth member, even suffering a volcanic explosion that affects it today.

But the Bank Holiday Monday hosted the Notting Hill carnival in London - Europe's largest street festival - and slightly more subdued than usual for its proximity to the Grenfell tower block fire.

And astonishingly a Royal Navy parade too. A rum do indeed.

Surely the Royal Navy is needed in Texas and the West Caribbean not sashaying through West London, on the lash for rum and sodomy?

This RN pina colada party on the rates all the more embarrassing with the Edinburgh military tattoo hosting a US admiral for the first time, and the grim accidents afflicting overworked US Navy ships such as USS John McCain.

The UK's Royal Marines could perhaps best deployed in their traditional role of shooting down errant bluejackets if this is the best use of tax.

The excellent Max Hastings book Catastrophe 1914 even cites Winston Churchill - the archbuccaneer of Channel raids and Gallipoli - as First Sea Lord(!) that: "the Navy are very bad at war" and much earlier that the navy was: "intellectually becalmed in the smoke of Trafalgar".

Losing the peace seems the order of the day now - or at least the Caribbean - and endangering UK citizens with a lack of Resilience rigour.

How would British relatives contact Texas with the consulate closed? More pressure on the 911 numbers? Via the UK embassy in Washington - a continent and two or three time zones away so that it may as well be in the Solomon islands. Via the Eire embassy and overwhelm their phone systems too? Or leave a soggy voicemail after the beep if the electricity is still on?

Operation Smile medical ships as a minimum would be a serious improvement in military medical support. Although the NATO naval efforts in the Mediterranean regimes collapse and thousands of boat people deaths, even with Britain only now refloating the Libyan embassy and Thomas Cook refloating the Tunisian tourism industry, hardly inspires confidence.

And if the success of the RNLI in fundraising is perhaps negative in excessive kit - a quad bike roaring up and down Kent's Blue Flag beaches? - for just 40 water deaths a year then surely as a sea-based Red Cross its international activities are far weaker than they should be? 400 water deaths in Vietnam and the same again in Thailand and Philippines can only increase without Climate Change Resilience efforts.

While the UK's municipal dither and can't-do over incidents such as Grenfell, or Thor mercury – is that so different from the Arkema explosion or flood dangers at UK nuclear sites such as Dungeness - is in stark contrast to the firm leadership of US Governor's Abbott in Texas with Harvey, McCauliffe in Virginia with Charlottesville, and Bobby Jindal with Deepwater Horizon.

While Asia's Prayut and Duterte haven't been caught slow in stepping forward on the Isaan floods and resurgent ISIS Marawi conflict.

Fortunately, Arizona's veteran Senator shrugging off brain cancer in the sunlit uplands of the fight for Obamacare. And Thailand's dynamic Senator Tammy Duckworth leading the charge on aviation improvements in Illinois factories and universities that, beyond mere earmarks, and the scraping of the pork barrel, would fully deliver American Resilience.

While previous Ambassador Barzun sterling efforts in highlighting Kent's Pocahontas and Virginia's Jamestown whether in the cold Kentucky rain, London fog or Kent sunshine means he’s not the first Kentucky thoroughbred or hopefully the last to turn up on Kent’s shores.

Flyover country can't always be a flyspeck in Washington? And there must be more inspiring sports events than the Bladensburg Races?

And new Ambassador Woody Johnson must also be loosening his dungarees, tapping out his corncob pipe and pulling up a straw bale at the County Barn to see how Kent and USA links can be developed? Any fried chicken mess on the front seat of his Jeep Landrover or John Deere tractor could be wiped away with a Johnson and Johnson wetwipe to develop USA trade beyond junk food. Just look at the success of Wyoming in ASEAN.

A 21st century Lend-Lease for say cargo helicopters and support ships for Caribbean and Pacific nations is hardly impossible - nor is consistent global emergency numbers and websites. At least Texans on holiday know to call 911 in New Orleans or New York but what about in New Delhi or New Caledonia or if there was a Harvey in Havana, or even the Shambles of Old York underwater again?

And such efforts would be sustainably viable to help refloat the global economy and minimise future storm damage. In my advertising role, perhaps icons such as The Man from the Pru, or the quiet diligence of Willis, is needed once more if the men from the Royal Navy are out partying?

