October 2008

Bringing forward the infrastructure spending

The rail regulator cancelled 19 schemes to remove pinch points on overcrowded lines yesterday after the Government ordered a cut in public funding for the railways.

Network Rail had proposed the schemes to increase capacity and to reduce delays on routes that have experienced record growth in passenger numbers. The Government has imposed a strict cap on the expansion of the network, however, to save about £1.5 billion a year.

Do these people even talk to each other, let alone understand what they\’re doing? We\’ve just had the Chancellor saying that he\’ll bring forward some of the infrastructure spending in a Keynesian boost to the economy…..

That may or may not be a good idea but WTF are they doing announcing such and then cancelling spending already agreed?

Bravo! Bravo!

Take a pig living outdoors with space to run around. It is fed additive-free foods (spare fruit from the greengrocers, malted barley from the local brewery, etc) and is free to forage in the earth. It is just as happy as an organic pig, it lives just as long and eats just as well. However, unlike an organic pig it lacks the certificate hanging on the sty-wall, its feed bags lack the magic word, and the packaging for the sausages it makes contains no mention of it. The result is a product which tastes as good, has the same ethical credentials and still has impeccable provenance, but does not cost a fortune.

This is why the Italians have not embraced organics as the British have. They refuse to pay the Soil Association a fee to tell them that the meat they buy is good quality and refuse to delegate such an important part of eating well.

The Soil Association is, as we know, a trade union for organic farmers. And just like any other trade union they exist to increase the incomes of their members at the expense of everyone else (that\’s not a criticism by the way, that\’s simply a description of what a union does). And just like any union, guild or company they attempt to do that by creating barriers to entry and a brand which people will pay a premium for.

Buy it if you wish, just as you might buy Heinz baked beans instead of supermarket own. But it is that brand that you\’re buying.

A get out of jail free card

So when the bureaucrats lose a court case they start to argue that they shouldn\’t have to pay the costs.

Mr Dillon added: "Nice has been ordered to pay 60 per cent of the court cost incurred by Eisai who embarked on the litigation.

"Eisai Ltd is an international company which generated a net income of 598 million dollars (£367 million) in 2006/07. Nice is a public body funded by the taxpayer and defended this litigation in the interests of the NHS.

"Nice trusts that Eisai will now waive its costs so that the NHS funds that Nice receives can be spent on improving patient care."

This isn\’t about NICE actually approving or not approving a drug, it\’s about access to the model they use to determine whether to approve or not a drug. If they\’d just released the spreadsheet then all of this money would have been saved.

I\’m actually willing for it not to be the taxpayer wqho pays here: why not take it from the bureaucrats?

Women, eh?

The world\’s greatest pub crawl, 14,000 pubs and counting, and look what happens:

He said there have been up to twenty drinkers in their team but most have fallen by the wayside after getting married.

Oh dear me

Ummm….no, I don\’t think so.

Gerald Toben, 64, is accused by the German authorities of offences \’of an anti-Semitic and/or revisionist nature\’ Photo: PA

Uhn uhn. That\’s David Irving in that photo. The Telegraph (or maybe it\’s PA) seem to be having problems with photos of Toben. At one point they had one of Chris Huhne captioned as being of Toben.


Gordon Brown\’s claims that a national ID card scheme would help prevent terrorist attacks are "absolute bunkum" according to a senior Government security adviser. Harvey Mattinson, a consultant at the information technology arm of GCHQ, said that the only real value of identity cards would be to help state bodies share information about people.

Nothing we don\’t already know…..but when will the Prime Mentalist admit it?

Those BP profits

As us financial sophisticate know, the method of accounting used by oil companies means that when prices are rising then so do their profits.

However, when prices fall so do those profits.

So, come the announcement of next quarter\’s results and the drop in profits, possibly even reports of a loss, will all those currently shouting about how BP must cut forecourt prices then be arguing that, you know, they really ought to be raising them?


A father of three who underwent a routine vasectomy at his local GP surgery was left fighting for his life in hospital after suffering gangrene.


It wasn\’t until his stitches burst that he was rushed to hospital and doctors realised how serious his condition was.

Sob, sob, ouch!


In praise of suburbia

I really do like this:

I think big ideas are overrated. My family have been chased all over the world by people with big ideas. We\’ve fought in their wars, starved in their prison camps, died in their gas chambers, fled their conquering armies, sewn on their yellow stars and surrendered our property to their armed guards.

Now we live in places such as Pinner, Hendon and Finchley. Sometimes we pootle down to the shops, sometimes we don\’t. One of us was unjustly awarded a parking ticket once. The garden could do with a mow. The suburbs are quiet and we are at peace. Give me the Citizen\’s Charter and the Cones Hotline and you can keep your big ideas.

Simply two excellent paragraphs.

GM and Chrysler

The boss of the US\’s biggest carmaker, General Motors, is personally lobbying the Bush administration for aid of up to $10bn (£6.3bn) to prop up a merger with Chrysler.

Political and economic pressure is mounting on the US treasury to step in to avert the possibility of a bankruptcy of one of Detroit\’s leading carmakers, which could jeopardise hundreds of thousands of jobs. As its woes worsen, GM scaled back financing deals on offer in seven European countries yesterday.

Nope. Let either or both of them go bust.

Let\’s have a little more of that creative destruction which, in the longer term, creates all this wealth that we enjoy.


Absolutely crazed loons:

It also shows that 27 countries are "importing" more than half the water they consume – in the form of water used to produce goods from wheat to cotton – including the UK, Switzerland, Austria, Norway and the Netherlands.

They seriously seem to think that there\’s something wrong with trade. That, by growing wheat in an area where there\’s lots of rain and moving it to somewhere else, we\’re doing something wrong.

I\’m astonished that people this crazed are actually capable of typing up a report.