All belongs to us

The tax policy gap is the tax not paid in a country as a result of the decision made by a government not to tax a potential tax base, such as wealth. Additionally it is the value of the tax reliefs, allowances and exemptions given by a government for offset against a source of income that might otherwise be taxable.

Seriously? A potential tax base is all incomes of everyone. Not taxing all incomes at 100% is therefore a tax policy gap?

The definition of tax avoidance has also changed, no?

Tax avoidance is taxpayer determined behaviour where the taxpayer decides to submit a tax return and declare their tax liabilities based on an interpretation of the applicable law of the jurisdiction that the taxpayer knows may be unacceptable to the tax authority of that country. They do so knowing that the risk of their potential misinterpretation of the law being discovered is limited and so the chance of appearing to reduce their liability in ways they claim to be legal, whether that is true or not, is sufficiently high for them to justify the risk of doing so. The scale of this issue is related to the complexity of the tax system and the degree of uncertainty that might exist as to the proper interpretation of the tax rules that it creates.

No, that’s an attempt at tax evasion.

I stress that tax avoidance does not ever include making use of tax reliefs and allowances provided by the law of a country: the cost of these is included in the tax policy gap.

Therefore Vodafone wasn’t avoiding tax, was it? Because the law in place at the time specifically stated that the money piling up in Luxembourg was not taxable in the UK.

He’s changed his definitions. Which means that his numbers or the tax gap should be much lower. But will they be?

In that case not agreeing with a tax authority’s interpretation of tax law is not wrong. Disagreement can be honest.

Well, yes, Vodafone, Boots, Starbucks…..

Does tax avoidance dishonestly appropriate property belonging to another? I would suggest not. I would say it knowingly exploits uncertainty in the law to secure a pecuniary advantage, but that most of those doing it will have secured an opinion from a professional adviser before doing so that the action in question was legal, even if it had an uncertain consequence. And those opinions (which will not be publicly available, but which will be in the possession of the tax avoiding taxpayer) will be more than enough to show that the tax avoider had no intention of being dishonest, precisely because they had gone out of the way to make sure that they had an opinion to say they were acting legally, even if with dubious ethical intention.

And ain’t that a change? It wasn’t long ago that asking for a legal opinion was proof perfect of avoidance. For why ask if you’re not trying to avoid?

I don’t think so Miss

Why I’ve decided it’s OK to accept an MBE from the Queen
Ms Dynamite

T’ain’t Brenda who decides who gets the MBE. Nor near all gongs – it’s politics which does. The Victorian Order is hers, so also, umm, Companion of Honour? Or is it Order of Merit? There’s a committee at Number 10 which decides on the rest.

And you’re going to be very lucky indeed if it’s Brenda who pins the MBE on you. Might find it’s a more minor royal, possibly even as Deputy Lord Lieutenant.

And, umm, yes, we do expect the English to know these things.

Logic failure

But what does this mean? I suggest three things.

The first is in economics. This subject still assumes, and so teaches, that businesses profit maximise. They don’t. Because they can’t. Because they don’t have the data to do so. And because the truth is they know that this is the surest way to destroy long term value. So they have other goals instead. Like growth. Or product innovation. Or stability. Or customer satisfaction. But never profit maximisation. So it is time economics stopped teaching soemthing that is false. Not just wrong. But false.

Sigh. Profit maximisation is the goal. The strategy. Quite what the tactic is to gain this is is arguable. But that’s still the goal.

Which is what economics currently teaches. Peeps try to maximise, now, how do they do this, let’s go have a look, shall we?

Doesn’t leave much

A university society has provoked ridicule by asking comedians to sign a “safe space” contract, forbidding them from making jokes about class, race or sexuality.

Unicef on Campus at Soas, University of London, tried to book five comics to appear at an unpaid charity gig in January, but the invitation came with a “behavioural agreement form”.

It decreed that the comedy night would be a “safe space” and all topics discussed by performers must be “presented in a way that is respectful and kind”.

