On government backed loans for Jaguar

There are several things to say. First, although I have reservations about electric cars, let’s be clear that this is a nascent Green New Deal in operation.

Second, let’s also be clear that this is the government picking winners and losers.

And third, quite unambiguously this is the government acting as a banker to the private sector.

And, fourth, the sum involved is far from insignificant.

So, fifth, let’s never again hear opponents of the Green New Deal and a National Investment Bank saying that it is not the government’s job to do any of these things: very clearly it is. A Tory government has just proved that.

What about those of us who think that government shouldn’t be trying to pick winners and also shouldn’t be guaranteeing loans in this manner? That we disagree with Tory policy doesn’t mean we have to accept it, surely?

But much more fun. Note what the Senior Lecturer’s argument actually is. A Tory Government is doing this, therefore by definition it is right to do this. An interesting idea that, isn’t it?

There’s brave and then there’s…..

Wallabies shaken after front-rower Taniela Tupou mugged in South Africa


Taking on a 135kg Wallabies front-rower nicknamed the “Tongan Thor” on the street might seem like one of the worst ideas in the history of bad ideas, but it was Taniela Tupou who was left counting his blessings after being subjected to a brazen robbery in Johannesburg over the weekend.

Tupou, in South Africa preparing for Australia’s opening Rugby Championship match later this week, was heading back to the team hotel after dinner at a steak restaurant in an affluent suburb when a man pounced and snatched his mobile phone.

Tupou reportedly gave chase before being called off by his teammates as he tussled with the thief who was attempting to make his getaway in a waiting car.

Waving a gun around and shouting “Give me your wallet” is one thing. Actually jumping an international front row is rather beyond that, no?

What’s the definition of a Bond actor?

Dealer who sold chemsex drugs to serial killer Stephen Port convicted of Bond actor’s murder


A man who sold chemsex drugs to serial killer Stephen Port has been found guilty of killing a former Bond actor with an overdose.

Gerald Matovu, 26, a drug dealer, met Eric Michels, 54, via Grindr in August last year.

He plied him with a fatal dose of GHB at Mr Michels’ home in Chessington, south-east London, then made off with his bank card details and other belongings.

Mr Michels, who had an uncredited role as a cocktail party guest in Skyfall,

That might be stretching it a bit, no?


The Armed Forces has unacceptable levels of sexism, racism and bullying because it is led by a “pack of white middle-aged men”, a major new report has said.

The Armed Forces are one of the few places where you only get to be a manager by having done the job for a couple of decades.

Your promotion into line management being based upon close examination of you over those years by all around you. Those who fail the test – there are any number of Majors and Commanders off running support lines and the like, knowing and known to be never to get any further – stop being line managers quite early on in a potential career.

Can’t have that, obviously, management by competence just won’t do in the modern world.

How do you make falafael?

OK, you don’t. But how does one?

Background. 16 year old grandchild out for the summer. Recently declared as vegetarian. Part of the summer with us is that granny can teach her a bit of cooking. Grandpa is thinking the science bit. Forget recipes for a moment, think about basics. So, a soup is a stock, a flavour, a thickener. A galette is mash potato, some veggies, that’s it. Falafel is a galette but not with potatoes. Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans, and what the hell are they?) is the mush, add tahini, add veggies if you like. So, end up with something vaguely solid that can then be grilled, fried, deep fried, baked, whatever.

And you can do this with pretty much any flour or mix. Chickpea, maybe lentil, certainly potato, bean apparently, no doubt maize, millet, quinua and so on.

Need a stodge, turn it into a paste, add stuff, form into shapes then cook. See, that’s science.

OK. So, now. To make falafel, Do you start with chickpeas? Or is chickpea flour a thing? Beans or bean flour? If the pea/bean, with dried? Or with stuff in water that you drain? That is, blend dried chickpeas into flour? Or drain and mush those in water?

