Social responsibility in business

However, to those who insist there must be a crony-based explanation why government, both national and local, favoured Carillion so much, here is a suggestion: the business was a model for what politicians now demand from such firms. It ticked every box of the corporate social responsibility agenda, and then some. In fact, its chairman, Philip Green (no, not that one) had been a “corporate responsibility adviser” to prime ministers David Cameron and Theresa May.

Go to the company’s website (now a sort of accidental memorial) and you will find the greatest prominence is accorded to its virtuousness, not its profits. There is page after page of its “sustainability strategy”, under the main slogan “Making tomorrow a better place”, subheaded “Better communities”, “Better environment (tackling climate change)” and “Better business”. Underneath that divine triptych, Carillion boasts that it can make “specific contributions to at least nine of the UN sustainable development goals”.

Hmmm….

Sweden shows it’s not poverty causing the crime and violence

The crime surge is mainly confined to so-called “areas of social exclusion”, a code for neighbourhoods such as Rosengard that are predominantly populated by immigrants. They are not classic ghettos — the infrastructure and services are better than in areas of central London — but these communities are plagued by high crime rates and unemployment.

In Malmo, where a fifth of the 340,000 inhabitants are under 18, children as young as 14 roam the streets with Kalashnikov assault rifles and bulletproof vests. The average age of gang members is 22, the vast majority of them hailing from migrant families.

So, it ain’t the paucity of public services etc causing it, is it? Meaning that spending more on UK public services won’t solve whatever similar problems we’re having.

If only the implications of this were understood

Brexit, at its heart, is a recognition that Britain has become steadily weaker since it spent much of its empire wealth fighting two world wars – too feeble in the years before the 2016 referendum to sustain an exchange rate of $1.60 and €1.40, just as it was too poor to cope with $4 to the pound in the 1950s and $2 to the pound in 1992.

Manufacturers were unable to make things cheaply, reliably or efficiently enough against the headwind of a high-value currency, forcing many to give up. An economy that boasted 20% of its income coming from manufacturing in the 1980s found it was the source of barely 10% at the beginning of this decade.

Surges in GDP growth in the 70 years since the war can be attributed (and this short list makes the point crudely) to periods when there were cheap raw materials and energy costs; or a growing population; or foreign ownership and management of key industries; or the offloading of vast amounts of state and mutually owned assets; or cheap borrowing. Without these in operation to improve the UK’s performance, a lower exchange rate became inevitable.

So, the 70 years since 1945 were years of bad economic management then? Doesn’t that mean that those years of bad economic management should not be repeated? You know, that puts the kibosh on the entire Corbyn/McDonnell set of plans?

Whoo, boy, talk about not getting the point

In court papers seen by the Observer, the MoJ and government lawyers argue that they do not consider Hudson to be a woman despite the make-up artist reassigning her gender and living as a woman for her adult life. They state Hudson “is as a matter of biological fact a man” and add that the term “transwoman” has no legal significance. They say they have adopted female pronouns when referring to Hudson only “out of respect for her wishes”. In response, Hudson’s legal team accuse government lawyers of adopting “transphobic, unnecessarily abrasive, aggressive and insulting” language towards Hudson, who has breasts and has used hormones for years but does not have a gender recognition certificate.

We’re not told about the snip either way. But, lookie here. It’s possible to get q piece of paper which says gender has hanged. OK, whatever we think of that that is how it works. Have the paper then your legal gender has changed, along with all the other bits of life and law that go along with that. Don’t have it and they ain’t. This isn’t transphobia.

Hudson spent six weeks in jail in 2015, after she admitted head-butting a barman. She spent seven days in HMP Bristol before being moved to a women’s facility, Eastwood Park, after a storm of national protest. Speaking from Belgium, where she lives with her boyfriend, Hudson said: “I was horrified when I read the defence from the MoJ. It states that I’m a male, which is a complete insult, humiliating and wrong because I’ve been living as a female all my adult life. I’m not a drag act. When I was put in jail I’d been the subject of transphobia and it feels like I’m the subject of transphobia again from the MoJ, which is horrible because it’s my government.”

Her lawyer, Jane Ryan of Bhatt Murphy, says the government is denying her gender identity and that its argument runs counter to the ministry’s published policies on trans prisoners and the 2016 women and equalities committee transgender inquiry, the first ever parliamentary report on such issues.

An arrest in 2015 should accord to 2016 findings in what manner?

Quite apart from the manner in which headbutting a barman appears to be rather male behaviour..,…

Why is it that I just don’t believe this story?

Billionaire James Stunt has claimed that he was the victim of Britain’s biggest ever burglary with £90million of cash and valuables stolen from his house.

Petra Ecclestone’s ex-husband has told police that the Belgravia property, where he moved in December, had been ‘cleaned out’ by thieves while he slept.

The 36-year-old reported the theft on December 14 shortly after taking up residence in the home but police are still hunting the burglars.

Cash was taken from the house along with gold and diamond jewellery, according to The Sun on Sunday.