And in my politics role I've long argued for Town Insurance Schemes - Bristol and London scoping out similar green energy plans - of reduced insurance for say East Kent's 250,000 citizens and 75,000 homes joining a council plan. Such volume and certainty, would also allow for rapid and full settlement of claims along with, say free travel insurance for Kent's citizens, as well as any Texan visitors.

Certainly the storm clouds of UKIP medical tourism would be held at bay - and Learmonth's Learjet on standby for Kent citizens unfortunate to fall prey to the worst excesses of America's dysfunctional healthcare systems.

For East Kent in the shadow of the white cliffs of Dover, needs no lessons in the value of the sea, and not since the days of the perilous storms of the Spanish Armada with UK citizens and sailors abandoned dead and dying in the streets of Margate has there been such failure of national will in the howling winds of Climate Change.

With most of the world's 7BN mouths in cities and most of those cities by the coast and rivers, the dangers of Harvey are ever more likely and the failures of Katrina ever more unacceptable.

While the absurd overspend on aircraft carriers without any - or very few - aircraft seems a result of what Hastings terms the Admiralty's slow seadogs. The Russian Defence Minister - worryingly also viewing UK through the telescope of the defunct Cold War as an implacable European foe - simply terms them bigger targets for drones.

And the UK RN base in the Gulf seems to be the Navy's 7 ships trying to ape the role of the USN 40 ships. Or worse, propping up some of the worst Gulf kingdoms - that increasingly an anachronism with the end of both oil and the combustion engine.

Private Eye citing the Northern Ireland police denying then confirming training the Omani police and military in torture techniques raises questions of how UK military and civilian police should be used abroad.

The chaos of the Trump White House still hasn't appointed FEMA hurricane directors and only now some 10 months on after election and the tempest of Oval Office purges, a USA Ambassador to London. Shouldn't Anglo-American relations be better than the usual better late than never? Perhaps the Lone Star state should reopen its old embassy in Trafalgar Square to fast-forward support from the limeys and other Europeans.

But for all the Royal Navy's idling in port, Hastings cites over 809,000 men, 203,000 horses and 250,000 tons of stores shipped across the stormy Channel without loss, as well as fending off the first Uboat induced famine, in the Autumn of 1914.

The lack of cargo helicopters and in-air refuelling now suggests deeper failures in Resilience and war-making capabilities sit under the surface. The US Marines buying up all the UK's Harrier jump jets, for carrier and jungle and desert airstrips.

And even President Trump raising concerns over the cost and viability of the F35 jets, and Saudi Arabia flying more British military jets than Britain, suggests the Royal Navy is adrift in a sea of vanity projects, Cold War reactionism, inter-service rivalry, and plain old-fashioned nautical nincompoopery.

Since at least the carrier battles of 1944, the role of the world's navies has been something of an anachronism as well as a luxury. And Houston underwater is an unacceptable price to pay for either a lack of UK Resilience efforts or the UK standing both shoulder to shoulder and knee deep with the Lone Star state.

The beginnings of another round of naval disarmament and limits may be beyond any one military service, but at the very least a more co-ordinated UK and NATO is crucial. And Resilience factors, whether the military and first responder coordination or cargo helicopters and forward-placed aid dumps and rotations is vital.

A cheap and simple and recyclable Higgins Boat – developed on the bayous before DDay -or Barney’s Barges, if you will. Britain's shipyards couldn't build them all but whether in San Diego or Virginia Beach, or Dhakar or Hong Kong or Pusan a raft of such Gresham Liberty Ships, and new materials such as graphene would be a breakwater against Climate Change.

While Bill Gates sat in the pouring, ever warmer, rain of coastal Seattle must surely have computer-crunched population centres and rainfall with the 8% of malaria deaths not in Africa, or at least in Central America's Nicaraguan Mosquito Coast and Haiti?

How disastrous if the Houston disaster was to last as long as the aftershock of the Port-au-Prince earthquake.

While USA struggling already with Third World medicare even before the Trumpian attemps to reverse Obamacare, must highlight the need for civil and military medical Resilience. Even if the Canadian NHS has to provide it.

To say nothing of cancer or dementia drugs poured down the plughole in hospitals and pharmacies from disasters such as Harvey.

The UK's year of silliness on Brexit, and now the empty position papers must have cost at least 0.7% in GDP for nothing at all except national decline and drift.

