The Great Jubilee Weekend Question

So, imagine that, as Polly is panting for, we had been a Republic these past 60 years.

G VI pops his clogs on schedule but (invent some nonsense here) Liz doesn\’t take over and we go to a vote on who should be President.

Call it 7 year terms. Who would we have had over the years?

I think a good argument can be made that we\’d actually have got Liz back in \’52.

But leave that aside. What does anyone think would have been a reasonable and likely series of Presidents?

Assume that the basic political system remains. Power with the PM in the Commons. President is a figurehead, not an executive.

I could imagine Churchill having won the first election. I could also imagine the first line politicians never even considering it and us getting a succession of definitely second rankers filling the post. Around 2003, 2004 sort of time, would Labour have put up Blair or Prescott?

Tatchell would have been an independent candidate several times but not got anywhere near election.

So, anyone want to have a go? Give us a list of the Presidents of the Great British Republic from 1952 to present?

Be as odd as you like. Don\’t forget, in this universe the celebrations started with 130,000 race goers watching the Queen being entertained by a dancing dog. Weird is definitely believable.

Marital coercion

Oh my God. Vicky Price\’s defence gets even better:

The defence is contained in section 47 of the Criminal Justice Act 1925:[1]
“ Any presumption of law that an offence committed by a wife in the presence of her husband is committed under the coercion of the husband is hereby abolished, but on a charge against a wife for any offence other than treason or murder it shall be a good defence to prove that the offence was committed in the presence of, and under the coercion of, the husband. ”

This section reversed the legal burden of proof in such cases.

Section 37 of the Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 1945 (c.15) (N.I.) is identical to the section cited above and applies to Northern Ireland.

Paragraph 4 of Schedule 3 to the Crimes Act 1900 makes provision for New South Wales.
Differences to duress

While marital coercion is broadly similar to duress, it has the following differences:

It must be proved that the defendant is the legal wife of the man who coerced her. A mistaken though reasonable belief that she was married will not suffice.[2] Civil partnership does not suffice.[citation needed]
The burden of proof is on the defence to prove marital coercion on the balance of probabilities, whereas the burden is on the prosecution to disprove duress beyond reasonable doubt.

Huhne has to show that he did not coerce her.

Huhne\’s toast, i\’nne?

PCS to strike

The important thing to remember here is that this is not a strike about anything so cyclical as the current government not liking taxmen.

The union said it was fighting plans to cut thousands of jobs in the department over the next few years, adding that 30,000 posts had already been lost since 2005.

This is over something structural. Gordon Brown\’s merging of IR and C&E is the real point here. The entire point of which, at least as stated, was to be able to go away with tens of thousands of taxman jobs.

And thus the astroturfing from Ritchie about it all. Funded by PCS of course. It\’s a long term problem for the union: if we only have one tax organisation then yes, of course, we can do this with less staff than if we have two tax organisations. Something a union just doesn\’t want to hear, does it?

This really is what all of Ritchie\’s blathering about the tax gap is over. The structural changes to the tax system insisted upon by Gordon Brown. Nothing else at all is involved.

Vicky Price and the fury of a woman scorned

She could hardly have chosen a more damaging defence, could she?

The law concerning marital coercion is part of the 1925 Criminal Justice Act. Following a request from the media, Mr Justice Saunders agreed with the prosecution barrister, Oliver Glasgow, that the press should be permitted to report the basis of Miss Pryce’s intended defence.

Mr Glasgow said: “There is no secrecy the defence is marital coercion. I don’t see that there is any prejudice caused to the prospect of a fair trial [if] it is reported she entered a not guilty plea and intends to advance a defence of marital coercion at trial.”

A straight not guilty plea would be a statement that the points dodging didn\’t happen. A guilty one would be that it did but that she should be punished for it. This is \”it happened but he made me do it\” which is, as I say, the most damaging to Huhne of all of the possblie pleas.


BP to sell TNK?


BP has shocked shareholders by putting its stake in Russian joint venture TNK-BP up for sale in a move that could raise $30bn (£19.5bn) but which has left the City confused about future strategy.

The oil business is a dirty one in a backstabbing and financial sense. But being free of those complete bastards can only be good for BP.

In fact, the more I\’ve done business with Russia and Russian firms the more I would argue that it\’s not a good place to do such business…..

The glorious geothermal revolution!

The new report on the UK potential for geothermal energy, by Sinclair Knight Merz and commissioned by the Renewable Energy Association, concludes that it should be possible for geothermal energy to provide the UK with a cumulative benefit of 5,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity and 32,000 GWh of heat by 2030. This is power equivalent to nine nuclear reactors.

Oooooh! Excellent!

Mr Jackson continued, “SKM’s analysis suggests that a feed-in tariff level of approximately £300/MWh for electrical generation and combined heat and power projects is required to develop these geothermal projects in the UK. This is approximately equal to five Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) per MWh.”

Eh? Doesn\’t that mean they\’ve found something even more expensive that fucking solar PV let alone nuclear? 30 p a kWhr…..

