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Pepperstone data leak: Kudos for handling it correctly! – FinanceFeeds

Pepperstone does the right thing and holds its hand up to a data leak, reassuring customers. We look into why cyber security is so important in FX, here is our full and detailed report Putting your hand up and admitting important matters in a transparent fashion is the number one tenet of running a business…

Pepperstone does the right thing and holds its hand up to a data leak, reassuring customers. We look into why cyber security is so important in FX, here is our full and detailed report

Putting your hand up and admitting important matters in a transparent fashion is the number one tenet of running a business properly.

On this basis, absolute kudos must go to Australian retail FX and CFD company Pepperstone this week, notably around the way in which the company dealt with a data leak that temporarily plagued its systems.

This is the first time in my 29 year career in FX, most of which bas been within the infrastructure and systems development sector, that I have ever seen any company in any capacity whether a bank, liquidity provider, platform vendor or integration specialist openly admit that a data leak has occurred and to actively reassure customers without being prompted that all is well.

As client and transaction data privacy and security is so critical in financial services, most companies hide any mishaps until it is too late, resulting in mass complaints, uncertainty and eventually a poor reputation, but in the case of Pepperstone, clients and partners should hold the company in high esteem for its self-prompted reaction.

In a notice to customers yesterday at 13.07 UK time, Pepperstone explained that it had been the subject of a data leak, and detailed exactly what had happened, reassuring clients that absolutely no potential harm could come to their trading account or funds held with the company.

The company referred to it as a “data security incident which impacted people who had registered for a Pepperstone live or demo trading account.”

The company then listed exactly the data which their investigation showed had become exposed, those aspects being registrants’ name, contact details including address, date of birth and security questions and answers that were chosen.

Pepperstone confirmed categorically that trading accounts, passwords and bank account information had NOT been compromised and are safe.

This is a very courageous and transparent move from Pepperstone, and is one which will instil confidence in its client base and Pepperstone should be commended for it. Consumer confidence is vital, and reaching out to reassure clients is the right thing to do. I personally hope Pepperstone gets recognized for this.

Cyber security is a very important factor in all areas of financial services, and in many large scale electronically operated financial markets businesses such as Tier 1 banks, exchanges and insurance companies, it is common practices for professional services consultancies such as Accenture, Steria, Fujitsu or Capita to have their consultants on site on a contracted basis to manage data security.

Here in London, almost anyone who lives in central areas of the city will have a neighbor or friend who works for one of the big consultancies and is assigned to a financial services company as a data security architect.

But this does not exist in the FX industry. Even the very large FX brokerages do not utilize IT consultancies for data security, largely because many brokerages do not consider technology to be the heart and lifeblood of our industry, even though it absolutely is.

In many cases, data leaks and outages have been intentionally ignored.

Two years ago, Tim Thompson, CEO of British payment payment service provider and risk management technology company NOIRE explained to FinanceFeeds that FX brokerage accounts are usually accessible online needing only a username and password in order to gain access to sensitive data and exposure to fraudulent withdrawals.

“It can start in a number of ways” explained Mr. Thompson. “These methods include fraudsters phishing customers details, through emails pretending to be from the broker and telephone calls, Trojan malware programs often downloaded for trading platforms which look legitimate but could be obtaining customers’ login details and passwords. Fraudsters do this on an industrial scale and gain access to many customer accounts across many businesses.”

Mr. Thompson had categorically stated that he had been aware of several successful attempts by hackers to access FX customer trading accounts and successfully facilitate withdrawals, something which prevailed during the course of last year.

FinanceFeeds knows that this has happened to a few large brokerages, one of which was FXCM around 5 years ago, and there have been many cases of this among Japanese brokerages, but they have kept quiet about it.

GMO Payment Gateway, one of the largest electronic payment systems in the world admitted a payment gateway data breach in 2017, but that was only after it was made to admit it.

As the technology that counters hacking and cyber crime continues to be a subject of great investment by developers, the unfortunate reality is that, rather like germs that increase their immunities to improvements in medicine, the viruses and methods used by hackers are also highly evolutionary, and most FX firms aren’t interested in investing in such technology.

