September 2019

Fair enough

If you were Chancellor what would you do?

Reduce income tax rates for everyone. I think they’re too high at the moment.

Higher earners should carry on paying a bit more than lower earners, but I think all taxpayers should pay less.

Bruce Foxton of The Jam.

The twats don;t understand their own poll

New polling from Tax Justice UK and Oxfam, conducted by YouGov, shows widespread public support from across the political spectrum for increasing taxes on wealth.

The organisations say this would help to tackle inequality and raise revenue that could be used to fund public services and fight poverty.

The poll, published ahead of Conservative Party Conference, shows that more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of Brits thought that earnings from wealth should be taxed at the same level as, or more heavily than, earnings from income.

Taxing the income from wealth is taxing income, not wealth.


And isn’t this a lovely non-sequitur?

Currently, wealth is often under-taxed compared to taxes on income from work. In the UK, tax raised from wealth remains low at about 4 per cent of GDP compared to 15 per cent from taxes on income and 11 per cent from consumption.

Taxation of helium balloons is low too.

Just think what could be done!

Andrea Leadsom announced £1bn of extra government spending for the Green New Deal before the Tory party conference.

The sum involved is one-fiftieth of that needed. The Green New Deal Group think we need at last £50 billion a year for the next decade.


It takes some effort to get Green New Deal spending pretty much wrong at every level, given the quantum onwards, and when there is so much to do. But Leadsom has managed it. Which is staggering.

Put me in charge and I’ll piss away 50 times as much!

Which does lead us to that problem for these grand plans to go spend the hell out of everyone else’s money. Politics just isn’t a very good system of doing so, is it?

Talking his own book or actual believer?

One of the interesting problems out there is that we do get cases like this. Where if the guy’s a crook he’ll be doing the one thing and if he’s honest as the length of an Icelandic summer day he’ll be doing exactly the same thing. So, how to decide which he’s being?

A Hargreaves Lansdown investment expert who held shares in Sirius Minerals urged savers to stick with the mining business just months before it was plunged into a financial crisis that saw 75% wiped off its share price.

In an article on the website of Britain’s largest do-it-yourself investment service, Nick Hyett urged people to be patient as Sirius scrabbled to secure finance for its mine in Yorkshire, which will extract the fertiliser polyhalite.

Hyett said that although 2018 had been a “painful year”, with Sirius’s share price dropping, the company had had “significant successes” and “construction was well under way” on the mine. He added that thanks to research showing the benefits of polyhalite in agriculture, there “should be plenty of demand for what Sirius will eventually be producing”.

The share price jumped 2.7% on May 14 — the day the article was published. Since then it has plunged 75%, and closed last week at 2.9p. At their height, the shares were worth 15 times as much.

So, was he just talking his own book? Or did he really believe and have his money where his mouth was?

An interesting way to tell would be to ask what’s his position in the stock today….

It’s great, innit?

The main message from both organisations was directed at governments, which they believe must be prepared to step up their spending now that the private sector has seen the warning signs of recession and stopped investing.

The last time the global economy dealt with a shock, governments played a part in the rescue. That was in the days when leaders such as Gordon Brown could command the attention of his peers in arguing for a comprehensive and costly lifeboat. Then, after the 2008 crash, the job of rebuilding crisis-hit economies was left to central banks. Hence the era of ultra-low interest rates.

The justified fear is that the next crisis will be characterised by governments pleading poverty to justify inaction. Either they will argue they are bereft of the necessary funds or that borrowing is already too high.

Georgieva knows central banks have little firepower left after a decade of providing cheap money, which is why she is right to call on governments to open their wallets now, and not wait until it’s too late

When we have a recession then governments must spend lot,s lots, more. When we don;t have a recession then governments must spend lots, lots, more.

Why not just admit that you’re not doing macroeconomics about the business cycle any more you’re just shouting that there must be more government?

Civil Contingencies Act

Boris Johnson is whipping up fears of rioting and deaths on the streets if Brexit is not delivered by 31 October so that he can try to invoke emergency powers and avoid extending the UK’s EU membership beyond that date, Labour’s Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, claimed on Saturday.