It was reported that Stunt, whose six-year-marriage to Ecclestone ended last year, had not yet installed CCTV cameras in the luxury home.

‘He is devastated by the loss. It’s a lot of money even for him – though luckily he’s insured’, a source told the newspaper.

I just can’t put my finger on it, just can’t quite spot what slightly jars about this story, making me ponder whether I believe it or not.

And if that’s my reaction what will be that of the insurance company’s loss adjuster?

But to lay down a market for the future. It’s going to be really, really, fun to see whether that claim gets paid out upon. Is there any manner of checking such things? I guess there isn’t, no public register of claims paid etc. But if it isn’t then I can imagine m’learned friends getting involved, which would be public.

On the other hand, a theft which wasn’t insured against would be a neat explanation for why there’s no money other than his wife’s. Not that that could possibly be the real situation of course.

How wondrously, gorgeously, cheeky

Businessman selling sex dolls offers customers a £50 ‘try before you buy’ scheme for a half hour session at an industrial estate in Gateshead
Customers can ‘test drive’ sex dolls at the industrial site in Gateshead for £50
Service was launched in December and business has had a ‘few’ customer since

What truly amuses here is that 30 minutes with a live one on an industrial estate in Gateshead is highly likely to cost less than £50.

So, you know, good luck mate.

So now we introduce Pavel Morozov into British life

Children are being used to spot speeding motorists and go on night-time patrols.

The ‘Mini Police’ project for those aged nine to 11 was started by Durham Constabulary and is now being taken up across the country. It gives uniforms to pupils in ‘economically deprived areas’ and invites them to special events.

The idea, according to official documents, is that ‘vulnerable children’ will be given a ‘positive experience of policing’ and ‘get involved in the local community’.

But they can also ‘support subtle educational interventions to tackle Serious Organised Crime’ and ‘gun and gang crime’.

Units of the Mini Police often go out on ‘community speed watch’ duty, monitoring passing motorists on busy roads.

Don’t think so, not at all

Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for widespread renationalisationunder a Labour government would cost every household £6,500, according to a new report.

An analysis by the Centre for Policy Studies found that proposals to bring the railways, postal service, energy and water industries under public ownership would lead to “upfront costs” of at least £176 billion.

Now add the ongoing costs of more expensive and worse services……

Well, yes

The notable collapse of a series of rape trials could endanger future convictions of genuine rapists because of reduced public trust in the justice system, the former head of the judiciary has warned.

Lord Judge, who was lord chief justice in England and Wales from 2008 to 2013, said juries may start doubting the quality of evidence presented to them in court after several high-profile rape cases collapsed owing to blunders by police and the CPS.

So, stop fucking up the trials then.

And do note that this is the point of juries. Exactly and precisely to note when the average bod in the street thinks that the legal system is wrong, unbalanced, taken over by the fanatics. That fanaticism being that all penetrative sex without written consent is rape, that those who believe in transubstantiation instead of consubstantiation (or the reverse) should be burnt at the stake or people should be hung for stealing goods to the value of 5 shillings and a penny.

Juries going “Nah, fuck off mate” isn’t an error, it’s the point.

Race in the UK

Even Winston Churchill, who historians have found believed in racial hierarchies and eugenics, escapes scrutiny beyond his war hero reputation.

As did just about everyone before, say, 1960?

Our classrooms are diverse and students want to learn what is most relevant to their lives. If they are to demand change and equality, they need to understand that the playing field isn’t level for everyone. They deserve a safe place to talk about why that isn’t the case and ask difficult questions – for example, about the meaning of structural racism. How has British history negatively affected countries around the world that the ancestors of many British citizens once called home?

That march through the institutions thing……

Instead, the curriculum supports an ideology that doesn’t acknowledge many of the flaws in UK history. In whitewashing the discrimination and bloodshed in our past, is it any such a wonder that parts of our society are racist, misogynistic and prejudiced? It’s not enough to discuss these issues in Black History Month in October and ignore the reality of racism that minorities have to endure all year round. Students need to be taught to critically analyse these events and empathise with people across cultures in a diverse but interconnected world.

Ah, critical studies.

How about teaching kids what happened and then adults the implications of it all?

Really entirely missing the point of social life

The more I use Facebook, the more miserable I become (and vice versa). I’m not the only one: heavy users in particular are unhappier, lonelier, meaner, and so on.

Why is that? And why, then, do people keep using it?

This comes down to the most subtle and interesting conflict at the heart of Facebook: user versus user. Let me explain, via a little story.

Facebook is really just the digital version of a facebook, a printed book with everyone’s headshot and a brief bio – where they came from, went to school and what their hobbies are – given to students at prestigious colleges and universities.

I went to such a school, and at the beginning of every year, we’d grab the facebook and devour it. Who was that pretty face? Man, look at that dork! Doesn’t that person look like a nobody, a monster, a sycophant? Everyone spent hours with their friends going over it. Why, exactly?