Over the past two years, ransomware continues to be a bugbear that most online trading firms and e-commerce entities should be aware of.

This, according to many internet security specialists, continues to develop in sophistication and will likely become a worse problem in 2017 than it was last year.

Ransomware is a form of malware that is used to encrypt all data held on computers or on smartphones that do not use the iOS operating system.

The idea behind it is that it allows a hacker to extort an amount of money from the owner of the data – for example customer records held in an online trading company’s CRM – and if the amount requested is not paid, then the hacker deploys the encryption and destroys the data.

This is often used against not only commercial enterprises but also government agencies, therefore the extent of its level of sophistication and ability to penetrate security systems is patently obvious.

A particular thing to check here is affiliate links.

It is advisable when inserting affiliate links into websites that they are as originally defined, and that they do not appear to show unusual or differing characters than when they were inserted. These could be used to deploy ransomware, thus the advertisement which looks quite correct when viewed on a broker website may be contaminated with malware and once it is there, it is very very difficult to remove.

Brokerages, IBs and their clients should be very wary of emails which prompt them to update their passwords. For clients, these could be trading account access passwords, for IBs they could be portal or CRM passwords and for brokers they could be back office passwords.

Anything that appears to be automatically generated and does not come from what appears to be the correct format of internal corporate email address, our advice is not to click on it as it could contain code that grants hackers access to the trading account of retail clients, or the database owned by a broker, or even worse, the withdrawals system.

Domestic and international corporate espionage through hacking will increase as companies raid the intellectual property and trade secrets of other companies for profit. The theft of the plans of Lockheed Martin’s advanced F-22 fighter plane by Chinese hackers is an example of this trend. Chinese national Su Bin was convicted for his part in the stealing of the plans for the plane, and there is absolutely no reason at all why this type of espionage could not take place in the online trading firm, with counterfeiters wanting to get hold of new platform designs (MetaTrader 4 is the subject of massive counterfeit activity in China, and now with MetaTrader 5 having risen to popularity, espionage is not something to rule out).

The same applies to R&D departments of brokerages which have their own platforms and multi-asset offering, as hackers could spy on new unreleased designs and emulate them in order to beat them to market.

One thing to consider is that investment in cyber security startups has rocketed over the last few months. The Israel Export Institute stated at the Israel HLS & Cyber Conference that investment in cyber-security startups climbed more than threefold and exports increased 15% in the first half of the year, compared with the same time in 2015. That made Israel the No. 2 destination for cyber-security investment globally after the United States.

A clear indication that any online financial product is not immune from cyber threats is that even central banks and large institutions have experienced some very damaging interference from outside.

The 2017 hacking of Britain’s Tesco Bank, the Bangladesh Bank and Russia’s Central Bank were just the tip of the iceberg of attacks on banks around the world that have been successfully perpetrated by groups such as the Carbanak gang for several years.

These days, the institutional sector has in some form adopted systems that provide dedicated connectivity. Venue-neutral Canadian infrastructure provider TMX Atrium put in place points of presence between Paris, London, Frankfurt and Moscow during 2013, however this venue-based connectivity has not filtered its way into the OTC retail sector on a widespread scale, a likely reason being the cost of implementing dedicated infrastructure to many smaller retail firms being high, especially when margins are low once spread, IB commission, client acquisition and retention costs and operating expenses are taken into account.

Going back 10 years, I had endless contact with TMX as it continued to major on this infrastructure, but now all has gone quiet. Most retail brokerages don’t know what points of presence are, let alone care about how they can secure not only the speed of transaction and give them an edge over other firms, but also the security of client data.

In October 2016, Integral Development Corporation experienced an outage between the hours of 8.43am and 10.50am EST on the 19th day of the month, having its cause rectified later that day during a planned maintenance session.

FinanceFeeds contacted senior executives at Integral Development Corporation in order to establish the cause of this and to gain perspective on how it was resolved, however no reply was proffered, thus FinanceFeeds conducted investigations via trading logs and back office systems reports of several industry partners.

