Idiot is idiot once again

I am at a conference at Manchester Business School today. Prof Sheri Markose of Essex University has argued this morning that the UK is simply not investing enough in new capital formation to maintain an effective. The argument is fairly compelling. The following data on gross capital formation comes from the World Bank.

Three relatively straightforward observations: first, the world has, broadly speaking a rate of about 24% post 1995.

Second, the UK, in contrast, has a markedly downward trend over the same period, and the rate has declined from around 20% to about 17%. We may be 7% short on the world at large for maybe 20 years: it’s a staggering deficit.

The global number includes, quite obviously, a number of developing countries. Who are building out the infrastructure for an economy for the first time.

We’ve already done that, we’ve got roads and ports and railways and airports and…..

That’s one reason that richer countries have lower gross capital formation than the world average.

The other is that of course there are diminishing marginal returns to the process. That’s another reason why richer countries have lower gross capital formation than the world average.

The UK number here is not markedly different from Germany or the US. Both of which are below that global average.

There is only solution and it is the state. We need green infrastructure quantitative easing to address this. I cannot see anything else that will.

Well, there’s always the possibility of understanding what the fuck you’re talking about.

Err, yes, I suppose this is probably true

Every Muslim woman I’ve met is integrated

Because you’re unlikely, wandering around society, to meet those who aren’t integrated.

My mother-in-law has lived here for nearly 40 years and can’t really speak English at all but she can understand it. She works, helping take special needs children to school every day. If that’s not integrated I don’t know what is.

Well, after 40 years we might expect a tiny, teeny perhaps, ability at the language.

To put that decline of UK manufacturing into context

We all know there’s been a catastrophic fall in manufacturing in the UK. Everyone to the left of Attila the Hun has been telling us so for four decades now.


Manufacturing output in the three months to October was 5.7% below its level when the economy nosedived into recession in the first quarter of 2008.

Somewhere around 2006/2008, was when UK manufacturing output was at its, inflation adjusted, peak output.

Myself I tend not to think that 6% off the highest ever is best described as a collapse.

Idiot is idiot

And given that, by definition, shares are owned by the wealthy it would be superficially easy to say that Trump has already rewarded the traditional wealth base the Republicans seek top appease.


“Households directly own 38 percent of the US equity market,” he wrote. “However, the total effective household ownership is closer to 80 percent when combined with indirect ownership in the form of mutual funds (20 percent), pension funds (16 percent), and insurance policy holdings (7 percent).”

Rich people do generally get their stock market exposure through mutual funds, pensions and insurance policies, don’t they?

Yes, idiot is idiot.

Quite, quite, remarkable

Which is why the old divide between avoidance and evasion is disappearing. Legally and ethically it is now recognised to have no use. It is inconsistent with modern tax law. It contravenes the morality of society that underpins our concept of equity. As such it has no place in modern tax debate and it’s immoral to use it.

It’s immoral to ask whether you’re obeying tax law or not now. For that is what the Spudmonster is saying here.

Recall what his definition of tax avoidance is. The use of a provision of the law in a manner that no reasonable legislator would, or could, have foreseen. That has it’s own problem of course, given the idiots we have as legislators. But leave that aside.

This law says that if I do this then I don’t owe that tax, right?

Aha! But the legislators did not foresee you doing that ! MOAR TAX!

Err, but can we just stop and think a bit about whether legislators did foresee that, or could have done, or were warned, or should have done?

No, immoral, MOAR TAX!

The truth is of course that there is no such thing as a static state of tax avoidance. There are, quite obviously, attempts to avoid tax. And then we examine these attempts. We even have a system of tribunals on up through the courts all the way to the ECJ which examine such attempts. And in the end all such attempts at tax avoidance collapse down into either illegal, that is tax evasion, or legal, as in tax compliance.

So, for example, it would be entirely fair to argue that Cadbury and Vodafone were attempts at tax avoidance. Specific attempts to keep European profits out of the CFC rules governing UK corporation tax. And this was all examined, in great detail. And the end result was that it was tax compliance. We know this because the courts said s. That the Sage of Ely disagrees is a problem with and for the Sage of Ely, not the rest of us.