Seriously, in England, no jokes about class? And at SOAS fer the Lord’s sake? The entire curriculum is an extended whine about class and how those white bourgeoisie have been oppressing the masses.


If Trump weren’t President he’d be “in serious danger of being charged” says Comey, ex-FBI boss.

Washington Post headline.

Complete bunkum of course. If Trump wasn’t President no one would be giving a flying fuck about what he’d done with Russians and all the rest. Even that he’s President isn’t really he reason they’re chasing, it’s because he’s from outside the charmed circle that lives in The Swamp.

It’s the Establishment rejecting the interloper, no more and no less.

Whoa! Kids are like booze?

Having a first baby in your thirties raises your risk of breast cancer for more than two decades, an overview of research has concluded.

Five years after giving birth mothers are 80 per cent more likely to get breast cancer than childless women of the same age and the risk is higher for those who start families later, it found. They have urged doctors to be alert to the problem in those with young children.

While delaying motherhood appears to increase the short-term risk, mothers still have a lower lifetime risk of breast cancer because childbirth becomes protective against the disease by the ages when most cases occur. The study found that 35 years after giving birth, mothers were 23 per cent less likely to get breast cancer than childless women of the same age.

Childbirth has previously been found to have contradictory effects on breast cancer risk, raising it initially while lowering it in the longer term, but the point where these effects cancelled each other out had been unclear.

Not drinking is dangerous, drinking is dangerous to a different degree, where’s the sweet spot, where’s the lowest total risk?

Babbies work the same way. Actually, near all of life works this way……

This calls for Peoples’ Quantitative Easing!

The crisis-hit Crossrail project has been delayed indefinitely as bosses warn that the project could require an extra £1.7bn funding injection, according to transport executives and politicians.

The flagship new Elizabeth Line that will run east-west through London was originally due to open this month. Now the company has admitted it does not know when it will open.

“It has now become clear that more work is required than had been envisaged to complete the infrastructure and then commence the extensive testing necessary to ensure the railway opens safely and reliably,” Crossrail said in a statement.

The financial services company KPMG, which was called in by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to…


The bit Ritchie and the like really don’t get being that where the money comes from isn’t the point. It’s whether we should have the State running engineering projects.

Umm, no.

Consider this

Political theorist Nancy Fraser has shown that with the rise of financialised capitalism, responsibility for care work has devolved almost completely onto families and communities.

When was, under which socieoeconmoic system ever, the responsibility for care work not centered upon the family and community?



And what we know is private capital has ceased to be available for active investment it is now almost solely directed to rent seeking. In that case it is only state created funding that can create this process of change.


Main points
Gross fixed capital formation (GFCF), in volume terms, was estimated to have fallen by 0.5% to £85.2 billion in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2018 from £85.6 billion in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2018.

Business investment was estimated to have fallen by 0.7% to £47.5 billion between Quarter 1 2018 and Quarter 2 2018.

Between Quarter 2 2017 and Quarter 2 2018, GFCF was estimated to have fallen by 0.6% from £85.8 billion; business investment was estimated to have fallen by 0.2% from £47.6 billion.

The sectors that contributed to the 0.5% GFCF fall between Quarter 1 2018 and Quarter 2 2018 were public corporations’ dwellings, business investment and private sector transfer costs.

The asset that contributed most to the decrease in GFCF over the same period was transport equipment.

Back to table of contents
2. Things you need to know about this release
The estimates in this release are short-term indicators of investment in non-financial assets in the UK, such as dwellings (residential buildings), transport equipment (planes, trains and automobiles), machinery (electrical equipment), buildings (non-residential buildings and roads) and intellectual property products (assets without physical properties – formerly known as intangibles). This release covers not only business investment, but asset and sector breakdowns of total gross fixed capital formation (GFCF), of which business investment is one component.

Business investment is net investment by private and public corporations. These include investments in transport, information and communication technology (ICT) equipment, other machinery and equipment, cultivated assets (such as livestock and vineyards), intellectual property products (IPP, which includes investment in software, research and development, artistic originals and mineral exploration), and other buildings and structures.

