Newspaper Watch

A letter they didn’t publish

Can’t think why they didn’t myself:


David Leonhardt tells us that “cash taxes paid” is the correct measure for how much tax a corporation is really paying. This is nonsense. Using this measure his employer, the New York Times Company, appears to have had a tax rate of 63% in 2014, $21 million cash taxes paid on $33 million of profits. Good going in a country with a national profits tax rate of 35%.

The corporate income tax is largely paid in arrears. Cash paid in taxes in 2014 will largely be the taxes due on profits made in 2013. Those paid in 2015 those due from 2014. The system does not exactly work in this manner but largely so.

Thus companies whose profits are growing quickly will, by the cash taxes paid method, always have low tax rates. Those maintaining a humdrum stability will have rates near the statutory one. Those where, unfortunately, profits fall year on year, as with the NYT Co in 2014, will have rates well above the statutory rate.

This is not a sensible method of determining whether a corporation is paying what it really should.

Yours etc,

Tim Worstall

But I guess that even the NYT letters section works on a less than 5 year cycle so they’re not going to publish now.

This is an absolute glory of a local newspaper article

Entirely local issue, long, lots of quotes, extraordinarily badly posed photographs, this has everything:

The daily commute to work is an essential part of the day for many residents in the city of Philadelphia, but for some, this may not be an easy feat.

Timothy Worstall, a Northeast Philadelphia resident, has to walk past the Somerton Regional Rail station along Station Road at least once per day to complete his daily errands.

Worstall has cerebral palsy, which impairs his mobility. The lack of sidewalks makes approaching and walking by the station dangerous for pedestrians.

Just for the avoidance of doubt no, that’s a different, another, Timothy Worstall.

For some reason or another there’s my immediate family only in the UK with the name and then an – entirely unrelated as far as I know – cluster of some hundreds in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Telegraph subs. If they still have them, that is……

Europe is not going to be exactly rushing to fill the vacuum in Scotland’s finances left by removal of the English teet.


In any case, if you want to know why Scotland can “afford” free higher education, free social care, free prescriptions, a 4pc pay rise for healthcare workers, and all the rest, but England can’t, ask the late Joe Barnett.


This blog was rather founded on he cry “Don;t these people have editors?” and the passing years have made the answer “No” increasingly accurate.

Don’t be so damn stupid

Suez Shows Civilization Is More Vulnerable Than We Think
Choke points imperil global supply chains, and the remedies aren’t simple or cheap.

One of the major trade arteries is indeed out of action. The result? Fractions of a percentage point on the price of certain imported items as they go off and use another trade route around the Cape of Good Hope.

That a major part of the system has just fallen over and near nothing has happened shows robustness, not fragility.

Enlightened self interest

I beg your pardon? Run that past me again. As part of the big shakeup announced last week, the BBC is cutting its global business and economics coverage and moving the World Service business team to Salford. The strategy casts doubt over the future of Radio 4’s flagship Today programme’s (excellent) dedicated business presenter.

How anyone at the Beeb can have lived through the last year — furlough, livelihoods in suspended animation, a socking great recession, record government debt issuance, astonishing pharmaceutical breakthroughs, supply chain disruption and trade wars — and thought, you know what, we should scale back our business and economics journalism, frankly beggars belief.

That’s a business journalist at The Telegraph.

OK, so, business journalism at The Telegraph benefits from this. A competitor is leaving the market and thus those who desire business journalism will buy more from The Telegraph. Prices and incomes can rise!

On the other hand, for a specific business journalist – and yes, moving between the BBC and this sort of opinionating function on a business news section at a major paper is common enough – this is a reduction in the number of people vying for his services. Incomes will fall in the absence of the competition.

So, which side of the lessening of competition does our business journalist come down upon?

Ah, yes, self interest does so often win out over the collective one, doesn’t it?

Do as I say at The Guardian, not as I do

Isn’t this a nice piece of the curtains matching the carpet?

The Guardian is facing calls to return the furlough cash it has claimed during the pandemic after the newspaper criticised the government’s support for the salary bills of billionaire tax exiles.

