Err, no love, just no

Workers in the public sector have become more productive since the Government began wielding the axe on the sector, according to the head of its independent fiscal watchdog.

Robert Chote, chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), said the financial crisis and subsequent spending cuts had made the civil service more efficient and forced people to “respond” to these changes by working harder.

“In terms of, has it made a difference to the way people perform their jobs, I’m sure it does,” he told The Telegraph.

According to official data, productivity in the public sector showed zero growth between 1997 and 2010, meaning the only way the Government has been able to increase productivity is by hiring more staff.

No m’dear. No productivity growth means no productivity growth. Hiring more people will increase output, production, but not productivity.

Perhaps we should just stop trying to computerise government?

The Home Office wasted nearly £350 million on a computer system for dealing with immigration and asylum applications that was abandoned, forcing staff to revert to using an old system that regularly freezes.

The “Immigration Case Work” system was commissioned in 2010 and was supposed to be a “flagship IT programme”, a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) said.

However, it suffered “delays and problems” that led to it being shut down last August. Ministers have now commissioned another new computer system that is due to cost a further £209 million by 2016-17.

The Home Office is also expected to incur extra costs to maintain the older system – which is due to expire in early 2016 – until the new technology is ready to launch, the Nation Audit Office concluded.


Make’ em all work only with pen and paper. At least they’d be too busy to actually do much.

Oh yes, most fun

A driver abandoned his car on a motorway thinking it was about to burst into flames, only to realise that the word “Fire” that had appeared on his dashboard referred to an Adele song on the stereo.

The man was listening to the song Set Fire to the Rain when he stopped abruptly, the Highways Agency said. It was one of many odd reasons motorists gave for stopping illegally on motorways.

These people
have the vote you know.

On another occasion, traffic officers found two cars on the hard shoulder, with the owners halfway through the selling and buying process for one of the cars.

No, really, they get to influence the laws that you and I live under.

Rules is rules of course but do they have to be enforced by complete and utter fuckwits?

The mother of a terminally-ill boy is fighting against being fined for taking him out of school for what could be his last holiday.

Maxine Ingrouille-Kidd has been threatened with a fine of up to £120 and possible prosecution if she takes her son Curtis out of school during term time.

Doctors have given Curtis, 13, who is a blind quadriplegic and has cerebral palsy, just a few years to live and warned he may only survive until his late teens.

“My son is 14 in October and this may well be his last holiday,” the mother-of-three said.

Crippled JC on a sodding pogo stick I know that common sense isn’t common but is the entirety of the regulatory state run by total and entire morons and fuckwits?

What the hell is anyone doing insisting that this boy be incarcerated in the bosom of the education system in the first place? It’s a waste of his life and our money anyway.

Way back when a childhood friend of mine (by a long way my best friend as well, which probably explains quite a bit about my character now, I tend to regard friendships as fleeting things) died of a brain tumour at 16 or so. At least he was spared someone wittering on about how he should still be working for university as commoon sense did seem to be more common then.

Just rank fucking idiocy on display here.

Timmy’s travel day

So, if I were not travelling I would be, at this time, drinking coffee and roaming the internet.

I am travelling and thus am drinking expensive cofeee at an airport and roaming the internet.

I may have made this point before. Travel time just isn’t dead time like it used to be. Thus speed ot travel is all becoming rather less important.

Bit of a bugger for the economics of high speed rail that, isn’t it?

I don’t think so Telegraph, I don’t think so

Britain’s economy has finally passed its pre-2008 financial crisis peak, figures released this week are expected to show.

GDP dropped more than 7pc from a high of £392bn to less than £365bn in early 2009, and it has struggled to reach that level ever since.

But estimates due on Friday from the Office for National Statistics are predicted to show that in the second quarter of 2014 it expanded beyond the pre-crisis peak, rising to just more than £393bn.

Those are quarterly figures, GDP is normally reported as an annual figure.


Ritchie really doesn’t get tax, does he?

On AbbVie:

New profits can be earned from intellectual property rights located either here via the patent box or in low tax jurisdictions without ever having to worry that the UK might ever question the arrangements and the US has lost out on all the tax on unremitted profits denied to it for years.

Err, no. As I point out here that future revenue stream of corporate income tax that will not be paid is , to a greater or lesser extent, now capitalised into the stock price. And the merger is a taxable event for US shareholders. Meaning that the US will gain capital gains tax (and possibly income and corporate income tax) revenues from taxing the capitalisation of that future loss of corporate income tax.

