Idiot is idiot

The much-anticipated launch of Musk’s Falcon Heavy rocket, the most powerful ever launched by a private company, went off without a hitch. Musk successfully sent his cherry-red Tesla roadster hurtling toward Mars, launching what a CNN commentator called “a new space age”.

There is, perhaps, no better way to appreciate the tragedy of 21st-century global inequality than by watching a billionaire spend $90m launching a $100,000 car into the far reaches of the solar system.

Twat. All new launchers are tested with a valueless payload before anyone entrusts anything important to them.

France is a despotism, says Guardian

So it is with his latest scheme, his instruction to the top brass of the US armed forces to lay on a military parade in the nation’s capital, perhaps on 4 July. He’d been nagging the generals about this for a while but, according to the Washington Post, he gave the order at a meeting at the Pentagon last month.

Donald Trump orders Pentagon to plan grand military parade
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No need for us to deconstruct the motive behind this instruction. It came after Trump was the guest at France’s Bastille Day parade, where he stood at Emmanuel Macron’s side and watched tanks, gun trucks and column after column of starchly uniformed soldiers. “We’re going to have to try and top it,” Trump said afterwards. (The actual order to military chiefs was phrased in the language of a spoiled child: “I want a parade like the one in France.”)

Trump’s desire for a military parade reveals him as a would-be despot
Jonathan Freedland

Doesn’t follow, does it?

Yet, as the think tank highlights, while wealth has been increasing compared to GDP, the tax revenue from wealth has not. The burden of funding public services is firmly on labour, not capital.

Err, no. The burden of funding is upon incomes, the flow, not wealth the stock.

This all helps explain why the idea of taxing wealth is gaining traction and not just on the Left. Nick Timothy, the former chief of staff of Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, writing in The Sun newspaper, called on the Government to “increase taxes on accumulated wealth”.

I agree with Nick – with the current capitalist model seemingly unable to deliver prosperity for all, it’s time to seriously examine the case for wealth taxes. Which is exactly what we’re doing in a forthcoming UnHerd audio-documentary.

Which is where Unherd seems to be. Continuity SDP perhaps?


The industry’s defence will always be that their prices are based purely on the data. While it may be true that customers who describe themselves as unemployed have more car accidents than people who describe themselves as homemakers, is it really fair to differentiate between those groups?

From our new series, Questions in The Times We Can Answer.

Where did Willy get this idea from?

It is the crossover moment. For the first time, more men are dying of prostate cancer than women are from breast cancer. Any GP surgery will offer a blood test to check a man’s prostate-specific antigen (PSA) indicating cancer. All men have to do is ask.

The trouble is that, as we all know, men are from Mars. They don’t go to GPs, don’t talk about illness and believe in their own invincibility. Men with their compartmentalised brains are inherently greater risk-takers and believe they will beat the odds. In any case, to concede the threat of illness is an acknowledgement of weakness – very unmasculine.

It doesn’t have to be about EQ/SQ you know. Could in fact be because we’ve been spending 9 x on trying to treat breast rather than prostate cancer.


But escalating door-to-door delivery is yet another example of the destructiveness of bringing competition into a national utility. That was done in the name of choice, price-cutting, investment and efficiency – but wrecking Royal Mail has helped cause traffic congestion and air pollution that no one chose.

Look how bringing pointless competition to utilities has caused an explosion of roadworks with all its extra trucks, as competing companies dig up miles of roads and slow the traffic, which idles at blockages. Although better public transport, congestion charging and congestion itself have cut car-use dramatically in London, traffic speeds are falling – down to 7.5mph in the mornings and predicted to reach walking speed soon unless there is change. Steep road pricing would force more consolidation of journeys and deliveries.

At privatisation, utilities were given a statutory freedom to dig up roads, with little regulation. Under Tottenham Court Road, for example, 80 different utility companies have their lines and pipes, digging up more or less at will. They refuse to share space or facilities with competitors.

Bus deregulation has also been a disaster. Competition meant 250 buses an hour in the toxic air of Oxford Street, until Sadiq Khan got a grip. But elsewhere in the country bus deregulation sees absurd competition for popular routes and bus-deserts in less profitable ones.

It’s almost as if choice, lower prices, more accountability, greater efficiency and so on count for nothing in Polly’s World.

Typical Daily Mail column

A statement that I entirely agreed with. A jeweller and designer, he’d always been fascinated by science, and wanted to help the medical profession as much as he could. He filled in the forms, while organ donation cards followed for us both.

