July 2015

So, whose democracy?

Yesterday I noted the anti-democratic nature of tax havens.

Interesting thought really. It’s simply a restatement of the old colonial attitude. We solid Brits want to run our country our way. That means foreigners must do what we tell them.

Because that is what he’s saying. That foreigners cannot have different rules from us because that would offer Brits and alternative to the Curajus State.


One of Britain’s biggest unions has said Jeremy Corbyn must win the Labour leadership to cure the party of the “virus” of Tony Blair as it threw its support behind the leftwinger.

Comrades, we must purge ourselves of the influence of the only leader we’ve had, for 39 years, who led us to electoral victory!

Dear God, this is bad, isn’t it?

The first is that so much capital was invested in them with such lasting benefit, albeit not always that anticipated. Of course the circumstances were different from now when some (such as the Ffestiniog) were built, and we would not wish to replicate the economic conditions of that time today, but that’s not my point. What did happen was that capital was used for profit in ways that delivered considerable long term social gain.

D’ye think he’s even ever heard of railway mania? when a few honest folk and a much larger group of unscrupulous thugs (eerily reminiscent of the dot com era) raised vast sums of capital from the general public, as private investments, to do all of that. The public investment came much later, when all the good projects had already been done.

We put so much attention on the paid economy and yet so often it fails so spectacularly to provide the work people need of to use their talents to best advantage.

As has been pointed out, this from the man who thinks that paying tax is better than private charity. You know, that largely volunteer stuff? And I’m sure I’ve seen him slagging off the RNLI at some point.

And third, it strike me that the agent that has done most to release this talent of late are those publicly funded bodies

I am thinking, for example, of the millions invested by local authorities and others in the Welsh Highland Railway. I am sure there are many who would argue that the state should have no part to play in such activity. I disagree. When there is no private capital now available for such schemes it is the state that needs to develop such projects in partnership with enterprising individuals who can deliver real economic gain for a region but do not have the capital required to do so. This is a totally appropriate use for state capital funding from which very large numbers benefit.

But if there was a benefit that could be captured then private capital would happily invest. If there’s a public benefit that cannot be captured (ie, we’re in public goods territory) then sure, state invest away. But can we have the proof of that public goods problem first please? And according to the real definition?

Gonna be bloody hard with a full scale model railway.

Like when the RNLI stopped taking govt grants because they lost more than a £ in donations for each £ in grants?

Thanks for the concern over my whereabouts…..

I was driving a car across Europe in a successful, although perhaps not worth it, piece of tax evasion.

Portugal has high taxes on cars, even second hand ones from other countries. Based n engine size, so if you want something with a reasonable engine (2.2 diesel, 2.9. 2.7 petrol, that sort of range) even for a second had car you can pay many thousands to get it registered. And the big beasts, the 5.7 litre Americans, are many tens of thousands of euros.

But, if you’ve an address in another EU state thn you can simply buy a car there, register it there, then drive it in. Only for 6 months, then swap it with the other one you use at that address perhaps.

What with my Czech work, why not? Unfortunately that’s a 3,100 km drive over 34 hours, alone. One one hour nap in there.

So, for the saving on a mid size diesel, almost certainly not worth it. Utility, not feeling like shit, not having to do drive, making a bit more freelance cash instead of driving, probably balances.

However, the system does work. So, what can anyone tell me about those cheap Bentleys out there? There seem to be 80s models out there for £8 k and the like?

The Nordics

Perhaps that’s because when asked about their views on socialism, Sanders’ supporters often point to the Nordic economies, even though these countries are actually highly capitalist economies with large welfare states. They didn’t get rich with the sort of autarchic economic policies now fashionable on the American left. They relied on privatization, deregulation, free trade, large private multinational corporations and relatively low taxes on capital income.

Then you tax all that lovely economic activity to pay for the welfare stuff.

But that’s the legal bit

His awful moaning to the women who charged him £200 a night about how he can’t get by on a Lords allowance of £200 a day is the worst element of the whole scandal. “I do spend it on wine and different things,” he remarked.

Is there any real question that he should remain in the House? That he should not be expelled?
In reality the allowance for peers is £300 a day, though it does not apply to Sewel. He is paid £120,000 a year, made up of his salary for his part-time work chairing committees in the Lords (£84,525) and his allowance of £36,000 for maintaining a home in London. He complains that he is struggling, and when one of the women asks if his £200 allowance pays for his lunch, he replies: “It’s not lunch luvvie darling, it’s paying for this”. Wow. Is there any real question that he should remain in the House? That he should not be expelled?

But paying a tart is legal you idiot.

And amazingly the British system of jurisprudence is that we don’t punish people for doing things which are legal.

But, but, how could this be?