After a week in which the prime minister was accused by MPs from all the main parties, including senior Tories, of inciting violence by accusing Remainers of Brexit “surrender” and “betrayal”, Starmer said it was part of an orchestrated plan to stoke a sense of outrage among Leave voters and create civil unrest, so an extension might be avoided.

Increasingly MPs across the House of Commons believe Downing Street is considering using the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, which grants special powers in the event of a national emergency, as a way to override the so-called Benn act, which mandates the prime minister to seek a delay to Brexit if no deal has been struck with Brussels by 19 October.

The only surprise here is that Remainers haven’t invoked the CCA already. You know, given the bloodcurdling claims of immediate doom if Brexit does ahead.

Well, yes, seems fair enough

Asinging star suspended by the Royal Opera House for groping a colleague on stage is being allowed to continue headlining performances at some of Europe’s premiere opera houses.

Not the groping of course, but the continued performances:

The allegations have split the world’s most prestigious opera houses, with some prepared to give Grigolo the benefit of the doubt until the ROH concludes its investigation, while others prefer to err on the side of caution .

Conviction and punishment after the investigation, no?

Not sure I’d trust these numbers

From a book written by a bloke who worked in the finance pages of the Mail. So, you know, dodgy numbers. Still, fun:

At the market, a pound would buy you 28 lbs of peas or beans, or six kilderkins (108 gallons) of ale, or 60lbs of best butter, or 280 lb of beef.

2lbs (910 grammes, close enough) of Sainsbury’s peas is £1.30. Or £18.20 for the 28 lbs.

Canned kidney beans are about the same price, say £18.20 for the 28 lbs.

Butter’s £3 a lb (ignoring 2.204 lb to kg) or £180 for the 60lbs.

Beef is (mince) also £3 per pound or £840 for the amount.

Full strength own label beer is £1 a pint or so. Or £864 for the amount listed.

The relative prices of beef and beer have changed little over the centuries (1630), those of beer and beans/peas rather a lot. Dunno quite what that tells us other than government being involved in beef and beer and not in peas and beans…..

Err, no Admiral

[2] Why does New Jersey have the most toxic waste dumps and California the most lawyers? California got first choice.

It’s because New Jersey got first choice.

Otherwise the piece is a very good explanation of olds*.

*Stuff that isn’t news via Sir Pterry.

How a healthy attitude toward food makes us healthier

Food glorious food. Food is innately communal. It has the ability to bring many different cultures together, to share each other’s ethic cuisine, and gather round the dining table of the world in a daily ritual. National dishes are consumed with the pride and history of that country, whose ingredients used are reflective of ancestral struggles and ingenuity. For instance, Northern Brazilian dishes such as Feijoada stems from a history of subjugated slaves who were denied the more refined meats, and so they were forced to be creative to use the right amount of spices and cooking method to make the tougher parts (such as Pig tail, ear, nose) magically delicious. Certain types of food are healthy and others not. In many countries, obesity has ballooned (pun intended) to become a serious issue that has led to many calls for policy changes. These include measures such as a ban on sugary drinks or additional taxes on any foods deemed unhealthy. This is supposed to reduce the damage obesity causes, in rising mortality rates or strains on the health care system. While the culprit for this can be unhealthy eating choices and easy access to junk foods, the root of the issue stems in a cultural attitude toward eating.

The diet business is a million dollar industry, fueled by people’s hopes that there is a magic bullet for weight loss. The fact is that most diets fail and could have the opposite effect. Either the dieter ditches the regimen after a few days, has sneaky nibbles here and there, or altogether relapses after they shed the weight – gaining double months after. An often destructive pattern develops with the dieter, who thinks only in calories and their regimen, whereby they binge unhealthily the weekend before their ‘diet’ is supposed to start. Once their diet has begun, if they eat minimally or exercise, they use this as justification for ‘treating themselves’ to fattening foods. Even diet coke drinkers usually consume greater calories a day because they have adopted a mindset that they can enjoy that slice of cake guilt free since they have saved 150 calories drinking diet soda. The paradox is that the cake is 600 calories that they would have skipped if they did not make this false reasoning.