Whilst the reports from the back offices at various sources confirmed the outage, it is important to research the cause, which according to various industry information gathered by FinanceFeeds deduced that the cause of the outage was rectified in planned maintenance later in the day, itself taking 15 minutes longer than usual.

According to several industry sources, the outage occurred during the morning, however, at approximately 5.00pm Eastern Standard Time, during the period which is a period colloquially known as ‘roll’, which is when a number of server restarts happen and many traders in jurisdictions outside North America are inactive, Integral Development Corporation conducted maintenance which included a resolution to the cause of the outage earlier in the day.

This calls into question whether a back up system should be in place which diverts to an emergency server farm in the case of such an outage. Such systems have been commonplace in financial technology infrastructure for many years, including during my early years from 1991 onwards when infrastructure providers were continually testing uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and uploading entire data sets onto DAT tapes constantly, to be able to switch to other servers in the event of an outage.

More recently, the bandits appear to be as smart as even the largest of institutional internet security firms, hence vigilance and investment in furthering the cause of keeping the entire intellectual property, client assets and structure of online trading businesses is now paramount.

Well done Pepperstone, keep up the good work. Maybe now is the time to lead the way and bring in the cyber security companies, host a few events on cyber security in the FX industry and raise awareness. This would build the steps toward our industry taking this as seriously as other financial markets sectors.

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Forex.com Review – How Legit And Reliable Is This Broker

Forex.com was established in 2001, as an online forex broker with an active presence in over 183 countries across the world. The brand is owned by Gain Capital, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The company’s headquarters is in Bedminster, New Jersey and it is regulated by top tier financial regulatory…

Forex.com was established in 2001, as an online forex broker with an active presence in over 183 countries across the world. The brand is owned by Gain Capital, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The company’s headquarters is in Bedminster, New Jersey and it is regulated by top tier financial regulatory agencies across the globe including the CFTC in the U.S, the UK’s FCA, and Australia’s ASIC.

The firm offers clients 84 currency pairs, 8 cryptocurrencies, 17 indices, 26 commodities and 270+ stock CFDs. It supports margin trading with a maximum leverage of 20:1 for stocks and 50:1 for all other financial instruments.

In this review, we dig deep into its operations informed by its past and present client comments. We detail and rate each of the tradable financial assets offered as well as rating the quality of their services including customer support, trading fees, trading platforms, and account types.

Our goal is to help answer all your queries regarding its legitimacy and the safety of your funds to help you decide whether to open an account with them or not.

Strengths

  • Provides traders with an expansive range of tradable instruments
  • Features a huge selection of education and research materials
  • Supports multiple trading platforms including MetaTrader and WebTrader
  • Allows traders to choose between standard and commission accounts
  • Boasts of relatively low trading fees compared to its US peers

Weaknesses

  • The maximum leverage isn’t available for all traded instruments
  • Its WebTrader platform if fairly rigid and not easily customizable
  • Trading platform features limited fundamental analysis tools
  • Doesn’t support spread betting and binary options for futures traders

What can you trade?

$50
Min Deposit

Good
App Support

1:30
Max Leverage

With regards to Forex trading, you have access to 84 currency pairs, which is more than you would get elsewhere. You get to trade all the major pairs, many more minor pairs, and a tad more exotic pairs than you would with its competitors.

When it comes to forex trading fees, the company has relatively expensive spreads. The EUR/USD pair, for instance, has an average spread of 1.3 on the standard account that is dependent on factors such as market volatility and liquidity. There also the commission-based trader accounts where spreads start from as low as 0.2 but attract a $5 commission for every $100k traded.

You also get access to margin-based foreign exchange trading for currencies. The rates are however dependent on your geographical location and local regulations. The U.S and international clients, for instance, have access to the entire 50:1 leverage, while UK traders can only use maximum leverage of 30:1 as directed by the FCA.

You can start trading with as little as $50 where the minimum traded lot is currently set at 1,000.

$50
Min Deposit

Mid
App Support

1:30
Max Leverage

Due to regulatory restrictions, Forex.com doesn’t offer this service to its U.S clients due to regulations. However, Canadian, U.K, and international clients have access to the 4500+ CFDs available for trading. These are primarily drawn from the global indices, shares and stocks, as well as commodities and cryptos.