Firms supporting 880,000 older and disabled people have warned that the costs of introducing a “national living wage” could trigger “catastrophic failure” in the homecare market.

Without increased funding to meet the increased staff costs of the national living wage (NLW), businesses caring for people in their own homes could go bust, the UK HomeCare Association (UKHCA) warns in a letter to the chancellor George Osborne.

You mean that someone, somewhere, has to cough up the money to pay the higher wage?

There isn’t a magic money tree?

My word, that is a shock.


A National Education Service will give working age people access throughout their lives to learn new skills or to re-train. It should also work with Jobcentre Plus to offer claimants opportunities to improve their skills, rather than face the carousel of workfare placements, sanctions and despair. We need a return to ambitious joined-up government.

While slashing college funding, George Osborne boasts of increasing apprenticeships. Yet too many are low quality, failing to give young people the transferable skills they need to get on.

It is clear that some employers are using apprenticeships and traineeships as a means of circumventing minimum wage legislation. This has to end. The minimum wage must be equalised across the board – with no poverty rates like the current £2.73 per hour apprenticeship rate.

Under a National Education Service, colleges should work in partnership with employers to mutually accredit apprenticeships and courses that offer high quality transferable skills. Councils and government agencies should also use public procurement contracts to guarantee good apprenticeships.

Jeremy Corbyn.

“We’re going to have more good apprenticeships by making it three times more expensive for an employer to provide an apprenticeship”.


Dear God this is fucking ignorance

So Edward Luce says something very silly indeed in the FT:

For every dollar the top US public companies spend on investment, they are returning eight or nine dollars to shareholders.

Guess who repeats this:

For every dollar the top US public companies spend on investment, they are returning eight or nine dollars to shareholders.

And tells us that:

In one sentence the whole crisis if neoliberal capitalism is succinctly summarised. And it is not that much different here.

When the cost of capital is low and investment should, as a result, be a top priority for business it is investing tiny amounts and is instead fuelling inequality by paying exceptional dividend returns and by buying back shares to boost share prices and so trigger executive bonus schemes.

No wonder people have no faith in big business.

No wonder the rhetoric of the capitalist entrepreneur is so hollow.

No wonder no one believes the claim that business needs tax cuts in order to invest: it already has all the cash it needs to do that.

But it uses that cash to fuel inequality.

This is what it’s game is about. And radical reform is needed.

And this is from an accountant recall. An expert accountant even, one who writes reports for the TUC, one who would change the very structure of our entire economy for us. And an accountant who is willing to believe such dribble?

It’s not even remotely true: so far from reality that you’d need to be leaking brain fluid into your cornflakes to give it a shred of credence.

Luce can be forgiven for he’s just a columnist but Ritchie’s supposed to be, insists in fact that he is, an expert.

The number itself is derived as follows. Stock buybacks and dividends make up about (around and about) 80 to 90% of larger US corporation’s post-tax earnings.

But as an accountant would note companies can finance investment through borrowing. And the cost of repaying that borrowing, the interest paid upon it, is deducted from the numbers before we calculate the post tax earnings of the company.

Thus the amount of post tax earnings that is invested, as against the amount paid to the suppliers of capital, is not a particularly relevant number when looking at the amount that companies are investing.

Because borrowing.

At which point, a look at the actual capex (a reasonable proxy for investment) by S&P 500 companies.


Ignore the right hand side, not relevant. Dunno about you but I take that to be around and about 1:1 actually. Investment (or capex) to shareholder payout. Roughly.

An accountant should know this shit. So that’s accountancy that we have to add to the list of things that Ritchie is ignorant of.

What’s with this editorial independence anyway?

The task of maintaining journalistic freedom from commercial or other vested interests is as ancient as the printing presses that first made the sharing of news a mass market medium. But in an increasingly global digital world, cultural differences combined with economic and political pressures are making these age-old challenges harder and harder to navigate.

I’m not sure that I really get it.

The whole idea of editorial independence seems to me as being just a coded form of “thank for your money now fuck off, we’ll do what we want”.

£200 a night? In London?

The peer claims he had previously entertained more than a dozen other women at his luxury apartment, before paying the escorts £200 each – one in cash and one with a cheque drawn on his personal Bank of Scotland account.

We’re being told it was £200 a night. Which in London would get you something about as attractive as the back end of a Routemaster.

£200 an hour, a session, maybe: but if it was for the night then obviously he should go just on the basic grounds of bad taste.

And now to be serious just for a moment. Of course he shouldn’t resign or be thrown out. Cocaine and hookers is a lot less damaging to all of us that what the usual politician gets up to……

Interesting definition of democracy

A former cabinet minister in the last Labour government said called for the leadership election to be suspended amid fears that Communists and former members of the Militant Tendency have infiltrated the party. “I absolutely think it is a determined and deliberate attempt to infiltrate the election by powerful unions and it is a very serious threat to the democracy of the party,” the senior figure said. “These are not Labour Party people. I think this is a deliberate attempt to infiltrate the party and distort the basic democracy of the Labour Party.”