The bit that Michael Meacher misses

What, then, should be done? In the short term, the most feasible approach is to impose a capital gains tax charge at the current rate of 28% on the topmost layers of wealth, the £155bn gains amassed by the 0.003% over the last three years.

This is a tax on unrealised gains you understand.

So, they must liquidate some portion of their holdings in order to raise the cash to pay the tax.

So, err, who do they sell it to? All other rich people face the same problem and not rich people, by definition, don\’t have the cash.

Jobs are a cost not a benefit dears

Tens of millions of new jobs can be created around the world in the next two decades if green policies are put in place to switch the high-carbon economy to low-carbon, the UN has said.

Between 15m and 60m additional jobs are likely, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep). These are net gains in employment for the world economy, taking into account any job losses in high-carbon industries that fail to transform.


. The number of jobs created is the expense of your plans. Because the people in those jobs are not doing something else. Thus we lose the product of whatever else it is that they could be doing.

Yes, yes, all the caveats: it still might be worth doing and all that. But the jobs themselves are costs, not benefits as you are touting.

Oh do fuck off dear

Registered sex offenders should never be allowed on social networks where people freely use their profiles as digital scrapbooks of their lives – frequently sharing photos of their babies and themselves on nights out potentially dressed proactively.

They do not have the right to participate in an open network online – where many children under the age of 13 have set up identities without their parents’ knowledge – just as they cannot mix openly in society offline.

I might be willing to agree that the bloke convicted of grooming kids online then raping them shouldn\’t be allowed online to groom kids.

I certainly agree that Facebook, Lonked in and all the rest have the right to ban anyone at all from their sites.

But \”registered sex offender\” is such a wide description that such a ban is ludicrous.

Section 45(2) changed the definition of \”child\” in the Protection of Children Act 1978 (which applies to child pornography) from a person under 16 to a person under 18. Section 45 also inserted section 1A of the 1978 Act, and section 160A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, which create defences which apply where the photograph showed the child alone or with the defendant (but not if it showed any other person), the defendant proves that the photograph was of the child aged 16 or over and that he and the child were married or lived together as partners in an enduring family relationship, and certain other conditions are met.

It is possible that a bloke with a picture of his 17 year old girlfriend with her tits out on a topless beach is guilty of a crime leading to being a registered sex offender.

This isn\’t, I submit, a crime which should have you banned from an online social life.

And I\’m sure the resident legal brains around here could offer up more examples of such stupidities.

No doubt UK Uncut will get this wrong too

His holding company also saw its tax bill fall sharply, accounts showed, after it posted a loss of £120m, in contrast to the previous year’s profit of £213m.
The company, as it had previously announced, swung from a profit to a loss. This meant its tax bill, in the year to August 27 2011, fell from £70.9m to £2.83m.

The accounts also show that Sir Philip’s wife, Lady Green, “and her immediate family” received an interest payment of £16m. This was because during 2009 Taveta bought Bhs, which was paid for via the issue of loan notes to companies controlled by Lady Green and her family.

The competition for today is to try and work out exactly how UK Uncut and the like will get this wrong.

What will the accusation be? That interest paid to foreigners should be taxable domestically? That companies which make a loss should pay profits tax on profits they don\’t make so there?


Oh for F sake

The heir to the Dutch throne was in the small eastern village of Rhenen on Queen\’s Day, April 30, where he entered – and won – a traditional village game of toilet-bowl tossing.

But speaking at a function in Rotterdam on Wednesday, the prince admitted he felt ashamed when hurling the orange-coloured ceramic potty given the lack of proper sanitary conditions in the developing world.

\”Here in the Netherlands there are towns that take part in the throwing of toilet-bowls for a laugh,\” he said.

\”I participated with a smile, but not without shame in thinking about the some 2.6 billion people around the world that do not have this most basic infrastructure to fulfil a daily need with dignity.\”

This is the sort of wibble the Dutch Monarchy is reduced to?

Something of a comedown for the family who led the centuries of battle for independence isn\’t it?

Mind you, ours talks to the daffodils so obviously these things happen…

How convenient

A generation of youngsters may be developing a skewed view of sex from pornography, a court has heard, after a 12-year-old schoolboy raped and sexually assaulted a younger girl after copying a hardcore film he watched on the internet.

And of course we hear that this is just the tip of the iceberg, this is happening all the time and no one reports it and absolutely we must have an opt in system to be allowed to watch porno on the web.

The two problems being: OK, where is that iceberg? And, please show us the evidence that underage sex (whether assaults or consensual) is more prevalent now than it was before internet pron.

After all, imposing limits on free specch (and yes, that is what this is) is a serious matter and worthy of serious consideration and serious evidence.

Which standard references to icebergs and everyone\’s doing it extrapolated from one single case might not quite meet.

Now here\’s chutzpah

Mr Monti yesterday warned that Mrs Merkel’s entire economic agenda “risks being undermined because of lack of promptness in setting up the necessary instruments to limit the contagion.”

That\’s from the people who have failed to set up the basic structure necessary to keep the euro going for well over a decade. You know, that thought that such a currency union will only work with full fiscal and economic union? Which they were told before they started and yet they went ahead assuming that when push came to shove it would simply appear because it needed to?