Spud misses the point being made

So, he gives evidence to the House of Lords. Lovely. Who then say:

According to HMRC’s latest estimates, the total tax gap amounts to £36 billion or 6.5 per cent of total direct and indirect tax liabilities. Professor Richard Murphy challenged HMRC’s methodology, arguing that the figure is an underestimate. For the purposes of this report we use HMRC’s estimates of the overall gap.

That is, we don’t believe Spud. But there’s more!

Most of the evidence submitted to the inquiry challenged HMRC’s analysis of the behavioural effects of the measures arguing that the estimated tax gap reductions would either never materialise in full or might even go the other way.

Some argued that, to the extent that record-keeping would improve, the result would not necessarily be in the Exchequer’s favour.

That is, the errors in record keeping which drive Spud’s estimate are not all in the direction of less tax, it’s even possible that they, in aggregate, trend the other way, meaning that Spud’s estimates are even more wrong!

What then worries about our Professor’s intellect is that he quotes this to show that he is right……

So, Steve Keen then

A professor of economics has turned to crowdfunding to pay his salary because universities “no longer provide the time and freedom they once gave to original thinkers”.

Steve Keen, who is currently employed full time at Kingston University but expects to remain there next year on a quarter-time basis only, hopes to raise enough money via the Patreon website to enable him to continue his work as a public intellectual.

He is initially hoping to raise $10,000 (£8,232) a month, which he says would allow him to work full time on the third edition of his book, Debunking Economics, plus a series of papers, and to continue producing videos for his YouTube channel, which has more than 10,000 subscribers.

Well, good luck to him, obviously. Although there is that slight question of why he’s not using more traditional methods. Say, gaining an advance for that book on economics. Heterodox is a pretty successful area these days, I’m told that Ritchie’s last (not current) went into 5 figures in sales. Tim Harford is approaching a couple of million on his first. And Keen’s hardly unknown in that heterodox world.

He’s also a contributor at Forbes and I know very well that a decent living can be made there.

Fun comment at that link through:

One might almost suggest that he is motivated by self-interest. But mainstream economics has been debunked yes? What a puzzlement…

Personally I think that George Osborne is currently screaming with glee

He wanted to be a journalist straight out of uni. Failed to get onto The Times trainee scheme. Ended up freelancing (this is a code word on a gossip column, it means getting £50 for tips sent in, little stories heard at parties, yes, I’ve done it, a little bit) for Peterborough in the Telegraph.

Now he’s editor of The Evening Standard.

Yes, screaming with glee. And if push came to shove I’m sure it would be Bye Bye Tatton.

Now, as to whether he’s going to be any good at it……

I’m sorry but I really do not believe these people

Smith said: “Teenagers and young girls are being forced to wrap or stuff toilet paper down their knickers, to prevent them from bleeding all over themselves while at schools. The cost of sanitary products are just too much for some girls and their families, and it’s leading to missing school and it’s putting their health at risk.”

“It’s absolutely despicable in the 21st century that girls are being forced to comprise their education simply because an absolute necessity is unavailable and not affordable.”

I am absolutely certain that there are parts of the world where £1 or £2 a month is a large amount, one that might well be spent elsewhere.

I do not believe this of modern Britain. Sorry, I simply do not.

News just in

We hate the Frogs more than we love the Scots:

Brexit is more important to voters than keeping the United Kingdom together, an opinion poll for The Telegraph has indicated.

Sixty per cent of respondents agreed that Britain’s EU departure mattered more than stopping the UK’s break-up, while just 27 per cent disagreed.

Furthermore a majority of people said they would still vote for Brexit even if they knew it could trigger Scotland’s independence.

Well, it’s a good idea isn’t it?

A BBC radio presenter allowed a phone-in caller to discuss having sex with young children and to claim his victims had enjoyed being abused.

Allan Beswick, host of the Late Night Phone-In programme on BBC Radio Manchester and BBC Radio Lancashire, engaged in conversation with the man – who said he was calling from prison – for four-and-a-half minutes without cutting him off.

Listeners were horrified to hear the man repeat details of his alleged crimes and to argue that DVDs of “child sex” should be supplied to adults as a substitute for them abusing children.

As far as we know, and this is true of both rape and statutory rape (yes, research has been done on this, on both) porn reduces incidence of real world actions. In the case of child porn the post-Soviet changes in law left Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic without a law against child porn. Incidence of child abuse fell. Law corrected, it rose back again.

So, digitally produced (of course) DVDs, why not? The aim is to reduce real world harm, yes, not the incidence of people getting their rocks off?

So which country would you prefer?

Sierra Leone pastor discovers 706-carat diamond in village

Fox News  – ‎19 hours ago‎
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone – A pastor in Sierra Leone has discovered the largest uncut diamond found in more than four decades in this West African country and has turned it over to the government, saying he hopes it helps to boost recent development in …

Does the SNP appoint peers?

But that’s not why Nicola Sturgeon has undoubtedly earned the title. She’s there because she stands head and shoulders above all else in the field. Partly that’s because she leads a pretty united party in a parliament that seems to go about its business in a much better way than Westminster. And it’s because her team at Westminster are, without doubt, the most able group in parliament, partly because almost all of them have real world experience way beyond the political sphere, which is now so rare elsewhere. And they use that skill extremely effectively.

Guess who?

In that case, and given that the future of the UK is in doubt, the question of who the two most powerful politicians in the UK might be is clearly answered by May and Sturgeon. But if you asked who is the most powerful, and wholly appropriately considered that answer in the context of whether or not there is a Union, then May might come second.

