June 2019


It seems that the time has come to state the obvious: I am a liberal.

Not a Liberal Democrat.

Nor a neoliberal.

But a liberal.

This means that I believe that my neighbour is as important as me.

Nobody does believe that. We might insist that they’re ass morally important, equally one of God’s Special Little Snowflakes. But absolutely no one does think their neighbour is as important as they themselves are. We’s all be around next door cooking their breakfast if we did.

Saying that makes clear the third aspect of being a liberal. We must have a criteria for determining what is just, meaning that it requires defence. My logic is that justice is blind. Something is right when it would be considered just from whoever’s perspective it is viewed.

Isn’t that cute? So, 80% tax levels. Doesn’t seem just from the point of the view of the person being taxed. That’s why they all bigger off when we try it. Therefore it’s not just to have 80% tax rates as it’s not, considered from the perspective of the person being taxed, just.

Gosh, this moral logic stuff is fun, isn’t it?

That is what law is for in a liberal society: to define the boundaries of the freedoms that we can enjoy.

Err, no, that’s the definition of illiberality. A liberal society is one where the law defines the boundaries of what we may not do.

This does seem about right

Harvey Weinstein’s new lawyer has said women need to take responsibility for their actions, as she argued the #MeToo movement had done a disservice to the sex.

Donna Rotunno, who specialises in representing men accused of sex crimes, was hired by the disgraced producer along with Damon Cheronis to represent him at his upcoming trial on sexual assault charges.

Ms Rotunno has critcised the #MeToo movement which began after a string of celebrities came forward to make allegations against Mr Weinstein. “I’m not a woman who has ever subscribed to it,” she told the Wall Street Journal. “I believe women are responsible for the choices that they make.”

If you’ve used the casting couch to get your break then yes, it does seem reasonable that you are responsible for that choice. There are, after all, any number of women out there who have not used the casting couch to gain their break.

Do horses have accents?

I think I’m right in saying that chimps have accents? Different packs using slightly different sets of sounds? Can be distinguished by sound recordings?

So, do horses have accents?

To the layman, one horse’s neigh, whinny and snort sounds just like any other horse’s neigh, whinny and snort.

But there are subtle differences. Take that from the horse’s mouth.

Equestrians have long been irritated by the incorrect use of horse noises in film and television productions. Now one of the UK’s leading horse sanctuaries is working with an iconic film sound studio to find the most genuine equine sounds for use on screen.

Redwings, the horse charity, is collaborating on a project in which horse owners across Britain are invited to submit high-quality recordings of their horse neighing, whinnying, snorting or nickering.

Are we about to end up with all the horses in movies having English accents – like the baddies?

Our question for today

MPs are sceptical about briefings that the Labour leader goes on long runs, cycles and works out in the gym to keep himself in shape for becoming prime minister. “There have been rumours about his illness for a bit and all that rubbish about him going running and being fit. He’s obviously not well and it’s not just ageing, something has happened — he doesn’t seem all there sometimes,” an aide to a senior Labour politician says. “Everyone says it.”

How much of this is just another attempt to get rid of the bugger and how much is true?

Yes of course you know best a century later

British army officers wrongly believed alcohol made WW1 troops better fighters, claims addiction specialist


British army officers wrongly believed WW1 troops fought better if they were drunk in battle, an addiction specialist has claimed.

Senior commanders encouraged drinking among soldiers as they were following medical advice that claimed alcohol made them more effective fighters.

Go live in a trench, under battle conditions, then say booze isn’t a good idea.

Many colonels agreed that the recommended level was too low and would give nervous fighters extra helpings to improve their confidence before infiltrating enemy lines.

Lt Colonel J.S.Y. Rogers, a medical officer to the 4th Black Watch, said in the Report of Enquiry into Shell Shock in 1922: “Had it not been for the rum ration I do not think we should have won the war. Before the men went over the top they had a good meal and a double ration of rum and coffee.”

Quite so. Our modern man:

Speaking at the Chalke Valley History Festival near Salisbury, he said: “There are a lot of myths around. If you want people to charge into the enemy machine guns and you give them a bit of alcohol, it probably makes them a little more likely to do that but on the whole most of the research I have seen shows there is no real evidence that this really helped.

“It was the opinion of the Black watch medical officer that WW1 would not have been won if people had not been drinking. I think that on the whole the effect of these drugs on military effectiveness was negative.”

Dr Leighton added: “It is probable that it made them braver and more willing to take risks. Whether this always made for more effective operations is open to doubt.”

Which is to be an idiot. Well up into 1917, even into early ’18, the problem with the British Army was that it couldn’t conduct complex operations. The well trained Expeditionary Force was mostly gone and had been far too small for this sort of war anyway. The Pals Battalions Followed, then the conscription army from 1916 onwards. That last really only becoming capable of anything more than a “walk that way men!” after that year and a bit of both training and then experience of the real thing. This all being not so much about the private solder, that’s only a part of it, it’s about having the NCOs with experience.

The booze got them to move forward. The tactic required was to get them to move forward.

Well, not actually, you know?

If hate crimes against trans people are up by 81%, and 80% of hate crimes against trans people go unreported, there’s clearly a very serious problem.

If, before, 15 out of 100 actually happening hate crimes against trans people were being reported, now 30 out of 100 actually happening are, then hate crimes against trans people have declined while reports have risen 81%.

