His ambitions are so modest

A number of people have asked me what I would do if I was to head HMRC

Last, I am assuming tax policy is a Treasury issue and that HMRC’s task is implementation

So, for example, it would consider why we spend so much subsidising pensions and whether this pays for society.

So, the first thing is to dive into policy then.


Stationary Bandits

Late last month, famine was declared in two counties of the civil-war torn East African country of South Sudan. With 100,000 people at risk for dying of starvation in that area alone and millions more on the brink of crisis-level food shortages throughout the country, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir promised “unimpeded access” to humanitarian aid organizations working there.

A few days later the South Sudanese government hiked the fee for work permits for foreign aid workers from $100 to $10,000.


One of Britain’s most senior female judges warned drunken women that they will be a target for rapists as she retired from the bench today.
Lindsey Kushner QC said all women were entitled to ‘drink themselves into the ground’ but she warned their ‘disinhibited behaviour’ put them in danger of being raped by men who ‘gravitate’ to drunken females.

There really are vile monsters out there and yes, they will gravitate towards those less likely to resist.

That there will be those who argue about this shows quite how far wrong we’ve gone.

Err, what?

Living off-grid in India, am I the only one left who believes in globalisation?
Tishani Doshi
Life here has drawbacks – villagers poisoning our dogs being one – but it is a way of saving oneself from post-Trump inwardness and isolation

But, but….

My husband complains. He would like to see the local life, engage in philosophical conversations with fishermen, make documentaries about the syncretic religions of the area. “This is not a Sardinian village,” I tell him. “We can’t just walk into the centro and chat with the baker. There is no baker.”

The truth is, we probably could find someone like the baker. But I didn’t want to be saddled with translator duty. Even though I’ve spent most of my life in Tamil Nadu, Tamil isn’t my mother tongue; I prefer when locals think I’m a vellekari (white woman) with a terrific talent for language. I also didn’t want to get embroiled in village politics. We had already had one bad incident with the villagers – they poisoned five of our dogs because they claimed (probably correctly) the animals had been eating their chickens at night. I wasn’t about to converse with dog-killers.

The real reason I was uncomfortable about making local forays, though, was because I’m uncomfortable with inequality. “How is it going to work?” I ask. “We go over to their thatched hut for a chai, then invite them over to our villa for mocktails?” Like many Indians, I deal with disparities by constructing a kind of inner wall so as to be able to get on with life.

Living, hermetically sealed off in a compound in Tamil Nadu is the way to save oneself from inwardness and isolation?

Changing the subject, why is it that those who claim to be writers so rarely have much spark to their prose?

Take this for example. It’s about nothing very much at all but it has a certain sparkle to it. And he would describe himself as a journalist, not “a writer”.

Oh puhleeze, do bugger off mateys

But since those joyous days, the British government has not been doing enough to address the cultural needs of communities in the far south-west of Britain, according to the Council of Europe.

The council’s advisory committee monitoring the protection of national minorities has criticised UK ministers for cutting funding for the Cornish language, and suggested they work harder to devolve power and raise the profile of Cornish life.

On the language issue the committee was particularly scathing. “The advisory committee was disconcerted to learn that the UK government decided to cut all funding for the Cornish language,” it said. “The committee strongly regrets a decision which is considered to have a major impact on the continued revitalisation of the language.”

The number of native speakers of Cornish is zero. The language died 250 years ago.

Sure, it’s an interesting version of Celtic, along with Breton, Welsh, Erse, Scots and so on, but it is dead. If people want to try to revive it then good luck to htem. But there’s absolutely no reason why the kitchen hand in Keithly should be taxed to teach Celtic in Kernow.

No, not totally quite

Norwegian for the act of having a beer (pils) outside (ute). An outside beer. Seriously.

There’s a stronger association than that. It’s that first beer of the year that is had outside. Literally of course the translation is correct, but there’s that usage which allies with spring is sprung, de grass is riz, I wonder where de boidies is.

Perhaps in English, signifying the move from the snug to the beer garden time of year.

If the Federasts want to offer citizenship lite then why not?

