There’s an answer here

Why won’t UCL treat us cleaners like its other staff?
Leia Maia Donda
We are on strike today because the university refuses to give outsourced workers the same rights as direct employees

The reason for having outsourced workers is so that the university doesn’t have to pay for the same rights it offers its direct employees.

This is the entire point.

And, you know, think about it. Why would we expect cleaners to gain the same pension rights as professors?

If M’Lud would care to comment?

Three men have admitted being involved in a late-night assault on Guardian journalist Owen Jones outside a pub in Islington, north London.

At a short plea hearing on Wednesday afternoon at Snaresbrook crown court, James Healy, 39, from Portsmouth, Liam Tracey, 34, from Camden, London; and Charlie Ambrose, 29, from Brighton, all pleaded guilty to affray.

Healy admitted a further charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He denies the attack was motivated by homophobia and will now face a trial of issue in front of a judge to decide whether that was the case.

The three men face the possibility of custodial sentences following the attack on the journalist and political activist in the summer.

Custodial sentences for affray? Likely or not? Homophobic ABH perhaps, but affray?

Oh, now yes, this is clever

Russian authorities have detained a man who built a fake frontier post in the woods near the country’s border with Finland and promised migrant workers he could smuggle them into the European Union.

The man erected mock border posts and charged four men from south Asia more than $10,000 to take them to EU member Finland, the Russian border guard service said on Wednesday.

Sure, bit hard on the migrants but that is actually quite glorious.

Well, yes, but societally

There’s a certain truth to this:

More than a third of all pornography watched in New Zealand depicts non-consensual sexual activity, a study by the chief censor has found, in the first report of its kind into the country’s sexual viewing habits.

Censor David Shanks said the findings were important because, increasingly, young people were using the internet as their first and primary tool to learn about sex – and many applied what they had seen to their own sex lives. And while adults usually had the experience to treat porn for what it was – fantasy – younger viewers did not.

He said: “For young people, or people inclined to coercion, the repeated theme of ‘no’ becoming ‘yes’ could very easily be problematic.”

“Often the videos with this content would start with a reluctant partner, usually the female, who starts out saying ‘no’ to sex but whose initial resistance is overcome through insistence and subtle pressure by the male. The actress is then portrayed as enjoying the sexual contact – female pleasure was notable in 99% of the videos,” Shanks said.

Obviously, not the she said no but if she’s raped she’ll enjoy it idea.

But that it’s women who make the choice of sex or not, with whom or not. That it’s men having to do the impressing to get into that bed. That’s pretty much how it does work, yes.

It’s an obvious outcome of the basic biology here, that pig and chicken deciding what to have for breakfast. The chicken’s interested in eggs but the pigs committed to the ham idea. So with human fertility and thus the general difference in the who gets to decide and when.

As usual, the underlying problem here is that the people trying to define these rules don’t seem to have met many humans.

Would one of the porridge wogs care to comment?

What, actually, is the screw up here?

SNP ministers have been accused of presiding over a “ferry fiasco” after it emerged that the Scottish Government is being sued by its own quango.

The state-owned operator CalMac has raised legal proceedings after it missed out on a £450 million contract to run services to the Northern Isles.

Opposition parties accused the Government of incompetence and said the action “tells you everything you need to know” about the “mess” it had made of ferry services.

The contract was awarded in September to the private sector operator Serco, which has been running sailings to Orkney and Shetland since 2012.

More of this please, more of this

Union leaders behind the longest rail strike in British history were confronted by a furious passenger who stormed their headquarters and tried to lock them inside.

The commuter barged past security into a meeting of senior figures at the RMT and shouted “You’re going to ruin my f—ing life”, the Telegraph has learned.

He then attempted to lock the door and told union executives they would not be allowed to leave until the action was called off. Police were called before the man was eventually frogmarched out of the building by staff members who heard screams for help.

Entirely true that peeps have the right to strike, to associate into unions to aid them in doing so and all that.

We also get to tell ’em what we think about it. Which we should be dong, up close and personal, more often.

Umm, yes Senior Lecturer

The myth suggests that anyone can build a business from scratch, entering a market of their choice and end up, with hard work and determination, making a fortune.

This is not true. Modern capitalism has evolved to make sure that markets do not work.

This in the year that Google turns 21.

Err, yes

Ministers must do more to tackle cheap credit offers


Yesterday’s Times reported that several high street stores are offering eye-watering interest rates with a holly sprig on top. JD Sports, Next, H&M, even good old M&S are now selling expensive and instant credit. “Get it today. More time to pay,” purrs Argos. Cut to the scene of the bailiff at the door and the children sobbing.