The company has made most of these assets available to international clients on both the MetaTrader and WebTrader platforms. The market analysis section of their website features a fairly detailed economic calendar. You can also access the latest research and pivot points as well as popular topics and thought leaders’ views.

Traders can also opt to design individual automated trading algorithms on the platform or integrate third-party automated tools.

You also get access to the commodities markets through the spot metals CFDs on gold and silver. These commodities are only available on the WebTrader and not on the MetaTrader platform.

With regards to trading the commodities, you can speculate on their price appreciation or depreciation by taking trades in either direction. The precious metal traders also gain insights regarding the assets from the market analysis page.

$500
Min Deposit

Mid
App Support

1:30
Max Leverage

You can trade futures and futures options contracts as there is a platform through which you can invest in such products. U.S clients can also trade these instruments via

There is also a 14-day demo trading account for clients who would like to try trading the futures and futures options contracts. The simulated trading account is loaded with $50,000 virtual cash and contains all the key trading features like ultra-fast execution speeds and live market data.

What did our traders think after reviewing the key criteria?

The are three primary types of trading fees – all of which are volume-based and tied to different account types. These include pure spreads, spread plus fixed commission, and spread plus variable commission. The spreads, though competitive, are variable and are highly dependent on liquidity and the prevailing market conditions. 

The pure spread account is popular with retail traders and spreads for the major currencies start from 1.0 with an average of 1.3 pips. The spread and fixed-rate commission account has lower spreads that start from 0.2 pips in addition to the $5 fixed commission for every $100k traded. The direct market access trader account fees start from 0.1 pips plus a variable commission that averages $60 for every $1 million traded.

With regards to discounts on fees, you get a cash rebate program that is pegged on the volume of trades. It also offers cash rebates of up to $9 for every million traded on the retail standard account, $9 for every million traded on the commission account and $20 per million traded on the high volume and direct market access account.

Non-trading fees include the rollover fees charged on trades that remain open at the end of the day’s trading session – 5 pm ET. Traders on the platform get to earn or pay these rollover rates based on whether they were long or short a trade.

Clients have access to three primary live trading account types, which include: the standard account, the commission account and the direct market account. There are also free demo accounts on offer that you can use to trade both Forex and futures contracts. The demo accounts come loaded $50,000 in virtual trading capital and are valid for 14 days.

The Standard Account

The standard account is accessible on both WebTrader and the MetaTrader trading interfaces. It calls for a $50 minimum deposit and attracts wholly variable trading fees where the spreads average 1.0 pips for the popular EUR/USD pair. Standard account holders subscribed to its Active Trader Program also get to earn up to 18% cash rebates.

The Commission Account

The Commission account stands out because it employs both variable spreads and fixed commissions in the determination of trading fees. Spreads on the account start from 0.2 pips with the fixed commission set at $5 for every $100k traded. The minimum deposit amount is $50 and the account is only available on the Webtrader and mobile apps and not on MetaTrader.

Direct Market Access Account

The direct market access account is specifically designed for high volume and frequent traders. Trading fees are a mix of variable spreads that start from 0.1 pips for major pairs and a variable commission starting from $60 for every million traded. The minimum account operating balance is set at $100K but traders are advised to maintain not less than $250K in their accounts. The DMA account is also not available on the MetaTrader interface.

There are no Sharia-compliant trading accounts, which are synonymous with the absence of overnight/rollover fees.

The firm supports several major trading interfaces including the MetaTrader (MT4), in-house trading platforms, Ninja trader, and API connections.

forex.com platform

However, you can only access the standard forex trading account on the MT4 and Ninjatrader platforms. The two other accounts offeredare only accessible via the proprietary trading platform, which is available as a web trader, desktop app, and mobile app.

Our reviewers found the website well organized and easy to use with the home page featuring all the important tabs needed for fast and easy navigation. These include the signup and login tabs for new and existing clients as well as the markets, services, about us, platforms, market analysis, education and support tabs for everyone else looking for more insights. There also is a search tab where you can key in direct queries for even faster navigation.