Despite Brexit, and the often tone-deaf nature of the current government’s diplomacy, it is heartening that senior European politicians remain committed to British people having a close relationship with Europe in the future. That is why Guy Verhofstadt’s comments, supporting the rights of British citizens to retain some of the advantages of our European Union membership, are welcome. The government should respond positively, demonstrate its commitment to negotiating in good faith and with goodwill and see how important it is that both parliamentarians and the public should be fully involved in the Brexit process.

Being a citizen of the EU brings tangible benefits. It allows Britons to move easily to mainland Europe and between European countries, be it for work, study or pleasure. More than a million of our fellow citizens have done so, from those who have retired in Spain to tech entrepreneurs in Berlin. Services such as the European health insurance card guarantee free medical treatment for Britons who fall ill in another European country. The open skies policy and the near-abolition of roaming charges have made the European continent a smaller place. And of course the EU’s economic foundations – the single market, customs union, funding for universities and poorer regions – have made us all better off, creating millions of jobs in Britain through free trade with the world’s largest market.

Super, what Verhofstadt said is that there should, could, be some mechanism by which those individuals who wanted this citizenship of the EU lite should be able to claim it. And why not?

The objection to the EU is not that people get to choose from a thoroughly liberal palette of choices about how they wish to live their lives. Rather, that the EU comes as a single bundle of no choices in it at all mate.

It’s also sod all to do with the UK government. We’ve never insisted that people must claim UK and UK citizenship only. We do insist that if it is claimed then it is lived up to but no more than that.

So, let those who wish to join with the federasts do so. Let those who do not not. There is nothing at all wrong with people having more choice in this world.

Well, yes, this is a problem

Meanwhile it gets odder still. Murdering Bruno, who as things stand is guilty of ordering a woman’s murder and feeding her to his dogs, wants to play football again. And soon. He’s still only 32, in his prime for a goalkeeper. He’s been training in prison. But wait. There’s a problem with Murdering Bruno returning to football. No, not mass protests, a life ban and questions in parliament. The problem is he’s not quite match fit. Just give it a few weeks, his agent says. He’s back, baby. Murdering Bruno is back.

In fact, several Brazilian clubs have already been in touch trying to secure his signature. And why not? He’s a good goalkeeper. Brazil don’t really have a settled No1 right now. The current regular is Alisson of Roma (whose older brother is also a goalkeeper, called Murial). It’s not inconceivable Bruno could be pushing for a spot in the squad six months from now, maybe even making it to Russia 2018. Who knows we might even see Murdering Bruno at Wembley, ruffling the mascot’s hair, shaking Trevor Brooking’s hand, staring with cold, flat, glazed eyes out of your TV screen while he mouths the national anthem.

Crime and punishment are always difficult, are they not?

But the crime and the punishment are for the legal and court systems to do, not the football authorities.

Would we say that a baker out on appeal for murder could not work as a baker? And why the difference if a footballer?

Where’s Dave Dave when you need him?

“Before anything the new force will need to make out the real enemy, and there should be no doubt about its identity: international finance. Every one of the hydra’s heads sprouts from this evil and it works by means of a process that is very simple but to which our “elite” seems oblivious.”

Darius Guppy.

BTW, vaguely connected, Peter Risdon is not having a good time of it. But that’s a random vileness being visited upon someone, not a vileness being perpetrated.

Oh dear, they didn’t really say this did they?

Johnson pointed out just how woeful the productivity performance of the UK economy had been since 2008. Growth in living standards depends on improvements in productivity, which in the years leading up to the financial crisis averaged more than 2% a year. In the nine years since 2008, Johnson noted, per capita incomes had grown by 2% in total.

“That’s nine years to grow as much as it would normally grow in one.”

What’s more, the productivity growth that has been lost will never come back. That’s because the Office for Budget Responsibility believes the UK has run out of spare capacity, which means the economy cannot grow any faster without generating inflation.

Ouch. Growth into spare capacity isn’t productivity growth. That is, instead, becoming more efficient at doing something and thus a change in the capacity of the economy.

Well, yes Owen, that’s your problem

Both Hackney in inner London and Doncaster are Labour heartlands. While nearly eight out of 10 Hackney residents voted to remain, nearly seven out of 10 Doncaster voters opted for leave.