As I understand it Widmerpool did actually have some talent.

Wherein Spud misunderstands again

The message is abundantly clear. Britain (and the whole world) needs more government debt to meet the demand for stable, secure places to invest. And the UK government is a particularly good provider of that stable, secure investment opportunity. And such is the demand for it that people are willing to, in effect, earn no interest at all (after inflation is allowed for) on those funds just to make sure they’re in safe hands.

Any rational government would meet this demand by issuing more of the debt the markets demand. They would be consciously using the offered chance to borrow at zero per cent real, and actually incredibly low nominal rates, to pour debt into the market and on very long terms. Thirty year, fifty year or even perpetual debt would sell right now. The funds could then be used to build the future those pension funds want for their membership, including homes for their grandchildren.

Not entirely sure how you build a pension on bonds carrying negative interest rates to be honest.

But the real misunderstanding from Spudmonster is that he’s right, the market is shouting that it would like more government debt. So the Bank of England should sell that debt it owns to the market, right? Unravel that QE which Spuddy insists will never be unravelled.

This leads us to what he’s ignoring. The4 price of government debt is deliberately and specifically raised by the BoE owning so much of it. Meaning that we cannot, without unravelling that distortion, say very much about the true price of government debt can we?

I do not believe these people

I woke up this week to the news that we were being urged to buy tampons for a worthy cause again. According to the charity Freedom4Girls, a school in Leeds has reported that girls are missing school because they can’t afford to buy menstrual products. In response, individuals and charities are donating disposable menstrual products, and calling for them to be provided free in all schools.

Sorry, in modern Britain £1 a month is not the sort of sum which people cannot afford. OK, call it £2 a month if you wish. But this as evidence of poverty is the purest bollocks.

And look at the wondrous elision here:

In a letter published in the British Medical Journal in 2010, Dr Daniel Hindley noted that in a Bolton NHS foundation trust study, “menstruation problems” was listed as the fifth most common school absence reason among 251 primary and secondary pupils referred to the trust.

And as a “Lass war” protester, I need to be clear that this doesn’t just happen in the north of England. And it doesn’t just happen just in the global south. Please don’t come back to me in five years’ time with a news story about someone in the home counties skipping school because of periods. That’s certainly already happening.

We start with young birds not being able to afford tampons, that bollocks. We get to menstruation problems meaning school absences – something that we’re all sure does happen. But menstruation problems and not being able to afford tampons are not the same thing, are they?

Buying tampons for people only lasts for a certain period. It doesn’t address the taboos or end poverty – it feeds right into the rampant capitalism and disposable culture that got us here in the first place.

Yep, it’s all about class war really.

It’s important that these things get punished

Among missteps by the prosecution was the suppression of evidence that Bishop previously filed a false police report accusing another man of rape, according to court papers filed by Mitchell and other attorneys with Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent.

For non-prosecution of a false rape claim could lead to other claims being made, also potentially false:

Andrew Wilson, a broad smile on his face and no bitterness in his heart, clasped hands with his family on his first day of freedom on Thursday after spending 32 years in prison for a murder he denied committing.

She pointed particularly to a weeks-long delay before police began canvassing for suspects with Hanson’s girlfriend, Saladena Bishop, who was 17 at the time. Bishop was the prosecution’s only eyewitness.

Over to the feminists here.

Boo Hoo for David Cay, eh?

David Cay Johnston, the journalist who first got President Trump’s year 2005 tax return, accused the White House of unfairly distributing his find to other reporters this week.

In a radio interview Thursday, Johnston said the White House didn’t play by journalistic rules when it put out a combative statement to other media outlets to undercut Johnston’s reporting, rather than talking directly with him.

“Instead, they — first of all, and this is to anybody in the news business totally unethical — they took my exclusive story before it went up at DC Report, which is my website, DC Report,” he said on SiriusXM. “They went and gave it to other reporters, that’s just — you don’t do that. I’ve never had a company or a White House all the way back to Nixon do anything within a million miles of that and then they acknowledged the [tax] document but they had this nasty statement that they put out. And they never officially got back to me. They put out a statement, which tells you this really got under Donald Trump’s skin.”

You’re opposing him David. All’s fair…..

“I mean, Donald Trump is a very immature personality and if somebody else had sent [questions to the White House over the tax documents], he may have reacted differently. Perhaps it’s because of me. In fact, I think it’s because of me that he responded, Joe, in this way of attacking and making these false claims.”


It is all about the journalist, isn’t it?


Far from being a waste, these activities save taxpayers money in the long run. Research undertaken on behalf of the Trades Union Congress found that, in the public sector, there are 8,000-16,000 fewer dismissals every year thanks to union reps.

Not being able to fire idiots saves money?


Kal Penn has highlighted racial stereotypes prevalent in Hollywood by sharing “awful” audition scripts he was given in the early years of his career.

Simple visual art form uses stereotypes. Film at 11

He’s got a point here

Another key moment for Rodgers was an argument he had with his jazz guitar teacher about the compositional merit of the Archies’ late-60s hit Sugar Sugar, which Rodgers ridiculed and resented having to play in a boogaloo covers band.

“Any song that sells and gets to the top 40 or top 10, any song is a great composition,” Rodgers recalled.

Sure, it’s manufactured schlock. And this is truly dreadful lip syncing.

It’s also artfully constructed and a rather good pop song.

Proper bubblegum music.