The firm provides 24/5 customer support but doesn’t offer a live chat function on its website. However, its clients can access the support team on the telephone and via text messages, or through the different social media pages, and email. The website also features a detailed FAQ section.

forex.com support

There are four key payment options supported, which include: 

  • Debit card payments: it does not support credit card payments but processes debit card transactions for both Visa and MasterCard branded cards. The minimum deposit for debit cards is set at $50 and the maximum at $10,000. You can deposit in USD, EUR, and GBP currencies but all these are automatically converted to USD. processing of deposits is near-instant and free. 

Debit card withdrawals have an estimated wait time of 24 hours. They do not attract processing fee but have a per transaction limit of $50,000.

  • Bank wire transfers: you can make deposits in up to seven different currencies when it comes to bank wire deposits that must then be converted to USD. There is no minimum or maximum deposit limits for bank transfers. It may take up to two business days for the transfer to reflect in your trading account and there is no processing fees in addition to those charged by your bank. 

Bank Wire withdrawals have an estimated wait time of 48 hours. There is no withdrawal limit but attract a $25 fee per transaction for amounts above $10,000.

  • eCheck: they also accept eCheck payments. The minimum deposit is $50 with the maximum set at $10,000. Transaction processing is immediate and free. 

eCheck withdrawals have an estimated wait time of 24 hours, don’t attract processing fees and have a withdrawal limit of $25K per transaction. 

  • Personal or business check: You can also fund your account using both personal and business checks. There are no minimum or maximum limits on deposits and transaction processing is free. Traders might, however, wait for up to 10 business days after the day of receiving the check for the cash to reflect in their accounts.

Personal or business check withdrawals are available with wait times of 48 hours. These are free and there are no maximum withdrawal limits.

There are no running promotions or bonus offers available at the moment, except for the cash rebate program available to its Active Trader Program clients.

The brand is owned by GAIN Capital Group, which is a public company headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, and is registered with and regulated by financial regulatory agencies such as the Futures Market commission (FMC), the National Futures Association (NFA), the Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer (RFED), and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

As for deposit protection, there is no evidence of brand insuring customer deposits with the FDIC. GAIN Capital claims that it maintains a separate account for their customer funds while adding that these funds are then “distributed across a global network of custodian banks and brokers.”

The firm was established in 2001 and has over the years won several awards and global recognition. For instance, in Feb 2001, Forex.com was named the Forbes “Best of the Web” by Forbes.com before being named the “Best Online FX Trading Platform” for the year 2001 by Global Finance later that year. Others include being voted the Best Forex Broker in the USA for 2013 by the FT and Investors Chronicle magazine the same year.

forex.om awards

Forex.com FAQs

Forex.com is the trademark of Gain Capital UK, Limited, a market-making broker incorporated in England and Wales.  As a market-making broker, Forex.com is fully accountable for all client orders. Besides, the CFD broker reduces a client’s credit exposure by executing back to back positions with LCH. Clearnet, a Central Counterparty Clearinghouse.

Forex.com is not an ECN broker but provides Direct Markets Access (DMA) to traders looking for deep liquidity. The primary difference between ECN and DMA is that while ECN electronically matches buyers and sellers without the intervention of a third party, DMA brokers make individual contracts with liquidity providers. The features of the Forex.com DMA Account include access to level-II pricing, spreads from 0.1 on all markets and the option to split the spread.

Retail clients residing in the UK and the EU come under stringent regulations that limit their max leverage to 30:1. To qualify for lower margins or higher leverage, you could register as a professional client if you meet the eligibility criteria set by the regulators. You can change your leverage by filling out the margin change request form and submitting it to [email protected]

To connect Forex.com to MT4, you have to first register with the CFD broker. Next, check for a welcome email from Forex.com, which would also include your MT4 log in credentials and a link to download the platform. Download the desktop application on your computer or Android, iOS mobile device and start using the cutting-edge platform from MetaQuotes.