Is it cheap credit or expensive credit we’re supposed to be worrying about?

Jezza’s NHS documents

Jeremy Corbyn hinted yesterday that he had downloaded minutes of US-UK trade talks from a website where investigators increasingly believe it had been placed by Russia.

The entire escapade is based upon something he downloaded from the internet?

Agreed that these docs are in fact true, but what a source for national politics, eh?

Well, we can in fact change this

This is a statement of fact, and not opinion.

So, every time a politician says it wants the government to run a surplus (as the LibDems do) then the question has to be ‘who do they want to run the deficit instead?’ Right now given that the overseas sector insists on saving in the UK, and I do not see that changing, the answer is the private sector, whether that be business or households.

Elect Jezza, foreign capital will flood out and so government can run a surplus. Not quite how I’d go about it to be honest but it would work.

So, bush fires

We know a few things about wild fires.

1) The American forests have largely evolved to have regular, low level, fires. Suppressing them has led to more high level and damaging fires. The solution is to let them burn more often.

2) We know the Abos used fire to manage the terrain. Extensively in fact.

3) Oz bush fires are happening a lot.

So, the question, are they happening enough? That is, are we seeing the Septic problem in Oz, not enough fires often enough, therefore they’re more damaging when they occur?

Odd to agree with Sir Vince

But there we are, oddities happen at times in an infinite universe:

Sir Vince Cable’s defence of Royal Mail privatisation could be minuted, perhaps uncharitably, as “It’s a dog, that’s why we sold it”.

He’s right, of course, however politically unsuitable it is to tell the truth to people. As he notes, the share price is now half what the government sold at, which is pretty solid vindication. Remember, too, that he and the coalition government were pilloried for selling it off too cheaply after an initial spike in the share price. A few years on, theirs looks like an eminently sensible decision.

After all, those who manage the nation’s assets should at least try to take the profits and dump the losses.

The stupidity of the Ritchie Diaspora

So, I asked yesterday what was the thing being done wrong by the Fair Tax Mark:

The answer:

You cannot – usefully at least – compare cash taxes paid with expected taxation because corporation tax is due in arrears. The amount of tax for the financial year 2016 is actually due in the financial year 2017 and so on. When companies are growing fast, something we’d agree the SV Six tend to do, this means that there always will be a low tax rate for we’d be comparing tax paid for 2016 with tax due for 2017, that latter being a much larger sum. It’s even possible to test this. When the profits stutter – as has happened to at least one of the companies – then the tax rate rises substantially as the tax payment for the earlier, more profitable, year is handed over in one where the tax due at headline rates falls.

Of course, their report isn’t available as yet so it’s not possible to quote them getting this wrong. But then sending the press release days before anyone can check the claims is proof perfect of flatulent tosspottery going on anyway, isn’t it?

This girl needs something

But on Monday Mr Men found itself at the centre of a sexism storm when a feminist academic condemned a gag as an example of “mansplaining”.

The claims centre on a conversation between Mr Clever and Little Miss Curious, and a pun about the Forth Bridge in Scotland.

An exasperated Mr Clever explains the Unesco site is so-called because of the Forth River, after Little Miss Curious asks “what happened to the First, the Second and the Third Bridges”

It resulted in a backlash from PhD student Shelby Judge. She accused Roger Hargreaves’ long-running series of perpetuating “antiquated gender roles” and branded its illustrated characters part of a “sexist iconography”.

The 24-year-old academic said Mr Clever’s clarifying comment in the book, Mr Men in Scotland, is an example “mansplaining”, and said the book was telling girls they “need to be stupid”.

Not sure what tho’. A clue? A good shag? Something to occupy her at least.

The underlying tho’ has a point. If you’re doing a PhD you’ve got to come up with something new. That’s what the PhD is, an addition to the knowledge base of the species. Thus the finding of sexism in Mr. Men books – hey, this is a new finding, it’s an addition, right?

Plus, given the intellectual capacity on show here, the source texts are suitably short.

Like what?

Cultural appropriation is the claimed act of taking from another race, nationality or identity group’s hallmarks and heritage, and the exploitation of these features by those outside the given group.

The English language? Only Hindu can use zero? Europe’s got to go back to IV and VIII or can only Italians use those? Those not descended from celts must stop wearing trousers? Everyone not from Stroud must stop using power machine made cloth?