There’s a joke in here somewhere

Wanted: a compelling vision for a left-of-centre party. Must invest in economy, modernise essential services, get the well-off to pay more tax. Free wifi on trains a bonus. Someone answered my personal ad!

And I, of course, am far too polite to make it about young Owen.

but summat about how someone’s going to get buggered if that reply to the ad is responded to.

The country maybe.

32 comments on “There’s a joke in here somewhere

  1. Free wifi on trains?

    The problem there has pretty much been solved by phone companies competing with each other. You get 8GB/month on a £14/month sim only package now. For £20, 25GB.

    I’ve stopped bothering to switch to wifi.

  2. Can you get the signal ok on trains? Cannot in China, I think they go too fast.

  3. DJ, technically, it’s not so much the speed of the train, as the interaction between the frequency of the base carrier signal and the length of the carriage. Try sitting in the 11th or 7th row, counting from the end of the carriage facing the direction of travel.

    The effect can be quite pronounced for a 3G signal in the UK, as the track gauge and track layout (the radius of the bends) on the route, affects the selection of carriage lengths. Typically, the effect diminishes once the speed of the train rises above ~48 miles per hour, about 77kph, but this rarely happens for long enough on many commuter routes for anyone to notice.

  4. We had this debate around here once. The train companies can and do solve it by having a special doodah on the in train system. Far beyond me to explain it but….

  5. but summat about how someone’s going to get buggered if that reply to the ad is responded to.

    That nice Mr Maduro seems to be looking for a new job. Or he will be soon. Perhaps the Guardian could invite him over to give Owen and his friends some advice?

    He could started by buggering Owen and then see if the whole country is interested.

  6. The problems with getting wifi on to trains are:

    Backhaul – connecting to the internet via satellite, expensive, or mobile, not ubiquitous. With modern trains this needs something on the roof.

    Cost – the TOCs really do not like giving up space for the equipment.

    Distribution – you need antennas in each carriage. Cost and complexity.

    Capacity – it is relatively straight forward for emails which are store and forward and can wait until there’s coverage, but nowadays people expect to be able to watch YouTube and the like. You don’t need many people on a full train to be watching cars doing daft things before you get in to really expensive territory.

    It’s all solvable, the question who pays for it.

  7. “get the well-off to pay more tax.”

    See, this is the kernel of where the Left have got lost. The only way to get the amount of revenue to do the things they want to do is to tax the broad mass of the population more. Its no good taxing the ‘well-off’, because the rises required to raise the required revenue are large, and the well off will fuck off in the face of such rises. As will companies if corporate taxes are raised. So you’re only left with the general public who are stuck here and can’t (by and large) fuck off. And they’re already fed up with paying taxes.

    The only way to square this circle is to do what Blair did – realise that to get more tax revenue out of the economy you have to grow the economy and the tax base, rather than trying to soak people. And he did that very well, and electorally successfully. What he did with the money is neither here nor there, he certainly raised it, regardless of how he wasted it.

    But of course thats not acceptable to todays Left, they want to smash capitalism and reinvent the world into 1975 Soviet Russia, so allowing people to be rich and not wanting to put them in a gulag is not an option.

  8. Imaginative new taxes are needed to fund ambitious state “investments”.

    A 500% sales tax on knitwear and a daily levy of £25 on open-necked shirt wearers would be a start.

  9. Thanks Ducky… maybe I always lose the signal on the China trains because they are out of range in the countryside. They go about 300 kmph most of the time.

  10. True, I remember the debate as highly unsatisfactory and unworthy of the name. However, a truly progressive, socially responsible and inclusive government, with the vision to aggressively utilise such tools as a National Investment Bank and a Green Infrastructure Fund, would be able to embrace a radical renewal of the nation’s shared assets under public ownership, and benefit from being to directly collect the rents that currently solely accrue to the oglipolistic firms and thus wholly to their owners in the 1% via the corporate subsidies that ultimately enable the capitalist rentier class to undermine the hard won democratic rights of all courageous citizens.

    By my calculations, the initial adoption of a carriage length of approximately 73.942 metres, with an estimated seat density of 3.1416 per metre, is close to optimal for the continuing expansion of services based on LTE, if we wish to retain our current track gauge, particularly for those in the underserved communities of the left behind rural areas, particularly the flat ones. Given current usage patterns and trends, such an important shovel-ready project would create 75,000 jobs for those who are currently only just about managing, and raise £33.75b for a Chancellor with the courage to realise such a vision.