Keeping fit and healthy requires a lifestyle change and a shift in the individual’s mindset. It is often said that those in Europe, particularly the French and Italians, remain slender despite their enjoyment of food – even very fattening foods such as pastries and pastas. Of course, genetics may explain why certain groups are predisposed for certain weight ranges and body types. Further, there are credible arguments that trace the switch from wheat to corn as a staple ingredient in the food industry products as contributing hormones into people’s diets and hence making them bigger. Specifically, with the American food industry, there are stories of children reaching premature puberty because of increased hormone levels in the foods they eat. However, attitude toward food is essential. The tendency of Europeans or those in other parts of the world is to eat naturally produced food, with a smaller portion in comparison to those in the US, and savour what is eaten. Rather than gobble a huge chunk of cake in a take out box, a Parisian is likely to sit with a friend at a side walk café and slowly enjoy a sliver of cake with coffee. Properly sized meals are eaten with healthy ingredient at regular set times daily. This was famous documented in Mireille Guiliano’s book ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating For Pleasure’. However, the Japanese population has an even healthier mindset toward food and in fact is deemed the slenderest nation. The Japanese diet primarily consists of lean meat or fish, rice, sushi, and green tea instead of sugary soda. The non-obese mentality in Europe or Japan is also reflected in their clothing industry, with smaller sizes than in places like the US, and so becoming obese becomes a major inconvenience trying to shop for larger sizes. There are greater challenges to becoming obese for the European or Japanese rather than an accommodating culture that usually has XXL sizes available when shopping. This creates a great motivator, more than a sugar tax or ban, to watch your diet and weight.

While it is important for schools to teach children about nutrition, much of their lifestyle and attitude toward food begins in the home. A child can learn that it is important to eat their greens and limit sugar, yet if their parents feed them a junk food take out meal that is what they become accustomed to eating until they can independently buy their own meals. And by this time, perhaps the late teens, these eating practices are very well ingrained in their minds and bodies. A great way to appreciate food is to start watching cooking programs that show all the ingredients going into a dish. Learning about food in this way nurtures a greater mindset in thinking about what is being put into the body and its effect. For the foodie, there are also several mobile apps to browse recipes and even games. For example, foodies will likely enjoy online casino sites that contain many food themed slot games to savour. Slots casino such as Microgaming’s ‘Belissimo’ gives players a taste of Italy, Blueprint’s ‘El Jackpotto’ a taste of Mexico, Yggdrasil’s ‘Penguin City’ for Asian cuisine, and SunFox Game’s ‘3 Blind Mice’ a charcuterie board of cheese and meats. If that does not satisfy your hunger, the generous portion of chances for rewards of real money is sure to. The slot game are structured mostly as 5 reels, 3-4 wager rows, paylines, and numerous unique features. These slots are completely mobile formatted, allowing for gameplay during lunchbreak while holding a sandwich.

Eat to live or live to eat are not the best ways to approach food, and the solution lies somewhere in between. Meals should be enjoyable, and a healthy balance needs to be established. Those who continually worry about every bite they take are missing out on the experience of food just as much as those who mindlessly shove in their mouth huge forkfuls of junk meals. So do as the famous French phrase apparently coined by Marie Antoinette says ‘Let them eat cake’, but only a little slice a day.

Rather fun

The complaint that WWL and Entercom filed with NOPD says that a digital forensic expert concluded that the tweeted slur directed at the openly gay host came from Dunlap’s own phone.

“The investigation discovered that the tweet was sent from an IP address associated with Mr. Dunlap’s personal cell phone,” according to the police report.

The report outlines that Dunlap was seen on video surveillance walking into his office and closing the door at the time the post was made, and then walking out of his office with his phone in his hand just after the tweet went out.

