March 2017

Accountant cannot count

As the FT has noted, Philip Hammond is to allocate £500 million of extra funds to schools in the budget. However, of thus sum £320 million is to go to 140 new so-called free schools. That is £2.3 million each.

The remaining 24,372 schools in the country will share £180 million, or £7,385 each.

Alternatively, split that £180 million amongst the 8.2 million pupils involved and that’s £21.95 per pupil, which is going to make a resounding difference.

Myself I think I’d try to count how many pupils will move from the old to the new schools before I did a per head analysis……

I might even try to differentiate between capital costs and running. But then I was never very good at my accounting classes in my econ and accounting degree.

How odd

The mystery of why sheep get horny in the winter might have been solved, according to new research.

Melatonin blah blah, light differences etc.

But winter? We talk of spring lamb, don’t we? And with a 150 day gestation in sheep that means they’re horny in autumn, doesn’t it?


It’s a sales pitch that has yielded big profits. The North Face reported annual revenue of $2.3bn last year, with 200 stores around the world. Patagonia is smaller, but growing more rapidly. The company had sales of $800m in 2016, twice as much as in 2010, and has 29 standalone stores in the US, 23 in Japan, and others in locations such as Chamonix, the French ski resort.

Well done to The Guardian, thinking that revenues equal profits.

Idiot is idiot

Standard Life is going to take over Aberdeen Asset Management. I hate to say it but it has all the feel of those notorious pre-2008 crash financial sector mergers that were so ill-fated.

Of course history does not repeat itself, exactly. Irrational exuberance does.


The two companies are exploring an all-share merger

Amazing that he wants a falling tax gap then, isn’t it?

Second, the deficit was smaller than expected this year and smaller than the economy needed. Tax drains funds out of the economy. That’s not by chance. That is its purpose. The government prints the money it needs to spend: it reclaims it through taxation. The spend stimulates demand. The tax reduces it. The net combination resulting in a fall in borrowing means that the economy was deflated by more than the government expected in the last year. The result is that we are, quite simply, worse offer as a result. And many know that.

So why does he want to increase the amount the government collects in taxes?

And he will need to do so: we know the economy is slowing already: it’s a trend that is going to get worse as the impact of Brexit pound deflation feeds though into higher UK prices.

Sigh, the net effect of a devaluation is expansionary.

This is a surprise in what manner?

A new report revealed hundreds of Marines are being investigated by the U.S. Department of Defense for sharing explicit photos of their female colleagues in a lewd Facebook group.

The group titled ‘Marines United’ had hundreds, possibly thousands of photos of unsuspecting servicewomen, some who were on active duty.

There were 30,000 followers of the secret Facebook group and many members made sexually aggressive comments about the victims. Some suggested in the 2,500 photo comments that the servicemen perform sexual acts with the women and film it for the other members.

Take 182,000 young people, male and female.

Get them as fit as you can.

Marvel when sex breaks out.

No, I don’t advocate gawking over nuddie pics of co-workers either but why the fuck is anyone surprised?

There’s a reason 50 Shades sold so well love

The Dilemma I am a woman in my early 20s, about to graduate from university and consider myself very independent with a healthy, normal, happy life. About two years ago I started watching porn. I didn’t even know what to look for, then I began to develop my own tastes and searched for specific things. What worries me is that my searches are for simulations of abuse – something that doesn’t reflect at all what I feel about the subject. I hate patriarchy and rape culture. Another issue that worries me is that now, when having sex with my boyfriend, I invent abuse stories and play them in my head in order to reach orgasm. I don’t like to role play any of those fantasies, I like to feel loved when having sex. I feel like none of this is healthy nor nurturing for my self development. Is it really that worthy of preoccupation?

What you think you know about the world isn’t quite what you do know about the world perhaps?

Isn’t this an interesting problem

I’ve been with my boyfriend for about six months. I’m 39 and he’s 51. We have a great relationship. I fell pregnant after only a month and a half. In a decision made jointly with full support, I had a termination. The sex we’d had before was always great. However, since the termination my partner finds it very difficult to ejaculate. Could the termination have an effect on this? He insists not.

In the answer:

There is normally a mourning period following a termination, which needs to follow its course and be respected.

Why is there a mourning period if it’s just an insensate clump of cells? There is no more there than just a normal period is there?

Yes, I know, I know, I disagree with just about everyone on this. And yet I see great echoes of New Soviet Man here. That was the idea that if human beings were different then we could have a different economy. Entirely true, if human beings were different we could, it’s the creation of a different type of human which is the difficult thing. Here it’s that it ought to be that it’s a clump of insensate cells which no one should worry about disposing of. And yet it turns out that human beings aren’t quite like that and they do worry. To the extent that a mourning period is normal.


Which neatly brings me back to the New Soviet Man thing – our aim is to build and economy which works for the human beings we have. So too with other aspects of society. We don’t assume that murder/rape/robbery/fraud will never happen because we know that human beings aren’t like that. We thus design systems to deal with, to minimise the happening of them. For we can’t actually make humans what they are not.