The basic idea – stodge mush with bits added, we’ve ot. It’s how to make the stodge. Oh, and are those potato flakes a good starting point? Or better to mash tatties?

I’m sure we can help……

it was put to me over the weekend that this blog may not be as appropriately named now as it was when it was launched more than 13 years ago. Tax is not its sole focus by a long way now.

I thought about alternatives and the best I could come up with was TAPER – Tax, accounting and political economy research.

Any thoughts?

Here Be Drongoes?

I don’t believe it for a moment

Five years ago it looked as though the country’s great Serengeti plains would be bled dry. From 2009 to 2014 Tanzania lost more than 65,000 of its 110,000 elephants to poachers, while there were only 15 rhinos left in 2014, leading experts to warn that both species would disappear within a decade.

However, over the past five years the big game population has increased. There are now 60,000 elephants and 167 rhinos, according to the Tanzanian presidency.

Simply because I don’t believe a word Magufuli says. Harsh perhaps but there it is.

Knives for BoJo

A journalist who Boris Johnson secretly discussed helping a friend to have beaten up has demanded an apology from the Conservative leadership candidate as he stands on the brink of Downing Street.

Stuart Collier, the journalist who was at the centre of the incident nearly 30 years ago, said Johnson was not fit to be prime minister.

In 1990, Johnson was secretly recorded agreeing to provide the address of the News of the World reporter Stuart Collier to his friend Darius Guppy, who wanted to arrange for the journalist to have his ribs cracked as revenge for investigating his activities.

In the event the assault did not occur, while Guppy ended up being jailed for a separate £1.8m fraud and Johnson later dismissed the call as a joke. But after being tracked down by the Guardian, the retired reporter said he had been so disturbed by the “Guppygate” incident he had told his wife to be careful answering the front door.

The other person involved in this, peripherally at least, was Peter Risdon. Who we’ve had as a commenter around here more than once. This Peter Risdon. Who, I think at least and hope this is premature, has died of liver cancer.

So we’ll not be getting the counter-story anytime soon.

This doesn’t say quite what they say it says

People with the worst genetic risk of dementia can reduce their chances of developing the disease by a third through exercise and healthy eating, new research finds.

The first study to analyse the combined effect of genetic and lifestyle factors established that the impact of living healthily was enough to substantially lessen the danger from bad genes.

Regular moderate exercise, quitting smoking, drinking sensibly, plus eating lots of fish and vegetables, was linked to roughly the same reduction in the chance of dementia, regardless of genetic risk, the research found.

OK, so there’s dementia caused by bad diet, that caused by genes. That caused by bad diet has risk of reduced by not having a bad diet.

Fair enough.

This means the benefit of adopting a healthy lifestyle is likely to be highest for those with the worst genes.



….and ordering Apple to pay €13bn plus interest — the biggest tax fine in corporate history — for using Irish law to cut its bill.

It’s not a fine. It’s the return of unlawfully provided state aid.

And as the EU itself points out. It’s the state that provided the aid. Therefore, if there were any fines they would be levied on the state, not the company. The company being the innocent recipient of that illegal state aid.

That Green New Deal

In the light of large fines this week for data mishandling, is this a chance of this?

Think how that would change the world’s business models.

And then wonder whether this is part of the Green New Deal that we need.

Yep, to prevent Flipper steaming in the fumes of the last ice floe we must regulate data handling.

Is there nothing the Green New Deal can’t handle?

Interesting thought

But geneticist Veronica van Heyningen, president of the Galton Institute, sounded a note of caution. Her institute is independent of UCL but she has given evidence to its eugenics inquiry. “I fully acknowledge that Galton was a terrible racist,” Van Heyningen told the Observer. “But he also played an extremely important role in developing the science of genetics,

How much did his racism drive on the development?