And Gates and Buffett and Branson and Bezos and Slim and Polman and Bono and Carter and Annan urging a G20 UNSDG 0.7% Fund would almost instantly deliver it. Who would want to delay the UNSDG30 and Resilience in its first year? If President Trump delayed, then President Zuckerberg certainly wouldn't, but why wait four more years or even four more months?

While the bumper glut of Latin American crops this year and the usual tsunami of Thai and Indian rice should refloat any Resilience city or island, as well as being regularly funnelled into UNFAO Scaling Up Nutrition work against malnutrition.

Virginia's dynamic Governor and First Lady keeping a weather eye out for childhood malnutrition, and proving their Breakfast Club has more substance than an ‘80's teenflick. All the more concerning here in UK with a rising tide of food banks, junk food malnutrition, cuisine culture fading and inattention to five a day foods.
And even important beyond La Vita Bella for Kent's pensioners in care homes, or with meals on wheels nursing, and especially Kent's Special Measures hospitals if water already has to be issued on prescription.

And Houston may yet face the waterborne diseases and alligators that Togo with the Carter Center has helped overcome this week to end lymphatic filariasis.
But Port Arthur battening down the hatches in true Dunkirk spirit and issuing an SOS call for a fleet of citizens and Little Ships that Ramsgate knows all too well.

The issue for the Lone Star state though is how quickly Houston will be rebuilt - the aftermath of Katrina and Fukushima, and Kobe and Nepal earthquakes even now suggests far less than is needed, or stated, will be done.

But certainly Royal Navy ships and helicopters would have been vital assists.

And what happens with the next storm? Waving or drowning again in USA and UK?


Thursday, 24 August 2017

PM Prayut charming Isaan - and Yasothon rice for UK High St?

One can't fault PM Prayut in his efforts to build political bridges in Isaan this week ahead of Friday's Yingluck rice court case, with his innovative mobile Cabinet meeting, Korat rail link revisions and even kissing a frog. That apt too given Princess Sirivannavari winning a silver medal on her horse Prince Charming in the SEA Games.

As an aside, with Thailand's Carabao Cup renaming the UK League Cup, and Everton with long-time sponsor Chang's Wayne Rooney retiring from international football surely the SEA Games and Asian Games should feature on UK television, and even with Sport England display sports? It's exactly the sort of sporting event that Channel Four built its reputation on.

And what a fascinating video interview with Khun Boontham the dynamic Governor of Yasothon - the Terry McAuliffe of Isaan? - Virginia's Governor also boosting cereals with his breakfast clubs, while damping down the Charlottesville furore.

Khun Boontham going the extra mile in his sterling efforts to boost organic rice in his province. Over 140,000 rai/acres of organic rice already planted.

And Khun Kobkarn, Sports and Tourism Minister, also now effectively Rice Minister - fresh from walking the fields of the Royal Doitung projects, and boosting women's tourism to ASEAN - is not afraid to get some Isaan mud between her toes, or swapping her Jimmy Choo’s for Wellington boots to help plant Yasothon's organic rice crop.

And interesting the efforts in Yasothon (why rebrand the province rice as Yaso though?) to pull together groups of supermarket buyers to get a first-hand taste of the potential for local sourcing and organic foods. With the Whole Foods and Amazon merger going ahead at pace, surely there's a wider opportunity for better food faster And food as a health tool.

With UK's Tesco Lotus offshoot and Netherland's Makro wholesalers already in Thailand, and retail giants such as Walmart ASda key presence on the UK High St and malls, an extensive ground-up strategy for Thai produce must be brewing, if not already percolating through the market?

Certainly PM Prayut’s charm offensive heralds a brighter future for Isaan.


Monday, 21 August 2017

UK and Thailand SME and DHL - just organic growth?

Khun Chananyarak Phetcharat of DHL Express Thailand makes some fascinating points in her Bangkok Post article on Thailand's 4.0 prosperity and SME trade:

As she points out Thailand’s SME are an inexhaustible Thai goldmine for innovation and creativity – and from the DHL Spice Trade report double the growth from cross-border trade than the existing 80% of domestic trade.

UK exports and economic forecasts understandably but perhaps foolishly focuses on FTSE100 companies, themselves largely international in nature compared to more UK-based FTSE250. While ignoring both SME companies that constitute 99% of UK jobs - and startup companies that disproportionately drive both jobs and profits.

Thailand will no doubt have similar SME opportunities - particularly the 80% of the economy centred on agriculture. TDRI research highlights 68% of Thai farms under 20 rai yet already 90% are mechanised. With an agricultural version of Internet of Things Rangsit University has already shown yields can already be increased by a third in rice.