    Truly though, it is only through the hard work of many unsung organisations co-operating in a truly internationalist spirit that has created the specification for 5G, and over many, many years, I have spent many long hours engaged in extensive simulations of many aspects of our great nation’s critical transport infrastructure, and I fervently believe that the crucial limiting factor is the relationship between the track gauge and, indeed most truthfully, the difference between the curves of the inner and outer most rails.

    In all sincerity, the glorious benefits of such a deep and lasting national rebirthing can only be achieved by the overthrow of hide-bound conventional wisdom and we must immediately legislate to set this most fundamental relation of such a critical factor of national production to 4 (base nine).

    To be forthright, the Tories, who remain in thrall to their shadowy masters who cower in fear behind their offshore masks of criminal anonymity, simply can not concieve of such reality.

  11. get the well-off to pay more tax.

    And as sure as night follows day, watch the consternation and dismay on the faces of the public as they realise “well-off” doesn’t mean quite what they thought it was, in fact it includes them.

  12. DJ, don’t mention it.

    However, if you are engaged upon important matters, regardless of many seats appear to be available, it may prove most prudent to occupy a small space in the corridor, close to the toilets, preferably with a fire extinguisher within easy reach should an unfortunate ionic transfer occur, as I have, in confidence, been made privy to the knowledge that our Oriental comrades assuredly possess the most cunning methods of porcelain manufacture, and are capable of achieving the most extraordinary feats of signal attenuation, at quite surprising levels of velocity.

    However, if you are discovered by your oppressors and interrupted​ in your cogitation, you may end up looking like a bit of a dick. In such a situation, you should affect a Breton sailor’s cap, to aid your allies in recognising your distress. In extreme cases, a donkey jacket will suffice.

  13. Among the De Beers haul of gems contained in the article

    ‘A Robin Hood tax on financial transactions – which, as Labour’s Rachel Reeves puts it, both raises money and curbs excessive risk-taking which imperils our economy – would raise even more money, as will an all-out war against tax avoidance.’

    That’s surely Red Rag to a bull for you Tim. How many times have you destroyed the philosophical ‘basis’, such as it is, of such a tax?

  14. PF, candidly, you remain trapped in a false consciousness, created by your oppressors from the depravity of their greed. Over a hundred years ago, courageous pioneers, having fled west to escape their bondage, were discovered, sitting in solemn contemplation and debate on their beliefs of these inalienable and universal truths, by the agent of their enemies, in the cunning disguise of a full professor of an accredited University no less, and cruelly subjected to the servile ridicule of a compliant right wing media establishment.

    You must escape your shackles. I find listening to Woman’s Hour while breathing into a small brown paper bag most efficacious. It also helps with the invidious dreams involving donkeys.

  15. It’s just duckspeak, innit? (Sorry Ducky McDuckface)

    Tax good. Modernise (whatever that means) good. Poverty bad.

    Owen tries to put a brave face on it:

    And – intriguingly – here is an attempt to confront the crisis of identity and vision afflicting social democracy not just in Britain, but across the western world.

    But, nah. The Labour Manifesto is just a drab lucky bag of gay (figuratively but also literally) proggy talking points with all the focus and restraint of Diane Abbott let loose in the Tunnocks Tea Cake factory.

    So Owen tells us the NHS is in “crisis”. Well, when is it not? When was this golden age when the NHS wasn’t a bit shit and constantly complaining about money?

    Likewise for education:

    The billions raised can be invested in education to realise the potential of the next generation

    It’s like we’re not supposed to remember the extra billions already “invested” in education, education, education by the last Labour government and continued by subsequent Evil Neoliberal Austerity governments.

    What did that buy us, and what good will throwing yet more money at education get us?

    Do we really need to hunt down every last petrol station attendant and shelf stacker at Asda to make sure they have an ostentatiously worthless degree in windsurfing, juggling, or gender studies?

    Shall we not cease from mental fight until every primary school child receives their grooming sex education via a brand new iPad Pro?

    And Labour’s “vision” is largely about splooging more dosh that we don’t have on elf n education? How delightfully unexpected!

    Yes, as Owen tells us, we’re a rich country. A rich country that’s in debt to the tune of nearly £2 Trillion, with no plan to pay it off. I’m no mathmagician or whatever, but £2 Trillion sounds like a lot.

