Willy Hutton is an idiot

Nor does the story end there. The current account deficit for the third quarter of 2014 – the latest reported – reached 6% of GDP, the highest since records began in 1955. Analysing the figures, the Office of National Statistics observes that one of the principal causes is the deterioration in Britain’s international investment position since 1980. For centuries Britain, courtesy of empire and overseas expansion, enjoyed a phenomenal net surplus of assets; we owned more of the world than foreigners owned us – so that consistently Britain netted a surplus of investment income.

No more. In the third quarter of 2014 the growing net deficit of assets as we sell off the country overseas meant that Britain had a record deficit in its investment income balance of 2.8% of GDP. If these trends continue for another 10 or 15 years the interaction with our growing trading deficit – we import a great deal more than we export – will eventually make the scale of our international debts and income flows abroad insupportable.

Dear God Almighty.

The selling of capital stakes is *because* we run a trade deficit. A trade deficit must, as an accounting identity, be matched by a surplus on the capital account.

You fool.

Dear EU: Please do fuck off

Last week the commission demanded that the British government do away with a duty exemption worth £2,500 to small-scale producers of cider and perry.

Under the exemption, introduced in 1976, cider-makers who produce fewer than 70 hectolitres a year – about 12,000 pints – do not have to pay duty. The National Association of Cider Makers calculates that this accounts for about 80% of the UK’s 480 cider-makers.

You can take my scrumpy when you prize my cold dead liver from my corpse.

Quite seriously, fuck off.

Yes, it’s special pleading, yes it’s an exemption, yes it’s market distorting. Now fuck off and die.

Interesting from Danny Dorling

Dorling’s analysis of the housing market last month revealed average house prices in Oxford were more than 16 times the local average annual income compared with 15.7 times those in London.

Rather important for a Professor moving from Sheffield to Oxford, that. As he says in one of his recent books, it’s all really about the top 10% getting pissed off about the way the 1% are soaring away from them. Those bastards in trade and banking are making ever so much more than their upper middle class compatriots.

Dame Vivienne’s taxes

In 2002, Dame Vivienne’s UK business sold the rights to her trademarks to Luxembourg-based Latimo SA, which she also controls, for £840,000.

A year later Latimo SA became “the ultimate parent company” of the UK business by “virtue of its acquisition of the entire share capital”.

Accounts for the year ending December 31, 2013 show the company paid just over £2 million to Latimo SA for “licence fees” and a further £2 million the year before.

By paying the money to Latimo, the profits of Dame Vivienne’s UK business have been reduced by £2 million a year. In 2013, the UK company registered an operating profit of £3.2 million and a corporation tax bill on that of £780,000 – about a quarter of the operating profit. By paying her Luxembourg company £2 million, the UK company avoided paying an additional £500,000 to the UK Exchequer.

It’s an international brand. So, of course there are going to be brand payments to some company somewhere or other. And this really isn’t tax dodging for two reasons.

The first is that tax avoidance is, as Ritchie says, using a provision of tax law in a manner that Parliament didn’t intend. Yet for such brand and royalty payments the EU states that it’s actually illegal for a country to try and tax these payments on their way out. Meaning that the use of a royalty collection company is not just expected but expressley recognisde in law.

The ohter point is that given that Dame Vivienne is a UK resident she can’t actually get the money out without paying entirely normal tax on it. At best this delays a tax bill, not deletes it.

On the other hand the idea that the Green Party is being funded by what they themselves call dodged tax has me laughing like a drain.

Tax arrangements as recommended by Richard Murphy

Mr Vine appears to have been using his ten-year-old daughter Martha to avoid tax payments.

The presenter of the Jeremy Vine Show and the TV quiz Eggheads, has been funnelling cash through a limited company, Jelly Vine Productions, of which she is a shareholder.


Richard Murphy, an accountant at Tax Research, said: ‘He is obviously using the company to reduce his tax bill. It is perfectly legal, and perfectly allowed.

‘What is a little unusual is his daughter. Let’s be honest, she is unlikely to have said, “Daddy, I want to spend my pocket money on shares in the company”.’

Jelly Vine Productions’ accounts do not disclose how much it has paid out or whether it has paid dividends to all three family members, or just Mr Vine himself.