Attorney Michael Banks also claimed that while later meeting with station officials, Dunlap asked how much the company would pay and threatened to publicly attack the station through a “scorched earth” campaign.

Dunlap, meanwhile, denies he sent the tweet and alleges mistreatment.

His lawyer Megan Kiefer labeled Entercom’s allegations as “defamatory.”

In a public release, she said, “We will reveal the appalling history of discrimination Seth has experienced during his eight years at Entercom as an openly gay man.”

Kiefer alleged that Entercom has allowed an anti-gay, bigoted, and hostile work environment to flourish.

“Entercom as well as its corporate lawyers were aware of instances of homophobia and discrimination and did nothing to protect Seth or its LGBTQ+ employees.”

Truly appalling discrimination he suffered if he was allowed to remain on air for 8 years – and if he chose to remain there 8 years.

But it is Honey

The BBC’s misguided response suggests that reacting to racism is worse than racism itself. All I saw was another woman of colour calling out racist remarks for what they were, and describing her own experiences. The clear message sent by this ruling is that whether or not something is racist is purely subjective.

To complain about Europeans gong to South Africa to dispossess the indigenes is to be right on, just and laudable. To complain about Bantus from West Africa doing the same is to be appallingly racist.

Racism is thus subjective, isn’t it?

Any approach to impartiality needs to clearly acknowledge that racism – particularly of the blatant “go home” variety – is a violent and illegitimate standpoint.

By whose standards then? By those you wish to impose on everyone presumably. At which point you can fuck off Honey.

Because it’s not called racism when someone says the descendants of the Voortrekkers “should go home” but it is when second generation immigrants here are told to do so? Subjectivity rather depends upon your point of view, doesn’t it?

Anyone seen this FCA letter?

a href=””>The City regulator has warned Britain’s peer-to-peer lending industry to “act now” to clean up poor practices or face a “strong and rapid” crackdown.

The Financial Conduct Authority told chief executives of platforms which arrange billions of pounds worth of loans to address concerns and accused some lenders of exposing ordinary investors to undue risks.

In a seven-page letter seen by The Times and sent to 65 firms, the authority highlighted problems including weaknesses in disclosure of information to clients, opaque charging structures and inadequate record keeping.

Seems sensible enough to be honest

Top City lawyers advising Thomas Cook on its failed rescue plan are said to have demanded weekly payments from the travel company to ensure they received their fees in the run-up to its collapse into insolvency.

The move spared insolvency experts at elite “Magic Circle” law firm Slaughter and May and US firm Latham & Watkins from joining a long queue of creditors when the company went down – including the company’s 21,000 staff, who face a long wait for their final pay cheque.

Also fairly normal I would have thought for both beancounters and shysters to ask the same of a company they’re trying to save from bankruptcy….

How in buggery can this be true?

The High Court in England has ruled that Guardian journalist Freddy McConnell, a trans man, cannot be named as the father of his child on their birth certificate.

McConnell is his child’s dad, and as he has a gender recognition certificate he is legally a man.

Riiight. But then this:

And QCs for McConnell set out the implications: Previous legal protections for trans people, could be unpicked. Reforms to surrogacy laws will be halted. Same-sex parents would be blocked from birth certificates. Fertility clinics will not be able to offer treatment to trans ppl.

Xe got pregnant with the aid of fertility treatment…….

Seems logical

“Being a ‘mother’ or a ‘father’ with respect to the conception, pregnancy and birth of a child is not necessarily gender specific,” McFarlane concluded after McConnell requested a judicial review.

“There is a material difference between a person’s gender and their status as a parent. Being a ‘mother’, whilst hitherto always associated with being female, is the status afforded to a person who undergoes the physical and biological process of carrying a pregnancy and giving birth.

“It is now medically and legally possible for an individual, whose gender is recognised in law as male, to become pregnant and give birth to their child. Whilst that person’s gender is ‘male’, their parental status, which derives from their biological role in giving birth, is that of ‘mother’.”

If the word “mother” is to have a meaning that seems to be about it, no?