Interesting point

Fears have been raised in Hong Kong over creeping cultural dominance from Beijing after a broadcaster aired a programme subtitled with characters that are commonly used on the mainland.
More than 10,000 viewers complained to TVB after the media outlet used simplified Chinese characters for a news bulletin, as opposed to traditional characters which are common in Hong Kong.

As I understand it Taiwan is the only place left that actually has bits and pieces of Imperial, or at least pre-revolution, cooking floating around. The smaller offshoots of a culture being those that retain the older customs the longer. As here, with traditional and simplified characters.

The Benny’s being the last outpost of 1950s England sorta thing…..certainly, the one time I ever spoke to one on the phone it was like listening to, well, not 1950s, but perhaps 1900, Dorset or Devon perhaps.

Advanced stuff in any field is not understandable to the layman

This is actually one of the complaints made bout the modern world. It’s simply not possible to keep abreast of the advanced edges of more than one (perhaps two) fields any more, in the way that an 18th or 19th cent. bloke could be a polymath.

Take this:

Klaus Roth, who has died aged 90, was the first British winner of the Fields Medal, the mathematical equivalent of the Nobel Prize, whose discoveries in number theory led to him being considered one of the greatest mathematicians of the second half of the 20th century.
Roth was, above all, a consummate problem-solver. His best-known work was in the field of Diophantine approximation, a branch of pure mathematics that deals with the approximation of real numbers by rational numbers. He was only 30 when he made a significant contribution to the Thue-Siegel theorem by proving that any irrational algebraic number has an approximation exponent equal to two. In 1958 he was awarded the Fields Medal on the strength of this breakthrough.

Undoubtedly great work to gain a Fields Medal. But I would wager that you’d need at least one degree in mathematics (or at least be able to pass the finals for one, whether you’ve done so or not) to even understand what it was that he had done, let alone replicate it or do it for the first time.

I am quite famously maths blind (statistics I can usually manage but not maths) so this might just be projection but I don’t think so. It’s all there in words and everything and I’ve not a clue what it all means. And while I’ve obviously got deficiencies in my education I’m not entirely stupid. I’m really pretty sure that this will be true or prize winning work in any field: those outside that field, without the underlying education, can no longer really follow what the arguments are.

I actually have some fun (for a given value of fun) with this each year with the Econ Nobel. Is it possible to put the point, in however bastardised a form, so that it can be understood by he layman. Krugman, Tirole, Deaton, yes, it can be and has been done. Those blokes who did heteroskedacity (Spelling?) not really, it was just possible to say they’d done something clever with numbers. Not what, just something.

Perhaps it’s not something to complain about, but something to celebrate? That we’re delving so deep into the secrets of the universe that no one human mind can encompass it all?

Why would they fine Google?

HMRC did not fine Google over its failure to pay the right tax despite the payment being almost a decade late, a committee of MPs has found.

But why would they?

The report found that HMRC, the body in charge of levying tax on individuals and companies in the UK, did not charge Google a penalty despite it underpaying tax over a 10 year period.
Individuals who do not pay the correct tax or submit late receipts are charged a fine for doing so.

That’s not so.

If the amount of tax you have paid is correct by the rules as they are, but then there’s a discussion about whether the rules really quite mean that and your bill is raised, then no, you as an individual will not pay a fine.

And here, again, is what the Google situation actually was. Simplified, but true, and yes this is absolutely what happened. I have checked.

Google IE pays some amount to Google UK to cover all that engineering work etc that the latter does. The amount it pays is governed by the transfer pricing rules. That’s the way international tax law works. Meaning that Google IE should be paying Google UK a rate which is at least somewhat in line with what it would be paying an independent company, one not a part of the same group, for the same work.

HMRC had a look at Google’s books and basically said: oi oi, that rate’s a bit low, isn’t it? Google shuffled its feet and muttered, well, if you say so. Thus the rate was raised. That meant more profit in Google UK which was then taxed at the normal rate (that 20% Matt Brittin talked about).

