July 2016

Where’s Owen Jones?

Five hundred hungry Venezuelan women have stormed across a bridge into Colombia, defying a year-long border crossing in search of basic foodstuff and goods which are hard to find back home.

Dressed in white T-shirts, the women from the Venezuelan town of Ureña marched up to the barriers manned by members of the National Guard. The guardsmen formed a cordon to prevent the women from passing but they eventually broke through, cheering as they ran across the bridge into the Colombian city of Cúcuta.

“The women of Ureña decided to come to the international bridge to cross the border because we don’t have food in our homes, our children are going hungry, there is a lot of need,” one woman told the Cúcuta daily La Opinion.

The women poured into the markets and shops of the Colombian city, snatching up toilet paper, flour, cooking oil, corn flour and other goods hard to find back home.

Because of the exchange rate between the Venezuelan bolivar and Colombian peso, and the lack of subsidies in Colombia, the women who forced their way across the border on Tuesday may have paid 10 times the price for the goods they bought compared to the official prices at home.

But their complaint was that the goods cannot be found in Venezuela.

Enraged Venezuelan housewives invade Colombia in search of toilet paper.

Where is Owen Jones and his explanation of how lovely Bolivarian socialism is?

Sure, the law is the law

The kid’s lemonade stand in Ottawa:


On Monday, the Andrews visited the federal agency to apply for a permit. Perhaps conscious of the many who had framed the girls’ foray into Ottawa’s byzantine bureaucracy as a struggle of David against Goliath, an agency spokesperson apologised to the young entrepreneurs and offered to waive the C$35 permit fee.

In a later statement, the agency defended its earlier actions and made it clear that no exceptions would be made for the girls. “Given the location of the lemonade stand, the Conservation Officer acted in good faith in applying the federal land use rules in place.”

The situation could have been handled differently, it acknowledged. “Children’s lemonade stands are a time-honoured summer tradition that contributes to a lively capital and the NCC wants to encourage these activities whenever possible.” Officials said the girls’ permit application would be likely expedited so that they could have the stand up and running by this weekend.

The timeline was questioned by the girls’ father who pointed to the magnitude of paperwork being demanded for the stand. “The girls can’t provide proof of insurance. They can’t provide a site map. And so on and so forth,” he told CTV News. “So I expect that there’s going to have to be some … modification of the normal bureaucracy here.”

Site map?

Can we hang all the bureaucrats yet?

Spell checker! spell checker!

About the disappearance of moules mariniere due to climate change and ocean acidity:

Currently around 20 per cent of mussels fall and are lost on the sea floor due to weak attachments, but Prof Carrington said once coastal waters dropped below 7.6 pH, the proportion was projected to double to 40 per cent.

“At 40 per cent mortality it’s probably no longer a viable business,” she said.

“Farmers would have to send divers down to set up nets to catch everything that fell off, and even then the crabs would be able to get in at low tide.

“They might even have to move the muscles into different waters to survive, which would make it too difficult.”

Perhaps too much reliance on the mechanical spell checker and not enough on the human?

Add the property market to Ritchie’s spheres of excellence

Brexit contagion is spreading. Yes I know the FTSE 100 has more than recovered its losses. But the FTSE 250, which reflects British economic activity much more accurately than the 100, has not and is heading down again right now.

The pound remains seriously devalued.

And this afternoon all the signs of a property crash are developing as insurance companies have had to close withdrawals from their property funds.

This is about the commercial property market. Not the residential.

Further, why have these funds stopped withdrawals? Because they are illiquid.

As I mentioned this morning Standard Life has had to suspend withdrawals from one of its property funds in the wake of the Brexit vote. We’re now seeing the same problem afflict another such fund, this one run by Aviva Investors. The problem here is akin to that problem that fractional reserve banking can fall foul of, liquidity problems rather than solvency ones. Investors can withdraw their money on demand – but the property which the money is invested in is very much more illiquid than that investor demand for cash at times. Thus it is possible that any cash margin gets wiped out, that the fund simply cannot sell properties fast enough to redeem investments.

It’s not even that prices have declined. It’s that investors think they might therefore they are asking for their money back faster than property can be sold.

This entire sector is worth some £30 billion. This is about a liquidity mismatch, not a plunging property market.

Because this doesn’t matter?

The European Commission has published a proposal this afternoon for new legisaltion that would commit member states to open registers on the beneficial ownership of companies and to maintaining registers of trusts to which access would be available if they undertook ‘business like’ activities and the enquirer could show they had a reasonable cause for wanting data (with campaigning NGOs seemingly included in that brief).

Three thoughts. First, why are we leaving the EU when it is so clearly in the forefront of the attack on tax abuse and organised crime?

Fun buzzwords but really….

Archant’s chief content officer Matt Kelly has been appointed as launch editor of the title, and told BuzzFeed: “We are currently in an extraordinary period of time in the UK, with all of society seemingly in a state of flux and turmoil. I believe the 48 per cent who voted to Remain are not well served by the traditional press and think there is a clear opportunity for a newspaper people will want to read and carry The New European like a badge of honour.