This is all quite apart from the basic logical challenge being presented here. Which is if we’ve got things which are legal and things which are not, and two different words to describe them (like, say, legal and illegal) then we’ve got to have some method of distinguishing between the two, don’t we?

Have these people ever met any humans?

Size matters when it comes to safe sex.
A southern Swedish health clinic is offering services to men to measure their penis in order to fit them with the correct condom size.
Specially designed tape will measure penises in diameter rather than in length and the clinic hopes the unique opportunity will help boost the number of young men to visit youth clinics.

Youth clinics here are of course for teenagers. And some bird who might offering to measure some male teen’s penis will get an enthusiastic agreement, perhaps too enthusiastic. Some doctor or nurse insisting that it be presented vibrant so that it can be measured is going to get a rather different sort of reaction.

And now for the constitutional expert

Lord Keen QC, the Scottish advocate general, put forward an extraordinary argument to the Article 50 hearing before the Supreme Court this morning, He claimed that no legislative consent motion on Brexit is needed from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland because no legislation is needed to trigger Brexit. To put it another way, he argued that our membership of the EU is maintained at the whim of the Prime Minister.

Interesting, no?

So, which level of UK government has the right and ability to sign treaties with foreign powers? That would be Westminster, wouldn’t it? On the same grounds that it is currently the EU which has the power to determine external trade tariffs, say.

So, err, why do the subsidiary administrations, which do not have the power to make foreign treaties, need to approve a foreign treaty?

Is Dan Hyde an idiot?

To violate Betteridge’s Law once again:

Have you tried comparing the prices of fruit, veg, meat and other groceries in the supermarket recently?
Crafty bosses at big stores have made it almost impossible to work out whether you’re getting a good deal. Everything’s in different pack sizes with different weights.
Throw in two-for-one deals and it’s enough to give you a headache just walking down the aisles.

To get in and out of the shop without being ripped off you really need a calculator, pen and paper — plus a free afternoon to do the sums.
Scouring stores for Christmas presents takes so long, that by late December many of us are too worn out to hunt down deals on turkeys and trimmings. Marketing industry insiders tell me it’s intentional.
Years ago it was illegal to sell tea and other staples in anything other than 8oz, 1lb, 1lb 8oz (and so on) quantities. When you went to the greengrocer and saw the price of 1 lb of tomatoes and 1 lb of grapes on little blackboards, it was easy to work out which was more expensive.
I’d wager that most Sixties shoppers could have named the price of a pound of tea, sugar or flour off the top of their heads. Now? Forget it. I’d just be guessing if asked the price per kilo of almost anything in Sainsbury’s or Tesco.
A picture sent to me by a former retail marketing executive illustrates the problem this causes. It shows three prawn deals on a Waitrose shelf: one packet at £2.99 for 150g; one at £4 for 200g; and two 200g packs at £6.
Clearly, the best is to buy two 200g packets for £6 and freeze one.

Try reading the damn labels on the shelf Dan. By law it must have the unit price on it.

The life of a freelance

A small insight into how this works. So, read the papers, see if there’s anything being talked about over which one can be a contrarian and thus offer a piece to this or that publisher. Something that, given that it’s me we’re talking about, can be turned into a few hundred words of sneer and bile that someone will pay me for.

Excellent, it’s 08.30 am, three ideas fired off to a publisher. Who says, well, like that idea, yes, that one, but can we confirm at 10.00 am?

Publishers, you see, having been to many a drinks party. You do not pursue, exclusively, the first fit looking bod you see and chat to. Try to place a marker upon, sure, maintain in a holding pattern, but always keeping an eye open for whatever better might turn up. So it is with freelance pieces – who knows who might offer something gorgeous in the next 90 minutes?

This is the way the newspapers work generally on their comment pages. Pitch by 10.30, they have their editorial meeting, come back by 12 or so (before that long lunch with booze that doesn’t really happen any more) to say yes (if it’s no you never hear back) and then please file by 3 or 4.