This is exactly the same as the Starbucks royalties case. Where they were paying 6% (?) to Holland for the brand name and HMRC muttered that perhaps 4% was more appropriate. Hmm,. mebbe you’re right.

This isn’t Google having lied, it’s not them having fiddled their books and it is absolutely nothing at all to do with them selling from Ireland into the UK. And given that the earlier rate is supportable, even if after discussion wrong, there’s no fines. It’s a difference of opinion that has been resolved.

The very fact that a fine was not imposed shows that HMRC does not think this is something culpable. It’s a difference of opinion over what the transfer rate should be.

Not that the PAC gives a shit about that, grandstanding bastard little tossers that they are.

That defence chiefs letter is falling apart

David Cameron is facing a backlash from military leaders over a letter saying Britain must stay in the EU on national security grounds after one of Britain’s most distinguished war heroes said he felt pressured into signing it.
Field Marshal Lord Bramall, the former head of the army, said he was presented with a “fait accompli” by Downing Street and said it was “not the kind of letter I would have originated myself”.
It also emerged that at least two other former Chiefs of Defence Staff, Field Marshal Lord Walker and Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, declined to sign the letter along with General Sir Peter Wall, a former head of the Army.

Or as one of those who declined to sign it said:

Another former senior Army officer said he had declined to sign the letter because he had deep concerns about the potential threat EU policies posed towards British security, particularly following its inept handling of the migration crisis.
The officer said: “I am interested in defence and security, and the letter deals with neither defence nor security so far as I am concerned.
“On the contrary, you only have to look at the EU’s handling of the migrant crisis, with an estimated 6,000 jihadis said to have made their way to Europe from Syria disguised as refugees, to see that Brussels has helped to create a direct threat to our well-being.”


Odd thought.

So, Field Marshals (and Adm Fleet etc) never retire. They just go on half pay.

So, what happens to their accumulated pension rights? Widows pensions, lump sum payouts and all that?

Not a very important question as it happens what, two or three times a generation, but still…..

Well, yes, contracts work this way

Kesha’s attempt to leave a recording contract was ruled against by a judge citing the $60m invested in her career,

She has not brought criminal charges against said manager, and was not seeking to send him to prison, merely to free herself from his ownership.

Actually, he doesn’t, Sony does.

And the injustice is?

In both situations, women suffer the burden of “proving” they were raped.

What’s this? An allegation of a heinous crime must be proven?

The inhumanity!

And to all the dissenters who want a woman to prove she was raped, the burden of proof should be with you to prove she wasn’t.

Sheesh. And this woman is eligible to serve on a jury?

So this is academia on Brexit is it?

A list of five things the remain campaign should consider as tactics:

Lesson one – highlight the dangers
Britain Stronger in Europe must highlight concrete and credible pitfalls of Brexit like the Danish government did in 1972. The Danes ran a campaign called “the price of a no”, in which they compared the prices of selected groceries in the event of a vote to join the EEC (the name of the EU before 1994) with the prices of the same items in the event of a rejection. One poster showed bag of ground coffee and the simple caption: “If you vote yes this will cost 12 kroner, if you vote no it will cost 15 kroner”. The prospect of price increases outside the EEC gave the pro-European government a boost of 10% in the final days of the referendum.

Lesson two – avoid scaremongering
Outlandish claims rarely work and often backfire.

Sounds almost like City University.

Matt Qvortrup is professor of political science at Coventry University and author of Referendums and Ethnic Conflict

Well, there’s another technical college not to recommend then.

The Worstall view on Brexit

I have said this before but it seems apposite to say it again.

I have been in the European Parliament. I have looked around at the people there. I have worked as an EU civil servant (on contract mind, not career). I’ve met a commissioner or two.

It’s also most certainly true that Britain has its fair share of nutters, fruitcakes and loonies, a number of whom I have also worked with.

But there is no balance here. When I look around Brussels, recall those there, it’s really very simple. I don’t want my country run by those fuckers.

Time to leave guys n’ gals, time to leave.

