About that Brexit deal

Nope, I’ve no information about it, no special view either.

So nothing really to say. Other than let’s go, let’s go hard, and sort things out as we bumble along. It being the very thing we Brits are good at, bumbling our way through problems.

These people are idiots aren’t they

Alston asked a group of Glasgow kids who it is that should help those in poverty. “The rich people,” one shot back. “It’s unfair to have people earning billions and other people living on benefits.” Out of the mouths of babes.

How do you get the benefits if there are no richer people to tax to pay them?

Lying toads

Legal experts have accused the Government of sneaking in a new “death tax” by the back door without proper parliamentary scrutiny.

New rules will mean estates worth £2m or more pay £6,000 in probate fees, up from £155 currently. The 3,770pc increase is a reduction on the original plans, which would have meant a bill of £20,000 for the largest estates.

A “grant of probate” allows the executor to access and distribute someone’s estate when they die.

The fiercely unpopular changes have been dubbed a “stealth death tax” and a de facto increase on top of existing inheritance levies (IHT). Experts have now warned that the probate fee structure will not be thoroughly debated in Parliament, as any other tax rule changes would.

The changes are expected to be introduced in April 2019, but the rules already form part of the law, it has emerged.

Making use of a parliamentary procedure called a “negative statutory instrument”, the Government is able to write the changes into law without debate.

The procedure dictates that an amendment is made to existing legislation on the day it is announced and remains so unless a motion to reject it is agreed within 40 days.

Given the use that is made of these things – despite the entirely true case that they have positive uses – perhaps it’s time to abolish SIs altogether?

Further, the best argument against more government is what government currently does.

There’s a reasonable response to this complaint

Year 13 students are worried they might fail their history exam because they didn’t know what the word “trivial” meant.

The senior students have launched a petition asking for the essay to be marked based on students’ own definition of the “unfamiliar” word. It has so far received more than 1300 signatures.

Students sitting the NZQA Level 3 History causes and consequences paper on Wednesday were confronted with the word in a quote from Julius Caesar: “Events of importance are the result of trivial causes.”

Students were asked to analyse the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with Caesar, with reference to the causes and consequences of a historical event.

“You’re too ignorant to pass this exam” being a reasonable response perhaps?

Via Matthew in standingonheadland

Yes, a carbon tax

Efficiency isn’t just some economists’, or accountants’, insistence on doing things cheaply. As Stern himself notes, if we do this inefficiently then we’ll avert less of that warming. The more resources we devote to growing mushrooms the fewer we’ll be able to expend upon the real problem. The more you worry about global warming the more you should be pushing for the most efficient solution — market forces properly incentivised — and the further you’d like politicians from the subject.

That, unfortunately, is not how things have worked out. The biggest problem with the climate change debate is that those most insistent that something must be done are those most insistent that the wrong something is done. That isn’t quite the way we’d hope to deal with the greatest threat to our civilisation. Or even the manner we’d like to deal with any problem at all.

Now that we’ve made the mistake of trying those centralised plans, can we get on with solving that climate change problem? Stick on the carbon tax and allow market forces to chew through the problem? As Hayek would have told us to, as Stern actually did insist, as the manner we’ve splashed the cash so far tells us we should have done.

Odd

The rehabilitation of Neanderthals has taken another step forward after scientists discovered they were no more violent than modern humans and could probably hunt just as well.

I’ve always assumed they were less violent. Partly because it’s difficult to think of an ape more violent that we are – hunter gatherer murder rates are something like 40% of all males die of murder. And secondly because, well, we won, right?

Affairs? On Grindr?

Pharmacist accused of murdering wife was having affairs on Grindr, court hears

That doesn’t sound quite right.

A pharmacist accused of murdering his wife had been cheating on her with men he met on the Grindr dating app, a court has been told.

Unlikely to be having anything as constant as an affair on Grindr, surely?

Whut?

Call for abolition of ‘not proven’ verdict in Scottish law
Country’s three-verdict system criticised for leaving accused innocent in the eyes of the law

That’s taking the accusation is the proof in rape cases a little far isn’t it? Complaining that sometimes the accused isn’t found guilty?