The internet - and DHL - are surely though the ideal vehicle to unleash a perfect storm of creativity and exports for Thailand. Perhaps structured across a quadrant of BKK, beyond BKK and intra-ASEAN or intra-EU. Thailand's excellent Kitchen of the World cuisine culture programmes for example could be retooled and enhanced through digital tech.

Knitting together the nation after the Charter Referendum would be beyond DHL alone but certainly galvanising regional trade from the North East to the North to the Deep South is very viable.

The Michelin guide has only just begun to rate Thai cuisine whether hi-so restaurants or street food - a massive opportunity for Thailand's cuisine culture perhaps similar to Italy's in its breadth and range.

In my East Kent politics role as Mayor and MP candidate (Stop the Pollution. Stop the Corruption. Stop the Construction) it would be remiss of me not to mention East Kent's burgeoning Cuisine Culture with the Sportsman gastropub in Whitstable and Stark in Broadstairs along with, of course, Suirn Thai restaurant (try the sea bass!) in The Good Food Guide.

UK's 15,000 Thai restaurants have slipped back to c.12,000 - an opportunity to redress the flow of talented labour and foodstuffs for companies such as DHL and BOI?

Why shouldn't for example Thailand's regional rice brands be a trading force to be reckoned with? The crop is 50% of all Thailand’s agricultural land. Isaan's red rice and black rice are still relatively unknown here in UK - and completely unknown in EU just a stepping stone away from East Kent, even with Kent's Dover as Europe's largest port, and nearby Rotterdam and Zeebrugge, as Europe's other largest ports.

Certainly Thailand's SME farms and foods have the capacity to support DHL's activity.

While STEM activity with say TRF and True Tech park would be the perfect blend of local origination and traceability that UK supermarkets such as Walmart-Asda and Waitrose and Tesco Lotus are crying out for, as are their customers.

How absurd for example to have Waitrose Thai chillies sourced from India(!) and neither Kent nor Thai orchids. While say Isaan red rice harvested from Nok's Farm on the edge of Sisaket and tracked through its DHL delivery to Birmingham airport and Manchester restaurants would be a sparkling innovation in traceablity.

## Digital Farms A Real World Thing? ###

While if agritech is the leading promise of the Internet of Things - you could just ask Siri if extra food yield of more use than a text from your fridge to buy milk - in sustainably managing Climate Change. And food yield with soil and pesticide management for the forecasted surge to 11BN hungry mouths to feed in the world, and Mars by 2030.

Thailand's SME farmers could be Digital Farmers at the forefront of maximising exports. While Khun Chananyarak at the wheel of the DHL fleet would be the key driver of not just autonomous and electric vehicles but also boosting Thailand's crucial auto parts industry - and UK companies such as Unipart and Nissan Sunderland - for said vehicles.

Khun Chananyarak would no doubt be welcomed with open arms by DHL UK CEO Ian Wilson in boosting activity and jobs at DHL's UK hub at Heathrow. And the existing Kasetsart and Newcastle Universities' expanding engineering departments under Chi Onwurah MP's Shadow Cabinet Industrial Strategy.

While the ongoing debate around Heathrow expansion, marshalled through Parliament by dynamic Transport Chair Louise Ellman - the world's busiest airport getting busier - throws into perspective other UK feeder airports.

Gatwick and Stansted and Birmingham and Liverpool's John Lennon airport - and Mersey port - are vital now and more so in the future for carriers such as DHL and Thai Air. Stansted in particular with 120,000 empty freight slots is part of the more focused UK transport debate needed for the 21st century.

Too many underperforming small airports and Heathrow as a giant is unsustainable? Gatwick apart from the frenzied blip of Summer charter flights is so empty it could restage the iconic Ronaldo Nike ads in the airport for real. There’s certainly more space than the Turkish Airlines Man Utd version on a plane, if not a full cricket match along the concourse.

Certainly progressive companies such as DHL and Thai Air would be hungry for the first crop of new landing slots at UK airports while concerned for their staff and customers from the Manston-Infratil scandal (along with Stagecoach and KLM) at Wellington airport. NZ lamb and wine perhaps an easy option to replace with Siam Winery, and Folkestone or Australian lamb for better food standards and better food miles.