We were too young to know it then, but what we really doing was performing social comparisons. After doing this, we placed everyone on a pecking order based on prejudicial judgments made according to the few superficial attributes that were in the facebook – a face, a smile, a name. But those verdicts made it difficult for us to get to know our peers as people. So. Allow me to ask again: what were we really doing?

Social comparisons are me-versus-you interactions, not me-with-you or me-and-you interactions.

And every kaffeeklatch, bridal shower and drinking party is the same thing. That’s just what human society is, a constant and consistent game of one upmanship. Don’t people know this?

Watch the rickets rate soar

Sunshine is in short supply across a swathe of north-west Europe, shrouded in heavy cloud from a seemingly never-ending series of low pressure systems since late November and suffering one of its darkest winters since records began.

If you live in Brussels, 10 hours and 31 minutes was your lot for the entire month of December. The all but benighted inhabitants of Lille in France got just two hours, 42 minutes through the first half of January.

There is a good reason why Northern Europeans tend to have paler skin. Possibly even reasons and this is one of them. We need sunlight to produce Vitamin D. Less sunshine means we need to make better use of what we get – paler skins in climes with less sunshine.

We’ve had a recent influx of those with darker skins – plus, among some of those at least, an inclination for one of the sexes not to show bare skin while outside.

No, this is not to then insist that darkies must stay where darkies thrive. Well, OK, anyone can say anything they like but no, not me. However, there are interesting implications of this.

For example, we have been told of a recent rise in the incidence of rickets in the UK. This is then attributed to austerity. That’s certainly possible. Not that we’ve had any austerity but still. The progressive impoverishment to the point of destitution of the populace could indeed produce an increase in the rate of rickets. But then so could an influx of people richer in melanin to our northern climes – especially if people aren’t changing their behaviour about body swathing to take account of this solar deficiency.

My point being well, that rise in rickets incidence. Is it due to poverty or migration? Rather an important question as no, we don’t want the kiddies to suffer rickets so we need to know the answer so that we can prevent that. If it’s poverty then perhaps we really do have to overthrow neoliberal globalisation in order to cure it. If it’s migration then perhaps all we need to do is tell people to take a 10 minute walk outside without a head covering on those rare occasions the Sun does shine?

Not quite how I would put it myself

On this day in AD 395: The Roman Empire is forever cloven in two – and the classical world dies

I’d perhaps argue that 1204 is the date, the Crusaders sack Byzantium. Other dates can also be chosen. But thinking that the Western Empire going down – or starting its fall – is the end of the classical world is to be more than a little euro-centric, no?

Where are the goddam editors?

A majority of Britons believe that the country was right to vote for Brexit for the first time in six months.

A new poll by YouGov found that 45 per cent of people think Britons were right to vote to leave the European Union, up three per cent.

The same poll found that 44 per cent of people think the UK is wrong to want to leave, down two per cent.

That’s not a majority, that’s a plurality.

No, these people don’t have editors.

Interesting mixture

Tom Petty, the much-loved American rock star who passed away in October, died from an accidental drug overdose, it was revealed on Friday.

The music legend, best known for hits such as “Free Fallin'” and “American Girl”, died at the age of 66 after a “mixed toxicity” of a variety of medications, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s office said.

Dana and Adria Petty, his wife and daughter, shared the results of the autopsy, which revealed the presence in his body of fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetyl fentanyl, and despropionyl fentanyl.

“Unfortunately Tom’s body suffered from many serious ailments including emphysema, knee problems and most significantly a fractured hip,” they said in a statement.

“Despite this painful injury he insisted on keeping his commitment to his fans and he toured for 53 dates with a fractured hip and, as he did, it worsened to a more serious injury.

Sounds a bit Michael Jackson to have been getting all those from the doctors, doesn’t it?

Full of wind and vinegar, signifying nothing

After hours of closed-door meetings and phone calls, the Senate scheduled its late-night vote on a House-passed plan. It gained 50 votes to proceed to 48 against, but 60 were needed to break a Democratic filibuster.

Mr Schumer fought back, blaming the president for leading him to believe a deal was possible on a measure to prevent the expulsion of undocumented migrants who arrived in the country as children.

“Every American knows the Republican Party controls White House, the Senate, the House – it is their job to keep the government open. It is their job to work with us to move forward,” Mr Schumer told the Senate.

“They control every ounce of the process and it is their responsibility to govern and here they have failed,” he declared.

Well, if you need 60 votes in the Senate then you don’t control it all, do you?

Rilly? Blimey!

Richard Murphy says:
January 18 2018 at 7:05 pm
Are you aware that prima facie banking is not in GDP because it dos not add value?

Considerable effort had to be made to add it in, using appropriximations which may, or may not, be right?

Given that he’s already said this:

Richard Murphy says:
January 18 2018 at 3:12 pm
GDP is calculated in three ways

The three ways being income, consumption and production. The incomes of bankers very definitely appear in income – as do the profits. So, how can it be that banking isn’t included in GDP?