Not that we thought we’d ever need them, of course, but we’d had the conversation. We knew what we’d do.

But how wrong I was, for when Pip did die, I was so dazed by grief that organ donation was the last thing on my mind. By the time it did occur to me, days after his death, it was too late: the chance had passed.

So when Prime Minister Theresa May announced in September that she will change the law on organ donation, I was delighted.

She claimed an opt-out scheme (meaning the onus would shift to people opting out of a donor scheme rather than opting in) could save hundreds of lives.

I regret having made the wrong decision therefore everyone else should be denied the choice/forced into the correct one.

Musk, Tesla and the Telegraph’s lack of subs

However, if he succeeds he could get one of the biggest windfalls ever received by a chief executive – almost $70bn, though this assumes the company does not issue more shares or raise equity.

At today’s prices, the award is worth about $7.2bn, on top of the almost 20pc stake in the business must already holds.

The award really, really, isn’t worth $7.2 billion at today’s prices.

No, really, it isn’t.

For each of the total of 12 milestones achieved, Mr Musk will see stock options vest equal to 1pc of Tesla’s outstanding shares – about 1.7m shares at the moment. At the current share price of $351, each milestone is worth almost $600m.

If Mr Musk hits all the targets, he is in line for more than $7bn, calculated against Tesla’s current share price.




20pc stake in the business must already holds.

which the company is trudging to build in sufficient quantities.

I rather like that second typo but still. Much more important is the misunderstanding of the plan itself.

Stock awards are taxed. An award of $7 billion would attract tax of $1.4 billion (capital gains) or $2.8 billion (income, both -ish figures). The tax is payable at the time of the award of the value, whatever it is. If Tesla has just awarded Musk $7 billion then one of those two tax bills is due.

For example, an option award (which they say this is) needs to be at current share prices. If there’s a discount to current market then that’s an income which has been paid to the recipient (this is what did in Steve Jobs, recall, backdating options prices?), an income upon which tax is due. Now (OK, this tax year).

Tesla really haven’t just stuck Musk with a billions $ tax bill. Therefore the deal isn’t worth $7 billion today.

If only the people writing the newspapers knew things, eh?

Where are the goddam editors?

A majority of Britons believe that the country was right to vote for Brexit for the first time in six months.

A new poll by YouGov found that 45 per cent of people think Britons were right to vote to leave the European Union, up three per cent.

The same poll found that 44 per cent of people think the UK is wrong to want to leave, down two per cent.

That’s not a majority, that’s a plurality.

No, these people don’t have editors.

Well, umm

It’s actually an interesting idea:

The Derry Girls – and “the wee English fella” James – are a brilliant ensemble, each bringing their own comedic flare together to form a very funny collective.

A shooting, sparkling light – flare. Not a bad idea. But much more likely to be a typo for flair, sadly.


EXCLUSIVE: The German Shepherd had been patrolling the site in Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire where she is believed to have come across a pile of aniseed balls, which are poisonous dogs.

Aniseed balls are dogs now? Or “to”?

Seriously Polly?

The whole economy – and everyone in it – is imperilled by this debt, but at the sharp end is a trail of individual misery. There’s nowhere better to observe the human fallout than in the bankruptcy court, a modern block tucked away behind the gothic splendour of the high court in the Strand. Every day, in quiet rooms, judges rattle through lengthening lists of debt disasters.

Few debtors turn up, no doubt devoid of hope. The main creditor is the state, HM Revenue & Customs seeking unpaid VAT and income tax, or councils chasing council tax. The state has first call.

Umm, really?

Part 6 Final Distribution and application of assets in bankruptcy cases

36A.106 Abolition of crown preference and remaining preferential creditors

The implementation of the EA2002 reduced the creditors who were previously entitled to preferential ordinary unsecured status. The majority of unsecured creditors (including HM Revenue and Customs(HMRC), see paragraph 36A.107 and 36A.61) now rank equally as non-preferential ordinary unsecured creditors where the petition was presented on or after 15 September 2003.

Have I got this right? Govt is an ordinary unsecured creditor?

Polly’s command of statistics

There never is, was or can be a neat universal system. Besides, Beveridge planned for an all-male workforce when a man’s wage was enough: now median families need two earners.

If, as is true, the median family is two earner then the median family rather needs to be…..

It’s not that life has become more expensive. Rather, that the structure of the workforce has changed. You know, that female liberation stuff?