This does seem fair really

Hannah Cockroft has accused the world’s two leading sportswear brands of discrimination after claiming the reason she does not have a kit sponsor is because she does not wear shoes during her wheelchair races.

Cockroft, who is expected to be one of the stars of the Paralympic Games in Rio after winning two golds at London 2012 and three in last year’s world championships, is the dominant figure in her sport but said Adidas and Nike have cited her inability to use their footwear in competition as a justification for not sponsoring her. The 24-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, has been angered by a situation she feels illustrates how disabled athletes are still fighting for greater recognition.

“The real reason?” the ParalympicsGB athlete said. “I have been told it’s because I don’t wear shoes when I compete. What do I do with that? I wear a shirt, I wear trousers, I wear shoes on the podium when I’m collecting a gold medal. But apparently because that’s not when I’m competing that’s not enough. I’ve been told this by Nike, Adidas, all the big brands. I told them it was discrimination. It is discrimination.

There is taste discrimination and there’s rational discrimination. It does seem rational that a footwear brand doesn’t sponsor someone who doesn’t use footwear.

And her actual complaint is worse than that. She’s claiming discrimination simply because they won’t cut a commercial deal with her that she thinks is large enough.

Now they’re just flat out lying

Like TTIP, Ceta threatens to lock in privatisation, making renationalisation (of Britain’s railways, say) or attempts by cities to take control of failing public services (as Joseph Chamberlain did in Birmingham in the 19th century, laying the foundations for modern social provision) impossible.

It doesn’t say anything of the kind.

Here’s an example of what the cretins are actually complaining about:

One look at the practice of investment arbitration shows that concerns with regard to the respect for
human rights and environmental law during ISDS proceedings are not unfounded. Some investment
protection proceedings gave rise to conflicts with i.a. the right to health96, the right to water97 and
with general environmental rights.98 Also the current proceedings in Chevron v Ecuador99 show that
the (human) rights of third parties often receive only insufficient attention in arbitration proceedings.
In these proceedings, to which the arbitration rules of UNCITRAL100 apply and which were initiated on
grounds of a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) between the USA and Ecuador, Chevron objects to the
enforcement of a judgment by an Ecuadorian court which had convicted Chevron to a payment of
billions in damages to a group of plaintiffs.101 In several interim awards, the arbitration panel obliged
Ecuador to avert the enforcement of that judgment.102 This gave Ecuador the choice either to
interfere with the otherwise independent judiciary of the country in an unconstitutional manner or
to pay billions in penalties to Chevron. Thus the arbitration proceedings function additionally as an
authority which is de facto able to override even the decisions of the final courts of appeal103 and
which deprives the persons affected of the rights they have in legal proceedings without letting them
participate in the arbitration proceedings. The lacking consideration for the rights of third parties
who do not participate in the proceedings themselves is the focus of an intense debate in the
literature on investment protection law.104 A particular point of criticism is that such proceedings
may have the effect that states will not be able to comply with their responsibility to protect the
human rights of third parties, as investment arbitration tribunals pay no or very little attention to
these rights.105 This becomes also evident in proceedings regarding the privatisation of water. In
these cases, states claimed a duty to guarantee their own population the right to water, even if the
water supply had been privatised. Most arbitration tribunals, however, did not accept this
Ultimately, the two Vattenfall proceedings, in which the Swedish energy company sues the Federal
Republic of Germany for damages, also manifest the grave implications that arbitration proceedings
may have for matters concerning environmental law107 and how “a tension can arise between them
and the national constitution.”108 This result is shared by many authors dealing with the clash
between environmental matters and investment protection law.109 In addition, there are a number of
arbitration tribunals on the question whether environmental requirements constitute an indirect
expropriation or the violation of other investor rights. Legal practice shows that the arbitration
tribunals certainly apply a broad definition of indirect expropriation. The arbitration tribunal in the
case Metalclad v. Mexico110, for example, assumed that the prohibition to operate a landfill
constitutes an indirect expropriation.111

The Chevron case is the one where the lawyer bribed the judge and it turned out that the entire case was a complete fabrication from start to finish. Oh how terrible that ISDS provisions protected Chevron from that.

Vattenfall is even more fun. No one doubts at all that Germany can decide not to have nuclear power plants. But if at the stroke of a pen, by changing the law, you turn many billions of valuable power plant into expensive scrap then you’ve got to pay for it. Just as with all the other nationalisations and so on. You can nationalise anything you want. You’ve just got to pay for it.