Democracy is limited to those whose views I approve of…..

No, no, you’ve got this the wrong way around

Senior Labour MPs are plotting to oust Jeremy Corbyn if he is elected party leader, amid growing fears that the leadership contest has been hijacked by far-Left infiltrators.
Shadow cabinet sources have told The Telegraph that Mr Corbyn would never be allowed to remain in the job long enough to fight the 2020 general election, if he is elected on September 12.
A coup could be launched within days of the result, which would plunge the party into even deeper crisis and division, but would be necessary to prevent an electoral “disaster” under Mr Corbyn’s leadership, senior figures said.
The veteran Left-winger, who has said he only stood because it was his “turn” to be the token socialist in the race, has confounded established political wisdom to take the lead in a series of polls among party members and supporters.
However, a growing number of Labour MPs believe Mr Corbyn’s campaign is being boosted by tens of thousands of radical Left-wing socialists who have paid £3 to sign up as an “affiliated supporter” in order to vote in the election.

It’s tens of thousands of righties paying their £3 to get a vote……

And there’s an interesting corollary to “couldn’t run a piss up in a brewery” here. Labour, the political party that couldn’t organise an election.

Did a Labour MP really just say this?

The Labour MP, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I am completely innocent of these outrageous accusations. They are malicious and unfounded. I have never abused any young boys. I am not some kind of Jimmy Savile figure. I am not gay, I am happily married.

Once that name does get out there will be hell to pay. For of course “gay” and “paedophile” are not synonyms, are they?

There’s a joke in here somewhere

The campaign now has two HQs in central London: one in the offices of the Unite union, where Fletcher works organising volunteers – from an “elderly gentleman” who writes thank-you letters to donors to young people wanting to run street stalls selling “Jez We Can” T-shirts at £10 a time….

Isn’t there another word similar to Jez with a quite different meaning?

Well, yes, maybe

A Cambridge Professor has made the astonishing claim that three scientists investigating the melting of Arctic ice may have been assassinated within the space of a few months.
Professor Peter Wadhams said he feared being labelled a “looney” over his suspicion that the deaths of the scientists were more than just an ‘extraordinary’ coincidence.
But he insisted the trio could have been murdered and hinted that the oil industry or else sinister government forces might be implicated.
The three scientists he identified – Seymour Laxon and Katherine Giles, both climate change scientists at University College London, and Tim Boyd of the Scottish Association for marine Science – all died within the space of a few months in early 2013.
Professor laxon fell down a flight of stairs at a New year’s Eve party at a house in Essex while Dr Giles died when she was in collision with a lorry when cycling to work in London. Dr Boyd is thought to have been struck by lightning while walking in Scotland.

So someone’s got Thor on the payroll as an assassin then, yes?

Things just get better, don’t they?

Ralph Miliband, a Marxist academic, founded a small group of political activists who met at Tony Benn’s house in London, and included the then newly-elected young MP, Mr Corbyn.
According to a 2011 biography of Ed Milband, Ralph tried to re-engage with Labour during the 1980s in collaboration with Benn, himself a famous Left-winger.
The book, Ed – the Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader, describes how Ralph saw his role as helping to prepare a practical socialist programme of policies for the Bennites “should they assume control of the Labour Party”.
With this in mind, Ralph created the Independent Left Corresponding Society (ILCS) with Benn. The group, which met on Sunday evenings at Benn’s house included Mr Corbyn, Left-wing writers, and the academic, Andrew Glyn, who was a friend of the Miliband family and taught Ed at Oxford University.

Go on Jerry!

50 Northern seats for Ukip…..

Well, no actually

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Correct decision but still…..

The independent press standards organisation (Ipso) has cleared a Daily Telegraph article in which it urged its readers to join Labour and vote for Jeremy Corbyn to be its next leader in order to damage the party.

The regulator said 26 people complained that the article, which was headlined “How you can help Jeremy Corbyn win – and destroy the Labour party”, breached its code of ethics.

They had claimed – variously – that the article constituted harassment, that was inaccurate and that the Telegraph had not given a proper right of reply to people it mentioned.

They also claimed it amounted to subterfuge, that it was discriminatory and that it breached clause 13, which regulates how journalists should approach stories related to their own financial interests.

After considering each claim individually, Ipso contacted each of the complainants to say they did not have sufficient grounds to take the matter any further.

That the country even has an organisation that thinks itself competent to even discuss such things is an outrage.

Hang them all!