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A united Britain was victorious in war – but fallacies about the interwar peace persist

THE REPUTATION of the interwar period but especially of the 1930s as the decade of the slump and appeasement has done untold damage to British self-confidence ever since. It was a period during which supposedly a prosperous world power became economically second-rate, a weakling in international affairs and lost its place as a top-rank power.…

THE REPUTATION of the interwar period but especially of the 1930s as the decade of the slump and appeasement has done untold damage to British self-confidence ever since. It was a period during which supposedly a prosperous world power became economically second-rate, a weakling in international affairs and lost its place as a top-rank power. None of this was true.  

Germany and the USA suffered worse depressions than we did, as did France in the later 1930s. France and the USA were greater appeasers than the United Kingdom. Moreover, large parts of the economy by 1939 were booming. To quote A.J.P. Taylor: if the 1930s were the devil’s decade, “at the same time English people were enjoying a richer life than any previously known in the history of the world: longer holidays, shorter hours, higher wages. They had motor cars, cinemas, radio sets, electrical appliances.” Little wonder, there was no threat to democracy in Britain between the wars. None the less, the dreadful reputation of the Thirties has been exploited by the numerous exponents of the myth of national decline in the twentieth century – left-wingers and European federalists – to undermine British self-confidence. This myth has also served Scotland’s nationalists, so from now on this revisionist history of Scotland will set its story within the parameters of a revisionist history of Britain. 

It cannot be denied of course that Britain, and Scotland within it, faced many challenges in the 1920s and 1930s. The First World War had killed off the old international economy and Britain’s place therein. The USA had become the world’s leading economic power and had taken over many British export markets. The Japanese had done so, too, in the Far East, India, China and the East Indies. After the war, too, countries like Canada and Australia began to industrialise with the result that there was less demand for British staples on which for example the Scottish economy depended. India, meanwhile, had gained control of her own tariffs and could levy these on British goods. Even demand for coal began to fall with the rise of petroleum-based transport. There was a post-war glut in shipping but also in primary products causing world prices to fall for countries which traditionally purchased British goods. 

The British position regarding invisibles was also weakened. Ten percent of overseas assets had had to be sold off to help pay for the war and we had accumulated a large war debt with the United States. (While German war debts were later written off, the Americans refused to write off ours.) Britain lacked a surplus on current account throughout the 1930s and on her trading account throughout the whole interwar period. This meant she could not rebuild her overseas wealth. Finally, the 1925 return to the gold standard at $4.85 an ounce brought only deflation. 

Even so industrial productivity grew between 1920 and 1929 at 2.8 per cent per annum and industrial productivity by 3.8 per cent. World War One had spurred on technical advances: motor cars, aircraft, advanced machine tools, chemicals, ball-bearings, leading to more applied science and standardisation in the new industries such as automobiles, electrical engineering, chemicals, paper and printing. Even staples became more efficient with an 18 per cent rise in productivity in coal between 1924 and 1930 and 25 per cent in iron and steel production between 1923 and 1930. And clearly the economy was changing. The old staples produced 42 per cent of export receipts in 1929 and the new industries only 8.2 per cent. By 1937 the corresponding figures were 37 per cent and 21 per cent. Other positive signs were that average growth in industrial production per annum during 1929-1937 saw Britain with 3.4 per cent, Germany with 3.0 per cent, France with minus 2.8 per cent and the USA with 0.4 per cent. The equivalent figures for the average growth in output per manhour per annum for the same period were: Britain 2.1 per cent, Germany 2.1 per cent, France 1.6 per cent and the USA 3.3 per cent. And in England from the mid-1930s there was a huge house-building programme.  

The international economic situation was made even worse by the US stock market collapse in 1929, followed by the US Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930 which raised American tariffs by an average of 20 per cent at the same time that the US money supply was being cut by a third. A US depression inevitably followed. This meant that other countries would find it nigh impossible to export to the USA. In response, the British government did what it could in a very bad situation. In 1931 Britain left the gold standard and in the same year she introduced tariffs of her own as well as imperial preferences agreed with Commonwealth Dominions at Ottawa. The new – and very competent – Chancellor of the Exchequer, Neville Chamberlain, also created ‘cheap money’ by cutting bank rate from 6 per cent to 2 per cent. 