Because there are many more taxes that the corporate income tax it simply isn’t true to insist that a reduction in corporate income tax revenues is the same as a loss of tax revenues in general.

Oh do fuck off you ghastly little wanker

The rebel commander blamed for shooting down flight MH17 has made bizarre claims that bodies at the crash site ‘aren’t fresh’.

Pro-Russian separatist Igor Girkin has claimed corpses near the debris died days before the plane took off.

According to rebel website Russkaya Vesna, the leader was told by people at the scene in eastern Ukraine that ‘a significant number of the bodies were drained of blood and reeked of decomposition.’

Girkin, also known as Strelkov and allegedly a former Russian intelligence agent, also suggested that a large amount of blood serum and medications in the wreckage.

Sadly there will be those who will believe this nonsense.

No doubt Max Keiser will be on the case soon enough.

Lies about food

So why don’t we? Where food is concerned, we’re complicated. We aspire to extreme thinness as advocated by fashion and reinforced by the cult of celebrity, but in reality we nearly all struggle with the pounds. We see people who are grossly fat, their wobbling, sad bodies being winched out of windows, and class that as “obesity”, distancing ourselves from the term. As a recovering alcoholic it’s a syndrome I’m familiar with – I might be getting drunk but I still have a roof over my head, unlike a “real” alcoholic, who sleeps on a park bench. Are we seriously so weak-willed that we can’t say “no” to that extra cake? Go back just 30 years and very few people were obese. Go back 50 years and virtually no one was. For women, size 10 and 12 was the norm, rather than 14 and 16 today – and we ate three meals a day, with tea thrown in for special occasions. Most of us didn’t eat unless we were sat at a table at a regular time of day.

That simple fact represented a problem for the food industry, which its army of chemists solved by designing products that override the “full” button, working like any other addictive drug to convince you that you really, really want – even need – that extra slice. Combine sugars, salts and fats, substances once so scarce we never evolved any need to limit their consumption, and you create a sensation as powerful as many banned substances. Then destroy the concept that eating takes place just at mealtimes. Enter any large supermarket today and you’ll find whole aisles stocked with snacks.

Sigh. Calorie intake has fallen over this time period. People simply aren’t getting fat because they’re eating more.

Thus any plan that attempts to reduce obesity by thinking that we are eating more than we used to is simply wrong. At odds with the universe we actually inhabit.

Oh for God’s sake

Extreme obesity may in future be classified as a disability under EU law, providing protection for morbidly overweight workers who suffer discrimination at work.

This will mean you can’t fire a firefighter who is too much of a lardbucket to get up a ladder, all doors and corridors must be widened so that fatties can get through them and yes, even that in Germany, where prostitution is legal, not hiring the 300 lb monstrosity will be “diiscriminaaaashun”.

The problem is not that morbid obesity may or may not be a disability, rather the panoply of laws that surround anything that is described as a disability.

On The English

“I love asking the way in London,” she told an interviewer. “A man actually left his shop to show me where to go. I thought ‘I’m not that attractive and I don’t look like a hooker, so what’s in it for him?’ I finally realised he was simply good-mannered.”

Elaine Stritch

Eventually, in 1973 and aged 47, she met and married John Bay, her co-star in Small Craft Warnings. When they got engaged, Elaine Stritch called home to ask her father whether she should bring her fiancé home to see if he approved of him. “No, just marry him,” came the reply. “Don’t let him get away.” The marriage lasted a happy 10 years, until Bay died of cancer.

In 2002 she made a triumphant return on Broadway in her one-woman retrospective of her career, Elaine Stritch At Liberty, co-written with John Lahr, which played to sell-out audiences at London’s Old Vic the following year. “There’s good news and bad news,” she told her audience. “The good: I have a sensational acceptance speech for a Tony. The bad: I’ve had it for 45 years.” In a typical Stritchian postscript, when she really did make the speech after being awarded a Tony for her performance, it was so long that the orchestra cut her off in mid-flow.

And there’s this joyous one:

She “dated” Brando — nothing more. When, after a night on the town, he took her back to his place, went to the bathroom, and reappeared in his pyjamas, the teenage Elaine Stritch shot straight back to the convent.

Brando? Pyjamas?

Umm, eh?

When Mr West refused to give way, the judge barked at him to sit down six times, banging his gavel on the bench as he did so.

Do judges in English courts actually use gavels?

I keep seeing minor pendantry around the place insisting that they do not, only American judges do.