I don’t really believe this

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton start the race to November 8 on essentially even ground, with Trump edging Clinton by a scant two points among likely voters, and the contest sparking sharp divisions along demographic lines in a new CNN/ORC Poll.

Trump tops Clinton 45% to 43% in the new survey, with Libertarian Gary Johnson standing at 7% among likely voters in this poll and the Green Party’s Jill Stein at just 2%.

Lord knows Trump’s not terribly appealing. But given the whole press and establishment thing just how shitty a candidate is Hillary to be in this position?

Idiots on the tax gap

As Rebecca Long Bailey said for Labour during the debate on this amendment:

[N]ew clause 13 would require a comprehensive report into the UK tax gap, which is defined as the difference in any financial year between the amount of tax HMRC should be entitled to collect and the tax that it collects. Such difference derives from tax avoidance and evasion.

The amount that HMRC is entitled to collect is the legal amount of tax due and no more. As tax avoidance is legal it cannot be part of this tax gap therefore.

Breaking news! Ritchie’s a twat

We are presented with this image:


And this comment:

The Tory front bench this afternoon: Where were the women?

Well, Ms May was in China, Amber Rudd had done Home Office questions a couple of hours earlier (and yes, amazingly, ministers do actually work, in their offices, rather than just sit on the front bench).

The specific debate that is a picture of was “Exiting the European Union“.

And it seems reasonable to have the Sec of State for exiting there, the Foreign Secretary, Sec international trade. Who are the three I recognise.

As to female members of the cabinet, Home Sec and PM we’ve already dealt with. Justine Greening is education, not really her debate nor remit, is it? Andrea Leadstrom, environment? Priti Patel, int development? Karen Bradley, culture?

Exactly which female front benchers is it that Ritchie thought should be sitting there rather than getting on with their jobs in their offices?

Of course the real answer is that Ritchie’s just being a twat. Women should be sitting around being decorative rather than actually getting on with running something.

Sexist pillock that he is.

Nothing like admitting error and changing your mind

This obit writer is having fun:

Two years later he published The Unhappy Gays in which he argued that though homosexuals were “vile” they could be “cured”. In later life he seems to have moved on from this position, suggesting in an interview that, actually, homosexuals should be put to death, as recommended by the Old Testament.

Yes. Lots of fun:

Not that any of them really need a job because their father’s writing left the family extremely comfortable. The Left Behind series spawned a merchandise industry with CDs, DVDs, clothing, a board game in which players earn “redemption tokens” that can be cashed in for eternal life, and calendars that allow the chosen to count down the days until the rapture.

LaHaye was not thought to be using one of these calenders when he died from a stroke in hospital. Nor were there any reported sightings of his mortal remains lifting off into the sky.

Err, yes Hannah, yes

I’m 45 and childless. I don’t need to explain why — to anyone

Yes, quite true. It’s just that you’ve spent quite a lot of the past decade telling us this:

Childless and proud: Too right, says this 37-year-old singleton who believes having children wrecks your life

Actually, “Hannah Betts why I’m childless” is an interesting little search:

Childless and proud: Too right, says this 37-year-old singleton who ……/Childless-proud-Too-right-says-37-year-old-singleton-believ…

Apr 2, 2009 – Childless writer Hannah Betts, 37, argues that she’s much happier without … I’m even rather fond of babies, a fact that the most doting parents …

I’m 45 and childless. I don’t need to explain why — to anyone | Times2 ……/im-45-and-childless-i-dont-to-explain-why-to-anyone-d8xzb5…

… why — to anyone. Nicola Sturgeon has revealed she had a miscarriage. Did she really need to tell us?Hannah Betts. September 6 2016, 12:01am, The Times.

Well, yes, it works

That’s one way to stop traffic! Road safety campaign sees topless women carrying speed limit signs at accident hotspots in Russia
Scheme involves near naked women parading at accident blackspots
Experiment in Severny village showed the idea significantly slowed traffic
Idea has been revived as part of debate on how to reduce road deaths

The thing is, we know it works. Because, you know, men like titties:

Treat me like a bitch

In one exchange the married father of two complained one of the prostitutes ‘treats me like a b****’.
When the sex worker replied: ‘You don’t know what it means to be treated like a b****’, Mr Vaz then said: ‘Show me… show me.’

All most amusing really.

A career awaits as a scriptwriter for pornos, obviously. They must get that dialogue from somewhere……

Actually, I do know where they get it from. They really do employ scriptwriters. The actual sex scenes are worked out between the director and performers on set. But the structure inside which they take place is written out, with the lines etc, by a scriptwriter. General consensus is that it’s about $200 a script.