81% of 15 is 12, see?

Now, I don’t know whether that reporting rate has changed. Nor does Carrie, nor does Stonewall. But in this era of much greater awareness what do you think?

How the hell do you deal with economics like this?

Victor Anderson -who has a long history as an environmental economist – presented the first paper on whether it is possible to measure the value of natural capital, or not. I think it is fair to say that it was concluded that it is not, and even more strongly that it may not even be desirable to do so. That might only encourage its use, which is not just undesirable but simply contrary to all our interests now.

If something doesn’t have a value then it’s valueless. Meaning that people don’t preserve it……

Ritchie’s latest

Jane McTavish says:
June 27 2019 at 8:32 am
I find it hard to imagine what such accounts would look like. Could you construct a simple example using a real business? For example Tax Research LLP?

Richard Murphy says:
June 27 2019 at 8:38 am
For Tax Research LLP the accounting would be exceptionally simple – but there would be a narrative

For Shell it would be very different

As yet I have not done this

If I get a grant I will

You must cross my palm with silver to find out what the future holds for you moi lass!

Ritchie doesn’t understand his own proposal

So, next downturn, we’ll get People’s QE. Huzzah!

Ambrose Evans Pritchard:

The Bank would buy the bonds as needed in any future QE. It would inject the stimulus directly into the veins of the economy through public works. The bonds could be sold again later to drain excess liquidity. This is how quantitative tightening has been working in the US.

The reality is the bonds will never be sold again: the point is inconsequential. What is relevant is that he appreciates that there is a real need to do this

If the bonds are never sold again – or rebought, to be accurate – then it’s not QE. It’s straight monetisation of the deficit. Which, in extremis, might be a good idea. Milton Friedman certainly thought so.

But then if it’s an old idea then it’s not Ritchie’s is it? And if it is some new idea then it’s not QE anyway.

Savour the joyousness here

The_Donald plays an outsized role in shaping the tone and content of pro-Trump internet discourse and memes, and the disciplinary action is sure to inflame those Republican politicians who claim – usually without evidence – that social media platforms are biased against conservatives.

A rap lyrics board which featured “Kill da Police” would not be so limited. But there’s no evidence that social media platforms are biased, none.

So very rare

These false allegations of rape. So very, very, rare, not even worth considering whether a specific allegation is in fact false:

A taxi driver falsely accused of rape by a passenger has told a court that he is now afraid to pick up female fares, as the judge in the case warned a woman she faces jail over the allegations.

Laura Hood, 27, maintained for more than two-and-a-half years she had been attacked by taxi driver Haroon Yousaf, but last week finally admitted that the incident did not take place.

But she continued to deny the allegation against her and said she was innocent because she had not knowingly lied, and instead had a false belief of “something so clear in my head”.

Rhiannon doesn’t really do logic, does she?

This is not to say that privately educated Oxbridge graduates are bad people or don’t have anything good to bring to the table – just that perhaps we need to stop focusing so much on what’s fair and instead look at what’s most interesting and imaginative.

But the entire argument against the privately educated running everything is that it’s unfair, isn’t it?

How cliche can we get?

A divorcee already worth £90 million has won the right to fight to sue her former lover in the UK over tens of millions of assets after serving court papers on him via WhatsApp.

Mandy Gray, 50, is fighting Hamish Hurley, 46, her former fitness coach and physiotherapist after branding him an “emotionally abusive gold digger”.

Ms Gray was previously married to the wealthy American investment banker, Randy Work, walking away with a £90m settlement after they separated in 2013.

She then began an intense six-year relationship with Mr Hurley, her former personal health coach,

More traditionally you just shagged the gardener or pool boy rather than running away with him…..

So, what can we say about this young lady?

Poppy was born two weeks early at Worthing Hospital, weighing 7lb 9oz, on April 3.

Khiara, who lives with her partner Sam Tarrant, 23, baby Poppy, and son Hugo, four, is no stranger to having contractions during exams.

The student, who is originally from Shoreham, was pregnant with Hugo during her final years of GCSEs.

She’s an elephant? How many years does a human pregnancy last?

Difficult one this

Victims of revenge porn could get anonymity in shake-up of laws to tackle new online sex crimes

If you are in fact anonymous then it’s difficult to say that you’ve been a victim of revenge porn really. Given that the definition includes being publicly….

Slightly difficult…

The Green Party are arch remainers:

HMRC has blamed EU tax laws for the planned rise because they rule out lower VAT rates for energy saving equipment under state aid rules.

The European court of justice ruled in 2015 that energy saving materials should not have been receiving the reduced rate of tax. This led to an increase in VAT for solar systems installed at new-build homes in 2016, but did not affect the majority of houses which would require retrofitting. Those houses will now be affected by the higher rate.

The REA has called on HMRC to cancel the latest increase, which would come into effect as the UK prepares to leave the EU. Any rise should be cancelled as soon as possible after Brexit, the trade group added.

Well, quite.

Right decision – eventually

The Court of Appeal has blocked a mentally ill woman’s abortion after the Catholic church warned it would infringe her human rights.

Three senior judges overturned a ruling made on Friday that the woman, who is in her 20s and 22 weeks pregnant, should have a termination against her wishes because it was in her best interests.