Apparently this extends to not being able to spurt when the point and purpose of the spurting is flushed away down the drain. For some people at least.

A couple of weeks is an era now, eh?

‘Something’s happening …’ How the Women’s March inspired a new era of resistance
Since Trump’s inauguration, women in the US and around the world have been organising, protesting and preparing to run for office – and the wave is growing every day

It’ll last until there’s a new nail polish available. Oooh! Shiny!

And there is one little thing that ever so slightly grates. Why is it that the most privileged generation of women in the entire history of our species is whining so much?

Ritchie’s been moonlighting I see

He does keep his professional licence up to date for a few clients:

It’s Budget week so Jeremy Corbyn has published a summary of his tax return to put pressure on Theresa May and Philip Hammond. What could go wrong? Well, it appears £40,000 in earnings from his role as Leader of the Opposition are missing from his 2015/16 declaration. Corbyn declared £114,342 in earnings from his MP’s salary, outside earnings and pension. Yet the £40,000 he should have earned as Labour leader during the financial year does not appear on his return.

Hoo, boy, it gets better:

A spokeswoman said the Cabinet Office does not comment on salary payments, while a Labour spokesman could not explain the missing money but told The Telegraph that Mr Corbyn’s P60 form, which details income for the year, also declared £77,000.

They added: “The tax return was prepared by a team of accountants who were given all the relevant information.”

It’s the taxpayer who signs off on it…..

American leftist entirely missing the point shocker

Still, the rap against progressive media remains that it preaches to the choir, and the choir ain’t that big. Kaiser fields the question again and again from potential donors: Why don’t her member organizations reach more people? “Well, they would,” she replies, “if they had the funding for marketing and promotion.”

Yep, still not getting that the majority isn’t in fact an aggrieved snowflake and thus won’t tune into a channel for aggrieved snowflakes.

These stories just never do add up, do they?

So, woman has child with possibly brutal bloke, leaves, goes from homeless shelter to small apartment, welfare keeps her going. Night classes, now she’s a writer.

Excellent, well done. And of course the story is that those welfare programs must exist for the next person to be able to come through. OK, fine with me.

But there’s always something in these stories which doesn’t quite gel, isn’t there?

I didn’t have a family who could financially or even emotionally support me. My daughter’s father still tried to cut me down every chance he could. I worked my way through school, but I couldn’t have done that if I hadn’t had help meeting basic living standards. Food stamps, rental assistance, and tax credits were the things that kept us afloat. I received utility assistance, and sometimes a voucher for gas so I could get to work. I used WIC (Women, Infants and Children) coupons for milk, bread, eggs, and peanut butter, which became the staples of our diet.

A month after I graduated college, I gave birth to a second little girl. Eventually we were able to move into safe and secure housing I could afford, and it meant I could focus on my chosen career as a writer.

Second baby just appeared, did it?

No, you’ve got to check the details

The extent to which drivers are satisfied in the here and now is irrelevant to whether they are employees or self-employed in the eyes of the law, and the rights to which that entitles them. In a scathing ruling last year, an employment tribunal ruled that Uber drivers are, in fact, employees, because Uber exerts a degree of control over them – including dictating the price they can charge consumers – that should not exist between a company and its self-employed contractors.

Uber is appealing but, if it loses, it will probably have to change its contracts to reflect that drivers are employees.

They’re not. There are three classes in UK law, self-employed, workers and employees. The ruling was that Uber drivers are workers.


Here’s the awful truth: we have entrusted the reorganisation of our social infrastructure to the sort of people who shout at their subordinates and drivers and view women as a collection of parts. We do not owe these people our money or our admiration.

It remains to be seen whether Uber will be damaged by the activist call for riders to please, for goodness sake, stop using this service. A great many people feel they have no option but to be complicit. Uber grew in the social sludge of American cities with patchy and precarious public transport provision and high unemployment. In areas where there are few late-running trains and taxis are unaffordable, taking an Uber home is the ethical equivalent of the greasy late-night kebab: you know it’s bad for you, but there’s a filthy, guilty pleasure in being able to meet your immediate animal needs. Your gut might make you answer for your midnight takeout, but it won’t kill you.

Using a service like Uber, however, is slow social poison. We are living in a socioeconomic reality whose driving philosophy can be accurately described by a sauced-up frat-boy in the back of a taxi, and we continue to venerate its winners. How much complicity can we tolerate before we get off this dodgy ride?

It’s a taxi service Laurie….

This leaves rather a lot in play in the negotiations, doesn’t it?

The UK could walk away from the European Union in 2019 without paying a penny, the House of Lords has said, in a report bound to raise tensions with Brussels in the run-up to Brexit talks.

The British government would have no legal obligation to either pay a €60bn (£52bn) Brexit bill mooted by the European commission or honour payments into the EU budget promised by the former prime minister David Cameron, according to analysis by the House of Lords EU financial affairs sub-committee.