Mr Murphy said Mr Vine could have named his daughter as a shareholder for ‘long-term tax-planning’ purposes, reducing the tax she would pay if she inherits part of the business.

Actually, it’s not just legal and allowed, it’s actively promoted by Richard Murphy:

Self-employed workers and those in partnerships could benefit from considerable tax advantages by switching their business to a limited company, following tax changes in the Budget last year.

The change will enable anyone earning profits of about £30,000 a year to save up to £3,500 of tax. Even after the extra costs of running a company, savings could be almost £3,000. There are very few other ways available to save 10 per cent of your income and suffer almost no disadvantage as a result.

Glad we’ve got that settled then, this practice is wholly tax compliant.

After all, it must be, sa this is how the LHTD ran his own business and tax affairs for some time.

Feminist ideology is so wonderful, isn’t it?

Among a “lethal mix” of failings, the key finding of the investigation into baby deaths at Furness general hospital was a group of “over-zealous” midwives known as “the musketeers” who imposed the natural childbirth approach “at any cost”; refused to call doctors when needed; and colluded to conceal their negligence.

This finding runs counter to an orthodoxy that has governed childbirth for the past half-century. To learn that the rationale behind midwife-led units will now be scrutinised in a review of NHS England’s maternity services is to hear the screeching of brakes on the juggernaut that is childbirth ideology.

Or is this not feminism but the naturalistic fallacy?

Woo Hoo! So When Do We Invade Scotland?

To save the union, Britain will have to find its own Abraham Lincoln

Yup, Martin Kettle says so so it must be true. So who wants Sherman’s job of burning Strathclyde? All, you know, to free the Scots from their slavery to the SNP and nationalism?

Actually, on second thoughts, why bother. Place ain’t worth the bones of a single Prestonian Grenadier, is it?

Tee hee

The failure of the attack eventually landed Castro in prison. Naty Revuelta sustained his morale by sending him books, including a copy of Somerset Maugham’s Cakes and Ale with its cover replaced by a picture of a portrait of her. She also posted him her favourite poem, Kipling’s If, and an envelope filled with sand to remind him of the beach. “Despite the distance,” she wrote, “you are very good company.”

In his turn, Castro penned letters to her which, though necessarily guarded as they had to undergo censorship, revealed some of his rarely seen private passions. “I am on fire,” he told her in 1954. “Write to me, for I cannot be without your letters. I love you very much.” He asked her to stop using a typewriter, so that he could see her handwritten script – “so delicate, feminine, unmistakable”.

At the same time, however, he was also writing to his wife, Mirta Diaz-Balart. One day – perhaps through mischief-making by the prison governor – she received an envelope intended for Revuelta and vice versa.

Grace to one’s opponents is such a rare thing

So let us praise it when we see it:

In 2009, Reva Siegel and I set out to collect primary-source documents that would show how the arguments for and against abortion reform proceeded during the years leading up to Roe v. Wade. We wanted to illustrate the complexity of those years — the diversity of opinion among conservative religious groups, for example — and also to provide evidence to refute the conventional wisdom that the anti-abortion movement was launched in reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision. For the book that we planned, we clearly needed to be able to print a sizable excerpt from the pre-Roe “Handbook on Abortion,” and for that, we needed the Willkes’ permission.

Obtaining permission to reprint documents had not been easy from either side of the debate. The estate of Betty Friedan, the feminist leader and founder of the National Organization for Women, charged us a substantial amount to reprint excerpts from two of her speeches. N.O.W. itself charged for reprinting its 1967 “bill of rights,” a list of the organization’s eight top priorities. Americans United for Life, which emerged quickly after its founding in 1971 as a major player on the pro-life side, refused to deal with us at all.

So it was with some trepidation that we approached Dr. Willke, who was then 84 years old. We wrote to him, indicating the pages from “Handbook on Abortion” that we wanted to include in our book. After a few letters back and forth, he gave us his permission, if not exactly his blessing; clearly he had his doubts, despite our assurances, that we really did intend to provide a fair representation of both sides. He charged us nothing, asking only for two copies of the finished book. The excerpt from “Handbook” ended up filling 12 pages of our book, the longest excerpt from a single document. (Our book, “Before Roe v. Wade: Voices That Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court’s Ruling,” is available as a free download from the Yale Law School library’s web site.)