Andrew Bridgen, a Tory MP, said it was a “huge embarrassment” for the publisher to claim up to £100,000 when “other newspaper groups have not taken it”. “Given [that] they are such harsh critics of the government and its policies, they seem to have been very keen to exploit this one for their own benefit,” he told The Sunday Telegraph.

The Telegraph furloughed 90 staff in April but repaid the support in June. News UK, which owns The Times, has not used taxpayer support.

The Scott Trust, which controls The Guardian, recorded in 2019 its first operating profit for 21 years. Last year the trust valued its endowment at £1 billion, including a £134.8 million cash operating reserve. Last week the paper revealed that the furlough scheme had been used by the tax exiles Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Guy Hands.

A Guardian spokesman said that it had nothing to add to previous comments on furlough. In June Kath Viner, the editor, denied feeling “queasy” about using taxpayer support and told BBC Radio 4 that the scheme was designed “to keep people employed so I think it’s reasonable to follow it”.

Idiot subs at The Observer

After Uber’s U-turn, ministers must stop giving gig economy bosses an easy ride
Phillip Inman
It’s a step forward that Uber drivers must now be treated as employees, but there’s still a long road to travel

No, they do not have to be treated as employees.

And so it is with a slow handclap that we welcome the decision last week of the American corporation’s UK division to accept that the 70,000 drivers on its books qualify as workers, with rights to a minimum hourly wage and holiday pay, in line with a supreme court ruling last month.

There are three statuses – statii, statae, statiu? – in English employment law, employee, worker and self-employed.

Noodle Armed Soy Boy Alert

In the Guardian no less:

The issue of violence against women and girls is being widely discussed following the death of Sarah Everard: women are expressing exhaustion at feeling afraid, and anger and frustration at the same old conversations and being told to change their behaviour. Yet while it is men who perpetrate most of the violence, many have generally maintained a public silence.

This does not mean that men are not saddened and repulsed by sexual and domestic violence. A minority have expressed their disgust about misogyny on social media, or shown support for the women close to them, but this is alongside those whose reaction is defensive, insisting #NotAllMen are violent or are dismissive or hostile, claiming that men are being demonised.

Acturlly, we do normally assume that the patriarchy means men show “support for the women close to them”. Vehement support, possibly even violent. You know, beating to a pulp men who mistreat a sister and all that?

Surprise! Guardian writer is cretin

Under capitalism, shops are one of the places where our society is supposed to feel most alive.

What do shops have to do with capitalism? Even, what’s specific about capitalism to shops? Capitalism is a description of asset ownership – as is socialism. Shops exist in either model. Every economic model also requires distribution pints, something we might as well call a shop.

Market based economic systems might indeed stress shops more than non-market systems. Certainly, market based systems have long appeared to manage to put more into shops than non-market systems.

But markets and non-markets, capitalism and non-capitalism, these are entirely different axes upon which to judge or define a society.

That is, Andy Beckett is a cretin. Or, of course, simply one of the de haut en bas English with that centuries long disdain for trade.

Err, yes?

A veteran News Corp Australia photographer has given devastating evidence to a parliamentary inquiry about the way the Murdoch newspapers treated female employees and directed photographers to only take pictures of conventionally attractive young women.

Anna Rogers, who was made redundant last year, told the media diversity inquiry she worked in a sexist and toxic culture at Cumberland Newspapers, the Australian, the Courier-Mail and the Cairns Post between 1991 and 2020, where men were consistently promoted over women.

Women were denied pay rises and flexible work hours and she believed all staff were forced to sign employment contracts which gave the company the right to “listen in” to their phone calls, she told senators.

Rogers said she had been consistently told not to take pictures of “pigs in lipstick” while the appearance of male subjects was never raised.

Newspapers chase the desires of the readership, not impose it. This is thus a statement about Australians, not newspapers.

Oh God

Only a handful of well-funded specialist companies like TSMC and Samsung have the expertise and sufficiently deep pockets to do it.

TSMC, for example, plans to invest $25-28bn this year to bolster capacity to produce silicon wafers 3 nanometers thick.