The currently disused/closing US Air Force real estate in Sussex, a mere airdrop away from Stansted, could be a potential welcome windfall for the US tax payer with a UK strategic overview of passenger and freight aviation beyond Brexit.

While Amazon's new warehouse sites at Bristol Severn Beach with 1,000 new jobs, as well as Daventry and Doncaster and Warrington and Tilbury (one to watch) plus Amazon's 13 existing UK sites and 24,000 jobs (and Bezos buyout plans for USA grocer Whole Foods) would be pleased to hear of Khun Chananyarak’s expanded logistics plans.

As would the UK High Street now delivering on the promise of Argos-style clicks and mortar gradually being revived via Amazon parcel collection points.
No doubt so would dynamic Tilbury (again) MP/Lords Margaret Hodge - always keen to roll up her sleeves to help the docks in her constituency - formerly of Parliament's audit committee and Garden Bridge review/cancellation would no doubt be keen to support both Bristol's MP Jack Lopresti and Sajid Javid's Midlands Engine of the car industry.

In my advertising experience of Audi etc, auto parts are already a key, neglected, SME supply chain for both UK and Thailand with dynamic companies such as the afore-mentioned Unipart capitalising on a consistent flow of products whether just in time or scheduled well in advance. Nissan Sunderland now slating the new Qashqai for delivery along with Oxford's new Mini amongst a buoyant UK and German car industry.

### TG Tips Isn't Tea ###

Parliament's Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle isn't the only supporter of Chorley market, perhaps second only to Ramsgate market, for fresh foodstuffs and a refreshing day out. Apt that Blackrod is just down the road.

While Lancashire's mills or the silkmakers of nearby Macclesfield are the first beneficiaries of cottage industry piecework that fabricated the modern world in the Industrial Revolution (UK 1.0?) so why shouldn't DHL Thailand be the 21st century enabler of Thai design and clothing as well as pineapples?

And the end of the Rolls Royce corruption is case reassuring for a former Rolls Royce supply chain teaboy like myself schooled in my father's workshop making Concorde parts. He did the precision engineering care of Derby and I did the tea care of Typhoo or PG.

While DHL need take no lessons from Fedex or others on their perishable cold chain warehouses and supply chain already in place - and ideal for the surge in vaccines needed for AMR, Flu and Bird Flu pandemics, and UNSDG goals for Dengue, Malaria and HIV and TB of course.

### Drinking In Rice? ###

TB is the scourge of Thailand, and London as the TB capital of Europe. And, beyond logistics, as with Cancer(s) and Dementia, there’s a monstrous failure of government policy in not ensuring pharma STEM research in every one of UK's 130 universities.

While the current Bird Flu outbreak in the Philippines has been rapidly alerted by the authorities in contrast to the current Netherland's egg scare or previous turkey bird flu - a concerning lack of effort from UK and EU Disaster Response Emergencies. And lack of speed in warehousing and airfreighting vaccines.
DHL can't deliver vaccines if the pharma industry isn't making them, nor the universities researching them.

While the UK contaminated blood scandal of 3,000 deaths from USA skid row donors, bravely highlighted by Ramsgate and Broadstairs sufferers amongst others, is an accident waiting to happen again in Vietnam with its new paid donors scheme.

Blood and organs are surely long overdue DHL input to Resilience and SAR disaster efforts - UK expats in Thailand and Thai expats and visitors in UK must surely want to know that the relevant stocks are in place from Bumrungrad to Birmingham General hospitals?

And with my Surin Schools Charity hat on wouldn't DHL be the perfect real-world link with schools across Isaan and UK? It seems a crying shame for UK schoolbooks to be pulped rather than shipped abroad to deliver on English as ASEAN's second language?

No doubt keener Thai - or Myanmar - pupils would make do with old copies of the Argos catalogue as reading material, when their smartphone battery gives out, in the absence of anything else?

But why shouldn't the new season's rice be as exciting for DHL Aviation as the Beaujolais Run to rush the new season's French wine to UK tables? While the lime growers of Can Tho in Vietnam and Veracruz, Mexico (and their avocado compadres of the UK food fad) would no doubt be reassured in DHL efforts on foodstuffs. Both fighting for space on the DHL fleet along with the pineapple growers of Hua Hin and Chantaburi.

The seeds of such SME growth are already blooming in Thailand through the diligent efforts of Thai Farmers Bank and BOI - the former embarrassing the UK agricultural industry struggling with just NFU Mutual batting for them against rural crime, ageing famers and tech investment.

