Will Hutton’s latest mind fart

Britain is not as good at making things as it could and should be. Nor is it very good, despite the hype, at financial services. Its widely trumpeted “success” is built on turning a blind eye to quasi-criminality in investment banking and to systemic fleecing of ignorant customers in the asset management industry through an opaque and self-serving fee structure.

But Britain does have one trump card. It is the location capital of the world. Britain is the European or world headquarters of 469 global companies, according to the EY Inward Investment Monitor. No other European country comes close: Germany is home to 86 global companies, Switzerland 84 and France 77. The resulting dense concentration of high-end business decision-making spawns whole industries to service it. These include IT, law, accounting, insurance, lawful banking, design and advertising. It represents the unspoken and dynamic core of the British economy worth many millions of jobs.

So, err, given that IT, law, accounting, insurance, banking, are in fact financial services then we’re pretty good at them then, aren’t we?


Funding cuts ‘threaten the very existence’ of English National Opera

If people aren’t willing to pay for their own pleasures out of their own pockets then why in fuck should they be allowed to pick he taxpayers’ pockets to fund it for them?

Yes, this applies to Strictly Baking A voice at the BBC too.

There’s something to be said for a statute of limitations

Two members of 1960s pop group The Tremeloes, aged 70 and 72, are accused of sexually assaulting a fan, 15, after a concert in Chester in 1968

Anyone think we can have a fair trial, with no physical evidence, on something that occurred or did not occur 47 years ago? He, he says versus she says?

And if we can’t have a fair trial should we be having one at all?

This is one of those things the American cousins have got right, in principle at least if not entirely in every operation detail. After a certain period of time, varying by place and by crime, it won’t be possible to try someone fairly: thus there can be no charges.

Bit of a blow, eh?

All that sustainability, good for the planet:

It has a reputation for being better for us and the environment, but new research suggests organic food may actually be harming the planet.

Scientists have found that rather than reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released, organic farming may actually be increasing them.

They found the shift to large scale organic farming in order to meet growing demand for organic products in shops has led to an increase in emissions for each acre of land.

And given that organic is less productive, that means that more land needs to be farmed with those higher emissions, too.


Local blues musician Stan the Man has died July 13 at age 64 after an undisclosed illness, according to a post on Facebook.

Local here means Prague. Which isn’t quite local to where I am. But I had meant to go down and see a gig: for Stan was an occasional reader and commenter here. And now I cannot.

Carpe Diem, eh?

Darwin Awards start with “Hold my beer and watch this”

A 22-year-old man who was drinking and celebrating the Fourth of July tried to launch a firework off the top of his head, killing him instantly, authorities said Sunday.

Devon Staples and his friends had been drinking and setting off fireworks Saturday night in the backyard of a friend’s home in eastern Maine, said Stephen McCausland, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.

Staples, 22, of Calais, a small city on the Canadian border, placed a reloadable fireworks mortar tube on his head and told his friends he was going to light it, McCausland said. But his friends urged him to stop.

“Apparently, he thought that was a great idea,” McCausland said. “His friends they thought dissuaded him from doing it, and the next thing they knew, he ignited the fireworks and he was killed instantly.”

They’re not called rednecks up there but the effect is the same.

And this is old, old news

Feminists have debated it for decades, but scientists have finally got to the bottom of why men still exist.

Biologists have always puzzled over why males have survived given that their only contribution to reproduction is sperm.

It makes far more sense in evolutionary terms to have an all-female asexual population which creates daughters who can reproduce rather than sons who cannot, such as the Mexican whiptail lizard.

But new research suggests that sexual competition for mates keeps populations healthy, free of disease and genetically diverse.

“Almost all multicellular species on earth reproduce using sex, but its existence isn’t easy to explain because sex carries big burdens, the most obvious of which is that only half of your offspring – daughters – will actually produce offspring,” said lead researcher Prof Matt Gage, from the University of East Anglia School of Biological Sciences.

“Why should any species waste all that effort on sons? An all-female asexual population would be a far more effective route to reproduce greater numbers of offspring.

“Our research shows that competition among males for reproduction provides a really important benefit, because it improves the genetic health of populations.”

How many decades is it since Matt Ridley’s Red Queen?

Tempora, Mores, now the Italians are more English than the English

An Italian 90 year old grandmother is to be presented with service medals for her actions in WWII:

“It’s really very unexpected,” she told The Daily Telegraph from her home in Pitigliano, a medieval village clustered on top of a cliff in the Tuscan countryside.

“I never thought this would happen. People of my generation just got on with what we had to do. We never really talked about it after the war – even my children and grandchildren know very little of what I did.