Before modern-day toothpaste was created, pharmacists mixed and sold tooth cream or powder. Early tooth powders were made from something abrasive, like talc or crushed seashells, mixed with essential oils, such as eucalyptus or camphor, thought to fight germs. Their flavors came from oils of cinnamon, clove, rose or peppermint. Many contained other chemicals such as ammonia, chlorophyll and penicillin. These ingredients fight the acid-producing bacteria that can cause tooth decay and bad breath.

Penicillin in early toothpaste? Wouldn’t people have noted infections clearing up?

Missing a trick here

In the discussion at yesterday’s Corporate Accountability Network launch event I was asked how we could possibly effect change in accounting standards when it takes up to seven years for any change to a standard to take place.

My answer at the time was that this pace of change is, of course, quite ridiculous. There is no reasonable reason on earth why it should take seven years to change an accounting standard.

There must, then, be good reason why it does take this long for change to take place in accountancy. I think there is.

The reason being because they hate me etc.

The trick being missed? If it takes 7 years to gain a change that’s 7 years of funding to ask for, innit?

A letter in The Times

Sir, Simon Szreter (“Elizabethans knew how to boost our productivity”, Thunderer, Jul 12) tells us that we should bring back the principles of the Elizabethan Poor Law. Those principles were that the impotent poor — the disabled — should and would be taken care of through that system of progressive taxation upon land. The able-bodied poor, unable to work through some economic happenstance, would also be cared for, but at the cost of their working on some task while they were — say, those on jobseeker’s allowance having to sweep the streets or stack shelves. The idle poor were sent to the House of Correction, or possibly prison. My suspicion is that there would be a lot of votes today in a system that jailed the workshy. I think Szreter very brave, in that Yes Minister sense, for proposing it.
Tim Worstall
Senior fellow Adam Smith Institute, London SW1

This is a surprise to whom

Snack manufacturers are enjoying a boost in sales in American states that have decriminalised marijuana.

Possibly that minority who have never had the munchies but other than that?

The four-year compound annual growth rate of snack sales in these ten states is 7.2 per cent, compared with 6 per cent where cannabis remains illegal, a report by the market research company Nielsen found. The same rate of growth for confectionery is 2 per cent in decriminalised states and 1.3 per cent in illegal states.

Nielsen concluded that decriminalisation of the drug “presents big opportunities for the American food and beverage market, particularly for the snack and confectionery category”.

An academic study published this year appears to support the findings.

There is no other explanation for the McDonald’s cheeseburger after all…..

Aren’t the universities becoming efficient!

Universities have been warned over degree class inflation as an analysis reveals that seven in ten students who get less than DDD grades at A-level go on to graduate with top degrees.

Of the 3,025 students who went to university last year after achieving less than DDD, 69 per cent went on to graduate with either a first class or upper second degree.

This is seven per cent higher than the previous year, and a 73 per cent increase since 2010/11, according to a major report published on Thursday by the Office for Students (OfS).

Whaddayamean grade inflation? Mo, it’s the superlative efficiency of the new universities in teaching grievance studies…..

Silly boy

The result is a radically different approach to accounting standards. The objective is to make accounting and business responsible to all in society, which is appropriate given the enormous privilege of limited liability which most businesses enjoy, and which is granted at cost to everyone else in the communities that make it available.

If granting limited liability were a cost to everyone then we wouldn’t grant it, would we?

That limited liability makes large scale economic cooperation – which makes us richer – even possible is why we do. And that it makes us all richer is why it’s not a cost to us.

Just a thought, but who is subject to the sexism here?

Over the years, I have heard too many tales of female employees subjected to gross levels of sexism (hired for their looks,

Women who get a good job – look, they must think it’s a good one or they wouldn’t have applied for it, would they – because of their looks are subject to sexism? Or women who don’t get the job because of their not job getting looks? Or men who only get a job because they can do something?

Who, actually, is it that is the victim of this sexism?

One way to test this is to ponder, well, what if there were compensation for being a victim of sexism? OK, so “You’re pretty, you got a good job because you are, here, have some extra money.”

That work?