We didn’t expect Dr. Willke to respond, but a few months after we sent the two copies, a letter arrived, signed by both “Barb” and “Jack.” While they had expected that “we would probably end up in giving you a ‘D-minus,’ “ the Willkes wrote, “we are pleased to tell you that we give you a solid ‘B.’” They said they found the book fair to their side, adding that “we think its treatment of pre-Roe v. Wade is by far the best historical account that we have seen.” (A “B” after such a generous review? No grade inflation at the Willkes’, evidently.)

Dr. Willke was surely under no illusion that our encounter with his life’s work had changed our minds, but he was willing to give us the credit he thought was due. In this space, I do the same.

Telegraph subs…..

“UKIP candidate gets date of General Election wrong on campaign poster” claimed the Telegraph this morning, publishing a leaflet from soon to be red-faced candidate John Tennant, who had embarrassingly told voters to turn out on May 6 instead of May 7.

Just one problem with the story: the leaflet was from 2010, when polling day was May 6. Whoops!


Ed Miliband’s election theme song


The poll by Lord Ashcroft – which is of a series of parliamentary seats across Britain – indicates that the SNP, led by Nicola Sturgeon, could win 56 of Scotland’s 59 parliamentary seats, according to the veteran polling analyst Mike Smithson. This would virtually wipe out the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats north of the border.

Well, yes, I’m sure women are very grateful

“I am a feminist because I love women and I am ready to fight for women. I am a feminist because I am proud to be a woman, and I am passionate about making the world a better place for women. I am a feminist because a lot of amazing women have made me the woman I am today. I am inspired by women every day, as friends and as colleagues.

Stunningly good looking woman with enormous gazongas who marries a billionaire.

Absolutely the epitomy of feminism that.


Barrister Andrew Bird, on behalf of the Home Secretary, claimed that Apata wasn’t “part of the social group known as lesbians,” although he conceded that she had “indulged in same-sex activity.”

“You can’t be a heterosexual one day and a lesbian the next day. Just as you can’t change your race,” he added during the hearing.

Lordy me. Dunno if it’s the barrister, the solicitor instructing him or someone in the Home Office with such views. But a tad archaic maybe?

However, the Home Office has refused to recognise her sexuality – arguing she can’t be classified as a lesbian because she has children from a previous heterosexual relationship.

Shades of “Would you want your wife or servants to read this”


Huge dust clouds swirling across the Atlantic from northern Africa to South America are pictured in stunning new images released by the US space agency Nasa that illustrate how Earth’s largest tropical rainforest relies on its biggest, hottest desert to flourish.

Scientists have now for the first time calculated how much dust makes this transatlantic journey from the Sahara to the Amazon basin where it fertilises depleted soils with life-sustaining nutrients.

Some 27.7 million tons of Saharan dust reaches the Amazon basin each year, according to analysis of three-dimensional imagery supplied by a Nasa satellite of the massive tan brown plumes that can be seen from space.

So, this idea of dumping a bit or iron in hte oceans to get the plankton growing. So called “iron fertilisation”. In order to such some CO2 out as geoengineering.

Of course, we can’t do that as that would be unnatural.

Fading into obscurity, eh?

There are fears the Cornish language could fade into obscurity, as the organisation that promotes it faces closure.

The Government has said it will not fund the Cornish Language Partnership or MAGA beyond the current programme which ends on March 31.

The organisation was set up in 2005 to promote and develop the Cornish language

Cornish is terribly lovely, of course it is. Similar to Welsh and Breton fairly obviously. And the last native speaker died in, what was it, 1780?

Sure, there’s a few who try to learn it as a hobby n’ all that but shouldn’t they be the people paying to do so, not the rest of us through taxes?

The Guardian on sex abuse

Mr Cameron’s pledge of criminal prosecutions and five-year prison sentences for officials who turn a blind eye to child abuse fails badly on this count. It turns the whole focus of attention on the failings of officials and away from the crimes being committed by the real abusers. By doing so, it may deter recruitment of the skilled specialists whose work is now most needed.

To translate that for you.

Don’t blame the people who find their jobs through The Guardian employment pages.