Today’s lunatic Brexit convention

Nato, of course, is and will remain the most important alliance for maintaining Britain’s national security, particularly when we need complex military capabilities. But the other, increasingly important pillar of our security is the EU. Europe is facing a series of grave security challenges, from instability in the Middle East and the rise of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, to resurgent Russian nationalism and aggression.
Britain will have to confront these challenges whether it is inside or outside the EU. But within the EU, we are stronger. Inside it, we can continue to collaborate closely with our European allies, just as we did when we helped to force the Iranians to the negotiating table through EU-wide sanctions, or made sure that Vladimir Putin would pay a price for his aggression in Ukraine.
At the same time, our firm veto over EU foreign policy decisions guarantees not only that we will never be forced to join EU initiatives that are against our strategic interest, but also that we can block the rest of the EU from going ahead in such circumstances.

It was the US sanctions that got the Iranians and Ukraine is solved now is it?

Also note that if our military is integrated with the EU one then not only can we veto them, they can veto us. Anyone want to bet on the ability to do the Falklands if Paris has a vote on it?

Field Marshal Lord Bramall
Former Chief of Defence Staff
Field Marshal Lord Guthrie
Former Chief of Defence Staff
Marshal of the RAF Jock Stirrup
Former Chief of Defence Staff
Admiral of the Fleet Lord Boyce
Former Chief of Defence Staff
Admiral Lord West
Former First Sea Lord
Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope
Former First Sea Lord
General Sir Mike Jackson
Former Chief of the General Staff
General Lord Dannatt
Former Chief of the General Staff
General Sir Michael Rose
Former Director of Special Forces
General Sir Rupert Smith
Former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe
General Sir Richard Shirreff
Former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe
Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszeley
Former Director General of the Defence Academy
Lieutenant General Sir Rob Fry
Former Deputy Chief of Defence Staff

Who threatened your pensions boys?

Point for discussion

Who should a Democrat support for the Republican nomination?

That is, who is Hillary most likely to be able to beat?

Entirely a personal opinion but I think Trump’s the only one who might beat her. So, a Deomcrat should argue for Cruz or Rubio?

But then maybe I’m entirely wrong about Trump.


What bolder attack could there be on women’s freedom, reproductive or otherwise, than telling a woman that she may not work – that she is not entitled to economic independence – unless she continues to do so with the man she alleges sexually and psychologically abused her for over a decade?

This is what a judge told Kesha last week: that her own insistence of abuse wasn’t enough. That her words and thoughts and own understanding of truth on her terms weren’t enough. That surely her judgment couldn’t be as sound as that of her employer, Sony, and what they insist is best for her economic and emotional wellbeing. Really, it’s not any different than the anti-choice legislators who tell women that the state is better inclined to make decisions regarding a woman’s healthcare access and choices.

That’s a reasonable weighing of the evidence, isn’t it?

Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy was one of the founding editors of and the founding fashion editor at Her writing has appeared in Elle, Paper, Washingtonian Bride & Groom, LearnVest, Forbes and Tablet. She now lives in Atlanta, Georgia.


Let’s get this headline right shall we?

Stay in the EU, say British businesses

Not so.

Two polls – from the Institute of Directors (IoD) and manufacturers’ trade body EEF – each found that six out of 10 of their members support Britain remaining in the European Union.

The correct headline is:

Some number of the people who run a small minority of British businesses say let’s stay in the EU.

Timmy elsewhere

Is former No 10 tech guru Rohan Silva right that competition authorities should investigate Amazon’s book market dominance?

Tim Worstall, senior fellow of the Adam Smith Institute, says No.

Congratulations to Rohan Silva for finding a way to get his new bookshop into the newspapers. But other than that there’s nothing to his complaint that Amazon is becoming “too dominant” in the books market. His complaints are about publishers and bookshops. Adam Smith said the sole purpose of production is consumption. Frederic Bastiat added we must look at all economic questions from the point of view of consumption. Thus the only lens we should look at Amazon through is that of readers and buyers. Has the company made book buying cheaper and more convenient? Yes, yes, it has. That is the end of the matter then.

There is a little more though.