Business investment does not include investment by central or local government, investment in dwellings, or the costs associated with the transfer of non-produced assets (such as land).

£50 billion a quarter. £200 billion a year, maybe 10% of GDP. Private capital has ceased to be available for active investment. Hmm.


All of which presumably is why Keynes himself was converted to the idea by 1942. Thus this is what we should do next recession. Forget all those grand spending plans which won’t come to fruition in time to do any good. Cut national insurance so as to leave more cash to fructify in the pockets of the populace. It’s effective, timely, possible and works. The only people who will complain being those politicians who have far too healthy an interest in spending more of ours rather than less. To whom the correct answer is “Diddums”.


All 140 staff at Emoov were expected to be given their marching orders on Tuesday night after the online estate agent collapsed into administration.

The start-up, which had engineered a £100m three-way merger with rivals Tepilo and just six months ago and had been eyeing an IPO next year, went under on Monday evening after running into cash flow issues and struggling to find a buyer.

Russell Quirk, its founder and chief executive, told the trade magazine Property Week: “All staff, including me, are expecting to be laid off today.”

The loss-making company, which charged home sellers a fixed up-front fee rather than the commission levied by traditional estate agents, had put itself…

All businesses do indeed fail. Always a bit tricky when someone charging up front does too.

Umm, yes

Underwear revolution: how lingerie grew up and put women’s comfort first

There’s always been that division into comfortable and something of a display for the lads. Or, as is more likely, something to please the lady as she imagines the display.

The idea that underthings have only recently become comfortable is just nonsense.

An old but incorrect – the words don’t quite mean this even if there would be an association with the idea – division would be between underwear and lingerie. The first the functional stuff, the second the lacy bits.

We’re all mortal

A certain amusement here.

Pizza Express is under mounting pressure from debts, rising costs and fierce competition, credit ratings agency Moody’s warned as it downgraded the restaurant chain.

Fears are growing for the business as Moody’s said its rising leverage ratios “may cause the company difficulties in effecting a timely and cost effective refinancing in due course”.

This is mere coincidence:

Peter Boizot, who has died aged 89, opened the first Pizza Express in Soho in 1965 and built the company into a national institution; he became a major philanthropist, supporting causes ranging from Venice, jazz, football, hockey and his native Peterborough, to the Liberal Party, for whom he stood twice as a parliamentary candidate in the elections of 1974.

But we are all mortal, even those legal beings called companies. This one’s just got a bit of a col but the Grim Reaper will come for it eventually as well. As Jeff Bezos has been saying, Amazon will go bankrupt. The only question is when.


Looking at a listing of the Grammys. Just the major three sets of nominations, song, album, record.

I realise that I’ve heard none of the nominations. In fact, haven’t even heard of the majority of them or the artists.


This is really quite amazing

US public transportation is notoriously underdeveloped compared to most other wealthy countries. In fact, according to a recent study, the New York City subway is the only US rail system that ranks among the 10 busiest in the world.

Another report found that transit ridership fell in 31 of 35 major metropolitan areas last year, including in Washington, DC, Chicago, and New York City. However, 2018 has birthed some new transit projects, including a high-speed rail line from New Haven to Hartford, Connecticut, and the TEXRail, which will travel from downtown Fort Worth to DFW Airport.

Christof Spieler, a structural engineer and urban planner from Houston, has lots of opinions about public transit in America and elsewhere. In his new book, Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit, he maps out 47 metro areas that have rail transit or bus rapid transit, ranks the best and worst systems, and offers advice on how to build better networks. I recently spoke to him by phone about what cities are doing right and wrong in investing in public transit, and what they should focus on for future projects.

The bloke who works as an urban planner says that the cities doing well are those that employ lots of urban planners.

Remarkable that.

Oh joy

Cory Booker will decide whether to run for president ‘over the holidays’

Yup, only 23 months until the election.

Fortunately Ocasio Cortez is still too young. So it’s going to be Bernie, Pocahontas and some number of nobodies.