Still, the economy was scarred by high unemployment. Between 1932 and 1935 over 2 million people on average were out of work and a peak figure of almost three million was reached in the winter of 1932-33. This was almost one quarter of the insured workforce. Moreover, those areas dependent on staple industries – Northern Ireland, South Wales, the North East of England and Lancashire and Central Scotland – became depressed and faced huge social and economic problems, even if they benefited from a certain amount of slum clearance, municipal building and relief schemes. Areas such as Jarrow, Gateshead, Motherwell and Greenock saw almost 75 per cent of insured workers out of work in 1932. Half a million Scots emigrated during the 1920s and every year between 1927 and 1939 Scottish unemployment was higher than the national average. In July 1933 it stood at 28 per cent compared to 16 per cent in England and Wales. On the other hand, a social survey of Oxford in 1938 could dismiss unemployment as “almost negligible”. 

The truth, however, was that throughout the interwar period never less than 75 per cent of the UK workforce – and often considerably more – was in employment. And in the Midlands and South of England, new industries were creating new jobs. Welsh miners would flock to Slough, for example, where many other Welshmen had already found jobs. Scots on the other hand lived too far away from these new centres of light industry. 

Several factors encouraged a rise in prosperity in the South. Wages fell by 2 per cent for those in work but prices by 10 per cent. This rise in real wages stimulated the purchase of all kinds of goods and investment in building societies. These latter investments rose from £88 million in 1920 to £711m in 1939. Houses were cheap and so were mortgage rates, so hence the private housing boom in Southern England and the Midlands. Moreover, these new houses had electricity and two thirds of all homes were ‘wired up’ by 1939. The great boost in electricity supply also furthered the sale of all sorts of new electric appliances – washing machines, Hoovers, fridges, radios and record players. It also boosted the electrification of suburban railways and the completion of the national grid. For some industries, indeed, the 1930s were years of unprecedented growth. Britain by 1937 was producing half a million motor cars a year at factories in Coventry, Luton, Oxford and London which employed a workforce of 400,000. Some 1.8 million people owned cars by 1937. Advances in petrochemicals meanwhile brought about the use of Bakelite in consumer goods and man-made fibres in clothing. 

J.B. Priestly could describe England in the 1930s as a country of “arterial and by-pass roads, filling stations and factories that look like exhibition buildings, of great cinemas and dancing halls, bungalows with tiny garages, cocktail bars, Woolworths, motor coaches, wireless, hiking, factory girls looking like actresses, greyhound racing and dirt tracks, swimming pools and everything given away for cigarette coupons.” Orwell wrote in only slightly different terms of the poorer, working class areas in the North, although what he said also applied to Scotland: “It is quite likely that fish and chips, art-silk stockings, tinned salmon, cut-price chocolate (five two-ounce bars for sixpence), the movies, the radio, strong tea and the Football Pools have between them averted revolution.” He could have added dance halls, record players and popular magazines. The Frankfurt School of Marxists thought the same. Consumer goods, jazz, cinema and nylons gave the working class a “false consciousness” that capitalism worked. 

Yet there were other reasons why the unemployed remained so passive. For a start in areas like Central Scotland the scale of unemployment was simply so massive that it seemed like an act of nature about which nothing could be done. More to the point, everyone was on the dole and could avoid starvation. There were even supplementary benefits for the worst off. Labour certainly had no ready solutions and only bothered to organise one demo in 1933. The trades unions were equally useless. They represented only employed workers anyway. Insofar as the radical Left had posed a challenge with the Red Clydesiders after 1918, their influence had died by the early twenties and any challenge from a united left collapsed with the defeat of the General Strike in 1926. It only lasted a week until the miners were deserted by their fellow trade unionists. Evidence for working class militancy or alienation is in any case hard to find.  

The famous Jarrow March of 1936, for example, consisted of only two hundred men, was non-political and organised with the cooperation of the police; one marcher was expelled because he was a communist. On the eve of World War Two the Communist Party achieved its greatest membership – a mere 17,756 members. Even the British Union of Fascists (BUF) had achieved a peak of 40,000 active and non-active members in 1934. The country seemed content to follow a Conservative lead.  