3 nm is the thickness of the wafer you fool.

I really do hate Will Hutton

The wartime entertainer Bud Flanagan can rest easy. “Who do you think you are kidding, Remainers, if you think old England’s done.”



Weintrop was born with a sense of adventure and was keen to see the world. In 1910, aged 14, he decided to leave home and walked all the way to Southampton where he claimed to be an electrician aged 17 to get a job aboard ship. He sailed with the SS Majestic to New York, and jumped ship when it arrived in the USA. Reuben got various jobs selling newspapers, delivering telegrams for Western Union, and even harvested wheat in Fargo, North Dakota. He joined a vaudeville show that toured across the USA, whilst in October 1914, he sailed with a show to perform in New Zealand and Australia. He travelled to perform on stage in South Africa where he met his brother Alec (Alexander), who was living there at the time.

Once back in San Francisco, Reuben decided to return to the United Kingdom to enlist to fight for Britain in the First World War. He returned to Britain in 1915 and enlisted as “Robert” Weintrop; he joined the Royal Field Artillery, and was sent with his unit to fight in France. In the Army, he worked as a driver and entertained the troops with his singing and impersonations. Here he met the unpopular Sergeant-Major Flanagan from whom he later adopted his stage name. In 1919 he formed a comedy double act, Flanagan and Roy.


Flanagan’s last recording was Jimmy Perry and Derek Taverner’s theme for the British sitcom Dad’s Army,[4] “Who Do You Think You Are Kidding, Mr Hitler?”, recorded by Pye shortly before his death in 1968, and for which he was paid 100 guineas (£105). The song was a pastiche of the sort of songs Flanagan had sung during the war.


Brexit is an act of self-defeating folly. Our long-run growth rate, declares the Office for Budget Responsibility, has now sunk to 1.7%. We report today that the introduction of customs checks on EU goods in April and July is to be deferred because of fears of food shortages. Trade flows between the UK and the EU are in crisis. The country does have the capacity and values to be a force for good, but this Global Britain is a hoax. The home guard that Dad’s Army so wonderfully lampooned were at least honourable men. The same can not be said for the army in No 10.

Bud gets to lampoon those good men. The failed bond salesman can fuck off.

Shoot the headline writer

A “swarm” of over 20,000 earthquakes has rocked Iceland in the past 10 days — and it could spark a volcanic eruption


Southwest Iceland is currently experiencing a “swarm” of seismic activity, with more than 20,000 earthquakes recorded since February 24, according to the the Icelandic Meteorological Office. The office said magma movements are likely the cause of the current surge on the Reykjanes Peninsula, raising fears of a volcanic eruption.

The earthquakes do not spark or cause a volcano. The movements of the magma – which may or may not lead to a volcano – cause the earthquakes.

The opening paragraph gets this right, the headline writer manages to get it wrong. Shoot them.



Foreign doctors are prescribing powerful sex change hormones to 15-year-olds in England without their parents’ involvement, a Telegraph investigation has found.

GenderGP, an online transgender healthcare services clinic, uses a legal loophole to flout NHS rules to issue valid prescriptions which can then be used to obtain the medication from pharmacies in Britain.

6 October 2020:

The Times has discovered that an online pharmacy, Clear Chemist, has been selling hormone treatments to ‘trans children’ on the internet and that this medication is being prescribed by GenderGP, the clinic originally founded by Helen Webberley.

Time for Polly to elect another people

Howl, beat your head against the wall, tear your hair and despair of this country. How can it be that nearly half the population thinks the reason people lost their jobs in the pandemic was due to their own underperformance? Just 31% attribute it to bad luck. Look around every city and town to see the shuttered shops, closed offices, boarded-up pubs, bars and restaurants, the blindingly obvious signs of the mass loss of jobs. Yet again those on the left are forced to confront some dismal realities about British public attitudes.

Don’t think so

More than four million people in Texas have been left without power and two people are dead, as a fearsome winter storm has sent temperatures plummeting to -22C

-22C? In Texas?

Lord knows what the Telegraph has misunderstood there but I don’t think so…..