Which is why I do so little newspaper work. There’s a vast effort that goes into trying to make that pitch with a low expectation of being accepted. The actual return, if published, is good, several hundred quid, but the expected return is very much lower. Because the writing part, to be honest, is easy, it’s getting accepted that’s the tough part.

Yes, I knew you’d be fascinated. And it’s also why I display such bile to those who complain about the gig economy. Or that bint who works freelance and keeps moaning about zero hours contracts. What the fuck it it you’re working to as a contract, honey?

The Patriarchy, The Patriarchy!

More than 900 women were killed by men in England and Wales over a six-year period, most by their current or former partners, according to the first detailed analysis of deadly male violence against women in those countries.

Yes love, yes. No doubt something must be done. But why are you being so damn sexist about it?

The Home Office Homicide Index showed there were 518 homicides (murder, manslaughter and infanticide) in the year ending March 2015 in England and Wales. This represents a decrease of 5 offences (1%) from the 523 recorded for the previous year.

So there were, approx, 3,000 homicides over this period, of which 900 were of women by men.

In the year ending March 2015, just under two-thirds of homicide victims (64%) were male, the lowest since 1996 (64%).

The majority of victims were male.

There were differences between males and females in the pattern of relationships between victims and suspects. Women were far more likely than men to be killed by partners/ex-partners (44% of female victims compared with 6% of male victims), and men were more likely than women to be killed by friends/ acquaintances (32% of male victims compared with 8% of female victims).

Given the imbalance in sex of victims it would appear that a man has as much chance of being murdered by a friend as a woman does by a partner. Nearly 50% more likely in fact.

So where is the campaign explaining that friends don’t kill friends?

Or alternatively, fuck off you sexist old slag.

Precious snowflakes, aren’t they all?

“Immigrant!” the customer shouted at the cashier. “Trump!” she shrieked. Antonia Carew-Watts froze in line at the drugstore in Manhattan as the woman in front of her shouted a stream of abuse at the young female Rite Aid employee. Not all the conversation was audible, but Carew-Watts could hear that the cashier had an accent and the customer threatened to get her fired. Carew-Watts was shocked and angered, she recalls, but remained silent.

“Somehow I wasn’t able to stand up for that cashier. I said nothing, I was a coward. No one else said anything either,” said Carew-Watts, an attorney.

Carew-Watts’ lack of action bothered her. Why didn’t she know how to respond? Why didn’t she jump to help the young cashier? So when she heard about a self-defense and conflict resolution class being organized in New York for women rattled about their safety post-election, she jumped at the chance.

America elects a blowhard billionaire from New York rather than a blowhard decamillionaire from New York.

Women attend self defence classes.

Interesting theory George, interesting theory

A wave of revulsion rolls around the world. Approval ratings for incumbent leaders are everywhere collapsing. Symbols, slogans and sensation trump facts and nuanced argument. One in six Americans now believe that military rule would be a good idea. From all this I draw the following, peculiar conclusion: no country with a McDonald’s can remain a democracy.

Because of course the availability of Big Macs makes voting impossible.

Sadly, he doesn’t develop the idea much beyond that. That thousands of local businesses use the one brand and recipe, as with the Spar chain or any other franchise, means that Duterte gets to rule the country.

Or summat.

Transatlantic flight attendant arrested for being eight times alcohol limit

Jeez, can you actually survive that level?

An flight attendant was arrested for being eight times the alcohol limit while on board a trans-Atlantic jet.

Officers smelled alcohol on the breath of American Airlines worker Stacy Rosehill, 57, while she was carrying out an in-flight safety demonstration ahead of a flight from Manchester to Chicago.

She was escorted off the Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane in October and taken into custody as around 300 passengers were waited for takeoff. Tests showed she had 71 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit under aviation rules is 9mg.

Ah, different limit. She was actually legal to drive….that’s if I’ve read the microg bits right.