In 2016-17, only 39% of Scottish rape and attempted rape cases resulted in convictions – the lowest rate for any type of crime. Nearly 30% of acquittals in rape and attempted rape cases are found not proven, compared with 17% for all crimes and offences.

OK. So, what’s the rate in England and Wales. Obviously, there’s no “not proven” verdict. So, which way does it go? We’ve a higher guilty rate and a lower innocent? Or the same not found guilty rate? Which bit of innocent and guilty is not proven eating? A rather important thing to work out before thinking about abolishing the three bit system…..

What Simon Baron Cohen has been saying for ages

If you often sit on a train pondering how the rail networks are coordinated then you are more likely to be male, new research suggests.

Likewise if friends often come to you with their problems, then chances are you’re a woman.

In the biggest ever study examining differences between the sexes, scientists have concluded that women really are more empathetic while men are more analytical and logical.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge tested more than 680,000 people and found that on average women have a greater ability to recognise what another person is thinking intuitively and respond appropriately.

On the other hand men have a stronger drive to view the world through ‘rule-based systems’,…

On the other hand, given that this is Cambridge, it might actually be Baron Cohen.

There might be a change of career coming here

With hundreds of ticket sales, legions of social media followers and adoring messages posted online from teenage fans, Californian metal band Threatin appeared more than ready to conquer the UK music scene.

Venue managers liaised with an apparent booking agent and record label, gladly signing them up in the hope of sell-out crowds.

The reality was a rather different story. This band was unknown, they had no fans and no management.

They toured the country playing to completely empty gig venues and as they did so last week, their story began to unravel.

The band, and in particular the sole permanent member Jered Threatin, has been accused of creating a fake legion of fans in order to land the UK tour.

All done with fake likes on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, apparently.

So, a senior job in social media management here we come, eh?

Wonder what the definition of Far Right is here

I have absolutely no doubt at all that there are Far Right peeps and groups in Poland. Our own comments section contains the odd one or two at times.

But, well, you know:

Poland’s eurosceptic leaders marked a century of national independence on Sunday as around 200,000 people marched through the capital in a parade involving far-right groups and neo-fascist activists from Italy.

The march is a focus of debate about whether the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) tacitly encourages groups with roots in the fascist and anti-Semitic movements. The party won power in 2015 and Poland has since become increasingly isolated in Europe amid accusations of a tilt towards authoritarian rule.

What’s the definition of Far Right in use here?

Since its election in 2015, the party has seen Poland increasingly isolated in Europe amid accusations of a tilt towards authoritarian rule. It promises more Catholic values and patriotism in public life and more state say in the economy.

Catholicism, euroscepticism? These are Far Right now?

State economic control, anti-semitism, these are markets of left wing parties. At least in the UK they are.

How secret?

Mountain bothies’ locations should be kept secret, walkers say amid fears over stag parties and adventure tours

Really secret so no one knows where they are?

Or just rather secret, known only to the Illuminati?

Hillwalkers have also complained some bothy users have exploited a loophole in smoking legislation to set up a pipe smoking club at another shelter in Durness, in the far north of Scotland.

Ah, yes, I think we can guess the sort of people complaining. Those who go hill walking as no one will have the little cunts in the house.

Snigger

I have been reading ‘Several short sentences about writing’ by Verlyn Klinkenborg this week. It was recommended to me by my Copenhagen Business School colleague, Professor Len Seabrooke. The book is easily the most radical I have read on writing. For that reason alone I recommend it, presuming you are open minded about how English should be written.

Who is it advising us on clear and elegant writing?

He;s at CBS as an external examiner on a unit about tax. “My colleague at” sounds bit grand for that. Still, it does open the question, has the colleague read some Ritchie and, gaspingly, reached for the first thing on how to write better he can find?

On the subject of tomorrow

Let’s put a name to one Stan Chamberlain 149 Sqdn lost over Germany 7/8 September 1941in Wellington X9705. 5 others lost with him. His only child, a son, was born after he died. Standing in front of 6 gravestones and especially holding the telegram received by Ellen is extraordinarily moving. Real real people. I wear a poppy not glorify but to remember. My FiL has lived with the loss his whole life.

We who grow old remember….