In 1932 supporters of the National Government won 533 seats to Labour’s 35. Even in 1924 in Scotland the Unionists had won 38 seats to Labour’s 27. Orwell conceded: “However much one must hate to admit it, it is almost certain that between 1931 and 1940, the National Government represented the will of the people.” And the leading British socialist intellectual of the time, G.D.H. Cole admitted: “Tory spokesmen are not talking sheer nonsense when they claim that the National Government has pulled Great Britain successfully through the greatest depression in history.”   

This is the sixth part of the series, here are the others:  

Part one – Mythology in the history of Anglo-Scots relations;   

Part two – From Auld Alliance to creating the Union;  

Part three – Scotland 1707-1914: The Union adjusts and consolidates;  

Part four – A loyal Scotland fights for Britain: 1707-1918; 

The Union survives the War and evolves: 1918-1938 

Alan Sked was educated at Allan Glen’s School in Glasgow, before going on to study Modern and Medieval History at the University of Glasgow, followed by a DPhil in Modern History at Merton College, Oxford. Sked taught at the London School of Economics where he became a leading authority on the history of the Hapsburg Empire, also teaching US and modern intellectual history and the history of sex, race and slavery. Alan Sked is now Emeritus Professor of International History at the London School of Economics. 

Portrait of Neville Chamberlain by Sir William Newenham Montague Orpen (1878-1931) 

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PrimeBit Demo Trading Contest will give away $5,000!

PrimeBit is the fastest-growing P2P trading platform where traders can exchange perpetual contracts on Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. There are more ways to earn from trading crypto derivatives with the launch of the PrimeBit Demo Trading Contest. A total of 5000 USDT will be given away to the best traders!

Don’t miss the PrimeBit Demo Trading Contest!


PrimeBit is the fastest-growing P2P trading platform where traders
can exchange perpetual contracts on Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
There are more ways to earn from trading
crypto derivatives with the launch of the PrimeBit Demo Trading Contest. A total of 5000 USDT will be given away to the
best traders!

It’s time for traders to cash in huge rewards these months. The
best part is, there is no need to invest anything! Traders can quench their
thirst for competition and earn real rewards easily just by trading on demo
accounts. Traders of all levels can participate.

Trade on a Demo Account and Win Real Cash

PrimeBit’s Demo Trading Contest is a great way to pump up every trader’s game without any risk!
How does it work?

First, participants cansign up for a contest account using their email address. It will only take a
few seconds. After signing up, they will get access to their fully featured
demo account with an initial deposit of 5000 USDT.

All they need to do is use the mock funds provided and buy or sell
any cryptocurrency contracts on the platform during the contest period from
October 19, 2020 (12:00:01 am UTC) to November 15, 2020 (11:59:59 pm UTC). The
competition will heat up as the participants test their trading skills to win
amazing prizes!

Traders with the highest yields on their demo contest accounts
during the contest period can grab awesome bounties. In total, 50 top traders
in global ranking will share in the 3500 USDT prize pool, with the first placer
receiving a whopping 1000 USDT prize! Weekly prizes will also go to 10 traders
ranked in each week. The total side prize amounts to 1500 USDT!

After the contest ends, the winners will receive their rewards on
their PrimeBit live trading account within 2 weeks. The rewards can be
withdrawn easily without any restrictions. As additional perks, all new traders
who signed up at PrimeBit from September 21 and November 15 and joined the
contest will enjoy trading without any commission fees for 14 days!

It’s So Easy to Trade on PrimeBit

PrimeBit caters to traders of all levels. Even beginner traders
can start placing trades at any time on the mobile app. The webtrader is
equipped with basic and advanced tools to help traders make sound decisions. It
is readily accessible on desktop and laptop just by using a normal web browser.

Traders at PrimeBit enjoy trading with very low fees and no
maximum or minimum deposit limits. The easy email sign up kicks away all
unnecessary hassles. What’s more, PrimeBit offers up to 30% revenue share as
affiliate earnings. Unlimited profit potential is within reach when trading
crypto contracts with up to 200x leverage!

The PrimeBit Demo Contest starts on October 19, 2020. Don’t miss it!
For bank trade ideas, check out eFX Plus

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