“It will upset Michael Gove to hear that we value very highly expertise and have some of the world’s best brains in their areas writing for us. And it is also a politician-free zone. They are banned.”

The Independent claims that the “overriding theme of the first issue will be traditional media” and how it “just didn’t live up to expectations through the campaign stage of the referendum.”

Pro-EU media twats writing about media twats.

Expecting big sales are we?

News just in – Guardian leader writers are twats

Some may be tempted to dismiss Nigel Farage’s resignation on Monday as leader of Ukip as just another piece of characteristic impulsiveness. That Nigel, what a card, he’s always resigning. Did it in 2009. Didn’t last. Tried it after last year’s election. Didn’t last. Now he’s done it again this year. Always comes back though – the bookies still have him at 2/1 to lead Ukip into the 2020 election. So ignore it. It’s just Nigel. He’s not serious.

Maybe, but the context could hardly be more serious. And Mr Farage should take responsibility for a change. Britain has just voted to leave the European Union. Barely 10 days on from that historic decision, two of the people most directly responsible for winning the vote have simply walked away. Boris Johnson fronted the official leave campaign and has now thrown in the towel in the Conservative contest because he has been disowned by Michael Gove. Mr Farage fronted the lavishly funded unofficial campaign and he has quit too.

Where is any drop of moral seriousness, or any ounce of public responsibility, in that? There seems to be none in either man. Both Mr Johnson and Mr Farage were willing until less than a fortnight ago to do anything, to say anything, and to rubbish anyone who disagreed with them in the cause of leaving the EU. Yet they never once said what leaving would actually look like. They mocked anyone who expressed concerns.

Yet, having won, they simply walk away.

The model of someone in politics to achieve a task, that done to leave politics, just doesn’t seem to gain traction in Guardian minds, does it?

That most in hte trade are mere careerists is obvious, but the possibility of someone being principled seems to escape them.

Suspected rapists are young men

“The descriptions [of perpetrators] are diverse, with the one common denominator being that these are all young men,” police at the first festival reported on Sunday night.

Well, yes, I suppose so really.

It’s the other detail that people might concentrate on though:

Police in Sweden are investigating five reported rapes and nearly forty instances of groping at two music festivals over the weekend.

“Foreign young men“ were blamed by police for the attacks at one of the festivals and at least two unaccompanied migrant youths were under arrest.

Young people are crybabies

Almost half of voters aged 18 to 24 cried or felt like crying when they heard that the UK had voted to leave the European Union, according to polls conducted for the London School of Economics.

Almost half also being about the portion of voters who voted to remain.

Was wondering if this would happen

Statement from Nigel Farage

I have decided to stand aside as Leader of UKIP. The victory for the ‘Leave’ side in the referendum means that my political ambition has been achieved. I came into this struggle from business because I wanted us to be a self-governing nation, not to become a career politician.

The peerage ought to be a done deal but will they actually give him one?

There’s silly, there’s Ritchie and then there’s crazed

Various ones have been properly convinced that there is a plan for a European superstate. Forbes’ writer Tom Worstall wrote that the Brexit vote was about the United Kingdom “not joining the monster of the European Union to come.” The Bible tells of a Beast monster that will arise in the end times in Europe. Dr. Thiel cites news reports, as well as the Old and New Testaments, to show that the monster many fear will arise in Europe, despite the vote by the British to exit the European Union.

A written article of related interest is titled “Is a Brexit a step towards a monstrous militaristic superstate?”

What bloody French belief in humanity?

Marine Le Pen’s Brexit glee goes against France’s belief in humanity
Agnès Poirier
In France, the goal of ever closer European union has been seen as ‘patriotism for humanity’ since the days of Victor Hugo. The leader of the National Front has other ideas

No Parisian believes that any non-Parisian is fully human.

Timmy elsewhere

At the ASI:


Tee hee:

We have an alternative policy framework to suggest. Let’s just not have a policy. No subsidies, no payments, no department, no Minister, nothing, nowt, zippedy dooh dah. The New Zealand option. You’ve had it good for a century or more now there’s yer bike and have a nice ride.

We would not swear that this is true but we have heard that it is so – British farming has long passed Parkinson’s Event Horizon. There are now more bureaucrats “managing” farming than there are farmers farming. Let’s not pay the farmers anything and thus we don’t need the bureaucrats paying it – a double saving. Instead of £2 to £3 billion a year in taxes going to the farmers, plus whatever the amount again to pay it to them, we could just keep that what, £5 billion? And go and buy food from whomever.

Sounds like a plan really and we recommend it to all. Let’s use Brexit to right some of the wrongs of our current system. One of those wrongs being the incessant whining and demands for bribery from the farming sector.

The correct design of the new domestic agriculture policy is that there isn’t one. And nor is there any funding for either it or its absence. In short Meurig, go away.

This has been picked up by The Farming Forum. Which means at least the possibility that a farmer or two will hear of the plan. Who knows, possibly even Meurig?

There’s stupid and then there’s Ritchie

To be followed by

Paying the right amount of tax, in the right place, at the right time, is now tax abuse.