No, not really

Violent crimes against women in England and Wales reach record high


The number of prosecutions relating to violence against women and girls in England and Wales reached a record level last year, the director of public prosecutions said

A rise in the number of prosecutions is not the same as a rise in the number of crimes. It could be that we’re simply prosecuting more of those that occur:

Director of public prosecutions says use of social media to threaten and control is driving factor behind 10% rise in number of cases to 117,568 in 2015-16

Ah, yes, that’s what we’re doing. Prosecuting those who call someone a twat on twatter.


A daily dose of Vitamin D halves the risk of severe asthma attacks, a new study has shown.

We know that asthma has increased in recent decades in incidence. We also know that Vitamin D deficiency has increased in recent decades – we’re even seeing rickets make a small comeback.

Generally we’re told that the increase in asthma is because of the pollution of modern life – odd in a country that is becoming cleaner by the hour. So, how much of the increase is really due to the Vitamin D change?

Crunchers and the Fair Tax Mark

This is really too gorgeous not to be repeated. And please do spread the workd.

The Fair Tax Mark, that very important addition of the Tax Justice Campaign and the career of Richard Murphy, has just signed up its first accountancy practice.

We’re thrilled to announce that we have awarded the Mark to Crunchers South London, the very first accountancy practice to gain it. It joins FTSE listed companies such as SSE Plc and Go-Ahead Group in a growing list of companies taking a stand against aggressive tax avoidance.

Crunchers South London is leading in its sector by taking this bold step and we firmly believe its clients will be proud to work with such an upstanding practice. Winning the Mark means Crunchers South London has committed to not abusing tax havens or tax avoidance schemes and to apply the gold standard on tax transparency. We hope its leadership will encourage many more accountancy practices to follow.

Stirring and stunning news I think we all agree.

Crunchers South London’s Director, Damion Viney

What made you apply for the Fair Tax Mark?

As an accountant, I’m highly aware of the importance of taxation. I’d been following the various ethical issues around it for a while, including reading Nicholas Shaxson’s acclaimed book, Treasure Islands, and I had become very concerned. I thought there was a great need for a tax-related equivalent of the Fairtrade Mark: a clear cut way for companies to say they’re doing the right thing and a positive reason for them to do so – the Fair Tax Mark fulfils that need.

What benefits do you see for your business from gaining the Fair Tax Mark?

Differentiation is vital in any sector and that’s very true within accountancy. Being the first certified accountancy practice is a great way to stand out. The tide has turned on what’s acceptable in tax responsibility for businesses. More and more companies are realising that you make more money by focusing on profit creation than tax manipulation. Crunchers South London thinks that by gaining the Mark, it’s making a strong statement in line with what clients want to hear.

What would you say to other small businesses considering gaining the Mark?

Small businesses like us would do well to get behind this scheme and gain the Mark. They’re at a massive disadvantage in the market because they can’t access the same tax avoidance schemes as larger companies. Most small businesses are committed to supporting the local and national economy and the Fair Tax Mark is a way for them to signal this to customers while encouraging a more level playing field.

Quite so. A matter of great importance:

You’re being terribly unfair. Crunchers is clearly a company of enormous importance. It’s sole director (Damion Viney) is listed as ‘unemployed’ and an ‘accounting technician’ on Companies House and the accounts filed at Companies House (abbreviated) show whopping net assets of £729. The accounts are unaudited but I’m sure the FTM people will have done a thorough review of this prestigious company.

A blinding success I hope we will all agree?


There has been a lot of heat about Apple’s tax abuse, and rightly so. There has been less focus on how to solve the problem and yet that answer is known. It is to be found in unitary taxation.

The automatic information exchange is happening. The country-by-country reporting is happening. Now we just need the logical tax system to follow on.

If you’ve got cbyc then you don’t need unitary. And if you’ve got unitary then you don’t care about cbyc either.

Can someone parse this for me?

So why then, I asked, do we insist on running the economy at a low temperature (which is the equivalent of the inflation target) and without real use of the hob (otherwise called fiscal policy), with rules enforced by a technical committee with remarkably little real world experience between them (the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee), and all because the government think the economy must serve the interests of a few (the wealthy who want low inflation, and who eat overdone roast beef) at cost to the rest of society who now know the real food potential of the country is enormous, and utterly constrained by rules that make no sense?

No, leave the absurd food metaphor out of it.

Why do the wealthy want low inflation?

If you’ve assets then inflation is just fine. It’s the poorer people on fixed incomes who hate inflation.

Why can’t he get even the basics right?