31 comments on “And this tells me, doesn’t it?

  1. Oh Tim… enough of the hate… it’s too much for my sensitive soul.

    Mind you that Richard bloke’s a bit of a cunt isn’t he….?

  2. Oh dear. I seem to be blocked from following him on Twitter. Has that happened to anyone else?

    I wonder if the Joseph Rowntree Foundation knows precisely what it is funding.

  3. I did think it was either the superb Bravefart or the equally excellent GlenDorran who predicted he might be dead from stress in less than 2 years, but cannot remember exactly. Either way he is the personification of narcissism, self-obsessed to the point of as Rob says, being borderline mentally ill…..

  4. @VP “I did think it was either the superb Bravefart or the equally excellent GlenDorran who predicted he might be dead from stress in less than 2 years, but cannot remember exactly. Either way he is the personification of narcissism, self-obsessed to the point of as Rob says, being borderline mentally ill…..”

    I suggested we open a book on his death ages ago. He’s clearly on borrowed time – think of his blood pressure.

    (Obviously, his death would be a tragedy and I would not crack open a cold bottle of bubbly to celebrate it, at all.)

  5. Rob, my understanding is that he is not mentally ill. I am told he has a certificate so prove he is sane, signed by two doctors and a social worker.

  6. Ritchie:

    “estimates are by definition wrong”

    🙂

    What’s less funny is the thinly disguised racist abuse aimed at Ms Forstater. She’s apparently stupid and confused, the poor dear, and needs a rich old white man to tell her what to think. Ritchie’s about as subtle as a jackboot to the head.

  7. “I did think it was either the superb Bravefart or the equally excellent GlenDorran who predicted he might be dead from stress in less than 2 years, but cannot remember exactly.”

    He’s being handsomely to cobble shoddy shite together. Why the hell would he die from stress?. He doesn’t even think about what he writes let alone agonise over it. He is the economic equivalent of a poison pen writer.

  8. Quote from Murphy;

    “So I share your desire to enhance research, but am not sure your approach is very helpful right now.”

    Translation, your ugly facts are destroying my beautiful theory!

  9. Dave;

    “Ritchie’s about as subtle as a jackboot to the head.”

    The thing is, Goodwin or not, I could see Murphy slipping into a pair of jackboots with great ease. If you offered him a slot as a Gauleiter, he would bite your hand off.

  10. @ Rob
    Ask the Guinness Book of Records.
    The primary reason for Murphy failing to ban the MacWhirter twins is that they died before he opened a Twitter account

  11. @ Dave
    “estimates are by definition wrong”
    If Murphy said that (I am not boosting his viewing numbers unless I have to), then he is not just a liar but a stupid liar. Estimates are not supposed to be precise but they are intended to be reasonably accurate. “Wrong” means “inaccurate” not “imprecise”. Anyway, estimates can be precisely accurate.
    Anecdata alert – *but* this anecdote proves that estimates are *not* invariably wrong so refuting Murphy. About 40 years ago I was studiously avoiding covering the “Engineering Contractors” sector because my father and several of his and/or my friends might (and sometimes did) quite innocently have information that was “price-sensitive” since he and some friends worked for one of their largest customers and some worked for them. One day the guy covering the sector was on study leave and I was asked to do a quick summary of the “interim” (half-yearly) results and a estimated forecast for the full-year results of one of them. Unfortunately my estimate (which didn’t rely on any insider information) was precisely accurate to the three/four significant figures (3 for eps, 4 for pre-tax) on the tab, so I got lumbered and had to avoid certain subjects for discussion whenever I went back home for the next ten years.

  12. pace David Moore, I’m not sure if Murphy has the organisational capability to be a Gauleiter, but I am quite convinced he would be perfectly happy working in a back room in Secret Police HQ rubber-stamping death warrants for class enemies.

  13. a possible defence of Richie.

    suppose some reform is a good thing, and that campaigns for it are more effective when using exaggerated numbers. Then, if you point out those numbers are wrong, opponents of the reform will just use it to rubbish the whole proposal and will not say, okay the numbers are wrong but even using the right numbers there is still a good case for the reform.

    this actually happens to be a potential dilemma for me – I do believe reforms over tax secrecy, reforms to tackle varieties of evasion and avoidance, reforms to help poor countries raise more tax revenue etc. are desirable. And I might actually be paid to write something critiquing numbers used by campaigners. Would I be doing more harm than good? I think rigour and honesty are important, but I do not want to score an own goal.

  14. Luis, you’re suggesting that the ends justify the means.

    Surely though, if you want to campaign for something and keep any support you manage to gain, you need to remain scrupulously honest. Otherwise, your campaign will inevitably turn into a rerun of the CAGW fiasco.

  15. BICR, David Moore>

    I’m pretty sure Ritchie sees himself taking on more of a leadership role in the Courageous Reich.

  16. @Luis Enrique: if you can’t see where the slippery slope of ‘A few dodgy numbers won’t matter if the outcome is good’ leads, then you’re either remarkably dim, or actively ignoring the history of the 20th century.

  17. Propaganda works. Which is why “framing” (the terms of the debate) is so important. Everyone does it –

    death panels vs. Obamacare
    Climate change vs deniers (“the science is settled”)

    One is tempted to allow the hyperbole for the stuff one likes. Not really surprising.

  18. Tim, to counter Murphy’s characteristic insult, may I just say you’re:

    Tim nice and not at all Dim

  19. of course I don’t want bloody tax campaigners making up bollocks numbers and of course my first instinct is to set them straight.

    obviously I get all these and other arguments, but, suppose the issue is finally balanced, the fact remains that it is *possible* to intervene, point out errors, and tip the course of events in the direction I do not want.

  20. @Luis: I think it comes down to how highly you value the truth.

    Beyond any political view I hold, I want to be on the side of the truth. So correcting political co-belligerents is not a problem: the truth will win in the end. Either we are on its side, or we are not. It’s pretty simply, really.

    In the specific case you mention, if you perceive an issue to be genuinely finely balanced, then you shouldn’t really be taking a hardline campaigning stance. It is untruthful to affect more certainty than you hold. And if you do not take a hardline campaigning stance, then the dilemma falls away: you are close enough to the middle that you are not greatly invested in seeing things go one way or the other.

  21. Philip Walker

    When Luis says “finely balanced” I dont think he means the pros and cons are finely balanced. I think he means the public debate is finely balanced.

    The rightness of greater tax transparency is offset from a theoretical viewpoint by the potential negative effects (a reduction in activity, a weakening of competitive position of the transparent), but in general most people would be in favour, especially if it became a global standard. But in the public debate there is a great deal of money from big corporates that pushes against it and especially against partial implementation (eg only for European or US firms).

  22. Luis>

    It depends on whether you value a reputation for probity and intellectual honesty above whatever tax-related goals you might have. Viewed in a context where this is not the only debate we’ll ever have, I’d say winning this one isn’t worth losing all the others.

  23. I should follow up to my post above to say that partial implementation may be desirable as part of a move toward a global implementation, although this would be harmful to those firms that are forced into transparency first. (Thus explaining why firms may be against what would otherwise be a desirable action.)

    Dave,

    The issue is that the people who use excessive measures to frame the debate may help to force through good changes, and that fighting the excesses may not be desirable in this context. In an ideal world we would stigmatise the liars – but it isnt an ideal world. And there are propagandists on every side.

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