Munch, munch, munch

Anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has been accused of promoting a “toxic” internal environment of bullying and harassment, making it the latest high-profile charity to come under fire over its workplace culture.

That sound of political autophagy.

What does colonial actually mean these days?

I left Iran to pursue an academic career where I could have better access to knowledge and collaborate with international scholars. Instead, I feel increasingly trapped in Germany. My political identity defines my role as a scholar, even in the seemingly democratic, liberated environment of academia.

Projects which depict an oppressed, exotic other – for instance, through examinations of topics such as physical violence in Islamic rituals or the persecution of women in the middle east – tend to be well-received by lecturers and students. But these projects play into deeply problematic expectations of colonial narrative. My friends have joked that I should take my camera to a village and film a strange ritual, and my career would be solid as a rock.

It’s not just academia where the colonial gaze drives how we work.

Germany? Iran? Colonial?

Actually, Iran, colonial? Well, maybe Arabs, Turks, Mongols, but that’s not usually what we mean, is it?

Boys of no appearance

Four teenage boys have denied harassing two women in a homophobically aggravated attack after they refused to perform a sex act on a bus.

Two 17-year-olds, a 16-year-old and another boy, 15, appeared at Highbury Corner Youth Court in London on Wednesday to enter not guilty pleas to a charge of causing harassment by using threatening or abusive words or behaviour.

They’re not named – that guide to appearance and backgrouind – because they’re under age.

Two little tales about sovereignty

Richard Murphy says:
August 21 2019 at 10:54 am

You can give a reason

But you can’t explain how to do it and honour our commitments

Nor can you explain how we are still a nation or why you think we passed our sovereignty to the EU when very clearly we never have, in the slightest

So as an argument that’s so full of holes and so not based on truth or reality it takes us nowehere

So. Let us consider the Vodafone tax case. Where Murph was vehement that massive amounts of tax were being dodged. As Richard Brooks was alleging. And English law was stating that those profits in a Luxembourg company in Luxembourg were taxable in the UK. Controlled Foreign Companies, dontchaknow. And the EU demurred. They said that under EU law such profits were not taxable in the UK.

We have a conflict between UK and EU law. Sovereignty is rather defined by whose law wins in such circumstances.

The EU.

And the second. Murph decided that the UK should adopt passport based taxation. It was gently – if sneeringly – pointed out that he couldn’t do that, not regarding other EU countries that is. Would go against free movement of peeps. He accepted that – eventually. UK cannot pass a law to do x because it has given up its sovereignty on that issue.

As, of course, with trade etc.

Now, of course, it’s possible to argue that it’s all worth it. But the statement ” you think we passed our sovereignty to the EU when very clearly we never have, in the slightest” is clearly and obviously colei.

Incentives, incentives

Capital gains tax Entrepreneurs Relief does, in essence, reduce the rate of gains tax by those who sell privately owned businesses. In most situations they pay 10% on their gains rather than 20%. The tax rate is halved.

In the last year for which data is available the relief cost as much as the tax paid on these disposals, or £2.36 billion. Of this £1.73 billion went to just 4,000 people, at a tax savings of more than £430,000 each, on average.

That is wholly unjust. It is a simple boost to those already wealthy. Remember, these people had by definition just picked up gains of in excess of £4 million each. And as I have argued before, the relief makes no sense. It does not encourage entrepreneurial activity at all. It encourages short-termism and selling out rather than developing entrepreneurial activity, both of which are the opposite of what the UK needs.

Nothing about this relief makes any sense at all. It has to go.

Rule number one in economics. Incentives matter.

A corollary of which is that we get less of those things which we tax. Because that reduces the incentive to do those things which are taxed.

We like people being entrepreneurs. They end up – as Bill Nordhaus pointed out – keeping about 3% of the total value created by their endeavours. The other 97% largely flows to consumers in the form of the consumer surplus. We like people working hard to make us richer. Therefore we let them keep more of the already trivial portion of the value created they get to keep in order to create that greater incentive to crack on with it.

This does not make sense in what manner?


The biggest claim made by Brexiteers right now is that Remainers do not understand them. If only we tried a bit harder it would be obvious what this is all about, they say.

It’s about national pride; democracy; taking back control; having our own laws; deciding who lives here.

I think those are their claims. Tell me if there are more. Just don’t mention economics: it does not come into it.

D’ye think the Spudmeister has even heard of Patrick Minford?

Oh, right

It did continue. For a bit:

Richard Murphy says:
August 20 2019 at 10:20 am
The UK has reasonable residence rules now: I have to say that as I helped shape them

We simply do not need domicile to be fair to those arriving or temporary residents : tho0se issues are covered without alternation being required

There is no base cost to entry for people now and there would not be from the change

Laurence Parry says:
August 20 2019 at 10:34 am
I also helped draft the residence rules (apart from the split year treatment, which is rubbish)

Richard Murphy says:
August 20 2019 at 11:02 am
I do not recall your involvement

James says:
August 20 2019 at 11:30 am
Really Richard?

You helped shape the non-dom rules?

I can’t find any mention of you in the formulation of non-dom rules at all. All I can find is you saying repeatedly that they should be changed.

So if you helped write the rules, why did you do such a bad job of it?

Richard Murphy says:
August 20 2019 at 1:29 pm
I helped write the current U.K. residency rules

A slight difference there

James says:
August 20 2019 at 2:31 pm
I can’t find any record of you writing the residency rules, or indeed being involved in that process at all either.

Other than writing a few blogs about it anyway. I can check the House of Commons library if needed.