Here is a town that played a critical role in forging the Labour party. Its older, working-class residents have a view of the world that is utterly different and in conflict with much of the next generation, particularly in big cities. How Labour overcomes such divisions and rebuilds a broader electoral coalition will determine the future of the party – and the country, too.

It’s not particularly Brexit either. It’s that Labour gains power, seats, as a result of the donkey fodder Oop North. And they have entirely different beliefs about the world than the metropolitan Labour who actually constitute the party and the MPs. The sort of screaming harpies who wibble about the patriarchy and waaacism in the party meets would be told they just need a right seeing to by the voting base.

It’s not obvious there is a solution to this problem.

Isn’t that a well run bank?

Stricken Co-operative Bank has warned that it may have to raise as much as £750m from investors if it fails in its attempt to find a buyer for the business.

The ethical lender, which was rescued by a group of US hedge funds in 2013, cautioned that it is considering forcing its existing investors to help fill its capital hole by bailing in bondholders and converting their bonds into shares.

On top of a debt-for-equity swap, which would be at the expense of the funds that saved the lender in 2013, Co-op Bank would also seek to raise a further £300m in new equity, to show the Bank of England it has sufficient capital.

That decision to run it with people with no knowledge of banking worked out well then, didn’t it Spud.


Guess no one reads stationary and roving bandits at City U then

Possibly, maybe, a comment upon Peter Navarro

Somewhere, in an alternative universe, there’s a PhD economist and university professor with head in hands, weeping bitterly, and wondering why he did it.

“I just wanted a gig right? Sell a few books to the rubes feeding their fantasies. Make a movie or two and meet hot actresses. And it worked, they lapped it up.

“But now the President of the Free World actually believes this dreck I’ve been schleppoing as that gig. He’s hired me to put all that nonsense into action.

“Why, why did I do it? Shoulda’ taken that Rolling Stone offer to investigate rape on campus. That turned out way less embarrassing”

This is all a bit difficult, this Swing Low, Sweet Chariot stuff really

It is a famous refrain and melody. For many in the United States, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” enjoys a hallowed status as one of the cherished of 19th-century African-American spirituals, its forlorn lyrics invoking the darkness of slavery and the sustained oppression of a race.

But here, across the Atlantic, the song has developed a parallel existence, unchanged in form but utterly different in function, as a boisterous drinking song turned sports anthem.


“Such cross-cultural appropriations of U.S. slave songs betray a total lack of understanding of the historical context in which those songs were created by the American slave,” she said.

Well, yes:

In the 1950s, at the same time that slave-era spirituals were having a reawakening as part of the American civil rights movement, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was becoming a popular drinking song in the rugby clubs and pubs of Britain, where the lyrics were often accompanied by a series of bawdy gestures.

And yes:

But Williams laughed when asked if those pieces reflected a larger debate occurring in the rugby community. “The typical crowd that goes to watch the English national rugby team is not likely to be an audience that’s going to think hard about these types of questions or spend much time worrying about political correctness,” he said.

But here’s the thing you see. Aren’t we English entirely and solely responsible for the horrors of chattel slavery in the first place? So what culture are we appropriating if it isn’t our own?

Quite astonishing

Hooded youths armed with iron bars have gone on the rampage in secondary schools in the tinderbox suburbs north of Paris, sparking more than 50 arrests.

The violence prompted the far-Right Front National to claim that the government had lost control in suburbs around France, prey to lawlessness, drug dealing and ethnic and religious tensions.

The teenagers threw stones at police cars, started fires and lobbed smoke bombs in three sixth form colleges in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.

Ethnic and religious tensions, prey to, is pretty light as a description of the banlieues around Paris, isn’t it?

I think we can read this can’t we?

Regulators should investigate the role of Google, Facebook and digital advertising in the spread of fake news, a media body has said.

The News Media Association (NMA), which represents national and local publishers, said the digital advertising supply chain which favours fake news and helps it to thrive was “murky at best, fraudulent at worst”.

In a recommendation to the culture, media and sport committee’s fake news inquiry, the body called for an “urgent investigation” by regulators such as Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into its impact on Google and Facebook.

One part of an industry using whatever to cause problems for a competitive part of said industry?