Beyond DHL Heathrow, Cardiff airport is already the 24-7 hub for Thai food exports, while Tilbury (again) port in Essex is a constituent part of OBOR - as is Kent's Channel Tunnel and HS1 hispeed rail.

### Smooth As Silk Rail ###

Certainly OBOR, China's One Belt One Road, is a logistical innovation just 10 days now to London and Madrid from all points east of Chengdu and south of HongKong, and China's IT industry. Surely the latter also relevant for Thailand's electric vehicle and as well as IT industry and brand extensions for both Unipart and DHL?

Spain's climate-controlled trains are already fast tracking their way through Europe and Asia, enhancing their exports of Iberian ham and wine.
Surely the absurdities of Brexit and Gibraltar will be put aside for Sevilla connections through a Gibraltar rail bridge/tunnel to connect with Morocco's hispeed rail (the first in Africa) across to Cairo and down to Senegal.

The Sarkozy Mediterranean Partnership (a Peartnership?) would be more fully in place for EU accession along with Cape2Cairo links to South Africa, unleashing the East African seaboard and markets (also oriented eastwards) and quashing the spectre of famine and malnutrition.

The OBOR East African ports reducing the logjam of the Suez Canal, and shortening sail time to India and ASEAN. And the current Port Sudan and Jeddah hispeed rail links a further capacity option to Indi and Bangladesh and ASEAN.

DHL Rail could be a spur to coherent expansion of ASEAN hispeed rail - tons of rice may be uneconomic by air, and slow and perishable by sea, but lightning fast when running on rail.

### Beyond Organic Growth ###

Cambodian SME farms are already growing fast on organic food. UK's dynamic ambassador Bill Longhurst launching the Khmer Organic Farming Cooperative just last week. And Kampot pepper an EU GI status designation sourced by UK's top chefs such as Jamie Oliver.

Those SME pineapple growers must be licking their lips at the potential in their backyard - if only DHL could get them to market. I'd dig out my pineappley Hawaiian shirt for that. Wouldn't we all especially the Caribbean Commonwealth?

Usain Bolt has already got off to a flying start with his Tracks and Records restaurants expanding, with Franjam and SME Group, into UK with 15 restaurants planned to serve up a taste of Jamaica. Jamaican cuisine perhaps as neglected as Thai cuisine in UK. Rice and peas are clearly solid and in-demand staples from Kingston to Kanchanaburi.

Thailand's rubber growers would no doubt also be happier at the potential for UK car tyres and bumpers than pouring the precious liquid into the roads.

A view no doubt supported by the new UK Business Council under the dynamic guidance of foodie entrepreneur Luke Johnson of Pizza Express and Patisserie Valerie, and curing Colon and Liver cancers in his spare time with his Institute of Cancer Research, and Paul Polman of Unilever and Lifebuoy soap and other FMCG goods.

All those DHL-boosted restaurants would need extra ingredients, as well as soap and washing up liquid and washing powder?

Thailand's silk industry though should surely also be jostling for space in DHL's SME programmes whether for the fast fashion of Europe's High Streets, or the couture capitals of London, Paris and Milan.

And DHL Thailand could be feted for gearing up the SME designers of Chatuchak market for Camden market. A massive opportunity in unleashing the street fashion and designers that London and Bangkok are renowned for.

A DHL Silk Bus touring Isaan and its silk banks and OTOP tambons, and sharing tips and techniques, must be as viable as the Thailand Post or Royal Mail Postbus? Standing room only probably with weaving films on the top deck?

And how wonderful if DHL and Thailand Post cooperated on expanding the smart yellow digital postboxes of Phitsanulok for AR (multilingual) tourism and collection points?

And a dedicated DHL Silk Train (the Marco Polo DHLexpress?) would be all too apt for the new Silk Road that first cemented Eurasian prosperity.

Khun Chananyarak would no doubt be reluctant to have 10 days out of the office riding the silk rails to Europe, via the UK and Thai embassies, but wouldn't a tweet commentary through Central Asia and Europe and onto London, or even Leicester's King Power stadium be interesting to kick off the DHL SME activity?

Certainly the football stadium hasn't yet been built that could hold the hundreds of thousands of SME businesses in UK and Thailand that could benefit from DHL and Khun Chananyarak's efforts.