    So what’s Labour’s plan to deal with that?

    I’ve read their manifesto, and the plan is:

    1) “Invest” more in the same shitty public services that have let us down in the past, because This Time Will Be Different.
    2) Import ever bigger hordes of feral clit-choppers from countries where they think toilet paper is advanced technology.
    3) Profit?

  16. Wonderful to see these Guardian journos going through the motions. The dedication to the cause!
    They know Corbyn’s unelectable. They know the Labour manfesto’s a crock of shite, make a dodgy used car salesman blush. They know Labour’s going to get slaughtered at the polls & the only question is how badly. Yet still they find the strength to bang it out.
    Respect!

  17. In such a situation, you should affect a Breton sailor’s cap, to aid your allies in recognising your distress. In extreme cases, a donkey jacket will suffice.

    Bravo!

  18. The inimitable Steve

    Classic points there – Fantastic as always. The idea that throwing more money at education is ‘unarguably a good thing’ is one of the biggest fallacies out there……

  19. But Ducky, not 6 months ago you to
    D us 5G wasn’t needed and a waste of space.

  20. So essentially, the Tobin tax will only work if everyone does it? I guess Labour are assuming that, as per unilateral disarmament, the rest of the world will follow our example.

    Twits.

  21. BiND – did I? For gawd’s sake man, what do you want? Consistency? Important for sponges, though.

  22. The Inimitable Steve,

    “Do we really need to hunt down every last petrol station attendant and shelf stacker at Asda to make sure they have an ostentatiously worthless degree in windsurfing, juggling, or gender studies?”

    On the other hand, FE college funding (producing hairdressers, welders and other City and Guilds qualified people that society wants) is being cut. And no-one in politics gives a fuck.

  23. “Wanted: a compelling vision for a left-of-centre party. Must invest in economy, modernise essential services, get the well-off to pay more tax. Free wifi on trains a bonus.”

    “For sale: One free market economy with no corporate or income taxes’.

  24. Just regarding free wifi on trains, here in Finland we’ve had it for about 10 years or so. So long that I’ve forgotten. It’s better than connecting through your phone, because a train carriage is a partial Faraday cage, so a phone’s coverage is not very good. The train network connection uses 3G or 4G, and the antenna is outside the carriage, so the poor coverage of hard terrain, weather etc will impact it less.

    They do block some things, though, for instance video distribution sites. This is good because it means I can work in a train.

    Same in Sweden. Take the airport train from Arlanda to city – you can take out your laptop, connect in a matter of seconds, and get your e-mail. Good for business travellers.

    I’m slightly amazed that the UK doesn’t have it an all trains.

  25. “On the other hand, FE college funding (producing hairdressers, welders and other City and Guilds qualified people that society wants) is being cut. And no-one in politics gives a fuck.”

    I’ve no idea if the FE hairdressing courses are any good, but based on what our apprentices learn (We’ve tried three FE colleges, all are equally bad), the engineering courses are totally worthless – as far as I’m concerned, if they closed them all tomorrow, it would be no great loss.

  26. One of the things the not very clever or observant folks on here have not noticed , probably because their Guru has not mentioned it, is that the Labour Party is going to review Land Value Tax, the radical economic reform of Winston Churchill, Lloyd George, Adam Smith,Ricardo, Henry George… the list is endless and includes ,cowering at the end, Tim Worstall.
    Land Value Tax makes infrastructure and social improvement self-financing so when the private sector or public sector builds factories or establishes transport links, surrounding land rises in value, so when taxed ,this then pays for the cost of the infrastructure. Otherwise the value falls into the hands of homeowners and property companies, causing the land price inflation that is crippling the economy.
    Tim Worstall believes in all this but is too conformist and frightened to come out in favour of John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbin, who are grasping the nettle of repairing the damage caused by Thatcher buying homeowner votes.
    So praise where its due to a long overdue non-partisan initiative.

  27. @DBC Reed: Labour may indeed ‘review’ LVT, and they will probably then never go near it again, once they realise that it effectively taxes business very lightly and domestic property very heavily, and financial assets not at all. Of course they might want to add it to the ever increasing list of taxes we already have, and not remove any to compensate, but that would mean that any advantages of LVT are utterly negated. The whole point of LVT is that it should be an alternative to taxes in income etc, not just an addition.

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