Could you point us to where you say you had so much input? Because I can’t find any record of you at all in this process.

Richard Murphy says:
August 20 2019 at 3:08 pm
You clearly do not know how advisory teams work

And that is also your last comment here because you are a troll

Well, yes, they can

Yakou Méïté: ‘People think they can say what they want, even if it’s racist’

People do indeed get to say what they want even if its racist. It’s called free speech.

They also have to put up with the reaction to what they’ve said – say, being derided as racists – but that is the way the whole thing’s supposed to work.

Jeez, all adults know this

With blatant disregard for the public benefits of motivational idioms, researchers have concluded that practice does not, necessarily, make perfect.

A study of violinists found that merely good players practised as much as, if not more than, better players, leaving other factors such as quality of tuition, learning skills and perhaps natural talent to account for the difference.

The work is the latest blow to the 10,000-hour rule, the idea promoted in Malcolm Gladwell’s 2008 book, Outliers, which has been taken to mean that enough practice will make an expert of anyone. In the book, Gladwell states that “ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness”.

Not that Gladwell actually said that. Rather, 10,000 hours is a necessary precondition.

The larger point though any and every adult knows. People just click with some things and not with others. This is true of doing music at all – I reached my plateau and wasn’t going to get any better at about Grade VII. Just didn’t have the innate understanding of music necessary to take it further. Algebra plateaued somewhere in between dy/dx and integration. Just never could get the brain around the latter. Sure, could work though a known equation, work to rule. But composing one? Nahhh.

Even within a subject – two years of cello led to no one wanting to put me in even for Grade I. Two terms of trumpet had me sailing through Grade IV. Grade V has to be worked at a little bit……

And the thing is, every adult does know this, every language has an equivalent of horses for courses…..

How many others feel this way?

The former chairman of the Remain campaign has dismissed calls for a second referendum, claiming that politicians should abide by the “democratic process” and “get on with it”.

Lord Rose of Monewden, who also previously served as executive chairman of Marks and Spencer, said that he believed the UK should have already left the European Union with an “agreed friendly divorce”.

Asked if he was now calling for another poll due to the increased prospect of no-deal, the former head of Britain Stronger in Europe said: “No, I’m not. I’m saying listen, we made our decision, it’s democratic decision, let’s go with it in the best possible way we can.

“I am a Remainer but I do believe in a democratic…

More importantly perhaps, how many others outside the Westminster Bubble think this way? We hear about how Leavers are dying off – but how many people are righteously pissed at Remoaners and their machinations?

Well, yes, but….

Famous friends rally to support Duke and Duchess of Sussex: ‘All they’re trying to do is make the world better’

Many have made that claim, even had that aim, and not quite managed it…..Uncle Joe, Adolf, even the people who imposed first generation biofuels upon us….


This does not mean we should not tax property, or wealth; other arguments are available both in favour and against such. We do rather a lot of taxing of property already through rates, council tax and so on. The OECD records Britain as gaining 12.5 per cent of all tax revenue from property, well over twice the OECD countries’ average of 5.6 per cent. It is the taxation of property transactions that needs to go.

Part of the solution to our current housing woes is that those with more space than they need — empty nesters, say — downsize to make room for the next generation. A transactions tax actively militates against this. Perhaps Mr Javid would like to revive Nigel Lawson’s gleeful shooting of a tax each budget. If so, stamp duty should be the first up against the wall.


Alphaville LLC is delighted to announce that its inaugural research report “Ice deal; US chief is interested in purchasing Greenland”, was quoted by prestigious British broadsheet the Guardian on Monday 19 August.

Phillip Inman, economics editor of the Observer and an economics writer for the Guardian, cited research analyst Jamie Powell’s $1.1tn price target for the arctic landmass in a piece this morning titled “Why does Donald Trump want to buy Greenland”.

The amusement being that the LLC is the spoof research organisation of the FT blog. Inman quoted it as being real……

Find and replace

Most concerning of all, however, to the Corporate Accountability Network is the fact that this change of heart by the leaders of American business, whilst welcome, includes no suggestion as to how these new priorities will be evidenced or how they will be reported upon. The Corporate Accountability Network believes that unless corporate accounting is reformed so that businesses must report to all their stakeholders then words such as these will be largely meaningless. Our aims is to ensure that the accounts of limited companies are available to all who want to view them, and in a format that might supply them with the information that they need to understand the activities that it undertakes from the user’s perspective as a stakeholder of the company.

Replace “CAN” and “Corporate Accountability Network” with “I, Spud!” – so also “our” and you’ve about got it.

I do hope this discussion continues

Richard Murphy says:
August 20 2019 at 10:20 am
The UK has reasonable residence rules now: I have to say that as I helped shape them

We simply do not need domicile to be fair to those arriving or temporary residents : tho0se issues are covered without alternation being required

There is no base cost to entry for people now and there would not be from the change

Laurence Parry says:
August 20 2019 at 10:34 am
I also helped draft the residence rules (apart from the split year treatment, which is rubbish)

Richard Murphy says:
August 20 2019 at 11:02 am
I do not recall your involvement

Jeez, this is getting ridiculous about trans

In The Guardian, a reminder:

On the issue of gender bias, Oliver cited numerous studies in which women were statistically misdiagnosed; a 2017 study found that women were less likely than men to be referred for knee replacements; another found that women over 50 and critically ill were less likely to receive life-saving interventions. This can be attributed, Oliver said, in part to dismissal of women’s pain as hormonal emotions, and a long history of studying male (as in assigned male at birth) bodies as a stand-in for all bodies.