“I’m deeply honoured but a bit embarrassed too. I’m an old girl now and it all happened 70 years ago, for God’s sake.”

That r

That lovely young Owen Jones

The CIA might try and LOL away its record, but given the world is still dealing with the consequences of its many disastrous postwar interventions, it shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it. “Terrorism” is normally used when referring to acts of violence committed by non-white people hostile to the west. But if we’re understanding the term to mean acts of terror committed for political ends, then the CIA is surely the greatest terrorist organisation on earth.

I dunno really. I would have expected at least some mention of the KGB, StB, Stasi and all the rest. But no. Only the Americans had a spy service that launched coups, murdered people, fought the Great Game with other peoples’ lives.

Could people please try using logic?

If the bid succeeds, the coalition government will have thrown its collective weight behind this sale of a major British asset

OK, AstraZeneca is a British asset.

But like all British plcs, AstraZeneca is an ownerless corporation. The hedge funds and global asset management groups that own more than half its shares have zero interest in British employment, public health, science base and exports

OK, so Britain doesn’t actually own AstraZeneca therefore it’s not a British asset.

WTF is it with these people that they’re willing to put two directly contrary arguments into consecutive paragraphs?

On the level of dangerous drinking

The lifetime risk of breast cancer for a woman drinking one bottle of wine each week rises by 10%, but breast cancer is a lot more common than liver disease, and one in 100 women drinking at this level will develop breast cancer as a result.

This is the level of drinking that the prodnoses are talking about. A bottle of wine a week.

The Home Office proposed a measured alcohol strategy, centred on a minimum unit price, and personally supported by David Cameron, and no one seems to understand why it was dropped

Because it’s illegal under EU law you dimwit. It’s also damn stupid. Why do you want to fatten the profit margins of the suppliers? If you want to make booze more expensive then raise the tax levels!


After ore is pried from the ground and unwanted minerals are sifted away to make a concentrate of minerals, complex acid and chemical treatments are required to separate individual rare earths into quantities that are useful. Many of the 17 rare earths share such similar physical properties that separating individual elements can require several months and 1,000 chemical treatments.

Grr. No, many of them share such similar chemical properties that we have to use physical differences to separate them.

Do we actually have any Tories left these days

The Big Six energy firms have been asked to freeze prices by the Government until the middle of 2015, it was reported last night.

The Government is calling for energy firms to commit to an immediate freeze on prices as part of a deal that could cut bills for families across the country.


The country is looking for £100 billion to be invested in the energy generation and distribution system over the next couple of decades. And the idiots are calling for price freezes?

On that fascinating upcoming tax justice conference

So as I said I was invited to be on a panel with Ritchie and Prem Sikka on the subject of tax justice. I said yes, why not, should be fun. And so I was duly invited.

Just got the email disinviting me. Apparently some of the organisers of the conference did not think that my views would add much light to anything, only a certain amount of heat.

Oh well.

So, better cancel those supporters’ buses I hired to bring in the righteous to confer with the bien pensants then, eh?

” the concern was not at all about you personally; it was about the explosive chemistry which might have resulted from having you on a panel with Richard and Prem”

The Miliboy really is an ignorant tosser

Ed Miliband will on Tuesday declare the cost of living crisis has become the preeminent issue facing Britain, as he sets out plans for employers to receive a tax rebate if they choose to pay a worker the living wage, which is now worth £7.65 an hour, £1.34 higher than the minimum wage.

The rebate is designed to incentivise a high wage and high skill economy and would last for a year at a minimum. In a speech, Miliband will claim the policy symbolises the choice facing the country at the next election between Labour committed to tackling low living standards and the Conservatives committed to broken markets.


That living wage comes out to a shade under 15 grand a year. Out of which the government takes a couple of thousand pounds to pay for things like the salary of the Leader of the Opposition.

Yes, indeed, Ed Miliboy gets paid from the crusts stolen from the mouths of poor babes in arms.

And if you think that the working poor don’t have enough money at the end of the day then there’s really a very simple solution. Stop fucking nicking it off them in tax.

However, research has shown employers paying the living wage secure a more productive workforce with lower absenteeism and turn-over. Dominic Johnson, employee relations director at Barclays, said on Monday that paying the rate had improved retention rates for its cleaners. “Early research on the impact of the living wage for cleaners on Barclays’ contracts shows our suppliers have a 92% retention rate versus an industry average of 35%,” he said.

Dear God Barclay’s employs some ignorant cunts. Yes, of course you have a greater retention rate. You’re paying more than everyone else. When everyone is paying the same as you then you’ll have the same retention rate as everyone else. Doesn’t anyone at all recall the story of Henry Ford and his $5 a day?